Another Perspective

How to Lose to Terrorists

You cannot fight inhumane people with humane means.

By 7.31.06

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We are in real serious trouble, and I'll tell you how and why I know it:

* Because the Hezbollah -- as has been well reported -- launches missiles at purely civilian targets in Israel as a matter of course, and no one in Europe or in the American left says "boo" about it. It's considered the Hezbollah's "right" to kill Israelis and when they do, they boast about it and promise to do more;

* Because it's been also well documented that the Hezbollah hides behind civilian targets and adjacent to civilian dwellings in Lebanon to fire its rockets at Israel, and when Israel fires back and mistakenly hits a home with civilians, the world of "intellectuals" and "thinkers" blames Israel and calls Israel bloodthirsty;

* Because when the Israelis kill civilians, they apologize, but when the terrorists kill civilians, they brag -- and the beautiful people scream at Eretz Israel and excuse the terrorists;

* Because if you substitute "America" for "Israel" and the "terrorists in Iraq" for the Hezbollah, you get what's happening in Iraq;

* Because it is impossible to beat a terrorist movement without using terror tactics, and we as a people of compassion and restraint, both in Israel and the U.S., will not use terror tactics even when survival is at stake, and this means we will not survive.

It is very much as if, after Pearl Harbor, after the bombing of London, we said, "We will fight the Japanese and the Nazis, but we will only use humane means, and we will show total restraint and will never kill civilians. And we will search our souls and agonize about every move."

It is this attitude that kept the United States from winning in Korea, in Vietnam, and now in Iraq. If we had followed that code of suicide, we would have lost World War II and the world would have been plunged into eternal darkness. You cannot fight inhumane people with humane means. You cannot fight savages with one hand -- no, two hands -- tied behind your back. No wars were ever won using restraint and only civilized means. That's a formula for complete defeat and for the end of civilized life. If we allow our media and French intellectuals to prevent us and the Israelis from using the means necessary to win, we'll lose...in Lebanon, in Iraq, and everywhere and this civilization is very well worth preserving. Yes, as sad as it would be to use terror tactics to win a war, it would be incomparably worse to lose. At the end of the war we win, there is light. At the end of the war we lose, there is the end.

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About the Author

Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes "Ben Stein's Diary" for every issue of The American Spectator.