Saturday, 1 April 2006
Three times in the last month or two Clinton -- when not busy with his Clinton World Initiative (not to be confused with any Initiatives by Jeffery Sachs, or Jimmy Carter, or others intent on Saving All of Humanity All the Time, with themselves at the helm) has displayed a remarkable willingness to stand up for Arab and Muslim interests. He deplored, in front of and for his Arab hosts, those Danish cartoons. He had not a word about the need to uphold, by practicing, freedom of speech, not a word about the mob violence and economic boycotts and threat to kill Danes, as he might have done, with no cost, and great credit, to himself. And we all know he is a graduate of Yale Law School, where he met his wife, and surely what must have stuck in his mind was not Civil Procedure but Constitutional Law, and not only Constitutional Law, but the First and Fourteenth Amendments, and not only the First and Fourteenth Amendments, but Freedom of Speech, and Holmes and Brandeis, and all that. It didn't matter. He was in Qatar (was he coming to, or from, Davos or some other World Summit where Earth-Shaking Leaders Shake Hands Only With Each Other). And he was pocketing money from his Arab hosts, and he wanted to give them their money's worth. Others in the region would hear of it, and want him back.
And then there was the news that even as his wife opposed the Dubai Ports Deal, her husband, the head of the Clinton World Initiative, was working to undo that opposition which was so significant, as a sign of mental and political health, a refusal on practical and symbolic grounds to pretend that there is "nothing wrong" with an Arab state-owned company controlling those responsible for security in 21 American ports, nothing different from, as Bush put it, a British company doing so. But Clinton, along with Madeline Albright (head of The Albright Group -- or is it Albright Associates -- that was retained by Dubai to influence and lobby others to drop their opposition to the deal), had no loyalty to the other members of his party. And had no loyalty to the political interests of his wife.
Now this. Clinton would legitimize an organization that has repeatedly stated that its ultimate goal is to wipe out Israel. It has stated this in so many ways, some of them in the calm way of those stating merely the logical and self-evident fact of what, according to their belief-system, must be, for of course an Infidel sovereign state such as Israel, no matter how tiny, how hard to find on a map, cannot be permitted to exist. And some of them have been statements dripping with blood. And over the past two months, the entire world has been falling all over itself -- especially European countries, though some in the Bush Administration have done the same, and of course the systematically anti-Israel counsel of the assorted malleys and crooks, who are careful never to discuss, never to raise, the tenets of Islam, are repeated by those who have a stake in keeping everyone focused on the notion that continuing aid to Hamas, the purest form of Jizyah (does Clinton know what Jizyah is, or has he still, even out of office,little time for history, because glad-handing, and pocketing envelopes from grateful hosts, is too time-consuming?) will do wonders. What this really means is that we will refuse to begin to see the Lesser Jihad against Israel as it is, and will continue on the path of throwing Israel to the wolves, and convincing ourselves that we are not doing that, we are working hard for a "two-state solution" by chipping away at Israel, at the confidence of its succession of mediocre leaders and desperate population, and at its support from outside, and nothing will stop us from little by little doing what in the end amounts to throwing Israel to the wolves?
But what did you expect? They don't dare stand back, give themselves time to study Islam, and therefore, even permit themselves to analyze the situation differently. To discuss the "Arab-Israeli" matter without taking Islam not only into consideration, but understanding that without it nothing makes sense, and anything that ignores the tenets, attitudes, atmospherics of Islam, its hold upon the minds of hundreds of millions of Arab and other Muslim masses, is the only way to start making sense of it all.
In official Washington the Arab diplomats and businessmen and fixers of every kind, know how to sound reasonable, know exactly what goes over well in the presentation of things, and also know how easily fooled Westerners are when it comes to distinguishing nonsense from truth, or attributing to the hundreds of millions they do not see before them, the real masses, what they learn from these rulers and representatives, the smilers with the knyf under the cloke you are likely to meet in official Washington or on official visits. A widespread failure by Western leaders and elites to educate themselves, or even see the need to be educated, about Islam, is wedded to a widespread failure of imagination, of the ability to figure out that not everyone believes in the same things, sees the world the same way, and what's more, cannot conceivably be made to see the world the same way, given the hold that Islam has over their minds, their societies, their countries.
The entire Iraq tarbaby - that which was built by the Bush Administration itself, when it decided American forces should remain in Iraq to create a Light Unto the Muslim Nations -- built by it and then the builder, unaware of what he had built, put out his arms and hugged the tarbaby, and continued to tell himself, as he stood there stuck to it, that it was a willed
The belief that democracy in the Western sense, with its indispensable panoply of guarantees for individual rights, could ever take hold in a Muslim country unless that country had first undergone, in the manner of Turkey, a systematic suppression, over several generations, of Islam as a political and social force -- is simply wild. And naive, ignorant, obstinately immune to reality, crazy, cracked. That is the Bush Administration's fault.
But the Democrats have been terrible. They have failed in exactly the same analysis. They have attacked the Iraq War for all the wrong reasons -- that there was no real threat, that Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein had no relations, and so on. They should be saying: there is a real menace. The menace is the Jihad. The menace is not merely, not mainly, "terrorism" even if it took an act of terror to begin to get the attention that the world-wide manifestations of that same Jihadist impulse, with the same textual sources, now is just beginning to get. And that is why we should leave Iraq. It is cost-ineffective. It does not permit us to take advantage of the sectarian and ethnic divisions within the "camp of the Jihad" (describe it demurely as that, and for now leave "Islam" out of it). And we have much more important matters, including Iran's nuclear project, and the current "attacks even within Europe" on the "recognized rights achieved by the peoples of Europe." It will sound awkward at first, a little funny. Political figures don't talk that way anymore, the way they might have, with complete naturalness, even a half-century ago. In fact, a few decades before that, in the Western world everyone wrote and spoke candidly about the nature of Islam. Islam hasn't changed its nature. All that has changed is the willingness, or perhaps the ability, of Western leaders to speak truthfully and piercingly about it.
And now we come, by a commodius vicus, back to that Representative Man, Bill Clinton, head of the Clinton World Initiative. He deplores for an audience in Qatar the Danish cartoonists who were published in a Danish newspaper written for Danes, and who should have censored themselves, should have "respected" Muslim demands and done what Muslims would wish them to. So much for those classes at Yale Law School on Constitutional Law, where the names Brandeis and Holmes must once have fluttered through his mind, that law school where, it seems (and he would not be alone), he obtained a credential but not an education. He announces that he's for that Dubai Ports Deal -- strange that he should be so quick to declare support for the Bush Administration, especially when his wife is against it. Surely he had time to make a phone call to her, and ask what she would like him to say, or perhaps to have him not say anything at all. And now this vicious nonsense about Hamas.
Now Bill Clinton is a rapacious man, an endlessly greedy man. But he has so much money at this point, did he really have to attack freedom of speech to please present Arab hosts, and possibly set up future well-paid speechifying tours in the Gulf? Did he need to stand up for the Dubai ports deal? Did he need to repeat the malley-crook line on Hamas, that they would mature, that they would change, that if only we kept "talking to them" and of course supplying the Jizyah of more Infidel money (does no one wish publicly to suggest that Hamas should go to the rich Arabs who every day take in billions from oil -- no one?).
Possibly there is something else going on here. Senator Clinton, the wife of the former president and current head of the Clinton Global Initiative, is now a Senator from New York State. She has presidential ambitions. It is unlikely, either in her senatorial career, or in her desire for something even bigger, that her husband's casual jettisoning of freedom of speech, his declared support for the Dubai Ports deal when she declared her opposition, and this latest, and most unacceptable, of remarks, will do her any good. Surely he knows that. Surely he knows he is damaging her in all sorts of ways. Surely he cares.
Or does he?
Is this not a case of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, except that they seem to have traded roles, or perhaps they were both playing the role of Lady MacBeth all along, and Bill is working now not to crown Hillary, but rather to undo her. After all, gender is just a "social construct," isn't it?
Posted on 04/01/2006 8:22 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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