Thursday, February 01, 2007

Russia, Qatar Can't Make Hamas Respectable

When Hamas scored a surprise victory in Palestinian elections last year, I, for one, had hoped it would mark a turn in that organization, that it would move toward respectability by entering more into the mainstream. I didn't expect it would recognize Israel right away, but I hoped it would move in that direction.

Alas, the organization is just as foolish and extreme as it ever was. It has turned Gaza and the West Bank toward the kind of sectarian violence that afflicts Iraq, and it has proven itself not an organization worthy of any respect. Now, not a day goes by but that it is engaged in terrorism, not only against Israel, but against fellow Muslims and Christian Palestinians.

How ironic, indeed, that the net consequence of al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Mahdi army and other assorted Muslim crazies is that Muslims are killing Muslims by the many thousands while the non-Muslim world looks on aghast. When American and British liberals accuse the Bush Administration of starting all of this, I cannot agree. The chief responsibility for the present grim situation lies with the Muslim extremists of various stripes. It is contemptible that the rest of the Muslim world doesn't speak out against the carnage. It makes you wonder how many Muslims are really moderate.

Now, in the latest twist of the Arab-Israeli conflict, some outsiders, such as the Russians or the Emir of Qatar, are suggesting that Israel should initiate talks with Hamas.

What is there to talk about at this point? When someone launches a drive-by shooting at your house, or guns down your children, or blows up structures in suicide bombings, there is no point in talking with them. They must be confronted, arrested, imprisoned, and, if they keep firing, killed.

Now, that is what not only the Israelis but the Fatah organization, the former PLO, are doing. Every day in Gaza and the West Bank, more Hamas terrorists are killed.

It is discouraging, moreover, to observe the Putin regime in Russia drifting back toward support of various Muslim extremists, be it Hamas, Syria or Iran, the same position the old Soviet Union had. One would have thought that after the Chechen war, the Russians would have realized these people are far outside the normal realm of world politics, and cannot be treated as if they were part of it.


Two articles in the L.A. Times in recent days are worthy of special commendation.

First, when the race horse Barbaro had to be euthanized, Times sports columnist Bill Dwyre wrote a wonderful article about public admiration of the horse and the long, costly medical struggle to save him. This time, unlike Dwyre's original Barbaro column at the Preakness, the Times editors wisely put it on page one, recognizing this was a major story. Dwyre's effort contrasted with T.J. Simers' sports column the following day asking what the fuss was about, and depicting Barbaro as no different than a squirrel which had been run over. Despite all the complimentary e-mails Simers later printed for his work, he could not escape furthering the impression that he is an insensitive lout, and not as funny as some think he is.

Second, Tim Rutten had an excellent book review on Chalmer Johnson's latest book attempting to shovel America into the ash bin of history. Rutten's book reviews are almost uniformly good.

The Dwyre and Rutten articles show that even under David Hiller and James O'Shea, the L.A. Times remains capable of doing some things right.



Anonymous Jim Fulton said...

I"ve always wondered why a great newspaper keeps T.J. Simers as a columnist who strains to be funny about his boring family, constantly plugs his daughter's radio show and punishes in print those sports figures who won't appear on it.
If this is the kind of quality the Times stands for, then let the Tribune cost-cutters do their thing.

2/01/2007 8:53 PM  
Blogger Big B said...

I like Simers, but maybe it's time for a change. His shtick has grown old in LA it sounds like,(from a distance).

2/04/2007 4:37 PM  

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