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"It's Go-Time!"

Commentary by Greg Lewis / NewMediaJournal.US
August 4, 2006

One of the most trenchant comments I've heard about the state of affairs in the Middle East (and I'm sorry I can't identify who spoke these words) is this: "If Arabs laid down their weapons, there would be peace; if Israelis laid down their weapons, there would be genocide."

This bottom-lines in stark terms what's currently happening half a world away from us, although we well know that Islamists have also attacked us with devastating consequences on our own soil on September 11, 2001. It is not western-style democracies that perpetrate terrorist attacks on other states for the purpose of killing civilians, breaking down the will of people living in freedom, and subjugating those people (where they are not simply slaughtered outright) to the most egregiously repressive religio-fascistic governmental regimes.

The state of Israel, carved in 1948 out of forbidding land in the wake of World War II and the holocaust, has a total area of approximately 11,000 square miles (that's slightly larger than Maryland, for those interested in such comparisons). In the nearly six decades since it came into being, Israel has willed a political and economic oasis into existence in the middle-eastern wilderness, despite the fact that it is surrounded on all sides by avowed mortal enemies, that it has been forced to defend itself against numerous military attacks and unceasing terrorist pressure.

If any other evidence is needed to demonstrate that Israel is a haven for democracy and freedom, it is the condition of the Arab population living in Israel. Israeli Arabs live infinitely more prosperous and fulfilling lives than do their Palestinian brethren. It is not Israel that stands in the way of Arab/Islamic success; it is precisely the Islamist-Arab nations that have allied themselves against Israel that insure that their own citizens will not flourish.

Against (I'm making an assumption here) their better judgment, Israel's leaders went along, during the late 1990s, with the Clinton Administration's "peace plan" for the middle east, negotiating with a "jackal for the ages," Yasser Arafat, and ceding (unwisely, as it has turned out) territory to their enemies. The thanks they got for dealing with Islamist terrorists as if they were really complete human beings was, in part, the Intifada, and in part the entrenchment and arming of Hezbollah after Israel's pullout from southern Lebanon in 2000.

If nothing else, that should teach any student of international diplomacy that you simply can't negotiate with certifiably insane religion-driven terrorists.
There is no question whatsoever that Iran and Syria and their proxy Hezbollah, among many other militant Islamist factions in the Middle East, would like to see Israel, not to mention the United States, wiped off the map. (You'll notice that Islamists don't even bother to mention Europe any more; Europe is already drowning in Islamism, given that the entire continent, with the exception of any countries with savvy leadership — England, for instance, and lately Italy and Spain, although new leadership there has certainly tipped the balance in favor of capitulation to Islamism — has adopted a putty-soft leftist acceptance of any anti-democratic, anti-capitalist, anti-religious political movement). The fact is, however, that the combined armed forces of the United States and Israel could settle the hash of the entire middle east in about three good weeks. Hell, Israel alone, if we were rearming her, could do the job herself.

There is not a military force in the middle east, or anywhere else in the world, for that matter, that could do anything but cower in the presence of our countries' combined military might, should we ever decide to unleash it. Indeed, while those on the left continue to whine about the "disproportionate" force with which Israel has responded to Hezbollah, what they're in fact doing is admitting that, in the long run, neither Hezbollah nor any other Islamo-imperialist state could hope to resist for more than about a month or so any all-out military onslaught by Israel or the U.S.

Israel has admitted that it hadn't realized how well-armed and how well-dug-in Hezbollah had managed to become in the six years since Israeli forces withdrew from southern Lebanon. Much of the world has prematurely and unwisely interpreted the difficulty Israel has had in dislodging Hezbollah from its positions just north of the Lebanon-Israel border and in degrading Hezbollah's ability to strike Israel with missiles seemingly at will as a sign that Israel is losing the war against Hezbollah. Nothing could be further from the truth.

While Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has promised ever more devastating rocket attacks ever deeper into Israel, the IDF has, after resolving strategy and policy differences among its leadership, settled on a plan that calls for overwhelming air and ground forces to be employed to realize precisely its earlier-stated aim: to dislodge Hezbollah from its southern Lebanon strongholds and to degrade substantially Hezbollah's military capability.

In implementing its strategy, Israel, while admittedly encountering fierce resistance from Hezbollah fighters and while admittedly still suffering rocket attacks on its civilian population, has made it clear that it regards Lebanon as a state that implicitly harbors and supports terrorists and that any Lebanese assets it perceives to be available to Hezbollah are legitimate military targets. Such assets include buildings from or near which Hezbollah launches rocket attacks; roads, bridges and other venues along which Syria and Iran can resupply Hezbollah militarily; and pretty much any other potential target that might fall into the category of "asset that can be construed as property of the country of Lebanon, which property Lebanon has very unwisely allowed to be co-opted by Hezbollah for terrorist ends."

The message Israel is sending is precisely that articulated in the so-called "Bush doctrine": If you aid and abet terrorists, don't be surprised if you wake up to find that bombs are falling on the very towns and cities and institutions you have so unwisely allowed your terrorist cohorts — the same ones who were "democratically elected" to positions of power in your government while you wishfully cast a blind eye to the possible consequences — to commandeer.

All the talk of World War III is at best premature, at worst totally misguided. We (the United States and Israel) could sit like James Joyce's "god of creation, paring [our] fingernails" for the next two or three years while Iran and Syria and Venezuela and North Korea and militia-states such as Hezbollah and al Qaeda and Islamic Jihad and whatever other "forces" controlled by whatever hyped-up psychotic despots as tend to rise to the top among populations unable to think for themselves secretly banded together and plotted their "doomsday for western capitalism" scenarios, and on top of that, we could give them two or three weeks to start to implement their strategies when they declared it was "go time."

If we (that is, the United States and Israel) faced all-out, unbridled attack from all of our avowed mortal enemies simultaneously, and if we gave them a two- or three-week head start before we mounted a response, it would take us about 11 days (and I'm being generous here) to destroy them militarily and humiliate them politically.

I'm sorry, but it's no contest. If it ever is "us against the world," "us" wins. Hands down. Might as well be a forfeit, except that lots of our enemies' fighters and probably a significant number of their citizens will die unnecessarily because their delusional rulers somehow got it into their heads that they could take on the U.S. and Israel and somehow prevail. Oops!

Furthermore, even though Islamists have written off our western European "allies" as no longer constituting a threat to the spread of Islam, those same Euros will be able to gravy-train (that's sports slang for "ride the coattails of") our overwhelming military victory and thus avoid having to submit to becoming Islamist nations, even though they didn't raise a hand in their own defense against the forces of Islam.

Few thinking people would assert that anything other than the scenario I've outlined would eventuate, if a true "World War III" were to happen. Of course, the problem comes when you factor in the skewed perspective of international diplomacy. This is an arena in which the political interests of our planet jockey to mute or negate or skew or de-legitimize through negotiation the ability of the world's democratic powers to truly reshape global politics and economics for the good in favor of empowering otherwise hapless banana republic despots to continue to enmire their citizens in the results of their ill-advised policies, in the name, somehow, of giving a voice to the downtrodden in world affairs.

No wonder Democrats and leftists and terrorists everywhere despise John Bolton. Finally, an American UN Ambassador who doesn't countenance all that crap, a guy who understands that if enlightened western democracies give in to the positions of medieval Islamism, well, then we'd all better start making handbasket reservations.

When it all shakes out, what we're looking at is a remarkably restrained response by the United States to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. We liberated Afghanistan, the seat of an Islamist terrorist state, and we've set it on course to become a democratic ally in the Middle East.

We also chose to topple Saddam Hussein's terrorist-sponsoring regime in Iraq. What is lost in most analyses of the situations in Afghanistanistan and Iraq is the nature of the enemy: Islamist terrorists, under whichever guise they may wage war, do not play by accepted "western" rules of engagement. Their targets are civilians, their tactics terroristic, their aims tyrannical. And while the United States and Israel are still developing workable tactical and strategic methods for combatting and defeating the forces of Islamist terrorism without unleashing a U.S.-Israel Armageddon on the Middle East, the fact is that, despite local and temporal appearances to the contrary, we are in the process of winning the war against terrorism.

All of which is to say that the terrorists had damn well better hope we never decide "It's go time!"


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