Recently, several high-ranking US military officials have made statements suggesting that the safety of US forces stationed throughout the Middle East is contingent on the successful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Terrorism throughout the region, according to them, is directly correlated to this conflict.
However, international statistics and the trend of international statistics does not support this viewpoint.
In January 2010, there were 37 reported terrorist attacks or attempted attacks in the world. Of these, 27 attacks involved Muslims killing other Muslims or Muslims killing non-Muslims. That is to say, 72% of all terrorism involved Muslims as the primary belligerent, and almost as often, as the primary victim. No Israelis and no Jews were killed.
In February 2010, there were 39 reported terrorist attacks or attempted attacks in the world. Of these, 35 attacks involved Muslims killing other Muslims or Muslims killing non-Muslims. That is to say, 89% of all terrorism involved Muslims as the primary belligerent, and almost as often, as the primary victim. One non-Jewish Israeli was killed.
In March 2010, there were 43 reported terrorist attacks or attempted attacks in the world. Of these, 37 attacks involved Muslims killing other Muslims or Muslims killing non-Muslims. That is to say, 86% of all terrorism involved Muslims as the primary belligerent, and almost as often, as the primary victim. Two Israelis and one citizen of Thailand were killed by terrorist acts against Israel during this period.
In April 2010, there have been 69 reported terrorist attacks or attempted attacks in the world. Of these, 46 attacks involved Muslims killing other Muslims or Muslims killing non-Muslims. That is to say, 66% of all terrorism involved Muslims as the primary belligerent, and almost as often, as the primary victim. No Israelis and no Jews were killed.
Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan accounted for 107 of the 188 reported acts of terrorism during this time period. And let us not forget, there are still four more days remaining in the current month. By a strange coincidence, the United States has occupation troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, and uses Pakistan as a supply corridor to Afghanistan. The United States has also involved itself in shoring up the Pakistan’s beleaguered government in its internal war against Muslim extremists. Countries in which the US has advisers and combat forces averaged 27 terrorist attacks per month, accounting for 57% of all terrorist attacks.
From these numbers, one can easily conclude two things: Muslims account for 77% of all reported terrorist attacks (we’ll get back to this in a moment), and Muslims attack countries supported by the United States or occupied by the United States 37 times more than they attack Israel. And it is most likely that these numbers are under-reported! In this study, “state-sponsored” terrorism is not included. Thus, when Syria assassinates a Lebanese politician, it doesn’t count.
A third thing one might conclude is that US generals don’t know squat about terrorism. Neither does their Commander-in-Chief.
25 March 2010
We have reached a turning point, perhaps even a parting of the ways. We do not need to mince words in a vain attempt to curry favor, be politically correct or excuse our actions. We need to act deliberately and decisively to secure our homeland, the land that our forefathers built, our birthright.
America has been our ally for over forty years. Now, she is spiritually, morally and economically fatigued. America is also unreliable.
There are many root causes of this spiritual, moral and economic decay – too many to explicate in detail. Of course, as America’s ally, it is our duty to point out that our once-great friend has fallen on hard times. Of course, it is our duty to try and help as best we can. However, one does not buy an alcoholic a drink on the promise that he will stop drinking tomorrow. One does not buy a junkie a fix on the promise that he will stop abusing drugs tomorrow.
The years after World War II were supposed to be the “American Century.” This “century” only lasted thirty years, America’s empire crumbling with the defeat in Vietnam. President Ronald Reagan tried – and to a large measure succeeded – to restore America’s legacy as the leader of the Free World and Western Civilization. However, his victory was squandered in the excesses of the presidency of Bill Clinton. Interestingly enough, it is the former president’s wife who now helps chart the course for another president bent on squandering America’s influence and power.
President George W. Bush awoke reaped the whorl-wind of American blindness and excess on September 11, 2001. He spent seven years rebuilding the walls, repelling the barbarians and re-establishing America’s military predominance. However, this was not enough. Americans grew weary of the struggle and longed for the go-go years of Bill Clinton when everything – everything – was for sale.
Barack Obama was elected on a campaign of hope and change. Hope for a better future and the willingness to make the changes to secure that future. However, if the last year has proven anything, it is that this hope does not extend to Israel and that any change is only for the worse. America’s interests are self-serving and demand too many sacrifices of others.
Israel must sacrifice defensible borders to an enemy that daily pronounces its intent to destroy her. Israel must ignore provocations and the preparations of her enemies. Israel must surrender her capital, our Holy City of Jerusalem, to the same enemy that barred us from our Holy Sites for centuries, burned our Houses of Worship and desecrated the tombs of our Honored Dead.
All this is being asked of Israel, so that America can retreat from Afghanistan and Iraq in relative ease. All this is being asked of Israel, so that America can borrow enough money for its shattered healthcare system. All this is being asked of Israel, so that Barack Obama can secure his legacy as the man who betrayed an ally to its enemies. Yes, we have reached a turning point.
We must prepare ourselves to defend and secure what is rightfully ours, and by whatever means necessary. Israel is Jerusalem, and Jerusalem is all of Israel. The words that Jabotinsky wrote over 80 years ago are as alive and pertinent today as they were then:”The Torah and sword were both handed down to us from heaven.”
Here we go again!
The Goldstone Report on the Israel’s actions in Operation Cast Lead have cast a serious pall over the country’s image. There are numerous controversies during this short, but intense conflict. There was the number of “civilian” casualties (for some reason, most terrorists don’t like to be identified by wearing uniforms), the “wanton” destruction of “mosques” (which doubled as weapon depots) and civilian property (which also served as Hamas’ bases) and the alleged targeting of UNWRA installations (also used by Hamas as staging areas for attacks).
In a perfect world there would be no war. However, as we all know, we live in a less than perfect world. There are conflicts. When faced with the necessity to take up arms and defend one’s home, family and way of life, does one toss his or her moral code aside and do “whatever necessary” to win? No, this would diminish to a degree the value of those things for which one is fighting. However, Israel actually raised the moral bar in how such a conflict should be conducted – America and Russia should take note.
Not that Robert Goldstone recognized this. No, his report is one-sided, filled with lies, half-truths and omissions. It is part and parcel of the Islamic fundamentalist propaganda campaign. It should be lumped in with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s denials of the Holocaust; the “Zionism is Racism” slur perpetrated by the PLO and Soviet Union; and the Crusader blood libels.
What should we expect?
What should we expect from the men and women we’ve asked to defend us? Can their officers possibly describe to them every situation they might encounter on the battlefield and how to act? Can we expect a young man, who has been trained to act with deadly force, to reflect on the potential morality of every order at the risk of his own life? Actually, Israel does ask this of its soldiers!
We expect the political echelon to formulate clear and well thought-out policies. We expect the general staff to see to prepare and plan. We expect officers to lead their men courageously. We expect them to win. And yes, we expect them to act in the spirit of the moral values which we have asked them to defend. However, there are limitations to this, especially when fighting a barbaric, cruel enemy.
In the midst of battle, we cannot ask an infantry platoon to act as if they are freshmen philosophy students. An army must fulfill its basic functions. Or the enemy’s army will fulfill its basic functions and we will be the worse-off for it. Western societies have come to view every field of human endeavor as one in which all players should have an equal chance to win. However, war is a zero-sum game: there must be a loser. I’m glad it was Hamas!
It’s all just a matter of opinion, isn’t it?
Moral relativism is the viewpoint that moral judgment regarding a person’s behavior depend on whether the person believes his actions to be right or wrong. This view is commonly expressed as “there is no right or wrong, it’s all only a matter of opinion.” Acceptance of this view is tantamount to saying that morality has no validity. Taken to its obvious conclusion, there is nothing objectively wrong with one person torturing and killing another, as long as the individual committing these acts sincerely believes that they are not wrong.
“Cultural relativism,” is the view that moral judgments and rules reflect the cultural context from which they are derived and cannot be applied to other cultures or societies. Some who hold this view are skeptical about even the possibility of saying that slavery is wrong in a slave-holding society! Let’s give this a modern spin.
If I am born and raised in a culture that accepts strapping dynamite to my chest and blowing myself up in a supermarket as a legitimate method of protest, then this act cannot be condemned from a moral viewpoint. It is part of my culture, and you as an outsider have no moral grounds to condemn my act.
The Price of Tea in China
So, what has all this to do with the price of tea in China? This: moral relativism is a weapon that wounds twice. First, the person or group subjected to the attack is injured. Second, the moral relativists – the apologists who often sit safely ensconced in university campuses, television studios and trendy coffee houses – demean and dishonor the victims and their own society.
The vast majority of the IDF acted with great restraint. Enemy wounded received medical treatment. There were many instances of soldiers risking their lives to remove women and children from harm’s way. Many times soldiers held their fire, attempting to ascertain who or what was in a building, and in the process exposing themselves to danger.
Hamas is a terrorist organization with no interest in peace with Israel. It could easily proclaim its willingness to abide by the agreements that the Palestinian Authority (PA) signed with Israel. It could easily stop shelling Israeli towns and cities. It could easily acknowledge Israel’s right to exist. Hamas does none of these things.
Hamas smuggles weapons and ammunition into Gaza, in contravention of past Israeli-PA agreements and flouting international law. It does so brazenly, offering reporters tours of tunnel digging and smuggling operations. It fires missiles and mortar shells at Israeli towns. Hamas members dress their children in suicide bomber “costumes.” It sends the mentally impaired to infiltrate Israel wearing suicide belts – murder belts, actually. During Operation Cast Lead, missiles were stored in schools, weapons fire was directed from the minarets of mosques and attacks were launched from schools and hospitals.
This is their “culture,” their “moral code.”
In military affairs, Israel has always succeeded when it takes the offensive. It is time for Israel to take the offensive diplomatically. According to reports in the media, Israel is about to pull-out of the northern part of Ghajar and UNIFIL will police the town. Handing the town over to the UN is a poor choice when there is a much better option available. Israel should make an offer – very publicly – to cede southern Ghajar in exchange for Lebanon dropping its claims to Shebaa Farms.
The citizens of Ghajar will be given a choice: become Lebanese citizens or remain Israeli citizens. Those choosing to become Lebanese, would exchange their Israeli identity cards for Lebanese-issued ones. Those choosing to remain Israeli citizens would be offered a relocation package similar to those received by settlers in Gaza. A “national service” component could be added for the hard work of building a new community.
There are several arguments against taking this diplomatic initiative. Detractors will point out that Iran and Syria are likely to do everything in their power to prevent such a deal from ever occurring, let alone being given a serious hearing. Resolving the Ghajar / Shebaa Farms issue would eliminate all of Hezbollah’s claims as “protector of Lebanon.” Weaken Hezbollah weakens Iran and Syria. And weakening Iran and Syria further weakens Hezbollah.
However, both the current regime in Teheran and its Hizbullah proxies are in a certain degree of disarray due to elections in both countries. Have the internal protests and power-struggles weakened the regime? Absolutely not. Have the caused it to focus its attention inward? Absolutely, yes. Furthermore, with the Obama administration pressing Teheran to enter into negotiations over its nuclear program, now would be the wrong time for Ahmadinejad to stir-up trouble in Lebanon.
Syria is engaged in a slow, step-by-step process of re-engagement with the West. There has been a constant stream of European and American diplomats in and out of Damascus. The message to Assad has been clear: Iran or us. His country is impoverished and isolated from other Arab states. Allowing Lebanon to negotiate with Israel would, on the one hand, further isolate his regime. On the other hand, Assad would likely claim – and Washington would like deliver – substantial diplomatic, economic and political benefits if Syria were to take a benign role.
Detractors will also say that no Arab government will be willing to cede any land to Israel, period. They might be right. If they are, wouldn’t it be to Israel’s advantage to point this out now, over a square miles of valueless real estate, rather than get embroiled with the Palestinians? A Lebanese refusal would put those exerting pressure on Israel to make compromises elsewhere into an embarrassing position.
A third argument against doing this is the potential of the residents of Ghajar voting en masse to become Lebanese citizens. Polling in Israel over the last five years has shown an increasing number of Arab citizens do not want to live with Jews (and vice versa). This would certainly be a black eye for Israel, at a time when it is least needed. On the other hand, what if they decided to stay? Wouldn’t this be an equal or greater black eye for Arab nationalists and Islamists?
It is a long shot. However, it has enormous potential and very little downside risk. Obtaining a Lebanese concession on the Shebaa Farms area, aka, Har Dov, gives Israel a key route into the Golan and will bolster Israel’s bargaining position vis-à-vis Syria. Finally, the process of could conceivably serve as a template for the re-alignment of borders in the West Bank / Judea & Samaria. It’s time for Israel to take the diplomatic offensive!
In the early 1960s, then US President John F. Kennedy sold Israel its first modern, American-made weapon system. The Hawk anti-aircraft missiles were a defensive system, so Kennedy could credibly argue that he was restoring the balance of power among the players in the region. So it began.
Right up to the Six Day War, Israel had a marriage of convenience with France. France badly needed allies in its failing attempt to hold onto its overseas empire. It was slowly stripped of the Suez Canal, then Algeria (with Indochina falling in between, although that had little to do with Israel). Rather, the relationship with Israel was one way of punishing Arab nationalists for humiliating France.
After the Six Day War, America realized that there was a democratic, West-leaning country with a superb military in a strategic location. Add some domestic support from a coalition of Jewish Americans, Christian Conservatives and WWII vets who saw the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps first hand and, presto chango: Allies!
Fast forward 40 years. America has won the Cold War – indeed with steadfast support from Israel in the UN, and at times, in places where Americans would have stood out and been noticed. Israel “field-tested” numerous American wepaons system and made them better, increasing the appeal of American technology to countries sitting on the ideological fence. Israeli technology created much of how the Internet works – an Internet that was the central nervous system of the telecommunications revolution of the last twenty years.
However, the USSR is gone. AWACS, F15s and Smart bombs are of limited use against a sniper hiding in a mosque or a young man willing to strap 20 pounds of TNT to his chest. Technology has diffused around the globe. And the current Administration in Washington, D.C., is re-calibrating its relationship with Israel.
An Israel that is at odds with its Arab neighbors who supply America with its oil. An Israel that finds the same difficulty fighting the sniper and the young suicide bomber with its American-made weapons. An Israel whose technological prowess now routinely butts heads with American corporate interests. An Israel, which though part of the liberal democratic tradition, looks increasingly Jewish and increasingly different from America – regardless of how “American” Israelis want to be.