Mona Charen

How do you fight people who are not afraid to die? Well, certainly not by letting them believe that such tactics succeed. Iran, the font of so much misery in the world right now, has no reason to believe that defiance of the United Nations, Nazi-like belligerence toward the U.S. and Israel, funding and training of suicide bombers, and the pursuit of nuclear weapons have brought them anything but gain. Hezbollah was their cat's paw. Had it been crippled, they would have felt the pain. The psychic blow would have been enormous. The psychological war is every bit as important as the one fought with bullets (it has always been so). It's one thing to blow yourself up for a great cause that is everywhere on the march. It's quite another to sacrifice your life for futility.

At this moment, Israel has done the most dangerous thing we in the West can do: It has withdrawn from a fight without victory. The U.S. has offered some wobbly signals as well. Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute reports that after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced that the U.S. would "engage" Iran, a top Iranian official jeered, "Why don't you just admit that you are weak and your razor is blunt?" A few days later, an Iranian Revolutionary Guards boat unfurled a banner as it passed a U.S. Navy ship in the Persian Gulf. It read: "The U.S. cannot do a damn thing."

A Hamas columnist has predicted that Hezbollah's "victory" will open the door to a "third intifada."

We await the consequences elsewhere around the world -- from London to New York to Baghdad to Bali to Calcutta -- of jihadists who feel the wind at their backs.

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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