Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Terrorists Are Indeed Bloodthirsty And Barbaric

On a morning when Algerian authorities are reporting 30 dead from two new al-Qaeda bombings, one at the Prime Minister's office, it seems appropriate to make a point about a comment on yesterday's blog.

This anonymous comment calls me "more than hypocritical" for being critical of Don Imus' racist remark about the Rutgers women's basketball team, after on other occasions assailing Arab groups with what he terms "hate" accusations of being barbaric and bloodthirsty.

It is not hypocritical to draw distinctions between evils. The Imus remark was destructive of racial harmony and respect in the United States, and the preseverant and admirable Rutgers basketball team was a foul target.

But the al-Qaeda and other terrorists in the Arab world are unquestionably evil, barbaric and bloodthirsty, as I've said, and these groups deserve to be annihilated, just like the Nazis were. It is not racist, but a recognition of facts, dismal as they may be, to insist that "moderate" Muslims stand up against the terrorists, just as we admired the German officers who tried to assassinate Hitler, and the courageous students, Hans and Sophie Scholl, who resisted him and paid with their lives. After all, Hitler ended up by destroying the lives of millions of Germans, not just Jews, Poles, Russians, gypsies and others. And the terrorists today are slaughtering thousands of fellow-Arabs, not just American, British and Israeli soldiers.

Liberals, conservatives, all of us, have to deplore in the srongest terms acts such as took place in Algeria today, and are taking place every day in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Holy Land as bloodthirsty and barbaric. Not successfully quelling them can only mean their spread throughout the world. That is why U.S. troops are fighting. We owe them not only our thanks, but our sacrifices. Honor to them!

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Three articles yesterday in the Los Angeles Times and New York Times represented everything journalists do that is so valuable to American democracy. They certainly deserve the highest commendation.

First, above all, was the unforgettable account of his four and a half years of reporting in Iraq by Borzou Daragahi, who has moved on to a new foreign post in Beirut. This long article, "Layers of truth and life in Iraq," appeared on Page 1 of the L.A. Times and carried over to two inside pages. Everyone ought to read it, because it describes everything reporters are up against in this nasty war. Every American owes Daragahi and so many other reporters a great debt for what they have been doing to keep us informed. Daragahi, an Iranian-American, used every wile at his command to do his duty in the Baghdad bureau of the L.A. Times. He is a candidate in my book for journalist of the year. (L.A. Times editor Dean Baquet won it last year).

On the same Page 1 in the L.A. Times yesterday was a comprehensive article by Times reporter Nicholas Riccardi on the career and presidential campaign of Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico. Richardson, who added to his distinguished career just this week with his latest visit to North Korea, where he conducted discussions with North Korean officials on the denuclearizing of that country, and brought home also the remains of six American soldiers killed in the Korean war, is not as well known as other Democratic candidates, such as Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards. But he may well be better qualified to assume the presidency than any of them. As such, one can only hope his candidacy gains traction. Riccardi has done a good job of indicating why this would be desirable.

Finally, a column on the New York Times Op-Ed page by Bob Herbert told the shocking story of what happened to a six-year-old girl, Desre'e Watson, when she threw a tantrum at an elementary school in Avon Park, Fla. , which Herbert pointedly describes as "a small, backward city." The ignorant school officials in this benighted place summoned the police and the little girl was taken to jail where police said she would be treated as a felon. They handcuffed her by the biceps, since her wrists were too small. Watson is black, certainly raising the question of whether she would have been subject to such treatment if she were white. We can't be sure, but I think not.

I think it's likely that none of these stories would have been as effective on television, certainly not in the same form. It's yet another proof of why we need newspapers.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous McRib said...

If Don Imus's mother had taught him manners, those words would not have crossed his lips. For someone who looks like a girl, he should choose his words more carefully.

4/11/2007 12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sir, your words calling for violence and annihilation clearly reveal that the barbarian is you.

4/12/2007 9:41 AM  

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