Following every suicide bombing in Iraq, one crucial point is always overlooked. This point is rooted in the confining space of each individual human body. It has to do with the general incommunicability of physical pain. No human language can ever really describe agony. In consequence, the monstrousness of terror-violence - never truly palpable - is generally reduced to an anesthetized inventory of "casualties."
My daughter once worked on a kibbutz near Eilat, so the suicide bombing on January 29 in that normally tranquil Red Sea resort is especially sobering. This Palestinian "freedom fighter" struck a small bakery, killing three shoppers who had stopped by for bread and cakes. The two groups taking responsibility for the terror, Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, were ecstatic about the success of their "military operation."
As President Bush likely realized in his recent speech, the true state of our union is intimately intertwined with the state of our whole world. Our fate as Americans will depend upon our willing identification as citizens on an imperiled planet. Surely we now have the Iraq War to re-evaluate, but even so substantial and overwhelming a problem is just the tip of much larger iceberg. This "iceberg" is the always-universal nature of humankind.
Jews and justice can never be uttered in the same breath. So it is too for the Jewish State, always the individual Jew in macrocosm. Whether it wishes to acknowledge the existential danger or not, Israel's only hope for survival now lies in a well-reasoned and coherent nuclear strategy for dealing with nuclearizing enemies.
Following the Iraq Study Group report, it seems clear that legally-binding non-proliferation expectations for Iran may soon be abandoned, and that Israel - once again - may be offered as a convenient sacrifice to civilization's irremediable enemies.
From the beginning, Israel's policy on its nuclear weapons and doctrine has been to keep the bomb quietly in the "basement." To be sure, this deliberate policy of nuclear ambiguity has done very little to deter "ordinary" conventional enemy aggressions or acts of terror. But it does seem to have been entirely adequate in keeping Israel's foes from mounting existential attacks.
What [would be] the effect of Israel-PA agreements in bringing about a Palestinian state? Here, it is altogether probable that Israel's substantial loss of strategic depth would be recognized by Iran as a significant military liability for Tel-Aviv. Such recognition, in turn, could heat up Iranian intentions against Israel, occasioning an accelerated search for relevant capabilities and consequently a heightened risk of nuclear war initiated from Tehran.
I have written previously here about Iran's nuclearization and its accompanying intent to annihilate Israel. Still, the whole story has not yet been told, and it is now time to think more carefully and systematically about ensuring Israel's survival. The time for exclusively visceral reactions is now over. Instead, we must ask: What, precisely, does the Iranian fusion of nuclear capability and genocidal intent really mean for Israel?
Israel's policy of opacity or deliberate ambiguity on nuclear weapons had already been breached long before Prime Minister Olmert's public statement on December 11th. And it was also breached at the prime-ministerial level, no less. More than 10 years ago, Shimon Peres explicitly undermined Israel's longstanding commitment to keep the bomb in the "basement."
Blessed by newly anticipated changes in American foreign policy, certain of Israel's adversaries could soon attempt to bring the Jewish State into the eternal darkness, into fire, into ice. It is therefore essential for Israel's leadership to take immediate steps to ensure that a Baker-Hamilton [Iraq Study Group heads] engendered failure of Israeli deterrence will not occasion a regional nuclear war. Israel must continue to plan around the sound understanding that nuclear deterrence and conventional deterrence remain critically interrelated.
We Jews have had to grow accustomed to perverse celebrations of death by large segments of the Islamic world. Sadly, such familiarity is now compelled by the rationale of Islamic terrorists in justifying their wanton murder of Israelis. For these terrorists, the Jewish worship of life is a sign of weakness and an expression of shaky faith.
Recognizing Terrorism As A Sacrificial Rite: The Darkly Primitive Roots of Arab/Islamic Suicide Bombing
One of the most basic facts about our current Clash of Civilizations remains unrecognized. The true rationale of Arab/Islamic suicide bombing terrorism does not lie in politics. It is, more than anything, an example of religiously based blood sacrifice, a primal ritual designed to enlist divine assistance in Jihad.
We Americans now live with an entirely reasonable fear of war and terror. Indeed, there is precious little doubt that our country will become a recurrent victim of new attacks by those who openly seek the genocidal destruction of "infidels."
It is easy to feel sorry for the Palestinians in Gaza. Televised and print images of their apparently unrelieved misery would appear to suggest Israeli cruelty in the use of armed force. Exactly the opposite is true. By deliberately placing elderly women and young children in areas from which lethal rockets are launched into Israeli homes and schools, it is only the Palestinian leaders who openly violate the law of war.
Concluded in mid-September, the sixth annual International Conference on Global Terrorism in Herzliya, Israel, underscored the growing threat of mega-terror. To a large extent, this existential threat to Israel is made worse by the always-deliberate insertion of terrorist personnel and assets in the midst of civilian populations.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has reportedly asked Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to free imprisoned terrorist Marwan Barghouti. Her argument, it would appear, is that the Tanzim leader remains very popular among the Palestinians, and that he is the only Fatah representative who could successfully supplant the Hamas-led government.
We Jews have experienced so much pain in our long and arduous history that the pain of Islamic terrorism seems to be just another episode of indescribable suffering. To an extent, this is certainly true. For the moment, we must endure, and - in the end - we shall prevail. So it has been before; so it will be again.
There is no easy answer to the question of ongoing Iranian nuclearization. All options are unappealing, and all will have very substantial costs. For the moment, diplomacy still seems to be the preferred path to crisis remediation, but only because polite conversation and empty threats protect all parties from taking easily identifiable risks.
Three-State Solution In his fine column of Sept. 15, Louis Rene Beres noted that Israel was not the aggressor in 1967 and as such...
Now we have passed the five-year anniversary of September 11, 2006 - with all of the horrifying memories, with all of the recurrent pain. We know today, that all pertinent government agencies are working 24/7 to keep us safe in the future. We know, as well, that even greater preparedness can never make us truly safe. We know, above all, that we must continue with our daily lives, personal and collective, and that we must not submit to the unprecedented blackmail of Islamic terrorism ("Convert or die!").
The roots of 9/11 lie deeply embedded in civilizational hostility - in its distinctly partial - but nonetheless - primal Islamic hatred for western modernity. This fixed and growing hatred extends to other major religions, especially Judaism, but also to certain elements of Christianity. And although it is true that the greatest portion of Muslims rejects terror violence as a means of fulfilling presumed Islamic expectations, the remaining portion is not statistically insignificant. This group numbers (at least) in the tens-of-millions.
There are other PA/PLO/Hamas violations of Oslo, any one of which could comprise an entire magazine article.
The rights of both Jews and Christians were openly trampled on by the Muslim conquerors of Jerusalem. Churches were made into mosques. Slaughterhouses were deliberately established near Jewish places of worship. Mosques were built next to churches and synagogues so that their minarets could literally "over-tower" them.
The unchanging struggle to evict the Jews from "all of Palestine" (that is, from Israel as well as Judea/Samaria/Gaza) is driven by the homicidal idea of jihad or holy war. According to Islamic orthodoxy, their "prophet" is said to have predicted a final war to annihilate the Jews.
The poet Auden understood many things. He understood truly important things as only the poets can. He understood that humankind can always be found in pretty much the same imperiled condition.