Richard Cohen is not a columnist I would usually excerpt, but that whole thing about a broken clock being right twice a day....from the Washington Post, regarding Hezbollah and the war on terror:
This zealotry, this ideology, this religious fervor is not something we in the West -- and that includes Israel -- know how to deal with.
This seemingly abrupt shift to the ideological, to the religious, is the most noteworthy and ominous development of recent times. The fight is no longer over territory -- the West Bank, Gaza -- but over the very existence of Israel. The people who seem to hate Israel most, who will kill to kill it and die for it to die, are not reclaiming ancestral land -- no Iranian pines for his lost orange grove near Jaffa -- but instead cannot abide the very idea of Israel.
Democracies are in a fix. If your enemy will gladly die for his cause while you wouldn't think of dying for yours (not that you even know what it is: freedom? liberty?) then clearly the fight is not to the swift but to the suicidal.
These are the realities of the new warfare, and if they are the "birth pangs of the new Middle East," then what is being produced is not some cute, babbling democracies but a hideous monster.
Just wait until he reaches for a nuclear weapon.
Valid points made by Cohen, whether he knows it or not:
1- "land for peace" is no longer a rational policy. As Cohen states, the jihadis cannot even coexist with the idea of a Jewish state in their midst. Retreating from Gaza and Lebanon has simply allowed Israel's enemies to move their terror weapons within range of major population centers. Does this mean that retreating again from Lebanon without a true victory will only result in more bloodshed from an emboldened, psychotic enemy? Better count on it....
2-Democracies are in a fix - that's right on the mark as well. We have allowed our ruling elites to poison the body politic against itself; calling our armies "occupation forces" and assigning blame for the insane violence of the Islamists upon our policies, past and present. They have created a "we have it coming" mentality; and have frozen public opinion and momentum like the proverbial deer in the headlights - anything the government does in terms of fighting terror is "wrong", "counterproductive", "creates more terrorists", "causes more hate", et al. Damned if we do and damned if we don't means...we're damned.
3- There's a hideous monster, all right, reaching for a nuclear weapon - his name is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and like Hitler in Mein Kampf, he has made clear his plan to dominate the Middle East and destroy the Jews. And like Hitler in the 1930's, he has been true to his word, dragging out negotiations while his proxy armies wage war on both sides of Israel's border, giving him time to build his caches of death...
But of course, Cohen doesn't name the monster or take a position on how to reign him in. See, that would involve taking a postion, most likely involving military force. Cohen knows what the right thing to do is, but cannot state it, because it runs afoul of his philosophy that "everything/anything America does is wrong".
So he sits frozen like a deer in the headlights, knowing what is bearing down upon him, but unable to move - he's paralyzed by a philosophy that has condemned him either way. So Cohen sits, head bowed, waiting for the jihadis sword.
Fine for him, but it does not have to be this way...