Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Podhoretz's Bulls-Eye

On last evening's Sky News program, during my dialogue with a Lebanese counterpart, so-to-speak, the question of civilian casualties came up and lo and behold! the moderator in London insisted that Jameel reply to the point that he was not differentiating between real civilians and Hezballah fatalities.

And now, I've seen this article by John Podhertez and it rings true:-

What if liberal democracies have now evolved to a point where they can no longer wage war effectively because they have achieved a level of humanitarian concern for others that dwarfs any really cold-eyed pursuit of their own national interests?

What if the universalist idea of liberal democracy - the idea that all people are created equal - has sunk in so deeply that we no longer assign special value to the lives and interests of our own people as opposed to those in other countries?

What if this triumph of universalism is demonstrated by the Left's insistence that American and Israeli military actions marked by an extraordinary concern for preventing civilian casualties are in fact unacceptably brutal? And is also apparent in the Right's claim that a war against a country has nothing to do with the people but only with that country's leaders?

Can any war be won when this is the nature of the discussion in the countries fighting the war? Can any war be won when one of the combatants voluntarily limits itself in this manner?...

...If Lebanon's 300-plus civilian casualties are already rocking the world, what if it would take 10,000 civilian casualties to finish off Hezbollah? Could Israel inflict that kind of damage on Lebanon - not because of world opinion, but because of its own modern sensibilities and its understanding of the value of every human life?

Where do these questions lead us?...

...Is this the horrifying paradox of 21st century warfare? If Israel and the United States cannot be defeated militarily in any conventional sense, have our foes discovered a new way to win? Are they seeking victory through demoralization alone - by daring us to match them in barbarity and knowing we will fail?

Are we becoming unwitting participants in their victory and our defeat? Can it be that the moral greatness of our civilization - its astonishing focus on the value of the individual above all - is endangering the future of our civilization as well?


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