More Middle East madness [Excerpts]
"The Palestinian people will never forgive the Hamas gangs for looting the home of the Palestinian people's great leader, Yasser Arafat." So Palestinian Authority spokesman Abdel Rahman recently exclaimed. "This crime will remain a stain of disgrace on the forehead of Hamas and its despicable gangs."
Looting? Crime? Despicable gangs?
Excuse me. For years, Palestinian Authority-sanctioned gangs shot and tortured dissidents, glorified suicide bombing against Israel and in general thwarted any hopes of various "peace processes."
Of course, this kind of behavior isn't limited to the Palestinian territories but is spread across the Middle East. The soon-to-be-nuclear theocracy in Iran is grotesque. Iraqis continue to discover innovative ways to extinguish each other. Syria assassinates democratic reformers in Lebanon. ABC News now reports that new teams of al-Qaida and Taliban suicide bombers have been ordered to the United States and Europe from Afghanistan.
Here's why much of the region is so unhinged -- and it's not because of our policy in the Palestinian territories or our efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Meanwhile, mere discussion in much of the region of what is wrong can mean execution by a militia, government thug or religious vigilante.
So, Middle Easterners are left with the old frustration of wanting the good life of Western society but lacking either the ability or willingness to change the status quo to get it.
Instead, we get monotonous scapegoating. Blaming America or Israel -- "Those sneaky Jews did it!" -- has become a regional pastime.
These reactions to failure often lead to circumstances that can defy logic.
The poor terrorists of Arafat's old party, Fatah, seem to shriek that they have been out-terrorized by Hamas, and desperately con more Western aid to make up for what has been squandered or stolen.
Muslims flock to Europe to enjoy a level of freedom and opportunity long denied at home. But no sooner have many arrived than they castigate their adopted continent as decadent. The ungracious prefer intolerant sharia — denying to their own the very freedom of choice that was given to them by others.
It's past time for Middle Easterners to fix their own self-inflicted mess. In the meantime, the U.S. and its allies should help as we can -- but first protect ourselves from them as we must.