Look on the bright side.
In Lebanon, many Christians and Druse and Sunni Arabs and even some Shi’a, do not want a repetition of the past few weeks. They know that if they, or some greater power, does not disarm or constrain Hizballah, a repetition of the past few weeks, except this time without the scrupulosity that the Israelis exhibited before, and certainly without the giving of constant forewarnings, will be inevitable. Lebanon cannot be rebuilt with that threat hanging over it. So it is up to those Christians, those Druse, those Sunnis, and even some among those Shi’a, to destroy the Stormtroopers — for Hizballah was at that stage, round about 1936 or 1937 — in its development, in its power. There is still time to stop it and, furthermore, as the old button put it so succinctly, to Stop Hitler.
Hitler in this case is represented by Ahmadinejad as a representative of the Islamic Rebublic of Iran, which in its views of the Infidels is not different from that of many Sunnis as well. But though there is agreement on how Infidels are to be treated, there is no agreement within Islam on how Sunnis and Shi’a should share — or fail to share — power and money and glory, nor any agreement on which represents the “true” Islam.
Like the twelve daughters of the king in the fairy tale, “each more beautiful than the next,” when it comes to Sunnis and Shi’a, “each — for Infidels– is more hideous than the next.” This country, or that leader, or that regime, might for the moment be the main threat in the Islamic world, or appear to be, but in the end, the threat to Infidels is — the Jihad project that is common to all sects and schools of Islam. Every conceivable opportunity that arises for Sunnis and Shi’a to damage each other must be exploited to the fullest. Forget “freedom.” Forget “democracy.” In Iraq there is a war — a war for political and economic power, a war over the refusal of the Sunnis to acquiesce in their loss of power, a refusal of the Shi’a not to press their every advantage. So be it. Let that war continue, and let its tentacles spread everywhere in the Camp of Islam — in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, in Pakistan and Yemen, in Kuwait and Lebanon.
One more good thing. Olmert has been severely wounded. Reality has broken in, or is breaking in, among too many Israelis who will bleakly realize that the situation in Lebanon, or in Gaza, are not temporary setbacks but expressions of permanent hostility toward Israel. It will never end. It can never end. The power however to constrain those who would conduct Jihad does exist, and can be used, and not merely, or not mainly, through the application of military force. A thousand ways exist to weaken the Camp of Islam. Olmert cannot now proceed with the suicidal policy of giving up even more territory, for it is obvious that the “West Bank” would inevitably, without question, if not right away than in five years, or ten, or fifteen, or twenty, be a place bristling with Arab and Muslim arms, volunteers, hideouts for weapons. On the possession of that territory Israel’s future survival depends. Forget the nonsense about “two tiny peoples” and the recently-invented “Palestinian people.” Forget the nonsense about Israel having to choose between being “Jewish” in character and being “democratic.” Israel cannot survive without total control, military and civilian, of the “West Bank,” of the Judean heights, of the invasion routes, of the aquifers, of everything.
There are still those who suffer from permanent political dementia in Israel. Forget them, mock them, hound them, put them in permanent Coventry. The assorted Peace-Now and Meretz party people, some of whom helped create the hysteria that led to the retreat from Lebanon in the first place, and then to the ignoring, for six years, of what Hizballah was doing, and doing, have themselves suffered, some of them in ways quite personal, for this war that was both necessary, given that earlier withdrawal, and unnecessary, given that the earlier withdrawal should not have occurred. Israel should long ago have understood what sooner or later will happen in any territory from which it withdraws or gives up control.
In that sense, the failure to achieve what are largely unachievable aims — though the Israeli military accomplished a fantastic amount, no thanks to Olmert or Peretz, much less to the impossible, crazed Israeli left — will actually result in a victory. A victory, in Israel, for common sense, and for the understanding of what Islam is all about, and why the war against Israel can be prevented, but the impulse to wage war, using every instrument available, will last as long as the Qur’an, the Hadith, and the Sira.
It is the same lesson that the rest of the Western world will have to learn. Will it learn that lesson sooner, because of the observable naivetÃ© and mistakes of the Israelis? Or is the learning curve intolerably flat everywhere, and will only begin to rise once England, or France, or Spain, begins to experience violence and domestic unrest, equivalent in some way to what the Israelis have experienced over many decades, and especially over the last month, when nearly twice as many missiles rained down on Israel as the total number of V-2 rockets that rained down on England during World War II?