My friend Ben Finiti talks of having become a political agnostic, uncomfortable taking sides on many of the most contentious issues of our time. I feel the same – up to a point. I agree that many questions (stimulus, bailouts, immigration, health care, etc.) offer at least two sides with plausible concerns, relevant facts, and about the same level of good- and bad-faith arguments. To invest in one position, I must do one of two things. I must decide that I know what this is all about and am sufficiently informed, disinterested, and dispassionate to be able to say which position should prevail. Or I must use my affiliations as guides to my positions (“My friends/family/party are for it, so that must be the right position.”) Like Ben, I find it increasingly difficult to do either on most issues.
But not on all issues. In the Middle East and around the world today, a struggle of titanic proportions is taking shape. The battles are still small by 20th-century standards. In Afghanistan and Iraq, US troops fight in the field. Around the globe, security forces try to thwart murderous terrorists before they can strike at civilian targets. Under multiculturalist banners, unassimilable immigrants demand recognition of Sharia law, accommodation of “honor killings”, and punishment for anti-Islamic speech.
On this issue, I take sides.
I believe I am disinterested; I do not know a single Israeli citizen, or buy Israel bonds, or invest in Israeli companies.
I believe I am relatively well-informed, though one does have to pick one’s way through a lot of anti-Semitic garbage in most of the media to get to the truth. (One of the best sources is the Middle East Media Research Institute at www.memri.org.)
And I try to be dispassionate. But the spectacle of Israel, a beleaguered island of democracy being hounded by a pack of vicious terrorists and a worldwide elite of self-righteous anti-Semites is enough to get under my skin. Helen Thomas was only the latest example of someone making the mistake of saying out loud in the wrong company what is being increasingly thought by too many others: “The Jews should get out of Palestine!” Israel was a mistake. The Mideast would be fine and the world peaceful if only those Jews hadn’t persuaded Truman and others to let them return home. (See an earlier post on this here.) You can see the Arab/Iranian rejectionists’ point. After all, they didn’t perpetrate the Holocaust! (Most of them can’t even believe such a thing could happen!)
But, like Henry II, we are all expected to keep it to ourselves when we wonder “who will rid us of this meddlesome democracy?”
And now, Iran openly prepares the ultimate weapon for Holocaust II. As if Hitler had published the Wannsee Plans in the New York Times, Ahmadinejad openly savors the day when he will receive the keys to a one-day genocide weapon. (I know, “he’s not really in charge, the Imams are, and they’re level-headed fellows, so they’d never do anything crazy, so don’t worry.”)
The world’s response, increasingly led by the US, is to “tsk- tsk” the whole business. Iran really shouldn’t do that, says Obama. The UN says the world should implement mild sanctions against Iran – up to whatever level Russia and China think compatible with their roles as Iran’s BFF, resulting in the feeblest sanctions ever imposed with a straight face.
Iran, as vulnerable to serious sanctions as any nation anywhere (they export all their oil and import all their gasoline, for crying out loud), laughs at the pathetic face-saving gestures of the West. They can afford to laugh as their centrifuges hum around the clock, because they know two basic facts. First, no nation (except Israel) regards Israel’s survival as a priority. And second, no nation (except Israel) will go to war to protect Israel from a nuclear-armed Iran.
Obama may pretend that the US would retaliate against a nuclear attacker of Israel. There was a time when that would have been assumed by any potential aggressor; but no longer. With Obama working the appeasement angle like nobody since you-know-who in the 1930’s, in fact since the Democratic Party dedicated itself to worldwide pacifism in 1972, no sane Israeli (or anti-Israeli) could assume US protection. That is in fact the reason Israel had to develop its own nuclear deterrent.
Consider this possible scenario: Iran launches a nuclear strike against Israel, wiping out most of the 6 million Jews residing there. Israel responds with a nuclear counter-strike from its remaining assets, taking out every possible Iranian military and economic target (Israeli has never intentionally attacked non-military targets).
What would be the US response? A nuclear retaliatory attack on Iran? Why? Haven’t they suffered enough? A conventional attack on Iran? Why bother?
The likeliest responses which Obama’s record and rhetoric suggest:
1) A UN Security Council resolution condemning both parties;
2) Strong sanctions against Iran, until a new government is formed;
3) An aid mission to help find any surviving Jews in the rubble;
4) Creation of a blue-ribbon panel to determine why this “man-made disaster” occurred;
5) Congressional hearings to make sure this does not occur again;
6) The rapid petro-dollar-fueled re-building of Iran, under the 12th Imam or a Persian Weimar Republic;
7) The relocation of “The Zionist Entity” to Madagascar or somewhere;
8 ) The building of new annexes on every Holocaust museum in the world, adorned with the bold slogan “Never Again, Again”;
9) At some far distant date, a public apology by some future US president.
As I said, I try to remain dispassionate. I really do.