On the excruciating question of Israel/Palestine, Wolfowitz is not at all the “Likud” fan that his defamers portray. He almost went out of his way to be jeered and hooted at a pro-Israel rally in Washington in the early days of the Bush administration, by telling the gung-ho crowd not to forget the suffering of the Palestinians. He has spoken quite clearly of linkage between the demolition of Arab rejectionism and the demolition of Jewish settlements. I can’t exactly say that I know the man, but on the occasions that I have met him I have been very struck by the difference between his manner and the amazing volleys of obloquy and abuse that have been flung at him. (This is made easier, for savants such as Maureen Dowd, by the fact that the first four letters of his surname spell an animal that is known in nursery rhymes to be big and bad. How satirical can one possibly get?) The truth is, he’s a bit bleeding heart for my taste, even though I know some very tough Kurdish and Iraqi and Iranian and Lebanese antifascist militants who would welcome him as a blood-brother. No shame in that, I think.
But with the Wolfowitz and even the John Bolton nomination to the United Nations, the Bush administration retains its capacity to startle, mainly because it has redefined the lazy term “conservative” to mean someone who is impatient with the status quo.
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