Tuesday, July 18, 2006

War Or No War

There is an important question that I'm sure is being bandied about in the White House and Pentagon this week. Will the battles raging along Israel's border expand across the Middle East on their own and if not should we consider spreading the battle ourselves?

I seriously doubt the war will increase in scope past the point of the Israeli Defense Force once again occupying a strip of southern Lebanon. First, Israel would need additional provocation from Syria or Iran to warrant attacks on those nations. Yet the IDF has not done so even with the evidence in hand that Syria has supplied the rockets now hitting Israeli cities and that Iran supplied the anti-shipping missile that struck the Israeli warship last week.

On the other side Syria and Iran know if they were to lend a direct, helping hand to Hezbollah they would be defeated by the IDF. The IDF is possibly the most professional and deadly armed force in the world outside the U.S. and UK. So any attack by Syria or Iran would result in the total destruction of Syria. Iran being farther away is safer, but also less able to directly strike Israel.

The part of the question that may also be under consideration is whether the U.S. should push to spread the war. The can of worms opened by such a move would be huge, but the possible payoff would be equally as impressive.

Radical Islam has never gone to the negotiating table in good faith. The best example is that of the PLO. The PLO was offered a sweet deal to end its conflict with Isreal through the Dayton Accords. It's response was to start a war that used hundreds of suicide bombers to attack Israel.

So if you cannot talk sense then you must use force. Radical Islam must be destroyed. Starting last week Israel got off to a good start on this job by attacking Hezbollah. That group made the classic military mistake of provoking and then deciding to take on a world power in a more or less conventional fight. A fight it can never win, even with Allah's help.

However, even if Israel crushes Hezbollah in Lebanon and forces its survivors to flee to Syria the group will come back to fight again another day. As long as Hezbollah, Hamas and al Queda have the support and safe haven offered by Syria and Iran they cannot be eliminated.

That means the support system must be cut.

This opens another Pandora's Box of problem. Primarily what to do with a defeated Syria and Iran. Iraq has not proven to be as easy to fix as originally thought. Of course, much of our grief there has been caused by Iran and Syria supporting the militants.

That leads to the thought of how much of the terrorist tumor must be excised from the Middle East to stop the cancer from returning? Are there any other nations that can take over their role? Libya has apparantly gone straight. Egypt and Saudi Arabia have actually denounced Hezbollah during the past week and Pakistan has enough problems of its own with India.

I think it might very well be in the world's best interest to finally take out Syria and Iran. This is no simple task. Our military is dangerously over stretched right now. It would require the activation of most of our National Guard and Reserve forces, not to mention the temporary disruption it would cause to the world's economy.

People forget that everyone, not just the troops, must deal with shortages, high prices and other stresses during a time of war. There was massive rationing during WWII, something similar might have to be imposed again. But if such an action could undercut the terrorists for once and for all it would be worth the effort and financial cost.

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