BUSH'S TEN COMMANDMENTS
by Yoram Ettinger
Enclosed you'll find my latest OpEd, published today (May 9, 2003) by Makor Rishon weekly. Should you wish to review previous OpEds, as well as Straight From The Jerusalem Cloakroom, please visit http://www.acpr.org.il.
President Bush's Ten Commandments, Makor Rishon weekly, May 9, 2003
President George W. Bush has considered Moses to be a role-model for a conviction-driven leadership, driven by the principles of justice (vs. the Axis of Evil), strategic thinking (vs. tactical cynicism) and tenacity (vs. hesitancy and vacillation). President Bush and most of the American public and US Congress, have viewed the Exodus from Egypt and the Ten Commandments as critical elements of the American culture, guiding George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson in the 1976 Revolution and in the formulation of the US Constitution.
The President has presented his own Ten Commandments, in the combat against terrorist regimes, during his wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, which have been driven by values and strategic interests:
1. THOU SHALL SUSTAIN MORAL CLARITY, avoiding moral equivalence between terrorists and their victims, thus de-legitimizing the very existence of terrorist regimes. Moral clarity is a prerequisite for a victory on the battlefield: terrorist regimes are not partners to negotiation; they are enemies to be crashed. Saddam Hussein and his network are not "President", "Prime Minister", "Head of security organizations", "legislators"; rather they are terrorists, regional cancer, bloodthirsty oppressive gang, pirates. President Bush does not combat "suicide bombers" (the term may possess a glimpse of heroism); he is condemning homicide bombers (criminals).
2. THOU SHALL NOT PURSUE COEXISTENCE WITH TERRORIST REGIMES, since they have been murderous and systematic violators of agreements. Therefore, the aim is not to conduct negotiation, to reach a compromise or agreement; the aim is the defeat terrorist regime, and in a traumatic manner. One does not consider a "Basra First" arrangement (which would test, supposedly, the intent of a terrorist regime). One does not contemplate negotiation with Saddam's prime minister, chiefs of security organizations or other key members of his regime, because terrorist regimes are not partners to negotiation - terrorist regimes are targets to annihilation. The target should not be personalized, thus diverting attention away from the nature of the entire terrorist regime. The aim should be structural - toppling the entire regime.
3. THOU SHALL NOT COMBAT TERRORISM THROUGH CONTAINMENT, DEFENSE, DETERRENCE AND RETALIATION, but rather through PREVENTIVE OFFENSIVE ON THE ENEMY'S OWN GROUND. Unlike the USSR, most terrorist regimes are not deterable or containable. Therefore, the offensive on terrorist regimes should not be surgical and restrained, but rather systemic, comprehensive and disproportional. It aims at bringing down terrorist regime in a TRAUMATIC manner, thus delivering a shockingly lucid message to successor regimes and other terrorist regimes.
4. THOU SHALL NOT ASPIRE FOR CEASEFIRE. Rather, one should attempt to tarnish the INFRASTRUCTURE, which feeds the fire of terrorism. The primary attention should be paid to the destruction of the political, financial and ideological infrastructures of terrorist regimes, which lead, mold, incite, equip, train and sets the human targets for the operational sector. Hence, the opening mission of the war on Iraq was directed at the bunker housing the political/ideological infrastructure of Saddam's regime, as was the case in 1989 (targeting Noriega) and 1986 (bombing Qadaffi's palace).
5. THOU SHALL NOT WAIT FOR A "SMOKING GUN." Thou shall attempt to prevent the access of terrorist regimes to their "guns." The war on terrorist regimes is based on a pyramid of evidence constructed over many years. No time should be wasted by waiting for a few more stones to be added to the pyramid.
6. THOU SHALL NOT SACRIFICE VITAL INTERESTS ON THE ALTER OF A POLITICAL PROCESS. The process is not the strategic goal; it is merely a tactical means. Time spent on a political process with terrorist regimes plays into the hands of terrorists, providing them with more opportunities to enhance their destructive capabilities. Therefore, the price of hesitancy and a delayed military assault on terrorist could be devastatingly higher than the price of a swift-comprehensive-traumatic war on terrorism.
7. THERE IS A MILITARY SOLUTION TO TERRORISM, as evidenced by the lessons of Afghanistan (2002) and Iraq (2003), as well as by the wars launched by Turkey, Germany, Italy, Peru and Egypt on Armenian and Kurdish terrorism, Baader Meinhoff, Red Brigade, the Shining Path and Islamic terrorism. Passivity and restraint in face of terrorist regimes breed more violence, adrenalizing terrorists. It constitutes recklessness in face of threat - an unacceptable price in terms of personal and national security.
8. THE PRIME RESPONSIBILITY OF A LEADER IS TO THE PERSONAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY OF HIS PEOPLE, rather than to the prestige of the UN or members of the international community. The price of an international opposition is dwarfed by the potentially lethal damage caused by terrorism.
9. WAR ON TERRORIST REGIMES SOLVE, RATHER THAN CREATES, PROBLEMS, minimizing/deterring future problems.
10. "EITHER YOU ARE WITH US, OR YOU ARE WITH THE TERRORISTS... Anyone who continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded as a hostile regime... We are not deceived by pretense to piety. We have seen their kind before..." (President George W. Bush, Sept. 20, 2001, Joint session of Congress).
The descendants of Moses may benefit immensely by applying the lessons of President Bush's "Ten Commandments", to their own battle against Palestinian and Hizballah terrorism. Obviously, Israel and the US are not equal in stature, and do not face an identical threat!
The US has launched a decisively justifiable(!) war on Islamic terrorism, headquartered 7,000 MILES AWAY from the mainland, threatening - AS OF A FEW YEARS AGO - the PERSONAL SECURITY of Americans and VITAL INTERESTS of the US. Israel, on the other hand, is combating Palestinian and Islamic terrorism, headquartered literally ACROSS THE FENCE, threatening -SINCE 1948 - the very NATIONAL SURVIVAL of the country.
President George W. Bush's "Ten Commandments" are MORALLY and STRATEGICALLY applicable to Israel, which is facing an imminent and present deadly threat, rather than a national security challenge. THAT WHICH HAS AFFLICTED THE USA SINCE 9/11, has plagued Israel SINCE 1948, taking a toll of 1,100 Israelis murdered since the Oslo Accord was signed in 1993 (proportionally, equal to 50,000 Americans!).
Israeli adherence to the counter-terrorism legacy of President George W. Bush, would be condemned by SOME circles in the US. However, one should recall that a BRUTAL PRESSURE BY THE UNITED STATES ADMINISTRATION (including a military embargo) did not deter Prime Minister Ben-Gurion from declaring independence in 1948, did not dissuade Prime Minister Eshkol from launching the preventive Six Day War in 1967, and did not prevent Prime Minister Begin from destroying the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981.
The pursuit of moral and strategic Israeli concerns, in defiance of pressure by the US administration, produced a SHORT-TERM political and economic crisis and inconvenience, but it yielded a dramatic LONG-TERM enhancement of Israel's strategic posture in the Middle East and in the US.