Saving the Cat; Islamic Fundamentalism Is Blocking Peace

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), June 10, 2003 | Go to article overview

Saving the Cat; Islamic Fundamentalism Is Blocking Peace


Byline: Frederick Grab, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

In a classic Zen story, the great master Joshu, while still a student, returned to his monastery from some errand to find that the house cat had been killed by the abbot. It was explained to him that an argument had arisen between several of the novices as to who owned the cat and the abbot intervened, demanding, "If one of you can make a true statement about this cat, he will own it; if not, the cat dies."

The young students looked at each other in desperate silence, and sure enough, the abbot drew a sword from beneath his robes and killed the cat. At the end of the tale, while still entering the gates of the monastery, Joshu smiled slightly, took off his sandals, put them on his head, and kept walking. The abbot, who had been observing from his residence unseen, whispered to his attendant, "Too bad Joshu wasn't here. He could have saved the cat."

On Friday, just two days after the heady triumph of President Bush's summit with Prime Ministers Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas, it appears the cat may well be dead. Hamas, acronymic for Islamic Resistance Movement, has not surprisingly declared its rejection of the cease fire proposed by Mr. Abbas as a first step on the way to the road map to peace. The president's whirlwind Mideast trip was obviously intended to separate the good from the bad in the region, as well as in the diplomatic community. In the language of diplomacy itself, "no foreign ministers were in attendance."

Whether you have noticed it or not, a new civil war has been raging in this country. Not with muskets and canister, not at Bull Run or Gettysburg, but in the executive branch between those who believe in old fashioned, outmoded bribe, buy, spy and assassinate diplomacy, and those who see the United States finally in a position to take its place as moral exemplar and guiding star to the rest of the world. And as this internal struggle rages, as we lose focus and direction, as we did in those crucial months of indecision prior to the start of the Iraq war, our enemies perceive our weakness and grow bolder as a result. …

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