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More looniness to report this week from our friends on the left, who since Sept. 11 have put to rest the notion that their habitual opposition to virtually any U.S. military action would dissipate the moment the country came under actual attack from a foreign enemy.
As the Monitor has amply documented in a recent series of columns, legions of the country’s most prominent left-wingers have, over these past two months, exposed themselves – to anyone who still doubted – as haters of America first and foremost or as blithering idiots with no discernible understanding of the way the world works.
Straddling both of the aforementioned categories is the bloated, buffoonish figure of Norman Mailer, arguably the most overrated American literary figure in recent memory; a man who over the course of a career spanning more than 50 years has turned out a couple of fair-to-good novels, a few memorable works of non-fiction … and an embarrassingly hefty measure of pretentious and wordy slop, some of it merely mediocre, too much of it breathtakingly bad.
Here is Mailer’s take on recent events, delivered late last month at a gathering in the Netherlands: “The World Trade Center was not just an architectural monstrosity, but also terrible for people who didn’t work there, for it said to all those people: ‘If you can’t work up here, boy, you’re out of it.’ That’s why I’m sure that if those towers had been destroyed without loss of life, a lot of people would have cheered.
“Everything wrong with America led to the point where the country built that tower of Babel, which consequently had to be destroyed.”
Sickening, right? Wait, Mailer was just warming up.
“And then came the next shock,” he blathered on. “We had to realize that the people that did this were brilliant…. Americans can’t admit that you need courage to do such a thing. For that might be misunderstood. The key thing is that we in America are convinced that it was blind, mad fanatics who didn’t know what they were doing. But what if those perpetrators were right and we were not? We have long ago lost the capability to take a calm look at the enormity of our enemy’s position.”
A similarly sagacious response to Sept. 11 and its aftermath comes from the Marxist historian Howard Zinn, a man literally incapable of saying a good word about the U.S. (For proof of that, log on to the website www.booknotes.org, select “archives,” pick the year 2000, scroll down to March 12, and click to read a transcript of a lengthy discussion between Zinn and Booknotes host Brian Lamb. Whenever Lamb tried to get Zinn to say anything – anything – positive about his own country, Zinn would become absolutely incoherent.)
“How,” asked Zinn in a recent letter to The Nation magazine, “can a war be ‘truly just’ that involves the daily killing of civilians; that is terrorizing the people of Afghanistan, causing hundreds of thousands to leave their homes to escape the bombs; that has little chance of finding those who planned the September 11 attacks (and even if found, no chance that this would stop terrorism; and that can only multiply the ranks of people who are angry at this country, from whose ranks terrorists are born?
“….The ‘war against terrorism’ has become a war against innocent men, women and children, who are in no way responsible for the terrorist attack on New York…. Use the money allotted our huge military machine to combat starvation and disease around the world. One-third of our military budget would provide water and sanitation facilities for the billion people worldwide who have none.
“Let us be a more modest nation. The modest nations of the world don’t face the threat of terrorism. Let us pull back from being a military superpower and become a humanitarian superpower. We, and everyone else, will then be more secure.”
Jason Maoz can be reached at email@example.com
About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.
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Obama went to begin the Arab Spring in Egypt which is still his target; Israel is just the lever.
Qatar’s wealth and Turkey’s size should not preclude us from telling it as it is: Qatar and Turkey are among the worst villains in the Gaza tragedy.
New Delhi would do well to remain aware of the predicament of Israel today.
his Tisha B’Av, and this Tu B’Av, remember: Hashem will protect us if we unite and rally around Him
Israel’s morality is underscored by its unprecedented restraint and care for loss of life.
The Gazan octopus arm is a test case, as the rest of the arms are closely watching it.
Obama has chosen shaky ally on the way out over strong ally solidly in the American orbit.
World War I had sown chaos throughout the centuries-old Jewish communities of Eastern Europe.
The IDF pounding continued and it again seemed only a matter of time before Hamas would be forced to accept the Egyptian proposal.
Nothing is ever so clear in the complex and often brutal calculus of urban warfare.
These are not necessarily the best all-around biographies or studies of the individual presidents listed (though some rank right up there), but the strongest in terms of exploring presidential attitudes and policies toward Israel.
What really makes one wonder about the affinity felt by certain Jews for Grant was the welcome mat he put out for some of the country’s most pernicious anti-Semites.
With 2013 marking half a century since Kennedy’s fateful limousine ride in Dallas, the current revels are exceeding the revisionist frenzies of years past, with a seemingly endless parade of books, articles and television specials designed to assure us that, despite everything that has come to light about him since his death, JFK was a great president, or at least a very good president who would have been great had his life not been so cruelly cut short.
As someone who for the past fifteen years has been writing a column that largely focuses on the news media, I’ve read what is no doubt an altogether unhealthy number of books on the subject. Most of them were instantly forgettable while some created a brief buzz but failed to pass the test of time. And then there were those select few that merited a permanent spot on the bookshelf.
George W. Bush has been getting some positive media coverage lately, with recent polls showing him at least as popular as his successor, Barack Obama, and a big new book about the Bush presidency by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker (Days of Fire, Doubleday) portraying Bush as a much more hands-on chief executive than his detractors ever imagined.
Readers who’ve stuck with the Monitor over the years will forgive this rerun of sorts, but as we approach the fortieth anniversary of the Yom Kippur War – and with the stench of presidential indecisiveness hanging so heavily over Washington these days – it seemed only appropriate to revisit Richard Nixon’s role in enabling Israel to recover from the staggering setbacks it suffered in the first week of fighting.
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