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

March 31, 2003

Going all the way (Ted Belman)

This week everyone was focused on whether it was a good plan, or who ordered the plan or is there a pause in the fighting. The answers to these questions are totally irrelevant and they served to distract everyone from the really important questions.

The question they might have focussed on, was whether attacking Iraq in the first place, was a good idea. Implicitly supporting the decision to attack, is the belief that America can be a force for good in the ME by liberating Iraqis and transforming the ME.

Now that we see the extent of the resistance, the use of terrorism, the fanaticism of the Arabs and their determination to maintain the fight against America even if the regime in Iraq is deposed, this idea is put in question. Further we have seen Arafat, Assad and the Palestinians support Hussein and openly fight America.

If one comes to the conclusion that this war, rather than make the ME a better place with less anti-Americanism, makes it a worse place with increased anti-Americanism, then one might argue that going to war was a bad idea.

To sustain this conclusion one would have to not only make that case but would also have to make the case that for America to do nothing or show lack of resolve would not lead to more attacks on America and more demands that America get out of the ME and would not lead ultimately to a more devastating war.

But all this is academic now. There is no way that America is going to stop the war short of total victory. The issue then becomes how the US can make this victory work for it. Can it limit itself to rebuilding Iraq and winning hearts and minds there or must it go further and destroy the terror regimes in the territories, Iran and Syria? Can America meet with success in Iraq without doing this? Similarly, can America solve the Palestinian problem without destroying these regimes?

I think that the answer is clear. America must go all the way and this includes affecting change in Saudi Arabia. America must get rid of the cancer with surgery, chemo and radiation to effect a cure. Taking out part of the cancer never works.