. . . Tuesday August 17, 2004

Sharon’s War, Ours?

James Bennet wrote a very interesting piece on Ariel Sharon and Israel’s latest moves and moods in the Middle East.

“Now 76, Sharon can plausibly lay claim to having shaped his state’s geographic and moral terrain and international image — for better or for worse — more than any other Israeli leader since David Ben-Gurion. There is no single American figure to compare him with. He is Andrew Jackson, George Patton, Robert Moses.”

An interesting quote in the article comes from a former Israeli military leader and a current advisor to Sharon’s:

“The more we fight, the worse it is. The anger, the frustration, increases.”

That quote reminded me of a line I read in Fred Kaplan’s latest piece in Slate: “Meanwhile, the U.S. military – the only force in Iraq remotely capable of keeping the country from falling apart – finds itself in a maddening situation where tactical victories yield strategic setbacks. The Marines could readily defeat the insurgents in Najaf, but only at the great risk of inflaming Shiites – and sparking still larger insurgencies – elsewhere. In the Sadr City section of Baghdad, as U.S. commanders acknowledge, practically every resident is an insurgent.”

And both of those quotes read one after the other reminded me of something my dad said on the day the U.S. launched its military campaign in Iraq: “Once they get Saddam out of there and the occupation begins, the Iraqis will become like the Palestinians and the Americans will become the Israelis.”

And he wasn’t talking about historical ties or political similarities. He was just talking about the situation on the ground in both places.

Concentration is important!