War in the Middle East

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Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Quickly and most surely, the world is condemning Israel in what has now escalated into a major military operation for all sides. Instead, we should all be grateful for Israel's action against Hezbollah ("Hezbollah abducts two Israeli soldiers," Thursday, Page One). Hezbollah has not only hijacked Islam in an attempt to gain control of Lebanon and destroy Israel, but it also aims to promote Islamist fundamentalism worldwide.

Hezbollah is sponsored by Syria and Iran, and it has trained terrorists from other organizations, such as Hamas. Although a link with al Qaeda has not been confirmed, it shares the same ideology. All these organizations aim to stamp out democracy. These terrorists seek to obstruct the freedoms we cherish especially freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

As Americans, we have become jaded by the general peace in our own country. We fail to see the risk that these far-away organizations present to human beings around the globe, and, ultimately, to ourselves.

Like many Islamist terrorist organizations, Hezbollah is shamed by the military and technological power of Israel and the West. Hezbollah uses Israel as a scapegoat for poverty and backwardness in Lebanon. This is a transparent ruse to maintain its power. These extremists see shame as the ultimate vice and pride as a virtue. So, when the Islamists view the West as being superior, they blame the West and set their followers against it. We must understand the nature of Islamists. They will not relent, and any concession toward the extremists will result only in further aggression.

Dialogue is, unfortunately, not the answer. Recent attempts have not resulted in peace, and there is no reason to expect anything different in the future. Dialogue is a tool used among free countries to achieve compromise. Hezbollah does not seek to compromise. Its end is the destruction of democracy and freedom. What could it compromise about?

Moreover, the decisions made in an authoritarian regime are generally made by its leaders. In America, when Democrats and Republicans need to resolve an issue, they argue and compromise. However, there are no democratic debates in authoritarian regimes. For this very reason, the proposal of dialogue is naive.

Hezbollah will continue to torment innocent civilians, as will other terrorist organizations of its ilk, unless it is rooted out. The American-Israeli relationship in the war on terror may prove to be the strongest.

Naturally, the rest of the Western world will continue its democratic dialogue of condemnation toward Israel. But the terrorists do not share our values. Terrorism, and the risks that follow, must be taken seriously. Thank you, Israel, for leading the way.

DANIEL HALPER

Athens, Ga.

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While the history of the Middle East is complex and subject to debate, some things are simple: Israel's enemies want Israel gone. …