The Spine

I hope this doesn’t bother his mother. But you have no particular reason to know who M.J. Rosenberg is. He is in the Jewish “peace camp,” as if there were much of a Jewish “war camp.” And he is has been in the Jewish peace camp for a long time. These are the people who commune with the Arab “war camp” or the Palestinian “war camp,” even if they actually call themselves what they are.

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This is a common view in the Arab world, more common than is understood. And it is prevalent especially among those Arabs who just now are coming to terms with modernity. Of course, “there will be consequences, there will be a backlash and there will be problems with people protesting and rioting and very unhappy that there is an outside force attacking a Muslim country; that is going to happen no matter what.” Thus spoke Yousef al-Otaiba, ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States, a savvy expert on intra-Islamic and intra-Arab affairs.

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Well, there was no divorce between the U.S. and Israel. And there was even some respect, if not affection. Affections, we know, is kept for the Arabs. But this was not quite the venue for showering kisses on the Palestinians. After they are still maintaining the distance of "proximity" talks which means Abbas in Ramallah with Netanyahu and his team in Jerusalem. That's six miles apart, very remote miles. And it's the Palestinians who are keeping the distance. Barry Rubin, a real expert and a true scholar, is not fooled by anyone. This is still the beginning of a long road.

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So says a subhead on the front page of this morning's Boston Globe. The headline reads "R.I. troopers embrace firm immigration role." The story contrasts Rhode Island with Massachusetts. But it might as well be Arizona. Now, the state senate has 33 Democrats, four Republicans and one independent. The state house a slightly more lopsided division: 69 Democrats to six Republicans. But, believe it or not, the governor is a Republican. This is a liberal state, including being indulgent towards ethnic crime. But on illegal immigration it's as tough as Arizona.

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The fact is that the war in Afghanistan is a war without support. Or such support as it now has is a gesture of gratitude to David Petraeus for taking it on. The never-fading dead seem to have died for an abstraction, and the maimed--now a regular feature in the news--are the essence of the story. Can anyone argue a thesis for this war? Or a strategy? Well, I think I could.

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I suppose there are other cultures than the culture of Islam that are antagonistic to the urgency and agency of science.

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Iran has a mission, its own American mission. It's to rescue us from our "non-democratic bullying administration." Actually, this message of sympathy was issued on June 16. But it was, so to speak, in the spirit of the times. Part of the evidence is the absence of criticism of Israel and Zionism. Tell that to the New York Times or, for that matter, Nick Kristof and Peter Beinart who are making a new career out of whining about the Jews.

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So says a headline in Wednesday’s New York Times. And the article by Mark Landler elaborates the cosmic kvetch brought on by the Obama administration’s courting of Damascus. I’ve written about this a few times myself. The courting of the Assad dictatorship was supposed to lure Syria away from its entanglement with the Ahmadinejad regime in Tehran. But the Senate Foreign Relations Committee refused to consider the confirmation of the president’s nominee, Robert S. Ford, as emissary to the Syrians. My friend, John Kerry, loyally subbed for the putative ambassador.

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