Much of the blogosphere is abuzz with reports that certain unnamed Democratic leaders have been meeting quietly with leaders of Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group that currently controls the Palestinian Authority. I find myself a smidgen skeptical.
First of all, Hamas is, officially, a terrorist organization. They’ve been on that list ever since the list was started. Consequently, any official contact with them is a violation of federal law.
Not that’s stopped Democrats before.
The Logan Act specifically makes it illegal for any private citizen holding negotiations with foreign governments. It’s never been enforced, but it’s on the books — and I think that it’s a good law.
In the 1970s, anti-war activists travelled to Paris and met with Vietnamese government officials to negotiate an end to the war. Among them was John F. Kerry, future US senator and presidential nominee. At the time, according to Kerry’s official biography, he was a commissioned officer in the United States Naval Reserve, making his presence an even more serious offense.
During the 1980s, the United States was less than friendly to the Sandanista government of Nicaragua. Still, several key Democratic lawmakers went to Nicaragua and met with their leaders to discuss ending our support for the Contra rebels.
Also during the 1980s, an American naval pilot was shot down over Lebanon while bombing Syrian positions. He was taken back to Syria, and Jesse Jackson went to President Assad and personally secured the release of Lt. Robert Goodman.
So, if the Logan Act doesn’t count as a deterrent, why don’t I think that the Democrats met with Hamas?
For several reasons. First, I like to think that there are still some boundaries the Democrats won’t cross — either out of principle or out of self-preservation. For both reasons, meeting with an unabashed terrorist group is just a bad idea.
Secondly, the sole source on this so far is Hamas itself. I don’t give them that kind of credibility. Remember, these are the same people who said that George W. Bush had said that “God told me to strike at al Qaeda and I struck them, and then He instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me, I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them.”
I don’t care what you think of Bush and his religious beliefs or his intellect. No one can seriously think that Bush would use such language while meeting with Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas.
It reminded me of a quote from “The 776 Stupidest Things Ever Said.” A politician (I think it was a New Hampshirite) once asked “Why can’t the Moslems and Jews settle their differences like good Christians?”
Abbas is a Muslim. Sharon was the leader of the Jewish nation. Neither would be overly inclined to put a great deal of credence in the proclamations of the Christian god.
And Bush has shown a bit of sensitivity to other faiths besides his own in the past.
The underlying principle is simple: Hamas is a terrorist organization. They started out as such, and have remained such at their core. They have expanded into a political and social service organization as well, but that’s just gilding the turd at the core. They remain absolutely committed to their goal: the extermination of the state of Israel and its replacement with an Islamist state. Their participation in the electoral processes and good social works are simply tactics towards achieving those goals. And at every opportunity to renounce terrorism and move towards peaceful measures, they reject them firmly, absolutely, and unrepentantly.
To believe differently, to act based on those beliefs, is idiotic at best and suicidal at worst. And I don’t think that the Democrats currently holding high office are that bad.