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Some more thoughts on the Middle East

I've been taken to task for my "gleeful" commentary on the Israeli assassination of Abdelaziz Rantissi. I'm told that (get this) America's tacit endorsement of the action will cause the Palestinians to hate us. Yes, that's right, our good Palestinian buddies who danced in the streets and burned American flags on 9/11 will now begin hating us unless we issue a forceful condemnation of Israel's action.

I like to be liked. Everybody does. But if the cost of being liked is pretending to be outraged when a terrorist leader is summarily dispatched then it's not worth it. Moreover, I'm absolutely convinced that

A. Nobody who liked us before the Rantissi strike is suddenly going to start hating us now, and

B. Nobody who hates us now will suddenly start liking us if Bush yells at Sharon enough.

Still, that's the kind of fantasy that dominates much of western opinion regarding the Palestinian issue. The fact that Bush's simple statement that "Israel has the right to defend itself" can be viewed as "provocative" illustrates what a sorry pass we've come to.

Critics also worry that every time you kill a terrorist you create ten more. There may be some truth to this, but I'll bet Hamas is going to find it harder and harder to recruit new leaders if Israel keeps up this pace. My God, can you imagine what their life insurance premiums must be?

And as long as we're on the subject of the Palestinians, I'd like to use this space to share with you some of Mark Silverman's thoughts on the matter. I think he asks a damn good question. Props, Mark!

As long as we are handing states out...

Why do the Palestinians get to jump ahead of the Kurds?

I was thinking about this, and the Kurds meet all of the qualifications to get a state. They are a cultural and national group with strong ties to the land on which they live. They've been persecuted mercilessly for a long time (much worse then the Palestinians, FWIW), and even better, they have quietly gone about building the institutions of statehood and a civil society pretty much on their own.

So, if you want to talk about ethnic groups that deserve a state of their own, the Kurds ought to be at the top of anyone's list.

Oh, one other thing. The Kurds have never blown up any busses full of civilians, never desecrated religious shrines, never mutilated 'enemy' corpses, never machine-gunned elementary schools, never sent teenagers in bomb vests to kill other teenagers at restaurants and coffee shops, and as far as I know, they have never tried to make a bomb filled with rat poison or HIV+ blood.

Perhaps the Kurds should do all of those things. Then they would be rewarded with diplomatic recognition, become the toast of the entire Arab world, and be fawned over by university professors, guilt-ridden Westerners, and European diplomats. People would say that there can be no peace in the Middle East until the Kurds get a state, and Kurdish leaders would be seen as heroes, even as they massacre 'enemy' civilians by the hundreds ever year.

That's the problem with the Kurds. They spend their energy and talents on things like economic development, education, and infrastructure. They justy go ahead living their lives, farming, raising their kids, passing along their culture to new generations. If they just taught their kids to hate, and turned their whole society into a psychotic death cult, well, a state would practically be thrown at them!