The Fish
for 24 February 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
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Minor Threat

Very bold - I'm not usually a
big fan, but you did it

"The Times, where Middle
Eastern theory runs the full
spectrum from Labor to Likud
..." is a great description
of that paper's
sensibilities. I hope enough
people realize that those are
Israeli-only parties and you
get sufficient hate-mail.

I didn't get the
Safire/black-glove reference,

Amazing, not a single mention
of oil in the whole piece.

Again; very bold - unless
you're a black Muslim from
Israel. Or, you had a

Steve McNally

The black glove reference was
an allusion to the movie Dr.
in which Peter
Sellers plays a think-tank
theorist who gets so ecstatic
when going over nuclear
exchange scenarios that he
can't keep his right hand
from throwing fascist
salutes. I guess it doesn't
sound too funny, but it's a
laff riot in the movie.

I didn't mention oil, it's
true. That's because the
no-blood-for-oil argument 7
years ago had as much impact
as a banana cream pie 10 feet
in diameter, dropped from a
height of 10 feet. I think
we're even more likely to go
to war if we think it's about


Fish With Letter Icon

Our greatest fears are made
evident in short news clips
of Arabs wielding guns and in
fighting to get a chance at
burning the American flag.

But compared to the WWF, it's
nothing. I'm far more afraid
of this country (that has
produced Hulk Hogan, The
Undertaker, and The Hitman
Hart) wielding nuclear


Good point. We're all worried
about who's minding the nukes
in Russia and the worst they
had was Andre the Giant.


Fish With Letter Icon

Here's a novel idea - How
about we give the Arab people
and their culture a little
respect? Let's try to
remember that those folks are
doin' the same drudgery that
we are - trying to put some
food in their bellies and an
occasional smile on their

Jason Angelus Portland OR

They try to put food in your
belly, too. Take my advice -
get yourself invited to an
Arab house. They'll feed you
like a horse.

Did you catch the Arabs in
Titanic? Just for a second,
as they're evacuating the
ship, there's a shot of an
Arab family, with the father
wearing a fez and everybody
going, "Yella, yella!" I
guess that's Cameron's
penance for True Lies, but
since I kinda doubt the Arabs
made it off the ship, it's a
pretty feeble gesture.


Fish With Letter Icon

Minor Threat

Hey there.

Kenny Sahr from "School
Sucks" here. Your essay on
Israel, Saddam, and The New
York Times
was great.

Only two-and-a-half years
ago, I returned from seven
years in Israel. I lived in
the West Bank (though my
views are actually secular
and centrist) not far from
Tel Aviv and spent three
years in the IDF, in the
spokesman unit (where I first
learned about how it all

Despite all the talk about
Scuds, the Gulf War was a lot
of fun - and had many
interesting side effects.

First off, terror was down.
Palestinians didn't dare
start up during the Gulf War.

Crime was down - people were
at home.

Fewer people died, really,
that month - there were fewer
car accidents/fewer people
doing things they normally do
at night. And two people died
from Scuds - usually 10 to 20
die in a large suicide

We used to have a fun betting
pool every night - What time
will the Scuds land/if at

This threat of missiles from
Saddam is overrated in the
United States. He won't use
"NBC" as he knows that it
will force Israel to
annihilate him. Scuds are a
way for a pest to play
footsies, nothing more.

Kenny Sahr

Thanks for the unexpected
thumbs-up from the Holy Land.
While reduced crime and fewer
traffic problems are nice
side effects, they don't
really sound like "a lot of
fun." I thought the
consolation for being in a
war zone was tomorrow-we-die-
type screwing and drinking.

Yours with secular centrism,

Fish With Letter Icon

Saddam Hussein is not a nice
man, and his people are
currently reaping the results
of the devil's bargain they
(quite consciously and
deliberately - don't kid
yourself) made with him some
decades ago: Give us a
comfortable middle-class life
and don't bother us, and
we'll let you run the country
and play soldier. They have
discovered, too late, that
those who choose comfort over
freedom end up with neither,
and the only appropriate
emotion is pity.

But, if we do allow the Iraqi
regime to unilaterally
renegotiate the terms of its
cease fire, we are setting a
precedent that will probably
make the UN as meaningless as
the League of Nations. This
is surely a Bad Thing. And
Saddam Hussein is, in fact,
perfectly capable of
sponsoring all sorts of
inspired nastiness if given
the chance: Do you want to
give the Israelis a reason to
turn Baghdad into a glassy
crater? Didn't think so.

What to do? Beats me. I'd
personally feel better if all
those people hollering for
war, and regretting that we
stopped the Gulf War when we
did, had a bit more of a gut
feel for what war looks like.
George Bush was not my role
model, but he knew what a
dead man looked like after
three days in the water. And
he decided that enough was

They say that when the
Children of Israel were
fleeing from Egypt, the
angels and seraphs all sat
around the Lord watching the
events unfold. And when the
Egyptian army was drowned in
the Red Sea, they cheered.
Only to be stopped by a word
from the Lord: "Those are my
children who are drowning."

I'm rereading this letter,
and I realize it's too
pompous and not sufficiently
ironic for publication. But
I'd like you to know that
your thoughts are

Alan Kornheiser

I don't know Alan: The
American people have made
deals with the devil beyond
count. You might even say all
of American history has been
a series of deals with an
assortment of devils. And
we've never had to pay the
price at all. The Iraqis have
let Saddam and his cronies
get away with quite a bit,
but that's mostly because the
cronies have always been the
ones with the guns. In any
event, at this point the
people in Iraq have paid the
price and then some.

Pompous and insufficiently

Fish With Letter Icon

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