Thursday, August 18, 2005

Crazies, here, there and ...

Columnist Max Boot recently wrote, "Hamastan? Gaza pullout worth the risk ...For almost 40 years, the conceit has been growing around the world that Palestinian terrorism can be explained and even excused by Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This was always a dubious proposition in light of the fact that Arabs have been fighting Israel since its formation in 1948, not since its conquest by those territories in 1967. The PLO began its attacks while the West Bank was still part of Jordan and gthe Gaza Strip was part of Egypt."

Actually, there is a mountain of such conceits. Thomas Friedman once suggested that each side has to find the fortitude to "face down its crazies" to break the logjam. One side is now doing just that and Friedman and all those who cling to even-handedness -- and substitute mythical symmetry for analysis will have to regroup.

Symmetry is a stretch and it is dubious that anyone on the Arab side will soon face down their crazies. In fact, the nuts are often the ones in charge.

It has been suggested and debated that democracies do not make war on democracies. In that debate, the bar was set high by the suggestion that there were no exceptions. Excellent odds would not be bad. When will there be democracy on the other side?

If not in our lives, then a combination of walls, regroupings and focused offense may be all that is left. This seems to be the policy. It has, of course, to be wrapped in hopeful rhetoric. The plan, after all, must also face down the crazies among friends and international elite opinion.