Friday, February 18, 2005

Iraq - And More

Jay Nordlinger comments on Iraq, Mark Steyn and more.

I was reading an op-ed piece by Fareed Zakaria in the Washington Post, and he began by quoting Jon Stewart, the comedian, who said, "We did it! We had the election. And now we can say to Iraq, 'Goodbye!'"

The words "We did it!" brought me up short. I thought, "What do you mean, we?"

It will be just like the Cold War, I think. George W. Bush and his allies will make progress in the Middle East, and then, with selective amnesia, those who fought Bush & Co. tooth and nail will say, "We, we, we." We liberalized Afghanistan, we liberalized Iraq, blah, blah, blah.

If it had been up to Jon Stewart and his ilk, that election in Iraq would never have taken place.

"We did it!" indeed.

And he quotes Steyn.

May I give you a little Mark Steyn? You never object to a little Mark Steyn, do you? I wish to quote from his recent Spectator essay.

Steyn notes that Sir Simon Jenkins has written, "The neocon bragging over a 'beacon of democracy' now being raised over the Muslim world is absurd. There were active, contested elections in Palestine in 1996, Egypt in 2000 . . . "

Steyn interjects,

Whoa, hold it right there. C'mon, man, the winner of Egypt's 2000 election was never in any doubt (though I note that in the 1995 Egyptian elections more people were killed than on Iraq's polling day). As for Palestine, Sir Simon complains that "America refused to acknowledge Yasser Arafat as a democrat." Maybe that's because he was elected in 1996 to a five-year term: You do the math. He stayed on till he died — and, indeed, if the rumors coming out of that French hospital were true, for several days after he died. If he hadn't been carried out by the handles in the ninth year of his five-year term, he'd doubtless be planning big public festivities to mark its tenth anniversary. If Bush were to stay on till, oh, 2011, I doubt that Sir Simon would be eager to acknowledge Dubya as a democrat. The fact is the Europeans' willingness to string along with that kind of sham "democracy" is one reason why Arafat felt under no pressure to change his ways.

Steyn continues,

Arafat fetishization was embarrassing enough when the old monster was still around to slobber all over fawning emissaries from the EU and the Vatican and teary-eyed BBC correspondents. But the thing is he's dead now. Even the Palestinians have moved on. Contempt for the Iraqi electorate is all very well, but frantically trying to jump-start Arafat's corpse to prove your point makes you look as dead as he is. You can't flog a dead horse, even if it's an Arab. And you don't have to subscribe to popular regional theories that the Zionist Entity poisoned him to recognize that Arafat did more for "the Middle East peace process" by dying than he'd done in the previous 40 years. If any kind of peace is to be forced on the Palestinians, it's going to be closer to the Bush-Rice vision of things than the EU Arafat-pandering.


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