“I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.”… so said Clarence Darrow. And many today are saying that about Ariel Sharon. I am not one of them. I take no pleasure in anybody’s death. I am more of the De mortuis, nisi bonum school (about the dead speak nothing but good.”) And yet I can barely find much good to say about Ariel Sharon.
The obits are flying about, most of them bland and almost cowardly. “On the one hand…” stuff. Most major dailies are afraid of offending Israel. Or they are simply unaware of this man’s shocking cruelty.
I believe Ariel Sharon was a war criminal and if he had lived I believe he should have been dragged before the Hague. I will write a few articles about Warrior as he styled himself in his autobiography, but in general I believe his election in 2000 was Israel’s admission that it had lost its way as a moral nation.
The worst comments outside of Israel were British PM David Cameron’s laughable comment that he “took brave and controversial decisions in pursuit of peace” You do remember that Sharon was in GW Bush’s words “a man of peace.” And how about this howler from John McCain: “Few statesmen have made sacrifices that were as difficult, and were prepared to make more painful sacrifices still, for the sake of peace and the security for their nation.”
As the best Mideast journalist, the Independent’s Robert Fisk put it
Thus do we remake history. How speedily did toady journalists in Washington and New York patch up this brutal man’s image.
Avi Shlaim one of the great New Historians who had to leave Israel and teach at Oxford, summed up Sharon’s career in today’s Guardian: c“Sharon was a deeply flawed character, renowned for his brutality, mendacity, and corruption.”But there is Canadian PM Stephen Harper, four cabinet ministers and a delegation of 150 going to Israel to pay homage.
Such is the parlous state of our foreign policy these days.