Saturday, July 22, 2006


Two Great Reads

So much in motion.

Two great commentaries to mention, one from the always insightful Fouad Ajami, writing at Opinion Journal, the other from an unexpected US Senator. Ajami first, who suggests to Hezbollah that, “The violence done to Lebanon shall overwhelm you.” (Habbakuk 2:17)
His forecast for what will be the end result of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s grand miscalculation:
There was steel in Israel and determination to be done with Hezbollah's presence on the border. States can't--and don't--share borders with militias. That abnormality on the Lebanese-Israeli border is sure not to survive this crisis. One way or other, the Lebanese army will have to take up its duty on the Lebanon-Israel border. By the time the dust settles, this terrible summer storm will have done what the Lebanese government had been unable to do on its own.
Ajami, moreso than the many Western analysts weighing in on current events, fully understands what’s behind Hezbollah provocations, and what Iranian preparations preceded them:
Now comes this new push by Damascus and Tehran. It promises nothing save sterility and ruin. It will throw the Lebanese back onto a history whose terrible harvest is well known to them. The military performance of Hezbollah, it should be apparent by now, is not a performance of a militia; nor are unmanned drones and missiles of long range the weapons of boys of the alleyways. A formidable military structure has been put together by the Iranians in Lebanon. In a small, densely populated country that keeps and knows no secrets, Hezbollah and its Iranian handlers have been at work on this military undertaking for quite some time, under the gaze of Lebanese authorities too frightened to raise questions.
In the end, hasty diplomatic and political calls for a ceasefire should be ignored, if one accepts that the premise behind these calls is what’s best for the innocent in Lebabon. For the innocents in Lebanon – even those sympathetic to Hezbollah in a theoretical sense -- and the innocents in Israel for that matter, we need to support Israel taking Hezbollah out of the geopolitical equation.

Ajami concludes with a call to those in the West who claim to seek peace for Lebanon:
The Europeans claim a special affinity for Lebanon, a country of the eastern Mediterranean. This is their chance to help redeem that land, and to come to its rescue by strengthening its national army and its bureaucratic institutions. We have already seen order's enemies play their hand. We now await the forces of order and rescue, and by all appearances a long, big struggle is playing out in Lebanon. This is from the Book of Habakkuk: "The violence done to Lebanon shall overwhelm you" (2:17). The struggles of the mighty forces of the region yet again converge on a small country that has seen more than its share of history's heartbreak and history's follies.
The other must read was a speech by Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, delivered July 20th, and posted by Tigerhawk (without further details on the setting).

This is one heck of a must read, as well, as noted by Chap at Milblogs. Many underestimate this Senator based on disagreement with his more well-known social conservative positions and public statements. But as Steve Schippert relates, Sen. Santorum is serious, passionate, angry and committed to our troops and the fight against our sworn enemies. He is genuine in a town and profession that knows little of that quality in our “public servants.”

Like Steve, it makes we wish he were one of my state’s Senators. Instead, I have Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Chuck Schumer. I don’t need to say more to this audience, but then I’m the one who chooses to live in New York.

Sen. Santorum challenges those who would not see the enemy for who they themselves say they are, or believe that our enemies really intend what they say they want:
If we have learned anything from the twentieth century, it should be this lesson: when leaders say they are prepared to kill millions of people to achieve their goals, we must take them at their word. Particularly in this case when the enemy sees dying for their cause as a desired objective as opposed to a tragic consequence. But we have not learned that lesson. If we really believed that the Islamic fascists were a real threat to the future of our country, we would not be screaming and hollering about how our government is tracking terrorists' money, and monitoring their telephone conversations. Instead we'd be screaming and hollering that these programs are being compromised.

So why are we so unwilling to define our enemies?

Sen. Santorum harkens to those other great challenges to civilization and liberty we faced and defeated in the Twentieth Century, Fascism and Communism, and makes mention of Natan Sharansky:
Islamic fascism is the great test of this generation. When we fail to fully grasp the nature of our enemy and the urgency of our victory, our own people become confused and divided, and the fascists are encouraged to believe that we’re afraid of them. This has to stop. We have an obligation as leaders to articulate exactly what this threat is, and to defeat it. The American people have always rallied to the cause of freedom, once they understood what was at stake.

We had no problem branding communism an evil empire – it was.

We had no problem understanding that Nazism and fascism were evil racist empires – they were.

We must now bring the same clarity to the war against Islamic fascism.

I recently had the great pleasure of sharing a podium with Natan Sharansky, who refused to be silent in the face of Soviet Communism, and eventually celebrated its downfall. He told me about the surge of hope that went through the Soviet gulag when President Reagan delivered his "evil empire" speech because the dissidents locked in the terrible Gulag realized that the leader of the United States understood their plight, and was determined to bring down their oppressors. Brave men like Sharansky understand, far better than politicians or journalists or college professors, the importance of a proper moral calculus, and the paralyzing effect of misguided moral equivalence. If we do not recognize that it is right and proper for us to defend our freedom against Islamic fascism, we may well lose this war. The terrorists know that they cannot win on the battlefield against our armed men and women, and so their strategy is aimed at you, to break your will to fight, to get you to hang your head and finally say "enough." And they will not stop coming after us until we stop them.

The greatest threat we face is not the radical and violent Islamic fascists. They are evil, they will stop at nothing, they are depraved and devalue human life and liberty, but they can be defeated. We can defeat them, but they are not the greatest threat to civilization.

The greatest threat is that reluctance to see a fight that cannot be avoided. The worst thing of all is to see an enemy, intent on our destruction, and projecting our own desire for peace, for the easy life, for prosperity, liberty, and the basic yearning for democracy, onto an enemy that not only rejects these values, but earnestly desires to defeat these ideals and the countries that most reflect them. The Caliphate for which the Islamo-fascists fervently strive, is as much an antithesis to democratic ideals as any Fascist or Communist kleptocracy.

Many think this threat exaggerated, or a righteous response to one or another transgression, some act of insult, or usurpation, or violation of some cultural canon. This is only true insofar as the continued existence of Western Democracy inflames the anger and indignation of that breed of Islamic who believes his version of Allah mandates Islamic destruction or complete control of the infidel.

And if we succumb to the temptation to relent, to negotiate with those who see each “peace treaty,” “settlement,” or “cease fire” as a sign of our weakness and proof that we will ultimately surrender or die, than that is what will eventually be asked of us.

At the point of a gun or the primer of explosives.

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