Among the Intellectualoids

Guru Malpractice

Deepak Chopra and son aren't big fans of Bush's War on Terror victories.

By 12.17.08

Ten Muslim terrorists from Pakistan apparently with military training go on a killing spree at several sites in Mumbai, India. They kill nearly 200 people, and wound hundreds more. Many are foreign business visitors or tourists from the West, whom the terrorists targeted in particular. Now come reports that autopsies of those killed at one targeted terror site, the Chabad Jewish Center, indicate that the victims were tortured.

Within hours, liberal media outlets were offering analysis revealing who was responsible for this murder and mayhem: America. Call it chapter 957,275 in the ongoing exposé, Blame America First.

The guru of this analytical perspective was Deepak Chopra, featured on CNN, and in particular on the Larry King show. Living exclusively in the real world, I had not heard of Chopra before this incident. But I soon found that Chopra is a medical doctor from India who emigrated to the U.S. in 1970. He eventually came to realize that more fun, and much more lucrative, than a large medical practice was writing books and pontificating on varieties of New Age nonsense, feel good oversimplifications of advanced medical and scientific theories, and fairy tales regarding Jesus, Christianity, and Eastern mysticism. Through these professional innovations, he has become quite a shaman in the large American market of overgrown flower children and airheads.

Chopra is a leading advocate of Transcendental Meditation, and self-awareness, meditation, and the mind-body connection in healing serious illnesses. In one book, he argued that quantum physics explains the foundation of the mind-body healing process. For that pseudo-scientific claptrap, real scientists granted him the tongue in cheek Ig Noble Prize in physics. More recently, he has become an advocate for disarmament and world peace, serving as President of the Alliance of a New Humanity. He has also recently taken to rewriting Christianity in books about Jesus, claiming in one recent interview that Jesus was not a Christian, not the son of God, and not resurrected from the dead, propositions for which Chopra has exactly zero insights, not to mention evidence.

Yet, this was the expert liberal media outlets offered to America to further pontificate on the developing tragedies in Mumbai. In one interview he said:

What we have seen in Mumbai has been brewing for a long time and the war on terror and the attack on Iraq only compounds the problem. What we call collateral damage and going after the wrong people actually turns moderates into extremists, and that inflammation then gets organized and it appears as this disaster in Mumbai. Inflammation will create more inflammation….But what happens is our policies, our foreign policies, actually perpetuate the problem.

In another interview, Chopra explained America's policies regarding terrorism, saying:

And we cannot go after the wrong people as we did after 9/11….Because if you go after the wrong people, you convert moderates into extremists. It happens every time, and retribution against innocent people just because they have the same religion actually aggravates and perpetuates the problem.

He then went on to explain that America's service men and women are no different from the Mumbai terrorists, saying:

You know, terrorists call mechanized death from 35,000 feet above sea level with a press of a button also terror. We don't call it that, because our soldiers are wearing uniforms. They don't see what is happening, and innocent people are being killed. So you know terror is a term that you apply to the other [side].

Not to worry, though. Chopra has a "global" solution. That is to address the grievances of the worldwide Muslim population -- humiliation, poverty, lack of education -- through a new Marshall Plan for Muslims, financed, of course, by American taxpayers.

Dorothy Rabinowitz rightly ridiculed this simple-minded foolishness in a brilliant commentary in the Wall Street Journal ("Deepak Blames America," 12/1/2008), introducing Chopra as a "healer, New Age philosopher and digestion guru, advocate of aromatherapy and regular enemas," based on the wide-ranging pronouncements found in his various books. She added:

Nowhere in [Chopra's] citation of the root causes of Muslim terrorism was there any mention of Islamic fundamentalism -- the religious fanaticism that has sent fevered mobs rioting, burning and killing over alleged slights to the Quran or the prophet. Not to mention the countless others enlisted to blow themselves and others up in the name of God.

This elicited outraged letters to the editor from both Deepak and his son, Gotham, whom the father is bringing into the family business, making it sort of a guru version of the Flying Wallendas. The father mostly just whined that Rabinowitz's commentary was "a personal attack on me," and stubbornly concluded that "I stand by my remarks and have full confidence that the Obama Administration will adopt a 'root cause' approach of the kind I endorsed."

THE LETTER FROM his son then revealed the real story. Gotham wrote, "As many already know, my father, Deepak Chopra, has taken a vow of nonviolence in all his actions and words. As a result, he's unable to respond aggressively to Ms. Rabinowitz's criticism of his response on CNN and elsewhere to the terrorist attacks in Mumbai." After this introduction of the innovative concept of violent prose (how many have already been killed at the hands of bloody literature), Gotham writes ominously, "I haven't taken that vow."

Gotham then goes on to explain the "distinct link between the rise of Islamic militancy in the Indian subcontinent and U.S. activities there the past few decades." He writes:

In the 1980s, the CIA financed the militarization of Afghan rebels to resist Soviet expansion. At the same time, the U.S. also subsidized Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI, to train and provide tactical support to those same Islamic militants. Fast forward to the fall of the Iron Curtain, the Soviets pulling out of Afghanistan, and the U.S. withdrawal of support from the region. The result: a vacuum filled with a lot of guns and rage. After 9/11, in an effort to control the wild proliferation of fundamentalism in the region, Americans returned only to find the mess they left behind and the deep ties between the ISI and the mujahedeen turned Taliban.

These words are so ridiculous they amount to guru malpractice. But they are not original with the Chopras. The mythology that Muslim terrorism is rooted in American support for the rebels fighting against the 1980s Soviet occupation of Afghanistan has been ringing through the fever swamps of the left since 9/11.

The record badly needs to be set straight on this point. Reagan's brilliant and courageous support of the Afghan rebels with arms and financing was central in bleeding the Soviet Empire dry, leading to the humiliating defeat and withdrawal of the Soviet army from that country. This, in turn, was central to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Reagan's policy consequently provided enormous, incalculable benefits not only to the Afghan people, but also to all of the enslaved peoples of the old Soviet empire, and to the American people, finally freed from the burdens and threats of the Cold War.

None of this has any relation whatsoever to Islamic terrorism today. Are we to believe that Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, and the Pakistani murderers in Mumbai would not have been able to get any guns or weapons if Reagan had not armed the Afghan rebels in the 1980s? Is a single gun from that rebel resistance still even in use today? Certainly none of those weapons were in evidence on 9/11. Those attackers, indeed, were Saudis and Egyptians, without any relation to the Afghan rebels of the 1980s.

Moreover, as the Chopras personally know so well, Pakistan was born in 1947 in response to furious longstanding violence between Islamic extremists and Hindu fundamentalists in India, 40 years before Reagan was arming the Afghan rebels. Indeed, relatives of both of Deepak's parents were killed in that violence. Despite the creation of Islamic Pakistan out of former Indian territory, Muslim terrorists have continued to attack India in the succeeding decades, particularly in regard to the disputed region of Kashmir, including an absurd attack on the Indian Parliament just a few years ago. Consequently, there is no link whatsoever between "the rise of Islamic militancy in the Indian subcontinent and U.S. activities there the past few decades."

And can we really believe, as Deepak suggested, that deposing Saddam Hussein has converted Muslim moderates into extremists? Saddam was a fascist dictator, who explicitly modeled his regime on Hitler's Nazi nightmare, committed genocide against his own people, and attacked his neighbors. Removing him again provided enormous, incalculable benefits to the people of Iraq, as well as others in the region, not a proposition over which reasonable people can differ. Indeed, it was the Iraqi people who tried and executed Saddam for his crimes, and recently, their democratically elected representatives overwhelmingly approved an agreement with the U.S. to continue the presence of American troops in their country for another three years.

In addition, to equate American soldiers and airmen bravely fighting the brutal armies of fascist dictators, or blasting away terrorist training camps and bases, with terrorist animals who target and even torture innocent men, women and children, reflects a moral idiocy that would well justify not just a vow of nonviolence, but a vow of silence as well. That would also greatly benefit the American people, and many others.

GOTHAM CONCLUDES THE LETTER by defending the American financed "Marshall Plan for Muslims" that his father proposed. Gotham writes, "I think a long-term holistic and strategic plan that helps rebuild the blasted ghettos of the Arab world where so much hatred festers is the only reasonable solution to the militancy proliferating around the globe." The only reasonable response to that proposal is the same that our founding fathers propounded in response to similar proposals at the time: "Millions for defense, not one penny for tribute."

The cause of Islamic terrorism is not "economic disparity and ideological hypocrisy" or "the supply of billions of dollars into the oil industry, ground zero for which is the U.S. ally Saudi Arabia" or "the even more profitable arms trade that subsidizes all sides of these wars." The root cause is a fervent, radical, extremist commitment to Islamic conquest and dictatorial rule, which is not going to be bought off by a "Marshall Plan for Muslims." There is only one rational, moral response to those fighting for that terrorist goal, defeat them, by decisive, overwhelming force if necessary.

In contrast to the sterile, childish babble of the Chopras, and the rest of the fevered left wing, President Bush, for all his many faults, leaves an historic record of accomplishment in the War on Terrorism. America has won the war in Iraq, smashing the al Qaeda forces there, and replacing a murderous, fascist, Nazi dictator with a now established democracy in the heart of the Middle East, allied with America. It has liberated Afghanistan from the fascist Taliban theocracy. In response, Libya quit its terrorist war plots against the West, and revealed and dismantled its nuclear program. As a result, the nuclear proliferation network of Pakistan's A.Q. Khan was exposed and terminated. Syrian troops have also been forced out of Lebanon, with a democratically elected, pro-Western government now in power.

Most of all, President Bush has kept the American people safe from further terrorist attacks since 9/11. Let this be a marker for the Democrat Left now taking over our government: the principal justification for your governmental powers is protection of the security of the American people.

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About the Author

Peter Ferrara is a Senior Fellow for the Heartland Institute, and Senior Policy Advisor on Entitlement Reform and Budget Policy for the National Tax Limitation Committee. He served in the White House Office of Policy Development under President Reagan, and as Associate Deputy Attorney General under President George H.W. Bush.