Monday, October 11, 2004

Ignore Israeli Intelligence at Your Peril

On September 9th the various Israeli intelligence services warned the Israeli public not to travel to Sinai for the Jewish holidays. They had received "concrete intelligence about the dangers of [terrorist] attacks" aimed at Israelis. I watch Israeli news, both in English and Hebrew, via satellite and these warnings were repeated over and over again. 30,000 Israelis chose to ignore the warnings and spent their Sukkot holiday in beautiful vacation spots like Taba and Ras Al-Satan. At least 30 people paid with their lives, most of them Israeli.

I can't blame the victims; I can only blame the terrorists. There is no doubt, however, that Israeli intelligence is among the best in the world, and is probably the best when it comes to what is happening in the Middle East and with radical Islamic terror groups. It's a matter of survival for Israel. To ignore such a clear and oft repeated warning was foolish and the cost of doing so turned out to be a terrible one.

I am reminded of another pronouncement from Israeli intelligence sources way back in September, 2002, six months before the U.S. invaded Iraq. It said, in a nutshell, that Saddam Hussein had been successfully contained and the real danger in the region was Iran. President Bush ignored this assessment. He also ignored a CIA report which predicted the Iraqi insurgency before the war, a report which turned out to be prescient. Over 1,000 American service men and women have paid the price for President Bush's decision to ignore both Israeli and CIA reports which simply did not support his decision to invade Iraq.

Too many people have died in Taba and in the wider war against Islamic fascism. Iraq is now part of that war, but it wasn't until the U.S. invaded and terrorists from Pakistan and Syria, Iran and the Palestinian territories, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, all flooded in to fight the Americans. All of this due to a terrible misjudgement on the part of the President. Up until now President Bush has not paid any direct price for his actions. He put other people's lives in peril. I can see only one possible way to correct this injustice: vote the man out of office.

Sadly, it is too late to undo the damage done by ignoring Israeli intelligence in either case.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Senator John Edwards' Defense of Israel

The following is from the Vice Presidential debate between Vice President Dick Cheney and Senator John Edwards on October 5, 2004. Senator Edwards made perhaps the best, most concise, clearest defense of the Israeli government and it's fight against terror. He did so during the current IDF incursion into Gaza which has drawn so very much international criticism. Whether or not you plan on voting for Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards, this statement deserves to be highlighted and shared.

First, the Israeli people not only have the right to defend themselves, they should defend themselves. They have an obligation to defend themselves.

I mean, if I can, just for a moment, tell you a personal story. I was in Jerusalem a couple of years ago, actually three years ago, in August of 2001, staying at the King David Hotel.

We left in the morning, headed to the airport to leave, and later in the day I found out that that same day, not far from where we were staying, the Sbarro Pizzeria was hit by a suicide bomber in Jerusalem. Fifteen people were killed. Six children were killed.

What are the Israeli people supposed to do? How can they continue to watch Israeli children killed by suicide bombers, killed by terrorists?

They have not only the right but the obligation to defend themselves.

Now, we know that the Prime Minister has made a decision, an historic decision, to unilaterally withdraw from Gaza. It's important for America to participate in helping with that process.

Now, if Gaza's being used as a platform for attacking the Israeli people, that has to be stopped. And Israel has a right to defend itself. They don't have a partner for peace right now. They certainly don't have a partner in Arafat, and they need a legitimate partner for peace.

And I might add, it is very important for America to crack down on the Saudis who have not had a public prosecution for financing terrorism since 9/11. And it's important for America to confront the situation in Iran, because Iran is an enormous threat to Israel and to the Israeli people.

Thank you Senator Edwards. Let's hope the world was listening.