Friday, January 11, 2008

NYT Columnist

Op-Ed columnists of The New York Times represent a who is who list of American writers: Maureen Dowd, Thomas Friedman Nicholas Kristof, Paul Krugman, Frank Rich, David Brooks and others. The rabid neo-con William Kristol has now joined this A-list as the proverbial fly in the ointment.
The New York Times has announced that Kristol will be writing a weekly column, published every Monday, and he started on Jan. 7. The announcement noted that Kristol was a severe critic of the newspaper but this is the least of his sins. He supported the war on Iraq and continues to support it after it killed a million Iraqis. He is editor of Weekly Standard, the mouthpiece of the neo-cons, and as such the blood of Iraqi women and children, not to mention Palestinian women and children, is on his hands.
I protest vehemently giving Kristol a platform to soil the pages of my favourite English-language newspaper. I have been a reader of the Times for about four decades and my loyalty has withstood the test of the ancient extremist William Sapphire who is now consigned to the dustbin of an On Language column. It will withstand this other William, an even worse variety of the earlier warmonger.
I suppose The New York Times contracted Kristol to show that it is liberal and democratic and open to all shades of opinion. I disagree. It does not need a good conduct certificate from any one, least of all Kristol who will only take away from the credibility of the Op-Ed page just like Charles Krauthammer in The Washington Post..
Kristol would rather forget his first column for the paper. It was miserable and wrong. Writing one day before the New Hampshire vote, Kristol expected Barack Obama to win again and thanked him for removing Hillary Clinton from the path to the White House. He also expected Mike Huckabee to continue his winning run and eventually beat Obama, hence the headline “President Mike Huckabee?” He was wrong, with Clinton returning as the front runner among the Democrats and Senator John McCain reestablishing his lead among Republicans.
I have no objection to Huckabee becoming president. I remember from the sixties the singing nun, Jeanine Decker, so now we may have a singing preacher who also plays the guitar. One thing is certain: Huckabee, or any man succeeding George W. Bush, will be better than his predecessor.
In talking about the Bush administration Kristol could not find any achievements other than the appointments of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court and victory in Iraq.
Seven years in the White House and just two appointments to show for it? Bush did not want Alito for the job; his first choice was his crony Harriet Miers who turned out to be as unqualified for the Supreme Court as he is for the White House. Alito was only a second choice. And there is absolutely no victory. The resistance and the terrorists are simply biding time, knowing that the Americans will not stay there forever, surge or no surge. The day Kristol produced his first column for the Times, it was publishing a story from Iraq under the headline “U.S. Attack in Iraq Is No surprise to Insurgents” the gist of it being that local fighters in Diyala Province melted away rather than confront the Americans. We have a saying in Arabic with the same meaning as: He who fights and runs away…
So much for Kristol’s scholarship. I turned to Weekly Standard Monday and found a celebration of Clinton’s demise. She proved to be a Lazarus and the neo-con mag was wrong about other things too.
Under the title “They Can’t Handle the Truth” Fred Barnes accused the Democrats of refusing to recognize the success of the surge. My answer is the same as the above to Kristol. The insurgents are still there and innocent Iraqis are being murdered every day by terrorists who came to Iraq after the occupation which is as responsible for their crimes as they are. And there is no democracy. Democracy is not worth its name if the price is a million lives and five million refugees.
Another article was typical neo-con chutzpah by a master of the half truths, Irwin Stelzer. Under the title “Happy New Year” he claims that the American economy is doing well. But the same day Bush was admitting that the American economy was facing challenges and growth must not be taken for granted (read NYT story “Bush Admits Economy Faces Challenges” Jan. 8). Curiouser and curiouser, Stelzer notes that France and Germany are no longer in contest for the anti-American prize, his way of alleging that Bush is gaining friends. In 2007 Bush lost his most vocal allies, the prime ministers of Britain, Italy and Australia, and the twins of Poland, to follow the prime minister of Spain. And I remember reading last month in The Washington Post that the so-called alliance of the willing in Iraq is no more (WP Dec.8 “List of ‘Willing’ U.S. Allies Shrinks Steadily in Iraq.”)
This is the magazine from which The New York Times, in its infinite wisdom, has picked William Kristol, a sick and sickening extremist, to insult its readers with a diatribe every Monday.

Jihad Khazen


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2:16 AM  
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12:09 AM  
Blogger tammyswofford said...

We live in a free society with a free press. Hence, your distaste for a columnist also allows you to freely make a stand to support your own opinion. Our allowances, allow for your own freedom.


2:43 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Hello. I just added your blog to my reader on the strength of a couple of your articles in Dar Al Hayat which popped up in my Google News Alert on Geert Wilders.

I agree with this post, both in admiring the NYT columnists you mentioned and in detesting the new columnist there.

My reason for responding here, though, is because I attempted to use the Dar Al Hayat feedback form to request a clarification of your Preaching to the Choir post there. Unfortunately, the feedback form didn't seem to work. Although I submitted the note on the Dar Al Hayat website, I received a note in my Google inbox saying it had not been delivered for some reason.

Anyway, in your Preaching to the Choir article, you wrote, "These commandments came at a time when Islam was struggling for survival in the wars of Ridda (apostasy). Had the Muslims lost the battle then, there would be no Islam today. Muslims today number about 1.2 billion and their existence is in no way endangered, so as to justify the killing of others."

The commandments you referred to, the ones that appeared in the preceding couple of paragraphs, dealt with treatment by Muslims of non-Muslims, not with apostates. Correct? So I am left with the impression that you find the killing of apostates during the wars of Ridda to have been justified, and that non-justification of death for apostasy today is based only on the security that large numbers provide the faith. In other words, that if a large trend developed in which apostasy threatened the faith, that death for apostasy would again be justified.

Is my interpretation correct?

I also remarked yesterday, in the note that wasn't delivered and thinking your residence to be Beirut, that your words struck me as brave. I see from your profile that you are actually a Londoner. So far I still think your words are brave, but I wonder how threatened you would find yourself residing in Beirut if your words received wide readership.

By the way, what is your circulation among the Muslim population in Lebanon and elsewhere?


Steve in Phoenix, Arizona, USA

5:19 PM  

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