Saul Singer at PostGlobal

Saul Singer

Jerusalem, Israel

Saul Singer, a columnist and former editorial page editor at the Jerusalem Post, is co-author of the forthcoming book, Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle. He has also written for the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, Middle East Quarterly, Moment, the New Leader, and (an Israeli/Palestinian e-zine). Before moving to Israel in 1994, he served as an adviser in the United States Congress to the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Banking Committees. He is also on Twitter. Close.

Saul Singer

Jerusalem, Israel

Saul Singer is a columnist and former editorial page editor at the Jerusalem Post. more »

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Destroy is Easy, Win takes Patience

Try this analogy: the American tortoise racing a terrorist hare. Terrorists have an advantage in that it is easier to destroy than to build and preserve, but destruction loses support over time. The terrorists' only hope of winning in Iraq is for the U.S. to lose the will to keep going -- slow but steady.

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All Comments (39)


Time is running out, 5 days left.

Fred A:

What/which "victory" are you talking about? Please define "victory." This entire essay is predicated on "victory."

You should be given an intellectual/conceptual DUI.


Destroy is Easy, Win takes Patience
no no no
Win is Easy, Destroy takes Patience

Put down your weapon and you'll win for yourself respect and peace and money. Destroy other once and you will be destroy 10 times heavier.


Wydadi : I agree my Bro.


Hawkwood:"Better congress be Israel occupied than arab occupied"

Better congress be sovereign and free of any kind of occupation nor Israeli,nor arab and start to be motivated by the American interest only,that would be a hell of improvement.


Kerri Anne; I think Saul Singer looks like yo daddy. Don't you at closer examination?


Actually,Monte babes,have you ever seen an Arab plant an olive or cedar tree ? Have you ever seen the hardworking Palestinians know what to do with water ? I have not seen any Brooklyn Arab Falafel vendors using a shovel. Have you ?

The Israeli Paradise.:

"I think it is interesting the way that people who clearly consider themselves the most ardent foes of al qaeda are willing to take them at their word when it suits their purposes." .... Simple explanation, the most ardent foe of al Qaeda is the CIA who also fabricates the videos and puts the words into bin Laden et al mouths.

"And not to mention how they too can vreate a PARADISE-FOUND, like hard working Israel folk did." --- They did it with stolen water and most of the work was done by Palestinians. Have you ever seen a Brooklyn diamond cutter using a shovel?

"They can plnat trees like Olives & Cedir etc.."---Israeli Jews have cut down or stolen one-half million Palestinian olive and fruit trees.

Monte Haun

Peter Principle:

Somehow turning to Aesop's fables for tips on diplomatic strategy at this point seems too loopy to believe -- even for a Likudnik moron like Singer.


Wydadi; actually most of the folks that post on this issue did not even read what Singer said. It was evenhanded. They just want to bash Israel and Jews. Better Congress be Israel occupied than Arab occupied. If the latter you could help set up the gas chambers in Alaska. All the best.


From all the comments i'am reading,i feel there is still hope in the American society.Hopefully, everybody is not brainwashed by the mainstream media and there's still people who can make difference between Hamas and al Qaeda and who don't buy the Israel propaganda backed up by lobbyists like Singer,Dershowitz and Friedman.
Congress is certainly an Israel occupied territory but you people are free.


I think it is interesting the way that people who clearly consider themselves the most ardent foes of al qaeda are willing to take them at their word when it suits their purposes.

There are two plausible views of what al qaeda thinks of US withdrawal. One is that they favor it because they think it will represent a great victory. The other is that they oppose it because it will take away the great propoganda tool they have in leading the fight to drive the US out of Iraq.

If the former is right we are doing what al qaeda wants by withdrawing. If the latter is right we are doing what they want by staying. In either case it is clear that al qaeda would say what Singer quotes them as saying. So the fact that they say it is not particularly significant unless one believes that they are more motivated to say the truth than to say what serves their purposes.

In general I would be more inclined to accept Mr. Singer's reading of them if he recognized before the invasion that the invasion was a huge favor to al qaeda. Is there any evidence that he did?

think tank blubber:

So this morning we're treated in the Post to someone named Markovski...writing for another phony AIPAC-Israeli think tank pretending to be American. Poor Israel, we didn't know the real reason they had to attack Lebanon, bravely killing civilians and ruining infrastructure...and proving that thoiugh they are splendid at shooting Palestininan children and women they aren't so swift with real soldiers who shoot back. Got their butts kicked, however they lie about it. Markovsky talks about another war that Israel might start this summer...blaming the Russians, strangly. Et. al. No wonder Israel and it's corrupt leaders are the most hated in the world. WHY does the US still support them? How much longer?


Monte Haun : You left out yo mama is a zionist and jewish.


hooray for the usa, israel, zionism, and the jewish people.screw anybody that does not like the foregoing!

AIPAC Rules:

It makes sense that isreali journalists and supporters want americans and arabs to keep killing each other. After all it was AIPAC that pushed for the war with iraq to destroy the country, all for the sake of israel.
Palestine is occupied by israel and washington is occupied by AIPAC. Read - THEY DARE TO SPEAK OUT -


i am not sure what this joker is doing here on the Post. i would advise him to get ready for another round of peppering from nasrallah - this time including Tel Aviv

Robert James:

Bunkum. Having the US permanently in the Middle East may suit Israel but the misery that Bush has unleashed has contributed to the growth of insurgents. If the US invaded my country I would fight them. You are asking the US to follow a course that resembles the Gulag, or Ghetto, that Israel has created for Palestinians. US violence will not cure any problems and I doubt that it will protect the US or Europe from anything. It is since the US initiated the violent and contemptuous treatment of Moslems that matters have got worse. I reject your point of view. Peace will come from discussions by ALL parties and they will come together only when they believe that the outcome is reasonably fair and that all parties can be trusted to implement the negotiated peace agreements. Trust takes time. Look at the UK and Irish example. You offer a recipe for a never ending war.


It seems from the replies to Saul Singer that we may be reaching a tipping point - Americans, like Europeans don't want to be on 'team Freedom' with Israel. It costs too much and gives too little 'Freedom'. We don't buy the argument that Hamas and Hezbollah are working with Al Qaeda. Most of the people of the Middle East reject both Zionism and Al Qaeda. And - after $500 billion and 3600 body bags, we Americans are longing for that light at the end of the tunnel.

Joe Nash:

If the US made peace with Iran and Syria, we would have no reason to give Israel the $5 billion of tax dollars that Israel receives each year. Maybe that money could be used to help inner city kids to get an education and strive for a better life, or help provide health benefits for several thousands more Americans, but how does that help the average jew living in Tel Aviv? It doesn't! So Israel doesn't want America to make peace with the Arab countries, because it would result in a huge financial loss for them. Hence, like Mr. Saul here, they're always egging Americans to kill Arabs and ensuring that the bloodshed in the middle east continues...


As hard as it is to put Saul Singer in the same graph as Tom Friedman, whom I respect a little, the facts are clear today. Go to Friedman's NYT column today. Both are singing the same refrain, in some of the same new words today...meaning AIPAC is hard at work. Oh boy, the Israelis sure don't like the idea of the US talking to Iran (even the hapless Rice) in any form, do they...or the prospect that Americans may get our soldiers out of Iraq sometime in the reasonable future. Singer and his ilk think the US exists only to use our blood for the failed, corrupt state of Israel. Disgusting beyond bearing.

Keri Ann:

Is it just me, or does Saul Singer look like your typical big nosed shakespearean devilish jew?

Joe Nash:

The Iraq war has been one gigantic gravy train ride for Israel paid by Americans with their blood and hard earned tax dollars. Sorry Saul....but the free ride is over.


Michael of Bowie: "The US people have a soul ... George W. is a problem, but he doesn't speak for America. He speaks for george W."

I am quite prepared to believe this, Michael, provided you first admit that more than 58 million Americans reelected that creature, and knowing what they knew about it! The creature must therefore speak for some people, surely...

Don't people live in a democracy, in the US? If so, that entails responsibilities, including towards non-Americans on this planet, namely the Iraqis, the Afghans, the Lebanese, the Palestinians, etc. There is someone who for years has been acting in the name of the American people, someone who was duly elected to do so. I cannot conceive nobody be responsible for that.


"Jihadi Alliance" ... what a fear mongering idiot! Guess what Saul, you fooled us once and you will not fool us again. The real problem is Israel.


All NEO CONS should be sent either to Iraq to fight for Israel and the easy "democracy" that they predicted in their policy. Wolfowitz, Feith, Pearle, Leiberman, Kristol, Abrahams etc etc. - or since they are all Jewish - perhaps they should just go back to Israel - the state they are loyal to...


Your reasoning is too flawed to be even vaguely acceptable. Nobody asked the US to go to Iraq. Iraq wasn't harming the US and anybody else except internally and any fool could have found a better way to assist in rectifying that problem. From Lebanon, to Palestine, to Somolia, to Iraq, American hubris has caused incalcuable harm because it is armed and underpinned by arrogance, greed and stupidity.

singer again?:::

So Saul Singer reappears to campaign for war, more more more war war war. For
US troops and blood to fill the fields of
Iraq...Israel wants troops stay in Iraq, build bases, attack Iran and Syria, etc etc etc...
and to geddabout
pushing israel to make peace with Palestine. Israel doesn't want peace,
Israel wants Palestine. And of coure the mantra of constant war, war then and now and forever. Israel knows nothing else. And will never give up grabbing. The US will not survive unless we jetison warmongering Israel and begin to be decent again.


The problem I see with the destroy/ build senario is the same as found in most neo constructs. As idealogues they think one dimentionaly consistant with their beliefs. They remind me of my teanage son, big on beliefs little on facts. The biggest difference between the opponents is that someday the Americans will leave, the Iraqis including those who oppose the Americans(by the polls the majority and an massive majority if you take out the Kurds) will still be there. The Iraqis have no place to go. THe Iraqis have strategic clarity, get rid of the Americans, the Americans have a poorly defined strategy based on neo con ideology with little basis in reality.

The tendency is to think only of your actions not the response of your opponent. Take the so called surge. If you are the opposition how do you respond. Do you change your tactics, move somewhere else or simply wait it out. They have considerably more tactical flexibility because they operate with the support of the population and and at low cost. If terrorism was self destructive, the American presence in the polls would have gone up in the past four years not down.

Michael of Bowie:

People, lighten up. Saul Singer is clearly about peace. Is there a problem with that? Also, folk tend to put country names in the place of people' hearts, and that'sot reality. I am American but I am not at all for George W. Bush. I tend to agree with the Venezuelean President about W, and I am not alone. The same is true for folk in other countires. Our leaders do what they do, and not what we want hem to do. We cannot lose sight of that. If we do then the world is lost.

Anyone who pays attention to world history knows that the US is not a demon, although the US does act on certain interests, right or wrong. The US people have a soul and we have fought for many, all over this globe. George W. is a problem, but he doesn't speak for America. He speaks for george W.



Anju Chandel, New Delhi, India:

Your reference is equally applicable to the US as they are realising the hard way that "to destroy Iraq was easy for them but to win there they need to have lots of patience"! ... But how long can they continue to be patient?

Monte Haun:

""Though terrorists have the built-in advantage that it is easier to destroy than to build and preserve, they can face a disadvantage in that continuous destruction is not popular with those suffering its costs.""

Way to go Saul. "built-in advantage that it is easier to destroy than to build and preserve" The built in advantage is really State of the Art weaponry used against helpless victims. Like the US military, hardly one stone left upon another in Iraq and of course the Israeli Jew Rape of Lebanon and Palestine must be a record for gratuitous rotteness. Bridges, banks, fishing fleet, apartments, roads, power plants, oil storage and the ensuing ecological damage-- did I leave anything out?

Saul, how much are you paid to write that tripe?
Monte Haun


The terrorists who destroy with car bombs are not the big threat in Iraq. The biggest threat is illustrated by the alleged Office within the staff of the Prime Minister of Iraq which is filled with Iranian sympathizers and Shia militants who seem to have some kind of veto power over the Iraqi military and its leadership.

The Iranians are runnig a classical insurgency operation inside Iraq, operating from the safe haven of their nation next door. The US military commanders know this well by now, but are powerless to attack Iran. A one-way war such as this is lost before it is begun.

Until the USA can honestly answer all eight questions of the Powell Doctrine in the affirmative, we must avoid further military action. Under the circumstances that exist right now, the answer to all eight questions is in the negative, demanding that we withdraw from Iraq and regroup until our nation's interests are again served by committing our military in accordance with the Powell Doctrine.


"Destroy is Easy, Win takes Patience... it is easier to destroy than to build and preserve..."

How accurate! Case in point # 1: Palestine. Case in point # 2: Afghanistan. Case in point # 3: Iraq. Case in point # 4: Lebanon, summer 2006. Case in point # 5: ... Enough! One could go on all night.

This is the best I have read, so far, under Saul Singer's name.


Yeah but our economy is suffering, we seem to be losing moral altitude and a recent BBC world poll lumped us with Israel & Iran as the 3 most negatively viewed countries. Even N. Korea, not to mention Russia ranked better.

Jim in California:

Dear Saul;

With all respect, what rock did you just crawl out from under? Your analysis is as shallow as GWB's. You need to first distinguish between the insurgents and militias whose main goal is to get rid of the US occupation so they can fight over power within Iraq. Then you need to recognize the fact that the US occupation is, in fact, helping Al Qaeda. For this we have evidence in the captured communications of Al Qaeda leaders and the comprehensive analysis of the US intelligence community.

You have the evidence that occupation does not bring peace staring you right in the face. You want the US caught in the same trap as Israel?? Israel has only been able to sustain its occupation because of financial and military assistance from the US. Who is going to subsidize the US occupation of Iraq? Sorry, I'm not buying it. Once you fixed your own problems I'll consider your advice to America.


While I can understand the hope of conservative columnist of the right wing Jerusalem Post that the USA will prevail, I find it rather sad that this person is living in a state of Denial.

There is no hope of VICTORY for the USA in Iraq, or in ME. The USA has completely destroyed her own moral, political and economic power, which interestingly made ZIONIST Israel's existence more dangerous. The Neocon dremers with the help of AIPAC wished for INTERESTIMG TIMES IN THE Middle East[Chinese curse], unfortunately for them the fruits of distruction has reached into the highest level of their respective governments, and has caused untold financial loss to their own countries.

Lesson: do not plant mines [and cluster bombs] in soverign states, lest the mine/bomb destroy yourselves.


You forget that the terroists have another advantage: low cost. If the US does go in for the long haul, it's cost will be disproportionately high. Dont forget that the 9 year Afghanistan operation practically bankrupted the USSR leading to its demise, while for the US which bankrolled the mujahideen, it was chump change.

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