Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Oct. 24, 2001 / 7 Mar-Cheshvan, 5762

Diana West

Diana West
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

This war is more than Afghanistan -- HOW did he do it? How did State Department spokesman Phillip Reeker keep from bursting into undiplomatic laughter when making the preposterous case for there being no parallel between what happened on the West Bank on Sunday morning, and what's going on day and night in Afghanistan?

Here are the facts. With America's high techno-bombers still straining to draw a bead on Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden, Israel hit a bull's-eye in its own unending war on terrorism by killing Abed Rahman Hamad, the Hamas mastermind behind the June 1 Tel Aviv disco massacre that left more than a score of teen-agers dead and dozens wounded. The operation took no more than an undisclosed number of Israeli sharpshooters, two bullets, and zero so-called "collateral damage." But far from hearing congratulations from its great friend and patron, Israel drew a public rebuke.

"We oppose the policy of targeted killings," said Reeker, who, with any luck, will one day stand behind the same lectern to discuss the "targeted killing" of the man President Bush likes to call "the evil one." "I really can't draw a parallel between the two," Reeker added as he tried to scotch the obvious comparison between the American and Israeli efforts -- plainly and simply two related fronts of the same, general war against Islamist terror networks. If they aren't, of course, then you have to wonder why, according to press reports, the American military has been briefed on Israeli "liquidation" techniques for possible use against Osama bin Laden and his men in Afghanistan.

So what makes the government hedge? For starters, coalition politics. Not only do our coalition "partners" in the Muslim world -- and also Great Britain -- balk at taking the war on Islamist terrorism beyond Afghanistan to, say, Iraq, but these same Muslim nations also balk at the notion they could ever have common cause with the state of Israel. Know what? They don't. States who support, sponsor or even, let's say, enable terrorism (Syria and Saudi Arabia, for example), don't have common cause with Israel or any other state that vows to end, or, as Middle East Forum Director Daniel Pipes more realistically suggests, contain terrorism. And that, of course, includes us.

Pretending otherwise smacks of gamesmanship, of treating the battlefield as the chessboard it used to be and not the city streets and office buildings it has unbelievably become. The point of this struggle, frankly, is not to build a coalition, but to win a war. A real war. Last month, unimaginable carnage in the air and on the ground; this month, among other horrors, a puff of highly refined, weapons-grade anthrax actually closed a branch of the federal government. Coalition-building is no longer a priority. Post-Sept. 11, our priority is stopping terrorism before it strikes again. That's why Pentagon planners would like to make Iraq our next military destination, a journey not too many Muslim countries are likely to join us on, coalition or no coalition.

Early one June morning a little more than 20 years ago, the state of Israel sent 16 American jets on a vital mission: to destroy Iraq's nearly operational facilities for making weapons-grade plutonium. A nuclear bomb in the hands of Saddam Hussein, as then-Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin would later say, was a nightmare Israel had been living with for two years. By 1981, this nightmare was about to become reality. Fooling Saudi and Jordanian air traffic controllers by speaking Arabic en route, two waves of specially trained Israeli pilots flew to Iraq's French-built Osirak nuclear reactor outside Baghdad, where they neatly and completely destroyed the reactor core before it had been developed to the point of being "hot."

Fabulous, right? The world, including practically the entire U.S. government (with the notable exception of the late Sen. Alan Cranston and also Jerry Falwell) thought otherwise. Or, at least, it said otherwise. Israel was universally and vigorously condemned -- literally in the United Nations, where the United States worked closely with Iraq in crafting the resolution denouncing the raid. Arab nations, naturally, railed against "Israeli terrorism," while France, naturally, expressed its bitterness over Israel's "obvious lack of regard for the difficulties ... created for France." But there was another view.

As then-Sen. Rudy Boschwitz put it, "Very frankly, [the Israelis] probably did the world a favor." It was a favor we should have thanked them for even 10 years later when the troops of Desert Storm faced an Iraq that still had no nuclear arsenal.

Menachem Begin would later justify the raid as an act of "supreme national self-defense." It was. And the world was a safer place. It is now time for the United States to act in "supreme national self-defense." It may be the only way the world will ever be a safer place again.

JWR contributor Diana West is a columnist and editorial writer for the Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.


10/22/01:The fatuous fatwa
10/19/01: Left out
10/16/01: Whose definition of terrorism?
10/11/01: Post-stress disorder
10/08/01: How the West has won
10/01/01: Good, bad or ... diplomacy
09/28/01: Drawing a line in stone
09/21/01: Prejudice or prudence?
09/14/01: When our dead will finally rest in hallowed ground
09/07/01: We want our #$%^&*() audience back!
08/24/01: The transformation from Green Mountain State to Green Activist State is all but complete
08/17/01: Enlightenment at Yale
08/10/01: From oppressors to victims, a metamorphosis
08/03/01: Opening the dormitory door: College romance in the New Century
08/01/01: How-To Hackdom: The dubious art of writing books about writing books
07/20/01: Hemming about Hemmings
07/13/01: Justice has not been served in the Loiuma police brutality case
06/22/01: When PC parades are too 'mainstream'
06/22/01: When "viewpoint discrimination" in our schools was not nearly so gnarly a notion
06/15/01: Lieberman flaunts mantle of perpetual aggrievement
06/07/01: Is graciousness the culprit?
06/01/01: The bright side of the Jeffords defection
05/29/01: Campus liberals should be more careful
05/18/01: 'Honest Bill' Clinton and other Ratheresian Logic
05/11/01: Dodging balls, Bugs, and 'brilliance'
05/04/01: Foot in mouth disease and little lost Tories
04/20/01:The last classic Clinton cover-up
04/20/01: D-Day, Schmee-Day
04/06/01: For heaven's sake, a little decency!
03/30/01: The sweet sound of slamming doors and clucking feminists
03/23/01: America's magazines and the 'ick-factor'
03/09/01: Felony neglect
03/02/01: Who's sorry now?
02/23/01: 'Ecumenical niceness' and other latter-day American gifts to the world
02/16/01: Elton and Eminem: Royal dirge-icist meets violent fantasist
02/12/01: If only ...

© 2001, Diana West