The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by J.C. Nossiter
The Morning Mendacity
Tuesday, September 7th,  2004
The Nossiter Net is cast  to snare some of  the riper rascalities of the day.  Comments?
When Yassir Arafat rejected the Clinton-brokered Camp David peace plan and opted for perpetual guerilla war instead, the Israelis responded in kind. Even rabid partisans on both sides would be hard-pressed to find any advantage in the resulting ceaseless bloodshed.  In the anguish and misery of both nations, the disadvantages are only too evident. 

As a corrupt old pol desperately clinging to power, Mr. Arafat took the low road, condemning his own constituents to mayhem and deprivation to preserve his own regrettable career.  But the Israelis ought to have known better.  The nation that forged a democracy in a region of autocratic kleptocracies, the people that made the desert bloom, should have rejected perpetual war on both moral and practical grounds.  Killing people and bulldozing their homes is not a strategy for the long term, no matter what the provocation.  Tit for tat bloodshed doesn’t accomplish anything beyond increasing the misery index.  This week has seen dozens of killed and maimed on both sides in the Palestinian suicide bus bombings and the reciprocal Israeli helicopter attacks.   The Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri could not have summed up the state of play any more neatly when he said. "It's an ongoing war. One day for us and one day for them."    Since the Israelis won’t countenance either the extermination or the complete subjugation of the Palestinians, any violence against them short of those goals is counter-productive even in the mad calculus of the Likud.  Since the Palestinians are not capable of inflicting more than occasional flesh wounds on Israel, their murderous activities are equally futile.

The author of the present failed Israeli policy is Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.  Mr. Sharon has few allies anywhere, and those few are clustered in Washington.  Most prominent among them are Richard Perle, the Prince of Darkness, who flits blackly in the shadows of government and business;  Douglas Feith, Undersecretary of Defense;  and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz.  Their unwavering support of Mr. Sharon’s lunatic war without end would be mere eccentricity and bad taste, were it not for the fact that the three of them are principal designers of Mr. Bush’s own perpetual war.

As they conceive it, the so-called war on terror mirrors the Israeli war on their neighbors, “an ongoing war.  One day for us and one day for them.”  Like the Israelis, the US strategy so far has been to launch military strikes with little regard for tactical gain in retaliation for acts of senseless murder and destruction against us.   That this strategy has been a catastrophic failure for the Israelis is of no consequence to Messrs. Feith, Wolfowitz, and Perle.  It should be to the rest of us.  Unlike the neoconservative unholy trinity, the electorate is not animated by mystical visions of a reformed Middle East forged in the crucible of perpetual war.

“The great questions of the day will not be settled by speeches and majority decisions … but by blood and iron" said Bismarck, and perhaps that is who Feith, Wolfowitz, and Perle have in mind.  But the Iron Chancellor wasn’t interested in war without end;  his goal was the unification of Germany.  In the Dr. Strangelove thinking of the neoconservatives, no such clear objective exists.  Instead they have led us down the garden path.  That their garden is a minefield has been made all too clear by the Israelis, who have been there before us.
©J.C. Nossiter 2004
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