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Some media-bashing, &c.


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People grow weary of a familiar formulation: “If George W. Bush had said that . . .,” “If George W. Bush had done that . . .” Let them be weary, I say.

This article is about President Obama’s “about-face” on Syria. (The word “about-face” appears in the article’s title.) It provides a chronology. The article ends, “Then Obama and Biden left the White House by motorcade to play a round of golf.”

I am perfectly fine with Obama’s golf, and Joe Biden’s, for that matter. (I didn’t know he played golf.) In 2010, I wrote a piece called “Hail to the Golfer-in-Chief: Barack Obama tees it up, no matter the winds.”

But what if Bush and Dick Cheney had skipped off for golf at such a critical hour? What would the media have said?

After our people were murdered at Benghazi, Obama flew to Las Vegas for a fundraiser. Maybe he was right to do so: business as usual. But if George W. Bush had done that . . .

What I ask of the media is what Obama asked, absurdly, of the Jews of Israel: that they engage in some “serious self-reflection.” (The Israelis are the most seriously self-reflecting people in history — self-reflecting to a fault.)

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Stay with the Middle East for a moment: Three years ago, as you remember, Israel and Egypt had a joint blockade on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip — and the world shook with anger. Turkey launched an international flotilla, to condemn and provoke the Israelis. (It worked.) The eyes of the media were riveted.

Since Egypt’s military coup in July, Cairo has had a staunch blockade on Gaza. A Hamas official complained that Egypt had turned Gaza into a “big prison.” But as Khaled Abu Toameh, the invaluable Palestinian-Israeli journalist, says, there are no flotillas. The world averts its gaze.

“The activists do not care about the Palestinians’ suffering as much as they are interested in advancing their anti-Israel agenda.” They “rarely have anything good to offer the Palestinians.”

Yes. And “rarely” is being polite, I think.

Dennis Rodman has returned to North Korea, to frolic with his friend, Kim Jong-un. Kim is a blood-soaked tyrant and world menace. Rodman considers him an “awesome guy.” To read a story, go here.

There are always people in free countries who lend their support to dictators — to the worst of them. Think of all the people who have trooped to Havana, to sit at Fidel Castro’s feet: Robert Redford, Steven Spielberg, Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Moss, and on and on. Carole King crooned to him “You’ve Got a Friend.” He sure does — many of them.

The other day, I was talking to my friend and colleague David Pryce-Jones about Winifred Wagner. She was the composer’s British daughter-in-law. She presided over Bayreuth. And, boy, did she love Hitler. Loved him. As I wrote recently, she gave him the manuscript of Rienzi (a Wagner opera) for his 50th birthday, in 1939. (True, he requested it. But she was happy to give it, I believe.)

David met her sometime in the 1950s, I think. Her love of Hitler was undimmed. There was another British lady who loved Hitler: Unity Mitford. (David wrote a biography of her.) Winifred hissed at David, “I knew Hitler much better than she did.”

That, I believe. Anyway, there will always be people who lend whatever glamour, prestige, or fame they have to dictators. I wish they paid a greater penalty — or any at all.

This interview with John McCain is absolutely fascinating. Often, I am so frustrated at McCain, I forget how interesting he is. (Frustrated as I may be, from time to time, I wish he had beaten Obama in 2008, and that he were in his second term now. I also wish Romney were in his first term.)

I was jolted by what McCain had to say about Iraq. He says that Obama failed to secure victory. Then he says that our sacrifice — the sacrifice of all our soldiers — was “for nothing.” People lost their lives or limbs “for nothing,” and “we had it won.”

Can that possibly be true? That the Iraq War, because of how Obama handled the endgame, was in vain? If this is true, why aren’t Americans at large incensed by it?



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