Jewish World Review March 18, 2002 /5 Nisan, 5762

Arafat has mastered history's lessons. The West has not

Lost in the tumult of escalating Middle East violence -- and the ongoing tack of moral equivalency that permeates its analysis -- is the emerging of a very shrewd strategy.

By Ranan R. Lurie | By early 1937, German generals unveiled with pride to Hitler their new dive bomber and Panzer tank. "We wish that we could have tested them in real combat," exclaimed one concerned but proud field marshal. Hitler raised his eyebrow and asked his officer, "Why don't you send these beautiful machines to the battleground in Spain to help our fascist friend Gen. Franco?"

The generals did. Germany's planes proved themselves on the battlefields of Spain. The same planes, with improvements resulting from battle experience, devastated Poland in 1939. The Third Reich's new tanks, enhanced and perfected after their Spanish combat practice, invaded in hours and demolished the lowlands of Holland and Belgium.

England and France refused to face what Hitler was writing on the Spanish wall, although the Nazi planes were tearing up the blue Iberian skies with cannon fire and Nazi attack tanks had bulldozed Madrid to the ground. Something similar is happening now in Israel, which is serving as the Spanish testing ground for future attacks on Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Washington, London and even Moscow. Should the suicide bomber--the new secret human tool of terror--prove to be a successful, unchallenged weapon, there will be plenty of fanatics ready to take trips to the United States, Britain or France.

There they will join their cells already planted in those countries, pick up their explosives belts and create the same devastation and panic that we have seen so often in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

In comparison with a chemical or nuclear device, this weapon is much less complicated: It consists of a functioning brainwashed true believer who has deluded himself into thinking that if he blows himself up and kills as many infidels around him as possible, Allah will bestow the favors of no less than 72 virgins awaiting him in Islamic heaven.

To sweeten the deal, Iraq's Saddam Hussein will grant the surviving families at least $10,000, according to the Israeli press. This is a win-win for the suicide bomber.

Meanwhile, the West will suffer the deaths of innocent civilians, experience economic chaos and expose itself to constant blackmailing.

If the suicide terrorists succeed and bring Israel to its knees, the West is likely to be next in line. The intent and hope of the suicide-bombing industry is to force the infidel Christian in the West to see the light of the real G-d (Allah) and surrender to demands by any terrorist group. With luck and determination, so they think, the West may even convert to the Islamic faith (Libya's Moammar Kadafi actually brought up this option in the mid-1970s).

There is almost no way to stop determined suicidal maniacs. All they need is a passport and a plane ticket. Simple explosives are readily available at any demolition site or big construction company.

I said "almost" because there is a way to stop this nightmare: The international community must recognize that Israel is the new Spain. The West, along with the United Nations, must understand that the horrifying suicide bombings that are being tested right now in the Middle East can hit any country, sooner or later.

The world community, led by the U.S., should immediately declare that this kind of warfare is as illegitimate as nerve gas or mustard gas. Any organization that supports and sends suicide bombers into action should be held responsible by the world community. It should destroy those groups with fury, once and for all.

If we do not defend our civilization against assassins who are almost at our doors, our children and grandchildren will be at the mercy of certified lunatics.

JWR contributor Ranan R. Lurie, a senior adjunct fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., is a syndicated columnist and political cartoonist. Comment by clicking here.

03/04/02: Why the Saudis Are Warming Up to Idea of Mideast Peace: A political insight by Ronald Reagan

© 2002, Ranan R. Lurie. This article originally appeared in the LA Times.