Have we lost our focus?

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 26, 2002


DEAR EDITOR: When suicide bombers attacked America last year, nothing could or would have stopped our retaliation. Yet, when suicide bombers attack Israel, week after week, Israel is told by America, of all people, to stop their “occupation” and pull out.

When we started bombing Afghanistan, it was a mission to “smoke them out.” Yet, when Israel finally had enough and waged war against the murderers of their innocent civilians, and all too often, these victims are children, it is accused of “occupying” and told to retreat.

When we fired on Kabul from the safety of the air, we said innocent people would be caught in the crossfire and, sadly, this was war. Yet, when Israeli soldiers go door-to-door in Palestinian areas, in my opinion the most dangerous, yet humane, way to root out terrorists, we call them “murderers” the moment one civilian is killed.

When Osama bin Laden denied any involvement with Sept. 11, we said he was lying and vowed to get him dead or alive. Yet, when groups tied to Yasser Arafat boldly claim responsibility for suicide attacks, Israel is told not to harm their leader.

When we struck back against extremist terror, Israel was behind us. When Israel strikes back, we say, “Enough is enough.”

You tell me, what is wrong with this picture?

When we were scorned by critics who thought our treatment of prisoners in Guantanomo Bay was inhumane because we bound, gagged and blindfolded them, we snapped back and said, “These are dangerous people.” Yet, when Israel demands certain Palestinians strip and stay on the ground, we say this is “outrageous and must be stopped.”

When a videotape emerges showing bin Laden speaking of Sept. 11, we say it proves the man is evil. Yet, when Israelis produce documents to show that Arafat funds terror, they are accused of forgery.

When certain Muslims suggest we hear out bin Laden and AlAaeda, that we understand their cause and the reasons for their anger, we grit our teeth and say those people want us dead, why should be talk to them? Yet, when Israel says the same thing, it is told it must be sympathetic and negotiate, even with the very people whose sole purpose seems to be to deny Israel’s right to exist.

War means death. There are innocent victims, Palestinians as well as Israelis on all sides of this equation.

But, let’s be consistent. Our nearly 3,000 dead in the World Trade Center was horrific, but Israel, relative to its small size, has lost a half-dozen World Trade Centers in the past 18 months, all to suicide bombings. Every time you see five Israeli dead in an attack, it is like 250 Americans dead here. How many of those events would it take for us to lash out with all our power?

Would we pause and consider that the enemy wanted its own state? Or that its people were “desperate?” No way. For radical groups such as Hamas and Hizballah, statehood is not a stop sign anyhow. They want Israel obliterated, state or no state, the same way bid Laden wants westerners obliterated. Bin Laden had his own country. He had billions. Did land and money keep him from murder?

No. No more than desperation drives you to it. There have been desperate people in Rwanda and Bosnia, yet they have never chose to blow themselves up. There have been occupied people across the globe, even right here, with American Indians. Would we accept it if descendants of the Sioux Nation began blowing themselves up in shopping malls? I hardly think so.

There is a difference between “desperate” and “brainwashed.” Desperate people want to make their lives better. Brainwashed people think “kaboom” sends you to heaven. Innocent people are being killed on both sides. The difference is, for Palestine terrorists, those are the targets.

We can tell the Israelis to stop, but we wouldn’t stop. We can tell them to negotiate, but we wouldn’t negotiate. We can see their dead and say that it hurts as much as ours, but we don’t mean it. Because if it were ours, we’d be doing what they’re doing and damn anyone who spoke against us.

I am all for a peaceful resolution to the problems in the Middle East. However, we should not lose focus on just who Israel is fighting. These people are not looking for a peaceful resolution. If that were the case, the World Trade Centers would still be standing today.