Bloggers respond to Jimmy Carter's advice for the Middle East crisis. They also fret about alarming disclosures by Vanity Fair on Pentagon and NORAD duplicity before the 9/11 commission, and engage in a little schadenfreude at a Marine's lawsuit against John Murtha.
Carter's new doctrine: In a Washington Post op-ed published Tuesday (Note: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.), ex-President Jimmy Carter offered his post-Nobel Peace Prize counsel for the Middle East. He lambasted Israel's breach of U.N. resolutions (but not Hezbollah's) and dismissed the effectiveness of "incremental" withdrawals from the West Bank and Gaza. Bloggers left and right would rather see Carter build houses than offer foreign policy advice as a former resident of the White House.
At Israel Matzav, Carl, an Orthodox Jew living in Jerusalem who titles his post "Dhimmi Carter" (the Islamic word refers to non-Muslims living under sharia law), thinks the ex-president is out to lunch: "If Carter wants to argue that we should kill the imprisoned terrorists rather than holding them, I am all in favor. Unfortunately, giving them away in 'exchanges' of the type advocated by Carter just leads to more kidnappings."
Meanwhile, Irish blogger and "shameless agitator" Daithí Mac Lochlainn at The Gaelic Starover says Carter has hypocrisy in his heart: "President Carter would do well to acknowledge that his own policy against even speaking to the Palestinian Liberation Organization, that led to the forced resignation of Ambassador Andrew Young in 1979, was wrong."
Pro-Israel blogger Daled Amos condemns "Carter's to-do list of what must be done to bring peace, starting of course with Israel's ceasing its attacks and continuing with all sorts of unenforceable measures to defuse the situation—but including the return of Shebaa Farms (which is actually recognized as belonging to Syria) and the release of terrorists. Missing from Carter's list is the return of the kidnapped Israeli soldiers."
Even liberals are having a tough time navigating the Democrat's upside-down road map for peace. Dara at the generally anti-Bush blah blah blog writes that Carter's proposal for dealing with Hezbollah and Hamas is "essentially, 'Give them what they want and maybe they'll go away.' It hasn't happened before; why would things be different now? Accordingly, the only response left is to do whatever is necessary to eliminate Hezbollah and, if necessary, Hamas. … Any backing down now is a sign of weakness, which undoubtedly will be exploited."
Secrets and lies: According to this Vanity Fair piece, which hits newsstands Wednesday, NORAD and the Pentagon willfully misled the 9/11 commission on our government's response time and counterterrorism tactics on Sept. 11. Tapes released by NORAD and to the writer, who was also a producer of United 93, indicate that government officials testified to the commission that F-16s began tailing one of the hijacked planes—after that plane had already crashed into the WTC. The commission even considered referring the matter to the Justice Department for criminal investigation.
Stirling Newberry at lefty blog The Agonist appreciates that "[t]here is a natural desire to protect individuals who made mistakes—simply because it is not their fault in the larger scheme of things if they were improperly trained and prepared, and yet there is the inevitable fear that some unhappy relative of a victim will see it differently—and the covering up of those mistakes to the process of assessment." But Newberry adds, "The first deserves protection, the second does not."
Christian Beckner at Homeland Security Watch wants full disclosure in the interest of keeping the paranoiacs at bay: "Anything that gives new ammunition to delusional 9/11 conspiracy theorists weakens the essential base of public support that the United States needs if it is going to successfully wage the war on terror. For that reason, it's essential that there be zero tolerance in the government for actions that shade or distort the truth about 9/11."
Liberal Kevin Drum, the Washington Monthly's Political Animal, isn't too disturbed by the targeting of a "phantom" plane, since Bush and Cheney didn't learn about United 93's hijacking until a minute before its impact. "As it turned out, that was the last of the hijackings, but no one knew it at the time and NORAD was in full battle mode. At the time the decision was made it was surely every bit as difficult as Cheney made it out to be." Adds Drum: "Oh, and one other thing. Why did the Pentagon release the full NORAD recording from 9/11 to a film producer but not to anyone else? Shouldn't this have been publicly released long ago if it wasn't classified?"
Read more about the Vanity Fair disclosures.
Murtha on trial: Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, one of the Marines accused of indiscriminate killing of Iraqis in Haditha, is suing vocal anti-war Democrat Rep. John Murtha for defamation. Murtha went on CNN shortly after the Haditha story broke and made comments presumptive of the Marines' guilt. Wuterich wants $75,000, a retraction, a public apology, and an injunction against similar future statements.
Josh White at the righty Bullwinkle Blog argues that the tedious spadework will have to be performed by Murtha himself, showing how his comments fell within the scope of his official duties as a congressman: "I only hope that Sergeant Wuterich can take a few million of Murtha's ill-gotten gains from KSA Consulting as compensation for Murtha's defamation of him and that all the other Marines involved follow suit and sue Murtha also."
Cosmopolitan conservative Alexandra von Maltzan at All Things Beautiful is likewise gleeful at the representative's tortuous comeuppance: "If you choose to lead a lynch mob and in the process callously ruin a marine's sterling reputation, you deserve to be held liable for it. Now get out of that one without moving Rep. Murtha. ..."
However, Austin, Texas, resident David at The Supreme Irony of Life ... wonders "who is funding Mr. Wuterich? The former Swift Boaters of the 2004 election cycle aren't hiding the fact that they are going to try and bring Murtha down with the same dishonest tactics they used against John Kerry. It makes me wonder if this is part of their plan."
Read more about Murtha's legal headache.