The Hope Of Lebanon

American Daily, OH
Feb 24 2005

The Hope Of Lebanon
By Bruce Walker (02/24/05)

Lebanon may be the greatest hope of all in the implementation of the
Bush Doctrine for world peace. Why? Lebanon is the only nation which
once was what we hope all the nations of the Middle East and Moslem
world will be: a democracy with tolerance and prosperity in which
Christians, Moslems and Jews lived together in peace.

The horrors which Lebanon has endured over the last three decades
obscure the wonder of a land which was once know as the Switzerland
of the Middle East. Lebanon was not just prosperous. It was more
prosperous than Israel. Lebanon was not just democratic. It was the
longest functioning democracy in the region. Lebanon was not just
tolerant, but it provided more religious toleration than any other
nation in the region, Israel included.

Although it is a relatively small nation – like Israel and like
Kuwait – it is potentially a pivotal nation in making free democracy
work. Alone among Arab nations with large Moslem populations in the
region, Lebanon stayed out of the 1967 War. Long before other nations
in the region, Lebanon had diplomatic relations with Israel.

Lebanon proved, until Syria invaded and savaged it, that Moslems and
Christians could live together peacefully in a working democracy.
Like most other democracies with parliamentary governments, Lebanon
had a head of state, a president, and a head of government, a prime
minister. One was always a Maronite Christian and the other was
always a Moslem.

Beirut was once a name synonymous with peace and beauty, like Geneva
or Stockholm or Venice. What connived to end this? Two factors, one
now dead (although it seems to be coming back like a vampire) and the
other on the run (although the last stand has not yet been made.)

The Soviet Union, whose policy was to export misery and to hurt
America whenever and wherever it could, had many tools to influence
Lebanon. It sold arms to Syria and other gaggles of terrorists. The
Russian Navy was a genuine power in the Eastern Mediterranean. KGB
and GRU operatives could and did work to prevent happiness in Lebanon
and gratitude toward the West.

Militant homicidal Moslem groups warred against the Christian
population, committing – as Danny Thomas, himself Lebanese, once
noted – genocide, but genocide against Christians and therefore
lacking the chicness of genocide against Tibetans, Cambodians or
Jews: genocide like the willfully ignored first holocaust of the last
century, the Armenian Holocaust, the systematic extermination of the
first Christian nation on Earth.

Everyone in Lebanon suffered horribly. Poor and wretched Moslems, who
had lived for centuries in relative peace and friendship with their
Christian countrymen, suddenly found themselves besieged by invading
Moslems, by Israeli military forces, and by Lebanese Christians
trying to defend themselves.

Hope and joy died in what was once among the most hopeful and joyful
cities in the world. `Beirut’ became a synonym for the horrors of
modern terrorism and undeclared war, rather than a promise of respect
and tolerance.

All of this can, and should, change. As several pundits have noted
and as was clear in the meeting between the presidents of France and
of America, Syria must withdraw from Lebanon now. France has historic
ties to Lebanon, ties that go back not decades or even centuries but
almost one thousand years. French pride has been a principal obstacle
to American war on terrorism. There is the chance for a wonderful
confluence of French pride and Bush humility.

Let France liberate and occupy Lebanon and let America have troops
who operate under the French colors in this noble cause. It should
not matter to Americans how Lebanon is liberated, but only that it is
liberated. France has more than just its pride at stake. The growth
of Moslem populations within France means that creating a model for
Christians and Moslems to live together in peace in a Mediterranean
nation is very much in the long term interest of France.

When Lebanon is free and safe, America should provide aid lavishly to
rebuild the nation and NATO should place stout peace keeping forces
at the borders with Syria and with Israel. As Israel has become the
homeland of Jews persecuted, Lebanon should become the homeland of
both Christians and Moslems who are persecuted. Then Earth will take
a giant step forward toward being a homeland of all the children of

Bruce Walker has been a dyed in the wool conservative since, as a
sixth grader, he campaigned door to door for Barry Goldwater. Bruce
has had almost two hundred published articles have appeared several
professional and political periodicals.