Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The Way to Dusty Death

Michael Totten examines the quagmire that never was. How did Israel achieve the task, regarded as impossible by media analysts and many diplomats, of defeating the Intifada? He quotes the "New Republic".

Israel's triumph over the Palestinian attempt to unravel its society is the result of a systematic assault on terrorism that emerged only fitfully over the past four years. The fence, initially opposed by the army and the government, has thwarted terrorist infiltration in those areas where it has been completed. Border towns like Hadera and Afula, which had experienced some of the worst attacks, have been terror-free since the fence was completed in their areas. Targeted assassinations and constant military forays into Palestinian neighborhoods have decimated the terrorists' leadership, and roadblocks have intercepted hundreds of bombs, some concealed in ambulances, children's backpacks, and, most recently, a baby carriage. At every phase of Israel's counteroffensive, skeptics have worried that attempts to suppress terrorism would only encourage more of it.

The most remarkable thing about Israel's campaign against the Intifada was not it's adoption of new warfighting concepts, like Europe's Human Security Doctrine, but its reversion to the oldest method of all: winning by fighting back. Social historians in the future, should we ever attain it, may endlessly wonder how it was possible for Western European and liberal American intellectuals to forget 5,000 years of military experience in favor of the slogans, some composed facetiously, of the Peace Movement of the 1960s. However that may be, Totten concludes that Israel is a test case, the pathfinder to America's future in the war on terror. "Israel's present may be our future. Best get used to it now."

The necessary corollary is if Israel's future is to America's then Palestine's is to the Islamic world's: a bleak landscape of impoverished, poorly educated people living on a diet of fantasy: the least necessary tragedy in history. The Jihad like the Intifada is the highroad to vacancy. But the Left encouraged Yasser Arafat to hold out for more at every turn; solemnly assuring him by whatever gods of historical determinism they worshipped that the Intifada was unstoppable; the wave of the future. What they forgot to tell him was that it was unstoppable only for so long as it wasn't stopped. To listen to the Left is to share it's epitaph. Time to stop listening.

a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.