Abbas Cannot Do the Impossible

Response to Chicago Tribune’s “Terrorists Keep the Chaos Going in Gaza”

Victor Davis Hanson fails to recognize the primary difference between Iraq and Afghanistan and the situation in Palestine (“Terrorists keep the chaos going in Gaza,” Sept. 23). He writes, “President Talabani and his Iraqi parliament, like President Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan, are making progress as they fight the radical Islamic enemies of democracy and the rule of law. Mahmoud Abbas, in contrast, has not begun.” Perhaps it would be easier for Abbas start a battle against militants if he too had the American army to back him up.

Both Afghanistan and Iraq today are caught up in violence that claims lives daily. Palestine too must deal with its people being regularly killed. But unlike in Palestine, the leaders in Afghanistan and Iraq are able to “fight” terrorism because this terrorism will be fought with or without their permission. The United States has vowed to continue the War on Terrorism in these two countries. Talabani and Karzai can either sit back and watch as their sovereign power is usurped or capitalize on this war by taking credit for dismantling the terrorists and their organizations.

Abbas does not have this luxury. The world continues to demand he deal with militants and fails to see how impossible this demand is to fulfill. If the United States, the world’s only superpower and greatest military force, is struggling to stop terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq, how can Abbas, in one of the poorest and least developed regions of the world, be expected to do the same?