Along the Tracks

Friday, June 21, 2002

The Reno Inquisition

Nick Kristof with more insight into the Muslim world, particularly the world of the extremists.

A couple thoughts: First, Nick’s bravery rises even above his excellent writing; there he is in Pakistan, interviewing mullahs who want non-Muslims executed for saying “Peace be with you,” let alone questioning their thought processes or moral authority. Remember, this is the same crowd that lured another brave journalist, Danny Pearl, to his death - a fact Kristof mentions in passing.

Second, although the column provides a rare glimpse into the minds of the mullahs, the point Kristof tries to make with the Branch Davidian reference escapes me. It appears he is saying that, since it is true that President Clinton “burned heretics,” as the mullahs say, our arguments seem hypocritical. Yet while many on the right - particularly the extreme right - were calling for the resignation of Attorney General Janet Reno after the debacle, the yes-crowd defending Clinton completely ignored the fiasco. Kristof’s no yes-man, so I’m not sure where he comes down on this issue - he doesn’t say here. However, to say that police action against the Branch Davidians came merely because they were heretics goes to far. They were, after all, heavily armed fanatics looking for a final judgment - not so dissimilar from the Islamists themselves. It was Janet Reno’s execution of her duties, not the legitimate law enforcement concerns, which were the cause for the “burning.”

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