THE BLOG
09/25/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

New Republic Editor Martin Peretz Blasts Someone For Something, Sort Of

The following paragraph was written this morning by Martin Peretz, the editor-in-chief of The New Republic, itself formerly revered as one of the best publications in the world:

"The New York Post and Reuters both report not exactly that Bernie Madoff has cancer. But that he's told his fellow inmates that he has cancer, pancreatic cancer, at that. Which means that, if the tale is true, he'll be a goner soon, very soon. Unless there's a medical miracle, as sometimes there is even in such terrible afflictions of the pancreas."

If sentences were children, these would all be crippled from polio.

To understand what Peretz thinks he's getting at, you must first understand that Peretz's entire reign at The New Republic has been marked by a cartoonish brand of hawkishness directed almost entirely against the Arab and Muslim peoples; under his tenure at TNR, the term "murderous Arabs" has appeared therein, almost as an afterthought and as if this were the most natural thing in the world for a liberal publication to do. His own writings are given over largely to accounts of Arab and Muslim perfidy; among other things, he has asserted that Arabs are incapable of maintaining a "truly civil society." In content, approach, and intent, his output is no different from that of the various websites that catalogue the real or imagined crimes of blacks or Jews or both. Not that I am bothered by his or anyone else's racism, which is directed only towards mere people. But why his perpetual assault on grammar? Grammar isn't an Arab, Marty. You're thinking of algebra.

Logic, likewise, is no Muslim, and yet Peretz insists on demeaning it as if it were on Hajj. The point he approaches today is spelled out more clearly in his blog headline: "Madoff Has Cancer, Too. Why Not Release Him or At Least Send Him Home on House Arrest?" What he means is that the alleged Lockerbie bomber has been released to his home by virtue of having late-stage cancer, and now here's Bernie Madoff, who never even killed anyone, and he's supposedly dying of cancer but has yet to receive the same sweet deal that was given to this murderous Arab. Lest anything be left to chance, Peretz amplifies his insight thusly: "So the master Ponzi schemer is now in the hands of the president as top man in the federal penal system. Since Obama seems to think that Libyan terrorist al-Megrahi, who had 16 years of a 27-year 'life' sentence yet to serve, should be put under house arrest until death, why not do the same kindness for Bernie?"

Peretz clearly believes that (1) Barack Obama is the "top man in the federal penal system" and is thus in a position to demote Madoff's sentence to mere house arrest; that (2) Barack Obama wants al-Megrahi to spend his last days at home; and that (3) if Scotland follows its own regulations to the effect that a terminally ill prisoner is released to his home, then the U.S. should follow the same non-existent regulations in respect to a certain prisoner who happens to be wildly famous.

If Peretz were someone other than Peretz, he would know that (1) Obama is not the "top man in the federal penal system" and has no power whatsoever to reduce a man's sentence to house arrest; that (2) rather than believing that al-Megrahi "should be put under house arrest until death," Obama has clearly stated that al-Megrahi should have remained in the Scottish prison; and that, contrary to Peretz, (3) it is hardly hypocritical for Obama to refrain from using a power he doesn't have to do something of which he doesn't approve based on a regulation that doesn't apply.

In conclusion, I demand that the Constitution be suspended and a state of emergency declared until such time as Martin Peretz can be removed from control of The New Republic, at which point civilian rule may be restored.

[Cross-posted from True/Slant]