David Ignatius at the Wapo looks at the recent assassination of Lebanese cabinet minister Pierre Gemayel, and says:

A disease is eating away at the Middle East. It afflicts the Syrians, the Iraqis, the Lebanese, even the Israelis. It is the idea that the only political determinant in the Arab world is raw force — the power of physical intimidation. It is politics as assassination.


Those who imagined they could stop the assassins’ little guns with their big guns — the United States and Israel come to mind — have been undone by the howling gale of violence. In trying to fight the killers, they began to make their own arguments for assassination and torture. That should have been a sign that something had gone wrong.

Actually, no, David… we weren’t undone by the violence. That violence would have been the first sign that we’d made the right choice… to take physical action, as opposed to trying diplomacy… tired, toothless, and in the end of early worthless, except to those with the sickness as you mention.

The fact is with such a situation force is the only response possible. As you say yourself, it’s the only thing they understand. It became the coin of the realm long before you dispensed your wisdom on the subject.

The problem is, that force has to be applied over a long period of time.  Longer, apparently, then you and yours are willing to even consider. We are only in able to stop the killers, because we have announced their intention to withdraw.  And we were not about saving the Arab world from itself as you claim. Rather, we were about saving the remainder of the world from Arab extremism. You may recall that there were a few other places involved in our getting into this fight; Say, southern Manhattan for example.

And if you want further indication that these people simply cannot be negotiated with, that force, the answer you rejected, was the only viable one, I suggest you look no further than the London Times article cited by Captain Ed this morning.

In recent weeks the idea that the United States and the UK should “engage” Syria, but also Iran, to stabilise Iraq has been all the rage. On Tuesday, in an east Beirut suburb, Lebanon’s industry minister, Pierre Gemayel, showed what the cost of engagement might be.

And now, by means of a vote on the most react first Tuesday, the only viable solution to the problem has been rejected, and our enemy emboldened. Gemayel respectfully suggests that this may have not been the best path.

Tags: , ,