by Victor Davis Hanson
NRO’s The Corner
There is something especially nauseating about the latest Middle East war — scenes of worldwide Islamic protests with photos of Jews as apes, protesters (in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida of all places!) screaming about nuking Israel and putting Jews in ovens, parades of children dressed up with suicide vests and fake rockets, near constant anti-Semitic vicious sloganeering, Gaza mosques stuffed with rockets to be used against civilians — all to be collated with creepy Hamas rhetoric about the annihilation of Israel. This is the world in which we now live.
Almost no other issue in recent memory has illustrated the moral bankruptcy of much of the international community. Hamas has no pretensions, like the PA, of being a governing authority; it used violence to rout the PA and then bragged that its charter pledging the destruction of Israel remained unchanged. Israel evacuated Gaza; Gazans in response looted their own infrastructure, alienated both the PA and Egypt, and then sent off more than 6,000 rockets against Israeli civilians, while eagerly becoming a terrorist puppet of theocratic Iran.
Nothing could be more clear: either the fact that a constitutional republic was trying to avoid civilian casualties while a terrorist organization was intent on killing Jewish civilians as it used its own citizens as shields to protect mostly young male terrorists; or the world’s craven reaction to all this.
Again all very creepy — the stuff of Tolkien’s Mordor. It is now clear that the so-called and much praised “international community,” the hallowed U.N., the revered E.U., all pretty much are indifferent to the survival of a democratic Israel, or are actively supportive of its terrorist Hamas enemy. Only the U.S. (for now) stands by a constitutional state in its war against a murderous terrorist clique, with annihilation its aim and religious fascism its creed.
If Israel continues to decimate Hamas, gets its message out to the global public by circumventing and counter-acting AP, Reuters, the NY Times, the Guardian, etc., and makes the case that there is a terrible, but moral connection between sending rockets into Jewish kindergartens and not sleeping well in fortified compounds in Gaza City, then it may recapture much of its deterrence lost in the 2006 war where the opposite formula of talking loudly and carrying a small stick was the Israeli norm.
Note not just the relative silence of Fatah and the Arab community in general at the news of the settling up with Hamas, but the quiet from Hezbollah in Lebanon. One would think Hezbollah would now pile on by launching missiles in solidarity with their brothers in Hamas. For now almost everyone in the Middle East seems to be willing to forfeit their patronage of Hamas to Iran while hoping it is as costly for the cash-strapped mullahs as it is embarrassing.
When should Israel stop? When they think there is a good chance the rockets will stop — and not until then. That will happen only when the message seems to be getting through to Gazans that they might better jeer rather than cheer rockets launched from their empty lots and rooftops, given the retribution that will inevitably follow, despite the promulgation of phony doctrines like proportionality and the tired old game of “hood on — I’m a scary rocket launcher”/ “hood off — I’m a scared civilian victim of Israeli aggression”.
Note likewise the growing silence from the incoming Obama administration and its supporters, who now have dropped much of the talk about the tragedy of not having an early ascension in November rather than January 20th. Gaza is a sore about which you cannot vote present, charm terrorists into disarmament, talk in platitudes of hoping and changing it, or simply keep blaming George Bush for not being “engaged.” Instead, Obama must face the hard choices of either alienating traditional liberal pro-Israel supporters, or the powerful anti-Israeli fringe groups that have galvanized much of the Obama candidacy, here and abroad. UNing an asymmetrical war with terrorists with ostensible blame for both sides as equally culpable won’t do either. The Middle East almost by definition requires an American President to be disliked as much as he is deemed necessary.
In such a context, it will be difficult for Obama, as many expected, to open no-preconditions negotiations with Iran, or start pressuring for surrendering Golan to Iranian-backed Syria. Instead, there are some atrocious scenarios on the horizon: Iran’s bomb, Arab counter-nuclear proliferation, a real Pakistan-India war at the outbreak of the next Mumbai, and Hezbollah’s next gambit to destroy constitutional Lebanon.
©2009 Victor Davis Hanson