Navel gazing

Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post is onto something when she identifies “navel gazing” as the central problem in the way that both the U.S. and Israel deal with terrorism. As we in the United States continue to obsess over the actions of a few prison guards, and in the case of some prominent Democrats wonder whether President Bush is on his way to becoming the moral equivalent of Saddam Hussein, it is difficult to disagree with Glick’s diagnosis. As she points out, “the US has limited its gaze to itself. Can the US forces enter into sacred Shiite towns or not? Can US forces engage in house to house battles, risking civilian casualties in Fallujah or not? Can the US empower its allies and weaken its enemies in Iraq without being perceived (by itself) as imperialistic? Can the US continue its occupation of Iraq and campaign to bring freedom to this malformed Arab state when a handful of its soldiers besmirch the honor of their uniforms by abusing Iraqi enemy prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison? The questions here are not turned to the enemy that transforms sacred cities into armed camps and hides behind civilians, rendering them either fellow terrorists or hostages. [And] we see little questioning of what US retreats in Fallujah and hesitancy in Najaf do to the forces of jihad throughout the world.”
The psychological source of our navel gazing is not difficult to discern. When we fail to focus on our enemies we can ignore “the scope of their ambitions and depth of their hatred.” In that way, we can avoid reaching the unpleasant conclusion that “we, Israelis, Americans, and indeed all non-fascistic Muslims constitute the frontline in the war wherever we are” and that “It was not US military deployment in Saudi Arabia that precipitated the September 11 attacks anymore than it was the Israeli presence in Lebanon or in Gaza or Judea and Samaria or Jerusalem that precipitated the Palestinian-led jihad against Israel. It is our existence that provokes our enemy.”
Glick concludes as follows: “As the jihad spreads throughout the world, we must stop finally with our self-destructive self-absorption. The butchers in Zeitoun who kicked the remains of our soldiers like footballs on Tuesday, like the butchers in Baghdad, Karachi, Riyadh and beyond who kill with barbaric ecstasy and primordial hatred do so not because of anything we have done. They do so because they are barbarians. And if we do not wish to be destroyed, we must do everything to destroy them and nothing to give them hope for victory against us.” But will we?

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