November 14, 2004


I mentioned I'd like to write something about Arafat, and the wife has been bugging me to keep my word. I don't think I could add very much new information on how vile the man is, but I thought I would offer a few observations. I'm only 24 years old. I paid pretty close attention to the news growing up. We weren't an overly political household but we stayed well informed. My only memories of Arafat and the PLO are the historic and now failed peace agreements done during the Clinton Administration. People my age have no political memory of Yasser Arafat or the PLO pre 1993. For me and all the other twenty-somethings who wave Palestinian flags and rant about the Likudniks who are responsible for the squalor the Palestinians live in, Yasser Arafat has only been a political leader. Sure, since 2000, he might be complicit in terror attacks. He could have done more to stop the EU aid-receiving Hizbollah jihadists, but with Bush and his proxy Sharon tearing everything up, can you blame those poor Palestinians? After all he is an elected leader. More elected than Bushitler no doubt, we 1980s born know-it-alls quip.

What most young people don't remember is that before 1993, Arafat was synonymous with terrorism. The PLO was a guerilla organization very much like Al Qaeda. Here are just a few highlights of President and Nobel Laureate Arafat and his PLO merry pranksters in the '70s and '80s.

8,000 individual acts of terrorism between 1969-1985 alone.

The massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics.

The attack on the Maalot grade school that killed 21 children.

The hijacking of four airplanes in the 1970Â’s and an Italian Cruise Ship in 1985.

The man who had been exiled from both Egypt and Jordan was invited to Oslo in 1993 from his exile in Tunis, to sit down with Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Here, the Osama Bin Laden of the '70s and '80s was given his own autonomous region to govern and a workable roadmap to getting a completely independent nation. I could go on about the numerous failed opportunities in the '90s, but they are so numerous I won't even name them. It is an almost undisputable fact that Arafat was offered 97% of the West Bank and all of the Gaza strip and on behalf of the Palestinian people replied, "NO. All or nothing."

I think we all know how that turned out. And what has Arafat, as the leader of the autonomous Palestinian territory, managed to amass besides failed opportunities in his ten years at the helm? Oh, about $7 billion! Estimates vary from $300 million to $7 billion, but he's no doubt worth a fortune. Since the 1970s, the PLO has been receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from Arab states and many other western nations. I don't know the exact numbers but it would make a nice shame graph for an ambitious blogger.

This man, who used the plight of the Palestinian people in Refugee camps as political capital, has wealth measured in billions. And yet, he was lauded by Western diplomats and journalists. An anchorwoman for the BBC reported his death with tears in her eyes. Nearly every Foreign Minister in Europe attended his funeral.

Yes, I'm well aware of his George Washington status with the Palestinians. He was powerful human symbol and forceful advocate; Palestinians united behind him in their pursuit of a homeland--or so says Jimmy Carter. I can think of another powerful advocate who rallied a humiliated people to a great pursuit. He felt the same way about Jews as Arafat.

Are we so afraid to call it like it is? Will Osama Bin Laden someday sit down with an American president to negotiate the withdrawal of troops from Saudi Arabia? Arafat has proven that you can move from terrorist to statesmen. He was able to do so because we allowed it. "Give peace a chance" is a really comfortable slogan. When facing a monster, it can me more comfortable to listen to him than to fight him.

I would just as soon homosexuals have every right that I do. I don't really care about abortion. I'm not crazy about the Patriot Act but I'm a one issue voter. And President Bush and I agree on one thing: this, while certainly tragic, is preferable to this.

-- the husband


Update from Sarah: If you seek his monument, look around you.

Posted by: Sarah at 12:40 PM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
Post contains 751 words, total size 5 kb.

1 Arafat despite his protestations to the otherwise never really wanted an autonomouos state. Hard to blame the west and the Israeli's for your inability to build an infrastructure. I am not afraid to call it as I see it. As I pointed out in the comments to another post, terrorism is not truely defeatable. At least until we're willing to address the "draining of the swamp of poverty and social injustice where the mosquitoes that are terrorists breed". (Quote by of all people Pat Robertson). Until that day however; you at best contain and, limit it.

Posted by: Bubba Bo Bob Brain at November 14, 2004 01:15 PM (aHbua)

2 Husband: I salute your service---be safe---Sarah is doing a great job with words what you are doing with bullets.

Posted by: david at November 14, 2004 01:22 PM (ZVhuO)

3 Godspeed to you, Sarah's husband.

Posted by: annika at November 14, 2004 02:15 PM (vfqlz)

4 May God bless and keep you and bring you home safely to Sarah. Thank you and take care.

Posted by: Pamela at November 14, 2004 05:05 PM (AOFgp)

5 I raise my glass to you sir. For your and your words.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at November 14, 2004 08:49 PM (U3CvV)

6 S's husband, Well said, and more importantly, let me say thank you for your service. We are proud of you and the men and women in Iraq and the Stan and every other member of our armed forces. We are also proud of the Sarah's of the world and your Sarah in particular. Godspeed, buddy.

Posted by: Jim - PRS at November 14, 2004 09:47 PM (BjDAE)

7 Very well written. Thanks for your service and your words. And Sarah, thanks for all your good work over the last many months. I've linked this post.

Posted by: David Foster at November 14, 2004 11:15 PM (XUtCY)

8 This is just one more reason we're proud of our son-in-law. Well-written article. Stay safe. We love you. Husband's In-laws

Posted by: Nancy at November 15, 2004 02:39 AM (YuW6k)

9 We too add our thanks to both of you - for your service, sacrifice and willingness to stand the line for the rest of us. We honor that daily, and appreciate reading this blog - we are simply a family in the heartland of this great country you represent who pray for you daily - Godspeed, and thanks again!

Posted by: K at November 15, 2004 03:59 AM (cgfwf)

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