|The power of "no"
By Alan Caruba
Slowly, ever so slowly, it is beginning to dawn on Americans that anything we attempt to do to entice the Middle East into the 21st century is likely to meet with defeat because its Muslim population, held in the grip of brutal men and a brutal theology, remains impervious to the possibility of peace, of freedom, of individual liberty.
What they are especially good at is saying "No." They have been saying no to anything that smacks of modern civilized behavior for a very long time and that resistance has been largely tolerated in the West because (a) their nation may sit atop a lot of oil and/or (b) they are oppressed by their fellow Arabs.
What did Americans know of the Middle East? Not much and mostly gleaned from movies like Lawrence of Arabia and whatever films and television shows might depict. Long after WWII, the Middle East did not have a high priority on our attention. Our scant knowledge came from headlines about assassinations and wars. There were historical events like the independence of Israel in 1948 following one of the great horrors of the last century, the Holocaust.
The same United Nations decision to grant sovereignty to the Israelis was extended to the Arabs in the area, granting them territory on which to build a Palestinian nation. The Arabs said no.
Instead, they immediately attacked the new nation and were defeated. Would they now accept terms granting them a nation of their own? No. In 1967 the Egyptians, Syrians, and Jordanians massed their troops and, this time, the Six-Day War was an overwhelming defeat costing them vast tracts of land, the Golan Heights, the Sinai desert, East Jerusalem, the West Bank.
What was their response? The defeated Arab nations convened a conference from which they issued their now-famous Three No's: No to peace with Israel. No to recognition of Israel. No to any negotiation with Israel.
Israel's response has been to negotiate at every opportunity. They negotiated with Egypt and returned the Sinai. They negotiated "land for peace" with Yassir Arafat's Palestinian Liberation Front in Oslo, Norway. They were rewarded with the infamous Intifada that escalated into a series of suicide bombings. Finally, the Israelis built a high wall between themselves and the Palestinians in Gaza. These days the wall is breached daily by mortars and rockets that continue to rain down on towns adjacent to that hellish place.
The Israelis withdrew from southern Lebanon, occupied to avoid constant shelling of its northern cities and towns hoping that would bring peace. No. That ultimately led to more shelling and a short war in 2006. The Israeli failure to destroy Hezbollah last year was hailed as a great "victory" by the Arabs.
Earlier the Israeli government had unilaterally withdrawn from the Gaza strip, literally dragging their own citizens who lived there from their homes. Surely that would secure peace? No.
That led to a civil war between Hamas, whose entire political platform is the destruction of Israel, and Fatah, backed by the U.S. in the vain hope that it might negotiate peace—at last—with Israel.
Americans began to pay attention when, in 1979, the "Islamic Revolution" in Iran led to their diplomats being held hostage for 444 days. What kind of nation takes people hostage these days? An Islamic one. And what kind of people commandeers four jet airliners and fly them into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon? Muslims.
The root cause of strife in the Middle East is not Israel, a tiny nation with about six million inhabitants; one that is surrounded by twenty-two Arab nations with 300 million people. Even if Israel did not exist, the root cause of the terrorism and wars is Islam, the "religion of peace" embraced throughout that fetid, backward, cesspool of corruption and oppression.
What the Arabs of the Middle East offer is what Islam offers, only the peace of the grave if nations and men do not bow down to their threats and violence. It is the power of "no."
The global Islamic population is approximately 1,200,000,000 or 20% of the world's population as compared with the global Jewish population of 14,000,000 or about 0.02% of the world's population.
If one looks at Nobel Prizes awarded since 1910, one Muslim earned a prize in literature. Among the four awarded a Peace Prize were Egypt's Mohammed Anwar El-Sadat who was assassinated for negotiating the return of the Sinai and Yassir Arafat who never brought a moment's peace to the Palestinians. Two Muslims received prizes for medicine. No Muslim has received a prize for economics. By contrast, the list of Jews receiving Nobel Prizes in all categories takes up several pages.
Which world do you want to live in?
Compare Beirut, Baghdad, Damascus, Khartoum or Mogadishu with any of cities of the West. Part of the world is insane, held in the grip of a "religion" spread by the sword and maintained by insuring that enlightenment of any kind is feared and destroyed. It is a world in which tiny children are taught to embrace murder and death.
Americans cannot understand such people. Americans cannot understand that the Islamic practice of deceit and war is deemed critical to the expansion of this "religion."
America and the West are at a crossroads of history. The terrorism that would return us to a dark age ruled by Islam must be resisted.
We can begin by supporting Israel, by supporting our troops on the front lines of wherever the conflict takes them, and by affirming the power of "Yes", the power that flows from freedom and liberty.
Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center. His book, "Right Answers: Separating Fact from Fantasy", is published by Merril Press. © Alan Caruba, June 2007