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Israel at War

Wednesday, July 12, 2006  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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The news that Hezbollah has kidnapped two Israeli soldiers and that Israel has responded by invading Lebanon underscores the reality that Israel has no choice in the current situation.

Hamas wants a war with Israel.  Hezbollah wants a war with Israel.

When that war comes in full force, the West should make a stand in the U.N. and everywhere else and be very clear about the fact that the war was one of choice for the Islamist militias, and that Israel was obliged to accept war, but did not chose it.

Mark Daniels has been writing a magnificent series on the theology behind Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, an address which concerned mostly the justice of war and even of its necessity. (The most recent post is here, and previous posts here, here, here, and here.)

Watching the inevitable unfold on Israel’s borders reminds me of this section of that address:

“Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish.And the war came.”

The Islamists to Israel’s south and now north “would make war” rather than let Israel survive.

Israel will accept war rather than let itself perish.

And so the war has come again.  I suspect that it will get much, much worse before peace approaches the region again.  And it is the obligation of Western media to again and again announce clearly that it was not Israel’s choice, but the Islamists.

And if, as may well happen, Israel decides that the only path to peace lies through taking the war to Damascus, it will not be our place to blame them at all for seeing clearly that only the sort of war that Lincoln superintended can bring peace and security for a time.

The Arab world plus Iran can prevent this, but they have not chosen to do so.  If there is any slim hope that the war that is looming can be avoided, the necessity for rapid and decisive action by those governments against the Islamists is clear.

The reality is, though, that Iran is headed at leats in part by people who want war as well.

Good people in 1860-1861, in the summer of 1914,  in 1938-1939 hoped that events might break a different way, that the forces wanting war would dissolve or somehow recoil from the obvious destruction ahead. There isn’t much reason to hope that they will.

Still, if the U.N. is what it pretends to be, it ought to issue to the Islamists to the north and south of Israel, a demand for peace and for recognition of Israel’s right to exist.

Lincoln made such an appeal in his First Inaugural:

That there are persons in one section or another who seek to destroy the Union at all events and are glad of any pretext to do it I will neither affirm nor deny; but if there be such, I need address no word to them. To those, however, who really love the Union may I not speak?

Before entering upon so grave a matter as the destruction of our national fabric, with all its benefits, its memories, and its hopes, would it not be wise to ascertain precisely why we do it? Will you hazard so desperate a step while there is any possibility that any portion of the ills you fly from have no real existence? Will you, while the certain ills you fly to are greater than all the real ones you fly from, will you risk the commission of so fearful a mistake?

It did not persuade then, but it was right that such an appeal was made.  A similar one should be made by the U.N. and by every nation that truly would prefer that a wide war be avoided.

Unfortunately, “so fearful a mistake” as silence about Hezbollah and Hamas has marked all of the past few years, and there is no reason to believe it will end now.

For Updates:

See Haaretz and Jerusalem Post, and for commentary, Sigmund, Carl and Alfred, Chris at Home, The Dumb Ox, Meryl Yourish, and Powerline.

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