WASHINGTON — To the grizzled and disheveled stalwarts of Hezbollah and Hamas, may I say you did it to yourselves. Kapow! As another Israeli bomb lands nearby, as a shell whizzes overhead, may I remind you that you are hunkering down either on Gaza or on Lebanese soil that was evacuated by the Israelis so that you could live in peace. And what did you donkeys do? You tunneled under the Israeli borders to infiltrate Israel and kill innocent civilians. You established an infrastructure of missiles to rain down destruction on Israeli cities that were at peace, providing security and prosperity for both Jews and Arabs. You captured Israeli soldiers in an unprovoked attack. Kapow! You are getting just what you deserve.
Moreover the terrorists of Hezbollah and Hamas have revealed to any sensible observer that they have no interest in peace with Israel or with the West, for that matter. Needless to say, they have no interest in a peaceful Gaza or Lebanon. The same bellicosity afflicts the allies of these terrorists in Syria and Iran. The brutes in these governments are pitiless and belligerent tyrants. Listening to their sophistries about their need for nuclear power or their desire for a peaceful world puts me in mind of all the irenic poetry of the late Herr Hitler back when things were good for him in the middle 1930s. It all ended badly — for everyone. When in May 1940 Winston Churchill became prime minister, he thought himself a failure. He recognized that all his admonitions against the Nazis in the previous decade had proved futile. Now only world war would bring peace.
The land from which Hezbollah has been firing missiles was supposed to be free of militias, according to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559. The Taif Accords, by which the Lebanese civil war was ended, also called for disarming the militias and giving the Lebanese army control of its border. United Nations peacekeepers have been stationed there to see that these diplomatic measures were implemented. Obviously once again UN peacekeepers have failed. Though at least in southern Lebanon the peacekeepers have not raped and pillaged. Pacifying the region is obviously going to be left to the Israelis. I hope our government resupplies them as soon as they finish the business.
Yet that leaves a large question. What are the next measures to be taken to secure peace in the Middle East? Again the terrorists have foolishly tipped their hand. They have revealed with their missile attacks that the missiles they have access to are increasingly powerful. Now they are landing them on Haifa. Next they will be landing them on Tel Aviv. In time they will be able to hit anywhere in Israel. Israel is going to have to take action to see to it that no more missile attacks are possible and that Hezbollah’s suppliers — Syria and Iran — stop arming them.
I would think this means that Israel for the short term is going to have to take control of the border regions of Lebanon and of Gaza from which it withdrew. Reportedly some 50% of Hezbollah’s missile-launching capacity has been destroyed. Perhaps this is accurate, but only troops on the ground will be able to ensure that the terrorists do not return with their missiles. Yet even troops in Lebanon cannot deny Hezbollah’s acquisition of ever more powerful weapons. That means its suppliers are going to have to be dealt with.
Diplomacy does not seem to work with the Syrians or with the Iranians. We have been dealing with the Iranians diplomatically on their nuclear capacity for months. They remain obdurate and dishonest, and now their clients have unleashed war against Israel. The only recourse might well be the recourse taken by Israel in June 1981 when Israeli aircraft destroyed Iraq’s nuclear facilities. Many, even many conservatives, get very agitated by such suggestions. Well, allow me to remind them of President Ronald Reagan’s reaction when his National Security Adviser informed him in the Oval Office of the Israeli bombing. They used bombers we had sold them, the adviser harrumphed. “Well,” said the Old Cowboy, “boys will be boys.” That, of course, is how Reagan expressed what is the oldest idea known to man: philosophical acceptance of the inevitable.