With all the talk about peripheral issues arising from the War in Iraq, it is useful to remember that, one day comparatively soon, America will depart from that jungle. By contrast, Israel has no such option. Americabrought down the Taliban and Saddam, and we all are grateful to see them gone. But America also encountered more than she planned for in post-Saddam Iraq.
Regardless of how one views the War, virtually all Americans are agreed that we are glad the Taliban and Saddam are out of power, and we wantAmerica to get out of there, and we need to get out of there. Some would urge that we get out sooner – like this afternoon. Some would wait another seven months, get power transferred on June 30, see the election of an Iraqi Parliament concluded by January 2005, and then leave. But virtually all Americans, from the Left to the Right, want to get out of there.
Israel deals with the same people — Arab Islamists who hate Jews, Christians, the West, modernity, prosperity, civilization, sunlight, concepts, books. Well before the Iraq War, Israel already had to deal with car bombings, dastardly suicide mass murders by Islamists aiming to maximize deaths of civilians in the Islamist belief that terror can achieve their goals and simultaneously land them 72 virgins in Valhalla. But, unlike America, Israel just cannot leave the region this afternoon, or after June 30, or by next January. Israel cannot just bring her armed forces home to Kentucky and South Carolina, to San Diego and toBrooklyn. Israel has to stay in Israel – or just turn off the lights. That isIsrael’s choice. It is no choice.
The Middle East morass, and Israel’s unique place, came home in vivid colors in the daily news report of Arab Islamist madness in Iraq – destroying their own oil pipelines, murdering 41 of their own people (mostly passers-by), and just basically rampaging in blood one fine day. And every day is like that one fine day. One day it is Sadr, and the next day it is Sadder. One day it is Shiites. One day Sunnis. Kurds get caught in between – but they will be heard from. And, if country-music lyricist Phil Vassar sings about “just another day in Paradise,” the daily news from the Islamist world increasingly reads as just another day in Purgatory – from Iraq to Saudi Arabia to Syria, Libya, and even Islamist non-Arab Iran. Just another day in Purgatory.
Maybe the full breadth of the madness came home when Iraq’s new Defense Minister spoke out on the terror confronting the nation. In this excerpt from the day’s news, note how he expresses his understandable ire:
“‘This was a cowardly attack. It is a demonstration again that these attacks are aimed at the stability of Iraq and the Iraqi people,’” Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said at the scene.
“Iraq’s new defense minister promised a crackdown. ‘We will cut off their hands and behead them,’ Hazim al-Shaalan said. Iraqi forces would lead the raids, with only logistical help from U.S. troops, he added.”
A pox on all their houses.
And how deeply we must thank G-d for the daily miracle of Israel’s survival amid a sea of serpents. It is a manifestation of the L-rd G-d and His existence, His presence, His power that Israel has grown steadily and flourished remarkably for 56 years. America, the greatest power in the world, has too much greatness to get bogged down there. Sure, Americacould stay, and NATO and everybody would have the wherewithal to start dropping nukes on all of Iraq, but that is not how America expresses her greatness in the face of incessant Islamist mayhem.. Rather, America’s greatness is to look at the mess and understand that, uh, it looks like you guys are having enough fun without us, so we are just going to go back home, catch the Stanley Cups or check out whether Phil Jackson is coming back next year, find out whether Scott Peterson did it, whether Michael Jackson did it, whether Kobe did it, and then just finish the day in Disneyland.
Israel has no such choice. But, while America came into the neighborhood in 1982 and departed 241 Marines later, and is doing something like that again, Israel just keeps going and going and going. This is the greatest miracle in our era, a miracle that evinces Divine Intervention in the course of natural events. The miracle that, somehow,Israel just keeps going and going and going.