In one of those coincidences of timing that might lead one to suspect that a particularly mischievous pixie is guiding events, Sen. Ted Kennedy announced he was canceling his meeting with Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams the same weekend that the Bush administration let it be known it might deal in some non-coercive way with Hezbollah -- the Islamist terrorist organization based in Lebanon. I fear that President Bush is about to begin matriculating in the same course of study from which Ted Kennedy, after decades, has finally seemingly graduated, the lesson of which is: 'Tis easier to see a rainbow than to follow it to its pot of gold.
For decades, seekers of peace and democracy for the Emerald Isle have believed the fiction that one could deal with Sinn Fein as a legitimate democratic political party separate from the terrorist Irish Republican Army. This was an illusion not only for Irish Americans with a romantic view of the grand old struggle. Her Britannic Majesty's governments, which for centuries have held quite the opposite view of Ireland's struggle for freedom, shared in that illusion. And to some extent they still do.
The British government is proposing to fine Sinn Fein's parliamentary members 500,000 pounds a year for the IRA's crime of bank robbery last December. Michael McDowell, the Irish justice minister, named Sinn Fein MPs Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness and Martin Ferris as being among the IRA's Army Council, thus recognizing a commonality of responsibility between the terrorist IRA and the political party Sinn Fein.
On the other hand, according to the BBC, the government's Northern Ireland Secretary, Paul Murphy, rejected calls to exclude Sinn Fein from the political process, saying the move would not deliver "long-term stability," although they have not ruled out such a decision later.
"Long-term stability" is the illusive pot of gold. The rainbow is the gorgeous vision of dealing separately with the political and military arms of a terrorist organization, in the expectation that the political arm will grow, while the military arm will wither. Unfortunately, both arms are connected to the same body, which is governed by the same brain. And it is the brain of a killer.
But because well-organized terrorists are so difficult to defeat, it is hard to resist chasing down the chimera of a morally divisible terrorist organization. So now, apparently, President Bush is entering the chase for the illusive divisible Hezbollah.
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.
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