TCS Daily

Enlarging the Problem

By Ken Adelman - April 3, 2002 12:00 AM

My longtime mentor, Donald Rumsfeld, is fond of saying: When a particular problem is intractable, enlarge it.

Granted, that sounds funny, but it may also be profound. Let's apply it now to the Israel-Palestinian war, which has clearly become intractable.

Let's imagine the Bush Administration enlarging this problem by moving beyond the status of Jerusalem, the legality of Israeli settlements, the right of return by displaced Palestinians, and sundry other problems. Let's move beyond the false hope that temporary cease-fires might usher in lasting changes.

In a nutshell, the Administration should enlarge today's particular problem by focusing on the longtime campaign against Israel -- and against America, as a fellow prosperous and successful democracy.

To enlarge the problem, the Bush Administration should:

  • STOP calling these Palestinian kids "suicide bombers," and begin to call them "homicide bombers." Someone committing suicide does so alone, without any inkling to harm anyone else. Here, rather, the goal is not to kill oneself but rather to kill others. For a Palestinian kid to commit suicide, without killing Jews, is to be a failure.

  • STOP maintaining that no evidence exists linking Iraq to terrorism. Gobs of evidence exists on this, and has since 1993. Recently Saddam Hussein began to praise Palestinian "homicide bombers" and to bestow $25,000 to each of their families. Is this not a clear link to terrorism?

  • STOP considering Saudi Arabia as "a peacemaker" proposing a serious peace initiative. Remember that the Saudis have been funding hatred towards Jews, Christians, Israelis, and Americans. These ideas create the conditions that motivate kids to blow themselves up in order to kill as many Israelis as possible. Saudis, too, give grants to the families of the homicide bombers.

  • STOP funding Egypt to the whopping tune of $2 billion per year. Our $100 billion of foreign aid handouts since the 1970s has given us back nothing but Egyptian hostility towards Israel and America. This "friendly" regime too has been funding the spewing of hatred by its state-funded mullahs, state-controlled press, and state-sanctioned academics.

Four STOPs should be balanced by at least one START. So here goes:

  • START transforming the dynamics of Arabian thought and politics by changing the Iraqi regime -- from the worst to among the best in the region.

A moderate, pro-Western, quasi-democratic, somewhat tolerant Iraq -- after the removal of Saddam Hussein by American forces - could speed up the looming mass revolution in Iran. And once these jumbo dominos fall, then fundamental changes in Saudi Arabia and Egypt could easily follow.

The more Islamic states in the Middle East begin to resemble Turkey and Bangladesh - and the less they continue to echo Iraq and Syria -- the greater are the chances for peace and stability. Thus the safer become both Israel and America.

All this is a large order, but that's what it takes. Enlarging the problem, here at least, is the only way to solve this otherwise intractable tangle.


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