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Ask Aunt Sophie By: Judith Weizner
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Dear Aunt Sophie,

I’ve just finished what is probably the most rewarding project of my long career in public service. Not to brag, but I was co-chair of a very important study group charged with figuring out how to achieve our goal in Iraq.


Before you get involved in a war you have to answer two basic questions: 1. Do you want to win? 2. How can you achieve your goal?


These are not simple questions even though some people apparently think they are. They require real thought. Anyway, when you’re asked to lead a study group no one wants to hear that there’s a simple answer. You have to produce a thick report and give the press something to chew on.


We were a very congenial group once that no-neck Italian from New York resigned. He didn’t fit in anyway. For one thing, he has absolutely no social sense. What can you say about someone who thinks it’s all right to evict an important world figure from a gala concert? And what kind of man would return a gift from a Saudi prince? It’s so churlish. Such a person doesn’t belong in any group that’s trying to solve world problems. The man has no subtlety. He’d probably just cut the Gordian knot.


After he left we worked very well together and I think we created a valuable report, chock full of commonsense. I’m afraid not everyone will agree with our assessment, but what do you expect from a bunch of people who’ve never even participated in a policy study group?


One of the things I know I’m going to hear about is our idea of bringing together all the major countries of the Middle East for talks. Notice I said major countries. Israel will have to be excluded. It’s actually an insignificant country - if it were anywhere else you’d never even have heard of it. Anyway, I’m sure you know how it is – when you give a party you can’t invite everyone. You have to make choices. If you know two people really hate each other you invite the one with whom the other guests can get along.


Oh, I know people are going to start up that old nonsense about my “anti-Semitism” again. So what if I don’t bend over backward for troublesome little upstart countries. So what if I did once say F**k the J**s. I’m not an anti-Semite, even if none of my best friends are Jewish. I wish people would get over it. It’s so tiresome. Just for the record, I am not now and have never been an anti-Semite. There. Are you satisfied?


James (FtJ) B


Dear FtJ,


Perhaps this will strike you as simplistic, but most people don’t have to consult entrails to know whether they want to win or lose a war.


Along about the time America is wondering what it will take to win this war, you come up with the definitive answer: talk. Talk always stops bullies dead in their tracks; it stopped the Turks at the gates of Vienna, it stopped the Germans at El Alamein and it will stop a nuclear nutjob from bringing about the return of the Hidden Imam. Just as exchanging pleasantries with a gang of psychopaths in an alley is a foolproof self-defense strategy, schmoozing with despots hell-bent on the destruction of a tiny neighbor can be counted on to convince them to lay down their anthrax and dance the hora. Thank heaven for study groups.


Talk trumps violence any day. Violence is so, well, violent. It’s not as if anyone in the Middle East were under the influence of an ideology that encourages them to sign agreements with their fingers crossed behind their backs or anything. Even though Mahmoud and Bashar come from a different culture, a culture in which agreements with infidels are not binding, we can still count on them in a pinch to say what they mean and mean what they say, especially when they express their desire to wipe tiny countries off the map.


Despite your dearth of Jewish friends I don’t see how anyone could possibly think you’re an anti-Semite. We all know that being anti-Israel and anti-Semitic aren’t the same, even if it is a fact that Israel is the world’s only Jewish state. That’s why it’s incorrect to refer to Mr. Ahmadinejad as an anti-Semite – it’s only Israel he wants to destroy. If a few Jews are destroyed along with it, chalk it up to collateral damage. They shouldn’t have been there anyway.


By the way, even though “Jews” has four letters, it isn’t what people usually mean when they refer to “four-letter words”. Lose the asterisks – unless you happen to think “Jew” is a dirty word.


Good luck and God bless.


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Judith Weizner is a columnist for Frontpagemag.com.

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