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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

February 13, 2003

The courage to lead

Glick's article about IAF Colonel Ilan Ramon and his six American crewmembers is a useful reminder of the close connection between Israel and the U.S. and recent history. A fine read
[...] In 1981, Israel risked and absorbed international and local opprobrium to safeguard its national interest. That interest: preventing a hostile rogue regime from acquiring the means to destroy the State of Israel, clearly outweighed any diplomatic advantage that may have been gained by standing on the sidelines and accepting the unacceptable.

Years went by and as a decade closed, American opprobrium turned to admiration and gratitude. In 1991, then US Defense Secretary Richard Cheney remarked that it would have been virtually impossible for the US to have led a coalition to eject Saddam Hussein's army from Kuwait if Saddam had been in possession of nuclear weapons.

It is fair to say that while the first Bush administration understood the operational importance of the 1981 strike as it amassed its international coalition to fight the 1991 Gulf War, it still refused to understand its true message. In

Another ten years, and the September 11 attacks finally made clear that far from simply manifesting a threat to Israel, a nuclear-armed Iraq constitutes a threat to freedom itself. That is, in threatening Israel, a country based completely on the notions of liberty, freedom and their natural consequence, liberal democracy, Saddam threatens more than a place, he threatens a way of life. [more]