Making sense of crazy reality

Posted: Aug 15, 2005 12:00 AM

It would be nice to go fishing.

It would be nice to worry about John Roberts.

It would be really nice to think Karl Rove was worth worrying about.

But something wholly distracting is going on. Must be that war on whatever it is, and its very real casualties.

Barbecues smoke, kids come home from summer camp and ballplayers get busted for steroids. Life goes on.

But does it really? I wondered this recently, as my laptop was profiled (or not) in an examination at an airport security checkpoint. Watching the guard wave a practically magic wand over every angle and face of the thing, it struck me that here we are, Americans in high summer, at the dawnish of the 21st century. We may be citizens of a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, but our liberty has shrunk under measures we take to ward off Islamic terror attacks, and our dedication to equality looks tatty as we go about making the world safe for ... sharia.

It sounds crazy, but this is reality. Monday, Aug. 15, promises to be a great day for sharia, or Islamic law. It marks the end of the constitutional wrangling in Iraq and the beginning of the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the West Bank. Both events -- fought for, facilitated, even micromanaged by the U.S. of A. -- should expand the domain of Islamic law, which codifies female inferiority and religious inequality. I don't know a better way to quantify the two events. By day's end, Iraq, if it settles as expected on a draft constitution based in sharia, and Gaza, as a new sector of the already sharia-vested Palestinian Authority, will have joined the community of nations at odds with the Free World.

That sounds crazy, too. But no more so than the thought of American troops fighting off Iranian-supported death squads to shore up a government led by a possible Iranian agent -- Ibrahim Jaafari, the Iraqi prime minister and leader of the Tehran-allied Dawa faction. It sounds fantastic, but the notion comes from the serious-minded Caroline Glick of The Jerusalem Post, who recently wrote: "Both U.S. and Iraqi officials -- Shi'ite and Sunni -- have since the inauguration of the Iraqi Governing Council in the summer of 2003 stated repeatedly and matter-of-factly that he (Mr. Jaafari) is an Iranian agent." Mr. Jaafari spent years under Iranian protection during Saddam's regime; he also just concluded a three-day visit to Tehran where he sealed oil, military and tourism deals. I don't recall hearing any word on ending Iran's recognized sponsorship of terror and unrest in Iraq.

More craziness: The spectacle of an American Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, propping up the Holocaust-denying Palestinian Authority leader, Mahmoud Abbas, in the strategic dismemberment of Israel wrought by the mystifying old general Ariel Sharon. The Israeli move includes not only the destruction or dismantling of 25 Israeli settlements and the relocation of 9,000 Israelis, but also the disinterment and reburial of 48 Israeli graves. Horrific, yes, but not crazy. The threat of Muslim desecration of Jewish graves in the Gush Katif Cemetery is too real for Israel to allow the dead to remain where they rest. In 1948, Muslim armies captured the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem and turned tens of thousands of Jewish tombstones into construction material for roads, buildings, even latrines.

Six of the 48 Gush Katif graves belong to residents murdered by Muslim terrorists. Five of them may well belong to members of the Hatuel family -- a mother and four daughters -- who were shot to death last May at close range by Palestinian terrorists. They had been driving to a rally against the withdrawal, their car bumper sticker reading "Uprooting the Settlements, Victory for Terror."

Certainly, the terrorists see the withdrawal as victory -- although not ultimate victory.
Jamal Abu Samhadaneh, commander of the Popular Resistance Committees, a Palestinian terror network behind (among other things) the 2003 attack in Gaza on a U.S. diplomatic convoy that killed three Americans, is already planning Intifada 3. "We will transfer all our fighting methods and capabilities to the West Bank," he told The Jerusalem Post. "The withdrawal will not be complete without the West Bank and Jerusalem, which is even more precious to us than the West Bank."

Not surprisingly, Abu Samhadaneh is wanted by Israel. But he's also wanted by the Palestinian Authority, he says -- to become a senior official in its Military Intelligence Force.

There may be a peculiarly Middle Eastern logic to all this, but it's not one we seem able to understand.