September 26, 2004
DeterminationBy Thomas Lifson
There was no atonement yesterday in Israel for the car bombing in Damascus, which removed senior Hamas official Izz El—Deen Al—Sheikh Khalil. Today, the day after Yom Kippur, the solemn Jewish Day of Atonement, Israeli defense sources confirmed that Israel was responsible for the killing.
Hamas, of course, has declared its intention to fight back.
There will be a response that would be decided by the movement's leaders inside the occupied territories," Hamas spokesman in Damascus said.
In a statement, the group said that it "stresses that these crimes which unify the Palestinian blood inside and outside Palestine would not terrorize us or stop us from pursuing the path of jihad and resistance."
But of course Hamas has never needed provocation to strike at Israel.
American Thinker readers learned two days ago that the Arabic newspaper Al Hayat was reporting Israel had received important intelligence on details of Hamas's structure: names, ranks, places of residence, what individual leaders eat, and other important details. Today's news brings confirmation of that report, and shows how Israel is determined to use every tool at hand in order to go after Hamas and other terror groups bent on the destruction of Israel.
Olivier Guitta of AT has been ahead of the pack journalists, in demonstrating that, while the Kerry camp and its allies in the press are determined to portray America as isolated and friendless under President Bush, the reality is that Syria and other Arab states which must go unnamed, along with even France, are coming around to support the War on Terror, often in ways which remain invisible to the general public. When forced to choose between claiming publlic credit and actually getting the job done, the Bush Administration always makes the right decision.
'Facts on the ground,' as the old phrase goes, are far more important in the real world than the blather of politicians giving speeches. America's force structure in Iraq is a hugely important fact on the ground. Ask Bashir Assad, the hereditary Baathist dictator of Syria, who has so recently closed the Damascus offices of Palestinian terror groups, and whose capital just hosted the surgical excision of one of the most malignant among the terror masters. Of course, Assad has backslid, lied, double—dealt, and betrayed before, so continuing pressure must be applied. But Khalil is gone forever. And American forces are next door to him.
America's strategic vision and will to use force are also hugely important to the tyrants who oppose us. Ask Colonel Gadhafi of Libya, who has voluntarily surrendered his nuclear arms program. Strangely enough, Senator Kerry has nothing to say about this when denouncing Iraq as the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
Contrary to what Americans are being told relentlessly, our forces in Iraq are not posted there to serve as targets for Islamist terrorists. Nor are they present in Iraq solely to ensure the transition of that country into a democratic state — a project which will take years, even decades to accomplish fully. That mission is extremely important, to be sure.
The American forces in Iraq are also a forward deployment in the War on Terror — a signal of the utter seriousness placed on removing the bases from which terrorists operate. As President Bush's re—election is looking more probable, poeple like Assad are realizing that they are not to be granted relied from this pressure by a verdict of the American electorate.
Frequently overlooked in the attention paid to the continuing loss of precious American, allied, contractor, and Iraqi lives, as terrorists pour into Iraq from their bases elsewhere, is the geographic centrality of Iraq. Consult a map and notice all the important states which border on it. Ranging from proto—democratic and modernizing Turkey to the mullahcracy of Iran, and including Syria and Saudi Arabia, these neighbors are all affected by a concentration of potent American forces nearby. These states are all critical fronts in the War on terror, and we have our forces well—positioned for them.
Students of the history of warfare realize that as the enemy is facing defeat, casualties often mount, as desperation attacks are carried out, in the consciousness that the only alternative is capitulation. In World War II, consider the awful toll in American blood paid in the Battle of the Bulge, the invasion of Okinawa, and in the Kamikaze suicide attacks on American aircraft carriers. The escalation in casualties was not an indicator of defeat or a "quagmire."
Then, imagine that John Kerry had been running for president at the time, and that the current crew at CBS News were running things there, instead of Edward R. Murrow and William Paley. Think about the decrying of American casualties. Think about the hints which might have been dropped of an American withdrawal following replacement of FDR. Think about how that might have played in Berlin and Tokyo.
Of course, such behavior was unthinkable in 1944—45.
What is stunning is that it is more than thinkable today, it is the reality of a wartime presidential campaign. Think about that.