The 'Provoked Sword' of Israel
At the moment, I can think of nothing more inappropriate than calling Israel's actions in Lebanon and Gaza "inappropriate," which is what most political leaders are calling them. I would go them one further, and protest that Israel's actions are inadequate, that they are not enough.
Israel's foreign minister, Tzipi Levine, stated in an interview with ABC's Charles Gibson (who kept probing for an apology from her, and didn't get it) that Israel's actions are in self-defense and that Israel's existence would be further imperiled if it did not take those actions. Israel has nuclear weapons; let it use them against Damascus and Tehran, the chief instigators and endorsers of Hamas and Hezballah. Israel should wage an all-out, no-holds-barred and never mind the civilian casualties campaign to extinguish Hamas and Hezballah down to the last ski-masked killer, mullah, and ayatollah.
One news report treated viewers to an indignant Lebanese man, who was trying to escape the Israeli bombs, crying with impotent rage, referring to all the bridges, roads, fuel depots, hospitals, and Hezballah-controlled Beirut suburbs destroyed by the Israeli military, "This has got to stop! Why should we be punished for others' crimes??"
Well, because your government hosts and tolerates Hezballah, that is why. No doubt numerous Germans felt the same anger during Allied bombings of their country during World War Two. They tolerated Hitler and Nazism for over a decade, and paid the price.
However, anyone who has read Book Three: Caxton, will recall Hugh Kenrick's advice, solicited by the Lieutenant-Governor of Virginia.
"What are your thoughts on the Indians, sir?"
"They are nature's orphans, your honor, and our society is an irresistible force. It matters not how frequently they assault the western settlers. They are doomed -- or, rather, their preferred mode of living is doomed. They wish to hunt and roam about in the wilderness without the benefit of ownership, patent, or industry....I would no more treat with them than seek a peace with the sea's natural predators, for they are of a fickle, unpredictable mien. They sense the mortal threat to their precarious state of savagery, and they know well that our society will not be contained east of the Alleghenies, regardless of the Crown's assurances, and that they will be driven farther and farther west."
Hugh saw reluctant concession in the Governor's expression. He went on. "If the Crown must devise a policy, your honor, the most honest one might be to issue a proclamation to the Indians: Join us, mingle with us, or perish -- and if perish, then by a provoked sword. Discard your bear grease and scalping knives, and discover Locke and Diderot and Newton. For we shall not remove ourselves, and you have no other alternative but to remove yourselves clear to the Pacific, or suffer a violent, sad, and certain demise."
Substitute Indians with Islamists, or even with Muslims, and the point should be taken. That would be a correct policy (which, historically, the Crown did not adopt). No reconciliation is possible between the Dark Age anti-life moral code of Islam and a pro-life Western civilization, no matter how "moderate" that code can be refashioned or diluted (and the same must be said of Christianity). That angry Lebanese's words are symbolic of the premise that the "good" can coexist with evil, an evil which the Lebanese apparently was willing to tolerate as long as it didn't intrude into his life. But, he sanctioned it, tolerated it, and now it is causing him to flee the consequences of Israel dealing with it.
Israel, for its part, has adopted a policy of "removing itself" from territories it had won in wars waged against it by the Arabs and which it needed to protect its sovereignty. It is reaping the consequences of pragmatism, compromise, and a Rodney Kingish "can't we just all get along" policy of concessions. Whether this lesson will sink in permanently, remains to be seen.
Western leaders also suffer from the same perilous delusion. They are still calling for "restraint" by Israel and "talks" between it and its attackers. And, not learning anything from the half-century long record of the U.N.'s fundamentally intrinsic ineptness -- intrinsic because it operates on a policy of non-judgmental "mediation" -- some are suggesting that a U.N. force police the Lebanon/Israel border, just to stop the "violence."
One can now even note in President Bush's and Prime Minister's Blair's latest expressions during press conferences a knowledge that their policies of promoting "democracy" and compromise and diplomatic/altruist alchemy have failed utterly in the face of a jihadist policy of aggression and destruction. They are the expressions of men who do not wish to acknowledge the fact and necessity of moral absolutes. They refuse to recognize that Western and Islamic values are antithetical.
The kidnapping of the Israeli soldiers that provoked Israel's sword doubtless was engineered by Tehran and abetted by Syria to distract attention from Iran's ongoing program to develop nuclear weapons, which it has promised to use against Israel. It wishes to destroy Israel not because Israel is an aggressor or because it has "Zionist" designs for the eradication of Islam, but simply because Israel exists as a successful, Western-oriented state in a region otherwise still in a state of barbarism.
It is significant that most of the G8 leaders in St. Petersburg have acknowledged -- or at least not denied -- Iran's role in the attacks on Israel. Beyond that acknowledgement, they are speechless. They know now that Iran means business, that it is an enemy they did not wish to concede existed, and that any plan to coax or bribe it into not pursuing nuclear weapons is exploded.
Tehran, Damascus, and the entire Arab world wish for Israel's destruction, because Israel is a reproach to their "preferred mode" of existence of stagnation and servitude to Allah and the dictator of the moment. Israel and that angry Lebanese must learn, if necessary the hard way, that it is either/or, that the evil of Hamas, Hezballah, and the death-wishing regimes of Iran and Syria must be eradicated once and for all if there is ever to be peace in the Mideast.
Israel's sword has been provoked. It should not be sheathed until Israel's enemies have met their proper, permanent, and deserved demise.
Edward Cline is the author the Sparrowhawk series of novels set in England and Virginia during the Revolutionary period, the detective novel First Prize, the suspense novel Whisper the Guns and of numerous other published articles, book reviews and essays.
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