Last week, while the U.N. Security Council was discussing, and ultimately adopting,
its ceasefire resolution regarding the war in Lebanon, I was depressed. After four
weeks of war between Israel and Hezbollah, Israel had not delivered a knockout blow
and Hezbollah had acquitted itself well, something that no other Arab military
force whether Egyptian, Jordanian, Syrian, or Palestinian has been able to
Israel had dazzled the world by its victories in the five previous wars waged
against it by the Arabs. Now, forced by the murder and kidnapping of its soldiers
into war with Hezbollah, a terrorist organization that has held Lebanon hostage,
the Israeli Defense Forces appeared bogged down, seemingly unable to advance to the
Litani River, the defense line that Israel had announced as its objective. They
finally reached it immediately before the cease-fire went into effect on August
It now appears that the Israeli military was hindered by Prime Minister Olmert's
decision to rely overwhelmingly on the Israeli air force and to commit a relatively
small number of troops, about 10,000, to the ground battle, so as to limit
casualties. This is the same error made by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
when he ignored his military advisors and invaded Iraq with insufficient troops.
That error has proven costly.
The United States, in statements and actions by President Bush and Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice, has been unstinting in its support of Israel. Our
government correctly viewed the attack on Israel by Hezbollah as an aspect of
worldwide terrorism directed at the Western countries, including the U.S. Every
American who believes that the war against international terrorism, which the
President refers to as the battle against Islamic fascism, is the greatest danger
the Western world faces, should thank President Bush for his steadfastness and
courage. I thank him from the bottom of my heart.
I was depressed last week because I thought whatever partial victory the Israelis
had achieved on the ground would be stolen from them by members of the U.N.
Security Council who believe, as the French, Russians and Chinese do, that they
should continue to do business with international terrorists and their state
sponsors, including Iran, Iraq and Syria. When the final resolution was adopted by
the Security Council, I understood how extraordinarily effective John Bolton, our
U.N. delegate, had been, supported by our only major ally there, Great Britain, as
a result of the courage of Prime Minister Tony Blair in undoubtedly overruling many
of his own cabinet members who seem to have forgotten the lessons of appeasement
that were painfully learned in the days of Chamberlain and World War II.
The final resolution, while undoubtedly watered down from the initial American
proposal, nevertheless could yield positive results if the international military
forces in conjunction with the Lebanese army disarm Hezbollah in southern Lebanon
from the Israeli border to the Litani River. According to The New York Times of
August 12th, "The United Nations resolution extends Unifil's mandate by a year and
empowers it to take action 'to insure that its area of operations is not utilized
for hostile activities of any kind' and 'to resist attempts by forceful means to
prevent it from discharging its duties'...The zone for the new joint force extends
from the border of Israel and Lebanon the so-called blue line to the Litani
River, roughly 15 miles to the north. That zone would be declared free of all
'armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the government of Lebanon
It will shortly be crystal clear whether or not the U.N. troops supplied by France,
Australia, Italy and Turkey to support the Lebanese army will, in fact, have the
will to engage in disarming the Hezbollah terrorists who have already given notice
that they will not lay down their arms, notwithstanding that Hezbollah
representatives in the Lebanese cabinet voted in favor of the U.N. cease-fire
There are now 30,000 Israeli soldiers on the ground in southern Lebanon, prepared
to turn over the area they have conquered at great cost in casualties to the U.N.
force and Lebanese army. If Hezbollah does not disarm, resumes shooting rockets
into Israel and the U.N. forces and Lebanese army decline or are unable to enforce
the resolution, the Israeli government will have to decide whether once again to
resort to full-scale war. I believe Israel would have no option but to fight.
The lessons of history are clear. When Hitler sent his troops into the Rhineland
in 1936 in violation of the Treaty of Versailles, Britain and France did nothing.
If they had marched against Germany, it was later learned, Hitler was prepared to
back down immediately. Because the Allies did not respond, Hitler correctly saw
there was a failure of will on their part. As a result, the tyrant was emboldened.
He invaded Poland in 1939, beginning World War II, which cost 50 million lives.
While the war in Lebanon was raging, British Intelligence learned of a plot by
Islamic fascists to blow up ten airliners flying between Heathrow airport and the
United States. If they had succeeded, as many as 4,000 passengers would have died,
most of them Americans. The war goes on. It is important to repeat the stated
goal of the terrorists, as reflected in the words of the late Musab al-Zarqawi,
leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq before U.S. forces killed him. He said, "Killing the
infidels is our religion, slaughtering them is our religion, until they convert to
Islam or pay us tribute."
The terrorists are counting on the Western world being unable to muster the will to
sacrifice lives to save our civilization. They are also counting on help from
"sleeper cells" in Western countries. These secret cells are comprised of citizens
born in those countries, as were the 24 second-generation Pakistanis, born in
Britain, just apprehended in the alleged plot to blow up the ten passenger planes.
If we are to survive and win this battle of civilizations which will go on for
years, we must, as we did in World War II, unite at the water's edge and find a way
to convince our former Western allies, led by France, to join us in a common front
willing to stand and fight international terrorism Islamic fascism as we
stood and successfully defeated Hitler and his Nazi legions.
Slowly, too slowly, the Western world is beginning to wake up and recognize how
unbelievably cruel these Muslim fanatics are, and the danger they pose to the
future of humankind. Christians, Jews, Hindus and a majority of Muslims must find
a way to jointly rise up and resist these evil people who are bent on our
The son of a close friend of mine, an American who married an Israeli, moved to
Israel as a permanent immigrant about a year ago with his family. He recently
wrote to me, "Morale here is grim; not defeatist, but resigned. There are no Six
Day victories in Lebanon (or Gaza). On the radio this morning, the commentators
said that for Israel, a state-of-war is the norm and cease-fires are a nice
vacation. I hear this theme more and more these days. But I also hear everyone
saying that this is their country, and they're not going anywhere: Hezbollah,
Hamas be damned."
I replied: "We will prevail."