Again, an attack. 84 dead!! 53 wounded. Bodies strewn in the streets of Nice, France. The corpses of children draped in white tablecloths.
What will Obama do, as head of the mightiest nation on earth and leader of the so-called Free World, which is so Un-free? Make a speech about hearts going out to the families of the slain and other woeful pieties. On Facebook people will post their faces with the French flag superimposed. We stand with France, posts will read. But it is a lie.
There will be endless pics of tearful hugs and of candles and flowers and tribute messages heaped someplace in some bloodstained gutter where many died. And in a few days it will all be forgotten in a wave of Pokemon. ISIS wins again.
Why do we not deploy the full military might of the West to crush these killers of innocent civilians for once and all? Never has Terrorism enjoyed so free a hand as under the present administration in Washington. It is the great shame of this era to allow our own to be slaughtered without consequence, whether in Nice or Orlando. Our non-response in the face of these murders is not “Peace”: it is moral bankruptcy. As the poet Auden wrote: ” Intellectual disgrace stares from every human face, and the seas of pity lie locked and frozen in each eye.”
In their fierce opposition to taking military action my Progressive American friends have begun to out-strange Dr. Strangelove. Few will openly say so but their fierce rejection of military action is predicated, like Strangelove’s, upon the notion of acceptable losses. Fifty or Eighty murdered civilians or even one hundred and twenty infants, toddlers, teens, Millennials, Boomers, elderly, all slain horribly, yet are to them insuficient cause to deploy and destroy those responsible: ISIS.
There is something morally obscene about the idea that the intentional murder by terrorists of people removed from ones own immediate sphere is somehow acceptable. It is a kind of de facto human sacrificial offering to the Gods of Terror.
To me, the loss of a single citizen to the Middle Eastern butchers is criminal. And when they are being slain in such numbers as we have seen, then, ladies and gentleman, we are in a war and cannot stand by, do nothing, or attempt to persuade others – particularly Middle Eastern despots–to undertake what we ourselves are morally obliged to do: protect our citizenry at all costs.
What precipitated this situation? Long before Bush and Cheney’s misadventures in Iraq and Afghanstan, the failures of Arab Nationalism lead to Radical Islam. Contrary to forging a new future for Arabs, Arab Nationalism replaced Colonial oppression with murderous and greedy dictatorships overseen by ruthless military castes.
I lived for years in Israel, served in the military. I know the Middle East up close and saw first-hand that as early as 1980 Israel– the only Democracy in the region– attempted to warn the West of the looming and inevitable threat posed by the rise of Radical Islam and were in turn roundly ignored.
My left-leaning friends think of Israel as some sort of horrible bogeyman, rather then to grasp that she is a significant barometer for what is facing everyone in the Free World today.
In fact, our failure to heed Israel’s example lies at the heart of much of what is happening to us in America and Europe. And not ony did Israel tried to warn us but as far back as the early eighties no less a major author than V.S. Naipaul, in his book Among The Believers, sought to warn the West about radical Islam, as did Salman Rushdie.
How to deal with terrorism? What can we learn from Israel?
Faced with ceaseless terror attacks Israelis have adopted a military doctrine that goes as follows: Since conditions have proved incontestably that there will be no end to conflict, social and military strategies must conform to the idea of war without an ultimate objective, one with no final victory.
Israelis would not accept the death of 50 or 80 or 120 of its own people as acceptable losses. They respond to each and every attack in a way that sustains their military advantage in the ongoing fight and that provides optimal protection for their own citizenry.
A military response to a terrorist attack is conducted with the objective to preserve and improve an overall upper hand over the foe and likewise to provide, where possible, increased security for its citizens. In a war such as this, those are rational and realistic objectives grounded in acceptance of the fact that the terrorist war has no foreseeable end.
The massacres in Nice, like the ones in Boston, San Bernadino or Orlando were committed by self-appointed proxies of ISIS. The Western governmental and media efforts to downplay these assaults as lone wolf acts of disgruntled or mentally ill persons is misguided.
For they are not disaffected weirdos but self-appointed terrorists committed to the creation and growth of an Islamic Caliphate, Daesh, that has been violently and theologically grafted onto two sovereign nations: Syria and Iraq. And in order to create conditions for the eventual cessation of ISIS-inspired terrorist attacks, we must destroy on the ground the very same Islamic State that offers a blanket authorization to the lone wolves to commit their atrocities in its name.
Eliminate the actual Islamic State entity and our homegrown volunteers who commit terrorism on its behalf will vanish. But even then we must continue to sustain a war footing such as Israel does, becoming a society committed to ongoing action rather then one paralyzed by demands for unachievable results.
The Nice attacker died screaming Allah Akbar. He slaughtered 84 people, including ten children. He fired weapons and had hand grenades. But though he is dead, at this very moment ISIS is celebrating the attack for they are the ultimate culprit. And until we take the fight to them over there, and eliminate them once and for all, they will continue to murder us over here.
Alan Kaufman’s most recent books are Drunken Angel and The Outlaw Bible of American Art.