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A Couple Of Points To Ponder


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Ditzy Dowd: Kudos to Andrew Sullivan for exposing the hypocrisy of Maureen Dowd, who, along with fellow New York Times op-ed columnists Nicholas Kristof and Paul Krugman, eats, sleeps and breathes hatred of George W. Bush.

Sullivan, whose blog (www.andrewsullivan.com) finished among the top twenty websites as chosen by readers of the Monitor last September, came upon a very revealing column written by Madame Dowd some six years ago. Given her non-stop mockery of the very notion that Saddam Hussein may have had weapons of mass destruction, it’s instructive to see how Dowd viewed the threat of WMD in the hands of Saddam when it was Bill Clinton who was occupying the Oval Office (presumably in the company of sometime intern and ministering adviser Monica L.)

“Guess what [Dowd's] concern was?” asks a clearly delighted Sullivan. “That the Clinton administration was too weak to deal with a strongman like Saddam!” The following is a sampling of the goodies from that 1997 column:

“Suddenly there are fears about Iraqi crop dusters spraying death on the Mall, about the nation’s capital being another Nagasaki…. Having covered President Bush’s efforts to demonize the Iraqis, I understood the motive behind Secretary Cohen’s alarmist performance art. We are talking about a world-class monster who strangles people with his bare hands, gasses entire villages, assassinates members of his family and uses babies as shields. Wondering if the Clinton crowd has the spine for its first big crisis is giving me a bad case of the jits. The suspicion lingers about these alumni of make-love-not-war that they are not entirely comfortable with things military…. Even with George Bush’s sometimes scattered style and Colin Powell’s inhibition about the use of force, the Bush-Baker-Cheney-Powell-Schwarzkopf team still gave the impression of command…. I want Madeleine Albright, the most virile of the lot, to stop wearing picture hats around the Mideast. Saddam Hussein is not threatening Ascot. I fret that toothy Tony Blair is no Iron Lady.”

Sullivan’s take on all this? “All this reveals,” he writes, “is that it’s a little futile attempting to criticize Maureen Dowd. She’ll write anything that comes into her head at the moment. There’s no argument, no thread of consistency that I can glean from one moment to the next. If the Clintonites are in power, they’re wimps in the face of Saddam’s threat; if the Bushies are in power, they’re testosterone-crazed imperialists, hyping Saddam’s threat.”

Likud-on-the-Potomac: Something the Monitor admits to being baffled by is the persistent under-appreciation in the pro-Israel Orthodox Jewish community of the highly unusual degree of sympathy toward – and identification with - the State of Israel that permeates the inner circles of the Bush administration.

Simply put, there never has been an American administration with anywhere near the sheer number of individuals - Jewish and non-Jewish – who are not just generally supportive of Israel in the usual politically smart Washington sense, but are actually deeply in sync with the worldview found on the secular Israeli Right.

That doesn’t mean, as a letter to the editor published in this newspaper week before last pointed out, that the administration hasn’t had - and won’t still have - its differences with the Israeli government, or that President Bush should be expected to rubber stamp each and every Israeli policy or action.

What it does mean, though, is that after the administration of Bill Clinton, peopled with Peace Now-type Jewish advisers and conventional State Department figures like Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright, and the administration of the first President Bush, whose foreign policy was formulated by the likes of James Baker and Brent Scowcroft, this administration has been a pleasant revelation for proponents of a strong Israel who expected a business-as-usual approach from the White House.

It should warm the heart of any hardliner when someone like Michelle Goldberg of Salon.com writes (disapprovingly), as she did last week, that “the Bush administration routinely raids right-wing, pro-Ariel Sharon think tanks to fill foreign policy positions.”

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.


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