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Neocon Brooks tells US to deal with Taliban — so what about Hamas?

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David Brooks

David Brooks

Neoconservative David Brooks’s column approving Obama’s deal with the Taliban to release Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is getting a lot of attention because of its ideological independence. The NYT columnist says Obama was right to free five Taliban leaders in order to gain the freedom of the young army sergeant from Idaho who is said to have walked away from his base in Afghanistan five years ago at a time when he questioned the US purpose there.

Brooks endorsed the deal by citing Israeli nationalist esprit-de-corps.

Israel once traded 1,027 Palestinian prisoners to get back one of their own. Another time they traded 1,150 prisoners to get back three of their own. They did it because of a deep awareness that national cohesion is essential to national survival. They did it because Israeli parents share a common emotional bond; the imprisonment of one of their children touches them all. In polarized countries, especially, you have to take care of your own.

That’s not surprising, considering that Brooks was taught to be “gooey-eyed” about Israel, as he confessed on his 12th pilgrimage there.

But I noticed his acceptance of the Taliban:

It doesn’t matter either that the U.S. government ended up dealing with terrorists. In the first place, the Taliban are not terrorists the way al-Qaida is. America has always tried to reach a negotiated arrangement with the Taliban, and this agreement may be a piece of that. In the second place, this is the dirty world we live in. Sometimes national leaders are called upon to take the sins of the situation upon themselves for the good of the country, to deal with the hateful and compromise with the loathsome. That’s their form of sacrifice and service.

Would Brooks ever say that Israel must reach a negotiated settlement with Hamas? Let alone qualify Hamas’s official status as a terrorist organization? I sincerely doubt it. If he hasn’t, he should do so now, in endorsing Palestinian reunification as a step toward resolution of the conflict.

The Taliban is a whole lot worse than Hamas, in social attitudes, intolerance, orthodoxy and commitment to violent struggle.

And note Brooks’s statement about Israel: “In polarized countries, especially, you have to take care of your own.” But that’s the problem: Israel only looks out for its own, Jews. Which is why the country (by which Brooks seems to mean Israel and Palestine) is polarized.

(P.S. I don’t spout opinions about Bergdahl because, like David Brooks, I’ve never donned a uniform.)

 

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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12 Responses

  1. pabelmont on June 8, 2014, 12:45 pm

    “Sometimes national leaders are called upon to take the sins of the situation upon themselves for the good of the country, to deal with the hateful and compromise with the loathsome. That’s their form of sacrifice and service.”

    Yes, well.

    Consider how our ever-so-reluctant leaders (Bush/Cheney et al.) forced themselves to do the dirty (for the good of the good ole USA of course) by attacking Iraq, torturing some of their prisoners, and doing all the hideous kidnapping, indefinite detaining, and rendering for torture. But, hey!, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. Oh yes, and destroying the last vestiges of the USA’s constitutional civil rights. So sorry, but war is hell, even if we started it and it was wholly unnecessary and illegal to boot.

    And, of course, neocons and conservatives LOVE violence and love to show that they are above the moral weakness of complying with international law (or any other law, come to that), are above rules and morality, are tough macho men, gangsters. And these same neocons and conservatives hate the communist command-economy government, but love our oligarchy-commanded economic and governmental system, much promoted by these stupid wars. (Pity the people: nobody loves democracy any more!)

  2. amigo on June 8, 2014, 12:55 pm

    “Israel once traded 1,027 Palestinian prisoners to get back one of their own. Another time they traded 1,150 prisoners to get back three of their own. They did it because of a deep awareness that national cohesion is essential to national survival. They did it because Israeli parents share a common emotional bond; the imprisonment of one of their children touches them all. In polarized countries, especially, you have to take care of your own.” brooks

    “They did it” because they could go right back a week later and re arrest them.

    It seems brooks thinks only Israel,s Jewish parents have a strong bond and care more about their children than anyone else.

    Maybe Jews invented that as well as honouring one,s parents as Nuttyahoo claimed.

  3. bilal a on June 8, 2014, 1:19 pm

    P.S. I don’t spout opinions about Bergdahl because, like David Brooks, I’ve never donned a uniform.)

    It’s not what the recruiters described. Imagine a bureaucratic Post office full of lazies but which recruits through a poverty draft and where the ‘volunteers’ self select on their attraction to submissiveness to authority, and a willingness to travel to kill people, plus an absence of competing opportunities. Then the process of dehumanization and glorification of murder for the flag–this is where the psychopaths get stoked

    But there are many idealists who were misinformed and talked themselves into it. They are the ones who walk.

    Consider yourself blessed.

  4. Blownaway on June 8, 2014, 1:27 pm

    David Brooks is desperately trying to stay relevant …it’s not working.

  5. Citizen on June 8, 2014, 1:56 pm

    Has Brooks said anything about how the USA should handle the new Palestinian unity government?

  6. Walid on June 8, 2014, 2:33 pm

    “The Taliban is a whole lot worse than Hamas, in social attitudes, intolerance, orthodoxy and commitment to violent struggle.”

    It sure is, Hamas has yet to destroy a non-Muslim religious temple anywhere. Can’t say as much for the Taliban after their vicious destruction of the 1700-year old Buddhas at Bamiyan in 2000. That was 3 years after the Taliban had been welcomed at the Bush ranch in Texas to discuss the building of the Unocal pipeline between Turkmenistan and Pakistan that was to pass through Afghanistan. The Taliban had also been negotiating with the Argentinians to build the same pipeline and had been close to signing the deal with them. but 9-11 and the subsequent American assault on Afghanistan put a sudden end to any pipeline talks involving non-American companies. And 2 months later, the former CIA contractor and ex-Taliban member, Hamid Karzai, became head of the country and has remained so since then.

    • RoHa on June 8, 2014, 8:03 pm

      “but 9-11 and the subsequent American assault on Afghanistan put a sudden end to any pipeline talks involving non-American companies.”

      Sheer coincidence, of course.

  7. just on June 8, 2014, 5:14 pm

    I feel terrible for Bergdahl and his family.

    Another war we should have never fought…………nothing since and including Vietnam was for any good/justifiable reason. Both sides of the aisle are screeching about this– some were braying for his release just weeks ago. Now, they’ve flip- flopped against this soldier and President Obama. I have nothing but disdain for them.

    Why did SoS Clinton and a bunch of selected officials intervene with Shalit???
    So did various other countries. He was made a honorary citizen of Paris, France; Rome, Italy; Miami; New Orleans; Baltimore; Pittsburgh.

    And some US citizens aren’t even giving Bergdahl his rights in his own country…..

    Disgusting.

    (PS– Israel negotiated with Hamas for Shalit’s release. If they did it once, they can do it again!!!!!!!!)

    • a blah chick on June 8, 2014, 9:44 pm

      “Why did SoS Clinton and a bunch of selected officials intervene with Shalit???
      So did various other countries. He was made a honorary citizen of Paris, France; Rome, Italy; Miami; New Orleans; Baltimore; Pittsburgh.”

      Shalit’s family along with the Israeli government did a great job of depicting him as some sweet-faced innocent snatched from the bosom of his family by the wicked Gazans. If I recall the circumstances correctly he was captured while stationed with a tank crew just outside the border during Cast Lead. He was part of an army waging war on Gaza when taken prisoner and if he couldn’t extricate himself with all his high faultin’ IDF training then that’s on him. He was a POW and nothing more.

  8. Citizen on June 8, 2014, 6:04 pm

    Isn’t Brooks an orthodox Jew? Just asking.

  9. oldgeezer on June 8, 2014, 6:41 pm

    Governments have always negotiate with terrorists. Any time they want to, that is. I don’t know why the press repeats such false concepts let alone why they let politicians get away with such claims without hard pointed questions.

  10. RoHa on June 9, 2014, 1:25 am

    “In polarized countries, especially, you have to take care of your own.”

    How do we decide which ones are “our own”?

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