Friday, March 29, 2002

World War IV
That's what the Wall Street Journal calls it ("III" having been the Cold War, in recognition that war doesn't always involve shooting things and blowing them up). I think I agree with the nomenclature.

It's also fairly evident to even the most simple-minded of us (hello) that it has started. Despite the first blow having been struck from somewhere in Afghanistan and landing in New York City and Washington, the epicenter of WW4 is the Middle East, specifically Palestine (wherever you consider that to be, these days).

Looking around the area, it's hard to locate any good guys. Everyone agrees that everyone should stop shooting, but no one does. Unless the international press is completely blind, Israel is at least attempting to target military placements, where the Palestinians do not acknowledge there is any such thing as a non-combatant. (That "dancing in the streets" footage cost them my sympathy.)

A lot more people are going to die soon. You don't have to be Miss Cleo to see that. Steven den Beste is probably right when he says Yassir Arafat's hours are numbered. As James Lileks said yesterday about Saddam Hussein, there's no longer any point in worrying about whether whoever replaces Arafat will be worse. It can't get worse. The Palestinians have given up on him. So, obviously, has Ariel Sharon. President Bush has almost said, in so many words, that he has too.

I do not envy the President and Secretaries Rice, Powell and Rumsfeld, trying to chart a course through rivers of blood. But it seems to me that if the President meant what he said about "If you're not with us, you're with the terrorists", he's going to have to act. Is he going to try to stop Sharon? Can he?

LATER: Craig Kilborn, 3-28-02: "There�s disturbing news from the Middle East today � it�s no longer there."

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