Sunday, December 31, 2006





KILLED TOTAL 2,999 (As of 12/31/06)

Let's get real, apart for the barbarity and crudity of killing a man subdued

by the state and powerless is cowardly, and most civilized nations except the

good ole USA has rejected it long since. The "crimes against humanity" argument

has been debated since Nuremberg...can a person be a criminal at a time when

they are not breaking the existing law of the land? Immoral, to be sure. If

combatants, subject to the rules of war. If non-combatant, perhaps not. There

were people of conscience - Robert Taft, one of JFK's "Profiles in Courage", was

an objector. People of good will can agree, but if we had to go into Iraq (we

did not), we should have done so quickly, snatched the wretched creature in

charge and shipped him off to Gitmo, or, better, the Hague, or even to the cell

next to General Noriega, I do not object to well-treated, tours of former

dictators. But I take no joy in their deaths once disarmed and degraded.

But the way this execution was carried out is loathsome and barbaric. I must

say Saddam, no worse than our 'allies' in Saudi or Uzbekistan or even Egypt,

really, was a lynching. It was a rush job--the victim was the old person on

camera not hooded (he refused, and he was shouted at by his 'executioners' and -

to his credit, more or less his last words were "Is this how Arabs act?" I

guess so--a few called for silence and dignity, the rest shouted abuse - a lynch

mob, and when they had killed him, danced on his corpse like savages. If this

is the "civilization we are are bringing to the Arab World, I don't think even

Texas executions would tolerate this kind of indignity, all duly recorded on

video. 3000 American G.I.s died for a 'country' that does this kind of barbaric

shit? 12,000 Maimed? For the Shi'ite fanatic Islamic Republic of Iraq? What

trash. Bush should be impeached. And we all should watch the tape, and feel

just a little ill.

I detest him - praising "Palestine" to the end, but I don't degrade, dehumanize

and then kill unarmed prisoners no matter what they SAY. In fact, defiant to

the end, he was almost -heroic. I hated the guy. I hated his regime. But I

wouldn't have treated Eichmann this way, which, by the way, he wasn't. Jews are

*not* savages, which maybe is the point.


bits & pieces on the Deed

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Thousands of Indians, most of them Muslims, took to the

streets in sporadic protests across the country against the execution of Saddam

Hussein on Saturday, accusing U.S. President George W. Bush of murdering him.

The protests came as New Delhi, which had friendly relations with Saddam's Iraq,

said it was disappointed he was executed and hoped this would not hurt the

process of reconciliation and restoration of peace in that country....

VOICE OF AMERICA - Meanwhile, protests against Saddam's execution have broken

out in several countries around the world - including Iraq, Pakistan and India.

An Iraqi flashes the victory-sign as he rides through the Shiite-majority

Baghdad suburb Sadr City during celebrations of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein's

An Iraqi flashes the victory-sign as he rides through the Shi'ite-majority

Baghdad suburb Sadr City during celebrations of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein's

Street celebrations, however, were reported in Baghdad's Shi'ite Sadr City slum

and other predominantly Shi'ite areas.

Kuwait hailed the execution as fair and just. Iran called it a "victory for the

Iraqi people."

The Hamas-led Palestinian government denounced Saddam's hanging, and Libya

declared three days of official mourning.

Finally, London-based Amnesty International called the trial "flawed," and said

the execution only aggravates the cruel and degrading nature of the death


THE GUARDIAN - For the outside world, the most powerful image of Saddam's last

day on earth was the official footage of him being led to the gallows, where a

masked guard placed a rope around his neck - images that within hours had

reached millions on the Internet and fanned protests from overseas politicians

and human rights activists.

Yet for most Iraqis, the more compelling image was a grainier, shakier one

apparently taken by a mobile phone. Broadcast on local television, it showed a

white-shrouded body, neck twisted to one side.

NY TIMES - December 31, 2006 (The semi-mythic "Arab Street")
For Arab Critics, Hussein’s Execution Symbolizes the Victory of Vengeance Over


BEIRUT, Lebanon, Dec. 30 — As daylight broke over the Arab world and news of

Saddam Hussein’s hanging spread over the airwaves and the Internet, the

execution proved just as profound for what it did not change as for what it did.

Hezbollah’s supporters in Beirut woke up on Saturday morning ready for another

day of protests aimed at bringing down the United States-backed government of

Fouad Siniora. Even in Iran, where the Foreign Ministry called the execution a

“jubilation for the thousands who lost family members in the Iran-Iraq war of

the 1980s, officials pledged to continue pursuing their nuclear ambitions and

denounced the United Nations Security Council’s efforts to curb them, Iran’s

official news agency, IRNA, reported.

Throughout the Arab world, opposition movements are still on the run, many pro-

democracy activists are either imprisoned or have simply given up, and the very

targets of the American campaign to transform the Middle East, like Hezbollah,

Iran and Syria, are more emboldened than ever.

Almost four years after United States troops entered Iraq with a broader foreign

policy goal of ushering in a “new Middle East, one built on democracy and rule

of law, the execution of Mr. Hussein on one of the holiest days in Islam marked

the unceremonious demise of that strategy, many Arab analysts said.

“If you compare the results to the objectives the U.S. claimed to realize,

whether it was democracy or control of the region, their policies have evidently

failed, said Nawaf Kabbara, professor of political science at Balamand

University in Beirut. “They were not able to spread democracy, control anything

or make any serious breakthrough. It is a failure on all levels.

For those Arabs who celebrated America’s embrace of the rule of law, the quick

execution, coming before the conclusion of other trials against Mr. Hussein for

crimes against humanity, left a bitter taste of stolen justice. Even Mr.

Hussein’s staunchest enemies expressed a sense of bitterness at the end.

“It is evident that they were not after justice, said Hilal Khashan, a

political science professor at the American University of Beirut. “It was a

political decision, because as soon as they got a sentence on him they executed

him. What mattered was his death rather than finding justice.

For those distrustful or disdainful of American intentions, the notion that the

execution fell on Id al-Adha, one of the most sacred holidays of the year,

seemed to symbolize the triumph of vengeance over justice.

“It looks like they just wanted to take revenge in a vulgar way; that was their

gift to the Shia for the feast, said Khalid al-Dakhil, assistant professor of

political sociology at King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, referring

to Shiites, who were oppressed under Mr. Hussein and now control Iraq.

“Bush and al-Maliki thought they could benefit from this, but this is going to

backfire, he added, referring to President Bush and Prime Minister Nuri Kamal

al-Maliki of Iraq. “Saddam’s execution is going to feed sectarianism and

contribute to more bloodshed.

Id al-Adha, the feast of the sacrifice, is ultimately a commemoration of the

Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael for God; instead he

slaughtered a goat, and Muslims today slaughter goats, sheep and even camels to

re-enact the event. As the blood of slaughtered sheep stained the streets of

many Arab cities on Saturday, however, many found it hard to ignore the analogy

of Mr. Hussein himself as a sacrificial lamb.

“Executing the martyr Saddam Hussein on the first day of Adha in one of the

holiest months of the year is meant to defy the feeling of Muslims, to invoke

sectarian strife and to confirm that Bush’s policy as vindictive and aggressive,

said a statement by the union of the Islamist-dominated professional

associations union in Amman, Jordan.

“The phony slogans about freedom and democracy are fake, the statement

continued. “The professional associations mourn the death of the hero, the

martyr Saddam Hussein, and stress that the day of liberating Iraq is near.

Even those who believed Mr. Hussein was guilty expressed doubts about his trial,

and about whether Iraq’s rebuilt justice system was really the kind of civil

institution that could support a true democracy.

“Saddam Hussein was guilty a thousand times over, but still the Americans and

the Iraqi government managed to run a shabby trial, said Jihad al-Khazen, a

columnist and former editor of the pan-Arab newspapers Al Hayat and Asharq al

Awsat. “If they organized a fair trial with international observers that could

have served as a model for other countries. Instead they messed it up, and I

think Saddam in the eyes of many people will now be seen as another martyr.

Many in the region seemed to view the execution as a harbinger of further

sectarian conflict. This was the first time in modern history that a Sunni

dictator had been executed by a Shiite, some analysts noted, a symbolic step

that was widely expected to incur Sunni retribution throughout the region.

American embassies throughout the region warned citizens on Saturday to avoid

protests and be prepared for unrest.

Reporting was contributed by Rasheed Abou al-Samh from Jidda, Saudi Arabia; Suha

Maayeh from Amman, Jordan; Mona el-Naggar from Cairo; and Nada Bakri from


The whole thing disgusts me. But, for now, I'll give Newsweek's astute Fareed

Zakaria, familiar to our TV viewers, the last words:

Zakaria: America’s Mistakes on Saddam’s Trial
By Fareed Zakaria

Jan. 8, 2007 issue - The saga of Saddam's end—his capture, trial and execution—

is a sad metaphor for America's occupation of Iraq. What might have gone right

went so wrong. It is worth remembering that Saddam Hussein was not your run-of-

the-mill dictator. He created one of the most brutal, corrupt and violent

regimes in modern history, something akin to Stalin's Soviet Union, Mao's China

or Kim Jong Il's North Korea. Whatever the strategic wisdom for the United

States, deposing him began as something unquestionably good for Iraq.

But soon the Bush administration dismissed the idea of trying Saddam under

international law, or in a court with any broader legitimacy. This is the

administration, after all, that could see little advantage to a United Nations

mandate for its own invasion and occupation. It put Saddam's fate in the hands

of the new Iraqi government, dominated by Shiite and Kurdish politicians who had

been victims of his reign. As a result, Saddam's trial, which should have been

the judgment of civilized society against a tyrant, is now seen by Iraq's Sunnis

and much of the Arab world as a farce, reflecting only the victors' vengeance.

This was not inevitable. Most Iraqis were happy to see Saddam out of power. In

the months after the American invasion, support for the Coalition Provisional

Authority topped 70 percent. This was so even among Iraq's Sunni Arabs. In the

first months of the insurgency, only 14 percent of them approved of attacks on

U.S. troops. (That number today is 70 percent.) The rebellious area in those

early months was not (Sunni) Fallujah but (Shiite) Najaf.

But during those crucial first months, Washington disbanded the Iraqi Army,

fired 50,000 bureaucrats and shut down the government-owned enterprises that

employed most Iraqis. In effect, the United States dismantled the Iraqi state,

leaving a deep security vacuum, administrative chaos and soaring unemployment.

That state was dominated by Iraq's Sunni elites, who read this not as just a

regime change but a revolution in which they had become the new underclass. For

them, the new Iraq looked like a new dictatorship.

Why Washington made such profound moves with such little forethought remains one

of the many puzzles of the Bush administration's foreign policy. Some of the

decision making was motivated by ideology: Baathism equaled fascism, so every

school teacher who joined the Baath Party to get a job was seen as a closet

Nazi; state-owned enterprises were bad, the new Iraq needed a flat tax, etc.

Some of it was influenced by Shiite exiles who wanted to take total control of

the new Iraq. Some of it simply reflected the bizarre combination of ignorance

and naivete that has marked the policies of Bush's "tough guys."

The administration has never fully understood the sectarian nature of its

policies, which were less "nation building" than they were "nation busting" in

their effects. It kept insisting that it was building a national army and police

force when it was blatantly obvious (even to columnists) that the forces were

overwhelmingly Shiite and Kurdish, mostly drawn from militias with stronger

loyalties to political parties than to the state. The answer to these

fundamentally political objections was technocratic: more training. But a

stronger Shiite Army made—makes—the Sunni populace more insecure and willing to

support the insurgency.

Iraq's Sunnis are not the good guys in this story. They have mostly behaved like

self-defeating thugs. The minority of Sunnis who support Al Qaeda have been

truly barbarous. The point, however, is not their vices but our stupidity. We

summarily deposed not just Saddam Hussein but a centuries-old ruling elite and

then were stunned that they reacted poorly. In contrast, on coming into power in

South Africa, Nelson Mandela did not fire a single white bureaucrat or soldier—

and not because he thought that they had been kind to his people. He correctly

saw the strategy as the way to prevent an Afrikaner rebellion.

It has now become fashionable among Washington neoconservatives to blame the

Iraqis for everything that has happened to their country. "We have given the

Iraqis a republic and they do not appear able to keep it," laments Charles

Krauthammer. Others invoke anthropologists to explain the terrible dysfunctions

of Iraqi culture. There may be some truth to all these claims—Iraq is a tough

place—but the Bush administration is not quite so blameless. It thoughtlessly

engineered a political and social revolution as intense as the French or Iranian

one and then seemed surprised that Iraq could not digest it happily, peaceably

and quickly. We did not give them a republic. We gave them a civil war.



He was a tyrant, but THIS is lynch-mob 'justice'. Out now.

Thursday, December 28, 2006



Jimmy & the Yokels

If you really try to add up my political views and put a label on them, you’d probably eventually describe me more in accord with the European political spectrum than the (far narrower) American spectrum, as a “civil libertarian social democrat”. Even that doesn’t do it justice; I have a philosophical anarchistic streak a mile wide, and, to make the matter more complicated, feel that national (tribal, ethnic, et al) self-identity is very, very important to people, and is often defined for people by others with their own agendas. Such agendas have included dated ideas of imperialism and colonialism, to idealistic “flat world” misguided globalism, sometimes disguised as internationalism. Thus you would find me supporting the breakdown of the Soviet Union into its more natural constituent republics, likewise “Yugoslavia”, likewise “Iraq” (which I’ll save for another time – big topic), but you’ll find me in there pitching for Tibetan self-identity, Basque national aspirations, Kurdish nationalism (not really part of the Iraq story at all), and Irish nationalism. I’d probably favor separating Darfur from the Sudan, if the inhabitants seemed to be inclined that way. I even have a weakness for Quebec’s independence from Canada. This doesn’t mean that I in any way sanction intolerance or bigotry or condemn multi-ethnic societies that work; Switzerland and for that matter the United States are living proof that societies can be, or become, multi-ethnic without either collapsing into either the extremes of intolerance or some kind of boring melting pot of homogenized people.

But, before all the liberal-types get all excited about my “advocacy of the just national aspirations of oppressed peoples,” I should say it isn’t automatically true. Some “national identities” are phony, and mask something evil under their exterior. The rise of the Confederacy in America is an example of an elaborate sham of a national cause swiftly manufactured out of a glitch not settled at the founding of the American Republic, which allowed chattel slavery to continue to exist long after the European colonialists who had foisted it upon Africa and the Americas had been thrown out of the New World, and a more-or-less deliberate misreading of the check on central authority embodied in the ‘sovereign rights of the several states’ by the slave-holding class in the South which led to succession under the banner of “states rights” concealing a desire to hold onto the inhuman involuntary servitude they found so lucrative. Even they called it “the peculiar institution” and any claim to national identity the South may have had was thoroughly eclipsed by the necessity of abolishing that institution. That it was done ineptly, leading from America’s bloodiest War (so far), on to another century of barbaric Jim Crow laws and hideous racism is yet another story I’ll save for another time. I’ll say merely that we are still feeling the effects of frustrated Southern ‘Nationalism’ and, while the story of non slave-holding southern whites (the vast majority, who bore the brunt of the Civil War carnage) is little understood, even of parts of the South that resisted either the institution of slavery, or secession, or both, in the end I don’t support a cause merely because it is couched in terms of a purported ‘national identity’.

Which brings me to our friends the Palestinians, an increasingly popular cause among liberals, especially those too young to have the stench of the ovens at Auschwitz fresh in their nostrils, not remembering the desperate struggle against the Armies of Five Arab countries to realize Jewish national aspirations in their historic homeland in 1947, and utterly and abysmally ignorant of Middle Eastern history. I do not support the Palestinian cause, not one bit. The collective p.c. police now gasp. Why not? What’s different?

I could take the “easy route” and tell you, in the interest of candor, that I am Jewish, ethnically, religiously (albeit liberal and offbeat) and a lifelong ardent Zionist, meaning, I am consistent with my views on the Kurds, Armenians, Irish, Basques, Tibetans et al, I can remember when it was only the tiny knot of ‘hard leftists’ in the shadow world of tiny Marxist parties who supported *most* nationalist causes, except the State of Israel, leading me to write the little ditty: “We support all Third World nationalist coups/Unless, of course, they’re nationalist Jews”. They hated that one. Back then, much of the hard right (then out of power since Mr. Hoover’s depression) was anti-Zionist and suspected to be (gulp) (maybe) secretly anti-Semitic. Why, even National Review was pretty down on Israel. Then, along came the evangelical right’s current (and very suspect) love affair with Israel, under the leadership of St. George Bush the Younger, leader of our noble Crusade (his word, not mine) against the, uh, “axis of evil” that well known combine of Iran, Iraq and North Korea that suddenly appeared after 9/11, though the occasional skeptic pointed out that there do not appear to have been any demented Iraqis, Iranians or – good grief – Koreans (the image borders on the humorous) aboard those hijacked doomed airplanes, turned bombs.

Whoops, I’m talking about Iraq. Back to Israel.

For years, the Israel Lobby, so-called, in an effort to endear the tiny Jewish State to a skeptical gentile world would invoke the image of ‘tiny Israel’ always on the verge of oblivion at the hands of their Arab neighbors who, at the time, were largely secular and in the deep pockets of the Soviets. Well-meaning, the Anti Defamation League invoked this image along with the Nazi Holocaust, to good effect, until the short term memory of gentile America and post-war (now entirely, courtesy of Hitler) gentile Europe anesthetized the holocaust collective guilt-trip, and Israel committed the Ultimate Sin in the ‘tiny Israel’ argument-rather than having to get saved by the U.N. or NATO or something, they *won every war they got into*. Each time the Arab countries surrounding sent classical armies into battle to –quote- drive the Jews into the Sea –unquote- tiny bits of land were lost, a bit of Egypt (the Gaza Strip) and a bit of Jordan (the West Bank) and a hill in Syria (the Golan Heights) and, for awhile, the Sinai Peninsula (which nobody wants, except a few monks, a few Bedouin) WHICH Israel returned to Egypt for a peace treaty.

Now, friends, you need to look at the map of this region for a minute from my perspective. There is this little sliver of land named “Israel” now and, except when in the hands of various uninvited Empires (British, Ottoman Turk, Byzantine, Roman, Greek, Babylonian, Assyrian and Egyptian, in reverse order, was the home land of the Jewish people, Judeans, Jews, Israelites, a little nation of Hebrew-speaking monotheistic people who are, really, the only national group ever to self-govern this land. Some truly extinct aboriginal peoples, Canaanites, Philistines, et al, long ago lived here, but that was the age of city-states with kinship affiliations rather than national identity, and even here, they were usually if not always vassals to one or another of the Empires to the North or the South. So, we have this sliver of land that map-makers have to put the name of out in the Mediterranean, called “Israel” and this great, big Arab-speaking, Islamic extension of Arabia, taken (one might mention) at sword point, stretching from the Atlantic in North Africa to the borders of Iran, the home of the “other Islam”. It has also worked itself up, for yet another historical round of Jihad, Holy War, which happens ever few hundred years. They are – essentially – one nation – one might call it “Greater Arabia” but it is the Islamic Empire, and the truth about its relationship with Israel is that this huge conglomerate simply doesn’t want the Jews in their historic homeland, any more than they want largely Christian Darfur or non-Arab Kurds to be independent. The Arabs of the West Bank were self-identified either as “Arabs” or “Jordanian Arabs” until they lost a couple of wars, got this neat idea that they were, in a shadow-parody of Zionism, an oppressed nation-state called “Palestine” and, as the Islamist medievalist religious revival swept through the Arab World (aided and abetted by U.S. foreign policy geared to Cold War with godless communism, not hot war with religious fanatics), moved from secular, more or less pro-Soviet “Pan Arab Nationalism” to a bogus con game called “Palestinian Nationalism”.

This brings us, however jerkily, to my former State Governor, the Honorable Nobel Lauriat James Earl Carter, one-term governor of Georgia and one term President of the United States. Now, we must understand that Jimmah wasn’t “the Democratic Governor of Georgia” before becoming president (in those days, there was only one party in Georgia, the Democrats. Remember, in a long-ago time, there was that unpleasantness with Lincoln, the first Republican President), any more than the “nuclear scientist” he once professed to be. He was a man of his time, the first Georgia Governor who was not a segregationist (we’ll ignore New Dealer Ellis Arnall, a brilliant anomaly in the late 1940s) and who, further, relative to his immediate predecessor, Lester Maddox, the infamous segregationist, Carter was a paragon of liberal democracy. While one could well argue that his failure to prop up the Shah of Iran, an altogether disagreeable fellow who nevertheless lived in the 20th Century and was the last bulwark against the medieval superstitious revival that started on Carter’s watch with the Ayatollah Khomeini ushering Iran back to the middle ages and setting in motion a Jihad that today threatens the whole world of decency and the values of Western Civilization since the Enlightenment of the 18th Century, Jiimah is a fond icon to the current amnesiac liberal left, desperate for heroes of the caliber of FDR or JFK, but finding its eldest statesman to serve as president to be Jiimmih Cracker.

Now, the man has done some good stuff since leaving office – his election watch stuff, his continued contribution to good black-white relations, habitat for humanity, et al. (While back home in Atlanta he was lobbying running a highway through the one alternative community in urban Atlanta’s sprawl, the varied experiments in alternative living in Little Five Points – yet another blog entry; it led to armed resistance. The road in question wasn’t to Mecca, but to the Carter Center.) I understand the need for icons in an age of pale anemic disappointments like Kerry and Gore. In the end, we now see the halcyon days of Bill Clinton as the eye of the storm started by Reagan and jumping, like a tornado, from Bush to Bush. (For the record, I voted for Clinton, Clinton, Gore and Kerry in the last 4 presidential elections.)

But Jimmy Carter was an ineffective governor, with Lester Maddox running rings around him as Lieutenant Governor. As President he ushered in the Age of Reagan by his disgraceful anemia when we could really have stopped this Jihad thing before it got started, just as Eisenhower stopped the pro-Soviet clique from overthrowing the Shah with very little difficulty in the ‘50s. But, most of all, though his civil rights record as a Southern Governor and before that as a State Senator was exemplary for a white southerner of his generation with political aspirations…before it was cool to do so is HIGHLY commendable, but the rumor started when he was running for governor, when no one outside of Georgia would have cared, and no one outside of the Jewish community (larger in the South than many think—over 100,000 in Atlanta alone) would have noticed, but *I* heard it from my mother (a very, very reliable source-besides, she lived next door to some of Carter’s cabinet officials, who seemed to congregate in the same high rise, high security condo she lived in), and then everywhere.

Jimmy Carter is an anti-Semite. Not “anti-Zionist” (he professes a ‘two-state’ solution). Something relatively rare in Georgia politics since the lynching of Leo Frank—a mainstream political figure who is, simply, anti- Semitic. “I don’t need the Jewish vote. I’ve got the Christian vote” he said, brother of an obscure evangelist that he is. More damning was his vow that he would “get the Jews” after he won the election in 1980. He didn’t. Ronald Reagan was probably wrong about…..everything, but he was more Hollywood than Skull & Bones, and one thing he was not was anti-Semitic. Carter didn’t get his chance then, but it is a crying shame that a career built on helping people should, in its twilight, be known for the new book with an old lie – an anti-Semitic tirade disguised as sympathy for the plight of the Arabs, I mean Jordanians, I mean “Palestinians” of Hammas and Al-Fatah who play at being a nation that never was and never should be, Palestine, which is no more than the Arab-Islamist beach head for driving the Jews into the sea. Again.

Jimmy Carter is a yokel.

Jimmy Carter's Jewish Problem

By Jason Maoz | November 30, 2006

For those with eyes to see, there were hints as far back as the 1976 presidential campaign of the trouble to come. Early that year, Harper’s magazine published “Jimmy Carter’s Pathetic Lies,” a devastating exposé of Carter’s record in Georgia by a then little-known journalist named Steven Brill.

Reg Murphy, who as editor of the Atlanta Constitution had kept a close eye on Carter’s rise in state politics, declared, “Jimmy Carter is one of the three or four phoniest men I ever met.”

Speechwriter Bob Shrum quit the Carter campaign after just a few weeks, disgusted with what he described as Carter’s penchant for fudging the truth. He also related that Carter, convinced the Jewish vote in the Democratic primaries would go to Senator Henry (“Scoop”) Jackson, had instructed his staff not to issue any more statements on the Middle East.

Jackson has all the Jews anyway,” Shrum quoted Carter as saying. “We get the Christians.”

Relations between Carter and Israel were tense from the outset of the Carter presidency. Carter’s hostility was evident to Israeli foreign minister Moshe Dayan, who in his memoir Breakthrough described a July 1977 White House meeting between Carter and Israeli officials. “You are more stubborn than the Arabs, and you put obstacles on the path to peace,’’ an angry Carter scolded Dayan and his colleagues.

“Our talk,” Dayan wrote, “lasted more than an hour and was most unpleasant. President Carter...launched charge after charge against Israel.”

On October 1, 1977, the U.S. and the Soviet Union unexpectedly issued a joint statement on the Middle East calling for an Arab-Israeli peace conference in Geneva, with the participation of Palestinian representatives. The communiqué marked the first time the U.S. officially employed the phrase “legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.”

Reaction in the U.S. was immediate and furious. “[A] political firestorm erupted,” wrote historian Steven Spiegel. “After American officials had worked successfully for years to reduce Russian influence over the Mideast peace process and in the area as whole, critics could not understand why the administration had suddenly invited Moscow to return.”

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, who five years earlier had expelled thousands of Soviet military advisers from Egypt, neither liked nor trusted the Russians, and decided to kill the U.S.-Soviet initiative in the womb. His decision to go to Jerusalem to address the Knesset electrified the world and caught the Carter administration completely off guard.

Eventually the U.S. would broker what became known as the Camp David Accords and oversee the signing of the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. But Carter was far from a dispassionate third party. His disdain for Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and near hero-worship of Sadat were clearly reflected in his demeanor and has informed nearly everything he’s written on the Middle East since leaving office.

In The Unfinished Presidency, his book about Carter’s post-White House activities, the liberal historian Douglas Brinkley provides a detailed account of the former president’s obsession with helping Palestinian terror chief Yasir Arafat polish his image. Carter, according to Brinkley, regularly advised Arafat on how to shape his message for Western journalists and even wrote some speeches for him.

Carter was also a vocal critic of Israeli policies and “view[ed] the unarmed young Palestinians who stood up against thousands of Israel soldiers as ‘instant heroes,’” wrote Brinkley. “Buoyed by the intifada, Carter passed on to the Palestinians, through Arafat, his congratulations.”

Former New York mayor Ed Koch, in his 1984 bestseller Mayor, recounted a conversation he had shortly before the 1980 election with Cyrus Vance, who’d recently resigned as Carter’s secretary of state. Koch told Vance that many Jews would not be voting for Carter because they feared “that if he is reelected he will sell them out.”

“Vance,” recalled Koch, “nodded and said, ‘He will.’ ”

In Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the U.S.-Israeli Covert Relationship, Andrew and Leslie Cockburn revealed that during a March 1980 meeting with his senior political advisers, Carter, discussing his fading reelection prospects and his sinking approval rating in the Jewish community, snapped, “If I get back in, I’m going to [expletive] the Jews.”

Carter – such was the country’s good fortune – did not get back in. But as evidenced by his years of pro-Palestinian advocacy, reams of anti-Israel op-ed articles, and the release last week of his latest book/screed, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, he’s been trying to [expletive] the Jews ever since.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Where To Start

My Three Sons, My Mother, and Me, 1996

This blog is a "fresh start" for me. The astrology-minded would say I've had a particularly difficult 'second Saturn Return'. I'd say someone as youth-culture oriented as me is just not cool with being 60. 50 was fine. I kinda enjoyed joining AARP, "playing at" not being the younger-than-I-look street fighting stand-up philosopher I like to see myself as. But this last year has been saying, to ill-quote my fellow alta cockers, the Rolling Stones, "time ain't on my side, no it ain't!" and I have to accommodate at least some the realities of the fantasist-idealist I like to be, to the reality I am coming.

Meaning no disrespect, but starting this the day after James Brown, my homey from Augusta, passed on, and the Day the Warren Commission finally closed forever with the death of Gerald Ford, is, in this one sense at least, fitting -- end of the calendar year, end of two icons of "my time" and end of all the energy I've put the last twenty years into a fraternity that turned out to be the stuff dreams are made of, turned to nightmares, turned to dust.

I'm calling myself henry_allen here, and that will do. I suppose someone sooner or later will recognize me from my former cyber-incarnation going back to the early days of the Internet. My interests are my interests, my face is my face, I am a bit of a poet, yarn spinner, my wife hates me calling myself (after Mel Brooks in "History of the World Part One" a Stand Up Philosopher, but that, for better or worse, pretty much sums up what I am. A bit of a poet, a bit of a writer, a bit of a warrior, a bit of a rogue, tryin' to make sense of it all.

Hello, blogger.