Joseph Shumpeter once said that the first thing a man is willing to do for his ideology is lie. It follows that when a man makes a fact-based statement that is consistent with his ideology, there is some probability that he is lying; but of course there is some probability that he is not. So when confronted with a portrayal of factual events that go against one's ideology, you have really two options - refute the facts convincingly, or paint the guy as an ideologue, with the implication being that he must clearly be lying. The writer of The Path to 9/11 got the second treatment, as you can read in his opinion piece for the WSJ: http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110008958
It never ceases to amaze me how the left can find moral equivalence of some sort between the institutions of the West, and most especially America and the Catholic Church, and the forces of barbarism in this world. In my post on Monday, in the comments section, Anonymous feels compelled to take a dig at the Catholic Church in response to the admittedly off-topic query of pbryon as to whether or not the Pope's remarks were considered infallible by the Church.
Now, normally I wouldn't be so sensitive about such a dig, but when the post itself is pointing out some pretty damning differences between Islam and Christianity, I think that a comment directed at the supposed comparative hubris of the Catholic Church is really quite revealing. If the worst that can be said about the Church, as is said by Anonymous, is that the Cardinals always assume they speak with infallibility, than in my eyes you are praising them with very faint damnation, but I suspect Anonymous doesn't see it this way. When an Imam says take a machete to the head of the infidel dog and someone does, and the Pope tells us to love your neighbor and someone does, is it appropriate to take a dig at the Pope for presuming he is speaking infallibly versus the ever so humble and fallible Imam?
As the contrarian Catholic apologist that I tend to be, I'd point out that the ability of the Pope to speak infallibly, which as Professor Vic points out, has to be invoked for the occassion (and my understanding is that this has happened a limited number of times in history), is actually refreshingly humble in comparison to most people, who feel that they speak infallibly all of the time. Because they feel that way, they do not feel the need to designate whether a statement is being delivered with a requisite amount of humility, which the Pope implicitly does whenever he does not invoke his infallibility.
In any event, the day was almost done when Pulvarizer jumped into the fray in an even more offensive "moral equivalence" mode, listing positions or comments made by select Christians that were supposed to make me more tolerant of jihadists. I suspect, and more importantly I hope, that these were intended more to get under my skin than to depict his true view of the comparative value of the two religions. But if that is not the case, my suggestion to the Pulvarizer is that he'll have a valid comparison if a comment made by Pat Robertson leads directly or indirectly to the Pulvarizer's losing his head, at which time I'd be prepared to give his comments full consideration, as they are likely to be far more sensible.
Granting the Pulvarizer the benefit of the doubt, I must nevertheless say that there is still a wide swath of extremely deluded people on the left in this country who think that there is no difference between extreme Moslems and politically conservative Christians; or even further, that the Moslems actions are somehow excusable because Pat Robertson occasionally inserts his foot in his mouth. And they have influence in the Democratic Party. The thing about the Democrats is this - they're way too afraid to alienate the wacko elements of the left, who generally hate America. This costs them with the moderate middle, who share no such animus. Maybe they are too large of a population to ignore while holding onto any chance at electoral success.