November 28, 2008
[First published on December 14, 2004]News today is that Israeli “Security forces recently foiled a planned suicide bombing, planned by the joint Hamas-Tanzim terrorist infrastructure in Nablus.” Another report is of, “A suicide car bomber today killed seven people at a checkpoint at Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone.”
Suicide bomber? When did this neutral term come into usage, anyway? [Like the term “militant” for terrorist] It is bereft of intention and political blame, and serves to neutralize what is an immoral, inhumane, and barbarous attempt to murder innocent people. It is a crime against humanity, but you wouldn’t know it by the label.
To recognize the true nature of this bombing, that against Israeli Jews should be called what it is, “genocide bombing.” That going in Iraq should be labeled “murder bombing.” Then we could better appreciate what is going on.
Fox News had moved a little toward this by calling it all “homicide bombing.” But a homicide lacks the intention to kill, as does murder. Come on now, Fox News. At least you can call it what it is.
November 28, 2008
[First published December 17, 2004] Amair Taheri has an excellent article, “Eye of the Storm: 7 Arab excuses against reform,” in <I>The Jerusalem Post</>. The seven excuses are:
- Economic development must precede political change.
- Democracy is a Western system and hard to sell to the Arabs.
- Most Arabs are poor and cannot understand democracy, let alone practice it.
- Democracy would require the Arabs to abandon cherished ancestral values and traditions.
- Because most Arabs are afflicted by illiteracy, reform should first focus on education
- Democracy cannot be imposed by force.
- There can be no democratization in Arab countries until the Palestine-Israel problem is solved.
Taheri does an good job of demolishing these excuses, but it would be easier if in place of democracy, he used the term freedom—even better, human rights. Then the ridiculousness of these excuses becomes self-evident. Try it. Replace democracy in political change in each case with freedom of speech, religion, and organization (such as creating a political party), and from fear.
Economic development must precede freedom of speech, religion, and organization, and from fear.
Freedom of speech, religion, and organization, and from fear, is a Western system and hard to sell to the Arabs.
Most Arabs are poor and cannot understand freedom of speech, religion, and organization, and from fear, let alone practice it.
And so on. What we who foster democracy are doing is not exporting it, but unchaining people’s human rights. Period.
November 28, 2008
[first published December 12, 2004] Word is getting to the chattering class. It leaped from the academic study of international relations to President Clinton, President George Bush, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, former prime minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, and even to ASEAN, whose leaders signed a pact based on it. But, this fact, this fact so important for the peace of the world and eventually eliminating war and minimizing violence, has up to now eluded the political activists, commentators, and reporters. But, finally, it is getting around. In a December 12 article in the Washington Times, Cal Thomas wrote, “Democracies don’t start wars against each other . . . .”
That’s it. The most important fact of our time.
Consider the implications of this democratic peace. If true, and hundreds of studies and replications prove that it is, then we finally have a solution to war. Foster democratic freedom. This is now not only known among our highest leaders, it is the foundation of President Bush’s “Forward Strategy of Freedom.”
Now, finally, the word is leaking downward to those who define, delimit, and disseminate events and ideas. What took them so long?