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Monday, January 05, 2009

Dilemma? What dilemma?

In the Wall Street Journal, Max Boot describes what he calls Israel's 'tragic Gaza dilemma.'
The essential dilemma Israel faces is this: It can't ignore Hamas's attacks, not only because of the damage they inflict, but also because of the terrible precedent they set. Israel has always been a state that is one battle away from destruction, and it cannot allow its enemies to think that it can be attacked with impunity. But at the same time Israel cannot do what it takes to wipe out the enemy, because of the constraints imposed by its own public, which is far less willing than in the past to suffer or inflict bloodletting.

So the Jewish state is forced to fight an unsatisfying war of attrition with Hamas, Hezbollah and other entities bent on its destruction. The current incursions are only one stage of this lengthy struggle. The odds are that once Israeli troops leave, Hamas will rebuild its infrastructure, forcing the Israelis to go back in the future.

This is the definition of a quagmire, yet Israel has no choice but to keep doing what it's doing. Unlike the French in Algeria or the Americans in Vietnam, it cannot simply pack its bags and go home. If Israel is to continue to exist, it will have to continue to wage low-intensity war for a long time to come -- definitely years, probably decades, possibly centuries.

Israelis have to discard Gen. Douglas MacArthur's famous maxim: "War's objective is victory -- not prolonged indecision. In war there is no substitute for victory." They will have to settle for a substitute because from their standpoint "prolonged indecision" is better than the alternatives -- the annihilation of themselves, which would be unthinkable, or of their enemies, which would be unconscionable.
I have no such dilemmas. If the choice is between us living and them living, I have no doubt what we should do. No, I'm not arguing for targeting civilians. But if we want to live in peace in this country, we have to do everything necessary to protect ourselves and to show the other side that we will not just keep taking hits from them. I suspect that's what's going on in Gaza now. We're not wiping out Gaza's civilians. There's no need to do that. But Israel has said that it will not let human shields prevent it from going after Hamas terrorists. And I believe and hope it is acting accordingly.

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6 Comments:

At 11:48 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 11:49 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 11:50 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Jews are not expecting the Palestinians to love them or even to have a relationship with them. But they do expect the other side to keep its hands off them. When they don't, they'll receive an answer they won't soon forget. The only thing that will keep Israel safe for the foreseeable future is not a piece of paper or even a peace on paper but Israeli deterrence - in its army being ready to respond to any aggression from the other side. There's never going to be a real peace but there can be a tacit understanding of what is and what is not allowed. And while it falls short of the peace dreams Israelis have had, its something that can be lived with - as long Israel shows the Arabs it means business.

 
At 12:18 AM, Blogger Thud said...

Israel has no choice...some pain for all involved now or massive suffering for all in the future...there is no perfect solution but this fight needs to be fought now.

 
At 3:18 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Now that Hamas has made it about the children, Israel should take the gloves off and kill them all on sight. No taking prisoners. Shoot them all dead. The policy should be to eradicate Hamas and to eliminate those who advocate the murder of every Jew in the world. Its time for Israel to stop being morally squeamish. Those who target Jewish children deserve no compassion. The milk of human kindness must be withheld from the them. There's only one way to make sure Arab Nazis never harm the hair of a single Jew - and Israel has it within its power to make sure NEVER AGAIN is more than just a slogan!

 
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