The Blindness of our Leaders

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3 Responses

  1. Ahron says:

    Olmert, Peretz, Sharon, Peres…… Are these people really our “leaders”? Or are they simply our rulers?

  2. David N. Friedman says:

    It is clear that the Islamic jihadists have leaders that they love and respect. By contrast, we constantly pick at our leaders and imagine that they need to be somehow larger than life.

    If Bush is so bad, why has he won two elections and if Sharon and Olmert are so bad, why didn’t someone else rise to the top? Since the answer is that they are the product of the democratic system, it is best to lower our complaints. It MUST be true that the leaders of our enemies appear larger than life and have a heroic standing with their followers–they stand as dictators.

    GOP leaders are now joining in on throwing mud on Pres. Bush, asking openly why he is such a supposed idiot as if John McCain or George Allen or Rudi Gulliani would be so much better. Israelis are bashing Olmert, who surely will face a no-confidence vote as if Netanyahu would do a lot better. Personally, I believe that Netanyahu would do a bit better but this ignores the basic issue.

    Confronting terror is hard to do militarily when there is so litle unity among the populace. If there was unity in the nation about the terror threat, we would offer Bush a stronger hand. With much of the nation pushing AGAINST victory, it is hardly surprizing that our war effort has been ambiguous. We face a united and determined evil and our response is not united and not determined. We are so spoiled, we want a quick victory, a booming economy,no causualties and leaders with charm and charisma. Perhaps it would even be lovely if, in his spare time, Pres. Bush might also mow the grass and mind the kids while we run off to the beach.

    In short, I find the potential replacement for Bush and Olmert to not be a solution to a “leadership gap.” Rather, I see in America’s and Israel’s own lack of unity against terrorism the problem that is being ignored. Instead of bashing the leaders for not being successful, I believe it is useful to see how our own lack or resolve is being reflected in weak policy.

    If Nazrallah’s Hebollah was such a threat in the eyes of a plurality of the Israeli electorate, Israel would have been justified in taking them out long ago. Instead, we have hoped and hoped that they we can live with the threat, like the Left hoped that they could contain Sadaam. Until the people are willing to call terror a threat and really mean it, we will continue to lose battles and waste time while our enemies are planning to defeat us.

    Israel lost its recent war because she was insufficiently ready and willing to plan the defeat of the enemy. America is so concerned about colateral damage that we have traded the hope of admiration of our friends for respect from the enemy. In the process, the war has taken longer to clean up, while our will to win has floundered. Ultimately, I hope we are learning a vital lesson here. Bush tried so hard to build unity and should have simply proceeded. Olmert tried so hard to let the diplomatic path bring peace when it cannot.

    As long as there is an insufficient constituency for the defeat of our terror enemies, peace will not be at hand and we will continue to live under the threat of the terrorists. The trouble is that even if there was unity and we were defeating them, there would still be a long-term threat. However, getting hit in spite of our best effrots is a lot different than getting hit much harder because of our muddled efforts.

    Pres. Bush articulated this a couple of times, early in this war but he has failed to repeat it and this is a failure of leadership. The fact that our electorate has to be told and reassured that the terror is a bigger problem than our President is a much bigger problem.

  3. David N. Friedman says:

    Jonathan Rosenblum is never wrong, in my estimation. However I do believe that my points also stand. It is a bit of spin to suggest that the Israelis were in total unity concerning the defeat of the enemy. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that Israelis felt the sting of those voices around the world that wrongly stated that Israel was destroying Lebanon over two kdnapped Israeli soldiers. If it seemed the Israeli leadership did not have the stomach to dispatch Hisbulloh to heaven, the Israeli electorate similarly did not have the resolve to see it through either.

    At the beginning of this war, I listened to many Israelis state that the war was NOT an existential threat. I felt that it was an existential threat and I was sure that a more heated response was in order. It did not come for reasons.

    A higher-up in the Israeli embassy came to speak at our shul. He was not particularly motivated to suggest that Hisbulloh was such a big deal and even if this man speaks from a position of leadership, I cannot imagine that there is such a disconnect between the war-weary Israeli electorate and a supposedly timid leadership.

    Jonathan Rosenblum is correct to suggest that there is plenty of blame to go around. If this war and our “defeat” can serve a useful purpose, it will be that our response can be better next time. It is truly a bizarre calculation that suggests that as long as Nazrallah still lives and Hizbullah thrives in Lebanon, Israel has “lost.” The fact is that Shi-ite dominance of Lebanon is a reality and Israel cannot control the demographics of other nations.

    The bigger war is delayed for the future and we can only pray that when the time comes, this time Israelis will be willing to win a decisive battle. People bemoan the fact that Hizbulloh can now re-arm for the next war. I wish to point out that Israel can do the same and I can only hope that Israelis will be in no mood to be fooled twice in a row.

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