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November 11, 2004
Arafat As Rohrschach Test

The death of uberterrorist Yasser Arafat, the man who masterminded hundreds of attacks on civilians and inspired thousands of Islamic lunatics, provides a moment of clarity and insight into the leaders of our time. While heads of state should exercise judicious diplomacy in their official reactions in order to reach out to the Palestinians that Arafat victimized almost as badly as he did everyone else, the extent of their remarks provide an interesting look at the values of so-called friends.

For instance, Bush gave a carefully-crafted statement which avoided even speaking about Arafat or his deadly legacy. Instead, Bush wisely focused on the future:

The death of Yasser Arafat is a significant moment in Palestinian history. We express our condolences to the Palestinian people. For the Palestinian people, we hope that the future will bring peace and the fulfillment of their aspirations for an independent, democratic Palestine that is at peace with its neighbors. During the period of transition that is ahead, we urge all in the region and throughout the world to join in helping make progress toward these goals and toward the ultimate goal of peace.

Some leaders allowed more of their personal views on Yasser Arafat to come through. Two long-time allies of the US weighed in on Arafat's death. First, we have John Howard of Australia, whose country has staunchly supported our war on terror and the effort to liberate Iraq:

Mr Howard says many people regard Yasser Arafat as a terrorist and it is hard to believe that he could not have done more to restrain militant Palestinian groups.

"I think history will judge him very harshly for not having seized the opportunity in the year 2000 to embrace the offer that was very courageously made by the then Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barack, which involved the Israelis agreeing to 90 per cent of what the Palestinians had wanted," he said.

On the other hand, we have Jacques Chirac of France, whose country siphoned millions of dollars in oil-for-food money from the Iraqis and who tried to stop us from deposing Saddam Hussein, a man Chirac supported for three decades:

French President Jacques Chirac, confirming Yasser Arafat's death, has hailed the Palestinian leader as a man of courage and conviction who embodied the Palestinian struggle for a state.

"It is with emotion that I have just learnt of the death of President Yasser Arafat, the first elected president of the Palestinian Authority," Chirac said in a written statement on Thursday. "I offer my very sincere condolences to his family and to people close to him."

Which of these men do you think understands the threat of terror? Which one would you consider a staunch ally against terrorists? I had an emotion, too, when I read Chirac's statement: disgust.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 11, 2004 6:45 AM

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» Arafat Is Dead, Will It Give Peace A Chance from Secure Liberty
Yassar Arafat has (finally) been pronounced dead. The man was a cruel, evil terrorist and a very poor leader for his people. He accomplished nothing positive in over 30 years. He may have been the symbol of hope for Palestinians, but he never deliver... [Read More]

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