The issue includes interviews with, among other leading lights, Al Gore, Dave Matthews, Jon Stewart, Paul Krugman, Bono, and Bruce Springsteen.
I limited my reading to two, Bono and Sprinsgteen, and about ten words of Al Gore.
Bono’s interview was recently quoted somewhere for his advice that the US follow Clinton’s example in sitting down with the IRA in Northern Ireland, and sit down with Al Qaeda. Bono says the Clinton administration ran the IRA idea past him at the time, but he disapproved of the it, not wanting to “dignify” the IRA, because they'd “put bombs in supermarkets, and many people have lost their lives.”
But now, says Bono:
I was wrong. Clinton did exactly the right thing in talking to the Provisional IRA and other extremist elements. Now they have to do the same, in my opinion, with Hamas, and they have to do the same with Al Qaeda. You have to involve them in dialogue.
He doesn’t exactly explain how dialoguing with religiously intransigent enemies is done. I’ve never approved of the IRA, but neither Sinn Fein’s original declaration if independence, nor its present electoral manifesto, ever called for the destruction of even their bitterest enemy--Great Britain.
In sharp contrast, both Hamas an Al Qaeda have been utterly consistent in their refusal to moderate their most immoderate fundamental demands--all of which require somebody else dying in large numbers. According to the Hamas Charter of 1988, Israel and the Jews must die:
The Arab states surrounding Israel are required to open their borders to the Jihad fighters, the sons of the Arab and Islamic peoples, to enable them to play their role and to join their efforts to those of their brothers among the Muslim Brothers in Palestine. The other Arab and Islamic states are required, at the very least, to facilitate the movement of the Jihad fighters from and to them. We cannot fail to remind every Muslim that when the Jews occupied Holy Jerusalem in 1967 and stood at the doorstep of the Blessed Aqsa Mosque, they shouted with joy: “Muhammad is dead, he left daughters behind.” Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims. “Let the eyes of the cowards not fall asleep.”
According to the 2002 Al Qaeda manifesto entitled “Why We Fight America,” many Americans are supposed to die:
What happened to America [on 9/11] is something natural, an expected event for a country that uses terror, arrogant policy, and suppression against the nations and the peoples . . . America is the head of heresy in our modern world, and it leads an infidel democratic regime that is based upon separation of religion and state and on ruling the people by . . . laws that contradict the way of Allah. . . . [Therefore], we have the right to kill 4 million Americans - 2 million of them children - and to exile twice as many and wound and cripple hundreds of thousands. Furthermore, it is our right to fight them with chemical and biological weapons . . .
Bono is too sanguine about the efficacy of “compromise” in wartime.
But I give him credit at least for not speaking to Rolling Stone's readers from the lollipop fantasyland wherein most of his fellow celebrity sages dwell.
For instance, while he said he didn’t agree with Paul Wolfowitz that the Bush administration effort to plant democracy in Iraq would work, (I took it from pragmatic reasons), he also told Rolling Stone:
I want to be very, very clear, however; I understand and agree with the analysis of the problem. There is an imminent threat. It manifested itself on 9/11. It’s real and grave. It is as serious a threat as Stalinism and National Socialism were. Let’s not pretend it isn’t.
Bono at least sounds like he’s capable of reason. In other words, his estimate of the threat we face tracks nicely with Dick Cheney's, whose opinion I'd trust in a battle any day of the week.
But alas, the rest of Bono's colleagues in enetertainment-land are extremely committed to pretending that Islamic terrorism is not “real and grave,” and certainly not “as serious a threat as Stalinism and National Socialism were.”
(And where’s this stupid mick come up with this notion Stalinism was a threat?)
Bono also refused interviewer Anthony DeCurtis’s invitation to blame Bush's initiative in Iraq for all current global problems: “There was a plan there, you know. I think the president genuinely felt that if we could prove a model of democracy and broad prosperity in the Middle East, it might defuse the situation.”
A comment that drew forth the following:
[MEMO from Jan Wenner to Bono:
Next time we interview you, READ THE GODDAMN TALKING POINTS FIRST!]