When Brit Hume departed ABC News for Fox News back in 1996, he eagerly anticipated that his new network home would provide “freedom on the air to report and analyze in a way I’ve yearned to do.” Yes, years of confining himself to relatively cogent, tasteful commentary had left Hume pining for an outlet for his other thoughts—the irrelevant, the ideological, the inane. Finally, they, too, would be broadcast.
So, nearly a decade after joining Fox, it’s nice to see that Hume is still enjoying his “freedom.” Just hours after a series of bombings ripped through the London transit system last Thursday, Hume struck a thoughtful pose and mused that, upon discovering that the tragedy had sent stock markets sinking, his “first thought” was, “Hmm, time to buy.” Right. Because, if he didn’t immediately dial his broker, the terrorists would win.
Of course, the freedom that Fox grants its on-air personalities is not for Hume alone. Fellow anchor Brian Kilmeade also felt uninhibited enough to note that the bombings marked “the first time since 9/11 when [the British] should know, and they do know now, that terrorism should be number-one.” The London bombings: financial boon for Brit Hume; stern warning for wayward Brits. But only Fox News is free enough to tell you that.
THE LESSONS OF NETANYA
Given the atrocity in London, let’s now put the ordinary life of Israel and Israelis in correct perspective. The suicide bombing in Netanya, a medium-sized city on the Mediterranean, was the one hundred sixty-eighth successful attack since the second intifada began barely four and a half years ago. As of this writing, four were killed and more than 90 were wounded, 14 of them critically. God only knows how many more hundreds of such attempts were aborted because of the checkpoints and protective fences so despised by various international organizations like the United Nations and the European Union, which has, in these last days, had the temerity to offer itself once again as honest border police between Gaza and Israel after the impending withdrawal. No, Javier Solana, you are not welcome, and for good reason. There was at least one unsuccessful suicide attack on the same day as the Netanya outrage. The fact is that Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority have done virtually nothing to curb the terrorism since they have refrained from arresting the terrorists. There hasn’t even been much brave talk—only signs of weakness or unwillingness that have exasperated General William Ward, who is serving as the American security coordinator.
This particular murder of Jews eerily echoes the 1972 Munich massacre, because, as it happens, Israel is right now hosting the seventeenth Maccabiah Games, the so-called “Jewish Olympics,” and Netanya has been an unofficial home to this year’s Maccabiah Olympic village. Along with 7,000 athletes from 55 countries, many past Jewish Olympians, from Israel and elsewhere, are in attendance at the Maccabiah, including Mark Spitz, who broke seven records and won seven golds at Munich. Spitz was the real hero of the 1972 Games, its rebuff to the murderers of Munich. The camaraderie of excellent Israeli and Jewish athletes, as expressed in these quadrennial Maccabiah Games, is another triumph of Zionism in its aspiration to provide a normal life for its people. It is no wonder that these Palestinian murderers, whose nationalism has accomplished so little, would make them a target.
As General Moshe “Bogey” Yaalon was about to leave his post as chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, he gave an interview to Haaretz last month in which he said, “They will not forgo the suicide bombings. The suicide bombings and the Qassam rockets have something in common: They bypass the [Israeli army]. They are means of bypassing Israeli military might and striking at civilian society.” So when will terrorism finally end? “Leave Tel Aviv and things will be completely quiet.” This is the proposition that is being tested by the Gaza withdrawal. For, if terrorist attacks persist, Israel will not make other serious concessions to the Palestinians. And that will mean the end, not of Israel, but of the Palestinian state.
THE TRUTH MAY SET YOU FREE, BUT IT WILL COST YOU $9,995
Recently, as we were unwinding with DefenseTech.org—well, this is Washington—we read that the Pentagon has been using the latest in lie- detection technology: “voice stress analysis.” It’s based on the idea that a person, when fibbing, emits a certain frequency perceptible only to the keenest of auditory instruments—like the Computer Voice Stress Analyzer. Its manufacturer, the National Institute for Truth Verification (nitv), boasts that the device is “utilized by the US Department of Defense in the global war on terrorism.” And the hardware is simple: “The cvsa uses only a microphone plugged into the computer to analyze the subject’s responses.” Yet its sensitivity to micro-tremors remains unmatched. (Micro-tremors: the “tiny frequency modulations in the human voice.” As nitv explains, “When a test subject is lying, the automatic, or involuntary nervous system, causes an inaudible increase in the Micro tremor’s [sic] frequency.”)
We like the Computer Voice Stress Analyzer. Sure, there’s the occasional dissenter, such as Washington University psychologist Mitchell Sommers, who conducted a study on voice-stress analysis and recently told the St. Louis Post- Dispatch, “It’s beyond my imagination why anyone would buy one of these devices. “ But perhaps Sommers is just jealous because he can’t afford one. (The cvsa starts at $9,995.00.) Best of all, it gives us hope that The New Republic’s project to unload our McClellan Press Gaggle Stonewall Verbalizer will bear fruit. It’s a Dell desktop CPU onto which is glued what might—to some eyes— resemble a Magic 8-Ball. You simply pose a question to the Mccpgsv—such as, “Does the president continue to have confidence in Karl Rove?”— and gently flip over the CPU once or twice. So far, it has yielded the following answers:
Ask Again Later
Cannot Predict Now
Better Not Tell You Now
Concentrate and Ask Again
Reply Hazy, Try Again
Starting price: $9,995. Chance of selling it to the government: Outlook Good.
This article originally ran in the July 25, 2005 issue of the magazine.