Maybe 100 years from now somebody like President Obama could con Israel into standing aside while Iran gets the nuclear weapon; maybe it’ll take 200. But I can promise you that time has not yet come.
Every headline now seems to carry its own mood music, like a documentary of why Archduke Ferdinand went to Sarajevo, where his assassination sparked World War I; or Hitler’s absurd assurance that all he wanted was to unite the German-speaking people into one nation, concealing his true aim of world domination. Here we have sanctions hurting Iran; then progressively hurting more and more. An American president starving for good news sends his secretary of state into a big-power conference, brimming with boyish enthusiasm that his mission will result in peace-in-our-time. Then we learn that President Obama eased the sanctions on Iran all by himself four months ago.
Every drop of such news makes me want to switch channels before it gets real noisy. A friend recommends all of us scribblers embrace historian John Toland’s standard of having four sets of corroboration for everything we write. Tomorrow, I’ll revert to normal, but I can assure you that for the rest of this column nothing is in doubt.
Who literally “wants” war? Don’t say “nobody”! There are deranged psychopaths all over who adore the very nature of combat. The German people didn’t want war. They wanted cost-free victories they believed their leader, Adolf Hitler, was a genius at delivering. Did the Japanese people want war? Gallup, Rasmussen and Zogby let us down. Except for the War Cabinet meeting room in Tokyo itself, nobody counted noses across Japan in 1941, and if they had they’d have found the most opinion-free population on the planet.
This is no crass accusation that “Israel wants war.” It is a firm realization that the Jewish population of Israel solemnly recognizes the need to deny Iran the nuclear weapon if diplomacy fails. Is that so strange? In football, if a certain play loses 26 yards plus possession of the ball, you’re not likely to see them try that play again soon. Multiply that mindset by the loss of 6 million Jews and the issue becomes clear. Israel will not depend on the good intentions of others to ensure her survival. Israel will risk annihilation in an attack on Iran’s nuclear facility rather than succumb to the stupid assumption that no risk is necessary.
How will Israel do it alone? We’ve all heard that Iran’s nuclear project is scattered and well protected underground. It wouldn’t be necessary to destroy every vestige of that complex. Israel knows where its blows would do the greatest damage. Israel’s only friends in this mission, oddly enough, would be its bitterest enemies – the entire Arab world – whose hatred and fear of an expansive Iran exceeds even its enmity to Israel. Spread out a map with all the Arab countries the same color before you dismiss a successful Israeli strike as militarily impossible.
The world must surely be bored by now reading of towering successes performed in every field by the Israelis, while failure seems to be a proud and unique Arab invention. In one of the most important areas of endeavor in the world, however, the Arabs are the big winners and the Israelis are bewilderingly inept losers. In the battle for world opinion, the elementary truths of the Middle East get butchered by a coalition of lies and anti-Semitism. It’s startling and depressing (to those like me) to hear some of the finest leaders in the democratic world speak of Israelis as if they’re Nazis. This global perversion will not convince Israel that a “provocative” attack on Iran is therefore unwise. Israel would rather be cussed at than cried over. If the Arabs were to lay down their arms, there would be no more war. If the Israelis were to lay down their arms, there would be no more Israel.
I know of no Israeli who wants war. And I know of no Israeli who would hesitate to fight when called. Does anyone suppose the Iranians threaten to annihilate the Jewish state merely to test their microphones? The Jews ignored such a threat in the lifetime of many of us still around. Don’t expect Israel to do that again!
The average Israeli may seem to have little in common with a South Carolina cotton-picker, but the similarity is underscored by the farmhand, Mose, who got his draft notice early in World War II.
“Are you ready to go, Mose?” asked the farmer.
“No, sir,” replied Mose, “I can’t rightly say I’m ready to go.
“But I’m willing to go unready!”