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Conservative Reaction (II)

The latest responses to John Corry and the possibility of a political settlement in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Plus: The Clinton comedy continues, and more.

4.25.02

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UNSETTLEMENTS
Re: John Corry's A Conservative Blind Spot:

Haven't read [yesterday's] letters column yet, so I hope I'm not repeating a common theme, but -- a political solution!!!! What the devil have we been trying to achieve in Israel for half a century if not that?

Wasn't allowing Hitler to have the Sudeten a Political Solution? Didn't we settle for a Political Solution in Vietnam? Or to put it another way, didn't WW II prove anything to you Political Solutionites?

As far as I can see the only thing that has worked for the Israelis is the military solution, and when that is followed by a political step -- such as giving back the Sinai -- does that lead to peaceful relations?

And don't even get me started on the Political Solution that followed the Gulf War.
-- Richard Donley

Your argument that the Middle East conflict can't be solved though military action seems to be based on some pretty shaky assumptions. The first is that a political solution is even possible. Israel has been engaged in a "peace process" since 1993 that has brought it nothing but more and more terrorism. Every concession from Israel has been interpreted by Arafat as weakness and has resulted in ever more violence. The deal was supposed to be land for peace. Well, Israel turned over the land, where's the peace?

The second misguided assumption is that the Palestinians are acting out of honorable motives. Arafat had his Palestinian State and the best deal he was ever going to get out of the Israelis two years ago but walked away to start the current war. The goal of the Palestinians is not to reach a reasonable compromise with Israel. It is to destroy Israel and establish a Palestinian State on the land that used to be Israel. It is pointless to argue about whether or not Israel should fight. War has been thrust on them and one side is going to win and one side is going to lose. If somebody is going to win I'd rather it be the free, democratic, pluralistic nation of Israel and not Arafat's racist terror state. If you're not convinced, ask yourself this: If Israel pulls out of the PA today, will the suicide bombing end or continue? Arafat's history tells us the answer. Once the military pressure is off, the terror campaign will continue. Here's another question for you: If the terrorism stopped today and Arafat recognized Israel's right to exist, would the Israeli army leave the PA?

Obviously it would. Israel would no longer have any reason to be there. The only solution to this conflict is (to resurrect a phrase from the history books) is for Israel to press for the unconditional surrender of the PA with the full power of their military. Japan did not give up the fight in World War II until it came face to face with the prospect of total annihilation. It was only by facing the choice of surrender or total destruction that it went through the necessary catharsis and gave up their madness. The Palestinians, through suicide-murder bombing have sunk to such a depraved level that I fear that the only solution is to force them to face a similar catharsis. Only then will they give up their madness. Once unconditional surrender is achieved, I'm sure Israel could win within a matter of days, some international peacekeeping body can step in to keep order, a democratic constitution can be written, free open elections can be held and the Palestinian people can be shepherded into the civilized world as citizens of a free country. I'm sure the reality won't be as easy as I make it sound, it may take many years, but the alternative is for the Israeli people to settle down and get used to having their arms and legs blown off on a daily basis.

However, as long as the Palestinians continue to send their own children (their own children!), pumped up on vile anti-Semitic propaganda and C-4, off to murder innocent Israelis and then celebrate them by naming streets after them, a Palestinian state should be off the table. The USA wouldn't tolerate such a depraved nation on our borders, why should Israel be required to? Is there any other country in the world that would be asked to by the "international community"? This is the reality that Israel has to contend with.

Lastly, your argument for a political solution seems to boil down to the notion that Israel shouldn't fight back because it is upsetting the world's anti-Semites. As the president said, "Either you are with us or against us." Anti Semites, I presume, are against us so it's better that they identify themselves publicly now so we know who our real enemies are. Regarding the Jewish settlements, I have one question: Is it too much to ask that the Palestinians tolerate a few Jews within their borders? The United States needs to act in its own interests and that may mean that we need to restrain Israel for the time being, but eventually one side is going to have to win this fight. It shouldn't be the terrorists.
-- Steve Guarino
Manchester, NH

For years I have read John Corry and have admired his insightful media analysis. I can't remember a single occasion where his and my views have diverged. This one, however, is a whopper.

There is not a single point Mr. Corry makes in his April 23 piece that cannot easily be refuted with factual and/or empirical evidence to the contrary. "What is the terrorist infrastructure when anyone can become a suicide bomber?" If Mr. Corry finds this question so "sensible," then why hasn't he argued that the Bush Administration should have sought a political solution in Afghanistan instead of a violent one? I don't understand why Mr. Corry would argue the pervasive suicide bombers of Palestine deserve a different response than the pervasive suicide bombers of Al Qaeda.

To agree with an editorial in Haaretz that various military solutions "have not worked" (Mr. Corry's words) is absurd. Israeli military action has most certainly stopped the bombings, temporarily or not, and has saved who-knows-how-many lives with the arrest and killings of many known Palestinian terrorists and the recovery of suicide bombs, bomb-making materials and weapons.

Most glaringly obvious -- though it somehow escapes Mr. Corry -- is that the political solutions are the ones that "have not worked." When Yasser Arafat refused the return of 90-plus percent of Palestinian land claims and launched his latest campaign of terror, he said through his actions what has been obvious to the rational world for decades -- the only solution for Palestine and most Arab populations is the complete and total destruction of Israel. It doesn't have anything to do with land. Just what does Mr. Corry propose as a political peace that has not already been offered and refused by Mr. Arafat?

Because Mr. Corry has such an outstanding record of solid reporting, I will forgive this single slip-up. But the level of illogic and poor reasoning in this column is disturbing, to say the least.
-- Jay Dillon
Atlanta, GA

Your article "The Conservative Blind Spot" by Corry should have been retitled "The Palestinian Position Adopted by the Prowler." That was the most lightweight analysis of the Middle East I've yet to read. The U.S. didn't negotiate with Osama Bin Laden before blasting that country to smithereens. Neither does Israel have to negotiate with terrorists.
-- Adam Sparks
San Francisco, CA

COUCHED POTATO
Re: Dave Shiflett's Tater Trauma:

I live in East Grand Rapids. I read your article "Tater Trauma" the other day and I had to agree with most of your opinions (I should tell you that two years ago a friend built one of these potato guns and we took it to his Lake Michigan cottage and shot it at everything. Great Fun. The best shots were into the lake to see distance and at night with huge flaming report. And, oh by the way, we are in our forties.)

But I have changed my mind. Today I saw this particular gun [photo enclosed] and even though it was built by some 15-year-old kid it looked as if it had been put together by an MIT grad. It is that sophisticated. More importantly, though, was the ammo -- not a potato or tennis ball; a six inch or so cylindrical piece of various PVC parts with mostly blunt ends (small point).

The "ammo" had quite a bit of heft to it, it felt solid or filled with metal. If shot, it would easily pass through a car door. A person hit in the head would die; hit in the body suffer massive internal damage and maybe die; hit in an extremity suffer a compound fracture and probable artery/vein damage. Not a run-of-the-mill tater launcher.

It is quite a piece of work.
-- Kelly Davis
East Grand Rapids, MI

OUR KING AND QUEEN OF COMEDY
Re: The Prowler's Hillary's Bada Bing Connection:

I didn't just "titter" about Clinton's "oral history" being prepared, I
laughed out loud. Thanks for my laugh for the day.
-- Jenny Woodward
Bloomington, IN

One can't help but ask: Is oral history really history?
-- Howard Wimbrow
Roxana, DE

For my fellow readers who want to keep tabs on politicos' financial
wheelings'n'dealings, just go to opensecrets.org. Fascinating info. And to The Prowler: PuhLEEEEZE warn us readers before you inadvertently use the words "Hillary" and "stripper" together. The image burned into my memory. Need I say more?
-- Kitty Myers
Painted Post, NY

SORE LOSERMAN
Re: Wlady Pleszczynski Look Bad in Anger:

Right on! You've pinpointed a bad loser and cleverly compared him with Le Pen, who has many years of experience as a good loser!

Keep up the good work.
-- Bob Johnson
Bedford, TX

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