This Failure Of A War


“We will not allow the Hezbollah flag to be lifted again on the fences of the state of Israel.” — Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz, 27 July 2006.

A car decorated with Hezbollah flags drives on the Lebanese side of the Israel-Lebanon border, near the northern Israeli town of Metula, Thursday Aug. 17, 2006.”

There is little to be said on the denouement of this round of the Hezbollah-Israeli war that has not been said already. Israel has failed: this much is certain. Hezbollah is neither disarmed, nor crippled, nor pushed off the northern border. The kidnapped Israeli soldiers who provided the casus bellum still languish in captivity. The Iranian sponsors of Hezbollah celebrate and push forward with their own plans. (On this count, it should be noted that the run-up to 22 August, cited by Bernard Lewis as an Iran-related date to watch, sees the indefinite war-footing mobilization of the Iranian armed forces; I am also told that there is substantive terror-related “chatter” as we approach that date.) Et cetera: that Israeli bellicosity is reduced to the occasional raid and anonymous posturing for the benefit of American print media is telling. In the absence of an actual victory, there’s nothing left.

The failure is hardly Israel’s alone — it is, rather, a result of a moral abdication afflicting the entire West.

A half-decade after the definitive announcement of Islamism’s war upon us, we have seen the West (in which we must include Israel) engage in five major campaigns in riposte:

  • In Iraq.
  • In Afghanistan.
  • In Lebanon.
  • In “Palestine.”
  • In the banlieus and ethnic neighborhoods of its own cities.

Not one of them is won, nor even close to being won. This is something astonishing, especially with five years’ time to win at least one, and the superior resources and technology of the West to draw upon. Victor Davis Hanson has something of a cottage industry in his exposition of the superiority of the “Western way of war,” and the concurrent proposition that a democratic people once aroused will seek (and generally achieve) annihilation of the foe. There is much to recommend his thesis — but in the absence of the very capacity for moral provocation within a democratic people, it tells us little about our present state. The lesson of our failure to win in this half-decade of war, of which the Israeli failure against Hezbollah is merely the latest example, is that that capacity, if not wholly gone, is severely crippled.

In warring with a religion, decades of secularism have left us utterly disarmed. We are trained to think of faith as either irrelevant or benign: and when it is undeniably malign, we ascribe its malignancy to “fundamentalism,” which is (in direct negation of the meaning of the word) somehow separable or diversionary from the fundamentals of the faith in question. See Andrew Sullivan for a shining example of this self-contradictory foolishness; or worse, see the President of the United States on Islam. Mark Steyn noted it well: these days, when Muslims slaughter our own, the political leaders of the victims generally rush to a mosque to make friendly overtures. We are assured that “real” faith does not do awful things, nor encourage them, nor give succor to those who do: and in the very hour of grief, as the bodies are lifted, or unearthed, or scraped, from the scene of the latest horror, that is what we must remember. We are not to believe the perpetrators, nor their sympathizers, nor the Palestinians celebrating the news of thousands dead in New York City. The true interpreters of Islam are not Muslims themselves — though they certainly deserve that basic respect — instead, we must listen to John Esposito, Juan Cole, Karen Armstrong, and George W. Bush.


The willful ignorance of faith, and its moral sanitization, are not prerequisites of classical liberal democracy, and certainly not prerequisites of American identity. For most of the history of the United States, faith’s compatibility with the national self-concept was a current question in the public square. George Washington admonished the Quakers for their failures as citizens in the arena of the common defense; Thomas Jefferson was given to condemn the anti-democratic machinations of “priests”; the Know-Nothings warned of the incompatibility of Catholicism with Americanism; the Mormons were made to conform to general morality through legislation and force; and the religious basis of 1940s Japanese militarism — not so unlike jihad in its way — was subjected to thoroughgoing public ridicule, absent any Presidential admonitions to respect “true” Shinto. Keep in mind that not all of these contentions were right — the anti-Catholicism of the 19th century being a particularly egregious error — but the bottom line is that these were legitimate areas of contention until the modern day. Their removal from the bounds of acceptable discourse would confound the American Founders. “Were the Pope, or his holy allies,” wrote Jefferson in 1823, “to send in mission to us some thousands of Jesuit priests to convert us to their orthodoxy, I suspect that we should deem and treat it as a national aggression on our peace and faith.” That was then: now, the foreign funding of mosques that fail to eschew the basic tenets of jihad — not that we would dare demand such a thing! — raises only pragmatic concerns.

This is not, pace the defenders of the new order, enlightenment. It is not a sign of our superiority over our predecessors. It is not evidence of the betterment of this era over that. It is, rather, a sign of our disconnect from a reality in which our foes remain firmly grounded. They, at least, retain a consciousness of the enduring truth uttered by Simone Weil: “Who were the fools who spread the story that brute force cannot kill ideas? Nothing is easier. And once they are dead they are no more than corpses.” The University of Michigan’s Juan Cole is an archetype of the American academic who can hardly find an anti-Western barbarism he cannot apologize for: in fulminating against the Israeli war on Hezbollah several weeks ago — back when it appeared possible that Israel might dare winhe wrote, “[T]his is nothing less than an ethnic cleansing of the Shiites of southern Lebanon, an assault on an entire civilian population’s way of life. Aside from ecology, it is no different from what Saddam Hussein did to the Marsh Arabs of southern Iraq, and the Israelis are doing it for exactly the same sorts of reasons that Saddam did.” It was, as with most of Cole’s writings on the hated Jews, a deeply stupid statement. And yet, in the aftermath of this failure of a war, those of us who wish Israel well (and by extension care for our own self-preservation) might wish he had accurately described the Israeli moral capacity — if not the Israeli intent. An Israel capable of total war against an enemy bent on its extermination would be an Israel that might survive.

The sad truth is more accurately described by Doron Rosenblum of Ha’aretz:

If the Israeli mentality is “inferior” to that of Hezbollah, Iran and Hamas in that it does not seek suicidal death, the virgins in Paradise and genocide for its neighbors; if Israel has pity on the lives of its sons, on its comfort, on the nurturing of its landscapes and even on bed and breakfasts, wineries and the pleasures of life, it is nothing to be ashamed of. On the contrary: We shall proudly bear our weaknesses as fragile, vulnerable human beings.

Israel is not Sparta, and this is a good thing. It was not established in order to be a spearhead against global Islam, or in order to serve as an alert squad for the Western world. It was established in order to live in it. And after the obvious is stated — with respect to the importance of might and strength — this too shall be said: Unlike some of its enemies, Israel has a far more means of existential solace — in vitality, culture and in creativity — than the planting of a flag of victory among the ruins.

Rosenblum’s sentiments are noble, and he speaks not merely for Israel, but for the West at large that cannot bring itself to acknowledge, and still less act upon, the obvious truth of our enemies in this war. But do we bow to unreal nobility in the face of a real threat? Was it not the Spartans who trod upon the ruins of Athens? What are the pleasures of life when life is ripped away? What is existential solace when existence is erased?


Dear Miriam,

I too gave money for the Pakistani earthquake, as well as for the tsunami, but when you give money you do not know where it will end up. I'm sure that when people gave money for the tsunami, they thought it would be ditributed equally and equitably, I did not think that India would have got less tha its fair share. Like you I was shocked to read in the newspapers that some of the funding, for the Pakistani eathquake, had been diverted towards the Islamists. Rest assured, I will not give any money to any charity that supports these people, I have lost confidence in Isalmic charity; only a mad man would pay for his own destruction.


In the war in Lebanon, it is hard to say who is better, the Israelis or the shias in Hizbullah! Both are not moderate or restrained or civilized unlike the Hindus of India who did not retaliate for any of the frequent and wide-spread "savage serial mass murders" both by mob-terror and bomb-terror.

Blasts in temples of VARANASI, GUJARAT, KASHMIR or those in bus/train/cinema halls did not get any naturally expected backlash or revenge by the Hindu victims of islamofscist hate crimes that is ongoing for one more century..

Yet the West including EU gave tons of money for pakki earth quake and little or nothing for Indian tsunami victims. In fact, some of the money for the fakistan's quake got into the hands of the savage jihadis who plotted to blow up planes to USA from UK. Stop funding hate!

@ Miriam

I once made the mistake of attributing intelligence to you in an earlier posting. Now, I can see more clearly what a sad little creature you are. Your posts read like a broken record: Pakki this, and Pakki that, and Hindus are a superior race ... above all others. What are you? A propaganda agency for India?

By trying to draw a moral equivalence between the Israelis and Hizbullah, you show you cannot think straight. And what exactly are you trying to achieve posting endless lists that detail atrocities in towns & cities across India? For your information, offers of Western Aid to alleviate suffering caused by the tsunami in southwest India were refused by the Indian Government; they said they had no need for it. They still had western charity money left over from the Gujarati earthquake appeal.

Let me make this clear to you. India is a failed state hiding behind 200 decibels of hyperbole. The whole North of India is a political joke, and has been ever since the arrival of the Mughal Dynasty. Stop pretending to be something you are not.

The only reason the Indian economy looks good is because about 5,000 Western companies have made the error of outsourcing work to India in order to save a few bucks on their bottom line. In other words, yet another round of charity to prop up your disgusting country.

Hindus superior? Baloney. Nonsense. You can't even play cricket without cheating. Take your Brahmin arrogance elsewhere and save us the pain of reading any more of your silly postings.

@Mission Impossible

I decided before I would not react anymore to Miriam and Invite Jesus because of the hateprose.
I think their families suffered from muslim misdeeds or they are not what they say they are.
Anyway the famous Indian technology revival started in Bangalore and Mangalore, christian enclaves where they have very good christian schools and universities. The headquarters of the Indian defense manufacturers and their research departments are there and the Indian missile research and nuclear research are there, with an overall managing director who is a muslim.
The other new technology state is Andhra Pradesh with a population of 40 % muslim, where the engineers from Bangalore started their new companies because Bangalore became too crowded and too expensive. Of course there are a lot of very good hindu entrepreneurs also with the Marwaris and the Gujeratis in the forefront, though most of them are Marwari Jains and Gujerati Jains.


The East India Company established in 1600 whose initial purpose had been to trade gradually took over as rulers and thereafter the British government established its rule in India. As a result of princes and kings losing their kingdoms the people became servants for English , (still up to this days) ,and being restricted by a small privy purse, there was loss of patronage to women in courts. Since these were women with education the association of educated woman with 'bad' women became common. This led to the loss of education for women and the production of women's literature almost came to a standstill:

The Vedas cry aloud, the Puranas shout;
No good may come to a woman.
I was born with a woman's body
How am I to attain truth?
"They are foolish, seductive, deceptive -
Any connection with a woman is disastrous."
Bahina says, "If a woman's body is so harmful,
How in the world will I reach truth?"
[Bahinabai (1682-1700)]
so our subject is (This Failure Of A War)not about Indian How much are brave!!!!

Feminization of West at Root of Our Problems

Excellent article. Exposes the real problem (enemy within). Righteous people will need to brace themselves for an all-out assault on Socialism and all the delusory quackery comes with it. We need another phase of McCarthyism to root out the Communists within our midst, including a cleen sweep in our Universities. Put these useless ideologues into the queues of the unemployed where their contentious ideas have placed many apolitical innocents already.

Concurrently, proscribe Islam as a dangerous cult, and start demolishing mosques right across Europe, starting with the most iconic, such as Regents Park Mosque in London. Shoot dead those who seek to protest violently. Deport all Muslim leaders. Remove the Qu'ran from all libraries and bookstores. Turn to Nuclear power and increased emphasis on energy conservation. Pull out of the Middle East, and let them stew in their own juices. Ban all sales of advanced technology to Islamic regimes (including arms). Ban immigration from Muslim countries.

Impose a limit on new births. All families to be limited to three children. Muslim families who fail to comply, deport them to their ancestral homes.

At the root of our malaise is the tolerance of feminism and the poisonous ideas it has spawned. No civilization has done anything except die, after it has elevated women to political & economic equality with men.

It's about time we stopped pussy-footing and started to return to the real world.

The fatal flaw

I would argue that the fatal flaw in the overall war between Israel and her enemies, as well as the US and our enemies is in that we are still clinging to an outdated distinction between 'civilians' and 'soldiers'. Our enemies make no such distinction; either in who they choose to attack (they prefer civilians) or in how they present themselves (they not only dress themselves as civilians, but use 'civilians' as functioning units of their 'army').

As well, we are still clinging to the nonsensical notion of a 'nuetral' country. Lebanon was not 'nuetral' in this war; they were Israels active enemy... hiding their activity behind a myth of 'neutrality' similar to the myth of 'civilians'. Syria and Iran are equally mythical 'neutrals' in our war against terrorism.

re: fatal flow

So if there is no distinction between 'civilians' and 'soldiers', and disarming doesn’t help; Nor splitting up in tiny little pieces with huge barriers between them, all that's left is "killing them all" I guess. The total eradication of everyone believing in Islam, and as a consequence, an Israel reaching from the Ganges to the Atlantic Ocean, and Paris and London reduced to half their actual size.

Re: Peter Vanderheyden

I think that the proper response would have been to
a) Declare war on Lebanon and
b) Announce that all residential areas with X feet of any military activity would be considered a target, as would all vehicles.

Perhaps give everyone in the area a couple of days to either leave or kill all the Hezbollah before launching the attack.

I too was extremely

I too was extremely disappointed, till I read a post at Lou Minatti. He sees the hand of Karl Rove in this, a political advisor who is expert at giving people just enough rope to hang themselves.

That could be what is going on -- giving France and the UN enough rope to hang themselves.

It's more believable than the abysmal IQ Condi Rice and the Administration would have to have to fall for any more of France's promises.

If so, this signals a major shift in the way America conducts diplomacy with Europe. It would mean that the US is now fighting geopolitical gamesmanship with geopolitical gamesmanship.

Kinda like sending a narcissist to the UN to deal with all those narcissists. (Why should a decent person have to put up with them?)

Fallout from France sandbagging Colin Powell at the UN over Iraq?

I hope so. Otherwise the war wasn't justified. It's immoral to fight a war you don't care about winning.


What do you mean by "substantive terror-related “chatter”"?