In fact, one of the most profound changes in the region these past three decades has been the growing unwillingness of Arabs to be afraid. Their leaders – our “moderate” pro-Western Arab leaders such as King Abdullah of Jordan and President Mubarak of Egypt – may be afraid. But their peoples are not. And once a people have lost their terror, they cannot be re-injected with fear. Thus Israel’s consistent policy of smashing Arabs into submission no longer works. It is a policy whose bankruptcy the Americans are now discovering in Iraq.
And all across the Muslim world, “we” – the West, America, Israel – are fighting not nationalists but Islamists. And watching the martyrdom of Lebanon this week – its slaughtered children in Qana packed into plastic bags until the bags ran out and their corpses had to be wrapped in carpets – a terrible and daunting thought occurs to me, day by day. That there will be another 9/11.