The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Welfare reform -- ME Style

Little more than a week has passed since the Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections, and the EU is trying to fashion a set of conditions that will allow them to keep funding the Palestinians to the tune of $600 million per year. $600 million could, of course, buy better education, better nutrition, better jobs, … Instead, past expenditures have bought schools that teach hatred, abject poverty but enriched PLO leaders (Hamas soon to follow), and an economy that makes African countries look wealthy (Yeah, I know, it’s all the fault of the oppressors).

Sadly, the US is sure to follow and continue its contributions of $400 million per year. All that needs to happen is for one Palestinian family to claim that a funds cut-off will lead them toward starvation, parade a family of 8 children, running noses, wild hair, and bedraggled clothes in front of media cameras, and any resolve we have to cut funds for terrorist groups (Hamas is, after all, a terrorist group) will crumble.

Hamas, no fools, if a bit irrational, will smile and imply that peace is possible, maybe even make noises about recognizing Israel’s right to exist (without ever doing so), and many EU and US politicians will have their cover.

Those Politicians will attribute rational strategies to a gang of Islamists who are driven by irrational faith that the Jew in their midst can be eradicated, and after that, the West must convert or be destroyed. They will believe (counter to the lessons of the past 50 years) that just a little more support, and a little more flexibility (on their part) will reform people who cannot be reformed because they have no desire to change, no desire to confront the day-to-day problems of building a country and creating useful lives for its citizens.

Ralph Peters in an article in the The Weekly Standard comments on this when he writes:

One of the most consistently disheartening experiences an adult can have today is to listen to the endless attempts by our intellectuals and intelligence professionals to explain religious terrorism in clinical terms, assigning rational motives to men who have moved irrevocably beyond reason. We suffer under layers of intellectual asymmetries that hinder us from an intuitive recognition of our enemies. Our rear-guard rationalists range from those convinced that every security problem has a technological solution, if only it can be found, to those who insist that members of al Qaeda and its affiliates are motivated by finite, comprehensible, and logical ambitions that, if satisfied, would make our problems disappear.

And so, I suspect we’ll hold our nose and continue funding the Palestinians, and in doing so, perpetuate their failed society. Welfare Reform, Middle-East (ME) style.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Storm Clouds

And so … Hamas is democratically elected to lead the Palestinians. Although many lament the election result, I think it's a good thing.

Hamas is a terrorist group that has taken responsibility for over 60 terrorist attacks that have killed hundreds of innocent civilians. Hamas unequivocally states that Israel has no right to exist and has preached armed struggle until Israel is destroyed. The US, the EU, and the rest of the world knows exactly where they stand. A good thing.

For decades, the Palestinian ruling faction, Fatah, said one thing (we want peace) to the West (who naively accepted their words) while at the same time condoning terror and practicing a corrupt form of government that siphoned billions in Western aid.

Apologists within the US and international media attribute the Palestinians' vote to a rejection of 30 years of Fatah corruption. There's some truth to that, but you'd think the Palestinans might realize that a corrupt government should be replaced by ethical people of good will, not a equally corrupt gang of murderous thugs. Oh, I almost forgot, the media never fails to mention that Hamas does charitable good works within Gaza and the West bank -- as if that somehow mitigates the suicide bombings.

In a comment at The Belmont Club blog, “Whit” summarizes the situation harshly:

Hamas is an Islamist organization whose primary purpose is to bring jihad and sharia to Palestine. The total destruction of Israel and annihilation of all Jews is the centerpiece of the Hamas charter. For too long, the Europeans have ignored these facts and for whatever reasons (anti-semitism, multi-culti dhimmitude, anti-americanism) [and] have subsidised the terrorists with hundreds of millions of dollars per year. Perhaps now that the Iranians are threatening nuclear destruction, and the Palestinian people in democratic elections have made their intentions unequivocally clear, the world will begin to see the truth about Islam. Perhaps Europe will stop subsidizing terror and Israel will be allowed to defend itself without the universal condemnation of the UN.

Or maybe not. It may be that with all pretenses dropped, the issues will clarified, sides will be chosen and the dogs of war will once again be let loose.

The Middle East is roiled by the existence of a tiny country no bigger than New Jersey. In little more than a half century, Israel has risen from nothing into a regional economic, cultural, scientific, and military power, while the Arab nation, with a population and land mass more than one hundred times it’s size, does little more than spew hatred and (irrationally) blames this tiny country for all of its internal ills.

Now the Palestinians will be led by Hamas, who will perpetuate this irrationality. Storm clouds are gathering.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Can She Pull the Trigger?

I like Hillary Clinton. She’s a smart and competent politician who has her eye on the prize. She works hard to navigate Democratic party politics, throwing a bone to the angry left base of the party, but always scurrying back to the center (well, maybe left-center), recognizing that the Presidency cannot be won with sophomoric, far left rhetoric or ideas.

But Hillary is falling into the same trap that did in the Democrats in 2004. In recent speeches, she panders to the hate-Bush crowd, arguing that the Bush administration is ”the worst” in history. Okay, that’s politics, but it might be a good idea to suggest how the Dems could do better. Specifically, unequivocally, and without abstraction. She (and every other Democratic leader) simply takes a pass on constructive criticism. This does not inspire confidence.

Unlike John Kerry, who only looks backward (he’s still castigating the administration for not capturing Osama in Tora Bora in 2001), Hillary does look at current domestic politics and international challenges, but her comments offer little in the way of new ideas. The New York Times (19 January 2006) quotes Hillary:

"I believe that we lost critical time in dealing with Iran because the White House chose to downplay the threats and to outsource the negotiations. I don't believe you face threats like Iran or North Korea by outsourcing it to others and standing on the sidelines…

"Let's be clear about the threat we face. A nuclear Iran is a danger to Israel, to its neighbors and beyond …

"We cannot and should not - must not - permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons. In order to prevent that from occurring, we must have more support vigorously and publicly expressed by China and Russia, and we must move as quickly as feasible for sanctions in the United Nations."

It’s encouraging to hear a Democrat talk tough about Iran, although it’s ironic that a major figure in Democratic party (a party that roundly criticized the Administration’s go-it-alone international strategy) now criticizes Bush for allowing the EU to take the lead in diplomatic efforts. Okay, that’s just more politics.

What troubles me is Hillary’s naïve reliance on the UN as an effective mechanism for dealing with the Iran problem. (It’s only fair to note that at the moment the Bush administration is doing that as well.)

As The Belmont Club Blog correctly notes:

Perhaps one of the reasons the US adopted the military approach against terrorism and struck at targets amenable to the application of force was that it was obliged to use the only instruments of national power which reliably worked. They had a bureaucratic repertoire which in any case was all they could play. All the talk about "nuanced" or "sophisticated" approaches evaded the fact that there were no effective policy instruments between a diplomatic note and sending in the Marines.

Is Hillary being nuanced here? Does she honestly believe that this problem can be resolved through the UN? If she does, then I’m worried. If she’s as smart as I think she is, she realizes that the “bureaucratic repertoire” won’t work in this situation, but she’s kicking the can down the road, not willing (politically or emotionally) to pull the trigger (pun intended).

As Ruel Gerecht notes in The Weekly Standard:

It's a very good bet that the U.S. officials now running America's Iran policy would rather see the clerics go nuclear than deal with the world the day after Washington begins bombing Iran's atomic-weapons and ballistic-missile facilities. ...

I believe that Hillary (and every other Democrat) feels exactly the same way. I also believe that when only bad options exist, you have to choose the least bad and move forward, not sideways. If the Dems (and Hillary) want to lead at a national level, they’ve got to convince many of us that they have the will to pull the trigger while there’s still time to do so.

Friday, January 20, 2006

A Response to bin Laden

The main stream media reports on an audio taped message from Osama bin Laden. In it he threatens further attacks and then suggests a "truce." It might be nice if some senior government official said something like this:

Your message causes us concern, but it also helps to reinforce our resolve to eradicate you and your minions.

You suggest a truce. We have to wonder why. If you’ve achieved the “great victories” you claim, why stop? If your plan for world domination is progressing well, why change it? We can only surmise that at some level you realize that your war is already lost. Too many good people are working to stop you. And you want a truce? Not a chance.

You have murdered our brothers and sisters, and you threaten to murder more. Your ideology is corrupt, your vision is fatally flawed, and your goals will never be realized. You and your followers will be hunted, day and night, month after month, and year after year. You will get no rest, no comfort. You’ll scurry from cave to cave, like a hunted animal, hiding from the light.

Know this. We will not stop until you are defeated, even if it takes a hundred years. You underestimate us, and that is your fatal flaw. So continue to talk bravely, bin Laden. Your bravado is all you have. In the end you will lose.

And here’s the real irony. You will be defeated not by the United States of America, who will hunt you relentlessly and foil your evil plans when it can. You will be defeated by the Islamic nation, when it realizes that building a better world for its children is more important than supporting a fascist ideologue. That realization will come, and when it does, you and your message will be no more.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Joe and the Dems

Joe Lieberman, the US Senator from Connecticut, lives in Westville, a beautiful tree lined neighborhood just north of the center of New Haven. For a time, I lived not more than ½ mile from his house, and although we never met, I’ve been a long time admirer of his intelligence and character, his moderate political positions, and his forthright and honest manner in communicating with his constituency. He is, in my opinion, a good model to emulate if Democrats are serious about ever winning another presidential election.

It is troubling, therefore, to note that Lieberman is under attack not from Republicans, but from the angry Left wing of the Democratic party, who hope to see him defeated in his re-election campaign.

In a recent article in The New Republic Online, Peter Beinart discusses this situation:

Why are MoveOn, Daily Kos, and so many other liberal activists so keen to find a primary challenger against Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman? . . .

... For Kos and the other Lieberman-haters, liberalism means confrontation, at least in the Bush era. In their view, politics should be guided by the spirit of war. If you don't want to crush conservatives, you are not a liberal.

So Lieberman-hatred is really all about style, right? Actually, no -- there's one final slice, and it's the most important of all. Behind Lieberman's obsession with national unity is his deep conviction that the United States is at war -- not just in Iraq, but around the world. The war on terrorism is his prism for viewing Bush. And it drains away his anger at the president's misdeeds, because they always pale in comparison to those of America's true enemy. When the Abu Ghraib revelations broke, Lieberman said America should apologize, but then added that 'those who were responsible for killing 3,000 Americans on September 11, 2001, never apologized.' . . .

Yet, if Lieberman's view is one-dimensional, so is that of his critics. If he only sees Bush through the prism of war, they only see the war through the prism of Bush -- which is why they can muster so little anger at America's jihadist enemies and so little enthusiasm when Iraqis risk their lives to vote. Kos and MoveOn have conveniently convinced themselves that the war on terrorism is a mere subset of the struggle against the GOP. Whatever brings Democrats closer to power, ipso facto, makes the United States safer. That would be nice if it were true -- but it's clearly not, because, sometimes, Bush is right, and because, to some degree, our safety depends on his success."

In Joe Lieberman’s situation, we see the travesty that has become American confrontational politics. We see a significant element of the Democratic party that allows their extreme dislike of a Republican President to overwhelm all of their other positions. They criticize mercilessly, but have forgotten that criticism is most effective when constructive alternatives, not meaningless abstractions, are offered. They continuously allege wrongdoing, but never take the time to recognize things that are going well. They lament nominees to the Supreme Court, forgetting that the reason those nominees sat before the Judiciary committee was because the Democrats lost the last Presidential election. That's their real problem ... not a conservative jurist like Samual Alito.

And if they do not recognize these failings and move to correct them, they will lose the next Presidential election as well.

The United States works best when we cycle from Republican to Democrat and back again in the Executive branch. The angry Left is robbing the Democratic party of their ability to complete that cycle. And that's not a good thing for our country.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Iran and "The Three Conjectures"

Over the past week, we have seen Iran resume its program to develop nuclear weapons. The EU has spent two years “negotiating” with a partner that (1) had no desire to come to a reasonable settlement, (2) cannot be trusted to keep any promise that it does make, (3) is a known supporter of worldwide terror groups, and (4) is ruled by Islamofascists who, through their own statements and actions, have demonstrated dangerous and unpredictable behavior.

The drama that is rapidly unfolding is frustrating at many levels. Negotiation is a farce when one partner has absolutely no intention of agreeing to any middle ground. UN sanctions will do little, if anything, to redirect an Islamosfascist regime from its chosen path, leading instead to corruption and black market profiteering, and providing Iran with another excuse to play the victim.

And the use of force?

For now, it’s probably not an option, and the Mullahs who rule Iran know it. Hence, they continue on their path toward nuclear weapons with little real concern and a growing sense of power.

Unfortunately, the course they have chosen may be suicidal. Here’s why.

In a fascinating, albeit frightening, analysis of the Muslim world’s drive toward the acquisition of nuclear weapons, Wretchard, the author of The Belmont Club blog, suggests “The Three Conjectures.”

Wretchard begins his discussion by noting that today, as far as we know, “high explosives, small arms, and poison gas still comprise the terrorist arsenal.” However, with Islamic countries like Iran moving rapidly toward the construction or acquisition of nukes, it’s only a matter of time before a terrorist group such as al Qaeda acquires one or more WMDs. This leads to the first conjecture:

Conjecture #1: Terrorism has lowered the nuclear threshold.

Even if its rulers behave irrationally, any nation that ponders a nuclear attack on the United States recognizes that retribution will be immediate and devastating.

But terrorists, possibly acting as surrogates for a nation state, have no land mass or population centers to protect. Because retribution is less certain (at least to them), there is a higher likelihood that weapons will be used. In addition, the jihad mindset encourages martyrdom, making the frightening specter of everyone going out in a nuclear flash appealing to an irrational Islamist leader. This leads to the second conjecture:

Conjecture #2: Attaining WMDs will destroy Islam.

As Wretchard correctly notes,

“The enemy [Islamists] is equally indifferent to inducement or threat. Neither making nice -- Jimmy Carter's withdrawal from Iran, Reagan's abandonment of Lebanon, Bush's defense of Saudi Arabia, Clinton's rescue of Albanian Muslims from Serbian genocide, the payment of billions in aid to Egypt and Pakistan -- nor the gravest of threats would alter the enemy's intent to utterly destroy and enslave America. Allah had condemned America. The Faithful only had to find the means to carry out the execution.”

All true, but why the second conjecture. In a war between nations, a nuclear exchange might stop at one iteration, that is, one blast for each side. The horror of millions of deaths would cause both sides to desist. But with Islamist terrorists, peace negotiations would be impossible—how do we negotiate with a distributed network of terror cells—and the likelihood of another blast in a US city (assuming that the terrorists had another weapon) would be high. But let’s assume that the US does not strike back immediately, trying to find the nation that is culpable—the source of the nuke.

In this nightmare scenario, a second blast occurs with in the US and millions more are dead or dying. The US is faced with the following problem: there is no one with who to negotiate a truce; there is no predisposition on the part of the Islamists to desist, and the likelihood of still more nuclear blasts is unknown.

The US leadership would be forced to respond disproportionately—to obliterate those countries who have even the slightest connection with terror. As Wretchard notes:

“The so-called strengths of Islamic terrorism: fanatical intent; lack of a centralized leadership; absence of a final authority and cellular structure guarantee uncontrollable escalation once the nuclear threshold is crossed. Therefore the 'rational' American response to the initiation of terrorist WMD attack would be all out retaliation from the outset.”

Even more frightening is Wretchard’s discussion of a reticent America—one that refused to trigger an all-out attack.

“The most startling result of this analysis is that a catastrophic outcome for Islam is guaranteed whether America retaliates or not. Even if the President decided to let all Americans die to expiate their historical guilt, why would Islamic terrorists stop after that? They would move on to Europe and Asia until finally China, Russia, Japan, India or Israel, none of them squeamish, wrote -1 x 10^9 in the final right hand column [meaning, they would launch an attack that kills a billion people]. They too would be prisoners of the same dynamic, and they too have weapons of mass destruction.

“ … The greatest threat to Muslims is radical Islam; and the greatest threat of all is a radical Islam armed with weapons of mass destruction.”

Conjecture #3: The War on Terror is the ‘Golden Hour’—the final chance.

If Islamist terrorists are not defeated from within mainstream Islam; if they are not defeated from without by the West’s intelligence and military efforts, they will ultimately initiate a series of events that could destroy Islam. It is for this reason that the WoT is so important both to us, and ironically, to Islam itself. It is also the reason why Iran must be stopped in its quest for WMDs.

Is Wretchard right? Will the conjectures that he poses play out as historical fact? Any rational person would hope that they don’t. But the fact that the first two conjectures envision a horrific future, cannot, in and of itself, cause us to reject them just because they are so frightening.

For those who think the threat is minimal, that WoT is a neo-con fantasy, that isolationism and inaction are the best course for the present, I can only say this, use all of your psychic energy and pray that Wretchard is wrong.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Two Quotes — One Comment

The Associated Press reports that while visiting Hugo Chaves, President of Venezuela, as part of his role as UNICEF ambassador, Harry Belefonte said: “No matter what the greatest tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world, George W. Bush, says, we’re here to tell you [that] millions of American people support … your revolution.” His comments were broadcast throughout the country.

Belefonte, an ex-Calypso singer and erstwhile civil rights activist, remains a celebrity of sorts. His comments, like those of other celebrities (e.g., Shaun Penn, Tim Robbins, Barbara Streisand) in recent months simply reinforce my position that strong ideology coupled with profound ignorance (of history, international politics, political realities, and the threat of terrorism) yield stated positions that are at once pathetic and dangerous. Pathetic because those who make them use their celebrity as a means for widespread distribution of their irrational rants, and dangerous because they are widely distributed by a media that is only too glad to promulgate them to a worldwide audience (some of whom actually believe this nonsense).

In Hollywood, those who appear in front of the camera are sometimes derisively referred to as “Talent.” Some celebrities do, in fact, have talent – for acting, singing, dancing, and the like – and they should be celebrated for that. But it’s important to recognize that talent in one area does not give a person great skills or insight in another area. Nor does it give them protection from criticism and derision when they make idiotic statements on international issues. Belafonte richly deserves both criticism and derision for his outrageous comments in an international forum.

One more of today’s quotes might be appropriate.

The Associated Press ( , reports on a message from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, head of al Qaeda in Iraq:

“The Iraqi Al-Qaeda leader then laid down two conditions for giving up the jihad.

‘First, chase out the invaders from our territory in Palestine, in Iraq and everywhere in Islamic land. Second, instal sharia (Islamic law) on the entire Earth and spread Islamic justice there (. . .). The attacks will not cease until after the victory of Islam and the setting up of sharia,’ he swore.”

I wonder if Belafonte would prefer an al-Zarqawi imposed sharia law in the US? Since the President is the “world’s greatest terrorist” there’s no question that Islamofacist rule is preferable to Bush’s Presidency. Right?

Sometimes, when I listen celebs pontificate, I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Media Perfect

Earlier this week, 12 miners died at a Sago, West Virginia coal mine after a frantic 40 hour rescue effort failed to save them. This tragic story is compounded by erroneous media reports that the miners were reported alive, causing then grieving relatives to celebrate a “miracle” only later to learn that no miracle had occurred.

Yesterday and today, CNN and other media outlets went into ‘defense mode’ – something that I’ve noticed recently when media imperfections become glaringly obvious. With righteous indignation, they attacked the coal company executives (who, but the way, never authorized the release of the erroneous report). There’s no question that the release of the information was a major mistake, but in an imperfect world, with people working under extreme pressure, mistakes happen.

The general tone of media reportage over the past decade is one that expects perfection in all things. A cop must make a perfect decision when a perpetrator pulls a gun; a drug company must make perfect medications and predict every side effect to 100% accuracy, the government must mount a perfect response to a natural disaster, the military must develop perfect war plans – even the slightest mistake is unforgivable. Context is never considered.

When the general public is presented with cries for perfection, they begin to expect no less. The problem is, nothing – people, products, companies, governments -- is perfect. Not even the media.

And since the media is considerably less than perfect – as evidenced by repeated mistakes, inaccurate reporting, falsified information, and the like – maybe each of us should think a bit more critically about their quasi-progrom against others who err.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Munich and a “Cycle of Violence”

Steven Spielberg’s haunting and beautifully constructed movie, Munich, is the story of the aftermath of a terrorist massacre of 11 Israeli Olympic athletes in 1972 -- killings planned and executed by Black September, a Palestinian terrorist group. Spielberg tells the story of the Israeli agents who hunt down and kill the people who planned the massacre.

In Spielberg’s film the Israeli Mossad agents, each in his own way, question the humanity of targeted assassinations and feel guilt about the killings. They also take great pains not to kill innocents, although some people only peripherally connected to the Black September terrorists do die.

It’s fascinating that the viewer finds the angst of the Israelis to be completely believable. That’s probably because in the viewer’s heart of hearts, he recognizes that the Israelis are a people of conscience, a people who do not target innocents for slaughter.

At the same time, it is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine similar angst on the part of the Islamic terrorists. They kill without conscience or remorse. They kill solely to destroy people, to terrorize societies, to eradicate ideas that might move them into the community of civilized nations. They murder in the name of Allah — a heresy so profound, it is stunning.

In many scenes and in many different ways, Munich suggests that if only the attacked would chose not to respond, then a ‘cycle of violence’ (the term is never used in the movie, but has become a watch word among those who criticize Israel and the United States for responding to terrorist attacks) would cease and reason would prevail. Like many idealistic arguments, this is a wonderful in the abstract, but flawed in the real world.

When taken at face value, the “cycle of violence” mantra exemplifies the childish notion that being nice to really bad people will cause them to be nice in return. Sadly, the world doesn’t work that way. Especially when the really bad people want to cause you grave harm and behave irrationally (blowing yourself up to kill innocents is NOT a rational act).

In an ideal world, a violent act should be met with restraint, and if necessary, by negotiation and even concessions, if the party perpetrating the violence feels aggrieved. Throughout the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Israelis have shown enormous restraint, often putting their own military in harm’s way to avoid killing innocents. They have negotiated in good faith, as evidenced by tangible geographic and economic concessions, often for little more than promises of peace – promises that have never been kept.

The violence faced by countries that are targets of Islamist terror is institutionalized. Sadly, it has become part of a culture of murder and destruction, it is delivered with forethought and without regard to who is harmed, it continues even after honest negotiations have tried to stop it, it is revered as martyrdom, and encouraged among the young.

There is no “cycle” in which a response to institutionalized terrorist acts is somehow morally equivalent to the terrorist act itself. The response is intending at incapacitating those who perpetrated and/or supported the terrorist acts so that other innocents are not slaughtered. Does violence beget violence? Sadly it does. But turning the other cheek is suicide.

Of course, one could argue that there is a chicken and egg problem here. Proponents of the cycle of violence philosophy argue about which came first – a terrorist act or the violent reaction. Hell, they even argue about who the real “terrorist” is. They twist themselves into intellectual knots in an effort to rationalize terrorism, to blame its victims, and to justify barbarity in the name of victimhood. It seems that many of the Left believe that there is something noble in “resistance” as evidenced by terrorist acts, that the perpetrators of terrorism are aggrieved and humiliated and have no other recourse. No recourse but to blow themselves up in nightclubs, pizza parlors, and buses, killing dozens of innocent men, woman and children?

For once, why doesn’t the world ask the terrorists to terminate the “cycle of violence”? It’s really very easy -- they can stop their terrorist acts.

Sunday, January 01, 2006


Whether it’s individuals, cultures, or countries, we all play by a set of explicit and implicit rules that allow us to interact effectively. It’s only when these rules break down or when one party decides that a different set of rules applies to it, that difficulties arise.

Over the past few weeks a number of events have occurred in the now-independent Gaza strip that have a lot to do with rules, and as a consequence, a lot to do with our problems in dealing with cultures and countries in the Middle East.

The Palestinians (now controlling their own destiny in the Gaza after the Israeli’s unilateral withdrawal) have allowed this new “independent entity” to devolve into gang warfare and chaos. As 2005 came to a close and 2006 began, armed gangs of Palestinians have kidnapped peace activists and human right observers from the UK and Italy. The tragic-comic element to these kidnappings is that the kidnapped individuals (subsequently released after “negotiations”) were virulently pro-Palestinian.

In addition, Reuters reports this morning that “Masked gunmen stormed into a club for UN workers in Gaza City on Sunday and blew up the drinking hall in a new sign of spiraling unrest ahead of a Palestinian election.”

What makes these events interesting isn’t that they happened. The Palestinians seem incapable of conducting their affairs without violence, kidnappings, bombing, and the like. They play by that set of rules. Rather, what’s interesting is the Left’s response to those rules and the actions that they precipitate.

For example, most people live by a set of rules that define kidnapping as a heinous crime, in some countries punishable by death or life in prison. Yet some people in the US, the EU, and the media appear to give the Palestinians a pass. It’s as if they say, “Oh, those Pallys, they play by their silly rules but after all, they’ve been ‘oppressed’ for so long, it’s really not their fault. And besides, they released their kidnapping victims, didn’t they?”

What the Left doesn’t seem to realize is just how racist that reaction really is. It implies that the Palestinians are incapable of civilized human interaction, that because of oppression (either imagined or real) they can change the rules, and kidnap, murder, and bomb without censure. It suggests that the Palestinians have no responsibility for controlling and policing themselves. Yet these folks deserve their own nation … right now?

It’s one thing for two parties to play by different sets of rules. After all, that’s the human condition. But it’s quite another for one party to look the other way when the other party’s rules are way out of bounds.

I’ll bet that both Left-leaning kidnapping victims won’t criticize the Palestinians for the crime … in fact, it’s unlikely that they even see it as a crime. I haven’t seen an editorial criticizing the kidnappings (or the UN bombing) in the New York Times, The LA Times, ABC, or CNN. They choose to look the other way, yet these media outlets are the first to criticize Israel for continuing a “cycle of violence” when it responds to the Palestinian rule set.

And that’s the problem. The Palestinian leadership (including the leaders of Hamas, Hizbollah, and Fatah) is sensitive to world opinion. As long they are allowed to play by their rules without universal censure or criticism; as long as the main stream media views kidnapping, bombings and the like as just another day in the Gaza; as long as the Left creates a moral equivalency between barbarity and a legitimate response to the barbarity, the rules will remain unchanged. And sadly, so will the fate of the people who call themselves Palestinians.