Posted on our site today, E. J. Dionne Jr. on what the current gun debate is really telling us, and Rand Richards Cooper on the documentaries The Gatekeepers and The House I Live In.From E. J.s piece:
Because the accounts from the Sandy Hook families have been so moving and so wrenching, it is common to say that a gun bill is being carried along "on a wave of emotion." There is nothing wrong with honest emotion, but the implication is that we are acting on guns in a way we would not act if our judgments were based on pure reason or a careful look at the evidence.This has it exactly backward.The truth is that the Newtown slaughter has finally moved the gun debate away from irrational emotions, ridiculous assumptions, manipulative rhetoric -- and, on the part of politicians, debilitating terror at the alleged electoral reach of those who see any new gun regulations as a step into totalitarianism. These bills are being taken seriously precisely because we are finally putting emotion aside. We are riding a wave of reason.
Read it all here.Cooper, writing on The Gatekeepers, a documentary splicing interviews with archival footage outlining the history of Shin Bet since the 1967 Six-Day War and the contours of Israeli policy vis--vis its Arab nemeses:
This film will surprise Americans on several fronts. First and foremost is the candor of these men: their willingness to reflect on the moral ambiguity of their work and of Israeli policies; their frank assessment of the brutaland brutalizingnature of political violence; and most of all their capacity for self-scrutiny and doubt. It is impossible to imagine such candor and moral perspicacitysuch wisdom, reallyissuing from an equivalent collection of CIA and FBI directors. As for their assessment of Israels actions in the West Bank and Gaza, the six chart a position well to the left of, say, Barack Obama. Referring to the Palestinian intifada, one ex-chief asserts that one mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter, while another remarks that Israel has lost touch with how to coexist with the Palestinians, and states, simply, Weve become cruel. In the United States, such views would be considered anti-Israel and, by some, anti-Semitic.
Read the whole thing here.