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World Watch
First appeared in print in The Rhinoceros Times, Greensboro, NC
By Orson Scott Card July 16, 2006

Know Thy Enemy

I do hope that the readers of this column already know that no decent person could ever advocate that Israel negotiate with Hamas and Hezbollah or give in to their demands in the slightest in order to get their kidnapped soldiers back.

The slightest concession would only guarantee that more and more Israelis would be kidnapped in the future. The only way to extinguish kidnapping is to make sure that it never, never, never succeeds.

But the media are already finding ways to make this Israel's fault -- or at least to declare that the only hope for a peaceful solution is for Israel to give up any possibility of defending itself.

Hezbollah's avowed aim -- and the publicly declared goal of their sponsors in Iran -- is the complete destruction of the nation of Israel. They regard civilians in Israel as fair game, to be killed whenever they feel like it.

So Israel obviously "provokes" their kidnappings and missile attacks by existing.

Why does Hezbollah dare to do this?

Because in the past, Israel has succumbed to world pressure (mostly American pressure) to show "restraint."

The last time Israel invaded southern Lebanon to clear out the area from which attacks were launched on Israel, they ended by withdrawing -- having received a promise, guaranteed by a UN resolution, that the government of Lebanon would prevent any attacks on Israel from its territory.

But, as with the UN resolutions that supposedly controlled Iraq after the Gulf War of 1991, we can be sure that it will not be the violator of the resolutions that is condemned, but rather the nation or nations that take military action to enforce those resolutions.

If Israel sends its troops into southern Lebanon, you can be sure that it will be condemned as a violation of "Lebanese sovereignty."

What Lebanese sovereignty?

Either the Lebanese government controls southern Lebanon or it doesn't.

If it is sovereign Lebanese territory, then Lebanon as an entirety is responsible for the terror missile attacks launched against Israeli civilians by the Hezbollah forces that openly rule there. Therefore, Lebanon has committed acts of war against Israel, and Israel is perfectly justified in any military action it takes against the entirety of Lebanon.

But if the Lebanese government declares that it is not responsible for missiles launched from that region of their nominal territory, then by that admission they confess that it is hot territory for which the Lebanese government claims responsibility. In which case, Hezbollah is the ruler of that territory (which it is), and Israel, regardless of lines on a map, has a right to invade Hezbollah territory and destroy the capacity of that enemy to make war against them.

Since Hezbollah hides among civilians, there is no way Israel can defend itself except by making attacks where civilians are bound to be hurt or killed. This is not a matter that is Israel's to choose. They did not decide to put Hezbollah's military capability entirely in civilian territory. It is Hezbollah that decided to use its own civilians as shields.

So when Israel enters "Lebanese territory" to find and destroy the stockpiles of missiles prepared to strike its cities, it is acting entirely within international law. Every civilian casualty that occurs during this operation is entirely the responsibility of Hezbollah, which decided as a matter of policy to expose its civilians to harm.

If we were in that situation, we would not hesitate for a moment. But for some reason, Israel is expected to show superhuman restraint. Its soldiers are expected never to hurt a civilian on the other side.


The Lebanese government is not sovereign. With Hezbollah having the overwhelming support of its huge Shiite population, the Lebanese government has Hezbollah members and sympathizers within its ranks; its army is substantially composed of Shiites as well.

There is zero chance that the Lebanese government can ever take action to control Hezbollah. And there is zero chance they can announce as a matter of policy that they cannot control their southern border. When Israel invades, the government of Lebanon will protest mightily -- because there is no way it can continue to exist if it acts otherwise.

But the Lebanese people who are not Shiite are fed up with Hezbollah. Life would be better for the rest of Lebanon if the military power of Hezbollah were destroyed and the Shiites of Lebanon were no longer able to mount military attacks. For Hezbollah terrorizes Lebanon as much as it does Israel.

But what is Lebanon getting, by avoiding a civil war? Well ... they're simply turning over their foreign policy to the worst people in their country. Hezbollah gets to decide when Lebanon is at war with Israel; the Lebanese government is irrelevant to the issue.


The real problem is Iranian money and Syrian location. Iran, which is Shiite, with a fanatical government that likes to kill Jews (and anybody else they think is disfavored by God), is funding and arming the Shiites of Lebanon. Without Iranian money and weapons, Hezbollah would be throwing rocks into Israel.

For that matter, without Iran, Hezbollah would not be so powerful within Lebanon, either. The Shiites of Lebanon are the poorest group there. They couldn't fund the activities of Hezbollah from their own resources.

So Iran, by merely spending money, of which it has a surplus, gets to murder Jews (and irritate the United States) without ever having to face the consequences of its actions. When George W. Bush called Iran part of an "axis of evil," he was stating the simple truth -- if Iran did not have its present government, the world would be vastly safer.

And this is why it is a matter of grave concern that we prevent Iran from obtaining usable nuclear weapons. Because their government is, by any definition, bloody-minded and war-mongering. They have proven over and over their disposition to arm surrogates like Hezbollah, and they welcome the mass murder of Jewish (and Christian) civilians. Only a fool would bet the lives of millions of people on a completely unjustified faith in the self-restraint of the Iranian government.

If they have a nuke, it is absurd to claim that they would "never" hand it over to Hezbollah.

Just as it is absurd to believe that Hezbollah would have launched any of those stockpiled Iranian missiles against Israel without the consent of the Iranian government.

Unless the Iranian people get rid of their present government, open war between the United States and Iran is inevitable, because they are grimly determined to force their brand of Islam on the rest of the world, and to kill any who stand in their way.

The real question is whether the war happens when we are overwhelmingly stronger than they are, and before they have nukes, or whether it happens after their surrogates in Lebanon have wiped out Tel Aviv and stand ready to annihilate American armies..

But Iran is getting a free ride right now because of the huge political faction in the U.S., and political majorities in Europe, that seem to think that appeasement will work with a government that has already stated and shown its implacable desire for war.

True, it appears that in the long run Iran could not possibly win such a war. But that does not mean that the religious fanatics of that government, believing they are on the side of Allah, will not start that war, when they think that with God's help they can win it.

But Europe, and the pro-appeasement American Left, deliberately refuse to learn the lessons of World War II. Hitler had also announced his plans. Hitler was also arming himself in violation of treaties. There was plenty of warning. But England and France refused to heed the clear and obvious warnings, and took no action when they could have toppled Hitler with a mere show of force.

Instead, they bargained away other people's countries in order to keep "peace" that was not peace at all, but merely a time of German rearmament.

We have right now a President who recognizes danger when he sees it, and regardless of popularity, acts according to the longterm security interests of the United States.

Meanwhile, though, Israel can't take a long view. They are facing Iranian weapons and aggression right now. Only Israel does not have unlimited wealth, or a surrogate nation that nestles against the borders of its most dangerous enemy. It has an ally there -- us, with our army of occupation in Iraq -- but it doesn't control us. Israel comes to us as a supplicant. We fund them, not the other way around.


Ironically, Iran could not help Hezbollah in any way if Syria were not allied with Iran in one of the sickest partnerships in the world. Syria has almost no Shiites; religiously speaking, they should be the enemies of Iran. But Syria is unblessed with oil, while having an oversupply of ambition and grandiosity. Iranian money allows them to be a player.

This is why, at the outset of our war on terror, I advocated strongly that it be Syria, not Iraq, that we invade. Without Syria, Israel's terrorist enemies would have no way to get weapons from Iran. There would be no shelter or safe haven for them.

We certainly had ample provocation for invading Syria immediately after invading Afghanistan. Syria had a long history of open support of terrorists. They had a human rights record almost as bad as Saddam's. Liberating Syria would have had the same salutary effect on other nations that invading Iraq did.

Instead, for political reasons that seemed sound at the time (but turned out not to be), Iraq was chosen. So now, because of its relationship with Syria, Iran effectively controls both the eastern and western borders of Iraq. Every dead American soldier in Iraq since the initial invasion can be laid largely to the charge of Iran and Syria; they are the reason the insurgents in Iraq are so well-supplied.

If the present government of Syria were toppled, Israel's security situation would instantly become vastly better. It might well make our job in Iraq much easier as well.

Right now, however, America does not have the political will to fight Syria. That's partly because the Syrian government is deft as throwing us sops at just the right time to forestall any real action. They keep talking as if they were a reasonable government with which deals could be made. But they are not, and never will be.

What Will Israel Do?

Attacking Hezbollah in Lebanon will be nothing but a replay of the past. They might invade and drive the terrorists out of that area, but it won't make Lebanon into a nation that can control its own territory, and it won't stop them from rearming and doing it all again as soon Israel leaves.

The real enemy, for Israel, is not the vaporous Hezbollah, which rules its own territory by terror -- a fascist substate within a nominal democracy. The real enemy is Iran, and Iran's sole access to Lebanon is Syria.

So if the rest of the world consisted of sane people, Israel could take the only action that will lead to its longterm security: To crush the Syrian army and destroy the Syrian ability to wage war or interfere in the territory of Lebanon.

But we do not live in a sane world, in which nations that are under relentless attack are allowed to defend themselves.

Besides, Israel simply does not have the resources to occupy a nation the size of Syria.

On the other hand, Israel has pursued a policy of appeasement for years, giving concession after concession to the Palestinians and their supporters. No matter what they gave in on, two things happened: The Palestinians and their supporters broke every promise, and the rest of the world demanded that Israel make even more concessions.

Well, guess what? Israel is no longer going to play the part of Czechoslovakia in 1938. It is not going to allow itself to be destroyed just because the sickeningly selfish and stupid powers of the world want to do nice things for Muslims -- as long as it comes at Israel's expense, and not their own.

The only thing that has ever brought concessions from Israel's enemies is victory in war. The negotiating table has never brought Israel even a moment's peace. The opposite is true -- the more they gave in, the more their enemies came to believe in Israel's weakness and the more Israeli civilians they killed.

We Are Already At War

The sad thing is that our government and media both agree on the policy of denying what is demonstrably true: that we are already at war with Iran and Syria. Iranian bombs and bullets are already killing Americans in Iraq, and they are transported through Syria as well as across the Iranian border.

Missiles and money transported through Syria are also killing innocent civilians in Israel, a nation that is our ally. Iran and Syria are acting as our deadly enemies, the safe haven and supply source for the terrorists that threaten American lives.

This was not our decision, it was their decision. There is no point in negotiating with them, because they have nothing to gain from negotiation unless they first believe in and fear American military action. There is no negotiation with an opponent who does not want anything you offer or fear anything you threaten.

But, as usual, merely for saying this I will be denounced by the appeasers as a warmonger. We are at war and American blood is being shed, not to mention the blood of our friends; but anything we do to thwart these enemies of civilization by force is condemned as if we were the barbarians.

The Next Election

For the next two years, we will continue to have the only President since the Vietnam War who is not an appeaser.

I sigh with frustration when I hear Reagan praised for his "strength" -- that was the President who withdrew our Marines from Lebanon, thereby teaching terrorists that if they kill enough Americans, we'll go away; he was the President who negotiated with hostage takers; he was a joke when it came to wisdom and courage against terrorists.

George Bush, Sr., was an appeaser by first impulse -- remember how quick he was to spring to recognize the coup against Gorbachev? -- and even when, in the Gulf War, he took decisive action, he still stopped short of eliminating Saddam's government, again teaching our enemies that America had no will to victory, and you could make war against us and our vital interests and remain in power.

As for Clinton ... don't make me laugh.

George W. Bush is called dumb, but he's smarter than any of his immediate predecessors, because he understands that when your enemy has no scruples, has no vital interests to protect, and desires war, it is absurd to wait for them to get stronger and more dangerous.

The trouble is, he lives in a country where, when he wages the most successful, cleanest war, with the soundest military doctrine, in the history of the United States, he is vilified in the press and lied about so incessantly that the people now largely believe that the war has been badly handled. Compared to what war?

We are luckier than England was before World War II. In those days, England's sharpest foreign policy mind, Winston Churchill, was in political exile, and the appeasers ruled, bringing devastation to all of Europe.

In our country, our sharpest foreign policy mind is in the White House. And he has a majority of both houses of Congress at least nominally supporting his correct actions in defense of western civilization.

But this fall, we'll be voting for one-third of the Senate and all of the House of Representatives. If enough Americans believe the lies (or ignorance) of the Bush haters, who have no rational basis for any of their charges against the Bush administration, then Bush will be faced with one or both houses of Congress controlled by his political enemies.

What will happen to the war on terror then?

And as we watch the beginning of the 2008 Presidential election maneuvering, we can already see the dangerous signs that, having a Winston Churchill in the White House, we might well throw him out and install Neville Chamberlain instead.

Of course, most readers will recoil when I compare Bush to Winston Churchill. That's because we forget how vilified and despised Churchill was prior to the German invasion of Poland. By the time Churchill came into office, a terrified nation was prepared to follow him, because they knew he had been right all along.

Bush has the great disadvantage of our not having seen the alternative. We haven't lived through the consequences of Clintonesque tokenism in response to 9/11; we can't see what the world would be like if America had not taken swift and decisive action against the nations that harbor and support terrorists.

It is precisely because Bush has pursued the right (or mostly right) foreign policy that his political enemies here and abroad are able to attack him with impunity. Apparently we have to live through the hell created by appeasers of evil in order to value those with the wisdom to know when it's time to fight and the courage to carry the war to victory.

For me, there is only one test of candidates for Congress this fall. Do they actively support aggressive opposition to terrorists and terrorist-supporting nations, including the continuation of the occupation and pacification of Iraq? If both candidates fit that description, then of course you can look at other issues. But whenever the choice is between Churchill and Chamberlain, then no other issue really matters, does it?

Either way, we will be at war with the madmen of the world over the next decade at least. The real issue is just how bloody it will have to be.

President Bush's war has been so close to bloodless that most Americans are barely aware we are at war.

But if we elect appeasers, then the war we eventually fight will not be bloodless and relatively clean-handed. It will truly be a world war, and a thousand times as many people will die as have died in Afghanistan and Iraq.

And you know it. You just don't want to believe it. You hope that by voting for appeasers, they can make the war go away. They can't. They'll make it worse.

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