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Ideology helps determines what people believe and whom they support. Some of my liberal friends, as fine as one can hope to know, also tend to assume more decency in adversaries than I believe warranted. Exploiting people's inclinations, politicians promise what audiences like to hear. Audiences assume that those promises, if put into law, would work. Would they?
Let's consider in that context just two issues:
(1) The media that urges negotiations; and
(2) Negotiation with our enemies.
The New York Times is a major source of my friends' news and opinion. I read it too, but am dubious about its rendition of holy war. More than a decade ago, I spent two years studying the subject, before writing about it. I read or scanned hundreds of thousands of pages on international law, history of the Arab-Israel conflict, and Islamic policy towards other faiths. Included were several books about media bias against Israel and a lecture series about Times bias.
In those days, few writers were tendentious, as they are today. They were scholars. I emerged from my study versed in the context and the historical record against which to weigh statements by politicians and accounts by newspapers.
The New York Times has many magazine-like sections of general interest, but it is not a news paper –– it seeks to mold public opinion by slanting its presentation. Times bias is of false statements, misleading figures, or omissions that survive readers' correction and are one-sided in favor of the Arabs, in headlines, photographs, news items, and editorials. Too much one way for coincidence.
Many of my articles, perhaps hundreds, analyze Times bias
against Israel. The bias started long ago, when the publishers were
Reform Jews. They worried about being accused of dual loyalty.
Accordingly, they distanced themselves from Jewish causes. Hence they
downplayed the Holocaust. But they also had downplayed Soviet
oppression. Their Soviet correspondent, I think it was Walter Duranty,
ignored, minimized, or excused Stalin's purges of millions of people.
The same newspaper missed Castro's Communist oppression until obvious.
It repeated the error with other Communists in Latin America.
Disreputable! Yes. Reliable? No.
TIMES BIAS IS SUBTLE, PERHAPS SEEMING EVEN-HANDED. Even-handedness, itself, is a form of bias when one side is the aggressor. The Times may even advocate a step "for Israel's own good." Correspondent Anthony Lewis used to do that, when he wasn't demonizing Israel. The newspaper doesn't call outright for the destruction of Israel but for conditions that would accomplish it indirectly, by enabling the Arabs to do it directly. The bias is invidious to folks who haven't studied media bias and aren't acquainted with Mideastern history. Such folks mean well but their opinions are manipulated by unscrupulous media.
A few of the standard Times propaganda techniques that favor
the Arabs: (1) Plant the impression that Israel seized "Arab land"
in 1967, by omitting the story; (2) Falsely labels Abbas "moderate"
or "peaceful," though he is a jihadist who is intransigence in
negotiations and advocates violence; (3) Keep readers ignorant of
Islamic ideology and tactics, such as its brutality, persistence, and
duplicity, bear on the utility of negotiations; (4) Quote baseless
Arab complaints at length, emotionally, and unchallenged, but quote
Israelis briefly, dryly, and with implied doubt unless those Israelis
are leftists. How many liberal readers of the Times know that
to Islam, the "peace process" is a ruse, and that the Muslims follow
the phased plan for the conquest of Israel, whereby what their
negotiators wrest from Israel they will use as a base for conquering
the rest of Israel? None I know. That plan was devised by Arafat, a
terrorist whom the Times nevertheless called moderate and a foe of the
terrorism he was promoting it, as does Abbas.
WHAT ABOUT NEGOTIATIONS? When I was young, liberals were anti-Communist. They had learned that negotiations with the Nazis made gains for the Nazis and negotiations with the Communists made gains for the Communists, and setted nothing. We called negotiations and concessions "appeasement." Both the Nazis and the Communists were too fanatical to keep agreements. Liberals then were willing still to negotiate with the USSR, but insisted that any agreement be easy to enforce and brought small expectation.
Experience with earlier totalitarian imperialists is applicable to contemporary totalitarian imperialists, the Islamists. However, the people who call themselves liberals these days have not assimilated the lessons.
My friend puts it, "One has to negotiate with one's enemies." It's more complicated than that. I think that in her basic decency, she doesn't recognize the basic indecency of fanatical, aggressive, totalitarians. She knows Western idealism and ways of thinking and all its faults. She does not know that the Arabs and other Muslims have a different way of thinking. Their ethics and ideals we consider evil. Islam certainly endorses violence and duplicity. Their faults far outweigh those of the modern West. If liberals better understood this, they would be more cautious about negotiations.
The US and proxies have negotiated for years with N. Korea, Iran, Iraq, and the Palestinian Arabs. Nevertheless, liberals accuse the Bush administration of failing to negotiate. They also accuse it of lying. Don't they realize that their accusation that he fails to negotiate is not true? Bush found that negotiating with such enemies doesn't work. They call him stupid, but fail to learn what he found out. (He is not consistent in this, however, because: (1) Our forces were reduced; (2) His opponents restrain him; and (3) On the Arab-Israel conflict, he accepts the anti-Zionist line of the State Dept..) Negotiations might work if backed by a credible threat to use force. However, liberals don't want the US to use force. Their stricture undermines the negotiations that they demand, by reducing them to weak discussions that the enemy does not fear.
What kind of governments and societies are those of N. Korea, Iran, Iraq, and the Palestinian Arabs? N. Korea follows an ideology that causes mass-starvation and shoots dissenters or puts them into a gulag.
The Iranian people disapprove of their rulers, except for their nuclear development for "prestige." The rulers shut down dissenting newspapers and candidates, train and arm terrorist militias to destabilize countries in the Mideast, and advocate nuclear war for the benefit of Islam.
Both Iraq and Iran were anti-Zionist. Iraq committed aggression and fostered terrorism abroad. In its war on Iran, both countries bombed each other's cities, and Saddam poison-gassed Iranians. He also used poison gas against his Kurds, in an attempt to wipe them out. Saddam used to shoot aides who weren't sufficiently agreeable to his proposals. He had dogs eat children in front of their parents. His crazy son used to grab women for his own use, and murder them when finished. Considering that, Saddam's nuclear arming was not acceptable.
The Palestinian Arabs devote their schools, media, mosques, and children's camps to jihad. Their preachers, including those in the so-called moderate area, regularly call Jews apes and pigs, to be destroyed. (Traditionally, Islam let Jews live if they paid a special tax and accepted inferior status. The Islamists have turned to genocide.) Islam holds that any area once conquered by Islam belongs to Islam and it is legitimate to make war to retrieve it, using any means. The Islamists are pressing a vigorous form of jihad.
Are those people with whom we can negotiate peace? Are you kidding? They don't believe in peace. Let us not be deluded about that!
There comes a time when such enemies become a menace that must be stopped. The results of negotiating rather than stopping such rogue states were that N. Korea developed nuclear weapons, Iran is about to, Iraq was rearming after Gulf War I, and the Palestinian Arabs came to agreements all of which they violated, including their persistence in propaganda that defames the Jewish people racially and advocates their mass-murder.
The Bush administration does not give up on negotiations with the P.A., but that is to its discredit. It persists because it hopes to pressure weak Israeli regimes to cave in to Arab demands. Would peace come from putting the Arabs in control of strategic Jewish territory? Less than the previous peace agreements brought peace. Less, because the new agreement would put the Muslims in a stronger position for making war. It is Islamic ideology to make agreements that position one for making war when convenient, regardless of pledges to make peace. Why don't our liberal friends know this? I think it is because the newspaper on which they depend, having taken up the Arab position against Zionism, does not go into such embarrassing facts.
When I mention the results of negotiations with N. Korea, Iran, Iraq, the PLO, the USSR, and the Third Reich, liberals fall silent. Psychologically, it is a form of intellectual dishonesty to maintain silence in the face of an argument that demonstrates the fallacy of one's position. An intellectual discussion should come to grips with the issues, not just recite one's points.
I make the mistake of presenting a case, instead of asking the liberals to make theirs beyond mere assertion. I should ask them questions, so they have to find reasons for their assertions or abandon them.
Here is a key question. After a decade of negotiating with Iran,
during which Iran made many agreements, broke all it promises, and
continues to develop nuclear weapons with which it threatens Israel,
what more could the US say to persuade Iran to end its bellicosity and
its nuclear development? My friends have no suggestions for our
diplomats. What might persuade fanatical enemies?
WHAT ARE WE TO DO? Just criticize the Bush administration (and give a free pass to the Clinton administration, because Clinton was a Democrat)? War, they not prohibit. Help Iranians overthrow their government and regain their liberty and moderation? Oh, no, we should not do that, the liberals say, though, somewhat self-contradictorily, they blame the US for supporting some dictatorships. Impose sanctions? China and Russia don't allow much of that and there is too much globalization (extended competition) to make it stick. Offer money? Iran has as much as we, and spurns it. N. Korea, which is broke, accepts such offers but reneges on its end of the deal. Iran may have a nuclear bomb within a year. Too bad Israel is likely to get destroyed before my liberal friends realize what is easy to figure out if one is conversant with history.
I don't have a formal ideology, just ideals of justice, basically,
Jewish ideals. I share with my liberal friends an abhorrence of
genocide. We want the genocide in Sudan ended. They complain that the
Bush administration does not do much about it and they complain that
it does not work much with other countries about such matters. They
are misinformed, by The New York Times.
What's the real story? The US brings up in the UNO many issues about oppression, but China and Russia keep the Security Council from acting on it and few other countries join the US on it. Darfur is one such issue. Do the liberals conclude that the US does speak out, and that the UNO is useless? No, they condemn Pres. Bush. They prefer the W. European leaders, who oppose decent US proposals, sometimes out of immature spite. They prefer W. Europe, which proliferated nuclear weapons development when the US tried to keep the lid on it. Is preferring Europe realistic? Is that going to do any good?
If the US made war on Sudan, what military forces would we draw on? Ours already are stretched thin. Do liberals suggest raising larger forces? No. Then how would we stop the genocide?
Consider the genocide we did stop. We stopped Saddam from wiping out millions of Kurds and Shiites in Iraq. Do my liberal friends take comfort in that achievement? No. They condemn Pres. Bush for it. They condemn him for having done in Iraq what they want him to do in Sudan. They are inconsistent. Their misplaced idealism can let millions be killed by genocidal fanatics on the ground and from nuclear missiles in the air. They turn us into sitting ducks for an Islamist death cult.
The irony is that the nicest of well-meaning people can get us conquered by mass-murderers.
Richard Shulman is a veteran defender of Israel on several
web-based forums. His comments and analyses appear regularly in
Think-Israel. He provides cool information and right-on-target
overviews. He distributes his essays by email. To subscribe, write him
Richard Shulman is a veteran defender of Israel on several web-based forums. His comments and analyses appear regularly in Think-Israel. He provides cool information and right-on-target overviews. He distributes his essays by email. To subscribe, write him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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