Well, the old, sorry codger is dead. No, I don't mean Bob Byrd, Fritz Hollings, or Hillary Clinton's right ankle. I mean Yasser Arafat.
Blessed with Yakov Smirnov's good looks, Mike Dukakis's charm, Pee Wee Herman's physical stature, and Adolf Hitler's easygoing love of peace (and Jews), Arafat had the good fortune of being an unrepentant racist with a penchant for incredible violence and a willingness to engage in unremitting slaughter at a time when news organizations could write things like this with a straight face (from the link above):
Yasser Arafat, who triumphantly forced his people's plight into the world spotlight but failed to achieve his lifelong quest for Palestinian statehood, died Thursday at age 75.Instead of, you know:
Yasser "Push Them Into the Sea" Arafat, an Egyptian engineer who rode varying waves of Arab Nationalism, Islamist terror, and the latter-day development of Palestinian national identity to absurd heights of international acclaim, including numerous visits to the Clinton White House, finally went to Hell Thursday, forty-odd years too late.But he doesn't matter anymore.
Others will say more, and better, about how this might change the dynamics of the Arab-Israeli conflict; doubtless, others will eulogize the vicious little lunatic in all sorts of ways (I prefer "Nothing so became him in life as his leaving it," but that's me).
But what I find truly remarkable is that this is the first time in two years that the little snot has mattered, and he had to die to do it. (This is called a "mixed blessing.") Wanna know why? Well, having Ariel Sharon hole him up like the rat he is in a single building certainly helped. But I, personally, credit President Bush with this master stroke:
It is untenable for Israeli citizens to live in terror. It is untenable for Palestinians to live in squalor and occupation. And the current situation offers no prospect that life will improve. Israeli citizens will continue to be victimized by terrorists, and so Israel will continue to defend herself.And just like that, no American legitimacy, no excuses for blowing up Jewish kids in pizza parlors, and no need for Yasser Arafat any more.
In the situation the Palestinian people will grow more and more miserable. My vision is two states, living side by side in peace and security. There is simply no way to achieve that peace until all parties fight terror. Yet, at this critical moment, if all parties will break with the past and set out on a new path, we can overcome the darkness with the light of hope. Peace requires a new and different Palestinian leadership, so that a Palestinian state can be born.
I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror. I call upon them to build a practicing democracy, based on tolerance and liberty. If the Palestinian people actively pursue these goals, America and the world will actively support their efforts. If the Palestinian people meet these goals, they will be able to reach agreement with Israel and Egypt and Jordan on security and other arrangements for independence. ...
Today, Palestinian authorities are encouraging, not opposing, terrorism. This is unacceptable. And the United States will not support the establishment of a Palestinian state until its leaders engage in a sustained fight against the terrorists and dismantle their infrastructure. This will require an externally supervised effort to rebuild and reform the Palestinian security services. The security system must have clear lines of authority and accountability and a unified chain of command.
It took Bush all of a week after winning re-election to sell out conservatives again. But let us remember why we supported him so: He has moral clarity. And that clarity can yield impressive results.
So, we bid a fond adieu to the murdering little psychopath with the carefully arranged keffiyeh; wish him well in Asmodeus's torture chamber; wonder if the rumors were true; and have a slightly brighter hope for tomorrow, because we finally have a President who knows that inviting terrorists over for dinner at the White House does not discourage their basest tendencies.