Hamas, Hezbollah – a Rampage of Hate and Violence
In the WSJ, Gerard Baker warns readers: Absorbing and understanding the horror of “the wider consequences of the carnage Hamas unleashed on Israel this weekend will take time.
“The primary responsibility for the monstrosity in Israel lies with the terrorists. But American weakness will always embolden the worst people in the world.”
Five Immediate and Clear Things
- The spectacle of paramilitaries going house to house shooting Jews, dragging their dead bodies through the streets, and brandishing them as spoils is as shocking as it is familiar. For Jews, this is their history played out one more agonizing time. Another year, another place, another pogrom. Even the state of Israel, that magnificent homeland they have built for themselves in the desert, with its world-beating technology and its fearsome security forces, can’t fully protect them from the undying, putrid hate of anti-Semitism.
- As moving as it has been to watch, the sympathy we have seen expressed for Israel around the world won’t last. It has been stirring to see the colors of the Israeli flag adorning public buildings across Europe and America, but I give it a week before normal service is resumed.
- As Israel begins its campaign of righteous retaliation and starts trying to eliminate the terrorist threat once and for all, the regular crowd of left-wing politicians and their acolytes in the media will demand “restraint” (some were already doing so even as the slaughter of Israelis was unfolding) and denounce a response they will deem “disproportionate.” What, asks Mr. Baker, is a “proportionate” response to an enemy that indiscriminately “mows down young partygoers at a concert, drags off terrified grandmothers to an unknown fate in some Gazan hellscape, and spits on the half-naked body of an innocent young woman they have just murdered?”
- As this war escalates, it is important to understand that the savagery is essential to Hamas’s goals. Their wanton bloodlust is designed to work twice over. They murder, rape and mutilate Israelis, knowing that in its response Israel will wreak havoc on Palestinians. Israel, unlike its enemies, will do what it can to avoid punishing the innocent. But innocents will suffer, because Hamas has positioned them precisely for this purpose. The terrorists’ objective is truly indiscriminate destruction. For them, a dead Jew is a bonus, but a dead Palestinian is a trophy they can parade before credulous Western media to convey some supposed moral equivalence between their depravity and the actions of a beleaguered state seeking to preserve its very existence.
- While acknowledging it’s too soon to make definitive judgments, we must understand the strategic context that demands an accounting of the role the U.S. has played in the genesis of this tragedy.
“Catastrophic errors by successive administrations in Washington over 20 years are reaping a whirlwind, continues Mr. Baker.
The defining reality over that time has been the spectacle of an America blundering into and then clumsily abandoning the region: the disaster of the Iraq war, the abysmal mess we left in Libya, the pitiful weakness shown in Syria, the humiliating retreat from Afghanistan, the incoherent and naive back-and-forth over whether Saudi Arabia is a friend or a pariah.
The single consistent beneficiary has been Iran, sponsor of Hamas, Hezbollah and other groups that murder innocents. Instead of compensating for our abandonment of the territory for Tehran’s mullahs to exploit, the U.S. has doubled down on the power it ceded to them.
The appeasement of Iran by the Obama and Biden administrations has bolstered the conditions by which Tehran exerts its power—in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Gaza. Most recently last month, on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the Biden team’s strategic geniuses executed the infamous cash-for-hostages swap.
The World Seems More Dangerous
The Biden administration has turned Afghanistan from a U.S. protectorate to a terrorist state and has seen a nuclear-armed adversary invade a European nation on the borders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. America, as Mr. Baker notes, now watches helplessly as “our closest ally in the Middle East has been raped by terrorists backed by a state the administration has been busy appeasing.”
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