On the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, much of Israel awoke to evil: Hamas terrorists breached Israel’s border with Gaza and slaughtered innocent men, women, and children. They went house to house in border towns, terrorizing families, executing men, women, and children and taking others hostage. They stormed police stations and executed Israeli police and soldiers. They paraded the bodies of Jewish people through the streets of Gaza in a macabre celebration of evil.
As of this writing, more than 900 Israelis are dead, thousands are wounded, many are still held hostage in Gaza. A nation is reeling from its worst attack in half a century. Thankfully, the United States and Western governments are responding in solidarity with Israel. America is mobilizing a strike carrier group closer to Israel, and the Biden administration is readying an emergency aid package to one of our closest allies. And our allies are not only condemning Hamas, but cutting ties to Gaza and pledging support for Israel.
Still, the U.S. needs to wake up to the evil the Hamas attacks represent: This is time for sober American leadership, not the naive and sophomoric politics we’ve indulged over the last several years. The reality is that when America ceases to be a leader in the world, evil actors fill the vacuum.
To start, when murderous authoritarians broadcast to us who they are, we should believe them. The ill-fated agreement the Trump administration signed with the Taliban, compounded by the Biden administration’s stubborn insistence on leaving Afghanistan and embarrassing lack of plan for withdrawal has projected American weakness and given bad actors around the world a green light to pursue their expansionist ambitions. Exacerbating all this is President Joe Biden’s unwillingness to give up the folly of a deal with Iran to curb its nuclear capabilities. Yet if reporting in the Wall Street Journal is correct, it was Iran who helped to coordinate the Hamas attack (though Biden administration officials have said they’ve not yet found such a link to Iran).