Jewish World Review June 24, 2014 / 26 Sivan, 5774
By Paul Greenberg
JewishWorldReview.com | "The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid 'dens of crime' that Dickens loved to paint. It is not even done in concentration camps and labor camps. In those we see (evil's) final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices."
Call it déjà vu, the feeling that we've been here before, that events in the news are happening again, only with a new cast. This flashback could be titled Iraq Agonistes, except it's no play. It is all too real. For those are real people suffering and dying, and real diplomats and generals, presidents and pundits, senators and senior advisers ... all proudly displaying their gobsmacked ineptitude.
There is something eerily, depressingly familiar about the latest news from the state formerly known as
The players may have changed, but not the tragedy. Indeed, the plot is so familiar you can almost see the audience yawning and heading for the exits. ("Not this sad show again!") In these fast-moving or rather fast-collapsing days for the "republic" of
All the old, blood-soaked scenes of an earlier performance by the same theatrical company -- let's dub it the Washington Players -- return like a recurrent nightmare: the agony of friends and allies who counted on us only to be abandoned, the innocents caught in the crossfire, the usual parade of mutual atrocities, and a nebulous government whose power and authority is not just eroding but disappearing every day, every hour, every minute. No matter how much its remaining leaders may deny it.
How long before these leaders, too, become former leaders and retreat to their villas in the south of
It's been almost a decade now since peace was restored after an earlier crisis in
From the moment our failing president tried to justify his hasty withdrawal from
"Everything that American troops have done in
Sovereign, stable and self-reliant
Once again we watch as a demoralized army's retreat turns into a rout, neighboring states circle like vultures to pick up the choicer pieces for themselves, and any remaining islands of stability and refuge are overrun -- by a flood of refugees they cannot cope with.
Even the reactions from
Our president and "commander- in-chief" has decreed no more boots on the ground in
Meanwhile, scenes from the tragedy enacted in
This administration, which looks more and more like only a collection of slow learners, lacks the one essential requisite for a thoughtful and effective foreign policy: constancy of purpose. Instead, an American administration is reduced once again to buck-passing as it is obliged to make ad-hoc decisions in response to one immediate crisis after another, the total effect of which is to invite more crises.
Confronted by such disarray in
"Stand by your friends, and stand up to bullies."
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Paul Greenberg is the Pulitzer prize-winning editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
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