Here’s a bold prediction: The latest round of Middle East peace talks, recently kindled at Annapolis, will fail. Not because of a lack of effort on the part of the United States, President Bush or Condoleezza Rice, but because the Palestinian side isn’t interested in negotiating peace. After all, when one party to a conflict isn’t ready, it’s impossible to reach a settlement.
Still, hope springs eternal.
In the December issue of The Atlantic magazine, Andrew Sullivan pins his hopes to a particular presidential candidate. “At its best, the Obama candidacy is about ending a war -- not so much the war in Iraq, which now has a momentum that will propel the occupation into the next decade -- but the war within America that has prevailed since Vietnam and that shows dangerous signs of intensifying,” he writes. “It is a war about war -- and about culture and about religion and about race. And in that war, Obama -- and Obama alone -- offers the possibility of a truce.”
It’s a nice thought, but he ignores the key point: The Vietnam war remains an issue because a sizeable segment of the left, and the left-wing media, wants it to. “Vietnam keeps popping out of America’s darkest closet,” New York Times columnist Frank Rich noted just before the 2004 presidential election. But it’d be more accurate to say it’s repeatedly dragged out by Rich and his fellow travelers.
That year, Sen. John Kerry made Vietnam an issue by announcing he was “reporting for duty” in his convention acceptance speech. Thus, his military service came under scrutiny. The press did its part, too. CBS anchor Dan Rather lost his career over fraudulent documents that purported to show George W. Bush had shirked his duty during the 1970s.
Sullivan notes that our country’s division into two competing camps is growing. “The professionalization of the battle, and the emergence of an array of well-funded interest groups dedicated to continuing it, can be traced most proximately to the bitter confirmation fights over Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas, in 1987 and 1991 respectively,” he writes.
Well, examine those two fights. Bork was the best-qualified candidate nominated to the high court in the 20th century. He was a former solicitor general, acting attorney general and a circuit judge for United States Court of Appeals. He wrote more than 400 opinions, and none were overturned by the Supreme Court.