Monday, September 20, 2004


Winning Against Terrorism

I just had the pleasure of reading a strong and well-thought-out article on the United States, Israel, and the war on terrorism here. (Hat tip: Power Line.) The basic thesis is that, yes, it is possible to win a war against terrorism, and Israel is doing so -- not without missteps, and not without serious risks for the future. But she is winning nonetheless.

I have to say that most of the article's descriptions make sense to me. When my family and I visited Israel for two weeks in August, one of the things that struck me the most was the normalcy of the place. Gone was the grim sense of impending doom, just below the surface, that Israelis have had to live with since the country was founded. Instead, I found a bustling, consumer-driven country, with billboards, major highways, and shopping malls everywhere.

No doubt my feelings were based on a superficial look at the current status (and no doubt I attached undeserved importance to the changes that had taken place since I'd visited last). But I could not escape the feeling that, whatever Israelis currently are, they are no longer afraid.

In short: the terrorists are losing. Terrorism that does not evoke terror serves no purpose.

This, to me, is the equivalent of what mathematicians might call an "existence theorem" -- something that demonstrates a principle by its very existence. The fact that terrorists are losing against Israel proves, to the pessimists and the naysayers, that it is possible to win against terrorism.

The war will not be won in a day, or a year, or possibly not in a decade. There will undoubtedly be setbacks. But it is possible to win -- not just in theory, but in fact. It is possible to beat back the terrorists, to hurt them so badly that they cannot mount more terrorist attacks. We know this, because Israel is doing it.

And for me, that is extremely good news.


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