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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Robert Novak, Islamic Apologist, Terrorist Supporter, Was No Role Model for Conservatives

It was only two days after 9/11 when "respected columnist" Robert Novak began by promoting Trutherism, writing in his column, titled, "This is No Pearl Harbor", "Security experts and airline officials agree privately that the simultaneous hijacking of four jetliners was an "inside job," probably indicating complicity beyond malfeasance. This makes all the more ominous Tuesday's national consequences."

Novak of course was wrong, but like most Truther propaganda, its larger purpose was to serve as an excuse for the actual Islamic terrorists. The column went on to suggest that Bin Laden wasn't even responsible for the attacks, "Unlike Pearl Harbor, however, there is no clear foe... Private sources indicate that the terrorists could be a splinter group of Osama, its identity and whereabouts as yet unknown." The idea being that the terrorists were an "extremist wing" of Al Queda, and not the "moderate" Al Queda itself.

While the rubble at Ground Zero was still smoldering, Novak went on to worry that the United States would launch an assault on Al Queda in Afghanistan, which would only upset the Muslim world.

"An attack on Afghanistan for sheltering Osama's terrorists will put the United States in danger of being perceived, however incorrectly, as launching a holy war against Islam. There is strong sentiment in Congress for hitting somebody, somewhere who has unsavory terrorist credentials even if not connected with Tuesday's attack."

Having spun his rope of lies this far, Novak then went on to argue that the real problem were not Muslim terrorists, who didn't want world domination (perish the thought), no the real problem was Israel. "Unlike Nazi Germany's and Imperial Japan's drive for a new world order, however, the hatred toward the U.S. by the terrorists is an extension of its hatred of Israel rather than world domination."

Four days later Novak continued his theme of a Washington D.C. churning with "Frustrated War Fever", painting Republicans as desperate to irrationally bomb Afghanistan into a "parking lot". Novak instead treated any attempt to go after the terrorists as recklessly dangerous and likely to offend Muslims. Novak even made sure to repeat Mullah Omar's warning against the idea of sending US troops to Afghanistan, thereby turning himself into a propaganda outlet for the Taliban, writing;

"Usually level-headed members of Congress have told me that American citizens should be prepared for sending a U.S. expeditionary force to fight in Afghanistan. Mullah Omar, the supreme Taliban ruler, on Friday warned Americans of the dire fate of British and more recently Soviet troops at the hands of Afghan guerrillas."
11 days after 9/11 found Novak busy worrying about Arafat's anxiety, telling readers that Arafat had joined the War on Terror coalition and gave orders to his men not to shoot at Israelis, even if they shot first. Novak's columns on the War on Terror quickly became a barrage of gloomy predictions. Early in the war he suggested that General Tommy Franks was incompetent and should be removed. He quoted Human Rights Watch to damn the Northern Alliance for supposedly committing atrocities against Taliban supporters.

By early 2002 Novak was already castigating the Bush Administration for its "Arrogance of Power". A year before the invasion of Iraq, Novak was already claiming that; "The U.S. military today is in no condition to attack anybody". Novak of course went on to repeatedly champion Chuck Hagel's position on Iraq. He quickly dragged out his "War Fever" innuendo, depicting Bush as isolated among Republicans in his desire to remove Saddam Hussein. This would follow his usual pattern of championing Powell over Rumsfeld and Cheney, pushing for coalition backing and UN support. His opposition never wavered, as he mocked the Surge, once again treating Chuck Hagel as an oracle on the Iraq War.

His post 9/11 column was a startlingly ugly performance from Novak, but neither a random occurrence or a departure from the norm. Novak had spent a good deal of the latter part of his career playing defense on the Islamic team. Whether it was the Turkish push for EU membership, "the European Union on Dec. 12 rebuffed both the Turkish and the U.S. governments by rejecting Turkey's application for membership. Abdullah Gul, the new prime minister, accused European leaders of "discrimination" and "prejudice" -- reflecting Islam's current view of the West", bemoaning Republican support for Israel while claiming that conservatives used to be Pro-Arab not Pro-Israel,and defending the Saudis against being being "trashed", noting critically that; "Ever since the Sept. 11 attacks, conservative journalists and politicians have pounded on Saudi customs and mores that had not seriously disturbed a relationship between the two dissimilar countries over the past 60 years", (those "customs" of course being such trivial cultural matters as enslaving women, promoting Islamic extremism abroad and treating non-Muslims as inferior), Novak had repeatedly taken the Islamic side of things.

When the UAE was set to take over many key American ports, Novak damned it as xenophobia and lambasted Bush for surrendering to prejudice.

deeper problems are reflected by overwhelming public opposition to a company owned by the government of a close Arab ally operating U.S. ports. Polls suggest the darker side of the American mind: isolationist, protectionist, nativist and xenophobic. Bush's ceaseless efforts to rouse his countrymen to support the war against terrorism may have unleashed the dogs of anti-Arab prejudice.

Novak would urge Bush to overcome his "phobia" against talking to the enemy...

Amid Tehran's noisy celebration over the outcome of hostilities in Lebanon, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was overlooked last Wednesday when he announced that Iran is ready for negotiations about suspending uranium enrichment... pressure is building on President George W. Bush to overcome his phobia against talking with the enemy.

His columns were replete with constant worries over how Muslims would see things, with typical Dhimmi interjections such as, "Meanwhile, U.S. prestige is in a free fall throughout Islam".

Novak's Islamist backing was so extreme, that he was even willing to support Hamas, penning propaganda columns claiming that Hamas only wanted peace, penning this final bizarre paragraph about his meeting with Hamas' Deputy Prime Minister;

While avoiding Israel-bashing, Shaer conjectured: "I don't think the Israeli government wants a two-state solution. Without pressure from the president of the United States, nothing is going to happen." That sounded like a plea for help from George W. Bush. But will he hear it if Elliott Abrams does not listen?

Yes that was Robert Novak calling on Bush to help Hamas.

Debbie Schlussel meanwhile cites Novak's statement on Crossfire, "There are many Americans who support HAMAS, and I am one of them." And another of Novak describing Hamas terrorists as "Freedom Fighters." (Debbie Schlussel has more in her latest post on Novak.)

Little wonder then that when Israel was hit by a suicide bombing that killed 20 people and took out a Hamas leader, Novak naturally blamed Israel; “word was discreetly passed from Washington to Israel, expressing hope that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would not overreact. To no avail. The targeted killing of a Hamas leader the next day by Israel fulfilled the State Department's worst fears.”

Novak sunk even so low as to try and promote Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan.

Novak's appeasement policy though wasn't just limited to Islam. He was equally willing to bash critics of appeasing Kim Jong Il as "hard liners" getting in the way of negotiations, he also took China's side in the Hainan Island Incident which featured the seizure of Americans and warned against any "China Bashing".

But Novak wasn't just pro-appeasement abroad, he was rotten on immigration, backing amnesty and castigating conservatives who disagreed with him as "right wingers" and "Nativists".

Pence, a rising star in the conservative movement, has faced a torrent of right-wing abuse for advocating a guest worker program that is condemned as amnesty for illegal aliens. Rep. Tom Tancredo, leader of the congressional hard-liners on immigration, has viciously branded Pence as an apostate... In trouble on Iraq and federal spending, Republicans are being lured into a nativist posture that is political fool's gold. George W. Bush, John McCain and Mike Pence dread a Republican descent into nativism. In my half century of political reporting, I never have seen a candidate or party succeed in playing the economic nationalist card.

Further in his column "Republican Immigrant Rage Novak repeated the suggestion that an anti-amnesty Republican party would be comparable to Apartheid South Africa,

In a recent closed-door meeting of the House's conservative Republican Study Committee, Rep. Bob Inglis of South Carolina raised the danger of resembling South Africa's National Party advocating apartheid.

In that same column, Novak slammed many of the same bloggers and talk show hosts who are now busy mourning his passing.

This nation of immigrants has greeted successive waves of newcomers with apprehension stoked by demagogues. It has overcome such past xenophobic impulses. But that will be more difficult in an era of Internet bloggers and radio talkers, with the Republican Party in trouble and seeking a unifying issue at the grass root

Fr all of Novak's willingness to call others RINO's, he was soft on terrorism, soft on immigration, soft on American defense, and all too willing to treat the likes of Chuck Hagel as voices of wisdom. He was no role model for conservatives and should not be treated as one.

That is why I have written this column. There would ordinarily be no reason to pen a condemnation of a dead pundit. But there are too many conservative bloggers and pundits who have rushed in not simply to bury Novak, but to honor him as a role model and a guiding light. And the only place Novak was a guide to, was to a Dhimmi's den of appeasement.

It would be entirely legitimate had they remembered Novak's memory, while admitting that there were basic political differences, especially later in life. Instead they've chosen to present Novak as an ideal, while ignoring the man who embraced everyone from Farrakhan to Hamas, who championed Shamnesty and slimed numerous Republican politicians when they departed from his agenda.

Novak played the same cynical game played by numerous Washington Post and New York Times columnists, of putting his own ideas into someone else's cherry picked quote, of hiding behind rationalizations and statements attributed to private sources. But behind all that was a man who chose to defend Islam and Islamic terrorism. And post 9/11, it is impossible to place such a man on a pedestal as a role model for conservatives. Robert Novak had a complicated legacy and he was many things-- but mainly he was part of the media and political establishment that brought us where we are now. And too many of those remembering him, only remember the glamor of that inner circle, rather than honestly evaluating the things he really stood for.


  1. Harry Lindstrom18/8/09

    A dog always returns to it's vomit.

  2. A Jew With A View19/8/09

    'shamnesty' - love it.

    I'm not familiar with Robert Novak or his articles, but I loathe anyone who attempts to rationalise Islamic terrorism or who supports terrorist group Hamas.

    It is alarming how many people seek to justify terrorism. Here across the pond, we now have a Foreign Minister who on national radio stated that sometimes terrorism is 'justifiable':


  3. yes there are always those eager to find and make common cause with terrorists, because they think it will save their own skins or because they agree with their goals

  4. Anonymous19/8/09

    I read somewhere that he was a Jew converted to Christianity. This shows his real character--Pablo Christiani comes in mind, Soros is somewhere there too. He was a mean person, loved to hurt others under the guise of "journalism".

  5. Novak like Soros did appear to be motivated by an extraordinary desire to detach himself from any Jewish identity by supporting terrorists

  6. The late Mr. Novak converted to Roman Catholicism and was not an evangelical supporter of Israel. He was wrong about his views concerning the cowardly attacks on U.S. territory on September 11, 2001. Those spineless attacks were worse than the Japanese air raids on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 because the U.S. military HQ was hit, New York City was hit, and we’re at war with Radical Islam, not just one country.

  7. Conservatives always wanted to pass off my dislike of Novak by calling me a "statist" and other buzzwords. They always refused to acknowledge his inherent anti-semitism, terrorist apologetics and support, and blatant disdain for the defense of America when either of the first two were involved, or when it meant getting peon labor for big business via illegal immigration.
    Too bad it will be lost in the usual media praise for anyone in the "club", despite their most blatant and egregious failures of objectivity or basic research.

  8. I wasn't familiar with Novak's views. Not having cable I've never seen him on TV but was vaguely familiar with the name. I thought he was praised by Conservatives. It seems Novak is another liberal in Conservative clothing similar to Pat Buchanan.

    Apparently even Christian evangelicals are singing Novak's praise. CBN in a report today just couldn't wait to throw in a bit about how Novak converted to Catholicism because he was spiritually hungry.

    Leave it to the evangelical mov't to throw a little missionary speil in where they can.

    Apparently Novak is an icon to them as well as the ever self-praising mainstream media.

    For a long-time after Sept. 11 journalists and columnists were actually fired for ANY unpatriotic sentiments. Boy, has this country done a 360.

    TY for the article. Had I not read it I also would have probably assumed that Novak was a reputable, pro-American Conservative pundit. I had no idea how he really felt.

    Stop by my blog for a visit if you get a chance. I'm blogging again after a mini hiatus.

  9. Sam brings up a lot of excellent points.

    How willing is the Conservative mov't(and for that matter the religious right)to weed out and distance themselves from people like Novak as well as Buchanan?

  10. If you mean conservatives in general, most don't know what Novak really stood for, which is why articles like this are worth writing.

    If you mean conservatives who are part of the establishment, particularly anyone who has D.C. political roots, about as willing as liberals are to distance themselves from Carter and Bill Moyers.

  11. Sultan Knish,

    Excellent article; good research.

    Like you and Debbie Schlussel, I was never impressed with Robert Novak. That conservatives are praising this man is a mystery to me.

  12. A lot of it has to do with their own personal ties to him

  13. How willing are they to overlook things?

    I posted a comment about that at Debbie Schusell's blog, in the entry she highlighted his Truther ties.

    Novak supported a few high priority "conservative" issues: he called pro-choice supporters murderers, he denounced big government, he invoked the name of Reagan as if he were summoning a saint, and so forth. Just as conservatives overlooked the egregious excesses of Giuliani until the primaries and caucuses actually began, so is Novak's lack of any commitment to the entire national dignity and national defense aspect of conservatism (although I am happily embrace it for what it is - honest nationalism, fit for conservative, liberal, or decent centrist).
    Mind you, I do not condemn conservatives for which values they hold dear, whether I agree with them or not, but I do call them when they are willing to embrace any who support them no matter what else they advocate for. But as we all know, lie down with Novaks and Buchanans, get up in dire need of an anti-semitic flea bath.

    On the other end, his egregious lack of journalistic standards, "integrity" need not even apply for inclusion in such a discussion, may as well be compared to another recent loss of the media, Cronkite, who from the heights of his media disdain for just which side he might theoretically be on, declared victory for the North Vietnamese, and has been hailed ever since for the depths of his objectivity and journalistic neutrality.
    But he was part of the media elite!
    And so actual journalistic standards need not apply, only his rolodex must be weighed, measured, and be found as far from wanting by the high priests of the false deity Media as his morals are from acceptable by the least layman of the one true divinity.

    And thus repeating what I said there to summarize: it is an inversion of Mark Anthony’s oratory from Julius Caeser: Brutus (the conservertive commentators) and Cassius (the liberal commentators) have told us that Novak was a paragon of conservative values, and they are honorable men.

  14. Well you know when The Nation has good things to say about a "conservative commentator", he ain't that conservative


  15. Anonymous20/8/09

    I am not Jewish and was raised Roman Catholic. But I have always known - even as a child (as soon as I learned it existed) that anti-semitism is the deepest of soul sicknesses.

    I was listening to Hannity in the car one day a few months ago. I had just become aware of PB's anti-semitism - maybe from this site or from reading Pam - (I had not really paid attention to him before).

    I noticed that Hannity deliberately tried to get PB to say something nice about Israel, vis-a-vis the outrageous pressure the administration was putting on Israel re: the settlements.

    PB grunted a grudging assent and then changed the subject. I have not heard him on any talk radio since, although I listen only sporadically. Otherwise I would have to stop listening to those programs, who purport to support Israel's right to her land, and her right to self-determination.

    Novak turned me off so badly I could not listen to him, so I appreciate this information.


  16. man_in_tx20/8/09

    Great piece: Was led to your piece by the link in Ms. Schlussel's piece on the same topic. It seems that Ms. Schlussel, Ms. West, and you are the only three "conservative" bloggers of note who seem to be able to sort this one out. As one or more commenters pointed out on Ms. Malkin's blog: Conservatives felt it appropriate to point out (the extremely Liberal) Walter Cronkite's many failings in the days immediately his own passing, but somehow so many (Ms. Malkin, Mr. Morrissey, and others) seem only to be able to sing Novak's praises. Aside: In my view, anybody who titles his autobiography "Prince of Darkness" should be regarded with extreme caution.

  17. Anonymous,

    Buchanan has major issues with Jews and Israel, where those issues stem from I have no idea, but he's one of those people who think the problem isn't Islam, that Russia is great... and that everything would be fine if we just got rid of Israel.

    How that's supposed to work I have no idea, but this is also a man who thinks resisting Hitler is what caused all the problems in WW2.

  18. Man_in_Tx

    It's a double standard, of course. And had Novak been any other Republicans with his views on Amnesty and terrorism, I suspect Malkin, etc wouldn't have bothered or would have written something critical about him.

    But personal connections play a big role in this game. So the double standard kicks in. No matter what Novak actually said and did, his defenders will keep avoiding the issue.

  19. Scipio20/8/09

    I was first made aware of Novak (and Evans) hatred of Israel in early 1968 and he has never veered away from it. I've found him to be a despicable man and I am amazed about all the fulsome praise heaped upon him by fellow conservatives (including John Podhoretz who ought to know better). You cannot get around his anti Semitism and his desire to see the Jews of Israel killed. Failure to do so is akin to the "Mussolini made the trains run on time so it ws not all bad" argument.

  20. the commentary blog finally did run a piece questioning the heaps of praise for novak


  21. Anonymous20/8/09

    I don't and never have understood the tendency of many conservatives to turn a blind eye to Robert Novak's and Pat Buchanan's clear anti-Semitism. I'm 47 years old, and was raised as a Roman Catholic, but I detected this from a very early age in both men, and find them both execrable.

    Add to this Pat Buchanan's hatred of homosexuals and his idea that the Nazis should have been appeased, and you have a really vile character. How any self-respecting conservative can praise either of these two men is beyond me. Shame on Sean Hannity and Michelle Malkin for singing Novak's praises. Disgusting.

  22. I don't either. And for that matter a Republican who left the party to run independently as Buchanan did, or a registered Democrat who supported amnesty and opposed the war, like Novak did, would have normally earned contempt and dismissal from Malkin, etc

  23. Anonymous26/8/09

    Funny thing, my casual reading of Novak's columns always had me thinking he was a RADICAL LEFTIST.

    I think the MEDIA was pulling a big one on us by using the "Gobbels Method". I.e., tell the LIE, often enough and long enough that Novak was a "conservative" and most (stupid) people believed it to be true.

    Gobbles lives!

    (Put in a Col. Klink, "heil H." at this time. With the same intensity.)



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