Our unpopular — but vital — wars and other commentary

From the right: Our Unpopular Wars Are Worth It

Those who want to end US involvement in Syria and Afghanistan, as President Trump is moving to do, “reflect a long-simmering public distaste for American intervention,” contends Commentary’s Abe Greenwald. Which is unfortunate, because despite enduring “too many setbacks” and “too few moments of clear victory,” the US military “has been successfully protecting American interests over the past 17 years.” Any “serious country” understands that “messy wars with elusive victories,” like in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, are vital and “still have to be fought.” What we’ve gotten in return is “a peaceful homeland — a strangely unappreciated miracle in the 21st century.” But the peace we now take for granted is “the direct result of American success in the wars we love to hate.”

Political scribe: Dem Senators Target Catholic Mainstay

The Knights of Columbus, with its millions of members, is a fraternal ­organization usually thought of in terms of raising money for worthy community causes. But Steve Cortes at Real Clear Politics says two Democratic senators “consider membership in this laudable service organization as somehow disqualifying from serving as a federal judge.” Sens. Mazie Hirono (Haw.) and Kamala Harris (Calif.) have challenged judicial nominee Brian Buescher’s suitability because of the KOC’s “extreme positions” — it’s an all-male, pro-life group — and challenged him to “end your membership with this organization.” Such “anti-Catholic bias represents not just a discriminatory affront, but also an unconstitutional religious litmus test for ­appointees.” Would Hirono and Harris “ask similar questions of an observant Muslim nominee, since that faith also believes in traditional marriage”?

Transit writer: NY’s Growing Free-Rider Problem

Compared to chronic delays and disruptions and a lack of funds to ­finance desperately needed infrastructure improvements, the MTA’s problem with fare evasion “may seem insignificant,” concedes City Journal’s ­Nicole Gelinas. In fact, with 208,000 riders evading the fare each day (up from 109,000 in 2013), it’s a serious matter that causes “bigger problems ­underground.” Next year, the MTA will levy a 4 percent fare hike, bringing in $316 million — “two-thirds of which could be consumed by fare evasion.” Moreover, “vagrancy and begging” — by people who “are disproportionately likely to have failed to pay the fare” — are rising. Says Gelinas: It’s ­“inhumane to allow the subway system to be a shelter of last resort.” Doing so only “drives away riders who can afford a more pleasant alternative.”

Judicial watch: The Worrying Notorious RBG Cult

The new film “On the Basis of Sex” is the latest entry in what Politico’s ­Peter Canellos describes as a movement that portrays Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as “a kind of progressive superhero.” Indeed, it’s “a myth-building exercise for a woman who’s reached mythic stature in a shockingly short period of time.” And it “satisfies a yearning for a liberal heroine in a time of disappointment.” But it’s “a dubious precedent” when the judiciary has become so politicized. Those who were discomfited by the notion of Antonin Scalia taking bows before conservative groups “should probably think twice before donning their RBG T-shirts at the next abortion-rights march — or bursting into ­applause at her next triumphant cinematic moment.”

Law professor: PA’s Contradictory Claims on Jerusalem

The Palestinian Authority seems to be of two minds when it comes to ­Jerusalem’s legal status, observes Avi Bell at The Times of Israel. In a filing this year with the International Criminal Court, the PA claims East Jerusalem “is sovereign territory of what it calls the state of Palestine” and asks for Israel to face charges for “crimes” committed in Palestinian territory. But in a separate filing with the International Court of Justice over the relocation of the US embassy, the same PA claims that Jerusalem is an international area over which no state can legally claim sovereignty. Neither claim is meritorious, says Bell. More important, “it’s impossible for both claims to be true simultaneously.” Israel’s claim to legal sovereignty over all of Jerusalem, meanwhile, is both “straightforward and well-grounded in international law.”

— Compiled by Eric Fettmann

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