“The world is watching, and on this, more than any other day, God is watching, too.”
With those words, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations concluded his impassioned remarks to Sunday’s hastily called emergency meeting of the 15-member Security Council, which had convened to consider its response to Israel’s attack on suspected terrorist camps inside Syria.
The ambassador recounted the bloody details of the latest suicide bombing against Israel, this one perpetrated by a 27-year-old Palestinian woman who detonated her payload in a popular restaurant jointly owned by Jews and Arabs. The blast killed and injured innocent people from both groups.
After describing the carnage – 19 dead and 60 injured – the ambassador then laid out his country’s justification for its attack on Syrian soil, the first in two decades. His remarks followed the usual denials and accusations from the Syrian ambassador, who had come to ask the world body to condemn Israel for the “unprovoked” attack.
As I listened, I was reminded of the column I wrote on the night of September 11, 2001. I thought of a charred meadow in Pennsylvania, a smoldering slash in our Pentagon and, of course, a pile of twisted, smoking rubble at the south end of Manhattan Island where the World Trade Center had stood just a few hours earlier.
I remember thinking about the obscure true story of a violent bully who had terrorized the citizens of the tiny town of Skidmore, Missouri, back in the 1980s. After enduring years of rape, theft, assault and attempted murder, all of which had been met with official ineptitude and indifference, the good citizens of Skidmore finally elected a very unofficial posse to shoot this man down in the street as he came out of a local tavern. To this day, in the now-peaceful town of Skidmore, no one has ever been tried for that killing.
My working title for that angry column was “Shot to Death on Main Street in Broad Daylight.” But when I had finished, I realized that the proper title was “Now We Know How Israel Feels.” Indeed we did, at least on that day.
Since 9/11, we have suffered no more terror on American soil. Meanwhile, Israel has continued to experience nothing but terror. Surrounded by a sea of hatred, the tiny democracy has granted concession upon concession to its enemies, all the while resisting the temptation to use its nuclear arsenal on people who are bent on its annihilation, and who are willing to destroy themselves to achieve it.
Israel has always understood the nature of her enemies. On 9/11, we understood, too. But the images of that day have faded, and we need to see them again – repeatedly. We need those images to remind us that there are people in this world who want to destroy us, and that they are the same people who want to destroy Israel.
The United States and Israel have been marked for destruction by the radical forces of Islamic extremism, thereby making us allies in this war on terrorism. Israel has identified Syria as the next front in this war. Syria is another thug state, a veritable nest of terrorist activity, and the United States should make it clear that we back Israel and that we will commit to them whatever is necessary for victory. We need to steel our resolve for the battles that are to come, just as we did during World War II, when we united with our allies in the common goal of defeating the Axis powers.
What better place to start than in Syria? Who knows, we might even find Saddam and his WMDs.
Doug Patton is a freelance columnist who has served as a political speechwriter and public policy advisor at the federal, state and local levels. His weekly columns can be read in newspapers across the country, and on www.GOPUSA.com, where he serves as the Nebraska Editor. He also writes for Talon News Service (www.TalonNews.com).
Readers can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. __________________________________________________________________