Friday, June 16, 2006

More Times "Despair" Nonsense

While the three prisoners who recently killed themselves at Guantanamo apparently left suicide notes, one can argue that what motivated them cannot be known with any precision. But the New York Times, in a June 12 editorial ("The Deaths at Gitmo") claims to know: "It was the inevitable result of creating a netherworld of despair..." the Times explains, before going on to excoriate the Administration once more for its treatment of Guantanamo detainees.

The editorial later quotes Guantanamo camp commander Rear Admiral Harry Harris Jr. on the deaths: "I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us." Harris went on to say, the Times informs us, that the inmates "have no regard for life, neither ours nor their own." Wagging its editorial pen at Harris, the Times editors conclude: "These comments reveal a profound disassociation from humanity."

But, of course, it is the Times editors who demonstrate a profound disassociation, from reality. The invoking of "despair" is a sacrosanct concept, catechismal, in the Times' belief system. If the Arab world is caught up in Islamo-fascist frenzy, it is because of political and economic tribulations that U.S. policy has ignored, creating cadres of embittered and impoverished who, in their despair, are easy prey for extremist mullahs; and the answer is for America to change its wrongheaded ways. If Palestinian terrorists blow up Israeli children at a pizzeria or on a school bus, it is not because their leaders incite them in their media, mosques and schools to pursue Israel's destruction and promote suicide bombing as a powerful weapon for undermining the morale and resistance of the Israelis. No, it is because of Palestinian "despair" that must be assuaged with ever more Israeli concessions.

Never mind that there never has been a correlation between, for example, impoverishment and enthusiasm for Islamo-fascist jihad. The Times wishes to rationalize the threat and to believe that if only America, and Israel, would show sufficient sensitivity and make sufficient concessions all would be well. But despair was not responsible for the popularity of totalitarian ideologies in the last century, or for people's willingness to die to advance those ideologies, and it is not responsible for the Islamic version now holding such sway in the Arab world or Islamo-fascism's ready "martyrs."

Admiral Harris offers a measured, informed and rational explanation for what likely prompted the Guantanamo suicides. But don't expect to have that acknowledged, or even characterized as other than sacrilege, in a Times editorial.