“Written to enlighten, guaranteed to offend”
A Publication of Seth J. Frantzman
April 27th, 2008
1) Fighting the straw man: national narrative, miscegenation and a foil of lies: A series of recent books have argued that they are presenting an ‘original’ narrative of some forgotten figure who was ‘ahead of his time’ in opposing racism or colonialism or in viewing Native-Americans as people. A closer examination shows that these ‘lone men’ are not so alone and that the liberalistic desire to oppose the straw man which they call the ‘traditional nationalist narrative’ is merely a foil used to force us all to read un-original books about people who were only marginally interesting.
2) Murderers, rapists and innocent Arabs: the American military as depicted in film: Since the end of the Cold War a dozen American films have been made about the American military in the post-war environment. These films universally portray American soldiers as crazy suicidal murderers who commit war crimes. At the same time other films portray Muslim Arabs as innocent victims of the war on terror. From Rendition to Valley of Elah these movies give a jaded, biased and unfair portrayal of men under arms and terrorism.
3) The new god: diplomacy and dialogue: When Jimmy Carter explained why he had to hug Hamas officials in Ramallah, Cairo and Damascus he explained that ‘diplomacy, communication and dialogue’ can solve all the worlds problems and that they must always be explored. This is a mantra. It is part of a new religion. But history tells us a different story. Rarely has diplomacy prevented conflict, not in 1939 and not in 1914. This is a dangerous god to bow down to and we should realize that talking and communicating usually solve nothing. Force of arms and deterrence tell a different story.
Fighting the straw man: national narrative, miscegenation and a foil of lies
Seth J. Frantzman
April 18th, 2008
It is common for new history books to seek to explode ‘national narratives’ and ‘national myths’. Eventually after the myth has been shown to be false the new ‘explosion’ literature becomes its own genre and becomes so popular that every book written about history is in this ‘radical’ narrative. Every book then repeats the mantra that ‘in the old nationalist narrative’. The book thus gives its reason de eitre as fighting against the old racist nationalist view and thus the book is ‘original’. But one Haaretz review of books for the month of March showed how deliberate a scam this is. Every single book mentioned a ‘traditional Zionist narrative’ and every single book was telling an ‘unknown’ story of something outside this narrative. Whether it was S. Smilansky’s Khirbet story of the IDF cleansing a Palestinian village, written in 1950 mind you, or a story of some Iraqi Jew who loves the Arabic language it was always the same. “This book is important because it explodes the national narrative”. Tom Segev’s career has been based on this. Whether it is demoting Naomi Shemer’s ‘Yerushalaim Shel Zahav (Jerusalem of Gold)’ song and showing it to be stolen from Gypsy music (perhaps not noticing that this in itself, the Gypsy-Jewish musical connection is of interest) or showing that some other ‘Zionist’ story of a heroic dead soldier is actually the story of friendly-fire, here is a man who is always ‘paving new ground’.
But what if all these mythical stereotypes were themselves stereotypes, a sort of straw man, a foil, set up by post-humanism in order to create a new narrative, one that always existed, but the foil allows it to be shoved down our throats so that while we consume it we think we are being original. State sponsored press in many countries that lack a free press give up a daily dose of this type of ‘unique’ and ‘original’ thought. The ‘continual’ revolution of Mao became nothing more than State sponsored ‘revolution’ against itself, a contradiction in terms since a state cannot sponsor a revolution against itself without making the ‘revolution’ invalid.
Consider these national myths. The American treatment of blacks is the American original Sin and since Americans didn’t begin atoning for this sin until the 1960s it remains a stain on American history, on that is ill recognized (this from Roger Cohen’s recent editorial in the Herald Tribune).
Racism began in South Africa in the 17th century with the arrival of the first Dutch Colonists. There was always racism and everyone thought the blacks uncivilized and abused them until 1994 when South Africa became a democracy. (this from the official minutes of the final findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission).
Americans always thought the Native-Americans uncivilized and they were always treated as if they were ‘savages’ and few people recognized their humanity. A genocide was committed against them for which the U.S has never atoned. (this courtesy of Tom Chaffin and his book Pathfinder and also of Ward Churchill and his A Little Matter of Genocide).
Zionist history always saw a ‘land without a people’ and Zionism commited an ‘original sin’ in ethnically-cleansing the indigenous Palestinians. Israelis were taught to believe that the Zionist conquest was clean and that they had revived the land. (this courtesy of Ilan Pappe and Tom Segev and Haaretz).
What is most fascinating is how many books today are written about characters from these periods and show them to be ‘going against the grain’ or ‘ahead of their time’ in their treatment of the ‘indigenous people’ or their championing of rights for blacks. Thus George Crook and John Fremont were ‘ahead of their time’ in viewing the Native-Americans as people and championing their rights. Goodbye Bafana tells “the true story of a white South African racist whose life was profoundly altered by the black prisoner he guarded for twenty years.” James Gregory is this South African who was ‘ahead of his time’. Ronnie Kasrils, the Jewish South African member of the ANC, was likewise ‘ahead of his time’ as was Bram Fischer, the ‘Afrikaner Marxist Revolutionary’. John Brown who has been aptly named an ‘American Terrorist’ in a recent book was ‘ahead of his time’ in opposing slavery and his uniqueness or ‘lone voice’ was not heard again until the time of the Freedom Riders.
But what is fascinating, especially in Israeli history, is how often these ‘lone voices’ seem to crop up, until eventually they become a crescendo. Aaron Aaronsohn, who is the subject of at least three new biographies (Aaronsohn’s maps and Lawrence and Aaronsohn), is the new darling, another ‘lone voice’. But when you have too many ‘lone voices’ you start to have a crowd and then you start to have a crescendo.
Its obvious why history books claim to be offering something new. No one wants to read a book that says “someone else already wrote this so this book is not original but it illuminates an interesting person who happens to have not been unique.” Everyone wants to read about the ‘one man’ who saw slavery as a vice. But everyone seems to forget that this need to find the ‘lone voice’ is a petty trend that ignores not only history but also bastardizes the view of history as a ‘national myth’, one that must always be torn down by illuminating a nation’s ‘sins’. As an aside it cannot go without mention the degree to which this secular, post-humanist need to find an ‘original’ sin of every nation, from Israel to the U.S. seems to speak to a strange religious characteristic in secularism. The secular view of history is akin to the Catholic view of man.
The problem with these lone voices is that while many of these people were extraordinary individuals, few of them were original. What is most surprising is to realize the degree to which the idea of a ‘nationalist narrative’ is a creation of modernity, a creation of the left, a straw man or foil, created so that it can be beaten down.
The Indians were not viewed as human. Bartoleme De Las Casas already challenged this in the 16th century. He arrived in Hispanola (The Dominican Republic) in 1502. How many years was that after Columbus came upon the New World. How many? Lets think. Lets ponder. Ten years. Ten years. Only ten years after Ward Churchill tells us the American Genocide of the Natives began there was already a man campaigning for their human rights. Ten years. So why is it surprising to Mr. Chaffin that John Charles Fremont, that famous 19th century American explorer of the American West, respected the Indians? Benjamin Franklin had respect for them in the 18th century. Why is it so surprising that George Crook, Al Sieber, George Bent, Kit Carson and Charles Gatewood and Nelson Miles and so many others had sympathy for the fate of the American Indian? Where was this ‘myth’. It simply did not exist. This idea that every ‘white man’ thought the Indians ‘savages’ is simply not true. The only degree to which it is true is the fact that the basest people viewed the Indians as ‘savage’. To pretend that the ‘national narrative’ reflects the basest people’s observations and petty hatreds is unfair to a history that was filled with so many leading personalities who respected, learned from and cared about the Native-Americans.
It is impossible to go through every example to show the degree to which every national narrative has been warped by people in order to serve a modern political agenda. Suffice it to say that the same will be found elsewhere. The early Zionists who respected the Palestinian Arabs were not few and far between. From Moshe Dayan to Rehavam Zeevi to Aaronsohn and Weizmann, they all did not believe this ridiculous ‘myth’ of a ‘land without a people’. But they could not be blind to the fact that they had witnessed the entire Coastal Plain of Israel being drained of malarial swamps and giving birth to cities where desert had once been. To characterize this as a ‘myth’ as Sandra Sufian and Baruch Kimmerling have done (see her book Healing the Land and the Nation) one must ignore reality. Aerial photos of the period don’t lie. Israel is the only country in the world to have a net increase in forests and trees in the last 60 years. Its not a myth. It’s a fact. If Hertzl didn’t see any Arabs on his way from Jaffa to Jerusalem that is because there were few Arab villages along the road. There are still today, when Israel’s population has increased ten fold from the time of Herzl’s visit, few villages or towns on the road of Jaffa to Jerusalem and one could still remark that the land could hold more people.
Roger Cohen is wrong to claim that America has not recognized the ‘sin’ of slavery. For a Jewish writer, and Cohen is Jewish, it is strange that he views history as one involving Sin. Apparently his secularism overrides his Judaism in this concept of history. Americans have recognized this ‘sin’ since the time of the founding fathers. Huge numbers have recognized it since the 1850s. Millions of Americans died to end slavery in the American South during the Civil War, making America the only country in the history of the world that has waged a civil war in order to end slavery (by contrast there is not one single instance in the Islamic world of Muslims killing fellow Muslims in order to set free non-Muslims enslaved throughout the centuries of Muslim colonization of Eastern Europe, Africa, India and the Middle East. Oddly we do not hear about Islam’s ‘original sin’ of enslaving others). Europeans judge Americans harshly for slavery, odd when it is an institution that America inherited from them. From the very beginnings of American history there has been an antipathy towards slavery, especially eminating from the Yankee part of America, which was never slave owning. The great irony is that the ‘sin’ of slavery is foisted upon the WASP founders of America when it was the most WASPy of them, men such as John Adams, who abhorred the institution. To characterize the founders as slave owners is disingenuous to say the least. Fifty-Six men signed the Declaration of Independence. Among them Samuel Adams, Stephen Hopkins, Benjamin Rush, Elbridge Gerry, James Wilson, John Adams, Roger Sherman, John Witherspoon, and Benjamin Franklin were abolitionists. No more than 21 of them lived in states where slave-owning was prevalent and many of those did not own slaves.
To touch on one final subject where a myth has been created that is completely false it is worthwhile to quickly examine the history of Miscegenation laws in the U.S. Most people today assume the laws were created by racist southerners to prevent white women from marrying black men. The first anti-miscegenation law in the Americas was passed in Virginia in 1691. Slavery only began in Virginia in the 1650s and was not codified until 1705. Slaves inherited the status of their mothers. The logic behind the Miscegenation laws was racist in the sense that it wanted to prevent white slave owners from having intercourse with their female slaves and producing offspring that would then become a ‘mixed’ class whose status would be unclear. If slaves remained black then any African in the colony could be considered a slave. The first people sentenced under the law were all white male slave owners, a number of whome were sentenced to be whipped, according to the book, The Birth of America by William R. Polk. The painting by John Gabiel Stedman entitled ‘Flagellation of a female samboe slave’ from the period 1772-1777 confirms that this was a common occurrence: “Stedman witnessed this punishment in 1774. The woman being whipped was an eighteen-year old girl who was given 200 lashes for having refused to have intercourse with an overseer.” The book The Senator and the Socialite by Lawrence Otis Graham confirms the fact further. Both his characters, Blanche Bruce, the first Black Senator in the U.S (elected in the 1870s) and Josephine Willson were descendants of white fathers and black mothers. This hidden history of miscegenation existed up until the period of Strom Thurmond, the American senator and one time presidential contender who father children with a black mistress. When Trent Lott praised Thurmond after his death, Senator Lott was criticized for eulogizing the ‘segregationist’ Mr. Thurmond. Oddly enough Thurmond’s segregation did not extend to the bedroom where he took after many of his white Southern ancestors. The modern liberal forgets this history in his desire to see racism as a one way street that fits his needs. When this author pointed out the actual history of miscegenation laws (“Miscegenation laws were originally passed to stop Slave masters from raping their slaves, not to stop black men from marrying white women”) in a review a liberal by the name of Michael Shaub wrote on a website called bookslut.com (http://www.bookslut.com/propaganda/2004_12_003821.php) that only a “right wing gullible nutcase” could believe such a thing. Liberals can’t stomach the idea that miscegenation was adopted to prevent the blurring of slave-free color lines in the 17th century, not adopted by a reactionary south in the 1950s to prevent alluring black men such as Paul Robeson, Fredrick Douglas, O.J Simpson, Kofi Annon and Barack Obama Sr. from marrying white women, which each of the above did. Fredrick Douglas must be the standout here, he somehow managed to marry a white woman even in the days when miscegenation laws still existed. They were only struck down by the Supreme Court in 1967 in the case Loving v. Virginia. Who was Richard Loving? He was a white man. Who did he want to marry? Mildred Jeter, a black woman. It must be hard for leftists to learn that their beloved racial hobby-horse, miscegenation laws, were brought low by a white man and his black wife. It wasn’t a black man who was ‘breaking boundaries’, ‘shattering stereotypes’, ‘ahead of his time’ and ‘paving new ground’. I put it to you Mr. Schaub, you bourgeoisie, un-authentic leftist, liberal, progressive, post-humanist. Whose the gullible one?
Murderers, rapists and innocent Arabs: the American military as depicted in film
Seth J. Frantzman
April 19th, 2008
Rendition (2007), Stop-Loss (2008), Strip-Search (2004), Valley of Elah (2007), A Few Good Men (1992), The General’s Daughter (1999), Basic (2003), Rules of Engagement(2000), Road to Guantanamo(2006) and Courage under fire (1996).
Between the end of the Cold War and 2008 there have been about a dozen films regarding the American military in the post-Cold War world. With the exception of Jarhead (2005) few of them have presented the military in a positive light. Meanwhile films depicting American soldiers from previous eras have shown them in positive lights, including We Were Soldiers Once (2002), Saving Private Ryan (1998) and Band of Brothers (2001). As time has gone films depicting the modern post-Gulf War soldier have become increasingly jaded, portraying every character in uniform as demented, crazy, murderous and suicidal. Meanwhile films portraying the enemy, terrorists, have only depicted them as innocent, always being wrongly accused and brutally carted off by thuggish Americans to holding cells in Guantanamo.
This portrayal is both disturbing and unfair but mostly it is not only indicative of Hollywood’s view of the U.S but also increasingly brainwashing audiences into believing that the American military is thuggish and terrorists are all innocent. It began with the end of the Cold War. To be sure the American military did not have a sterling reputation on screen before that. The Deer Hunter, Apocalypse Now, Casualties of War, Hamburger Hill, Full Metal Jacket and Platoon all depicted the tragedies of Vietnam. But each one included soldiers who were positive models along side those who were not. All of them included a main character who wore the uniform and was a moral center.
When we examine Paul Haggis’s Valley of Elah we see that every soldier is depicted in a negative way. The film tells the story of an entire squad of men who return from Iraq and murder one of their own. The father of the murdered boy (Tommy Lee Jones), who has been cut up and burned by his own men, must investigate. There is not one men among the squad who is portrayed as positive and on being found guilty one says “if we hadn’t killed him he would have done the same to us” showing that they are all bloodthirsty murderers. The film concludes with the American flag being flown upside down. Kimberly Pierce’s Stop-loss portrays almost the same thing. A group of soldiers return to a small town and one of them is called back to active duty after thinking he will be discharged. He goes AWOL while one of his fellow soldiers kills himself and another beats his girlfriend. These two films exist in the shadow of the war in Iraq and are trying to claim that every member of the American military who returns from Iraq is psychologically unbalanced, prone to murder, beat their wives and kill themselves.
But before 9/11 the view of the American Military was little better. It began with A Few Good Men which depicts a ‘good’ JAG lawyer who must defend two marines accused of killing a third marine. It turns out they were ordered to beat their fellow marine by their Guantanamo base commander, played by Jack Nicholas. Then there was Courage Under Fire where a woman is being granted a medal for bravery and it turns out her story may have been fabricated and includes friendly fire incidents. In The General’s Daughter John Travolta must investigate the murder and rape of the general’s daughter. In Basic Mr. Travolta returns, this time to investigate the murder of a legendary Army Ranger by his own men. In Rules of Engagement Tommy Lee Jones must defend an old friend of his who, while posted as a marine in Yemen, shot down a crowd of civilians. All the stories are related and even involve the same actors. Each depicts the same story: men in the military are unstable and they become killing machines and frequently murder eachother whenever they have the chance. In Valley of Elah the murder victim is depicted in self made movies torturing people in Iraq and in Stop-Loss the main character kills civilians by mistake.
The role of the enemy in the film, when the enemy is not the U.S government or some cover-up, is always that of innocent civilian. Arab-Muslims are always portrayed in a positive light. In fact they are portrayed as innocent victims. In Sidney Lumet’s Strip-Search the story of an innocent Arab being strip searched by a female American investigator is juxtaposed with an American woman accused of ‘terrorism’ in China and strip-searched by a Chinese soldier. The idea is that America has become as thuggish as China. The highly improbably film has the female investigator slapping the Arab man’s genitals in order to humiliate him. In Mat Whitecross’s Road to Guantanamo we are shown the ‘true’ story of three Muslim men with British citizenship who are arrested in Afghanistan and sent to Guantanamo. The movie tells us they are just ‘innocent’ men who happened to be in Afghanistan. Rendition takes the idea one step further depicting an ‘innocent’ Egyptian man named Anwar El-Ibrahimi being abducted by the CIA and tortured while his American wife, played by Reese Witherspoon sits at home anxiously awaiting his return.
Where is the movie that depicts terrorists as they really are? Paradise Now (2005) depicts the ‘poor’ Palestinian who is forced into terrorism. More often than not the terrorists are depicted as right wing neo-Nazi types as in Sum of All Fears (2002) or as they were in 24. Sometimes they are disgruntled Soviets, East Germans or Serbs. They are even white Westerners sometimes as was the case in Fight Club and Vendetta. In Edward Zwick’s The Siege (1992), which was protested by Muslims as being ‘anti-Muslim’, the terrorists are shown to be friends of the CIA and the bad guys are the American military who are depicted as rounding up all the Muslim Arabs in the New York City in order to stop the terrorism. Luckily FBI agent Denzel Washington and his Arab sidekick Agent Frank Haddad save the day.
Reihan Salam has summed this up in an article entitled ‘The Sum of all PC: Hollywood’s reverse racial profiling’ in Slate magazine which he penned on May 28th, 2002. He notes “you'd be hard-pressed to find Muslim terrorists in any of today's blockbuster action movies” he documents how Director of Sum of All Fears Phil Alden Robinson bowed down to the likes of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR): “I hope you will be reassured that I have no intention of promoting negative images of Muslims or Arabs, and I wish you the best in your continuing efforts to combat discrimination.” Actor Ben Affleck noted that “the Arab terrorist thing has been done a million times in the movies.” Leftists would have us believe differently in such books as 100 years of anti-Arab Stereotyping by Marzin Qumsiyeh and UC Berkeley’s Images of Arabs and the Middle East archive.
The last film to accurately depict the heroism of Americans and the evils of terrorism was probably the 1988 comedy Naked Gun which opens with Lt. Frank Drebin bursting in on a meeting of Arafat, Khadafi, Khomeini, Idi Amin and Gorbachev in Beirut and beating up all of the thugs.
It is unfortunate the filmmakers think they can get better ratings and be more ‘original’ by depicting soldiers as rapists and murderers and depicting Muslim Arabs as ‘innocent victims. It is an enticing argument and leaves the viewer believing that the war in Iraq is ‘ruining’ all of the 650,000 Americans who have served there. But if the movies are to be believed, that one in six of those returning commits suicide and one in six murders another of the six and the rest go AWOL then we wouldn’t have much of an Army left in the U.S and we would have 100,000 more murders a year and 200,000 dead American servicemen. Oddly enough the statistics don’t bear this out. If all Muslim Arabs are not terrorists than why did three thousand Americans die on 9/11, why did hundreds of Spaniards die in Madrid and fifty Englishmen die in London. Who has been behind all the terrorism in Iraq and who was responsible for the 900 dead Israelis between 2000 and 2008? The movie industry’s decision to depict Muslims only in positive roles or as victims is as illogical as movies depicting Germans in positive roles in movies about the Second World War. Why does our movie industry lie to us? Almost all terrorist acts that will be committed this year against civilians will be carried out by Muslims. Almost all the atrocities committed in the Second World War were carried out by Germans. These are unfortunate facts but they are true and to depict them on film is not to stereotype people but to depict people as they really are.
The new god: diplomacy and dialogue
Seth J. Frantzman
May 16th, 2008
The new mantra of every leftist is 'dialogue'. That is the term used by the left to describe the need for a 'diplomatic' solution to the Iranian nuclear program and the need to 'dialogue' with Hamas and 'speak' to Bin Laden. For the liberal this is the magic wand. Speaking to people is always supposed to magically solve everything. How did this become the god of liberalism? How did liberalism take on the ethos of the old classical conservative such as Neville Chamberlain and Stanley Baldwin who believed Hitler could be 'talked' into peace?
The idea of 'dialogue' is inviting. It speaks of peace. It seems enticing. If people hate you what can be harmed by sitting down and 'talking' to them. This idea that 'conversation' solves things is predicated upon the idea that 'dialogue' is essential to peace. But where is the evidence for this? Ulysses S. Grant, the Civil War General was known by the moniker 'Unconditional Surrender' Grant for his uncompromising treatment of Confederates who dared to ask for terms of surrender. Grant's response was always the same "no conditions." This uncompromising attitude gained him the respect of Abe Lincoln and brought success in the Civil War, after years of failure when timid Union generals had been unable to bring the Confederate army to heel. This uncompromising attitude has been at the basis of American foreign policy for some time. There was no negotiation with Spain over Cuba. There was no negotiation with the Japanese Empire or the Nazis. There is no negotiation with terrorists. This is actually part of the official policy of the American government. America does not negotiate with terrorists. There is no negotiation to get back kidnapped Americans. There is no negotiations over ransom. There are no prisoner swaps. Terrorists know that there can be no dialogue with the U.S. Peaceniks argue that this is why the likes of Nick Berg or Daniel Pearl ended up dead. But how many more would be dead if everytime a terrorist captured an American the U.S released a hundred terrorist inmates in exchange the way Israel does. Studies have shown that the Israel policy of always negotiating with the terrorists and releasing Palestinian prisoners has led to the deaths of hundreds of Israeli civilians. During the Second Intifada most of the terror attacks were committed by Palestinians who had been released from Israeli prisons as part of the Oslo 'peace' process in the 1990s.
There is no evidence that diplomacy and 'talking' has ever accomplished anything. Diplomacy is a scam. It is a European theory invented by Europeans during the 17th and 18th centuries to formalize the relations between nation states. The idea of diplomats playing such a large role in the relations of nations was invented to appease a class of nobles who had little to do with their lives and needed a role to fulfill. What better role than spending the summers in the capital of another nations and drinking wine and partying with other nobles from across the continent?
Have diplomats ever averted a war? When they were needed most, in 1914, they were completely useless. Here was a time when diplomacy should have averted catastrophe. History tells us that when the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated on June 28th, 1914 it set off a 'chain reaction' that lead to the deaths of ten million people. But where were the diplomats? On July 23rd Austria-Hungary served Serbia with an ultimatum to arrest the men who had assassinated the archduke. On the 24th of July Serbia asked her Slavic brother, the Russian empire, for support and refused to hand over the assassins the next day. On the 28th the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia. On the 1st of August Austria-Hungary's ally, the German Empire, declared war on Russia. On the 3rd of August Germany declared war on Russia's ally, France. The next day soldiers wearing the Pickelhaube (spiked German Helmet) swept across the border into neutral Belgium to execute Germany's Schlieffen plan for the invasion of France. On that day London sent a cable to the Kaiser ordering Germany to remove her troops from Belgium by midnight. When Big Ben struck twelve and the German troops were still pouring across Britain found herself at war with Germany.
Where were the diplomats. Literally thousands of men were employed across the continent that summer, supposedly to prevent wars such as this. But where were they for that fateful month as Europe teetered on the balance. Where were the manicured men, those titled men of Europe who were charged with keeping the peace? Were they in the arms of their mistresses? Were they sipping tea? What were they doing for a month?
If we are to believe Jimmy Carter and his prognostications about Hamas then dialogue solves all. If we are to believe the leftist and Islamist scholars who make up the Middle East Studies departments in the U.S then 'dialogue' and diplomatic solutions will cause Iran to stop her nuclear program, stop denying the Holocaust, and of late, stop denying 9/11. But if the best bred men of Europe could not prevent the apocalypse of the Great War then how can a man who the KGB judged as "having the mind and manners of a man whose occupation is the farming of peanuts" get Hamas to stop murdering children? How exactly can jimmy Carter accomplish anything in terms of 'diplomacy' when he is busy laying a wreath at Yassir Arafat's grave (the man who ordered the murder of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic games among other things) and hugging Hamas leaders (whose terror has killed more then 250 civilians).
The diplomat is a useless fixture of the world. Terrorism is not prevented by diplomats. When the FBI wanted to stop the mafia it didn't use diplomacy to do it. When it wanted to stop the KKK it didn't need a 'dialogue' to do it. But we are meant to believe that certain terror groups need to be spoken to while others need to simply be arrested. But why? Perhaps we should have had a 'dialogue' with the Grand Dragon of the KKK. Perhaps we should have hugged him and 'listened' to him. The liberal mantra of 'it can't hurt' could have been used as an excuse. Liberals only think some terrorists need to be 'dialogued' with. There is no dialogue for those who bomb abortion clinics. There is no dialogue with them. Why not? Isn't there something to 'discuss' with the bomber of an abortion clinic? What separates Tim Mcveigh from Bin Laden? Perhaps we should have dialogued with him? What of those Branch Dividians at Waco. When Janet Reno and her liberal hordes had the chance to dialogue with David Koresh they used tanks and snipers to do so and ended up killing 80 American citizens in Waco Texas. Where was the 'conversation' then. Where was the liberal desire to 'talk it out' when it came to the Christian fundamentalist cult at Waco? Where was Jimmy Carter? Jimmy. Where were you? Where were you? David Koresh had a beard, just like Hamas. David Koresh and his friends loved their guns, just like Hamas. So why was there no love for Koresh? We conservatives would like an explanation. Why was there a scorched earth policy at Waco but with Hamas there is a 'dialogue'? Why is the bomber of an abortion clinic given no quarter but the bomber of a synagogue is dialogued with?
There are times when dialogue can help. There are times to negotiate. At the siege of Wounded Knee in 1973 when 300 American Indian Movement activists occupied the site of an 1890 massacre of Native-Americans they were placed under siege by U.S Marshalls and probably by units of the U.S military (despite the Posse Comitatus act which forbids the U.S military to be used against American citizens on American soil). The siege lasted 71 days during which two Indian activists were killed and one U.S Marshall was severely wounded. But Alexander Haig, who was delegated by President Richard Nixon to handle the siege, which was taking place on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, did not order the Marshals to go in. The Marshals had at their disposal snipers, helicopters, 15 armored personnel carriers equipped with .50-caliber machine guns and plenty of manpower. The Indians were armed with rifles and although a number of the AIM activists such as Dennis Banks had served in the U.S military they could have been easily crushed. But the government held back, realizing that the AIM men couldn't escape, they laid siege and despite the cost in dollars the government felt it was more prudent than causing the loss of lives. With no hostages being kept it didn't matter how long the activists were left under siege. Eventually negotiations led to the surrender of the AIM activists.
The same type of prudent action was taken in response to the Piracy of the 88 meter luxury Yacht Le Ponant. Its 22 member crew was taken hostage on the 4th of April when the boat was stormed by pirates of Somalia. A ransom of 1. 3 million Euros was paid, apparently by the company, for the release of the hostages. But hours later, as the Muslim pirates sat counting their loot in Puntland, Somalia, French Special forces rousted them from their glee, killing three people, and took the pirates back to Djibouti and onward to France for prosecution. Perhaps forgetting history the French Defense Minister claimed "This is the first time a country has decided not to let itself be extorted, but also to take matters into its own hands."
In both cases pragmatic behavior saved lives and resulted in the capture of criminals. Instead of supporting the criminality by affirming it and hugging it the government made sure that justice was done in parallel with a minute loss of life. Those, like Jimmy Carter, who argue for open ended negotiations with no use of force and desire nothing in return accomplish nothing. They affirm the terrorists through embracing them and praying with them and laying wreaths at their graves and in affect they become terrorists through their intellectual support and their moral support by not condemning the actions of the terrorist. Diplomacy accomplishes nothing. It has never accomplished anything. Diplomacy is the guise used by the dictator and the terrorist to bide time. Remember Stalin and his negotiations with Hitler in 1939. He was biding time. Hitler too was biding time. That was affective diplomacy but neither Molotov nor Ribbentrop were members of the Jimmy Carter 'we must speak to them' mantra, instead both worked for their national interests and used Diplomacy in order to further their war aims. When Jimmy Carter meets with Hamas he is meeting with a Molotov or a Ribbentrop, a loyal servant of the terrorist or dictatorial regime, but Jimmy Carter is not representing the interests of anyone but himself, he is not accomplishing anything. He does not bring peace. He never has. In fact his track record as President vis-à-vis Iran show that he only helped usher in Islamism, genocide and war by mismanaging the crises in Iran in 1979. It is no surprise that the Islamists helped bring Carter down in the 1980 election by waiting until Reagan was inaugurated to release the hostages. The Jimmy Carter ethos only brings genocide, appeasement and mass killing. It is essentially a Byzantine view of the world, one that only preserves the inevitable, just as the Byzantine empire preserved itself for 1000 years not by opposing anything but simply by hiding behind its walls and giving away its princesses as wives to every dictator it could, hoping that it could trade sex for peace. All it did was wet the appetite of its enemies for more Byzantine virgins and slaves.. When one reads the account of Bin Laden's brother Salem proposing marriage to four western women at the same time we see that the same perverted logic exists in the west: if only we export enough Ukrainian prostitutes (our version of the Byzantine brides for the Turkish hordes) to the Muslim world perhaps they will leave us alone. Too bad we can't sell Jimmy Carter into sex slavery as well.