Monday, September 20, 2004

The Sharon way

I'm not sure if it's available online to nonsubscribers, but The New Republic has an interesting article this week that says Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is succeeding at stamping out Palestinian terrorism and in making terrorism unpopular among the Palestinian citizenry. This seems to be in contradiction to the impression the rest of the American media conveys about the situation in Israel, but the authors provide compelling evidence. The lesson they say Sharon's approach offers the U.S. is that the perpetrators of terrorism must be wiped out before the political grievances behind terrorism can be addressed. They also note that Sharon has to create a broad political coalition to move forward with policies such as the unilateral withdrawl from Gaza, and that Israel has paid a great price in her relations with much of the rest of the world--the United States being an exception.

The writers steer clear of too many comparisons to America's war on terror and the political debates it has engendered. If their portrait of Sharon's policies is accurate, than supporters of President Bush could claim vindication in choosing to topple Saddam Hussein. But that would assume that Saddam Hussein's aims were linked to al Qaeda's, a connection that has never been established. Indeed, it seems clear that to fight in Iraq, the government had to divert resources from Afghanistan, and that the U.S. allowed Osama bin Laden--the guy responsible for killing almost 3,000 Americans in a single day--escape. That would harldy seem to be the Sharon way.


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