The double standards applied in relation to Israel are extraordinary. Where Obama’s assaults on Pakistan are nodded through, or occasionally mildly criticised in newspaper columns, Israel’s assaults on Gaza give rise to the most furious condemnation and to rowdy public demonstrations at which Israel is denounced as “evil” and “fascistic”. Where Obama’s victims – not only Pakistani militants but vast numbers of Pakistani women and children, too – are almost instantly forgotten, Israel’s victims are splashed across the front pages of our newspapers and at the top of news bulletins and are speedily put on anti-war placards that denounce Israel’s barbarism. Where Palestinian territories are overrun with keffiyeh-wearing, conscience-possessing Westerners who monitor Israel’s every act, rural Pakistan has no such army of caring outsiders, no well-minded gatherers of info about Obama’s bloody destruction. I guess rural Pakistan is too hard for these people to get to. Their consciences don’t stretch as far as the Khyber Pass.
“There is this narrative coming out of Washington for the last two years,” Logan said. It is driven in part by “Taliban apologists,” who claim “they are just the poor moderate, gentler, kinder Taliban,” she added sarcastically. “It’s such nonsense!”
Logan stepped way out of the “objective,” journalistic role. The audience was riveted as she told of plowing through reams of documents, and interviewing John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan; Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and a Taliban commander trained by al-Qaida. The Taliban and al-Qaida are teaming up and recruiting new terrorists to do us deadly harm, she reports.
She made a passionate case that our government is downplaying the strength of our enemies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as a rationale of getting us out of the longest war. We have been lulled into believing that the perils are in the past: “You’re not listening to what the people who are fighting you say about this fight. In your arrogance, you think you write the script.”
Our enemies are writing the story, she suggests, and there’s no happy ending for us.
In 1950, UNRWA defined a refugee as someone who had “lost his home and his means of livelihood” during the war launched by Arab/Muslim countries in response to Israel’s declaration of independent statehood. Fifteen years later, UNRWA decided — against objections from the United States — to include as refugees the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of those who left Israel. And in 1982, UNRWA further extended eligibility to all subsequent generations of descendants — forever.
Under UNRWA’s rules, even if the descendant of a Palestinian refugee has become a citizen of another state, he’s still a refugee. For example, of the 2 million refugees registered in Jordan, all but 167,000 hold Jordanian citizenship. (In fact, approximately 80 percent of Jordan’s population is Palestinian — not surprising, since Jordan occupies more than three-fourths of the area historically referred to as Palestine.) By adopting such a policy, UNRWA is flagrantly violating the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which states clearly that a person shall cease to be considered a refugee if he has “acquired a new nationality, and enjoys the protection of the country of his new nationality.”
There’s something particularly poignant about news that at least 80 people were killed in Charsadda, Pakistan, by a Taliban attack on a police training center there. It isn’t that the event was so unique—except for one feature—but it is a suitable symbol of the situation in the Muslim-majority world today and how messed up is the Western perception of that part of the world.
The unique aspect is that the attackers said they are taking revenge for the killing of Usama bin Ladin by the United States.
And so as Americans cheer, 80 Pakistani families are in mourning. Let me quickly add that I do not blame the United States for this new mass murder. The crime is on the terrorists’ head. Nor do I believe the United States should not have killed bin Ladin. Not at all.
But this is a teachable moment so let’s summarize the lessons.
—Terrorism goes on. The death of one man or even of one organization won’t end it.
In remarks at a White House briefing Monday afternoon, chief counterterrorism advisor John Brennan presented a much different image of bin Laden’s last days. He was not the solitary, fearless warrior for God, hiding in caves and tents, shunning earthly pleasures as he yearned for the death to which he sent so many of his credulous young Muslim followers. His hideout, in fact, was a $1 million compound in Abbottabad, an hour’s drive north of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, home to many wealthy, well-connected members of Pakistan’s military. And though precise details about his death in a firefight with an elite band of Navy SEALS have not been confirmed, Brennan said that the great warrior’s young wife had served as his human shield.
So much for welcoming death and martyrdom: hide behind the woman and let her take the bullet first.