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Thursday, April 18, 2002
Role reversal
What if the U.S. were planning to attack Iraq, and Israel were demanding that the United States show restraint? Victor Davis Hanson examines the Middle East from this opposite perspective.
Mr. Sharon: We know that. But the perception lingers that the present American administration is full of hawks, obsessed with Saddam — and wants to punish an old nemesis rather than deal with more fundamental social issues.

Mr. Powell: Mr. Bush was elected. There is no such thing as a "Bush-Saddam" grudge. We don't implement policy that way.

Mr. Sharon: But if you go into Iraq, won't you just raise another Saddam and more suicide bombing like 9/11? There will be an entire generation of Arabs who will hate you for attacking Baghdad — especially in such a one-sided, asymmetrical war, when the tanks and planes are all on your side. Aren't you worried that ten Arabs will die for every lost American — how will that play in Europe and the Middle East?

Mr. Powell: What would you have us do? Lose more of our kids to bombers for public relations? There are no easy solutions. Do you think we like going in where we are not wanted?

Mr. Sharon: Still, how can your planes separate the good from bad? Surely there are Iraqis who don't like Saddam. Must they suffer when your tanks crush houses and your planes shoot up streets? We already saw some of that collateral damage in Afghanistan and Mogadishu. We didn't want to say anything, but you guys killed more Somalis in 24 hours than our IDF killed Palestinians in an entire decade.
People won't want to accept the role reversal, but it points out how hypocritical those who counsel that Israel show "restraint" really are.

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