Confusion – and more importantly ambiguity – in politics is often a deliberate choice made by those for whom clear choices are riddled with unsavory campaign risks or neglected policy tasks.
The attack on Israeli citizens by Iranian supported Hamas terrorists presented the political world with a stark either/or: Either the friends of Israel support Israel in its war against Middle East terrorists and their financiers, or they do not.
President Joe Biden early in the war assured the nation that the United States will do all in its power to support Israel – which has, people will have noticed, declared war on Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist clients of Iran.
It will and must be a war to end Hamas and Hezbollah. Either the enemies of Israel will destroy Israel, or Israel will destroy its enemies, who have daily pledged since the Israeli state was first formed in the modern era in 1948 to push Israel into the sea; that is, to destroy the Israeli state. The first world leader to officially recognize Israel as a legitimate Jewish state, only 11 minutes after its creation, was Democrat President Harry Truman.
We often talk flippantly about existential threats here in the United States. But Iran, the chief sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East and the self-proclaimed mortal enemy of the United States, regards both Israel and the United States as Satanic and eminently destructible by the “martyrs” of a warped Islam.
Abraham Lincoln said at Gettysburg, soaked in the blood of a divided nation, “… now, we are engaged in a great Civil War, testing whether that nation or any nation dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal can long exist.” That was a political existential threat, put down by what Lincoln called “a great Civil War.” And by “great” Lincoln meant both fatally tragic and necessary.
Had any U.S. Congressmen at the time called for a “cease fire” in a war that would settle the peace for generations of Americans, were it brought to a proper conclusion, Lincoln and everyone associated with him would have laughed that congressman to dust.
General Ulysses Grant said at the same time, “When the United States draws its sword, tongues should fall silent.”
As always, the most important question at issue following Israel’s declaration of war against Hamas is – who decides? Immediately following the devastating attack on Israeli citizens, politicians in the United States appeared to be speaking in chorus: Israel should decide the fate of Israel.
President Biden sternly warned Iran “Don’t,” by which he meant don’t attack American troops positioned in the Middle East. They were attacked. They are being attacked as I write.
Biden and members of the U.S. Congress on both sides of the political aisle agreed that Israel should not want military supplies in the prosecution of the war. Far from determining the path of war and the shape of any future peace, some in the United States have now decided that a break in the war should ensue, and that diplomacy – that ever failing strumpet! -- should be deployed to persuade non-persuadable Iranian governing officials to cease in their efforts to destroy the state of Israel. There has been no diplomatic progress on this score for the last three quarters of a century.
And then, of course, academia seems one in insisting that -- contrary to Aristotle, who said that the essence of justice is to treat like things in a like manner and different things differently – the government of Hamas should be treated the same as the government of Israel. The unjust call such equal treatment equity. It is, in fact, rank injustice. At the very least, we should all agree that the foreign policy of the United States should not be assembled from messages written on signs carried by partisan, pro-Hamas street protesters.
Biden, to be sure, is no Ulysses Grant, and he has shown himself to be a very poor choice to serve as commander-in-chief of the arms forces of the United States. The President now appears to be wobbling on the matter of a cessation in the war.
U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal thinks that a cessation of the war before an Israeli victory would be inadvisable, if not a white flag of surrender waved in the faces of Israelis and the friends of Israel. His counterpart in the Senate, the ambiguous Chris Murphy, has gone wobbly. Some congresspersons, most notably U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American woman to serve in Congress, “has accused President Joe Biden of supporting a ‘genocide’ against Palestinians and warned of repercussions in next year's election,” according to a recent Reuters story.
The noise we will all be hearing over the airwaves and in the nation’s media during the next few months will be the confusing sounds of ambiguous Democrats going to war. All of them should take a page from Otto von Bismarck: “People never lie so much as before an election, during a war, or after a hunt.”
Or Mark Twain: “Never miss an opportunity to shut up.”