When it comes to
Biden and Palin hid like rabbits from the centre of the
Saturday, 4 October 2008
Palestinians ceased to exist in the
Thursday night. Both Joe Biden and Sarah Palin managed
to avoid the use of that poisonous word. "
and "Palestinians" - that most cancerous, slippery,
dangerous concept - simply did not exist in the
vice-presidential debate. The phrase "Israeli
occupation" was mercifully left unused. Neither the
words "Jewish colony" nor "Jewish settlement" - not
even that cowardly old get-out clause of American
journalism, "Jewish neighbourhood" - got a look-in. Nope.
Those bold contenders of the
keen to prove their mettle when it comes to "defence",
hid like rabbits from the epicentre of the
earthquake: the existence of a Palestinian people.
Sure, there was talk of a "two-state" solution, but it
would have mystified anyone who didn't understand the region.
There was even a Biden jibe at George Bush for pressing
on with "elections" - again, the adjective
"Palestinian" went missing - that produced a Hamas
victory. But Hamas appeared to exist in never-never
land, a vast landscape that gradually encompassed all
the vast and black deserts that stretch, in the
imagination of US politicians, from the Mediterranean to
Biden thundered. But what was he talking about?
on our side. Both vice-presidential candidates seemed
to think that our ally in the "war on terror" was now
turning into an ally of the axis of evil. Even Islam
didn't get a run for its money.
Indeed, one of the funniest reports of the week, yet
another investigation of Obama's education, came from
the Associated Press news agency. The would-be
president, the Associated Press announced, had attended
a Muslim school but hadn't "practised" Islam.
What on earth did this mean, I asked myself? Would AP
have reported, for example, that McCain had attended a
Christian school but hadn't "practised" Christianity?
Then I got it. Obama had smoked Islam but he hadn't inhaled!
Travelling across the
bumping into the results of
House-induced terror. A well-educated,
upper-middle-class lady at a lunch turned to me and
expressed her fear that Islam "wanted to take over
a bit, she informed me that "the Muslims have already
How does one reply to this? It's a bit like being
informed by a perfectly sane and rational person that
Martians have just landed in
old Fisk trick when confronted by ravers of the "admit
George Bush did 9/11" school. I looked at my watch,
adopted a shocked expression and shouted: "Gotta go!"
But seriously. There was Biden on Thursday night,
telling us that along
Afghanistan - he was referring, of course, to the old
frontier drawn by Sir Mortimer Durrand which most
Pushtuns (and thus all Taliban) regard as fictional -
"there have been 7,000 madrassas built ... and that's
where bin Laden lives and we will go at him if we have
actually (sic) intelligence".
Seven thousand? Where on earth does this figure come
from? Yes, there are thousands of religious schools in
another extraordinary bit of myth-making, Obama's man
told us that "we kicked the Hizbollah out of
which is totally untrue.
And, of course,
repeatedly, by all
point of the entire
nation ... our strongest and best ally in the Middle
East" (quoth Palin) of whom "no one in the United
States Senate has been a better friend...than Joe
Biden" (quoth Biden).
Palin revealed. "We have got to assure them that we
will never allow a second Holocaust." Thus was the
corpse of Hitler dug up yet again - just as McCain
resurrected the shadow of the Second World War last
week when he blathered on about Eisenhower's sense of
responsibility before D-Day. That
adequately defend herself with 264 nuclear warheads
went, of course, unmentioned, because acknowledging
vulnerable country relying on
Israelis deserve security. But where were the promises
of security for Palestinians? Or the sympathy which
Americans would immediately grant any other occupied
people? Absent, needless to say. For we must gird
ourselves for the next struggle against world evil in
Biden actually demanded a "stable" government in
few days after US troops had crossed its sovereign
border to shoot up a Pakistani house allegedly used by
the Taliban. As General David Petraeus told The New
York Times this week, "The trends in
been in the wrong direction ... wresting control of
certain areas from the Taliban will be very difficult."
It's an odd situation. Obama and Biden want to close
of Cliches characterised this as "a white flag of
Ahmadinejad - defeated McCain three times in last
But it's the same old story. All we have learned in
America these past two weeks, to quote Joan
Littlewood's Oh! What a Lovely War, is that the war goes on.