Burt Prelutsky

In recent days, my attention was grabbed by former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Yelena Bonner, the widow of Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov.

The one I applaud is the former Mrs. Sakharov. In a speech delivered in Norway, she pointed out that the Palestinians are still being referred to as refugees even though only a tiny percentage of them have ever even set foot in Israel. According to my dictionary, and I assume Ms. Bonner’s, a refugee is someone who has fled from violence and wars. How on earth can the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of those who left Israel in order to avoid being killed or injured by the invading Arab forces in 1948, 61 long years ago, be regarded as refugees?

It reminds me of American blacks who, 45 years after passage of the Civil Rights Act, continue to benefit from various programs such as Affirmative Action and Operation Head Start. Is there no such thing as a statute of limitations, no point at which commonsense kicks in and people are permitted to say, “Enough is enough,” without being branded a villain?

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Ms. Bonner pointed out that while every do-gooder group in the world seems to be concerned about the comfort level of Islamic terrorists at Gitmo, armed combatants who aren’t even covered by the Geneva Conventions because they don’t wear uniforms, carry a flag or even fight for a specific nation, nobody outside of Israel seems the least bit concerned about Gilad Schalit, the Israeli soldier who was abducted three years ago by Hamas. She’s right, of course. Our politicians don’t care, the U.N. doesn’t care, and God knows all those left-wing ACLU lawyers who are lined up eager to defend Islamic terrorists, up to and including Osama bin Laden, should he ever be captured, sure don’t give a damn.

That brings me to Colin Powell. For reasons I can’t begin to imagine, he has taken umbrage at Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh for suggesting he’s not a Republican. Frankly, I’m shocked that he continues to insist he is one. I, for one, began doubting it years ago, when, as Secretary of State, he publicly opposed George Bush over the invasion of Iraq. When, in 2008, he timed his endorsement of Barack Obama to do the most damage to John McCain’s campaign, I naturally assumed Mr. Powell had finally gotten around to changing his registration. After all, if you can’t support McCain, who was about as close to being a Democrat as a GOP candidate could be, what Republican could Mr. Powell get behind? Abe Lincoln?