From Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus:
Alan P. Gross, the American aid worker, has been held by the Cuban dictatorship for a year and three months. Jesse Jackson has volunteered to go win his release. He told the Associated Press, "I am not making a legal case. I am making a humanitarian plea, a moral appeal. I hope that Raúl and the governing officials see the advantage of letting him go. Every time a prisoner is let go, it opens the door for increased dialogue and possibilities."
The point, as far as I can tell, is not that it's wrong to hold an innocent man hostage and prisoner. The point is that there may be an "advantage" to "letting him go." And don't you love the phrase "Raúl and the governing officials"? Such sweet language, to describe the brutes of a dictatorship, holding a people in subjection.
- There is also this article by the reverend — "reverend"! — himself, which begins, "I appeal to His Excellency President Raul Castro to release Mr. Alan P. Gross on humanitarian grounds." I did not want to read after "His Excellency President," but I did. What is excellent about a totalitarian dictator (or even the brother and frontman of the real totalitarian dictator)? Why is this dictator, or frontman, a "president"?
Anyway, Jackson said, "With the assistance of the Catholic Church, you rightly released several Cuban dissidents to Spain last year and I commend you for your courage in doing a difficult but moral thing."
If you know what that means, you are a better Jackson decoder than I am.
- You may recall what the "reverend" shouted on a trip to Cuba some years ago. "Viva Fidel Castro! Viva Che Guevara!" Bill Buckley asked Jackson, on television, whether, when he wished long life to the dictator, he meant, at the same time, to wish short life to his prisoners. (A short life, given the brutality of the Cuban gulag, could be better.)
- If Jesse Jackson's sucking up to the dictatorship, and the dictatorship's sense of PR, springs Alan Gross, I would be all for it. One must be extremely pragmatic in these matters. What counts is the man's release. I felt the same way about Goodman and Syria. Remember when the Assad dictatorship made a gift of that American airman to Jackson? That was in the early 1980s. The Gipper said, "You can't argue with results."
Some conservatives burned — and they had a point — but Reagan was right.
(Incidentally, the brave Robert O. Goodman was black. There was race involved in what Syria and Jackson were doing, as there so often is in life.)
- I wonder if Jackson would consider making a cause out of Dr. Óscar Elías Biscet. He is the Afro-Cuban physician and democracy leader who has been in the Castros' dungeons for a very long time. His models are Gandhi and Martin Luther King. George W. Bush gave him the Presidential Medal of Freedom (of course). (Biscet, somehow, didn't show up to accept.)
Do you think Jackson would ever take an interest in him? That would surprise me. I think Jackson's — and the American Left's — attachment to, and affection for, the Communist dictatorship in Cuba is simply too great.
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