- Nov 22, 2003
Victor David Hanson on Hugh Hewitt:
James Lileks on Hugh Hewitt
...HH: If, in fact, Syria is invaded by Israel, what impact would that have? A) I don't think it would be much of a battle, unless Iran intervened. But what impact would that have on our Iraq ally?
VDH: Well, that's the whole key as I see it, because the United States has committed itself to an idealistic, neo-Wilsonian vision that we're going to offer the Arab world something other than autocracy and theocracy, Muslim Brotherhood or Saddam Hussein. And this is a democratic, consensual government that will eliminate the conditions that led to 9/11. It's very sound in the long run. But in the short run, what that means is we don't have a lot of alternatives, because moderates who are trying to work with us are susceptible to selling out when they see the United States supporting Israel, or Israel doing this. And so, how do you tell the democratic government of Iraq look, forget about Israel. It doesn't have anything to do with Iraq. They're just trying to stir things up to undermine people like you. And in theory, al Qaeda likes Hezbollah, likes Hamas, and your enemies of your enemy is really Israel, so it may be your friend. But you can't really make that argument in today's Arab world.
HH: What would you do if you were given ten minutes with the prime minister, Ohlmert, tonight? What would you advise him to do?
VDH: I would have him through intermediaries tell Mr. Assad, and tell the Lebanese government, that I have six to seven to eight steps that are going to take place. And the first is, I'm going to eliminate all the power grids in Syria and Lebanon if this happens, and that would be X number of rockets. And the I would say if you go beyond that line, you're not going to have any highway system. If you go on to this, you're not going to have any air transportation systems. And I would map it out over about a thirty day period. And I'd say this is your choice, but this is what's going to happen. It's not negotiable. And then let them deal with their own militants, and discuss, and find a face-saving way out. And then tell the Israeli people you're at war, and mobilize. And I think that that would be about the only thing they could do. I would not invade. I wouldn't get on the ground in Lebanon and Syria.
HH: And what do you want to hear the President say over the course of these events unfolding this weekend and next week?
HH: Our President. What do you want to hear George W. Bush saying?
VDH: George W. Bush would have to tell the Arab world this is not your fight. These are people who are terrorists, who've tried to attack governments throughout the Middle East, and they understand that Iran was facing sanctions at the U.N., so Iran sicked Hezbollah, Hamas, was facing popular revolt, and it could not govern, so it's unleashed these terrorists. And don't get involved in this, because they're just using you. And I don't think that message will resonate very much in the Middle East, but that's what he's got to do. And then he's privately got to tell Israel, whatever you do, you've got to do it with overwhelming force, and quick, and don't get involved on the ground with these people...
James Lileks on Hugh Hewitt
...JL: But I'm not being alarmist about this, or trying to be flippant or light. These are times that demand such things as a dollop of Michael Ledeen, a brace of Gaffney. When these names show up an awful lot on the Hugh Hewitt Show, something's afoot.
HH: How...on a scale of 1 to 10, with 9/11 being the 10, where are we?
JL: I think we're...well, they're two different, completely different things. I almost can't get my brain around that analogy. I would more likely go how...what I'm trying to answer is, is this another one of those false starts that we've been feeling ever since 9/11? I mean, you may recall when Israel kept going into Ramallah to go after Arafat, a lot of people kept saying this is it.
JL: This is the time. This is when they're going to push. This is going to be the moment when this ends. And I have the feeling that this might not be...now of course, what Yoni is saying leads me to believe that something very large is coming. But there's always that sense of pulling back, and this is what has frustrated me, to a large extent, since 9/11, is that the gloves haven't come off. And if the gloves at some point don't come off, we're going to be buried with them. They're going to be crossed on our chest in the casket. And at some point, something...the thing is going to have to happen. And I've thought from the beginning, from 9/11, that this was going to end with Iran, and it was going to end with something very big and very large, and boomlike. Whether this is that, I can't say. but it has the markings of a lead-up to it...