I often agree with Andrew Sullivan, but was surpised by this stunningly misguided blog post on the Daily Beast, attacking Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin for retweeting an angry statement about what should happen to the Hamas captors of Gilad Shalit. It involves feeding the "death worshiping" culprits to the sharks, a fate too cruel for Sullivan.
Thankfully, though, he does concede that Hamas — labeled a terrorist group by the State Department and anyone else with common sense — is "often despicable in their war crimes."
That's like saying Bernie Madoff was often less than forthright with his clients. And one wonders which of the Hamas war crimes Sullivan does not find despicable.
He goes on to elevate the captors above both Israeli and American jailers by deciding that they "did not torture" Gilad, never mind that the full account of his captivity has yet to emerge. Even if, for argument's sake we were to accept that the terrorists didn't apply physical pain on a regular basis to Gilad, how would Sullivan classify being kept in a dark room with no contact with the outside world (barring even visits from the Red Cross) while your wounds are untreated and basic nutritional needs are unmet for five years. Most people would find that pretty torturous.
Sullivan's point is that "it is a mark of civilization that we do not descend to this kind of tribal, racist, fascistic bile" in wishing destruction rather than captivity on the Hamas militants, whom Rubin and blogger Rachel Abrams describe as animals. Perhaps he's right, but it's also a mark of civilization to heap justifiable scorn upon people who commit despicable crimes, such as hostage taking, firing rockets at civilians and suicide bombing; and to wish for an outcome other than their being happily reunited with 1,000+ of their cronies.
The majority of our civilization seemed to celebrate the decision of its elected leader (who was supported by Sulivan) to dispatch one such evildoer to exactly the kind of watery end to which Abrams and Rubin alluded. I guess we're all fascists.
Sullivan must have caught some flak for this rumination, for later the same day he shows us the other side of the coin, that Palestinian militants, in addition to being ‘often’ unkind in battle, may have some unkind religious beliefs vis a vis the Jews.