Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Swordfish Option

After I posted Appeasement Doesn't Work, I heard that Greta Van Susteren interviewed Madeleine Albright concerning the current Mid-East crisis, i.e., the Israeli attack on Hezbollah positions in Lebanon after Hezbollah killed & captured Israeli soldiers. A question and answer during this interview was of particular interest:

VAN SUSTEREN: How do you though negotiate or how do you — what kind of diplomatic solution could you possibly have with Hezbollah? If Hezbollah is indeed the terrorist organization, which is what the United States says it is, I mean it just seems impossible that you could ever — they could ever want anything other than the utter destruction of Israel.

ALBRIGHT: Well, what has to happen is that the government of Lebanon, the legitimate government of Lebanon begins to be able to control its own territory which it cannot do by itself. Hezbollah has to be surrounded in a way that the territory is not dangerous and that the Lebanese government is in control...

What a facinating question, and an even better response! Indeed, how do you negotiate with a terrorist faction that does not represent a country? Albright's response seems to answer that - you don't!! Only legitimate countries are to be negotiated with, not someone with an ax to grind. And this has been proven by Hezbollah's compliance (or lack thereof) to UN Security Council Resolution 1559.

UN Security Council Resolution 1559 "Calls for the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias." All other militias in Lebanon disbanded in accordance with this resolution except for Hezbollah. Hezbollah has fired rockets & conducted raids ever since this resolution was passed in 2004. Indeed, their military stockpiles and organization have grown tremendously since then. The question begs to be asked: If Hezbollah did not comply with the UN Security Council's resolution, what are the chances that they would comply with any other agreement, no matter who they make it with? Answer: They won't.

One of the other problems that I have with any type of negotiation with any terrorist organization is that by the very act of negotiating with that organization lends a certain amount of legitimacy to that organization. And that is very, very bad. If you recognize that this terrorist organization is worthy of negotiation, it is then a legitimate entity, which gives credibility to their movement, and then they are in a position to gain more power than what they should deserve. This is what has happened with Hamas, and you know where they are now - that's now a huge problem for Israel. If any direct negotiations with Hezbollah take place, then look out!

Hezbollah's (and Hamas, for that matter) have the stated goal of obliterating Israel. While some pundits say this doesn't mean a genocidal war, I doubt that the Israelis are going to give up the land that they have fought for and settled for the 50+ years of Israel's existence, and that the members of these organizations would think twice about killing Israelis. Our favorite terrorist group, al Qaeda, expands this goal to include Western society. So how do you reason with people who have the stated goal (and sole reason for existing) of destroying your country and everything you believe in by any & all means within their power? You don't, unless you want to cave in and give them everything they want (which could include the life, liberty, & happiness of you & your family).

So what is the answer? Consider these lines from the movie Swordfish:

GABRIEL: That's what I'm telling you, Stanley. We are at war.

STANLEY: War? Who are we at war with?

GABRIEL: Anyone who infringes on America's freedom. Terrorists' states, Stanley. Someone must take their war to them. They bomb a church, we bomb ten. They hijack a plane, we take out an airport. They execute American tourists, we tactically nuke an entire city. We must make terrorism so horrific that it becomes unthinkable to attack Americans.

And that is pretty well what Israel is doing. They are announcing to the world that they are tired of putting up with terrorist organizations that are a threat to them, and they will do their best to destroy or deter their activities so that anyone (terrorists or hostile countries) will think twice before conducting any type of operations against Israel. Sharing the pain ten-fold is a deterrent, whether or not you agree with it.

Consider President Bush's address to Congress shortly after the 9/11 attacks. He made the following statements during that address:

"We will direct every resource at our command -- every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war -- to the disruption and to the defeat of the global terror network."

"Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime."

"...the only way to defeat terrorism as a threat to our way of life is to stop it, eliminate it, and destroy it where it grows."

Sounds pretty civilized, doesn't it? The problem is that the terrorists are not a civilized opponent. Consider that when they have captured American soldiers or civilians in Iraq, they are usually tortured, beheaded, and their bodies mutilated beyond recognition. They strap bombs to their children, and send them out into populated areas to blow themselves up along with whomever is around. In the cases of the USS Cole, the bombing of the Marine barracks & the US Embassy in Beruit in 1983, on 9/11 & on countless other occasions, they have proven that they are willing to sacrifice themselves to cause harm to as many people as possible, military or civilian. They do not care who they take out in the process just as long as the body count is high.

Will our leadership consider using "The Swordfish Option"? I think the answer is yes, but not until we are attacked again on our soil. And by then, it could be too late for thousands of our fellow citizens.

Now I know there are people out there that are going to flame me for being a war-monger, a hateful person, and a whole host of other names. I will state right here and now that I do not wish harm upon anyone, but I will support actions of self-defense. Think of it this way - If hornets are building a nest by your house, do you wait for someone to get stung before getting rid of the nest, or after? My action - get rid of the nest before someone gets hurt or dies from a sting.

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