Tuesday, April 02, 2002

WISH-I'D-SAID-IT DEPARTMENT: Victor Hanson gives ustwo brilliant essays in one day on the latest war for Israel's survival, one at NRO and one at OpinionJournal. Hanson's theme in both essays, as in most of his writing, is history as teacher. That past doesn't have an agenda, just lessons. People do things different ways for different reasons and get different outcomes. You can deconstruct and reconstruct, but in the end cold facts stare you in the face. Fact #1: People who make war on other people get screwed when they lose, and after a while, nobody feels sorry for them. Ask the Japanese, ask the Germans. Fact #2:
Whether we ignore Israel (1946, 1956, 1967), actively back it (1973), or seek to be an honest broker (1982, 2001) means little in an undemocratic Arab world, which will hate us regardless.
Fact #3: When we make nice with Arab terrorists, they think we're weak and kill our people; when we make war on them, they lose badly and cower in their holes. I'd add one another lesson to Hanson's list (actually, it's implicit in his list): history teaches that it's not enough to defeat the Arab states in battle. These failed societies, perversely, feed on shame and grievance. They will not reform themselves. Eventually, they must be destroyed and rebuilt.

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