The Corner

Madness

The idea that Israel would negotiate with terrorists is appalling, and yet it has been true for too long. It is also true that it has accounted for nothing but more innocent blood being shed.

According to the Jerusalem Post, over 180 Israelis have been killed since 2004 by prisoners/terrorists that Israel has released since then. Let’s say that number is too high by half: Wouldn’t 90 be astounding? Say that number is off by half again: Wouldn’t even 45 be astounding?

Now I read that over the last 30 years, Israel has released about 7,000 Palestinian prisoners to secure freedom for 19 Israelis and to retrieve the bodies of eight others. That isn’t disproportionate, that’s madness. It seems to me a far saner policy would be that when a soldier is taken, the government gives 24-hours notice that if he’s not returned, the area where he was captured will face holy hell — door-to-door searches, home razings — holy hell. Over 1,000 terrorists are a lot of terrorists, and now we read it may include two terrorists involved in the Sbarro pizza-parlor bombing as well, and that it definitely includes a terrorist who received 36 life sentences for a 2002 attack in a Jerusalem bar that killed eleven Israelis and another terrorist who killed 29 Israelis at a Passover celebration.

I can’t think of a scenario where the American people would tolerate the return of a soldier captured on the battlefield of Iraq or Afghanistan (be it a general or a private) if the price were even one Gitmo detainee. Now it’s true we have returned Gitmo detainees, many of whom have rejoined the battlefield. But that was never in exchange for prisoners, it was done out of what we might call “the mercy of fools.” And it’s been bad policy. Finally, wasn’t the nadir of the Reagan presidency the idea of weapons for hostages — never mind terrorists for hostages? When that story broke, Reagan’s popularity dropped over 20 points in 1986. To paraphrase Kipling, “For the end of this game is oppression and shame, and the nation that plays it is lost.”

Most Popular

History

The 1620 Project

On November 11, 1620, the Mayflower arrived on the eastern coast of North America. She had weathered the slings and arrows of maritime misfortune for almost ten weeks at that point, but the passengers thought the discomfort of crossing a small price to pay for passage to the Promised Land. After all, these were ... Read More
History

The 1620 Project

On November 11, 1620, the Mayflower arrived on the eastern coast of North America. She had weathered the slings and arrows of maritime misfortune for almost ten weeks at that point, but the passengers thought the discomfort of crossing a small price to pay for passage to the Promised Land. After all, these were ... Read More
White House

Implications of the Flynn Pardon

President Trump granted a pardon to Michael Flynn, his former national-security adviser, today. Flynn had pled guilty to lying to FBI agents about conversations, during the 2016 transition, with the Russian ambassador about sanctions. Flynn’s pardon should bring to an end one gross violation of the ... Read More
White House

Implications of the Flynn Pardon

President Trump granted a pardon to Michael Flynn, his former national-security adviser, today. Flynn had pled guilty to lying to FBI agents about conversations, during the 2016 transition, with the Russian ambassador about sanctions. Flynn’s pardon should bring to an end one gross violation of the ... Read More
History

Thanksgiving Is Not a Lie

We live in a time of heedless iconoclasm, and so one of the country’s oldest traditions is under assault. Thanksgiving is increasingly portrayed as, at best, based on falsehoods and, at worst, a whitewash of genocide against Native Americans. The New York Times ran a piece the other day titled, “The ... Read More
History

Thanksgiving Is Not a Lie

We live in a time of heedless iconoclasm, and so one of the country’s oldest traditions is under assault. Thanksgiving is increasingly portrayed as, at best, based on falsehoods and, at worst, a whitewash of genocide against Native Americans. The New York Times ran a piece the other day titled, “The ... Read More
Culture

On Being Grateful

My mother always enjoyed making Thanksgiving dinner. She took a traditional Southern woman’s pride in being a good cook, following her mother’s recipes, and my family made a rare display of kindness by declining to inform her that she was a fairly dreadful cook, one whose kitchen alchemy on the electric range ... Read More
Culture

On Being Grateful

My mother always enjoyed making Thanksgiving dinner. She took a traditional Southern woman’s pride in being a good cook, following her mother’s recipes, and my family made a rare display of kindness by declining to inform her that she was a fairly dreadful cook, one whose kitchen alchemy on the electric range ... Read More

The Imaginary Trump

Like Andrew Jackson, Donald Trump is man who represents the age in which he lived. Whatever you may think of the age. Jackson embodied a generation of men who had risen and made their mark in a young country. He represented their desire for greater representation, even if it had costs for slaves and Indians. He ... Read More

The Imaginary Trump

Like Andrew Jackson, Donald Trump is man who represents the age in which he lived. Whatever you may think of the age. Jackson embodied a generation of men who had risen and made their mark in a young country. He represented their desire for greater representation, even if it had costs for slaves and Indians. He ... Read More
Economy & Business

Shopping Superstitions

It’s the boss-bossiest time of the year, when Americans getting ready to open up their wallets to buy Christmas presents are lectured by illiterate halfwits about where and how to spend their money. The usual demands: Buy local, or buy from small businesses. This is pure nonsense, and you should feel free to ... Read More
Economy & Business

Shopping Superstitions

It’s the boss-bossiest time of the year, when Americans getting ready to open up their wallets to buy Christmas presents are lectured by illiterate halfwits about where and how to spend their money. The usual demands: Buy local, or buy from small businesses. This is pure nonsense, and you should feel free to ... Read More