Victor Davis Hanson: And then They Came After Us

Roundup: Historians' Take

Victor Hanson Davis, in National Review (7-22-05):

[Victor Davis Hanson is a military historian and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. His website is]

First the terrorists of the Middle East went after the Israelis. From 1967 we witnessed 40 years of bombers, child murdering, airline hijacking, suicide murdering, and gratuitous shooting. We in the West usually cried crocodile tears, and then came up with all sorts of reasons to allow such Middle Eastern killers a pass.

Yasser Arafat, replete with holster and rants at the U.N., had become a “moderate” and was thus free to steal millions of his good-behavior money. If Hamas got European cash, it would become reasonable, ostracize its “military wing,” and cease its lynching and vigilantism.

When some tried to explain that Wars 1-3 (1947, 1956, 1967) had nothing to do with the West Bank, such bothersome details fell on deaf ears. ...

The security fence became “The Wall,” and evoked slurs that it was analogous to barriers in Korea or Berlin that more often kept people in than out. Few wondered why Arabs who wished to destroy Israel would mind not being able to live or visit Israel.

In any case, anti-Semitism, oil, fear of terrorism — all that and more fooled us into believing that Israel’s problems were confined to Israel. So we ended up with a utopian Europe favoring a pre-modern, terrorist-run, Palestinian thugocracy over the liberal democracy in Israel. The Jews, it was thought, stirred up a hornet’s nest, and so let them get stung on their own.

We in the United States preened that we were the “honest broker.” After the Camp David accords we tried to be an intermediary to both sides, ignoring that one party had created a liberal and democratic society, while the other remained under the thrall of a tribal gang.

Billions of dollars poured into frontline states like Jordan and Egypt. Arafat himself got tens of millions, though none of it ever seemed to show up in good housing, roads, or power plants for his people. The terror continued, enhanced rather than arrested, by Western largess and Israeli concessions.

Then the Islamists declared war on the United States. A quarter century of mass murdering of Americans followed in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, East Africa, the first effort to topple the World Trade Center, and the attack on the USS Cole.

We gave billions to Jordan, the Palestinians, and the Egyptians. Afghanistan was saved from the Soviets through U.S. aid. Kuwait was restored after Saddam’s annexation, and the holocaust of Bosnians and Kosovars halted by the American Air Force. Americans welcomed thousands of Arabs to our shores and allowed hundreds of madrassas and mosques to preach zealotry, anti-Semitism, and jihad without much scrutiny.

Then came September 11 and the almost instant canonization of bin Laden.

Suddenly, the prior cheap shots at Israel under siege weren’t so cheap. It proved easy to castigate Israelis who went into Jenin, but not so when we needed to do the same in Fallujah.

It was easy to slander the Israelis’ scrutiny of Arabs in their midst, but then suddenly a few residents in our own country were found to be engaging in bomb making, taking up jihadist pilgrimages to Afghanistan, and mapping out terrorist operations.

Apparently, the hatred of radical Islam was not just predicated on the “occupation” of the West Bank. Instead it involved the pretexts of Americans protecting Saudi Arabia from another Iraqi attack, the United Nations boycott of Iraq, the removal of the Taliban and Saddam, and always as well as the Crusades and the Reconquista.

But Europe was supposedly different. Unlike the United States, it was correct on the Middle East, and disarmed after the Cold War. Indeed, the European Union was pacifistic, socialist, and guilt-ridden about former colonialism.

Hundreds of thousands of Muslims were left alone in unassimilated European ghettoes and allowed to preach or promulgate any particular hatred of the day they wished. Conspire to kill a Salmon Rushdie, talk of liquidating the “apes and pigs,” distribute Mein Kampf and the Protocols, or plot in the cities of France and Germany to blow up the Pentagon and the World Trade Center — all that was about things “over there” and in a strange way was thought to ensure that Europe got a pass at home.

But the trump card was always triangulation against the United States. Most recently anti-Americanism was good street theater in Rome, Paris, London, and the capitals of the “good” West.

But then came Madrid — and the disturbing fact that after the shameful appeasement of its withdrawal from Iraq, further plots were hatched against Spanish justices and passenger trains.

Surely a Holland would be exempt — Holland of wide-open Amsterdam fame where anything goes and Muslim radicals could hate in peace. Then came the butchering of Theo Van Gogh and the death threats against parliamentarian Hirsi Ali — and always defiance and promises of more to come rather than apologies for their hatred.

Yet was not Britain different? After all, its capital was dubbed Londonistan for its hospitality to Muslims across the globe. Radical imams openly preached jihad against the United States to their flock as thanks for being given generous welfare subsidies from her majesty’s government. But it was the United States, not liberal Britain, that evoked such understandable hatred.

But now? ...

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Stephen Francis Kislock III - 7/30/2005

Stephen F. Kislock III, High School Graduate.

Your article in National Review, Shows a Historical bias, Dr.Hanson, Isreal was concieved by Terrorist.

History, in Isreal there was the Irgun,Lehi and Etzel. These were the forerunner of todays Terrorist. History is repeating itself.

Etzel, had a pratice of Bombing Marketplaces, same as today, correct?

Irgun, the Bombing of the King David Hotel, 47 dead and many wounded, 1946, History is repeating itself?

Lehi, Assassinated Lord Moyne, in Cario, November 6, 1944, History is repeating itself, Correct Dr. Hanson?

The groups listed above are all terrorist groups, But, you have forgotten that Dr. Hanson, Why?

The Wall is today's Apartheid, Security, No! It's to Drive the Palestinians into the sea.

Thugocracy applies to Isreal, Tanks, Helicopter and Mammoth Bulldozers, burying towns, villages and People, Why? Isreal has learned well form it's German counterpart.

Dr. Hanson, you failed to mentioned the $91 Billion Dollars the US has supplied Isreal.

How long has the West, been Bombing and Tearing apart the Mid-East, to Exploit it's OIL Wealth, Please answer this question.

Osama bin Laden, was created by the USA's CIA.

Dr. Hanson, Have you read bin Laden to America, if not, WHY?

IRAQ, IRAQ, Let fall back and blame all the World's ills on Iraq and Saddam.

Please, Dr. Hanson, Please Publish the Truth about Iraq and it's Weapons of Mass Destruction and all connections to al-Quida.

Dr. Hanson "it was easy to slander the Isrealis' scruity of Arabs in their midst", The German People were weary of Jews in their Country, sound familiar?

Taliban and Saddam, Dr. Hanson, How do you Connect the Taliban and Saddam, Please Inform the Public, I cannot find these types of Connection.

"Good Street Theater", these PEOPLE, saw the Evil, in Attacking Iraq, for No Reason at ALL.

The Attack on the US forces in Lebanon,the US in the mist of a Civil War. What of Isreal's Attack on the USS LIBERT, by Isreal, what is That?

I see thing as they are, not what you would like us to see, through the eyes of a Biased Teacher......