John’s post this morning about the apparent advocacy by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius of Hezbollah’s terms for a ceasefire reminded me of a couple of our previous posts on Ignatius and his contacts in Lebanon. In September 2003, Ignatius got together for a little chat with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Taking a look at Ignatius’s subsequent column on the interview, I noted:
Ignatius maddeningly refers to the Hezbollah war of extermination against Israel as “the horrifying dance of death between Israel and its enemies[.]” He asks: “Are there terms under which Islamic militants might agree to halt their suicide bombings?” The answer is negative, which should suggest even to a moderately intelligent observer that Israel is not exactly engaged in a war of choice — contrary to Ignatius’s metaphor — with Nasrallah and his ilk.
In “David Ignatius’s Beirut boondoggle,”I wrote at length about Ignatius’s attendance at the Hezbollah jamboree that led to his interview with Nasrallah. Here are the first few paragraphs:
If you were invited to speak to a conference of genocidal murderers, what would you do? David Ignatius is a columnist for the Washington Post who doesn’t appear to have agonized much over the question.
In his column today — “Hezbollah’s success” — he resolves the question in favor of taking advantage of the opportunity. When invited to speak to a Hezbollah conference in Beirut on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he “accepted — on the theory that it was a chance to learn about the group and that more information, even about alleged terrorists, is better than less.”
It isn’t clear to me from his column why Ignatius refers to Hezbollah as “alleged terrorists.” Is it so that he can observe terminological neutrality between murderers and their victims, or because he has some doubt whether Hezbollah is a terrorist organization? The rest of his column shows Hezbollah to be a cold-blooded advocate of terrorism — “‘martyrdom operations,’ as Hezbollah prefers to call them” — and Ignatius must know that the group practices what it preaches.
These previous questions and comments seem pertinent to the current column by Ignatius that John discusses below.