David Frum at AEI.org (via FrontPage, ) notes the fawning dhimmitude with which Yasir Arafat has been greeted by the West over the years:
As Yasser Arafat reviews his life from his Paris hospital bed, what do you think he thinks? Does he regard himself as a success or not?
In some senses, he must feel he has failed. He has been waging war on Israel for four decades, and yet Israel is still there, richer and stronger than ever. He has personified Palestinian Arab nationalism–and he has led the Palestinian Arabs from one disaster to another.
Yet the old murderer surely also has abundant cause to feel successful. Once a pariah, a killer, a terrorist, he is now a Nobel Peace Prize winner and a billionaire. His agents hijacked planes, massacred civilians, organized the murder of schoolchildren and Olympic athletes–and even the assassinations of American diplomats. Yet he forced the world to recognize him as a legitimate head of government, and hundreds of millions of people worldwide regard him as the leader of a righteous cause. President Bill Clinton met with Yasser Arafat 24 times in eight years, more often than with any other international political figure. And though recent months have gone badly for him, Arafat has good reason to feel confident that he and his movement will in time recover….
Thus Arafat’s number one reason for confidence: his command of the world press. Israel may win battle after battle on the ground, but it is losing the battle for global public opinion outside the United States. From the silence concealing Arafat’s own personal corruption to the suppression of unwanted images like those of Palestinians celebrating on 9/11, Arafat has cajoled and intimidated much of the world media into covering the Middle East as he wishes it covered.
Likewise, Arafat has enjoyed amazing success in persuading the world’s governments to draw a distinction between al-Qaeda terrorism and his own supposedly more acceptable brand. After the 9/11 attacks, the United Nations adopted Resolution 1373 calling on all member states to suppress terrorism. Yet European governments have acquiesced in the demands of Islamic states to exempt terrorist acts carried out during an “armed struggle for liberation and self-determination.”…
In the words of his fairest and best informed biographers, Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin: “This was the ultimate irony of his life: Arafat, the man who did more than anyone else to champion and advance the Palestinian cause, also inflicted years of unnecessary suffering on his people, delaying any beneficial redress of their grievances or solutions to their problems.”
For those people–for us all–the world will be a better place if he had never lived and will be a cleaner place after he is gone.