The Daily Whim

The Daily Whim

Sat. Apr 27, 2002

QuoteLog, 4/27

QuoteLog, 4/27"The people of the United States should take solace, even pride, in the fact that their views on the violence in the Middle East are completely at odds with the opinions of the United Nations, the continent of Europe and most of their own media. Since early April, various opinion polls have been asking Americans essentially the same questions about the blood-stained standoff between Israel and the Palestinians. Their responses, excerpted here, have held remarkably steady throughout, with answers that make clear they understand the meaning of terror and do so in numbers that make the ’margin of error’ irrelevant [...] In the otherwordly moral calculus of post World War II Europe and much media-which these polls suggest is beyond the ken of most Americans-self-evident atrocities such as the Passover suicide bombing are mere stories in the wreckage of the news. But a military counter-strike is a human rights abuse. We have arrived at a point in international affairs at which the degraded concept of moral equivalence would be a step toward the sunshine. It may well be true that Americans born after World War II lost their innocence about the world on September 11, but how fortunate that when this nation is attacked and finds itself in a long, grim war with an enemy dedicated to killing civilians, its people are not so easily diverted by the kind of casuistry, salami-slicing, needle-dancing, opportunism and moral myopia that has gripped the world’s opinion-shaping institutions."

Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal

"You’d have to have a heart of stone not to be weeping with laughter at the scenes of France’s snot-nosed political elite huffily denouncing Sunday’s result as an insult to the honour of the Republic. I was in Paris a couple of weeks ago and I well remember the retired French diplomat who assured me that a man like George W. Bush is simply not possible in our politics. For a creature of such crude, simplistic and extreme views to be one of the two principal candidates in a presidential election would be inconceivable here. Inconceivable! Please, no giggling [...] A century and a half ago, Tsar Nicholas I described Turkey as the sick man of Europe. Today, the sick man of Europe is the European—the urbane Continental princelings like Chirac and Michel, gliding from capital to capital building their Eutopia, oblivious to the popular will except on those rare occasions, such as Sunday, when the people do something so impertinent they finally catch the eye of their haughty matre d’. I’ve said before that September 11th will prove to be like the Archduke’s assassination in Sarajevo—one of those events that shatters the known world. To the list of polities destined to slip down the Eurinal of history, we must add the European Union and France’s Fifth Republic. The only question is how messy their disintegration will be."

Mark Steyn, National Post

"France can hardly contain its contempt for that muscle-bound naif, the American hyperpower, stomping around the world in search of evildoers. The French roll their eyes at such primitive moralism, so devoid of Gallic nuance. How inconvenient, then, that the same French have just put on the presidential ballot Jean-Marie Le Pen, the modern incarnation of European fascism. Le Pen defeated the Socialist prime minister for second place, making him a runoff candidate for president of the Fifth Republic [...] Israel—that sh——little country, as the French ambassador to Britain recently said at a London dinner party. Why should we be in danger of World War III because of those people? This contemptuous sneer at those people occasioned a minor scandal. No, the scandal was not the ambassador’s statement but the hostess’s indiscretion in revealing it—and then adding how utterly commonplace the ambassador’s sentiment had become in London’s better circles [...] The French were the vanguard of this modern anti-Semitism that can tolerate the Jew as victim but not as historical actor. It was 35 years ago at the outbreak of the Six Day War that Charles de Gaulle cut off French support for Israel, denouncing its audacity in fighting for its life over his objections."

Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post

"In separate interviews Wednesday, the sergeant and another Israeli reservist who fought in Jenin, Sgt. Shlomi Lanyado, offered a detailed account of the battle from the perspective of the Israeli forces [...] The soldiers described a lack of preparation by Israeli reservists. They were hastily mustered from civilian life less than two weeks before, and were told to expect a Palestinian surrender within three days, the sergeants said. They spent barely a day rehearsing the operation. They also described the trauma of losing close friends in battle. They expressed grudging admiration for a mostly unseen enemy that had meticulously planned for the assault, stockpiling ammunition, food and medical supplies as well as crude but effective bombs made frommetal canisters filled with phosphate and acetone [...] Lanyado said his men often asked him why they didn’t use more aggressive tactics and were greatly relieved when commanders decided to send in the bulldozers. ’All the time the soldiers asked me, ’Why aren’t we using more strength?’ ’ Lanyado recalled. ’Why do I have to go from house to house and maybe not come back?’ Lanyado said he has been shocked, since hanging up his uniform, by the international storm of criticism over Israeli tactics in Jenin. ’I’m ready to speak with anyone, to look them in the eye and tell them that I and my soldiers, we were as clean as we could be,’ he said."

John Lancaster, Washington Post

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