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Jewish World Review Dec. 11, 2001 /26 Kislev, 5762

Michael Ledeen

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We must be imperious, ruthless, and relentless -- AS we await the final disposition of Mullah Omar and the formal identification of Osama bin Laden's last redoubt, it's time to review the bidding and ask ourselves "How can we blow this one?"

In retrospect, we can see that the whole thing got an enormous push from the Intifada, because our enemies in the Middle East do not distinguish between us and Israel, and so if they're able to push around the Israelis they take it as a sign of our weakness. Never mind all that sweet talk about being reasonable, about being evenhanded, and all that.

Learn your Machiavelli, Chapter One: It's all about winning and losing. And when the Israelis tucked their tail between their legs and beat an ignominious retreat from southern Lebanon, the terror masters could suddenly taste victory over us. They added "our" retreat from Lebanon to our earlier retreats from Vietnam, Beirut, and Somalia, and they got a very big jackpot number, so big that they convinced themselves that our moment had passed, and theirs had come, and the evidence was all there: we wouldn't fight like real men because we were afraid to die in combat so all we could do was drop bombs from time to time, and we had stopped challenging Saddam Hussein, another sign of cowardice and fear. All they had to do was kill a lot of us, and we would yield to their more powerful will.

All those years — mostly Clinton years, by the way, lest we forget — they insulted us, they preached hatred against us, they laughed at us and our effeminate ways, and they dreamed of their day of glory, plotting and scheming and anticipating how wonderful it would be, vengeance for hundreds of years of humiliation and shame. And then when they decided their moment had come, and they attacked, it was a glorious moment.

Or so they thought. But then they learned otherwise, and now they are being killed like stray dogs in Afghanistan, and we must be sure, absolutely positively certain, that this is the memory that will last, and we can only be sure of this if we defeat them all, so that no one is left behind to say, "if only they had listened to me, glory would have been ours."

We must demonstrate that the entire crazy enterprise was a disaster, so that they won't be tempted by this sort of madness for many generations. And that means we must not, not, not show compassion too soon. Compassion comes after victory, not before it, not alongside it. First victory, then greatness of spirit. Machiavelli Chapter Two: If you win, they will always judge your means to have been appropriate. Once we've won, they will sing our praises. But if we start to show kindness, generosity and compassion too soon, they will interpret it as weakness, and strike again.

We need to sustain our game face, we must keep our fangs bared, we must remind them daily that we Americans are in a rage, and we will not rest until we have avenged our dead, we will not be sated until we have had the blood of every miserable little tyrant in the Middle East, until every leader of every cell of the terror network is dead or locked securely away, and every last drooling anti-Semitic and anti-American mullah, imam, sheikh, and ayatollah is either singing the praises of the United States of America, or pumping gasoline, for a dime a gallon, on an American military base near the Arctic Circle.

If we send in the United Nations, and turn over the construction of civil society to the NGOs, we're losers. Remember what the greatest generation of Americans did at the end of World War II: we occupied the enemy countries, and we imposed democracy on them, to their and our enduring benefit. All the U.N. does is impose corruption and the worst forms of political correctness. This is our war, paid with our money, fought with our weapons, deployed by our fighting men, with a little help from our friends. And while we fight, the U.N. daily condemns Israel and gives the Palestinian terrorists a big fat pass.

Don't kid yourself. We can still blow this thing, big-time. Every few days we show alarming signs of being "reasonable," and "evenhanded," apparently because somebody forgot that that's what got us into this mess in the first place. We must be imperious, ruthless, and relentless. No compromise with evil; we want total surrender. Once the ink's dry on the surrender documents, then we can start thinking about the best way to build theme parks in underground-tunnel networks.

Back at the beginning of our war, when I insisted that this was going to be a vast revolutionary war, and that we would transform the entire Middle East, few were inclined to agree. Now it is just barely over the horizon, but the tyrants, who are always looking as far ahead as they can, can already see it, and they are very frightened. The latest word from Tehran is that the mullahs are afraid that they will have the same destiny as the Taliban.

And why not? They even look the same.

JWR contributor Michael Ledeen is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of Tocqueville on American Character . Comment by clicking here.


12/06/01: Remembering my family friend, Walt Disney
11/28/01: The Barbara Olson Bomb: Understanding the war
11/13/01: How We're Doing: The Angleton Files, IV
11/06/01: A great revolutionary war is coming
10/25/01: How to talk to a terrorist
10/23/01: Creative Reporting: Learning to appreciate press briefings
10/19/01: Not the Emmys: A Beltway award presentation
10/15/01: Rediscovering American character
10/11/01: Somehow, I've missed Arafat's praise of the first stage of our war on terrorism
10/04/01: What do we not know?
09/28/01: Machiavelli On Our War: Some advice for our leaders
09/25/01: No Room for the U.N.: Keeping Annan & co. out of the picture
09/21/01: Creative destruction
09/14/01: Who Killed Barbara Olson?
08/22/01: How Israel will win this war
08/15/01: Bracing for war
08/09/01: More Dithering Democrats
08/02/01: Delirious Dems
07/31/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit, cont'd
07/19/01: Be careful what you wish for
07/17/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit
07/05/01: Let Slobo Go
05/30/01: Anybody out there afraid of the Republicans?
05/09/01: The bad guys to the rescue
05/07/01: Bye-bye, Blumenthal
04/20/01: Handling China
04/11/01: EXAM TIME!
04/05/01: Chinese over-water torture
03/27/01: Fighting AIDS in Africa is a losing proposition
03/14/01: Big Bird, Oscar, and other threats
03/09/01: Time for a good, old-fashioned purge
03/06/01: Powell’s great (mis)adventure
02/26/01: The Clinton Sopranos
02/20/01: Unity Schmoonity: Sharon is defying the will of the people
01/30/01: The Rest of the Rich Story
01/22/01: Ashcroft the Jew
01/11/01: A fitting close to the Clinton years
12/26/00: Continuing Clinton's shameful legacy
12/21/00: Clinton’s gift for Bush

© 2001, Michael Ledeen