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April 25, 2003 - Image 25

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-04-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

What A Strange War

Philadelphia
ne gets the impression that
U.S. military dominance is
now so overwhelming," writes
David Brooks in the Weekly
Standard, "that the rules of conflict are
being rewritten."
Indeed they are. In both the
Afghanistan war of 2001 and the Iraq
one now concluding, traditional fea-
tures of warfare have been turned
upside down. But it's not just an
American phenomenon; the same
rewriting also applies in Israel's war
against the Palestinians.
Some of the changes include:
• Who is the enemy. War used to be
aimed against a whole country; during
World War II, for example, whole peo-
ples were vilified ("Huns," "Japs").
Now, the authorities painstakingly dis-
tinguish between the government (the
Taliban, Saddam Hussein's regime,
Yasser Arafat) and the people (Afghans,
Iraqis, Palestinians). The former is the
enemy; the latter is potentially friendly.
This leads to such developments —
astounding from the standpoint of tra-
ditional warfare — as American planes
winging to Afghanistan, simultaneously
carrying bombs to destroy the regime
and food to relieve the populace.
• Who will win. The outcome of war

0

Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle
East Forum and author of "Militant Islam
Reaches America" (WW Norton). His
e-mail address is Pipes@MEForum.org

used to be the overriding question.
Nowadays, when it's West vs. non-
West, the vast disparity in economics,
technology, materiel, training and
organization virtually assures a Western
victory. This assumed attention focuses
on very different matters, such as the
duration of hostilities and the number
of casualties.
• Casualties. In the old days, each side
sought to inflict as many casualties as
possible on the enemy; now, Western
armies strive to keep down the other
side's losses. In response, non-Western

Western warfare has
changed and is going
into uncharted
territory.

rulers sometimes inflict casualties on
their own population. In Iraq, "the
defending army attempts to place its
own civilians in danger," Mark Bowden
notes in the Philadelphia Inquirer, while
the invading army "tries to avoid killing
and hurting them." Likewise, Arafat's
Palestinian terrorists routinely operate
out of residential areas, hoping for civil-
ian casualties.
• Plunder. As recently as 1918, victo-

in Algeria and the U.S. loss in
ry in war meant beggaring the
Vietnam. In the war against
loser. Then, starting with the
Saddam Hussein, some
Marshall Plan after World War
Americans and Britons wanted
II, the U.S. government estab-
the coalition to lose. ("We sup-
lished the precedent of paying
port our troops when they
for the rehabilitation of its for-
shoot their officers," read a
mer enemies. This quickly
sign on the streets of San
became the norm; to the point
Francisco.) Contrarily, plenty
that there are many complaints
DA NIEL
of Iraqis wanted the coalition
the Bush administration has
PIP ES
to win. ("Yes, yes Bush! Down,
not done enough for the
Spe cial
Afghans or the Sharon govern-
Coinn 2e77tary down Saddam!")
In the aggregate, these
ment for the Palestinians. For
changes amount to a transfor-
example, Chuck Hagel, a
mation of warfare. In important ways,
Republican senator from Nebraska, is
Western operations against non-
dissatisfied with U.S. efforts in
Western states resemble police raids
Afghanistan and demands "more effort
more than warfare. Western govern-
and more manpower" there. In Iraq,
ments are the police, local tyrants are
the American taxpayer may be about to
the criminals, and the subject popula-
spend tens of billions of dollars.
tions are the victims.
• Fighting to help the other side.
Note the parallels: like gangland
Traditionally, each side fought explicitly
capos, Mullah Omar and Saddam
for its own interests. No longer: the
Hussein disappeared (will Arafat be
coalition name for its war against
next?). The outcome of these opera-
Saddam Hussein is not "Operation No
tions is not in doubt. The rights of vic-
Nukes" or "Operation Cheap Oil" but
tims are as important as the safety of
"Operation Iraqi Freedom." Old
notions of national interest would seem police. Not using excessive force is a
paramount concern. And the Left goes
to be weakening.
easy on the criminals.
• Rooting for the other side.
These shifts imply that Western war-
Nationality once defined loyalties; no
fare has changed in basic ways, and is
longer. Starting with the Boer War of
now going into uncharted territory.
1899-1902, when the British Empire
Fortunately, the two democracies at the
fought the Afrikaners in South Africa,
cutting edge of this type of fighting, the
significant numbers of Westerners have
United States and Israel, have creative
opposed the war goals of their Own
and humane militaries that are provin_g
governments. These sentiments con-
themselves worthy of this challenge. 01
tributed significantly to the French loss

Remembering Kishinev

Beit Shemes h, Israel
he 20th century was proba-
bly the bloodiest century
that humans have inflicted
on one another. During -that
century, the Jews as a group probably
suffered more than any other group,
and clearly the Holocaust stands out.
Another event, smaller in scope but
shocking and significant, was the
1903 Kishinev pogrom that occurred
100 years ago last week.
In 1985, I was privileged to travel
with a friend and visit refusniks in
four cities in the Soviet Union. One
of them was the Moldovan capital of
Kishinev. While there, we ran into
trouble and needed to take a diver-

Ali Z. Zivotofsky teaches in the brain
science program at Bar-Ilan University
in Ramat Gan. He a regular contribu-
tor to Jewish publications. His e-mail
address is zivotoa@mail.biu.ac.il

sionary "tour." Other than the syna-
gogue, the only other Jewish site was
the Jewish cemetery, and more specifi-
cally the area where the 1903 martyrs
are buried.
At the start of the 20th century, half
of Kishinev was Russian and
Moldovan; the other half was Jewish.
The city was prosperous, with a dis-
proportionate percentage in Jewish
hands. The immediate precipitating
event to the 1903 pogrom was the
discovery of the body of a Christian
child in a neighboring town in
February 1903. It was later deter-
mined that he was killed by a relative,
but that finding was irrelevant to the
masses of virulent anti-Semites. The
Jews had been turned into scapegoats
for all of Russia's problems.
"Save Russia, beat the Jews" was a
popular slogan. Charges that the Jews
had crucified the boy were circulated
and later retracted, but it was then

homeless, and numerous syna-
too late. Another rumor
gogues destroyed and Torah
claimed that the czar had
scrolls burnt. It is now known
issued an edict permitting
that numerous high level gov-
three days of beating the Jews
ernment officials were involved
and pillaging them as part of
in the planning and execution
Easter celebration. Easter
of the pogrom. Victims were
Sunday coincided with the
buried in the Jewish cemetery,
last day of Passover. On
but were reburied in the cur-
Sunday, the alcohol-filled
ARI Z.
crowds of local Russian and
ZIVOTOFSKY rent site in Alanelul Park in the
1960s. A. newer monument
Romanian inhabitants rioted,
Special
was erected in 1993 on the
vandalizing Jewish property.
Commentary
90th anniversary.
The police failed to intervene
and the bishop blessed them,
leading to attacks on the Jews them-
Repercussions
selves on Monday.
The international reaction was
Additional Russians from neighbor-
unprecedented. Public cries of con-
ing towns joined the melee and stu-
demnation and sympathy were heard
dents from a local theological seminary
around the globe. This included a
played a leading role. By noon Tuesday,
statement by President Theodore
the army finally moved in and restored
Roosevelt and his ordering the State
order. By that point, the tally was: 49
dead, 500 injured, 1,500 Jewish homes
ZIVOTOFSKY on page 28
and businesses destroyed, 200 families

4/25

2003

27

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