Powered by WebAds

Friday, July 21, 2006

American Political Wars and Israel's War with Hezbollah

I'm going to give you another one from The American Thinker, because this is just too good to ignore. It's also rather long. I'll give you a little flavor, but then you have to go and read the whole thing.
President Bush seems to have decided that this time, Israel needs to complete the job and win: to significantly reduce or eliminate Hezbollah’s stockpile of rockets, and to remove them from the border area. Stopping the fighting now, with Hezbollah still holding most of its rockets, would allow them to continue to intimidate the Lebanese government and occupy Southern Lebanon. This would be far too dangerous for Israel.

If Hezbollah survives as an independent militia, then Lebanon will not be a functioning independent country. Part of the job of restoring Lebanese sovereignty was the pressure applied by Western nations that led to the departure of most Syrian forces from the country (the uniformed military, though not the undercover and intelligence operatives). But Hezbollah only got stronger during this period. And it was itching for a fight, seeing Israeli weakness in Israel’s never confronting their vastly enhanced military capability since Israel left southern Lebanon in 2000.

Andrea Mitchell stated on one talk show that Israel had long been looking for an excuse to go in and pulverize Hezbollah. This is entirely wrong, but reflects the twin diseases of historical ignorance and latching onto the conventional wisdom, which are so common among the inside the beltway media elite. Israel, as Pipes has argued convincingly, ignored Hezbollah for years, as if the threat were not real, or alternatively, too great to combat.

President Bush has apparently told Israel that it has some time to complete its mission, and that the US will prevent the generally weak-kneed Europeans and other big powers, Russia and China, from pushing too hard to achieve a ceasefire. That would only freeze the current situation in place, without resolution.

Fighting sometimes serves a real purpose. Peace is not the primary short term goal for Israel at the moment, not when terrorists still lurk on its borders, ready to fire the next salvo of rockets at its cities. That is not a real peace. For the crowd unhappy with Israel’s supposedly “disproportionate” response, what exactly does disproportionate mean when almost a thousand rockets have been fired at Israeli civilian targets in less than a week. Even Human Rights Watch has called the Hezbollah rocket attacks a war crime, so it must be a very bad thing.

The evacuation of foreigners that is being carried out from Lebanon is telling. All the countries removing their nationals are signaling that they know this fight will continue for a while, and that Lebanon will be a battlefield until it ends. A major reason why this is so is that many of the Arab nations are as anxious as Israel for Hezbollah to be wiped out as a fighting force and for Iran to be bloodied. So they are not pressuring the US to achieve a premature ceasefire.

The Sunni Arab nations, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, are not eager to face off with an aggressive Shiite Iran, with Hezbollah riding high, and a nuclear program soon in place. Destabilizing Iraq and bloodying the Americans may have been both Iranian goals and also Saudi/Sunni goals (this democracy stuff is scary, don’t go any further with it, please). But now, most of the Arab nations seem to believe that the new regional bully, Iran, needs to be brought down.

Various Republicans on this week’s talk shows, Newt Gingrich, John McCain, and George Allen among them, have provided the links among Israel’s fight, our battles in Iraq and Afghanistan, India’s fight with Islamic terrorists over Kashmir, and other Muslim-Western conflicts around the globe (find a conflict, and it’s a good bet that it fits this pattern). Seeing a bigger picture, and accepting that war is sometimes the answer, is different than a philosophy that follows the dictum that the best policy is to always turn down the temperature and stop the fighting. Senator McCain said of the Iranian nuclear program that attempting to take out this program by military means would be a terrible thing, but not as bad as seeing Iran succeed in completing its program. This of course, is not a defense of bad wars, or unnecessary wars, or poorly conducted wars.

For Israel, continuing the current conflict insures more rocket attacks on its cities and more dead soldiers and civilians in the short run (and more civilian casualties from collateral damage in Lebanon, as well) . But seeking the false security of a ceasefire would be worse at this point. The Iranian commitment to destroy Israel remains.

The Palestinians have had this goal for sixty years, which is why they still rattle old keys on their nakba day, keep hundreds of thousands of their people confined to refugee camps to promote an everlasting bitterness, vote for Hamas, and pass around sweets to celebrate the events of 9/11 or when some teenage Palestinian walks onto a bus and blows it up killing two dozen Israelis.

It is not really possible to negotiate or engage with that belief system. One either defeats it or succumbs. This eliminationist view towards Israel is broadly shared in the region, though small progress may have been made in a few Arab countries. It is why Israel’s current battles cannot be negotiated away.

President Bush understands this, but the New York Times and many on the political left do not. It is why the “netroots” are trying to take down Joe Lieberman, a sensible Democrat with a very distinguished record, but one who refuses to soak in their Bush Derangement Syndrome hot tub. For many on the left, Hezbollah and Lebanon and Israel are distractions from the real war against George Bush, the one war worth fighting, and certainly not engaging.

One of the reasons the left hates Bush is for taking the country to war in Iraq. Debating the wisdom of that conflict is certainly legitimate. But for many on the left, war, any war, is the ultimate evil, not tyranny, or Nazism, or Communism, or Islamic fascism. On that, their disagreement with the President and his party is profound.

Scarier still, is the more hard line anti-Israel sentiment now floating freely on the hard left websites, such as dailykos. Some of the site’s writers seem to feel about Israel the way Iran’s President does. At every anti-Iraq war rally the past few years, anti-Israel signs have always been prominent. The two movements (anti-Iraq war, and anti-Israel) are now firmly linked on the left. It will be a fundamentally different Democratic Party that emerges if the netroots and the hard left take over. And no one can say they couldn’t see it coming.

For now, the leadership of both major parties is standing firmly with Israel in this fight. But if the fight goes on very long, this coalition may fray a bit as some Democrats feel pressure from the left and hear the cooing sounds of UN peacekeepers and “peace,” and get more nervous about civilian casualties and “disproportionate” responses, and fall for the bromides of the war is never the answer crowd.

Wars started by one side, are often finished by the other. This should be one of those cases.
Like I said, read it all.


Post a Comment

<< Home