The latest front in the War on Terror

Published 6:20 am Monday, July 24, 2006

By By Tray Smith
On Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese military attacked the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor. In order to retaliate, the United States declared war on Japan and their allies, Italy and Germany. That war lasted for over three years and resulted in the complete elimination of the regimes controlling each one of those countries.
In order to achieve our objectives, our nation rapidly expanded its armed forces and became the world's supreme military power, a status that we have maintained until this day. The United States also developed the first and only two nuclear weapons to ever be used in combat, killed millions of enemy soldiers, and, as a regrettable but unavoidable consequence of our military operations, destroyed the lives of countless civilians. By attacking our homeland, the Japanese had not only cost our country lives and military infrastructure, but they had established themselves and their allies as a clear threat to our national security. In order to preserve our freedom, we had no choice but to eliminate that threat.
Our response was not a display of restraint. Our response was not proportional. Nor should it have included anything less than the complete and utter destruction of our enemies. Our national leaders recognized a clear threat to our well-being, and took action to permanently remove those threats from existence. Our ongoing response to the atrocities of Sept. 11 is another clear indication of what happens to those who attack our country.
Imagine how you felt on Sept. 11, or, if you were alive at that point, Dec. 7. Then imagine how the Israelis felt when, two weeks ago, the Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah launched several rockets into their country from Lebanon as its militants crossed the border between the two countries, killed eight Israeli soldiers, and kidnapped two more. This attack was conducted only a number of days after the terrorist organization Hamas lead a similar operation out of Gaza, and both of these events were only the latest instances on an endless list of terrorist attacks against Israel since its creation 58 years ago.
These strikes against Israel were acts of war, and Israel has every right to defend itself. In 2000, Israel withdrew all of its forces from Lebanon in order to create the conditions for peace. Instead, Hezbollah built up its arsenal of weapons in the region, and is now using Lebanon as a launching ground to attack Israel. In 2005, Israel withdrew all of its citizens and military forces living in the Gaza strip in order to give the Palestinians the opportunity to build a democratic and prosperous state. Instead, the Palestinian people elected the terrorist organization Hamas to lead their government, and Gaza has become a nest of terror. Israel is not responsible for these acts. The Israelis have done everything they can to create the conditions for a lasting peace, but the terrorist forces will not be satisfied until they are able to force their vision of violence and terror on the entire world.
As Israeli forces attack terrorist hideouts in the Gaza strip and southern Lebanon, they are only retaliating for the terrorist attacks that were committed against their people without provocation. International leaders have consistently called on Israel to show restraint in its efforts, avoid using a disproportionate response, and agree to a cease fire, but we should not expect the Israelis to abide by standards that we would not abide by under similar circumstances.
Another cease-fire would only give the terrorists more time to build up their capabilities. It would also give them the comfort of knowing the international community will rush to their side when they are in need. The U.N. has already mandated that Hezbollah be dismantled, and world leaders should be happy that Israel is dismantling that organization for us. In dealing with terrorists, there is no such thing as a proportionate response. The only thing they respect is force. President Bush understands this, and has thankfully stood up for our ally Israel. Unfortunately, he is one of a few foreign leaders who are taking a stand against the terrorists.
It is important to emphasize that Hezbollah and Hamas do not act alone. They are each the puppets of Iran and Syria, who use the organizations to commit acts of terror that they themselves could not get away with. The events of the last eight days underscore the danger Iran possess to the world along with the threat Iran would become if they obtained a nuclear weapon. The Hezbollah-Hamas-Syrian-Iranian axis of evil is not just at war with Israel, but they are in a global struggle with all of civilization. They do not only strive for the destruction of Israel, but they hope to establish an Islamic state from Spain to Indonesia that could blackmail and intimidate the free world into submission. These people are of the same ideology as al-Qaeda. This is Israel's war no more than World War II was Britain's War. This is simply the latest front in our global war on terror. If Israel must extend its attacks beyond Lebanon, then we should continue to publicly support them. We could also destroy Iran's nuclear facilities. And the world should come together to defeat this dangerous threat before they defeat us.. That is the bottom line.
Tray Smith is a political columnist for the Atmore Advance. He can be reached for contact at His column appears weekly.

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