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The perpetual purveyor of conventional wisdom, the New York Times’  Thomas Friedman, argues that peace-making is now a necessity because of all the American soldiers “walking the Arab street.”  Israel doesn’t need or want a peace agreement with the rocketeers of Hamas, he allows:

The collapse of the Oslo peace process, combined with the unilateral Israeli pullouts from Lebanon and Gaza — which were followed not by peace but by rocket attacks by Hezbollah and Hamas on Israel — decimated Israel’s peace camp and the political parties aligned with it.

Why a “peace agreement” that gives Hamas rocket-firing platforms within reach of Tel Aviv and Israel’s main airport should turn out differently, Friedman does not say. And Israel is doing  just fine without “peace.”
At the same time, Israel’s erecting of a wall around the West Bank to prevent Palestinian suicide bombers from entering Israel (there have been no successful attacks since 2006), along with the rise of the high-tech industry in Israel — which does a great deal of business digitally and over the Internet and is largely impervious to the day-to-day conflict — has meant that even without peace, Israel can enjoy a very peaceful existence and a rising standard of living.

Nonetheless, Israel must put its existence in jeapordy, because...
With U.S. soldiers literally walking the Arab street — and, therefore, more in need than ever of Muslim good will to protect themselves and defeat Muslim extremists — Israeli-Palestinian peace has gone from being a post-cold-war hobby of U.S. diplomats to being a necessity.

Kudos to Friedman for putting the argument in the starkest, stupidest, and most stentorian fashion possible. In reduced form, it sounds just as idiotic as it is.

What are American soldiers doing “waking the Arab street”? Why not get them out of the street? Keep Special Forces deployed where required, keep soldiers in protected firebases in key positions (eg, southern Iraq where Iran has send troops to occupy oil fields), and use air power and auxiliaries to destroy America’s enemies.

Daniel Pipes wrote March 30 in National Review:
Iraq’s recently-concluded, inconclusive elections will be followed in August by the pullout of American troops, making this a good time to ask what American taxpayers have achieved with the US$45 billion spent on reconstructing Iraq since 2003 and what steps to take next.

That $45 billion includes no expenditures on the U.S. military itself but $21 billion for Iraqi security forces, $11 billion for Iraqi infrastructure, and $6 billion for various Iraqi government-related services.

 Sadly, this vast sum has largely been wasted. Firstly, because once coalition forces leave Iraq in August, the mullahs in Tehran will begin their takeover; second, because hubris and incompetence have riddled U.S. spending in Iraq.

A number of analysts, including the estimable Pipes (and this writer), have attacked the nation-building fantasy from the beginning. And that fantasy arose from the Bush administration and the neo-conservative camp. The ruin of the nation-building exercise—which Ariel Sharon foresaw at the outset—is now the excuse to demand that Israel tolerate Hamas rockets on the West Bank.



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