As the Israeli people waited Thursday for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to
implement his cabinet's decision to widen the ground offensive in Lebanon,
Britain found itself under siege. British security officials announced that
the entire country was on a red alert for a terror attack. The night before,
British security forces foiled a terrorist conspiracy to explode some ten US
bound passenger jets.
As London's deputy police commissioner Paul Stephenson told reporters,
''This was intended to be mass murder on an unimaginable scale." By Thursday
morning security forces had arrested some 21 suspects. All are British
citizens. All are Muslims.
It is not a stretch of the imagination to assume that these British Muslims
are jihadists. Indeed, it can probably be assumed that like their
predecessors last July 7, they made their decision to commit an unspeakable
atrocity against their countrymen to advance Islam's takeover of Britain.
The path of jihad is the path of terror. Using terror, the jihadists believe
that they can destroy the confidence of citizens of free societies and so
coerce them to bend to their will.
In his letter to US President George W. Bush last May, Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad enunciated the coercive goal of jihad when he threatened
the US with war unless Bush converts to Islam. Iran, which today leads the
global jihad, has managed to make the language of jihad the lingua franca of
the Muslim world.
Many have noted that Hizbullah's initial attack against Israel on July 12
was highly convenient for Teheran. Distracted by the war in Israel and
Lebanon, the G-8 and the UN Security Council put off their discussions of
Iran's nuclear weapons program, which were scheduled to take place that
While the actual date of the attack is easily explained, the question still
arises, why is the jihad picking up steam now? Why are fanatical Muslims on
the march this summer?
It would seem that the answer to this question is found in the increased
cultural weakness of the two states leading the war against radical Islam:
the US and Britain. In both countries, for the past two years the forces of
leftist radicalism and appeasement have been on the rise. Both countries'
leaders are hated by ever larger swathes of their countrymen for their stand
on the war against jihad. And so they waver.
On Tuesday, Britain's Home Secretary John Reid discussed the twin dangers of
jihad and Western cultural weakness. Reid argued that Islamic terrorism has
placed Britain in its greatest peril since the end of World War II. Reid
proceeded to utter a stinging indictment of the British judiciary for
preferring the "human rights" of terror suspects to the right of British
citizens to security. Just last week, the British High Court ruled that
security forces had to loosen restrictions they had placed on six Iraqis
suspected of links of terrorism.
Tuesday also saw the defeat of Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman in the
primary elections for the Democratic nomination to the Senate. He was beaten
by wealthy businessman Ned Lamont who based his entire campaign on attacking
Lieberman for his support for the war in Iraq. The months long primary
campaign against Lieberman was replete with venomous anti-Semitic attacks
against Lieberman, his family, American Jews and Israel by Lamont
Lieberman's defeat by an "anti-war" candidate is a clear sign that the
Democratic Party is morphing into a radical leftist party. If this trend is
not reversed, America's political climate will likely become much less
sympathetic and supportive of Israel and much more supportive of countries
like France, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. A deterioration of the position of
American Jews is also liable to ensue.
Under attack domestically, both Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair
have less time and ability to rally their nations to fight against the
forces of global jihad. Moreover, as a result of its own culture wars,
Israel today finds itself led by the weakest government it has ever had. The
weakness of all three governments presented Iran with an unmistakable
opportunity to strike.
While Bush and Blair's weakness is the result of political forces, Olmert's
weakness is inherent. He is a dilettante and a dandy, not a leader. Yet,
today, the ability of both Blair and Bush to convince their nations to
support their war efforts against forces committed to the destruction of
their nations' ways of life is dependent on Olmert's ability to lead Israel
to victory in the war against Hizbullah.
With a quarter of our population under attack, our cities and forest in
flames and our economy surging towards recession and debt, most Israelis
agree that the war we face is a war for our national survival. In that
sense, it is not all that different from previous wars.
Yet there is a qualitative difference between the current war and wars of
previous generations. In the past, our enemies were states. They wished to
conquer Israel and take our land for themselves. Today our enemies do not
wish to conquer Israel. They wish to destroy Israel as a stepping stone on
their path towards global domination. An Israeli victory or defeat in the
current war will influence not only Israel's future. It will influence the
future of the free world as a whole. If Israel is defeated, if we do not
fight to victory over Hizbullah, the march of jihad will move forward with
Not surprisingly, Olmert hesitates as he faces this challenge. His nation
tells him to choose victory. His instincts tell him to seek the path of
If Olmert allows the IDF to fight, if he orders the implementation of the
security cabinet's decision to widen the ground offensive to the Litani
River and so enable us to vanquish Hizbullah, we will be able to change the
face of the region and of the world as a whole.
A clear Israel victory against Hizbullah that destroys Hizbullah as a
fighting force would enable leaders like Bush and Blair to defend their
decision to wage war against jihad. Quite simply, an Israeli victory will
help them inspire their nations to believe that they can win this war as
Since his ascension to power last year, Ahmadinejad has been on one long
winning streak. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's success in
convincing Bush to open direct negotiations with Teheran regarding its
nuclear weapons program was a huge victory for Ahmadinejad. And nothing
breeds success like success. Because he has yet to fail, the Iranian leader
enjoys an aura of invincibility that deters other leaders from challenging
his power. An Israeli victory against the Iranian military's advance guard
would shatter that aura and facilitate a much more robust Anglo-American
stand against Teheran and its client Syria.
As well, events in Iraq will be critically influenced by how Israel comes
out of this war. On the one hand, an Israeli defeat is liable to foment a
violent Shiite revolt led by Nasrallah's underling Muqtada al Sadr and his
terror squads. On the other hand, an Israeli victory will galvanize the
moderate Shiite forces in Iraq that are working to stabilize their country.
Finally, an Israeli victory will put paid the fiction which claims that
Israel is a strategic liability for to West. The forces who call for Israel's
abandonment and a US "engagement" of the Syrians and Iranians will be
exposed as fools.
But the option of defeat has an allure of its own. Defeat, or as Olmert
might put it, "bowing to international pressure" has the advantage of being
the path of least resistance. Unfortunately for Israel, if Olmert surrenders
to his nature and opts for capitulation, the result will be catastrophic.
If, as Rice, Shimon Peres (and Olmert himself) recommend, Israel holds its
fire and waits for a multinational force to deploy along the border, Israel
will lose its right to self-defense. The laws of political gravity dictate
that a relinquishment of the right to self defense is tantamount to a
surrender of sovereignty. If Olmert decides that he would rather have
foreigners patrol our borders than the IDF, his message to the world will be
clear: As far as he is concerned, Israel does not value its liberty because
it is unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices to defend it.
If Olmert truly wants for foreign forces to be stationed in south Lebanon,
he can do us all a favor and agree to Hizbullah's demand to keep UNIFIL in
place. At least UNIFIL, for all its fecklessness, is more or less harmless.
It is not empowered to limit Israel's right to defend itself.
If Olmert decides to surrender to outside pressures, he will be serving the
interests of the forces in Washington who claim that Israel is not worthy of
America's support. An Israel that is unwilling to contend with Hizbullah is
an Israel that cannot be trusted as an ally. That is, if he goes along with
Rice and her colleagues at the UN and agrees not to fight to win, Olmert
will be paving the way for the defeat of pro-Israel forces in US
policymaking circles and politics.
The fact of the matter is that those who push for Israel's abandonment are
the same people who push for a US-British retreat from Iraq and an end to
their war against radical Islam. If Israel capitulates and so strengthens
the powers who oppose it in the US and throughout the West, it will
similarly contribute to the political defeat of the political forces that
call for the jihad to be defeated. So in a very profound sense, as goes
Kiryat Shemona, so go Washington and London.
Today Israel is gripped by dread. There is not a household in the country
that is not directly impacted by this war. All of us have family and friends
in the North and in the IDF. All of us are concerned about the future of our
It would be nice to think that there is some shortcut that we could take to
secure our country and our freedom on the cheap. It is the natural tendency
of men like Olmert to look for such a shortcut.
But there are no shortcuts in this war, this existential war that in many
respects we brought on ourselves by attempting to disengage from the reality
of our surroundings.
At the cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Olmert demanded that his ministers
behave like grown-ups because "the whole nation is watching us now." This is
true. We are watching. And at this time, it is up to our nation to force our
leaders to lead us to victory.
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