"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The other theater of the war

Since I might be offline for a while, I thought I'd better get in my take on the Israel-Hezbollah war.

War is always and unavoidably horrific. It must be especially sickening for parents who get to see the mangled bodies of their dead children. I haven't seen that and hope I never will. But even so I am sickened—sickened by the assumption, made apparently even at the Vatican, that there's some sort of moral equivalency between the combatants in this latest theater of the war with radical Islam. Beyond backing Israel materially, our part in the fight is to discredit that assumption.

Hezbollah started this with an unprovoked attack across an internationally recognized border, behind which Israel had withdrawn her army six years ago, to capture prisoners for use as bargaining chips. Already under seige from Qassam attacks launched by Hamas terrorists from Gaza, from which she had withdrawn unilaterally last year, and correctly refusing to bargain with Hamas over prisoners, Israel decided to react by going for the jugular. Her aim, apparently, is to destroy Hezbollah's military capability; or if that's not possible, then to weaken it enough to make the threat it poses manageable by others, such as the U.N. and the Lebanese government. That is a legitimate aim, for Hezbollah's leaders are sworn to Israel's destruction and are the tools of a country, Iran, whose president regularly calls for Israel's destruction. But this enemy of Israel and of the United States, many of whose citizens it has killed, has a very powerful weapon, more powerful than any rocket or fighter: the civilians of Lebanon.

By adopting a military stance that interweaves combatants and their weapons among civilians as well as buildings designed for peaceful purposes, Hezbollah makes it impossible for Israel to fight for victory without killing civilians—many of whom are innocent—and destroying Lebanon's infrastructure. Israel has not let that stop her, of course; nor could she, if she is to achieve anything useful. The result: many innocent civilians are dying and Lebanon is being set back decades. That makes Israel, even more than Hezbollah, seem cruel and immoral—even though Israel would rather not kill civilians and uses precision bombs in an effort to avoid such deaths while Hezbollah, having no such scruples, fires volleys of rockets indiscriminately at Israeli civilian targets. Thus is Hezbollah winning the propaganda war among the constituencies it most cares about: the Arab "street" and the Left around the world, on whom it's counting to help bring the IDF to heel via the White House.

Such is how Islamofascists fight around the world: they attack "enemy" civilians while using their own as shields. It's how they fight in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Palestine, and wherever else they can gain a foothold. And don't forget that it's all the same war: the jihad, whose purpose is to destroy the West starting with its outpost in Israel, so as to replace them with a new caliphate that would impose Sharia law on us all. Only the theaters differ.

The military euphemism for their method is 'asymmetrical warfare', which indeed is the only kind open to the Islamofascists given their enemies' superiority in weapons. Whether it's flying planes into skyscrapers, setting off remote-controlled bombs in train tunnels, strapping bomb belts to hapless suicides, or doing all the other cute things that Hezbollah and Hamas do, these people care not a whit for Western rules of war, which evolved out of another era and are much closer to the divine and natural law.

American and her allies, such as Israel and the current governments of Iraq and Afghanistan, will lose this war if they do not counteract their enemy's propaganda weapon successfully. I don't know how that can be done. I'm not a geopolitician, an intelligence agent, or a soldier. But our leaders must find a way to do it, starting with naming the enemy for what it is: a ruthless, cowardly, hate-filled, and mendacious bunch of fanatics whose main cloak of legitimacy is religion and whose main tactical defense is the blood of women and children. Once that perverse truth is made clear, if only by constant repetition, we will be in a better position to take on their biggest movers and shakers: Iran and Syria. In the meantime we must go on killing these terrorists at every opportunity.

That's why it's so important to stabilize Iraq. We must free enough of our troops for the next rounds on the eastern and western borders of that tortured country. What's at stake is everything good the West, and the Jews, have worked so hard for.
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