On Friday, John Heilprin of the AP reported that the Security Council voted unanimously (!) to “withdraw up to 2,000 peacekeeping troops [from the Congo] and redefine the remaining force as a ‘stabilization’ mission to coincide with [the celebration of the state’s] 50th anniversary of independence.” What there is to celebrate, it is hard to discern. And, as it happens, there isn’t much to stabilize either. The meaning of the unanimous vote, however, is very clear, despite the long and bitter behind-the-scenes argument that preceded it.
It's official now. You cannot use "Muslim extremism" or "Islamic terrorism." Not because the words don't describe a real phenomenon in the world. An ugly phenomenon. And, alas, an abundant phenomenon. But because the president doesn't like the thought. And he certainly doesn't like the religious adjective. I myself don't mind calling Jewish extremists "Jewish extremists." In fact, calling them Jewish extremists neatly separates the very few from the very many.
The Globe often uses its news columns to reinforce its editorial page. As you know, the slowly expiring daily is hostile to Israel—very hostile. And its hostility is sustained by its simplicity, which is even more simple than that of its papa paper, The New York Times. All Israel has to do is vacate the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the lion will lie down with the lamb. Or the lamb with the lion.
The most damning analysis of Richard Goldstone’s report was written for The New Republic by Moshe Halbertal, a moral and legal philosopher at Hebrew University and NYU Law School. On December 28 in The New York Times, columnist David Brooks saluted Halbertal’s essay as one of the best “long form articles that have narrative drive and social impact.” It certainly did have social impact, and, for weeks and weeks, the discussion of Goldstone revolved around Halbertal’s critique of him, of Goldstone’s tainted jury of judges, and of their enmeshment with the United Nations.
Maybe you missed it. But, earlier this week, President Obama signed into law the Daniel Pearl Press Freedom Act, a piece of legislation that will do nothing for anyone. And certainly not for freedom of the press. In his tiny talk, Obama said almost nothing. “Obviously, the loss of Daniel Pearl was one of those moments that captured the world’s imagination because it reminded us of how valuable a free press is.” Pabulum. Actually, the murder of Pearl did not remind me at all of the value of a free press. It reminded me of the precarious places in which Jews find themselves around the world.
Not a single person is excluded from the system. The non-citizen Arabs of Jerusalem are included in it.
Barack Obama believes everything that would lead us away from a confrontation with our antagonists. William J. Broad and David E. Sanger report in the New York Times that: President Obama’s plans for reducing America’s nuclear arsenal and defeating Iran’s missiles rely heavily on a new generation of antimissile defenses, which last year he called “proven and effective.” His confidence in the heart of the system, a rocket-powered interceptor known as the SM-3, was particularly notable because as a senator and presidential candidate he had previously criticized antimissile arms.
Barack Obama is fighting hard to be permitted by Congress to throw cotton candy at Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Iran. It is unlikely that he will succeed, and that is because even many Democratic senators are simply mortified by the president’s trifling efforts at getting the mullahs to back down from their nuclear aspirations. He has spent nearly 16 months in what he should have known would be a doomed diplomacy to induce Russia and China to get tough with Tehran. Yes, get tough. The fact is that Obama’s confident vanity in diplomacy no longer commands much respect around the country.
You may remember that during the president’s first trip abroad he spent two days in Turkey. A little much, I thought. After all, a presidential visit is something of a gift to the host country’s government. And why did Ankara deserve such a gift? Well, it didn’t. First of all, in 2003, it had barred American troop movement through Iraq from the north. I don’t know exactly how many U.S. deaths accrued because of this ban. But sober estimates tell us that as many as 500 soldiers may have been killed because of the restriction.
Benazir Bhutto was murdered (along with 24 of her nameless countrymen) two-and-a-half years ago. Edward Jay Epstein has discovered that there was actually no proper—and barely an improper—investigation of the slaying. Her crooked and shiftless husband succeeded Musharraf as president, not that she wasn’t crooked herself. But shiftless she was not. Anybody is likely to be assassinated in Pakistan.