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

April 18, 2003

Out with weakness, in with strength (Ted Belman)

William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, friend of George W. from Yale student days and mouthpiece for the neo-cons writes
AMERICA WAS ATTACKED a little over a year and a half ago. This assault was the product of two decades of American weakness in the face of terror and three decades of American fecklessness in the Middle East. From the barely-responded-to bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983 to the host of subsequent, little-noticed or quickly forgotten attacks in the later 1980s and in the 1990s, we came to be seen as a "weak horse." That characterization was Osama bin Laden's, and he made it with reason.

Similarly, from the oil embargo of 1973 through the destruction of a free and democratic Lebanon in the mid-1970s by the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Syrians, to the Khomeini revolution in Iran, the accelerated Saudi export of violent Wahhabi Islam to America and the world, and Saddam Hussein's brutalities in the 1980s and 1990s, the United States rolled with the punches. Saddam, to cite an egregious example, was allowed to stay in power after being routed in the Gulf War, then held accountable only on rare occasions for continually violating the ceasefire he signed. Along the way, the United States decided its proper response to Middle East tyranny and brutality should be not to punish our enemies and stand up for our principles, but rather to focus on a "peace process" between democratic Israel and the master-terrorist Yasser Arafat.

But that era--in which the American stance was one of doubt, weakness, and retreat, in which we failed to affirm our most cherished principles or even stand up for ourselves--came to an end on September 11, 2001.

The United States committed itself to defeating terror around the world. We committed ourselves to reshaping the Middle East, so the region would no longer be a hotbed of terrorism, extremism, anti-Americanism, and weapons of mass destruction.

The first two battles of this new era are now over. The battles of Afghanistan and Iraq have been won decisively and honorably. But these are only two battles. We are only at the end of the beginning in the war on terror and terrorist states. MORE
When Kristol writes, we read.