Why not the worst?

All things considered, Peggy Noonan must be the worst columnist in the United States. That is a rash judgment, I concede. She certainly has a lot of competition over at the New York Times. For the combination of fatuity and self-love, however, she must be in a class by herself. In her weekly Wall Street Journal column published in the paper on November 4 (whole thing here) Noonan opined:

We continue to think in this space [editor’s translation: Peggy Noonan continues to think] that the invasion and bombardment of Gaza was a mistake, and not only because of the intractable question of who will govern it when the Israelis are done.

After the morning of 10/7 Israel was a wounded and grieving nation. It had endured a profound and gruesome shock; everyone in the country knew someone among the dead or abducted. In the world, those with a fully developed moral interior suddenly saw Israel differently. In their shock, opponents felt an easing of their coldness, supporters a quickening of their warmth.

In our view what was needed for Israel was an absorbing, a regirding. Sometimes you must wait, build up your strength, broaden your resources, reach out to friends, let opportunities present themselves—everything shifts in life; some shifts are promising. But don’t get sucked into Gaza and spend months providing the world with painful and horrifying pictures of innocent Palestinian babies being carried from the rubble. (“We told them to leave,” isn’t enough. Some people can’t leave, they’re not capable, they’re old people in an apartment somewhere.)

A few weeks of that and the world goes back to its corners.

Every day as things turn more kinetic, more fiery, with more casualties, there is the increased possibility it all spills over into the region, and new fronts are opened, and, as Israel goes deeper, the hostages are killed.

All this is a gift to cable news. Here is a truth: Anything good for cable news is bad for humanity.

Is Noonan’s “truth” true? Is it relevant to Israel’s survival and well-being? Consider that Hamas’s genocidal massacre of 10/7 was only the opening salvo in its current war on Israel. Whatever it is, Noonan’s “truth” is not exactly “At the summit true politics and strategy are one.”

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