Friday, May 09, 2008

The Very Big War

The Very Big War

-Dedicated to the memory of the Six Million

“patriotism is another name for paganism. I say let this land [Iran] burn. I say let this land go up in smoke, provided Islam emerges triumphant in the rest of the world.” -Ayatollah Khomeini

Here are the facts:

George Bush leaves office in January 2009

Iran's nuclear program is going full steam ahead, they are at or near the point of no return

Hezbollah has a 40,000 missile arsenal and is in open rebellion against the lawful government of Lebanon

Hamas is committing daily acts of terrorism against Israeli territory

Syria is at the highest level of mobilization seen in 25 years.

It has been several decades since the last major Middle East war. For a variety of reasons, there are forces at work almost guaranteeing the Very Big War is coming soon.

The Very Big War will have two fronts of fighting but spillover fighting and terrorism that can erupt in places all over the world. The fronts are the Israel-Gaza/Syria/Hezbollah and the Iranian Front.

The advent of $120 per barrel oil and the global ambitions of the Iranian clerical regime and the internal political pressures of the region’s undemocratic authoritarian regimes have created a roiling cauldron, ready to explode.

A strategic overview of the kind of war that will be waged and its costs is helpful to understanding what we are about to witness.

The Israel Front

It is possible that Israel can be the only western combatant in the war. It is unlikely that Iran, if attacked, (and it will be attacked), will not lash out at the US and our allies in the region. Iran has threatened to do so and it is ideologically consistent for them to do so. But war netween Israel and Iran is a given.

The 2006 inconclusive war in Lebanon was very much the model for what we can expect in the coming Very Big War. In 2006, Hamas and Hezbollah committed coordinated terror-kidnap strikes on Israeli territory, leading to a major Israeli mobilization and, ultimately, war. Because of poor leadership on the Israeli side, the war was inconclusive, both sides came away licking their wounds but claiming victory. Since the end of hostilities, both two sides have addressed what they determined were the lessons from the 2006 conflict. The Israelis focused on correcting, poor leadership, poor equipment, preparation and planning. The net result of the 2006 war was a shakeup in the political and military defense commands, with a rededication to better preparation for fighting the next war better. The current Defense Minister, and Chief of Staff are highly regarded military officers, who will not be content to repeat the tactical and strategic blunders of the 2006 war: not attacking and destroying enemy infrastructure, regardless of location, and fighting in a way that best uses Israel's overwhelming conventional military power. New plans call for the IDF to deeply penetrate enemy territory to locate, target and destroy enemy military capacity. In particular, Israel's failure to punish Hezbollah's major sponsor, Syria, is viewed as a major strategic mistake that will not be repeated in the coming war.

From the perspective of what Professor Barry Rubin calls HISH (short for Hamas, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah), the 2006 war displayed weakness in Israeli military doctrine. To their thinking, they have developed a new form of warfare that permits nations, unable to field successful conventional armies, to use unconventional forces and tactics to create not just military deterrence and parity, but the tantalizing prospect of actual victory over a modern Western force. Using their favorite tactic of depraved indifference to civilian life, coupled with low cost but highly destructive modern weapons, the new tactics seek to limit the advantages of Western-style conventional military operations. Under this new doctrine, terror-military forces, with some air protection from portable anti-air missiles, use long-range rockets to strike and destroy distant civilian targets while heavily bunkered conventional military units bleed the enemy for every inch of ground gained. Using numbers of specially equipped suicide commandos, the new strategy channels the fighting into costly village to village, street to street and bunker to bunker fighting to slowdown the enemy advance forcing the opponent to pay for every inch of territory in blood.

HISH has lavishly supplemented its conventional abilities with the latest Russian antiaircraft cover, Chinese anti-ship missiles with the proven tank busting capabilities with preplaced 1,000 pound mines and EFP's (the very same weapons that have shredded the bodies of thousands of Americans, allies and Iraqis).

Just as the 2006 war began with the kidnapping/cross-border attacks from Israel's north and south, we can expect the same kind of ever escalating attacks similar to what we've seen in the last few days along Israel's borders. These are coordinated strikes by the too H's in HISH, Hamas and Hezbollah, under the direction of Iranian command and control units based in the region. At the direction of these Iranian masters, the attempt is to provoke a major military response by Israel under the reasonable belief that the international community will prevent Israel from striking too hard against Iran's proxies or that Israel will not dare escalate things too far.

The assumed deterrence factors are Israel's reluctance to fight in a war, political weakness in the person of the sitting prime minister and the very real understanding and Israel's part that HISH has deployed a specially developed arsenal of long-range rockets and missiles designed to batter the Jewish state and cause a huge price to be paid in civilian and military fronts. It is the hailstorm of short and long-range rockets, some precision guided that can be expected to kill hundreds of civilians and destroy hundreds of millions of dollars, perhaps billions, in damage that are hoped to present so high a cost to Israel that she will accede to another draw and accept the new norms of escalating perpetual violence against Israel awaiting the day when Iran is finally able to deploy nuclear weapons against Israel.

Israel has developed a real and credible plan for attacking and destroying, or, at the very least, delaying is Iran’s nuclear program. It will require a large number of airstrikes over many days to achieve the desired objective, albeit at a very high cost to Israel's air force and human lives. For Israel, the possibility of an Iranian bomb is completely unacceptable. Regardless of what the US 2007 NIE said, Israel believes that it has a dwindling amount of time and few prospects for a diplomatic breakthrough for a peaceful resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue. Iran wants the nuclear weapons; the current Clerical leadership will never peacefully agree to give up their illegal nuclear weapons program.

The regime’s Holocaust denial and open calls for Israel's annihilation are sincere. The Very Big War’s raison d’être is quite simply, Iran using its proxies, Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas to tie down Israel and run out the clock while they get the bomb; those same forces compel Israel to act before it is too late. Iran’s actions in the region are only explainable as being in direct furtherance of their stated propaganda goals. What began as nasty pinprick terror attacks in Lebanon in the early 1980’s has blossomed into a multibillion dollar a year export industry of global mayhem and terror against Iran’s main targets: regime opponents, Jews, Israelis, and Americans. Terror is and always has been the primary foreign policy of the Iranian regime.

In terms of propaganda, Iran has built giant media empires blaring demonization and open calls for genocide against Israel. The hatred is too large to be accidental; rather, it is deliberate, specially ordered, and content too pungent to be anything other than what it is. Yet, for many of the same reasons the world did not respond in the late 1930’s to Nazi aggression, the same blind pacifism is advocated by the far left, despite overwhelming evidence of an intent to commit an aggressive genocidal war, is once again ignored. Even when Iranian proxies deliberately ignore the use of the same terms used by the Nazis to refer to Jews, even when they use the Hitler salute, the world pretends it is not happening. Just in the past weeks, a senior leader in Iran reiterated that they really do mean it when they use the slogans. "Death to Israel" and "Death to America." These are the real desires and objectives of the regime and repeated for all to hear- totalitarian regimes not only proclaim such objectives to intimidate their enemies, such propaganda energizes their followers demanding the blind obedience that is the hallmark of the totalitarian state.

Leftist come in two flavors: Idealists that believe whatever PC doctrine is the current wisdom and the knowing cynics whose soulless hatred of the West enables them to collaborate happily with the likes of Hitler when politics demands it. We are seeing one of the surest signs war is coming- Former President Carter’s visits to the region and peace activists making pilgrimage to Tehran. It is pure leftist egoism to think the language of their nice salons in the west have the least resonance with brutes who hang women and gays from cranes and stone women to death for adultery.

Pre-war Europe ignored Jews being beaten death on the streets by Hitler’s goons then complained they did not know his intentions when they arrived on their doorsteps. The left has created magnificent cathedrals of denial to ignore or explain Iranian behavior. Only fools can be credulous enough to believe, the Iranian protestations about the peaceful nature of their nuclear program: from acquisition to specialized nuclear triggers, ballistic missiles that are only good for caring nuclear warheads, to Iranian warhead referencing documents mistakenly given to be IAEA, to say nothing of the largest underground "peaceful" nuclear fuel processing facility in the world. One either can take the Iranians regimes overt calls for Israel's destruction at their face value, or be prepared to proven wrong a nuclear Holocaust against the Jewish people. The latter is just fine with Nazis and leftists (isn’t it nice to see them working productively together again after all these years?), however the Jewish State and its leadership and the Jewish world take seriously the Iranian threat and understand the danger only grows as diplomatic efforts grow ever more futile.

The cost of stopping Hitler kept rising with each passing year of not facing the facts of who he was and the danger he presented. He could have been stopped with a few thousand men in 1935, a few hundred thousand in 1937, and a couple million in 1938. Yet, at each point, the West did not defend itself in the shortsighted ideas Hitler could be appeased, that no one really wants war and peace could be cheaply bought, that trumped common sense in the face of clear evidence that the Nazi regime was a different kind of operation. Western leaders refused to label the danger, much less act to deter the aggressor. Iranian military aggression and ideology are facts: from the first days of the regime attacking the US Embassy until today Iran has been guilty of any number of vicious attacks against its enemies, using all means, no matter how reprehensible, in the same ever escalating spiral of violence. Anyone with a clear understanding of the historical details of the occupation of Iraq since 2003 knows the Iranian government has spent billions of dollars doing everything he can to rip Iraq apart and kill as many Americans as possible.

Aggressors commit aggression. Only credible deterrence works but only to a point- some regimes require war to destroy. With the sole exception of US naval operations in the Gulf in the 80’s, the world has failed to deter Iranian rogue behavior.

The Very Big War will have some triggering event; a large successful terrorist strike by Hamas or Hezbollah is a safe bet for how things will start. Kidnapping three Israeli soldiers in 2006 worked out better than the Iranians could ever have hoped, Israel continuously tried through various intermediaries to get the release of her three captured soldiers. But every deal fails. HISH would like nothing to have a dozen or so more captives to dangle before their enemies.

Tensions in the region already very high; the level of violence from Gaza already has many in Israel talking in terms of a need for, at the very least, a major incursion into Gaza. Even a large unsuccessful terror attack may draw a maximal response. HISH will keep raising the ante until it eventually provokes response: a war to divert world attention from Iran’s nuclear program.

One fears Israeli leadership will suffer the same failure of will as seen in 2006. Unless the Israel strikes very hard, fast and deep into HISH territory, the damage to civilian lives and infrastructure will be very dear indeed: the HISH rocket arsenal will be unleashed when the war starts. Unless she decisively puts troops deep into Gaza, Syria and Lebanon, Israel will suffer enormous amounts of rocket damage. Israel’s military planning structure has created appropriate strategies to deal with the current situation. The question is whether Israel’s senior political leadership will see those plans though to victory. HISH is counting on just such a failure of will on Israel’s part. Only Israeli military action that rapidly paralyzes HISH military command in Lebanon and Syria can avert the destruction aimed at Israel. Unless Southern Lebanon is quickly cut off and overrun, an endless rain of rockets will be falling on Israel.

Fighting in Gaza, will be punctuated by vicious house-to-house and bunker-to-bunker combat with high casualties on both sides. Hamas has used the last year to turn much of Gaza possible into a deathtrap. One hopes Israel will kill and capture most of the Hamas leadership and then hand over the territory to an international force. Only a decisive military defeat in Gaza can convince Palestinians of the futility of their armed struggle.

Now let’s turn to the rockets that will be fired in the Very Big War. While Israel fields on of the most effective ABM systems in the world, hundreds of rockets are to get through; expect particularly horrific television images. The HISH rocket arsenal is almost four times the size it was in 2006 with many more long-range, blockbuster missiles. Hundreds of HISH rockets will be fired indiscriminately; there will be widespread destruction; many are specially designed to blast ball bearings to kill civilians. The mere existence of these rockets is a war-crime. The world was silent about them in 2006, so HISH built thousands more of them. There is also the very real possibility of poison gas or biological warheads: Hamas used anti-coagulants in their suicide belt bombs; they are no moral lower thresholds that are beneath HISH. These rockets are aimed against Jewish people and property solely because of their religion. HISH possesses some drone and precision guidance missile capabilities. Israel will find out the hard way what those are.

In 2006, the international community and the United States called on southern Lebanon to be disarmed and for all countries and groups to cease and desist shipping any kind of military hardware to any groups in the Lebanon. Syria, Hezbollah and Iran wiped their collective bottoms with this agreement. The failure of these international guarantees is going to result in a number of Jewish civilians being killed in the Very Big War, expect the usual meaningless expressions of regret from the international diplomatic community. That all this takes place 68 years after the single greatest genocide in history speaks volumes of European indifference, UN ineffectiveness, and the depraved hearts of the perpetrator regimes and groups.

HISH believes it can force Israel to fight the same kind of war in 2008 as was fought in 2006. The reasoning is that HISH’s belief Israel’s leaders will only fight the smallest war possible choosing Iran’s proxies over a wider war. This will allow Iran to accomplish its goal in the war: completing its nuclear weapons without interruption. HISH assumes the United States is politically paralyzed, in an election year and that Israel is deterred by the cost of all out war against the cost of Iran’s getting nuclear weapons. Every government has the intelligence assessment that says Iran will behave rationally once they get the bomb. Iran believes once they have the bomb the world permanently changes in their favor; they could even be right about this latter point. As HISH sees things right now, the more destruction in the near term, the better for their long-range plan.

For supporters of the Israel, we, must hope Israel’s leadership, have learned their lesson from the last war and are dead set against not repeating the same mistakes. The worst mistake you can make in war is to let your enemy determined the where, the when and the how of the fight. Conversely, if you can fight as much as possible on your terms, you have a pretty good chance of winning.

We should not be surprised to see a very large Israeli military incursion deep into Lebanon and a very hard drive east to deliver a terrible and crushing blow to the regime of Assad’s Syria. With luck, we’ll be treated to one of the happier images you will ever see on television: an Israeli task force doing a Thunder Run into downtown Damascus. If Israel is forced to go to war against HISH, she will use the occasion to launch long-range strikes against Iran’s nuclear program. Those strikes will go on for some period. Given the already high cost already built into this war, Israel would be wise to remove Iran’s key motivating factor in their behavior. The enormous dangers posed by the Iranian regime’s nuclear program, even if they make good on their threats of conventional or biochemical ballistic missile retaliation, makes the cost of their revenge a bearable- when the choice is suffer some or die, you accept the suffering.

The most important factor in any decision to go to war is the uncertainty of its outcome; war really is the most uncertain of all human endeavors. You can maximize your ability to get your desired result but that does not mean it can or will happen the way you plan. Just ask President Bush. Leaders who send their nations to war reap the results, good or bad and, as Argentina’s Junta learned, even dictators can get blowback. Israel is shot at every day and bigger attacks are planned against her every day. Israel weighs the uncertainty of all out war against lesser responses- a hedgehog strategy to survive or larger scale counterstrikes. No one is going to do it for Israel and she knows it. Her trigger points are what she knows about Iran’s nuclear program and a date, after which they cannot realistically stop it and an attack or event that requires war.

If war breaks out, Iran will be bombed. Acclaimed journalists and other fools (Seymour Hersh has the distinction of being both) have already declared Israel will use nuclear weapons against Iran; Israeli military doctrine requires a doomsday scenario before such weapons would ever be used, conventional force will be tried first in their attacks on Iran. This is a 100% certainty, something anyone who knows anything about Israeli military doctrine understands but is news to leftists and journalists everywhere. There is a possibility of nuclear fallout from Israel’s strikes. Nuclear facilities really should not be bombed but Israel has shown it has a certain flair for this activity. Israel will do everything they can to avoid fallout, but they had no say in what Iran is doing and how Iran’s engineers designed their facilities. There is one form of good “fallout” from any Israeli attack: there is some chance it may politically destabilize the Iranian regime, which would be a wonderful outcome; the absolutely worst case scenario: the strike would only slow down Iran’s race for the bomb.

Mentioning Hersh is always a good segue into discussion about the propaganda and false accusations against Israel that will be part of the war. The 2006 wars saw a number of false accusations of war crimes against Israel. It is quite clear there are special HISH propaganda units tasked with false accusation manufacturing. Using sympathetic and uncritical, even complicit, leftist and Islamist journalists willing to abet staging photo opportunities. HISH’s propaganda units stand ready to accuse Israel of anything. Note too, a recent announcement by Iran calling for reporter volunteers to “embed” into HISH force structures. Not only does also show HISH thinks war is imminent, this stratagem also provides a cynical opportunity that would make Joseph Goebbels proud: a free supply of hostages that can be “captured” by splinter groups and then ransomed back to Western news agencies for a tidy profit. So assuming the tortured bodies of political opponents and their families are probably kept in a special morgue awaiting display as “victims” of Israeli aggression is a safe assumption. Witness the “Green Helmet Guy” of the Lebanon War who paraded the body of a child back and forth for the waiting cameras and the equally odious rusted ambulances that were allegedly targeted by Israeli air to ground missiles. HISH will seek similar propaganda successes.

The Internet will be permanently polluted with execution videos of any American or Israeli unfortunate enough to fall into enemy hands during and after the war. Civilian or military status is utterly irrelevant to HISH. Israel military doctrine seeks to minimize civilian damage (those who believe otherwise can read a single booklet of allied bombing raids during WWII to understand what the real use of modern air power against civilian targets really is); conversely, HISH doctrine specifically mandates emplacement of units in civilian areas and maximal targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure. Perversely, while they claim to act form Islamic religious morality and norms, HISH fighting doctrine long ago decided that, contrary to the Geneva Convention (and the Koran for that matter) any number of casualties even Christian and Muslim Palestinian or Lebanese are perfectly acceptable results.

The American Front

The single biggest X-factor in the coming war will be how Iran responds with respect to US forces in Iraq and the region. The US is not necessarily wedded to attacking Iran if there is war. While there is mounting evidence that the US military is preparing to launch punitive raids against Iranian terror/military/nuclear sites on our own, it does not necessarily mean US involvement in the war. The new CENTCOM commander, Petreaus, has spoken loud and often about Iran killing our soldiers in Iraq. He replaces a commander who famously vowed he would never attack Iran. The American Front is optional, to Iran and the US. There is some threshold that triggers a US response; but one can only conjecture as to what it is.

Iran has spent heavily building up her capability in Iraq. Recent US and Iraqi government strikes against Iranian proxies in Iraq have greatly degraded these capabilities, a possible precursor to debilitate Iranian capability in Iraq before war or, the opening salvo; given how fluid things are over there, it might even be a bit of both. If war breaks out, Iran might attack US forces in Iraq to cause as much damage as possible to Iraq. They are more than willing to fire over the border into Iraq using longer-range weaponry. The bigger issue is Iranian plans to attack and disrupt oil production infrastructure throughout the region to create worldwide economic chaos and otherwise punish the West for daring to deny them their nuclear dreams.

What keeps me up late at night is the prospect of an Iranian sneak attack against a US carrier group launching a hail of C-802 antiship missiles at near point-blank range. Imagine the propaganda coup of Iran sinking or damaging a US carrier. If you look at the Iranian naval capabilities, you see lots of “skeet” but also numbers of sophisticated high quality weaponry. The strategy is to skeet to distract and confuse from the more sophisticated threat. A C-802, launched close enough might give the target ship only a few minutes to defend itself.

In the event of war in the Gulf, the US navy will light up the shores of Iran from one end to another. The Iranian Navy and Air Force will cease to exist after, at most, three days. Terror camps in Iran will be bombed, any nuclear facility the US feels Israel did not destroy sufficiently, will be thoroughly destroyed by the most powerful non-nuclear weapons in the world. US forces will seize coastal military objectives; there will not be a full-scale invasion. Iranian military units will find themselves the recipients of hell from the skies. Her leaders will be driven underground or they will flee the country. Within hours, the US will have air superiority over all of Iran. Revolution minded Iranians would face a government on the run. Inserted US special forces could quickly partner with local militias and drive out the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the Basiji and the Pasdaran- no military formation can function, much less survive very long, under sustained precision aerial bombardment.

The Home Front

There is also Iran’s ally, Al Qaeda. In the event of war, Iranian embassies throughout the Western world might handoff dozens of suicide vests for use on the mass transit and malls of Europe and the US. While the United States is blessed not to have too much of a Iranian diplomatic presence on our soil, Hamas and Hezbollah and Al Qaeda, in the event of war, will unleash every bit as hell they possibly can in America. There are too many anecdotal stories of Middle Easterners posing in front of Jewish institutions not to take the threat seriously.

This war is going to hurt everywhere.

Friends of Israel are sure to face accusations Israeli friendship costs American lives. Most Americans are sophisticated enough to know that anyone willing to attack you for your friendships with others is an implacable enemy whom you are destined to fight.

Final Countdown to War

Israel’s fixed date after which it believes she must attack Iran or forever lose the chance to interdict Iran’s nuclear program is fast approaching. Recent reports of Israel briefing British officials on the same kind of “smoking gun” intelligence that preceded Israel’s attack on Syria’s plutonium reactor indicate the time for diplomacy is all but at an end.

Iran’s hope a proxy war will forestall attack on its nuclear program is badly placed. Viewed in its most cynical light, this strategy is particularly exploitative of the relatively weak, and, frankly, stupid Palestinians, Syrians and, Lebanese allies of Iran; it seems crazy to allow your own country to be destroyed to assist another country destroy yet a third country. The Iranian clerical regime have been bad actors since their first inception and nothing has changed that. Iran made a great show after the 2006 war of waving fistfuls of counterfeit US currency, allegedly being passing out cash to rebuild southern Lebanon; the fact is Iran did very little civilian rebuilding but they spent an absolute fortune rearming and replacing Hezbollah weaponry expended in 2006 and billions more arming Syria to the teeth.

Adolf Eichmann, prior to his capture by Israel, famously commented that he would jump into his grave with glee for what he had done; the current Iranian leadership are kindred spirits of Eichmann in every respect. Their solitary focus and desire to destroy Israel steeped in the deepest and basest of hatreds, is the sincerest expression of Iran’s intentions. No one makes them do what they do. They are driven by their core beliefs and will not stop until they are destroyed.

We always want their prognostications of bad tidings to be wrong. In the Middle East, the hand writing for war coming soon is clearly on the wall. We have multiple speeding buses all heading towards the same intersection, no one is slowing down; it doesn’t even matter what color the light is. On some of the buses the drivers actually want to die and take as many people with them as possible. The only question is who is going to die in the collision and what the collateral damage will be.

The Very Big War does not have to be lost by Israel and the United States. Indeed, if they act wisely and quickly, our overwhelming conventional military superiority can crush a relatively weak enemy. However, we should remember that just because you have a gun and are going against a lunatic with a knife does not necessarily mean that you will win. In certain flights, the wrong guy can win. Iran is perfectly happy if their proxies suffer catastrophic defeat if they gain the strategic victory of getting the bomb. By their thinking. Even if they only succeed in doing billions of dollars damage to Israeli civilian infrastructure or kill hundreds of Americans, they are happy.

Above all Iran wants to get the bomb, only the bomb matters, it is more important than any and every other consideration. It is not just any bomb; it is Khomeini’s bomb, an instrument for etching his evil into the face of the earth and history itself. Ahmadinejad visits to the bomb factories, even when they leak secrets about the program are as one with Hitler’s torch lit parades celebrating National Socialism. The psychological will to violent power is textbook totalitarian behavior. The only acceptable outcome, should this war break out, is one in which the Iranian clerical regime and their nuclear program are wiped from the face of the earth. At least 80% of Iranians chose not to vote in last month’s elections. A huge number of the ballots that appeared to be cast were cast in favor of the candidates with the least ostensible ties to the regime. The Iranian people are no less hostages of these criminal the criminal barbarians as are the innocent civilian populations of Israel, Gaza, Lebanon and Syria. Hamas, Hezbollah and Syria are taking their people into a war, paid for with their blood, on their soil, at the behest of a foreign international interloper; they will all pay dearly for allying their people with Iran’s regime.

The great lesson of 9/11 is the danger of state-sponsored terrorism: the modern nation-state can inflict serious damage on any open democratic society; using small groups that do the damage for them limits their risk of being caught. 9/11 teaches us such regimes can never be permitted to get nuclear weapons and, ultimately, they have to be driven out of the business of exporting terrorism. Thousands of Americans, Afghans, Iraqis and Israelis have died, because of state-sponsored terrorism directed against them. The culprit: HISH. Acting through their proxies, even working with al Qaeda, the Islamic Republic of Iran has created whole armies for terror and mass murder. Only when Iran, and its foremost stooge, Syria, are utterly defeated will we see a major decline in state-sponsored terrorism. The Very Big War can break out at any moment. Let us hope that the leaders of the West have the courage and determination, to go right for Iran’s jugular and destroy the clerical regime and their allies once and for all.

The Price of HISH

26 years ago, a young Israeli flyer in the name of Ron Arad was shot down over Lebanon; he is known to have ejected safely and to have been captured in by Shiite militias. It is not publicly known whether he is currently in Lebanon or Iran, alive or dead, but the mere fact that this man was taken and held as a permanent hostage by HISH speaks worlds about this enemy. The current Iranian regime views any of us and all of us as the next Ron Arad. Whether it’s flying in a plane, taking the train, praying at our preferred house of the worship, shopping at the mall, watching a movie in the theater or just walking in the crowded streets of any downtown, the places we’d go and the things we do have been cased and considered by specialists in mass murder as prospective targets. We can live in a world in which never know, if or when, we, or someone we know or love, might become the next Ron Arad. We can live in a world that doesn’t have the sort of people that puts the entire resources of their nation into killing people for the supposed sin of their existence. It is not a crime to be European or American, much less Christian or Jewish. The fanatical gleam in their eye, and an insatiable thirst for blood of people they never met is the problem, not anything any person alive ever did. The question before us is whether we are foolish enough to allow people who openly call for our deaths to gain the means of actually doing something in furtherance of those stated desires. Unlike the Communist regimes of the Cold War, the new enemy advocates committing suicide if it means they can destroy the West. At least one can say the lives of their people mattered more to the Soviets than destroying the West.

Whether HISH provokes the Very Big War or not, in many respects Very Big War is already being fought. When the time comes, let us pray Western leaders have the courage to see the fight to its just end, that we may see the liberation of millions of Lebanese, Syrians, Palestinians, and Iranians. Wars are awful but some wars really are necessary and this war is against an existential threat to the entire world. Since it must be fought, let there be no half measures, let victory be total. Any other result insults the memory of those already killed in this conflict and means that, ultimately, we will face a future nuclear war that will see tens of millions of us die.

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