What a pity that TNR has this behind a firewall. For fair use reasons, I had to cut the part where he takes a swipe at CAIR.
There’s nothing to add here except that his report of the death of moral equivalence is, needless to say, greatly, greatly exaggerated.
I am worried that A Mighty Heart falls into a trap Bertrand Russell would have recognized: the paradox of moral equivalence, of seeking to extend the logic of tolerance a step too far. You can see traces of this logic in the film’s comparison of Danny’s abduction with Guantánamo–it opens with pictures from the prison–and its comparison of Al Qaeda militants with CIA agents…
Drawing a comparison between Danny’s murder and the detainment of suspects in Guantánamo is precisely what the killers wanted, as expressed in both their e-mails and the murder video… This is precisely the logic used by Mohammed Siddiqui Khan, one of the London suicide bombers, in his videotape on Al Jazeera. “Your democratically elected government,” he told his British countrymen, “continues to perpetrate atrocities against my people … . [W]e will not stop.”
Danny’s tragedy demands an end to this logic. There can be no comparison between those who take pride in the killing of an unarmed journalist and those who vow to end such acts–no ifs, ands, or buts. Moral relativism died with Daniel Pearl, in Karachi, on January 31, 2002.
There was a time when drawing moral symmetries between two sides of every conflict was a mark of original thinking. Today, with Western intellectuals overextending two-sidedness to reckless absurdities, it reflects nothing but lazy conformity. What is needed now is for intellectuals, filmmakers, and the rest of us to resist this dangerous trend and draw legitimate distinctions where such distinctions are warranted.
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