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Jewish World Review Dec. 27, 2002 / 22 Teves, 5763

James Lileks

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Whistleblowers? | WHISTLEBLOWERS?

They're Time magazine's Persons of the Year, three women photographed in the classic resolute Silkwood mode. (Male whistleblowers always seem to be bitter Dilberts who got passed over for a window office.) Not to diminish their accomplishments - what they did took guts, yes. But what did they do? Two tattled on corporate corruption. One revealed that the FBI is so hobbled by bureaucracy and indecision it would give a parking permit in the Hoover Building to Al Kayda's Ryder Truck Company. (And it would forbid any agents from doing a background check.) Nice job; thanks. But these were the most important people of 2002? Not soldiers, not Saddam, not Condi? Who do you have to kill to get some respect around here?

Early rumors had the Person of the Year as The Terrorist - an honest choice. The award is not meant to glorify. It's meant to demonstrate who had the greatest impact on our world. If Bin Laden rose from the dead, grew 50 feet tall, climbed the Empire State Building and swatted away planes, he wouldn't be Man of the Year, but if his minions blew off a dirty bomb in St. Peter's Square on Easter morning, The Terrorist might indeed be in the running.

Remember how 2002 began; sighs of relief that The Terrorist didn't blow up the crowds in Times Square. The year ended with the same: whew, The Terrorist didn't blow up malls during Geegaw and Sweater-Buying Season. We've been looking over our shoulders all year, watching the threat level spike up and dip down, always waiting for the other shoes on the millipede of International Islamic Terror to drop. We've read about smallpox, the Bali bombing, the speculation that Al Qaeda has suitcase nukes. Don't know about you, but if a whistleblower coughed on me or showed up with a ticking Samsonite, I wouldn't worry much.

But Whistleblower it is, so let's name another: Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wa. She's blown the whistle on her party's tolerance of pacifistic root-cause apologists. First she speaks to a high school about why bin Laden was lionized. "He's been out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day care facilities, building health care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful. We haven't done that."

Yes, bin Laden was loved not for striking the Jews and Crusaders, but for an international network of day care centers. They were a godsend to the legions of working women in Afghanistan. How they poured from their houses in their smart skirts, briefcases swinging with joy, marching off to work. Then they were all beaten for being shameless, and their names reported to the Ministry of Hitting Women with Sticks for future reference.

In a subsequent statement, Murray clarified her remarks, assured us that bin Laden was "evil," and that her remarks were twisted by the "right-wing establishment." This implies that her remarks were understood by the left-wing establishment. And perhaps they were - not just understood, but applauded. There are people on the hard left who believe that you can smash the terror networks by sending the B-2s to drop Pampers and contraceptives. Poverty causes resentment, which is why the majority of 9/11 hijackers hailed from that Haiti of the Dunes, Saudi Arabia.

The Lott story showed how the GOP will kick out members of the idiotarian faction when they slip up and speak their mind. The Republicans are no more enamored of segregation than the Democrats are in love with surrender; there are some old-boy dolts on the right who are tone-deaf on race, and when they get a case of the stupids, they should pay. Ditto the Democrats who still think the US military is devoted solely to napalming Vietnamese children. But the latter never seems to suffer. We see how the Dems treat a Bonior, a McDermott, a McKinney, a Murray. Anything short of a Lott-scale internecine purge might suggest most Dems agree with her.

Perhaps there's a memo from the Democratic National Committee, urging everyone to sit tight and let this blow over. There would be a word for someone who leaked it to the press.

Whistleblower? No. Traitor!

JWR contributor James Lileks is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


01/06/02: The second year of this jangled millennium
11/16/01: Attack of the 'Patriotism police' and other Hollywood fare
11/12/01: From the bleats of dismay
10/30/01: Osama and the Genie
10/08/01: "We can stop the Bush Death Juggernaut"
11/04/01: America, loathe or it leave it
09/25/01: Do the Europeans actually think that the war on murderous zealotry will be furthered by undercutting America?
08/27/01: If the economy is in a funk, why aren't we dancing?
08/14/01: Dubyah's embarrassing presidential vacation
08/10/01: Hail to our co-chiefs?
08/03/01: Constitution: George the Uniter picked a doozy to unify detractors
07/25/01: The real reason why we need missile defense (What those uppity policy wonks won't tell you!)
06/18/01: Paining the egalitarian soul
06/01/01: One of the stranger indexes you'll ever hear about
05/21/01: One man's toke is another man's snort
05/08/01: Republicans want poisoned water
04/23/01: We bleat as we're sheared
04/10/01: Boys will be boys. And that's the problem
04/06/01: Pity the anti-American Left, they're gonna have a hard time on this one
03/26/01: You've been warned
03/16/01: The GOP's inexplicable desire to fold
02/23/01: Will the Jeb Bush administration attack Saddam in 2011?
02/09/01: In search of the the first ashtray thrown by a member of the First Family
02/06/01: Can you say 'Ayatollah Bush'?
01/24/01: The new Executive Orders
01/22/01: Hey, Dubya: Wanna save Ashcroft? Teach him to rap!
01/09/01: Bubba gets his last licks
01/05/01: The low-down on the coming recession (What those snooty economists won't tell you)
12/23/00: Memo to Dubya: Wanna show who is boss? Nuke 'em!
12/06/00: The Count of Carthage
At the Sore/Loserman Transition HQ
12/01/00: The Count of Carthage
11/28/00: Clinton knows history isn't written by the victors anymore
11/17/00: Chad's the word
11/08/00: The strangest political night
11/07/00: Get ready to return to the Dark Ages

© 2002, James Lileks