Thursday, December 29, 2005

Brooks Misses the Point

David Brooks today praises (in an yearend "award" thing) the September Atlantic Monthly piece on Yassir Arafat, "In a Ruined Country," by David Samuels. "If anybody thinks impersonal forces shape history, consider Yasir Arafat," says Brooks. "He bragged about saving time by shaving only every fifth day, but spent an hour each morning folding his kaffiyeh into the shape of Palestine," etc. etc.

Brooks goes on like that, but ignores the central focus of Samuels' piece -- how it laid bare Arafat's planning and orchestration of the intifada in 2000. While that point was hardly new and had been made by others before, no one had brought together all the facts so well.

Unfortunately this is fairly typical of Brooks. Though his columns are a refreshing change from the rigid left-wing ideology of the other op-ed hacks, he invariably pulls his punches. A William Safire -- or even a Krauthammer or Will -- he is not.

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