Every few days I become re-amazed, saddened and fearful at the solid and valuable institutions that are being damaged and perhaps destroyed by the march to war that started on September 11, 2001. As a supporter of the president, and a grim but determined endorser of war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq, I recognize that mine is one of the many hands holding up the chisel against those institutions. But I wonder whether we will be able to build new structures half as serviceable and enduring as those we may be in the process of destroying.
Of course, I have in mind the United Nations, NATO and our amicable relations with much of Europe, particularly France and Germany. Flawed as those organizations and traditions may be, if they have served their time and must be discarded, we will have to replace them with something, or risk returning to a lonely, every-country-for-itself law of the jungle. The United Nations may be a farce, but it nonetheless embodies the hope of the ages of a brotherhood of nations sharing a common, peaceful vision. Once, European Christendom offered that vision. Then the League of Nations, and after its failure the U.N. assumed the role. If the U.N has come to the end of its utility, so be it. But there must be another iteration of the grand old dream. People rightly cling to a hope of something better than dog eat dog. And if the so-called realists can see only the U.N.'s material flaws and not the dreams that built the edifice, they are no realists at all, but mere fools. The stubborn resistance of most Europeans, and less but still numerous Americans, to support war without a U.N. endorsement is testament to the strength of that vision -- even when its focus is on the derelict tenement of the United Nations.
And there is one other tradition being overturned: the inadmissibility in polite company of questioning the patriotism of Jews. This last tradition, born as the world saw the unspeakable business of the gas chambers and ovens of Auschwitz and Dachau, has for a half a century kept at bay the ancient, always-lurking wolf of anti-Semitism. The taboo, the absolute ban, against questioning Jewish loyalty doubtlessly sheltered a few individuals who fit the definition. After all, most people hold some special feelings for their mother country. (My family, which emigrated from England, when applying for American citizenship in the 1950s hesitated before affirming that we were prepared to bear arms against England if America and England were at war with each other.) And for a few of each ethnicity those special feelings may cross over to dual loyalty. I'm sure it is true for a few Anglo-Americans, Irish-Americans, Polish-Americans, Jewish-Americans and fill-in-the-blank Americans.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.