What Israel Has Taught Us (U.S.)

Arthur Bruzzone

July 26, 2006

I've spent some time in Saudi Arabia.  I learned that history moves slowly in the Middle East. And, like the scorching desert temperatures, political tensions are brutal.  Weakness, perceived or real, leads to opportunism by adversaries.  Military defense is ineffective unless fierce, relentless, and unpredictable. 

Israel has successfully defended itself several times based on this principle, and is doing it again in Lebanon against Hizbollah for the world to see. America especially must take note. 

First some background.

Three events led Israel's enemies to perceive the country as weakened: The sudden disabling stroke of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and his subsequent coma, convinced Israel's enemies, Iran and Syria, that the country's leadership had been weakened.  Second, Israel, unilaterally abandoned the Gaza Strip and appeared ready to leave the West Bank which it acquired through the 1967 Six Day War.  Finally, the new Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert is an unknown,  untested, and was suddenly thrust into a leadership position.   More important, Olmert is part of a new generation of Israelis,  He is not an European immigrant.  He was born near Binyamina in the British Mandate of Palestine.  Israel's adversaries viewed his generation as tired of war and unable to endure moral and military will to defend itself like the past generation - a generation of respected and feared leaders like Moshe Dayan, Yitzhak Rabin, Golda Meir, Menachem Begin, and Ariel Sharon.

For months, the world has had to endure the anti-Semitic ramblings of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his rush towards nuclear capability.  Israel has watched the world's leaders debate what is to be done.
For Israel, time had run out. It was time to show the world the future.  For Israel, it was simple.  Iran and Syria would use surrogates to accomplish what they could never achieve in conventional warfare.  They had already armed Hizbollah with Katyusha multiple rocket launchers, Zelzal-2 missile systems, and Raad 1 missiles.  Add nuclear warheads, and the next generation of Iranian (or North Korean) missile systems, and it was clear that the Iranian leadership would enact its stated goal of eliminating Israel once and for all.

A border dispute was a prelude to the 1967 Six Day War. Israel and Syria exchanged artillery, tank and aircraft fire, increasing tensions. The Israeli government was under heavy pressure to put an end to Syrian shellings of border villages.  As the political situation deteriorated, and Arab nations prepared to attack, Israel launched a devastating surprise preemptive strike. So it was in the present situation. 

The Iranian-Syrian surrogate, Hizbollah, has admitted that they never envisioned a simple cross- border kidnapping would have unleashed Israel's "disproportionate response".  They miscalculated terribly - misperceived weakness and response, described above,

Israel needed to show the world the future.  By inducing Hizbollah to use their rockets, they gave the world a preview of the future.  Plain and simple, Iran, when fully nuclear capable, will directly or indirectly use nuclear weapons to destroy Israel.  Israel has responded with a very simple message: Using Lebanon as an illustration, Israel showed the world that if that time comes, it will destroy the capitals of Syria, Iran and any other Arab nation that supports surrogates like Hizbollah and Hamas.  Lebanon tolerated Hizbollah, so Lebanon paid the consequence.  If Israel is attacked, Teheran and Damascus will be no more.

By engaging in what has been labeled "disproportionate response", Israel has made clear, there will be no limits to its response.  This is deterrence. It was deterrence that prevented a U.S.-Soviet nuclear confrontation.

France understands the threat, and the power of deterrence. Earlier this year, President Jacques Chirac said that France was prepared to launch a nuclear strike against any country that sponsors a terrorist attack against French interests. He said his country's nuclear arsenal had been reconfigured to include the ability to make a tactical strike in retaliation for terrorism.

Further, through its present response, Israel has made clear that it will not wait for Iran to acquire a nuclear capability.   If the world's leaders cannot stop the Iranian nuclear buildup, then Israel will most certainly,  whatever the consequences.

It is now time for America and its allies to act. First, Iran must never acquire nuclear capability until there is a clear regime change.   But more important, It is time for America to set out the consequences of a nuclear or chemical attack on this country.  Israel has struck back. The U.S. must make clear what will be the consequences if a nation or its surrogates strikes this country.  The targets must be stated in no uncertain terms. If France has reconfigured its nuclear arsenal, then so should this country. 

Only transparent deterrence will prevent the bloodthirsty psychopaths that make up the world's terrorist network from attacking the United States.  Israel has taught the world the one and only way to deal with terrorists, and the nation's that supply and support terrorists.

Return to Counterviews Home Page