It's been the same with Israel. The late Prime Minister Menachem Begin believed in retaliation against anyone who attacked Israel. On Dec. 3, the Israeli cabinet voted to continue the policy of restraint in the Gaza Strip (there is no restraint by Israel's enemies). This, despite the ongoing Qassam rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza. So Israelis are to die for the sake of the government's public relations? It's gotten so bad - and Israel is perceived as so weak - that the Israelis are appealing to convicted terrorist Marwan Barghouti (now serving five life sentences) to help broker a cease-fire. This is like asking "comedian" Michael Richards for advice on how to combat racist language.
Instead of retaliation, we get weakness from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert: "We must act responsibly and wisely, while considering all aspects of the matter." Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni adds, the "situation is sensitive and we must act wisely and with serious consideration." That kind of rhetoric is unlikely to strike fear in the hearts of terrorists whose only "serious consideration" is to seriously destroy Israel and the United States.
Has everyone forgotten what the world looked like when America (and Israel) was feared? Have the foreign policy castrati taken over? Does no one sing baritone anymore? The terrorists in Iraq, and among us, use fear as a primary tactic. We form study groups and issue statements saying we must "act wisely." Iraq's dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vows to obliterate Israel and U.S. diplomats recommend we talk to him.
Whatever happened to "if you touch us, it will be the last thing you touch"? Ah, but that was before political correctness and sensitivity training. Now, the only thing the thugs have to fear is fear itself. They certainly don't fear us.
And that's my "memo."
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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