QUICK sketch of our current political situation: 35% of the populace apparently will not rest until it can marry another girl just like Reagan, overlooking, somehow, the result of our eight years of bliss with Bush-Cheney, aka The Bride Formerly Known as Reagan II. (The fact that the Reagan wedding album itself used more Vaseline on the lens than Brycreem on the hair we will simply leave aside.) This, of course, is where the charitable divide garden-variety unwarranted hopefulness from serious and irreversible mental instability. I am not charitable. They've been fucking crazy for years, now they're fucking crazy at DSL speeds.
I'm not inured to this, but I am temperamentally disposed to expect it, plus I'm from Indiana, which amounts to forty-plus years of almost daily practice. Even so, I've found myself of late lost in a nostalgia de la merde for the Nixon administration.
Whatever else you can say about him--and that's plenty--Nixon was a goddam pro. He didn't fucking go crazy at the first sign of opposition, nor at the very thought of opposition. He was already fucking crazy. He didn't slowly begin to confuse himself with the roles he'd once played, or something he read in Reader's Digest. He didn't fly off the handle because Carson made a joke about Tricia. He may've been our most clinically paranoid President, or just or most obvious one, but his Enemies List was, at most, about 1500 names, and sorted into categories; if there were a Palin Enemies List, what would be the Over/Under? 90 million? Nixon wanted the North Vietnamese to think he was crazy. This, of course, doesn't make him sane; a pathological liar may yet know when (and when not to) bluff. But he wanted them to believe he was crazy enough to bomb indiscriminately, even with nuclear weapons. Imagine George Bush trying to pull that one off. Everyone would know he was faking, because everyone would know the thought nuking anyone who looks at us crosswise was a perfectly reasonable approach.
I'm too young to know Nixon-Gahagan, or his Red-baiting days, except as history. To me, Nixon's insane politics seemed more like the logical harbor for his insanity-driven ambitions. This made the world a more optimistic place: just wait out all the old Red Baiters, and Nixon's idiosyncratic pathologies, and the world might right itself, assuming it survived. I don't need to remind you how that one worked out.
Enter George Eff Will, the Missing Link: chronic Reaganite by trade, Nixonian at heart (but stomach only for petty larceny). Will first comes to national attention at the Nixon-era National Review; he's soon given credit for criticizing Nixon administration corruption, which is like giving someone credit for denouncing child labor: just because you expect Republicans to be in favor of it is no reason to go overboard when one or two exhibit some public sensitivity at no cost to themselves. (Of course Will's tua culpa didn't extend to Nixon's conduct of the war; he's been a faithful re-imaginer of that history his entire career.)
So Will, rising careerist, gets associated with Reagan, via one of the lesser criminal acts that helped his election, rather than Nixon, despite the fact that he's much more like Heinz Kissinger than one of Reagan's Cracked Lt. Colonel advisors. He's the sort who, during its ten-minute heyday between the invasion of Iraq and the disaster of the invasion of Iraq, would have been described as a "paleocon", but probably not to his face, since his support was needed. And so, now, to the Nixonian Lament that the end of the Cold War has deprived the Right of its best reasons for Continual Nuclear Brinkmanship, or maybe just the fun of playing it two-hand. Of course it's not really a Lament, since they just change the reality to correspond to new circumstances, but still: one supposes the withered charlatan in his dressing room at ABC, ten minutes to air, shedding a solitary tear for the old days, when you could actually mean what you said, however crazed.
In the intifada that began in 2000, Palestinian terrorism killed more than 1,000 Israelis.
And Israeli Self-Defense killed 5000 Palestinians.
As a portion of U.S. population, that would be 42,000….
How much is that in Swedes? What's the conversion rate for Native Americans? How many Dresdens? Most importantly, how's it compare to the homicide rate in Detroit?
approaching the toll of America's eight years in Vietnam.
Assuming you think 72% approaches totality, in which case you must imagine that US public schools are in excellent shape. (Not, mind you, that I intend on trading equations with a guy who's pulling his out of his ass.)
During the onslaught, which began 10 Septembers ago, Israeli parents sending two children to a school would put them on separate buses to decrease the chance that neither would return for dinner. Surely most Americans can imagine, even if their tone-deaf leaders cannot, how grating it is when those leaders lecture Israel on the need to take "risks for peace."
Okay, two things: we might consider whether the lesson here, as in Vietnam, is "When you decide to take over someone else's playground, consider the neighborhood". And, y'know, if the Israeli government doesn't like the Risks for Peace argument, maybe it could consider what resisting it for sixty years has wrought. Or maybe we could switch the lecture to "Mumsy and Pater may seem to be made out of money, but if you expect to keep driving a new Ferrari every week on our dime you can start behaving, let alone driving, responsibly."
Also, before the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel within the borders established by the 1949 armistice was in one place just nine miles wide, a fact that moved George W. Bush to say: In Texas we have driveways that long.
Well, I don't like the man, but I've admitted many a time that in the field of international relations no one's ever topped George W. Bush when it comes to asphalt metaphors.
And Jesus Christ, isn't that the land God gave the Ancient Israelites so a few millennia later some rabid and self-declared heirs could demand it back, by any means necessary, so He could get this whole Armageddon thing back on schedule? Whaddya fucking want?
Israel exchanged a lot of land to achieve a chilly peace with Egypt, yielding the Sinai, which is almost three times larger than Israel and was 89 percent of the land captured in the process of repelling the 1967 aggression.
Well, forgive me if I disremember slightly, but didn't the Israeli government always declare it would return that land in enhance for peace, however "chilly"? Okay, maybe it did specify "body temperature". I really don't remember. But that agreement--the only genuine breakthrough in the Middle East since the Partition, by the way, and one which owes its existence to Jimmy Carter and his willingness to make our client state "take risks for peace"--has assured Israel's existence. The preceding paragraph from Mr. Will shows just how thoroughly that's been appreciated by its staunchest defenders, 6000 Miles Away Division. The Oslo Accords--following another twelve years of Hands-Off Republican administration policy which refused to build on Camp David, or even acknowledge it--would have been the next step. Even in the crazy Middle East we can be pretty clear about who sunk those.
The rest of the world seems to have no memory at all concerning the intersecting histories of Palestine and the Jewish people.
The creation of Israel did not involve the destruction of a Palestinian state, there having been no such state since the Romans arrived.
Sheesh, talk about the Pot lecturing the Kettle on carbon content. There was no State of Palestine in 1947 because it was yet another bronze-tinged corner of the globe the British had thoughtfully agreed to command. There were enough Zionists in it by War's end to terrorize the Brits into giving up because they'd spent the previous fifty years looking the other way while they emigrated, in opposition to international agreements. (Of course in fairness, those international agreements, like Zionist terrorism, don't count.) And the reason there's no Palestinian State there today is that the US, which thoughtfully stepped in when Britain and France were unable to keep 1/3 of the world subjugated on their own anymore, simply ignored that part of the agreement.
After a uniquely hazardous passage through two millennia without a homeland, there are 13 million Jews.
How much is that in undisclosed megatonage? Hey, anybody got change for a Finn?
Y'know, we can keep on saying this until it takes: you wanna complain about taxing Future Generations, start here. Start with the immense amounts of treasure which go to Israel every year to help enforce our unilateral decision in 1946, treasure which allows the Israelis to continue thumbing their noses at the rest of the international community. Start there. Israel can defend itself; its overkill ratio is nearly as great as our own. What it can't do, and what we can't do, either, is turn that enormous technological advantage into the leverage required to dictate everyone else's actions. And that's clearly proven by the last sixty years of people resenting that the bargain comes with the government of Israel getting an occasional earful. So, fine, let's remove the basis for the lecture.