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Why did she break the date?
Diane was having lunch with him on Thursday, giddily planning what was to be their first weekend together. Her best girlfriend spotted them and came tableside. Diane introduced them, begged her friend to have a glass of wine and excused herself.
Diane wasn’t in the ladies’ room more than four or five minutes. Her girlfriend then hugged and kissed her, shook hands with her boyfriend and took her leave. Half an hour later Diane got a call on her cell. She had to write down a phone number. Her handbag looked like the day after Hurricane Katrina. Quickly to the rescue came the boyfriend, handing her his trusty notepad turned to the first blank space.
Whereupon Diane noticed the previous note he’d taken was her girlfriend’s phone numbers – landline and cell!
America, too, had an unintended moment of revelation this past Thursday. One of the witnesses testifying before a House Intelligence Committee was Director of Intelligence James Clapper. You are Clapper’s boss in the song and poetry about taxpayers and government employees. But Clapper’s real boss is the president of the United States. Rep. Sue Myrick of North Carolina expressed concern about the Muslim Brotherhood on that day when everybody expected Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to give up power. Clapper pressure-pumped spray deodorant all over the Muslim Brotherhood – “an umbrella term for many different groups … largely secular … big on hospital management and social programs … also big on trying to improve political and community life … no over-arching agenda.” I stood there waiting for Clapper to give us a list of rabbis active in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.
We no longer have rockets’-red-glare over Fort McHenry to prove our flag is still there, but we do have FBI Chief Robert Mueller, who leapt in and quickly showed James Clapper where the bear sat in the buckwheat. Clapper’s monstrous whopper about the Muslim Brotherhood suffered an aborted take-off. Sure enough, his office issued a “clarification,” lame and laughable, later in the day. Turns out the director of intelligence didn’t mean to say the Muslim Brotherhood was secular, it explained, only that they did their deeds in a secular country, namely Egypt! We feel better already, don’t we?
A few celebrities of terrorism and security demanded Clapper’s firing. To me, that’s the old way. A government big shot says something irredeemably stupid, gets fired, end of story. That gets it all nicely behind us. Not so fast. Firing him would make Clapper’s incompetence the story. I don’t think the story IS Clapper’s incompetence. I think the story is Clapper’s obedience. To whom? Why? What’s behind Clapper’s overreaching attempt to make the Muslim Brotherhood – quoting former Assistant Secretary of State Elliot Abrams – come across as the March of Dimes?
My wife, radio producer, co-host and political compass, Sara Pentz, wondered, “Could this be giving us a peek into Barack Obama’s true feelings about the Muslim Brotherhood?” Our radio guest the next night, former New York Rep. John LeBoutillier, seemed to recall that Obama had some involvement with the Muslim Brotherhood during his triumphant Cairo speech in 2009. Sara left the broadcast table and Googled “Obama~Cairo speech~Muslim Brotherhood.” Computers don’t shout “Bingo,” but this one should have. Sure enough, President Obama had invited the Muslim Brotherhood to his Cairo speech.
As all eyes are watching to see if that same Muslim Brotherhood succeeds in turning Egypt into another Iran, at least a few of our eyes are marveling at some of the admirers the Brotherhood already has in high places.
Remember how Dracula wafted away in a purple smog when his intended victim pulled out a cross and stuck it in his face? Here’s a tactic you can use in your next argument with anyone whitewashing the Muslim Brotherhood: Simply ask, “Does the Brotherhood believe in enforcing Shariah law?” No well-wisher of the Brotherhood, not even James Clapper, could dare say no. At that point you tick off the facts of Shariah life: the sanctioned beating of wives; genital mutilation without anesthesia of young girls; the murder of homosexuals; obligatory persecution of all non-Muslims; the removal of a hand for thievery; the fatal stoning of women for adultery; ultra-easy divorce for Muslim men; the execution of all Muslims who convert to any other religion … you get the drift.
If you feel anything about Egypt now except apprehension, trepidation, doubt and fear, you’ve flunked Revolution 101. You can catch political jaundice from dashed expectations. Put me down alongside my late friend Murray Baron, a founder of the New York Liberal Party (the founders were fiercely anti-Communist), who said, “Remind me: The next time Mao Zedong runs against Chiang Kai-shek, I’m going to vote for Chiang Kai-shek. The next time Fidel Castro runs against Batista, I’m going to vote for Batista. And the next time the Ayatollah runs against the shah, I’m going to vote for the shah.”
At least Diane had the wisdom, strength and character to break it off.