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fisking on a sunday morning

I usually leave the fisking of Mr. Fisk to others, as it is an art form that only a few can do properly. But he irritated me so today, and as it gives me an excuse to put off the housecleaning for another half hour, I'll have a go at it. Well, just certain parts of it.

Italics his. Obviously.

Oh, click on the more link. It's another long one.

But last week's killings in Kenya and the attempt to bring down an Israeli airliner were far more important than most people realise. For by bringing Israel into the loop – by allowing Israel to become a partner in President Bush's asinine "war on terror" – al-Qa'ida has ensured that the Arab Muslim world will henceforth give its real if quiescent sympathy to Osama bin Laden.

I was under the impression that Israel was already in the loop. Come to think of it, I was under the impression that the Arab Muslim world had already given its sympathy to bin Laden.

Outraged as many Arabs were at the international crimes against humanity of 11 September 2001, few will object to an attack against Israelis, however cruel, while Israel's suppression of the Palestinians continues. If al-Qa'ida is now against Israel, Arabs will give their support.

Again, he is stating the obvious. Arabs not caring about attacks on Israeli's? I'm shocked! It certainly did not take Israel joining the war on terror for that to happen. Fisk is just finding another opportunity to justify hatred towards Israel.

With utter predictability, Ariel Sharon walked into the al-Qa'ida trap. He vowed "revenge". Thus any strike against the al-Qa'ida – by America, by Britain, by Australia – will be seen as an Israeli attack.

Of course he vowed revenge, you asswipe. What else would you expect a leader to do when his land and its people are attacked so brutaly? Submit? The fact that an attack against al-Qaida by America would be an attack-by-proxy from Israel is not news. It's been talked about for a year. The attacks on Thanksgiving gave Israel no choice but to be vocal about its part in the war on al-Qaida. Were you looking for meetings and handshakes instead?

America and Britain and Israel are now fighting on the same side. In the short term – and in his mendacious attempt to link Yasser Arafat with Mr bin Laden – Mr Sharon may have gained some advantage. At last, Israel's war on Palestinian "terror" can be placed on the same footing as its new war against al-Qa'ida. No longer will Mr Sharon's ghastly spokesmen have to justify their army's brutality towards Palestinians. Israel is fighting the same struggle of "good against evil" that President Bush invented for us just over a year ago.

Love those scare quotes around Palestinian terror. Do you not call suicide bombers terrorists? Have you been playing cards with the Reuters guys? And brutality. Surely you jest. What is more brutal than people celebrating the death of their enemy's children? What is more brutal than strapping a bomb belt to your son and praying that he kills as many people as possible, including himself? As for the invention of "good against evil," I hardly think Bush invented those planes that smacked into the WTC and the Pentagon. There has never been a clearer case of good against evil. Even if you want to place the blame for the attacks on the American government, you need to take a look at all the innocent people who were killed that day. Good against Evil indeed. No invention necessary.

But for Israelis, there is one big error in all this. By responding to al-Qa'ida's wicked assault on its civilians, it is taking on a mighty big opponent. For Mr bin Laden's men are not the hopeless suiciders that the Palestinians produce from their foetid refugee camps. The Afghanistan-trained men of Mr bin Laden's legion do not spring from the squalor of Gaza or the occupied masses of the West Bank.

Anyone can read between those lines and get the same words I did: the Palestinian suicide squads only exist because Israel forces them to exist. Again, he justifies their existence without even having to spell it out.

Israel's rabble of an army can kill child stone-throwers with ease. Al-Qa'ida is a quite different opponent. And if Mr Sharon wants to take on Mr bin Laden, he is ensuring that Israel goes to war with its most dangerous enemy in 54 years. Better by far to let the Americans tackle al-Qa'ida – and even they don't seem to be all that successful – than bring Israel into the battle.

Today's child stone throwers are tomorrow's suicide bombers. They are also the victims of martyrdom whose parents teach them to run out in front of tanks, where their deaths are then used to wage a war of innuendos against Israel. Israel is already in the battle. The bombing in Kenya made sure of that.

Now, however, Messrs Bush and Blair will have to watch in silence as Mr Sharon bludgeons the occupied Palestinians into further submission.

Have you ever read the stories of the surivors of suicide bombings? Nails embedded in their lungs, pieces of metal left to linger in their limbs; talk about bludgeoning.

Israel is now engaged in our war, on our side, and whatever Israel does will now have the imprimatur of the "war on terror". Israel is now on the side of the good guys and if it kills nine children when its air force wants to assassinate a Hamas leader, the White House will not even be able to call it "heavy-handed".

And how does Palestine justify its killing of children? It's intentional killing of children? Why do the people who support these suicide bombers not answer when asked why it is ok to kill innocent children? How can you support it on one side - the side that does it purposefully - and not the other side, who does it without premeditation?

So here's a few thoughts. Why must we let al-Qa'ida write the script? Why don't we set up the machinery of real international law? Why don't we talk about "justice" rather than revenge? Why don't we have international tribunals so that those who wish to kill us can have their time in court? I don't want al-Qa'ida's members blown to pieces in Yemen by Mr Bush's hit squads. I want to see them tried, fairly and by due process.

That must be a nice little world you are living in, Fisky. International tribunals? Court? Due process? Where was the due process for the 3,000 victims of September 11? Sure, you want to drag this through some world wide court system so it will linger on for years and justice will never really be served. If we don't find bin Laden, we try him anyhow, in absentia, and what? We claim a moral victory when he is found guilty while he's laughing in an underground cave somewhere? You may not want the member of al-Qaida in Yemen dead, but I sure as hell do and I bet I can find at least a million people who agree with me.

Of course, the Americans will whinge and whine about this. They will rabbit on about how Americans may be taken to court for political ends, about how American troops might be liable for war crimes trials – and given some of their behaviour in Afghanistan, I can well see why they would worry about this. I can see, too, why Mr Sharon would worry that he, too, could end up in court on war crimes charges for his involvement in the massacre of Palestinians at Sabra and Chatila in 1982. I don't know if Mr Sharon is guilty. But I think he deserves a fair trial.

What then of Arafat and Hamas? Do they get trials? The suicide bombers get no trial and their only punishment will come when they step into heaven and look for their 72 virgins and get Satan laughing in their face instead. If you are going to take Israel and America to task for their "war crimes," then say the same for Palestine.

No, I'm not equating al-Qa'ida and Mr Sharon, nor am I associating the innocent with the guilty.

Yes, yes you are.

But it's time we wrote the script to this terrible conflict. It's time we stopped crushing our own freedoms. It's time we talked about law and fairness and justice. Not just for criminals. But for the whole Middle East.

If you for one minute think that any member of al-Qaida or Hamas gives a shit about law and fairness and justice, you are out of your freaking mind, Mr. Fisk. Step out of bizzaro world and into reality. It may not be nice here, but at least we face the hard truths without making up some fairy tale endings.


He should submit his stuff to you before he runs it. Think how much better it would be!

Whatever happened to the spirit of continuous imporvement?

If you are going to take Israel and America to task for their "war crimes," then say the same for Palestine.

there is no palestine. it's israel. that's why they're so pissed. but they should be angry with the arabs who rejected the original un partition plan, not the israelis.

I know it's just a minor point, but don't you think the Egyptian, Syrian, Jordanian armies might object to being described as less dangerous to Isreal than al-Qa'ida.
"Israel goes to war with its most dangerous enemy in 54 years."

The betting line in Vegas has Israel over Al Queda by 7 touchdowns. My money is on Israel to beat that spread handily.

sigh... some people need to wake up and realize that the Palestinina refugees are nothing but pawns to al-Quaeda, and every other non-Palestinian terrorist organization. Do they send humanitarian aid to the people of the occupied territories? Do they "absorb" these "people with no home"?

No. They blow up shit, and kill people, and use them as an excuse for doing it.

Osama's original agenda was to eliminate America's involvement in Saudi Arabia. Overthrowing the Saudi Royal Family that stripped him of his citizenship as an added bonus. He only started ranting about the Palestinians when he hears they were dancing in the streets on 9/11... otherwise, he wouldn't give a shit about them either.

Everytime there's a peace settlement with Israel in the works coming up, it's called off because some asshole blows himself to bits in front a bus, or an ice cream shop...

Someone convince me that they want any form of peace out there for the Palestinians and I will mail you may exclusive deed to the Brooklyn Bridge.

Damn... I can't type for shit when I'm riled up. :0)

All I can say after reading this EXCELLENT post, Michele, is:

"You should really Fisk™ more often!"

And thanks for the kind words too.