Sometimes, you come across a quote or phrase that jolts your sensibilities. The words can be as deep and thought provoking as those supplied by Golda Meir below, or as mind numbingly ludicrous as those uttered by the Dartmouth College protesters of last spring, also below. Regarding the former, your response might be an immediate "Yep." On the latter, it could easily be a simple "Nope!"
Herewith, a sampling of yeps and nopes from recent research.
•"We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children... We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us."
— Golda Meir, Former Israeli prime minister
Yep. Think about these moving words the next time you read about Hamas hiding weapons and command centers in homes, schools and hospitals. Their disdain for innocents reveals the soullessness of their cause. And it's the average Palestinian who pays the price for such immoral antics.
•"Al Qaida is on the run."
— President Barack Obama
Al Qaida is "a shadow of its former self."
— John Brennan, White House counterterrorism advisor
Nope and nope. The purveyors of 9/11 and their affiliates are more numerous than ever; well over 100,000 active fighters worldwide. Affiliated groups in the Middle East and Africa pose a frightening threat to third world stability. And then there is that new terrorist caliphate in Iraq.
•"He served the United States with honor and distinction."
— National Security Advisor Susan Rice on U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl
Almost certainly nope. Without exception, every soldier who served with Bergdahl in Afghanistan believes he willingly went AWOL from his post before being captured by the Taliban. Desertion is bad enough, but placing brothers in arms in harm's way during rescue missions is worse. Ms. Rice was previously the Administration's "fall guy" during the Benghazi Muslim video fiasco. Why bring more dishonor through a transparently false description of the man swapped for five high ranking terrorists?
•The Department of Veterans Affairs "is a triumph of socialized medicine… an integrated system, which provides health care as well as paying for it. So it's free from the pervasive incentives created when doctors and hospitals profit from expensive tests and procedures, whether or not those procedures actually make medical sense."
— Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize recipient, Professor of Economics (at Princeton) and New York Times columnist
Nope. As many commentators have noted, we now have a glimpse into the "perverse incentives" that accompany government health care, especially the rationing of care that characterizes government run systems around the world. Mr. Krugman is a smart guy, but elementary economics dictate that unlimited demand and limited resources equal rationing.
•"Further physical and emotional violence enacted against us by the racist, classist, sexist, heterosexist, transphobic, xenophobic and ableist structures at Dartmouth… our bodies are already on the line, in danger and under attack."
— Student occupiers of Dartmouth College talking to Dartmouth President Phil Hanlon about what a conversation about their demands will lead to.
Nope—or should I say "dope," as in dopey, entitled college brats who should be arrested and thrown in jail upon their next "occupation" (actually it's called "criminal trespass") of the president's office. A bit of jail time might actually make their concluding words more accurate.
•"Simply collecting agreements will not buy peace. Agreements generally reinforce peace only when they are kept. Otherwise, we are building a paper castle that will be blown away by the winds of war."
— President Ronald Reagan on arms control agreements with the Soviet Union.
Yep. The "gipper" was simple, direct and correct. Consistent cheating by the Russians has made a mockery of arms control treaties with the U.S. Obama's fecklessness in response to Vladimir Putin's saber rattling in Syria and Ukraine will surely strengthen Russian resolve to violate its treaty commitments.
•"The border is secure."
— Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
Nope. Not even close (Hey — did that one make coffee come out of your nose?). Per the Department of Homeland Security, 11.4 million undocumented people live illegally in the U.S. Many thousands more cross our southern border each year. And the number of unaccompanied children entering the country is expected to reach 90,000 this year alone.
•The Hobby Lobby decision "was arrived at by five white men."
— Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
Nope. Justice Thomas assures us he is still black — unless, of course, Sen. Reid wanted to imply that Justice Thomas' political affiliation makes him "un-black" — an all too familiar mindset to conservative black intellectuals, politicians and media personalities. Ask Mike Steele about such racial caricatures.
Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s column appears Sundays. The former Maryland governor and member of Congress is a partner at the law firm King & Spalding and the author of "Turn this Car Around" and "America: Hope for Change" — books about national politics. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.To respond to this commentary, send an email to email@example.com. Please include your name and contact information.