What's All This Then?

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Thursday, June 30, 2005

I don’t know whether or not the former hostages of the 1979 Iranian revolution are right about president elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad being one of their captors, but if it turns out that they are, what does it say about this country’s intelligence agencies and the Middle East experts in our State and Defense Departments?

Here’s someone who has been a prominent political figure in a country that our President has designated as a member of the infamous "axis of evil" - a country that presumably we are watching closely, monitoring their every move, carefully following the ebb and flow of their "election" process and certainly learning everything possible about their leading candidates for high political office.

Iran’s just concluded election has been called a sham and a "mock election" by the Bush administration, so one would have to conclude that it was watched very carefully by all of our experts concerned with spreading democracy to the Middle East and the rest of the word and curtailing the threat posed by that nation’s nuclear program. Yet, if former hostages Chuck Scott, David Roeder, William J. Daugherty and Don A. Sharer and Kevin Hermening are right, we come pretty close to looking like a nation that shoots its mouth off about other nations without knowing what nations we’re talking about.

One would think that not only would we never forget - but that we would forever keep close tabs on those who were responsible for the 444 day crisis that more than any other issue decided our 1980 election. Yet if the former hostages are right, there was one of the villains of that crisis hiding in plain sight for years - and the reaction of our White House to his possible unmasking is that it’s "taking the allegations seriously and looking into them."

Let’s hope it turns out to be a case of mistaken identity. We have enough problems with that part of the world without having to deal with it hampered by a dose of fresh egg on our national face.

You know you’re right, you’re absolutely right…….

Someone asked me how I could be so pleased with the Supreme Court split decision on the Ten Commandments cases it decided the other day - and how I could rationalize the vote of Stephen Breyer, who seemed to swing both ways - siding with the evil libs in one case and the God fearing, heterosexual, patriotic conservatives on the other.

Well I’m not so much pleased with the decisions as satisfied that their approach was practical - giving a little on one side where it made sense to give - while throwing up roadblocks to religious encroachment on government property where it was relatively easy to do and minimally offensive to religious zealots.

As to the split vote of Justice Breyer, I don’t have any opinion one way or another on his rationalization. I don’t think of him as a latter day Solomon, but I think perhaps he might have taken a leaf from Rabbinical lore in becoming the swing vote in the two different decisions

It seems there were two men embroiled in a business argument who agreed to let their Rabbi hear their case and decide who was right and who was wrong. Each went to see him separately to tell his side of the story. The first man went into the Rabbi’s study, where he sat with his wife looking on, and told his story. The Rabbi listened very carefully and when the man was finished, thought for a moment, stroked his beard and then said - "You know you’re right, you’re absolutely right." And the man left with a triumphant smile on his face. The second man then arrived and told his side of the story, after which the Rabbi thought for a moment, stroked his beard and said "You know you’re right, you’re absolutely right." And the man left with a triumphant smile on his face.

The Rabbi’s wife, who had sat through and listened to all of this in silence, seemed thoroughly perplexed at her husband’s judgments. "I don’t understand," she told her husband. "They both told different stories, yet you told each of them that they were right. Surely they both can’t be right." The Rabbi listened carefully to what his wife had to say, thought about it for a minute, stroked his beard and said, "You know you’re right, you’re absolutely right."

Today, we’d call someone like that a politician. Maybe that’s what Breyer was doing in arriving at his seemingly opposing decisions. Being politic. And Rabbinical.