Long Post I mean really long. I mean, go-grab-a-drink long. If you're here for a quick and easy read from Metro, you won't get one today. Today I have written a long rant with my friend, Mr. Dennis Miller.Note to Avid Fans:
Shortly after I posted this rant, I discovered that the piece cited below was not
the work of Dennis Miller, but rather of an actor and commentator named Larry Miller.
I apologise to my Avid Fans and to Mr. D. Miller for the error. Full details here
. Still, my points are valid and my feelings on this screed remain the same. Please read on:A friend whom I regard with the greatest respect recently surprised me by sending me a rant by Mr. Miller, a US comedian. The person who sent this to me is one of the most gentle and respectful people I have ever known, and I confess that his agreement with Miller's position on this astounded me.
Miller used to claim he wasn't conservative, but that's kind of fallen by the wayside. I leave this to you to decide, O Avid Fan.
That he stopped being funny some time ago, when people who shared his views actually started running the US, is self-evident.
Like Rush Limbaugh, he's a self-important blowhard schmoe with a show. Just as I am a self-important blowhard with a blog. The difference is he gets paid to do his thing, and one has to wonder why. I mean, the White House does better comedy: "We don't torture"--a classic! I'm still wiping my eyes.
Below is reproduced his rant, as I received it, on the subject of the Middle East. In between his statements I have placed my ripostes in italics.
For the record, Mr. Miller, I support the existence and the right to self-defence of the state of Israel. I don't believe in conspiracies Jewish, Arab, or otherwise. I dislike one-sided argument, though. So here's my take on yours.
"A brief overview of the situation is always valuable, so as a service to all Americans who still don't get it, I now offer you the story of the Middle East in just a few paragraphs, which is all you really need.Deeper study, understanding and comment aren't necessary and would only get in the way.
Here we go:
The Palestinians want their own country. There's just one thing about that: There are no Palestinians. It's a made up word. Israel was called Palestine for two thousand years. Like "Wiccan," "Palestinian" sounds ancient but is really a modern invention. Likewise "Israel" is a state conjured from nothing and built on Arab land to provide a homeland for the displaced Jews of Europe after WWII, because Flying Spaghetti Monster knows we didn't want them settling in England!
Not to mention the millenarian Christians who were trying to hurry Jesus up.
Oh--and Mr. Miller, ever heard of the British Mandate of
Palestine? It pre-dates Israel, and occupied the same space plus.
Note: Many Christian evangelicals support the state of Israel because just before Jesus returns, according to certain interpretations of the Book of Revelation, the whole place has to get wiped off the map.
Before the Israelis won the land in the 1967 war, Gaza was owned by Egypt, the West Bank was owned by Jordan, and there were no "Palestinians." As soon as the Jews took over and started growing oranges as big as basketballs, what do you know, say hello to the "Palestinians," weeping for their deep bond with their lost "land" and "nation." So for the sake of honesty, let's not use the word "Palestinian" anymore to describe these delightful folks, who dance for joy at our deaths, until someone points out they're being taped.What word shall we use, then for the sake of "honesty" in referring to the citizens of Israel?--And I guess you never saw a US citizen jumping for joy as the tanks flattened Kabul or Bagdhad. And clearly neither Israelis nor Americans rejoice at the slaughter in Lebanon.
Instead, let's call them what they are: "Other Arabs Who Can't Accomplish Anything In Life And Would Rather Wrap Themselves In The Seductive Melodrama Of Eternal Struggle And Death." I know that's a bit unwieldy to expect to see on CNN. How about this, then: "Adjacent Jew-Haters." Okay, so the Adjacent Jew-Haters want their own country. Oops, just one more thing. No, they don't. They could've had their own country any time in the last thirty years, especially two years ago at Camp David but if you have your own country, you have to have traffic lights and garbage trucks and Chambers of Commerce, and, worse, you actually have to figure out some way to make a living.Wow. So, again--what's your term for the folks who are currently slaughtering Lebanese civvies left, right and centre?
It's also worth pointing out that one may find it easier to put up traffic lights and a chamber of commerce if:
1)You aren't ghettoized by the people who conquered you forty years ago and who haven't seen fit to accord you any sort of basic guarantees to ensure economic viability, like the freedom to move around to buy and sell things, etc; And
2) your lights and town hall are likely
not to get bombed to rubble as soon as the trigger-happy yutz watching you gets an itch.
It's only in the last decade that they could have had their own country, really--at least one resembling the one they were asking for--which was a little piece of where they used to be before the arrival of some European DP's.
The sticking point last time was Jerusalem. The Israelis just didn't want to share. Sure Arafat decided to be a dick about it, but he had plenty of help.
That's no fun. No, they want what all the other Jew-Haters in the region want: Israel. They also want a big pile of dead Jews, of course -- that's where the real fun is -- but mostly they want Israel.Hard to disagree with anything but your unstated contention that this somehow gives Irsrael moral superiority. It sure looks like they like a nice crispy pile of dead Arabs themselves.
Why? For one thing, trying to destroy Israel - or "The Zionist Entity" as their textbooks call it -- for the last fifty years has allowed the rulers of Arab countries to divert the attention of their own people away from the fact that they're the blue-ribbon most illiterate, poorest, and tribally backward on God's Earth, and if you've ever been around God's Earth . . . you know that's really saying something.Y'know--you're right Dennis! It's tough to understand how these backwards states survived without the help of some major powerful friends. Look at Saddam Hussein--a dictatorial regime propped up by ... oh. Okay--let's try another example: Saudi Arabia? Um, maybe someone else? Oh--Iran, no way the US ever helped
them out, eh? Well except for the Shah, and those nuclear reactors.
It makes me roll my eyes every time one of our pundits waxes poetic about the great history and culture of the Muslim Midleast. Unless I'm missing something, the Arabs haven't given anything to the world since Algebra, and, by the way, thanks a hell of a lot for that one.Just because
you can't understand it doesn't make it a bad thing: take the Canadian medical system, f'rinstance.
Chew this around & spit it out: 500 million Arabs; 5 million Jews. Think of all the Arab countries as a football field, and Israel as a pack of matches sitting in the middle of it. And now these same folks swear that, if Israel gives them half of that pack of matches, everyone will be pals..What do numbers have to do with this? You can be hated just as easily by people you outnumber as vice versa. But if you insist on rendering this down to geographical area and football metaphors, consider this: If your two or three teams have been playing on the same field for two thousand years, how do you feel when a bunch of people with guns show up and draw a big circle in the middle of the pitch, then say "Play
Not to mention that the numbers we're really interested in are things like "20" (as in "-mm cannon"), "16" (as in "American-supplied M-") and "18" (as in "F-")
Really? Wow, what neat news. Hey, but what about the string of wars to obliterate the tiny country and the constant din of rabid blood oaths to drive every Jew into the sea?
'Oh, that? We were just kidding'.I notice that you don't address the possibility that quite a number of Israelis feel that way about their neighbours too. It's just that when
they say it, CNN doesn't broadcast it.
My friend Kevin Rooney made a gorgeous point the other day: Just reverse the numbers. Imagine 500 million Jews and 5 million Arabs. I was stunned at the simple brilliance of it. Can anyone picture the Jews strapping belts of razor blades and dynamite to themselves? Of course not.
Or marshaling every fiber and force at their disposal for generations to drive a tiny Arab State into the sea? Nonsense.
Or dancing for joy at the murder of innocents? Impossible.
Or spreading and believing horrible lies about the Arabs baking their bread with the blood of children? Disgusting." ... Strapping on dynamite?" Yeah, actually, I can. Menachim Begin was reviled as a terrorist for years. It wasn't until he settled down that he won the Nobel Peace Prize. Many of the early Knesset members knew how to wire a car ignition, set tripwires and kill silently. I assume they just picked those skills up from the BBC World Service Home Improvement Week?
"Marshalling their forces" ... Oh forget it. Lebanon, that's all I need to say.
"Dancing for joy" ... covered earlier. And Lebanon. Oh--and is that anything like getting your kids to write "With love from Israel" on the shells?
"Spreading and believing lies" ... Without addressing your continued confusion of Judaism and Israel, which are very much not the same thing:
1)Those lies are far, far older than Israel. They date back past Medieval history (y'know, all that stuff with the knights in armour and the Holy Grail that happened just before George Washington invented the wheel?) to beyond the Roman conquests.
And those rumours get spread
everywhere including your very own nation, Mr. Miller.
2) Believing those lies? Well as your own president knows, you can fool a slight majority of the people some of the time.
And it's easier to believe bad news about someone if they're firing missiles into your towns in "targetted assasinations" that take out your kids. It's also easy to believe in dark forces if a friendly outsider is supplying those forces with weapons, equipment and training.
Oh, and let's
honestly reverse the situation: If the Israelis had a great big 'omeland and someone dumped a huge crew of refugee Arabs, each of whom believed that this land was theirs by God's Word, what do you suppose the Israelis would do? Co-exist peacefully (as you do)or offer them a scenic drive into the sea?
No, as you know, left to themselves in a world of peace, the worst Jews would ever do to people is debate them to death.Ah--that's what flattened Beirut was it? A lengthy debate?
Left to themselves in a world of peace, Mr. Miller, it's quite possible that the people you spit on for "never having accomplished anything" (at least in your lifetime) might actually get back to doing something other than building rockets. But of course that might lead to more algebra, and Mr. Bush fears that more than anything Osama could do to him.
Mr. Bush, God bless him, is walking a tightrope. I understand that, with vital operations in Iraq and others, it's in our interest, as Americans, to try to stabilize our Arab allies as much as possible, and, after all, that can't be much harder than stabilizing a roomful of super models who've just had their drugs taken away.Arab allies? Y'mean all those countries you've been reviling as backward and undemocratic? Surely America would never side with them?
And those "vital" operations in Iraq--weren't they occasioned by the need to stabilize the place after some foreign army kicked the structure they had before to matchwood? But of course, that was necessary--to find and destroy the WMDs. No--to stop a mad dictator. No--to spread democracy ... or Santorum, I forget which.
However, in any big-picture strategy, there's always a danger of losing moral weight.Wow. An example of understatement, Mr. M. I never thought you could do it. Let's see--moral-weight losers ... domestic espionage
sans warrants? Invading countries unnecessarily, causing hundreds of thousands of unneeded deaths? Circumvention of the Geneva Conventions? Oh--and here's a goodie: Torture! ... I could go on. And on. And on.
We've already lost some.Um ... [Opens and shuts mouth silently in wonder]
After September 11th, our president told us and the world he was going to root out all terrorists and the countries that supported them. Beautiful. Then the Israelis, after months and months of having the equivalent of an Oklahoma City every week (and then every day), start to do the same thing we did, and we tell them to show restraint.Just the icing on the bullshit cake, my friend.
If America were being attacked with an Oklahoma City every day, we would all very shortly be screaming for the administration to just be done with it and kill everything south of the Mediterranean and east of the Jordan.Yep. But fortunately you have friends for that. Or so it seems. This just looks like another piece of the Bush Doctrine of preventing terrorism by killing terrorists before they can strike the US--along with baby terrorists, woman terrorists, grandmother terrorists, and donkey terrorists.
Which of course in no way serves the interests of terror groups by providing them with the examples of hideous cruelty they so much desire, and driving survivors into their recruiting officers' loving arms.
Not at all.