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What a Nice Man

What to make of the death of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Hamas's beloved spiritual leader.

11:00 PM, Mar 28, 2004 • By LARRY MILLER
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OKAY, I give up. What, exactly, is a "spiritual leader"?

I'm curious, because, as any American who reads newspapers or watches TV knows, that's what Sheikh Yassin was: A spiritual leader. I never met the man, but I sure wish I had, because, after all, one can never have too many scholarly, elevated, Godly, spiritual leaders in one's life, can one?

I know his successor, Rantisi, is a good man, too, because the same publications and networks describe him as a pediatrician. You know, a children's doctor. Quick: Your child is sick, and you have a choice between leaving him in a room with Rantisi, or any doctor in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. That's a tough one, huh? Take your time. Ooh, come on, the clock's running . . . Just pick one . . . Guess . . . ? Oh, darn the luck! Couldn't make up your mind, eh?

Yeah, I know, I sprang that one on you so fast, but, you see, the right answer was the Jewish doctor in Israel, because he would've cured your child, whereas Rantisi would have sent him back to you looking a little bulky because of the 18 pounds of dynamite strapped to his chest.

Speaking of which, did you see the pictures of the latest kid these noble freedom-fighters sent to blow himself up? I don't have any sweet feelings for the "volunteers" on these missions, but this one didn't look, you know, all there, and I think it was particularly rotten of them to pick him for the martyr speech. And how about that shot of the Israelis bending down to talk to him after he surrendered? I could just hear the soldier saying, "Okay, first of all, you don't want virgins. But never mind that now . . ."

(Must be quite a board of directors they have there. Spiritual leaders, doctors . . . I wonder who else is on that letterhead? Probably students, don't you think? That's one we've heard a lot for a while. Yeah, and writers, too. Professors, pre-K teachers, business leaders. And I'll bet you a dollar they have plenty of my favorite job title of the last twenty years: "community activist." Givers. Helpers.)

And the parade of hypocrisy tunes up its instruments, and marches again with banners waving. Israel-evil, Sharon-butcher, how could you kill such a fine, old man? For the record, this fine, old man founded Hamas, insisted then and now that all Israel must be driven into the sea, that the best way to do this was to kill the Jews, kill the Jews, kill the Jews, look for the baby carriages, that hurts them most, the Jews love life, we love martyrdom. Well, you've got to hand it to the man, when he's right, he's right. The Jews do love life more than he did, and the shattered supermarkets and discos and pizza parlors hurt them most.

In World War Two, the United States tracked and targeted Admiral Yamamoto, and sent a plane to kill him, and there wasn't one freedom-lover in the world who didn't cheer when we did, and Yamamoto was a bad customer, but he didn't do a zillionth the evil Yassin did.

When Hitler's remains were found, every allied soldier winced with regret because he hadn't had the chance to, in General Patton's words, "personally shoot that paper-hanging son-of-a-bitch." But the United Nations, once the hope of a tired, bleeding planet in 1948, votes in its Security Council to condemn Israel, again, and the worst places in the world, run by the worst people in the world, say yes, again, and only America has the guts to say no. Again.

Of course, Hamas and all the others think they're right. Okay, maybe they are.

And what is the truth?

There are only two possibilities in the universe: There is a God, or there isn't.

If there isn't, there's no Judgement Day. At that point all bets are off, and Saddam Hussein was right in living the way he did. He's no worse off than Mother Teresa. It's all just a big, black void.

Ah, but if there is a God, then there's a Judgement Day. Aye, there's the rub.

AND DR. RANTISI, setting the tone for his first hundred days (and, no doubt, every hundred after that), has used his new bully pulpit to say that "God has declared war on the United States."

Well. Okay, maybe he's right. No, really, it's possible, isn't it? Maybe those folks are right, and all Jews and Americans are the mortal enemies of God, and should be killed anytime, anyplace, the more the merrier.

Anyone want to switch places with Sheikh Yassin right now and find out?

Come on, if he was right, he's the King Of Paradise. True, if he was wrong he may be just the slightest bit uncomfortable for a while. But who cares about that? Now let's see a few hands. Won't someone roll those dice? Anyone? No takers? Are you sure? Last chance. Going, going . . .

Gone.

Larry Miller is a contributing humorist to The Daily Standard and a writer, actor, and comedian living in Los Angeles.