One thing you can say about Robert Fisk is there is no mistaking his stance. He's not wobbly, he never wavers, he never straddles the line between two sides. Fisk is very clear in his politics and loyalties. And if, for some reason, you were still unsure as to where Fisk stands, today marks a watershed point for you, then.
Fisk has pretty much become the Democratic Undergrouand and Indymedia of the legitimate press. Things that make your jaw drop on DU can sometimes be dismissed as the ramblings of an idiot, but Fisk - he's a well known man with books to his name, an award winning PhD with a byline in several papers. Yet for all of his education and prominence, he still comes off like a rebellious teenager who's read one too many pamphlets from the "underground."
Today is no different. Wait, yes it is. Today's column
is somehow creepier than anything the man has ever written. In fact, it borders on deranged.
He starts off with a bang:
bq. London - It doesn't take an awful lot of courage to murder a paraplegic in a wheelchair.
It takes even less courage to murder a man in wheelchair
who has never been responsible for the death of innocents. Besides, the poor goy in the wheelchair is responsible for many deaths. Fisk even says so himself in the next paragraph. So let's not go there.
bq. Take the old man himself. From the start, the Israeli line was simple. Yassin was the "head of the snake" ...
Do you think by calling Yassin "the old man" Fisk was trying to grease the wheels of sympathy?
Next, Fisk goes into the prison trade episode that let Yassin free from Israeli prison.
Two Israeli Mossad agents had tried to murder a Hamas official in Amman, the capital of an Arab nation which had a peace agreement with Israel.
They had injected the Hamas man with poison, and the late King Hussein called the US president in fury and threatened to put the captured Mossad men on trial if he wasn't given the antidote to the poison and if Yassin wasn't released.
Netanyahu immediately gave in. Yassin was freed and the Mossad lads went safely home to Israel.
Perhaps not a great tradeoff, but Netanyahu did what he had to do in this situation. It's never good policy to let your own citizens die because of blackmail tactics by your enemy. Netanyahu was pretty much damned if he did, damned if he didn't. So he did.
So the "head of the snake" was let loose by Israel itself, courtesy of the then Israeli prime minister - a chapter in the narrative of history which was conveniently forgotten yesterday. Which is all very odd.
If the elderly cleric really was worthy of state murder, why did Netanyahu let him go in the first place? It was not a question that anyone wanted to ask yesterday.
See above, Robert. And no one asked it yesterday because it was no longer relevant. Only a person who has been so poisoned by the mindset of the people he writes about would try to twist the story of Yassin's death in such a way that people are questioning Netanyahu instead of looking at the reasons why Yassin deserved to be dead in the first place.
But there was something infinitely more dangerous in all this. Yet another Arab had been assassinated. The Americans want to kill Bin Laden. They want to kill Mullah Omar. They killed Saddam's sons. Just as they killed three al-Qaeda men in Yemen.
Stop. Go back and read that again. Is Fisk really bemoaning the death of despicable tyrants and murderers? Of course the Americans want to kill bin Laden. He's only responsible for the death of 3,000 people on American soil.
Omar? He's the one who said this
: The promise of Bush is that there is no place on earth where you can hide that I cannot find you.
Plus he's the leader of that little band of merry men known as The Taliban.
Saddam's sons? Do I even have to express why those cretins deserved to be dead?
And those three men in Yemen? They were al-Qaeda terrorists. One of them was behind the bombing of the USS Cole and the American Embassies in Africa. Fisk makes it sound like we're on an some wild duck hunt, just shooting at random, killing people because they are Arab.
bq. The Israelis repeatedly threaten to murder Yasser Arafat. It's getting to be a habit.
Yea, the U.S. and Israel just won't stop trying to kill those damn terrorists and their leaders.
No one has begun to work out the implications of all this. For years, there has been an unwritten rule in the cruel war of government-versus-guerrilla. You can kill the men on the street, the bomb-makers and gunmen, but the leadership was allowed to survive.
Now all has changed utterly. Anyone who advocates violence - even if they are palpably incapable of committing it - are now on a death list. So who can be surprised if the rules are broken by the other side?
What the hell? I had to read that three times to make sure I wasn't misinterpreting his words. Let's see if I got this: Israel has upped the ante because they actually killed the leader of a terrorist group instead of his minions. They killed the mastermind behind the deaths of hundreds of children, the icon of all suicide bombers, and somehow they
have broken the rules?
I get it. Israel should not have targeted Yassin because the poor guy is a cripple and, while he can certainly come up with plans and direct his people to carry those plans out, he can't actually, you know...pull the trigger. So he should just get a pass. As for the rules being broken by the other side, I guess the bombing of buses filled with school children was on that list of "things that are ok to do."
bq. The top guys are now in the firing line. Let us not say we didn't know.
They've always been in the firing line, you idiot. Even Fisks's beloved terrorists want to kill Bush. Hell, they would probably line up Rice, Rumsfeld and Ashcroft against the wall if they could. Just shoot them all, one at a time, while their followers danced in the streets.
I just cannot fully comprehend the way this man thinks. How can he write this stuff day after day and not feel the least bit like a fraud? And how can people hang on his every word as if he were some guru teaching them zen?
Fisk is defending a depraved murderer. He's making Israel out to be the bad guys for wanting to take out a man who has caused the death of so many of its innocent citizens. He's chastising America for going after the men who have committed terrible acts against the free world. He's accusing America of being a nation of haters who just want to attack people for their nationality or religion, when it's the people he is defending that have done just that - attacked us because we are American and because we are not Muslim. They have attacked Israel because they hate Jews.
Some day they will get you, too, Fisk. You'll be sitting in a cafe somewhere in the Middle East, jotting down notes for a story extolling the virtues of militant Islam, when a man dressed in designer grenades and bombs will walk in the door and blow himself up. He won't care that you are Robert Fisk. He won't care that you are a terrorist supporter. He's just doing his job, after all. You know, just defending his poor terrorist pals from the likes of toddlers, mothers and scholars.
The title of today's Fisk piece is The gloves are off in terror war, and everyone is at risk.
The gloves have been off since, at least, 1993
. We're practically in round ten already. Where the hell has he been?
And in case he has forgotten about these little things called terror alerts, and places like Bali and New York and D.C. and Spain, we have been at risk long before Yassin became a blood stain on the ground.