Here is a sample of how extremist propaganda has co-opted substantial swaths of the Islamic population in the Middle East. Reuters reports that Lebanese impacted by Israel’s attempts to defend itself directly blame the United States for their plight.
Here’s how the story works. Your house/apartment, which was built on top of or in the near vicinity of a Hezbollah missile launch bunker, is flattened by an Israeli missile aimed at a legitimate military target; i.e. the nearby missile launcher that just indiscriminately heaved a missile into a residential area in northern Israel. Israeli forces used modern technology to pinpoint the launch site and then air dropped leaflets on the area telling people to get clear before taking out the bunker. People you know were killed either because they wouldn’t get out or were prevented by Hezbollah terrorists from getting out.
And whom do you blame for your plight? Logic would seem to dictate that the Hezbollah terrorists and their suppliers are to blame. If Iran and Syria weren’t funding, training, and supplying Hezbollah terrorists, none of this would have happened in the first place. If they weren’t launching missiles from your neighborhood, Israeli forces wouldn’t have bombed your neighborhood. Failing that, if terrorists hadn’t prevented your friends and family members from leaving, they wouldn’t have been hurt by Israeli bombs, even though, their homes and their possessions would have been destroyed as Israel worked to defend itself.
But, no, the blame falls squarely on the U.S. Why? Because the U.S. sells military weaponry to Israel. Because the U.S. is Israel’s ally. The U.S. doesn’t have to be within a thousand miles of the conflict to be at fault. There is no outrage expressed toward the Iranian mullahs and Syrian dictator that provide the missiles and war materiel that keep the conflict going after more than a month. There is no anger expressed toward the terrorists (brave martyrs, freedom fighters) that started and continue to pursue the war.
The solution to the Lebanese people featured in the article, of course, is to get rid of the Jews. One woman says, “They [Americans] have a big country, so why don't they give them [Jews] some land there so we can live in peace.” Another woman says, “I just wish I had a plane so I could destroy Israel, Bush and his dog Olmert.”
What is amazing is how well variations of these proposed solutions seem to play with the elite in Europe and the U.S. The sentiment seems to be that if Israel would just go away, all of our problems in the Middle East would go away too. Of course, clear thinking demonstrates that this is simply not true. Hitler and his minions had similar delusions with respect to Europe a few decades back.
Conservative polemicist Mark Steyn has an interesting take on this here. Steyn discusses the active health of anti-Semitism today. But he argues that “it doesn't usually work out so well for the Jew-haters,” because anti-Semitism is actually a symptom of a horridly toxic worldview that prevents proper decision making.
Steyn makes the point that Israel is simply a harbinger of what radical Islamists would prefer to do to the U.S. and to the West, as demonstrated by last night’s foiling of a plot to blow up 10 airliners over American soil (see here). He quotes American social writer Eric Hoffer, who said following the 1967 war, “As it goes with Israel so will it go with all of us. Should Israel perish the holocaust will be upon us.”
While most Americans’ lives go on much as they did before 9/11, we are at war with a vicious and perverse ideology. President Bush was correct when he said today, “This nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation” (see here).
Many of us long for the days before 9/11 when we felt safer. We weren’t safer. We merely had an illusion of being safer. Those arguing for a pullout from Iraq seem to think that this will somehow increase our safety. This is little more than an attempt to return us to our pre-9/11 blissful ignorance. Leaving Iraq to fend for itself isn’t going to change the fact that we are at war. It will only make matters worse (see here). But our efforts in Iraq need to become more effective—rapidly (see here and here).
War is a messy business, but this one won’t go away by ignoring it or trying to barricade ourselves within our own borders. It needs to be fought on all fronts, and must include every useful diplomatic, military, intelligence, technology, communication, education, business, and personal effort. It took Americans a long time to understand the threats that precipitated WWI and WWII, but once we did, we became very focused and applied every effort toward achieving success. We’re not there yet on the war with radical Islam, but I think the time is coming that it will become impossible not to deal with it in a decisive way.