Jewish World Review March 23, 2004 / 1 Nissan, 5764
And when Israel actually applies the Bush Doctrine?
By Joel C. Rosenberg
Israel's side is clear.
White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan says all parties in the region should show "maximum restraint." State Department spokesman Lou Fintor likewise says "the United States urges all sides to remain calm and exercise restraint." National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice concedes "Hamas is a terrorist organization and that Sheik Yassin has himself, personally, we believe, been involved in terrorist planning." But she's quick to add that "it is very important that everyone step back now and try now to be calm in the region."
Hardly a full-throated defense for an American ally under siege by a seemingly never-ending wave of 9/11-style suicide bombers. Indeed, the Bush administration suddenly sounds eerily similar to our warm-weather friends in Europe. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw says Israel's the assassination of Sheik Yassin "unacceptable, it's unjustified, and it's very unlikely to achieve its objective." French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin says Israel's actions will "only fuel the cycle of violence."
Israel's move was both justified and likely to achieve its objective, if it's followed up by an all-out war on Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the militant elements of Yasser Arafat's murderous regime. Let's be clear about the facts. Under Sheik Yassin's inspiration and direction, Hamas launched 425 attacks against Israel over the past three and a half years. Among these were more than 50 suicide bombings, such as the March 2002 bombing of a Passover celebration at a seaside hotel and the June 2002 suicide bombing of a Jerusalem bus carrying children on their way to school. All told, Hamas has killed some 377 Israelis and wounded 2,076 others, a horrifyingly huge number given Israel's relatively small population. Indeed, in proportion to our own population, that would be similar to al-Qaeda killing 16,956 Americans, and wounding another 93,420.
Can you imagine the Bush administration exercising "maximum restraint" if over 100,000 Americans had been killed or wounded at the hands of a radical Islamic terrorist network? Of course not. It's hard to imagine even John Kerry showing such "restraint" if Americans were being slaughtered in such ghastly numbers.
Why then won't the Bush White House proudly stand side-by-side with Israel as a strategic ally against a radical Islamic jihad? Is not Israel following President Bush's own requests?
On September 20, 2001, the president addressed a Joint Session of Congress and told the world: "Our war on terror begins with al-Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.... Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime."
In his State of the Union address on January 29, 2002, President Bush said: "My hope is that all nations will heed our call, and eliminate the terrorist parasites who threaten their countries and our own. Many nations are acting forcefully. But some governments will be timid in the face of terror. And make no mistake about it: If they do not act, America will."
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Joel C. Rosenberg is the New York Times best-selling author of The Last Jihad and The Last Days and a former senior aide to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Deputy Prime Minister Natan Sharansky. Comment by clicking here.
© 2004, Joel C. Rosenberg