Total War

Since the start of Operation Protective Edge thousands of rockets launched from Gaza have made for Israel’s population centers. That is total war. Consider that in all of World War II only three thousand Nazi V-2 rockets fell on London. Hamas has nearly exceeded that in just a few weeks of fighting.

In response, Israel has engaged Hamas with massive retaliation, determined for once and all to see the rockets stopped, the murder tunnels filled and the Hamas genocidalists disarmed.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s stance on the war seems to mirror that of Hamas’ Khaled Meshaal: Let us stay engaged until one side or the other has been brought to its knees. Let this be a war without quarter. Let them throw everything in their arsenal at us and we will throw everything in our arsenal at them. When the dust settles, let the world accept the outcome.

This settlement of scores by ultimate combat is the only sort of resolution understood by the Arab world. Even Anwar Sadat could not have made peace with Israel had he not fostered an impression among the Egyptian electorate that Egypt had fought respectably in The 73′ war. With an unconditional surrender from Hamas, the Palestinians will have no choice but to consider the option of peace.

Assuredly, the outcome of Operation Protective Edge will be a complete and total victory for Israel. But standing in the way are Barak Obama and John Kerry. They demand not unconditional surrender but an uncondtional cease-fire. There are White House mutterings of a ‘demilitarized Gaza’ but Obama and Kerry know that Hamas will never agree to it. Why then do they demand that Israel knuckle under, without total military victory, to a compromise peace that no one believes will be worth the ink on the document, if there is a document.

Why don’t they permit Israel, who has been challenged by a foe committed to Total War, to fight for Total Victory? The concept of military victory is alien to the Obama White House. For America no longer believes in victory, though once upon a time it did. In the Second World War America called for no less than the complete and unconditional surrender of her foes, Germany and Japan. She was resolved to accept nothing short of the complete dismantlement of the murderous military and political establishments that had driven those nations, and the world with them, into the abyss.

In that war America believed in victory with a capital V. It was the hand sign that soldiers and civilians alike flashed to each other. On V-E Day, Victory in Europe Day, the entire nation erupted in joyous celebration and what followed was a period of confidence and hope unparralleled in the history of America.

But then came Korea, and then Vietnam; then the bloody and muddled immorality of U.S. support for Latin American dictatorships, which caused the torture and slaughter of countless thousands of innocent South American civilians. This was followed by the awful fiasco of Black Hawk Down Somalia, to be followed by the inconclusive half-hearted war against Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, and later, in response to the shocking surprise slaughter of thousands of Americans on 9-11, the mismanaged campaigns of Iraq II and Afghanistan. America once admired her soldiers but no more.

Instead she made heroes of those valiants—the firemen and rescue workers– who sift through the smoking 9-11 rubble of her clueless foreign policies, searching for the victims of her failures, the burned-beyond-recognition citizens who had naively believed that their government could be counted upon to protect them.

9-11 never had to occur. As far back as 1981, Israel sought to warn the United States and Europe of the looming threat of Fundamentaist Islam. Israeli military heads and diplomats issued papers and studies detailing in well-turned English the dangers of rising militant Islam and fed these reports time and again to the Western press corps and diplomats, who in turn tossed them unread into their shredders.

But if Americans care little about developments abroad they care even less for their own troops returning from the hellish fields of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Under Obama the U.S. Veterans Administration has stooped to levels of neglect and corruption without precedent in the history of G.I. rights.

Contrast this with Israel where recently, in Haifa, the funeral of Sergeant Max Steinberg, late of Southern California, a 24 year old American Jewish volunteer to the IDF who was killed in the first days of the ground offensive into Gaza, drew over 30,000 Israelis from around the country –strangers all– who came to express their sorrow and appreciation.

In Ashkelon more then 5,000 Israelis bid goodbye to Sergeant Jordan Bensenhoun,a French-Jewish soldier who fell in the same operation

Now is not the time for diplomacy and delay. Israel is in a fight to the death for the preservation of her society and for those values which define the very essence of Western Civilization.

She faces a foe, Hamas, no less implacable then those fanatical Japanese troops who sprang from murder holes and tunnels to surprise and slay American Marines on Iwo Jima. When that ferocious fight was won American troops raised Old Glory in an image that has become immortal. But that was America before she lost her nerve.

Israel and her soldiers are fighting for something that Americans once believed in but most these days would find baffling: they are fighting for their country. They are fighting for their lives. They are fighting for victory against evil.

In America nothing is worth fighting for except a place ahead of the line in a Black Friday bargain-hunting stampede.

About the Author
Alan Kaufman is an American-Israeli novelist and memoirist. His latest novel, The Berlin Woman, has just been published by Mandel Vilar Press. His other books include the novels Matches (Little Brown) the memoirs Jew Boy (Cornell University Press) and Drunken Angel (Viva Editions).