SUPPOSE the WORLD IS ON
After Weapons of Mass Destruction flunked the truth test, no longer grounds to make war on Iraq, the administration switched causes in mid-stream. The new Causus Belli focused on eliminating Saddam Hussein in order to bring Democracy to Iraq and its neighbors. We are still working on that, but the idea took hold in the West Bank. Israel pulled out of Gaza to give Democracy a chance.† The death of Yasser Arafat brought the moderate Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen to his friends) to power. Sure enough, the international community cheering the arrival of democracy in the Middle East, certain that Abu Mazen and the Fatah party would win, the Palestinians held elections. But lo and behold, the Hamas Party an organization of dedicated terrorists whose main goal is the destruction of Israel was elected to power. Thatís the juicy part of democracy, brisk, jaunty gaudy, risky and unpredictable. Just after WW II during the Communist scare, humorist Art Buchwald†† described the Communist Party vote for its Presidential Candidate. He said that the party was so completely infiltrated by FBI agents that J. Edgar Hoover was declared the winner. We should have taken a page out of that book before allowing the Palestinians to hold a democratic election. They might have elected Bush or Cheney.†
†Of course the election of Hamas terrorists was unacceptable, but could they be drawn into the political process? Before they were given a chance Israel, the United States and assorted allies publicly demanded that Hamas give up its goal of destroying Israel. Predictably Hamas couldnít publicly submit to coercion, so funds to the Palestinians (other than basic necessities) were cut off. Instead of politicizing these guys and weaning them away from Terror,† Hamas was now running a failed government. The more radical faction of Hamas dug a tunnel under an Israeli outpost, captured an Israeli soldier, then demanded that Israel free all Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the soldier. Israel refused and the War began. In order to woo back the Palestinians, most of whom were looking for work, Israel bombed Gaza, destroyed itís infra structure and killed some bystanders.† Since that failed to improve their living conditions the Palestinians did not consider the bombing a conciliatory move. Nor did Hezbollah, which went on its own rocket and kidnapping spree from southern Lebanon.
SUPPOSE: that Israel decided to wait before attacking terrorists in Gaza. Would that have been perceived as weakness and invited further attacks from Hamas or would it have encouraged them to assume the responsibilities of governance?
SUPPOSE: that Israel stated that it would negotiate to get the soldier back, and that it was instituting new military procedures to prevent future kidnappings. What might have happened? Well for one thing the Hezbollah kidnappings might have been avoided, and a hundred or so people in both Gaza and Lebanon would be alive as well as a dozen Israeli soldiers.
SUPPOSE: that the West and Israel had accepted Hamas as part of a democratically elected Palestinian government instead of cutting off funds and impoverishing the place. Would that have generated good will rather than cynicism? Didnít the attack on Gaza, the destruction of roads and bridges that removed all routes of escape spawn armies of hatred that called for revenge not friendship?† Would patience and diplomacy have trumped Hezbollah and avoided the war on Lebanon?
SUPPOSE: after 9/11, we had maintained a low profile, prepared our defenses, and quietly without fanfare, established policy that would continually disrupt Al Qaeda operations. Would that have avoided inflaming Muslim youth and succeeding generations the world over?
SUPPOSE: hate is a stronger and more unifying emotion than love, and war more unifying than peace, and that from time to time tranquil people have to have some outlet for their excess energies! Is war the preferred outlet?†††
SUPPOSE:† science discovers that humans and other animals possess a feral gene, that War is in our genes, inevitably our destiny, that war is our game and we canít help ourselves. Then what?
SUPPOSE: we realize that moderation loses to ferocity every time that the ruthless always prevail over the ruths and only by becoming ruthless can moderates win and isnít that an oxymoron?
SUPPOSE: that† to tame the enemy we must activate our feral genes (and those of some of our ďalliesĒ).† Can that transformation be triggered by the brain? Is it reflex or can we think our way out of this mess? Can the brain exercise control? Over sex? Over money? Over war?
SUPPOSE: we conclude that we must destroy North Korea before it starts selling Plutonium to Osama bin Laden and other Terrorist organizations. After all we arenít overwhelmed with guilt for having obliterated Hiroshima and its citizens and incinerated Dresden and its inhabitants.† We can do it again. Thatís what armies and bombs and guns and bullets are for. No one can call me a pacifist and get away with it.
Will the legacy of President Bush be that of the President who went to war when he should have appeased, and appeased when he should have gone to war? Who Cares!
SUPPOSE: that three kidnapped soldiers are returned. Would that end the crisis? Are they really the centerpiece of this crisis?
An Ill Wind
July 18 somewhere between 9 and the vicious squall that roared easterly along the Toms River and caused Susan Thompson to glance out her window in time to see one of the old cat boats, freed of its tether, crash into the Town Dock. She called to George who, for reasons he canít explain, telephoned Richard Yetman before jumping into his car and driving to the scene. By the time he arrived, a motor boat, Yetman at the hlm, was rounding the bend. As the bow of the errant cat boat was pounding at the dock George jumped aboard, cleated the line hurled by Yetman, who then hauled the vessel off the dock and to the safe haven of an adjacent marina. This perfect convergence of ďwhat ifsĒ† saved the† historic Cat from the whims of this imperfect storm.