Israel vs Hamas: Beyond right, wrong, smart, and stupid

posted at 10:20 am on December 30, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

David Schraub gives a thoughtful rebuttal to arguments from the American Left and Right on the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, trying to push beyond some of the slogans to find better ground.  He easily dispenses with the asinine “proportionality” argument and rejects the right vs wrong equation, preferring to ask whether Israel has acted wisely in their actions:

The proper frame for looking at Israel’s response isn’t whether, in some cosmic sense, it is “justified” in attacking Gaza this way. The proper frame is asking “is this attack going to accomplish anything?” LGM’s own military expert, Robert Farley, gives four reasons to be skeptical that anything good will come out of Israel’s operation, while nonetheless noting that the operation itself has been quite discriminating and has done a good job minimizing civilian casualties. His arguments — particularly the problems with “sending a message” — make sense to me. We might still understand why the government is behaving “as expected”, and we might affirm that, in terms of moral judgment, we shouldn’t hold Israel morally liable for a super-obligation where other countries are given relatively free passes. But none of that requires us to answer in the affirmative the remaining (and to my mind, far more important question): Is Israel’s response a smart one?

Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons the contemporary discourse surrounding Israel/Palestine seems stuck on debating “right and wrong”, instead “smart or stupid”. Anti-Israel speakers are unsatisfied with the idea that the state is merely behaving unwisely — they are insistent that it is a qualitatively evil regime that must be treated as such, even when such demands make it concretely less likely for the Palestinian people to receive their just due. Pro-Israel writers, responding to such rhetoric, devote their time to defending the moral appropriateness of any Israeli action, to the exclusion of any long-term considerations about whether it ends up helping or harming Israeli interests (not to mention the interests of a lasting peace and liberation of the Palestinian people from occupation). This is why I’m such a fan of J Street: They call for Israel to ceasefire, not because Kadima is now the Middle East’s version of the Nazi Party — but because, based on their considered judgment, they don’t think that the operation actually gives Israel anything of substantial, long-term value, and instead simply entrenches the never-ending cycle of tit-for-tat that hasn’t gotten anywhere for decades.

As I mentioned previously, the question of whether Israel is behaving unwisely in this particular case is one that I am not qualified to answer (though Farley is, and he answers “no”). But the point is that restricting the field to merely “who is in the right”, rather than stepping up to the plate and saying “what actions should Israel, Palestine, and every other relevant party take to the current situation that best advances its security interests, the prospects of permanent peace, and justice for the Israeli and Palestinian actors”, is a discourse that doesn’t actually help anyone. So what I’d like to see — from America and from everyone else — is a commitment to cool it with the moral hyperbolics which don’t accomplish anything, and focus on what matters: the reasonable, concrete policy moves both sides can do to advance the cause of peace and justice.

That construct suffers from one problem — the lack of recognition of Israeli actions in the past.  Israel has tried military action, occupation, withdrawal, a peace plan (Oslo), another peace plan (Wye River), yet another peace plan (Annapolis), blockade, ending the blockade, and a series of so-called “truces” that allowed the Palestinians to play a triangle offense and provoke Israel into action.  What do all of these actions have in common?  None of them worked.

The question really isn’t right or wrong.  Israel has a right to defend its citizens from attack, and Hamas had launched over 200 rocket and mortar attacks on civilian populations in the week before this operation.  It’s not smart or stupid, either, since Israel has done everything to “advance the cause of peace and justice” except surrender and die, which remains Hamas’ explicitly stated aim.  It’s about a lack of options in dealing with a group determined to conduct terrorist attacks and destroy Israel until its last breath.  A targeted campaign against Hamas while avoiding a wider war is the one option the Israelis still had yet to try.

The better question is whether it will work, which is David’s implied test in his smart-or-stupid construct.  We don’t know.  What we do know is that Israel has very few options left outside of suicide, and we can’t see whether this will work until it’s tried.


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One does not negotiate with rabid dogs.

SeniorD on December 30, 2008 at 10:24 AM

They should sweep through Gaza like the Romans and drive all these bastards into Egypt or the sea. What are they afraid of, that the world will become anti-Semitic?

Akzed on December 30, 2008 at 10:27 AM

When the Arabs are forced to raise their soils white underpants, mission will have been accomplished.

Since that is not my stupid country’s goal, this operation is indeed futile, if not in the short run, in the intermediate one.

Shy Guy on December 30, 2008 at 10:29 AM

So-called “proportionality” means, if anything, not going beyond eliminating the threat. It doesn’t mean one for one.

JiangxiDad on December 30, 2008 at 10:29 AM

Israel had to do something. It is not right what Hamas was doing. Hamas was elected to represent the people in Gaza. Which was mind blowing. I don’t think it would get any better. Israel needs to rid the threats. I just wonder what Country will be next on their list?

sheebe on December 30, 2008 at 10:29 AM

Exactly how do you “liberate” a people who believe liberty is defined as free reign to kill Jews without consequences?

Such people cannot be liberated, for their liberty inherently comes from the destruction of someone else’s liberty.

BKennedy on December 30, 2008 at 10:36 AM

sheebe on December 30, 2008 at 10:29 AM

Remember the country whose President just gave a “Christmas Message” on the BBC? People have been speculating that Israel will take out their nuclear capabilities before Barry takes the Oath of Office.

By the way, where has beththebaker gone to?

kingsjester on December 30, 2008 at 10:36 AM

the prospects of permanent peace

How naive.

regal on December 30, 2008 at 10:39 AM

Barry is not in office yet, so he cannot declare war on Israel. Give it some time.

Vashta.Nerada on December 30, 2008 at 10:40 AM

Proportionality is a recipe for defeat in asymetrical warfare. Why get on your knees to fight when you can stomp on the smaller force at will?

The weaker force uses asymetry to its tactical advantage only so long as the superior force allows it.

Akzed on December 30, 2008 at 10:44 AM

The Gazans wanted war. Now they have one. Conquer the Gaza strip, hold the territory, and drive the people to Egypt.

indythinker on December 30, 2008 at 10:44 AM

So-called “proportionality” means, if anything, not going beyond eliminating the threat. It doesn’t mean one for one.

JiangxiDad on December 30, 2008 at 10:29 AM

“You don’t win wars by being the poor bastard dying for your county, you win wars by making the other poor bastard die for his.” ~George S. Patton.

I’m sure there’s a similar quote along the lines of: “You never win wars with proportionaite force; an enemy only knows the war is over if they are defeated disproportionaitely.”

BKennedy on December 30, 2008 at 10:45 AM

The IDF appears to be pursuing the Curtis LeMay theory, which is FINE.BY.ME.

Buckaroo on December 30, 2008 at 10:47 AM

Face it Israel is screwed. If they sit back and take rocket attacks, and let there citizens get killed. The terrorists become more emboldened and realize there is no retribution , and keep stepping up there attacks. Because as long as Israel is getting bombed and there citizens are dieing its not news worthy. Yet when Israel strikes back, the idiots in the media Europe and the American left , are soooo outraged. My theory is not of right or wrong..or smart or stupid… i think if the media is against it and the Europe and left is protesting it.. you must be doing something right.

MDWNJ on December 30, 2008 at 10:48 AM

Ed,

First why are you posting this guy’s “abstract” analysis of the situation. Just looking at his blog roll, you can see where his thinking lies. For the record, just because I could never attend the University of Chicago’s law school program doesn’t make me or anyone else here at Hot Air dumb enough to see the situation for what it is. HAMAS believes in an ideology where they must first kill the JEWS, then spread their narrow view of Islam to the Muslim world and finally take on the rest of the infidels. HAMAS does not know peace and never wants to know peace. They are a totalitarian ideology where violence and intimidation is the rule of law. Nothing Israel can do will change that.

So this guy is questioning the “long-term” problem Israel faces here. Well let me sum it up for you with my small feeble brain. Unless Israel wipes out HAMAS there won’t be peace. If Israel disappear tomorrow, HAMAS would still be a violent organization, that’s all they know. HAMAS will never now peace because that is not in their DNA.

The only thing this guy is correct about is Israel position of damn if you do; damn if you don’t. If they strike back they are condemn by the world, and if don’t strike back HAMAS will hit them harder. It’s a no-one situation for Israel. Israel needs to protect its citizens first and foremost. If the world has a problem with that, they can suck it.

Lance Murdock on December 30, 2008 at 10:49 AM

Ground war, go in kill every man alive over 13 in that region and show the West Bank/Lebanon what will happen if they try anything.

Tim Burton on December 30, 2008 at 10:50 AM

I say, destroy Hamas entirely. They explicitly state that peaceful solutions are in contradiction with their movement and ultimately, futile.

http://www.mideastweb.org/hamas.htm

awake on December 30, 2008 at 10:50 AM

over 10,000 rockets fired into Israel since 2001…. turn Gaza into a glass sheet. War is hell people die…. get over it. No I’m not being naive or a warmonger… I’ve seen war and it’s accompanying smell…… Hamas asked for it…. now give it to them in spades!

MNDavenotPC on December 30, 2008 at 10:51 AM

What we do know is that Israel has very few options left outside of suicide, and we can’t see whether this will work until it’s tried.

As… distasteful… as it may seem in some quarters, Syria(Hama) and Jordan(Black September) have set some very successful precedents in dealing with situations such as this…

elgeneralisimo on December 30, 2008 at 10:53 AM

Using the Left’s logic, it was “disproportionate” for us to kill tens of thousands of Islamofascists when they “only” killed 3000 of us.

jgapinoy on December 30, 2008 at 10:55 AM

“jgapinoy on December 30, 2008 at 10:55 AM”

HEH …

Buckaroo on December 30, 2008 at 10:59 AM

Good analysis. It worked as well as everything else they’ve tried but this has the added benefit of leaving behind the bodies of those who wish to kill you.

Mojave Mark on December 30, 2008 at 10:59 AM

I spent alot of time in the middle east, and alot of nights drinking and disscussing this,situation with both sides,peace will never happen,for one reason,hatered,both sides are consumed by it,its the reality on the ground and will never change,get used to it.

budaside on December 30, 2008 at 10:59 AM

First why are you posting this guy’s “abstract” analysis of the situation. Just looking at his blog roll, you can see where his thinking lies. …

Lance Murdock on December 30, 2008 at 10:49 AM

I understand what you’re saying, but I prefer to engage and rebut arguments with better arguments, and the only way to do that is to pay attention to what others say. I know David a little, and he’s a good guy — and he knew enough in this argument to reject the arguments of the Left. He’s someone who will benefit from engagement.

Ed Morrissey on December 30, 2008 at 10:59 AM

I agree with Lance. There will be no peace until Israel wipes out Hamass.

becki51758 on December 30, 2008 at 11:00 AM

Makes sense, unless Israel is prepared to follow through to *end* Hamas as a power player for good and change the situation, there’s no end game except more of the same. So why not end the game? Israel should unilaterally declare the Gaza to be the State of Palestine, and all other “occupied territories” to be Israeli soil. Declare war on the new state and hammer it until Hamas screams for peace. Build bigger walls and station mortars and counter battery radar along the new border for instant retaliation. Take the other areas back under control and end the autonomy experiment. Hold the new Palestinian State *explicitly* responsible for ANY terrorist attacks in Israel and react accordingly. The Palestinians get their state, Israel may get more security.

EasyEight on December 30, 2008 at 11:01 AM

Waiting on Bomma to make comments now? Whats his position? hmm?
heh heh. Your about to perhaps see who ya’ll voted in.

johnnyU on December 30, 2008 at 11:02 AM

Everyone has missed the truth about the latest combat in Gaza.

The One has mobilized his 300+ foreign policy advisors to create a situation that he will resolve days after taking office, thereby establishing his bona fides as a peace maker. This of course will be trumpeted loud and long by the willing press (see Carter; Kisses Arafat, and Clinton; Dayton Accord).

Standby for peace in the Middle East.

/sarc

BobMbx on December 30, 2008 at 11:02 AM

and instead simply entrenches the never-ending cycle of tit-for-tat that hasn’t gotten anywhere for decades

The problem with the historical implementation of tit-for-tat is that Israel has not done enough tat, as in rat-a-tat-tat.

Kill more Pal’s … faster please.

pabarge on December 30, 2008 at 11:03 AM

What a number of commenters here have come to, is the point where one realizes that the only peace possible is the peace of the grave. Because Hamas and it’s supporters want, and will accept, nothing less than the extermination of Israel.

They’ve said it for years, and they really mean it. It appears that Israel is trying a next to the last option. I don’t have much hope it will work. Nothing will, but for Israel to go all Jacksonian on Gaza, and deal with them as Sherman did with the South.

LarryD on December 30, 2008 at 11:03 AM

The IDF appears to be pursuing the Curtis LeMay theory, which is FINE.BY.ME.

Buckaroo on December 30, 2008 at 10:47 AM

Being an old SAC aircrew member I truly hope so. I really hope HELL is coming to breakfast for those that worship only death may they find it on swift wings.

Retired USAF on December 30, 2008 at 11:08 AM

Anyone who’s cool with J Street lacks credibility, in my opinion.

Mere Rhetoric has a short point about the organization:

So I’m wondering: if you’re objectively more anti-Israel than countries that officially want to wipe out Israel – to the extent that you go out of your way to condemn the Israeli government and the Israeli electorate when they won’t – does that mean that you can’t call yourself a “pro-Israel organization”?

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on December 30, 2008 at 11:08 AM

I am firmly behind Israel on this. In fact it is about time they did something. The Palestinians in Gaza need to learn they cannot just lob rockets at innocent civilians with impunity (although the comments from Bun Ki Moon suggest exactly that).

HawaiiLwyr on December 30, 2008 at 11:08 AM

What do all of these actions have in common? None of them worked.

Also they were all one sided attempts at peace – Israel being the only side who really tried to make anything work.

catmman on December 30, 2008 at 11:09 AM

Changing the question to whether this is ‘smart or not’, is just the next stage of coming down on Israel.

Phoenician on December 30, 2008 at 11:10 AM

Do Hamas and Hamas enablers fear Israel and Israel’s supporters to the point that the attacks will stop?

There’s no solution because politics block action on the root perps.

So slash, thrust and shield because its all Israel is allowed.

Speakup on December 30, 2008 at 11:12 AM

I understand what you’re saying, but I prefer to engage and rebut arguments with better arguments, and the only way to do that is to pay attention to what others say. I know David a little, and he’s a good guy — and he knew enough in this argument to reject the arguments of the Left. He’s someone who will benefit from engagement.

Ed Morrissey on December 30, 2008 at 10:59 AM

Well, David might be a good guy but his analysis is all wrong. He is as the left would say a “chickehawk” of the peacenik kind. David believes that until Israel recognizes every single grievance the Palestinians have there will never be peace. But what really tick me off about this guy is his support of JStreet, a far-left group out to weaken Israel so much; Israel might as well pack up and move to Madagascar.

Lance Murdock on December 30, 2008 at 11:14 AM

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on December 30, 2008 at 11:08 AM

So true.

Lance Murdock on December 30, 2008 at 11:14 AM

Of course it’s smart.

Look at how Fatah and Hamas are attacking each other. Fatah is feeding Israel targeting information for airstrikes and Hamas is gunning down wounded Fatah members inside hospitals to make more room for wounded Hamas members.

When this is over, those two groups will hate each other as much as they hate Israel.

daryl_herbert on December 30, 2008 at 11:17 AM

Question: What action would “actually give Israel anything of substantial, long-term value” against an enemy that wants nothing more or less than to wipe Israel and all Jews off the face of the earth?

Isn’t the only “smart” answer to this question the complete eradication of Hamas and all who support them?

Religious_Zealot on December 30, 2008 at 11:17 AM

over 10,000 rockets fired into Israel since 2001…. turn Gaza into a glass sheet. War is hell people die…. get over it. No I’m not being naive or a warmonger… I’ve seen war and it’s accompanying smell…… Hamas asked for it…. now give it to them in spades!

MNDavenotPC on December 30, 2008 at 10:51 AM

DITTO!!

christene on December 30, 2008 at 11:17 AM

He lost me at the moral equivalence of the never-ending cycle of tit-for-tat and the coffee splattered all over the keyboard at This is why I’m such a fan of J Street.

Why is Hot Air posting this crap? If you’re gonna criticize Israel’s response to terrorism, could ya come up with a better alternative than collective suicide?

moonbatattack on December 30, 2008 at 11:20 AM

While the pictures and reports of wailing and outraged Palestinians appear in abundance along with interviews of Palestinian(Hamas) soldiers etc.—I seldom or never see any interviews with outraged citizens from Israel or foot soldiers from same. Perhaps this is not allowed by Israel? I would be interested in grass roots stories from the Jewish side if possible. The coverage seems very out of balance. Do these exist and if so where must I look?

jeanie on December 30, 2008 at 11:21 AM

Ignore the corrupt press.

Do what needs to be done. Do it quickly.

faraway on December 30, 2008 at 11:31 AM

The question really isn’t right or wrong. Israel has a right to defend its citizens from attack, and Hamas had launched over 200 rocket and mortar attacks on civilian populations in the week before this operation.

Isreal never adhered to the conditions of the cease fire, I’m not exactly sure why Hamas is being painted as evil for doing the same.

DeathToMediaHacks on December 30, 2008 at 11:47 AM

Hamas is of the type that you negotiate by slamming them between the eyes with a 2 X 4….

DL13 on December 30, 2008 at 11:50 AM

The better question is whether it will work, which is David’s implied test in his smart-or-stupid construct. We don’t know. What we do know is that Israel has very few options left outside of suicide, and we can’t see whether this will work until it’s tried.

The problem, it seems to me, is that the Palestinians are pawns and have been pawns for the past 40 years in a proxy war between Israel and its Muslim neighbors. Bottom line. The PLO, Hamas, and Hizbollah are all front organizations for the Syrians, the Jordanians, the Iraqis (under Saddam), and the Iranians.

So the question you have to ask yourself is, in the long term, what can Israel do about that problem? It strikes me that establishing Iraq as a legitimate democratic government is a step in a positive direction toward bringing real peace to the region. It’s not clear what will happen in Iran, though the goal for Israel should be to refocus Iran’s attention on its Arab neighbors…. Only problem is, Israel is the only country willing to put the smack down on its nuclear ambitions, which is why Israel is suddenly the target of Iran.

Outlander on December 30, 2008 at 11:52 AM

Barry is not in office yet, so he cannot declare war on Israel. Give it some time.

Vashta.Nerada on December 30, 2008 at 10:40 AM

Yep. And he’ll install Cynthia McKinney as admiral of the US Navy.

UltimateBob on December 30, 2008 at 11:55 AM

Yep. And he’ll install Cynthia McKinney as admiral of the US Navy.

UltimateBob on December 30, 2008 at 11:55 AM

Rear Admiral, no doubt.

BKennedy on December 30, 2008 at 11:58 AM

Keep pounding them into submission…I have a feeling that the citizens just want this to be over…people want to live in peace, even if the leaders don’t.

right2bright on December 30, 2008 at 11:59 AM

“Isreal never adhered to the conditions of the cease fire, I’m not exactly sure why Hamas is being painted as evil for doing the same.”

You really think Hamas is not evil?

Their charter reads like they copied it from Heinrich Himmler’s handbook, read it sometime. The SS would be proud.

But really, who are we to judge whether a group of people who indiscriminately lob rockets at a civilian population are “evil”?

The moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the lunatic left never ceases to amaze.

NoDonkey on December 30, 2008 at 12:01 PM

sheebe on December 30, 2008 at 10:29 AM

Remember the country whose President just gave a “Christmas Message” on the BBC? People have been speculating that Israel will take out their nuclear capabilities before Barry takes the Oath of Office.

By the way, where has beththebaker gone to?

kingsjester on December 30, 2008 at 10:36 AM

Good Morning kingsjester! I hope Israel does bomb Iran Nuke sites before The One takes office. They need to do something. I wish I knew where beththebaker was. My one computers hard drive died the other day. I sure hope I saved her on my yahoo. I will write her. I sure do miss her.

sheebe on December 30, 2008 at 12:03 PM

Isreal never adhered to the conditions of the cease fire, I’m not exactly sure why Hamas is being painted as evil for doing the same.

DeathToMediaHacks on December 30, 2008 at 11:47 AM

You have to be kidding me? Guess you don’t read the news or watch the news. Hamas has been pelting Israel with rockets. Israel has been calm for a long time. They were trying to abide by the rules. Now they have had enough and are cleaning up house. Oh that is right, you and Saintolaf are buddies. You two need to convert then.

sheebe on December 30, 2008 at 12:05 PM

“J Street”? Oh, please. That deluded group of self-hating Jews has anything to teach the rest of us?

Sorry, Ed. You’re slipping.

CornFedBeauty on December 30, 2008 at 12:09 PM

One does not negotiate with rabid dogs.

SeniorD on December 30, 2008 at 10:24 AM

I say, destroy Hamas entirely. They explicitly state that peaceful solutions are in contradiction with their movement and ultimately, futile.

http://www.mideastweb.org/hamas.htm

awake on December 30, 2008 at 10:50 AM

I completely agree with both comments above. Hamas specifically states in its charter that their goal is the elimination of Israel, not peaceful co-existence therefore it is futile and illogical to even attempt to negotiate with them.

The whole lefty “Oppressed Palestinian” meme is a farce perpetuated by the Islamo-fascist propaganda machine that the ignorant left has swallowed hook, line, and sinker! The sad part is if any of those on the left that believe this Islam-fascist BS would only take a few minutes to do some historical research they would quickly realize they are being duped, instead the left prefer to perpetuate the whole “Oppressed Palestinian” meme so as to keep it a chic cause-celeb!

I say if Israel is going to be demonized no matter what they do then they may as well pound Hamas out of existence, better Hamas be eliminated than Israel!

Liberty or Death on December 30, 2008 at 12:09 PM

To be an end to any war there has to be a clear winner and a clear loser. And loser must know he has totally, undconditionally lost.
When is Israel finally going to win these wars so that Hamas (and the Palestinians and who ever else) knows it is the loser? This bomb, bomb, bomb, invade, cease fire, stop, peace treaty, retreat, re-arm and attack by Hamas, and repeat ad nauseum has go to stop.
Either Isreal goes into these conflicts with the goal of totally winning the war or stop playing the game and give it up. One has to wonder if Israel can even win a war.

albill on December 30, 2008 at 12:28 PM

David Schraub asks: The proper frame is asking “is this attack going to accomplish anything?”

Of course Israel’s counter-attack will accomplish “something”. How’s about we Monday-morning QB what that something is, and it’s value, until at least the Monday morning of the offensive. Or better yet – we leave it to the Israelis to run their own war?

HA Poster Lance Murdock is absolutely correct in his assessment of the article:

Well, David might be a good guy but his analysis is all wrong. He is as the left would say a “chickehawk” of the peacenik kind. David believes that until Israel recognizes every single grievance the Palestinians have there will never be peace. But what really tick me off about this guy is his support of JStreet, a far-left group out to weaken Israel so much; Israel might as well pack up and move to Madagascar.

All these assessments (Schraub/LGM/NYT/J Street) say that no matter what Israel does they lose. This is the adult version of the “zero tolerance” policy in our public schools. Bullies and those who defend themselves are treated as equal participants in the fight, and are judged & punished by the authorities in an exactly equal manner. Of course the bully wins.

batterup on December 30, 2008 at 12:34 PM

I am not against Israel’s latest attempt to secure itself. I am also not naive enough to think that it will work, especially in Gaza.

Gaza is approximately 5×25 miles in size sealed on all sides. Unless Israel is prepared to march three lines of soldiers shoulder to shoulder, five feet apart, the length of Gaza searching every square inch of ground allowing only women and children to pass through their lines while forcing every man into a dead end they have no chance of long term success. During this march, needing about 5000 troop per line, all the Hamas leaders need to be executed on the field(they were trying to escape), all weapons caches destroyed and every man bearing arms shot. Then and only then might there be peace. A very long shot indeed.

Afterwards they should try to buy all of Gaza from the remaining residents most of whom are probably renters. Long term there is no way Israel will ever be stable with a Hamas ghetto inside itself.

patrick neid on December 30, 2008 at 12:34 PM

I don’t know either, albill.

Israel should know by now that nothing she does is going to change the opinion of lunatic left westerners or the sociopath Arabs.

Pound Hamas until terrorist blood turns the sea red.

NoDonkey on December 30, 2008 at 12:35 PM

If we can just hold on until Hillary takes over and dispatches Madeline Albright all will be just swell…

sabbott on December 30, 2008 at 12:36 PM

Yeah, Half-Bright and the Professional Doormat will have everything all straightened out, posthaste.

The most important question is, what color Hijbab will feminist Hillary wear?

NoDonkey on December 30, 2008 at 12:40 PM

Maybe Israel just want’s an excuse to keep their planes in the air , to sneak off an Iran visit to stop proliferation.

the_nile on December 30, 2008 at 12:49 PM

I think Israel had to do this, particularly now, before the new administration gets in. They need to assert their right to defend themselves.

Y-not on December 30, 2008 at 12:55 PM

Proportionality in warfare does not mean tit-for-tat. Proportionality is defined as the means required to bring the war to a swift conclusion with a minimum number of casualties. Using nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki met the proportionality requirement because it brought the war to a rapid conclusion without sacrificing millions of Japanese and hundreds of thousands of American lifes.

Proportionality is definately not if he fires one rocket you fire one back.

jerryofva on December 30, 2008 at 12:57 PM

Fine, let’s talk smart vs. stupid:

Is it smart or stupid to let Hamas fire rockets into Israel every day for a year under the umbrella of a “cease-fire”?

Is it smart or stupid to leave in place the leadership of a terrorist organization dedicated solely to your annihilation right across the border from your civilians?

The question should NOT be, is it smart for Israel to engage in offensive operations in the Gaza. The question should be, is it better for Israel to engage in offensive operations in the Gaza compared to sitting on its hands while under daily rocket attack.

Clark1 on December 30, 2008 at 1:14 PM

The whole lefty “Oppressed Palestinian” meme is a farce perpetuated by the Islamo-fascist propaganda machine that the ignorant left has swallowed hook, line, and sinker! *** I say if Israel is going to be demonized no matter what they do then they may as well pound Hamas out of existence, better Hamas be eliminated than Israel!
Liberty or Death on December 30, 2008 at 12:09 PM

I believe that the average Palestinian is oppressed, and I further believe that Israel’s self-defense measures have contributed to that oppression. But when you look at the root cause of why Palestinians suffer so, the root cause doesn’t point to Israel, but instead points to the various Muslim powers that feed the corrupt leadership and terrorist forces that perpetuate the chaos in the Palestinian territories.

Funny how the liberals always seem to read these situations in such a way as to blame the democracy (Israel) rather than the kleptocratic dictators who are really responsible. Boy, it’s almost as if they prefer dictatorial regimes…. Like the USSR, Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, China…. Naaaahh…

Outlander on December 30, 2008 at 1:24 PM

Good points, Ed. It’s not like other options haven’t been tried before…

Bombing Gaza will not save the South from being bombed, or defeat Hamas. But there isn’t anything else that can be done that hasn’t been tried before.

Will this solve the Israeli / Arab conflict? No. Will this provide some temporary relief to Israelis and slow down Hamas’ growth? Yes. And that’s all there is to it.

AlexB on December 30, 2008 at 1:27 PM

Anybody know of any war in history that was settled where one party constantly attacks the other (Hamas missile attacks against Israel) and the other party retaliates with massive attacks and then quickly retreats or goes into a cease fire (Israel against Hamas) and both parties repeat this pattern over and over and over again ad nauseum?

The loser of a war only capitulates and surrenders when they are totally destroyed, leaders captured or killed and they are so humiliated in the war that they have no chance of surviving, let alone winning. The loser will accept any terms of agreement.

I wonder if the Israelis really want to destroy Hamas or they realize they can’t destroy ANY enemy.

albill on December 30, 2008 at 1:37 PM

Memo to Israel…Bulldoze Gaza. Make the area a dead man’s zone. People can’t live in rubble.

byteshredder on December 30, 2008 at 1:42 PM

If my neighbor, nice guy that he is and well esteemed in the ‘hood, lobs m-80s at me, I will lob something of a more persuasive nature.

Kinda like that movie where Clint Eastwood is in this hooker’s house and the LEOs literlly shoot the house down.

Israel, while not asking for or needing my support, has it.

davidk on December 30, 2008 at 1:50 PM

There will never be peace as long as Israel permits the radical imams in palestine to continue to teach hate. The muslim schools need to be replaced with schools that teach children how to read and write and do arithmetic, not how to strap on a bomb and commit terror by suicide. I hope Israel invades that swamp and cleans it out entirely. Same for America. We can no longer tolerate these mosques where hatred for America is a part of their religion. If they hate us so much, stay in your own stupid country. If you want sharia, stay in your own stupid country, don’t bring ours down to the level of the one you fled for your life.

TimothyJ on December 30, 2008 at 2:00 PM

Someone mentioned General William Tecumseh Sherman and his march to the sea during the civil war. Israel needs to adopt the same policy(scorched earth) and do the same thing with the Gaza Strip. Gaza needs to rid itself of the Hamas cancer that is growing there and the only way to do it is to kill it off completely. Cutting the head off still leaves the body of the cancerous snake to wiggle about and do damage and possibly grow a new head again which will put them back in the same place they are in now. The only way to finish this is to not stop until the last Hamas member is under the ground in a pine box. This is beyond right or wrong, smart or stupid. It is about survival.

0321_GUY on December 30, 2008 at 2:05 PM

http://www.bobdylan.com/#/songs/neighborhood-bully

I’ve never linked before, so hopefully this will work.

A number of years ago, Bob Dylan wrote and recorded a song called “Neighborhood Bully.” I loved the song, but didn’t realize what it was about. Years later, I read that Dylan wrote it about Israel, but I was oblivious to that, until I re-read the lyrics

asc85 on December 30, 2008 at 2:06 PM

Better yet…here’s the lyrics to Neighborhood Bully:

Neighborhood Bully

Well, the neighborhood bully, he’s just one man,
His enemies say he’s on their land.
They got him outnumbered about a million to one,
He got no place to escape to, no place to run.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

The neighborhood bully just lives to survive,
He’s criticized and condemned for being alive.
He’s not supposed to fight back, he’s supposed to have thick skin,
He’s supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land,
He’s wandered the earth an exiled man.
Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn,
He’s always on trial for just being born.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized,
Old women condemned him, said he should apologize.
Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad.
The bombs were meant for him.
He was supposed to feel bad.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

Well, the chances are against it and the odds are slim
That he’ll live by the rules that the world makes for him,
‘Cause there’s a noose at his neck and a gun at his back
And a license to kill him is given out to every maniac.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

He got no allies to really speak of.
What he gets he must pay for, he don’t get it out of love.
He buys obsolete weapons and he won’t be denied
But no one sends flesh and blood to fight by his side.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

Well, he’s surrounded by pacifists who all want peace,
They pray for it nightly that the bloodshed must cease.
Now, they wouldn’t hurt a fly.
To hurt one they would weep.
They lay and they wait for this bully to fall asleep.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

Every empire that’s enslaved him is gone,
Egypt and Rome, even the great Babylon.
He’s made a garden of paradise in the desert sand,
In bed with nobody, under no one’s command.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

Now his holiest books have been trampled upon,
No contract he signed was worth what it was written on.
He took the crumbs of the world and he turned it into wealth,
Took sickness and disease and he turned it into health.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

What’s anybody indebted to him for?
Nothin’, they say.
He just likes to cause war.
Pride and prejudice and superstition indeed,
They wait for this bully like a dog waits to feed.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

What has he done to wear so many scars?
Does he change the course of rivers?
Does he pollute the moon and stars?
Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill,
Running out the clock, time standing still,
Neighborhood bully.

asc85 on December 30, 2008 at 2:09 PM

Anybody know of any war in history that was settled where one party constantly attacks the other (Hamas missile attacks against Israel) and the other party retaliates with massive attacks and then quickly retreats or goes into a cease fire (Israel against Hamas) and both parties repeat this pattern over and over and over again ad nauseum?

How ’bout Vietnam? The “ad nauseum” there continued until one side quit.

BobMbx on December 30, 2008 at 2:41 PM

I predict a triumphantly announced treaty, called the Hillary Doctrine, under which the Gaza strip promises to enact strict gun and weapons control legislation and Israel agrees to drop its blockade. The fear of prosecution on weapons charges surely will clear up all that rocket launching.

Mark30339 on December 30, 2008 at 3:17 PM

/sigh

Look, for all the posturing about peace, there simply isn’t a two state solution that will work. The hate is too entrenched. This is a blood feud that goes back much, much further than the founding of modern Israel and Palestine. Believe it or not, history did not begin in 1948.

Israel needs to offer Palestinians two options. Option 1 is accept Israel’s right to exist, renounce any violence against that state or people, and apply for Israeli citizenship or option 2, leave for another Arab nation or be forcibly ejected.

The conflict will end when one side wins. Given that the Palestinian objective has always been genocide, I can’t conscience letting them win. Can anyone?

TheUnrepentantGeek on December 30, 2008 at 3:21 PM

The real question is “What are Israel’s options?” Before the Roman era, the rules were simple: if someone tries to kill you, you kill them. If you’re nasty, you take the more compliant as slaves. I f you’re really nasty, you take the women for other purposes.

Hamas deserves to die, and their deaths are proper and necessary by any ethic that includes self-defense and reason. The question is how to treat the “palestinians” who do not claim to be Hamas, and do not openly claim to support Hamas. Are their deaths necessary and proper? Are they simply unavoidable?

This has to include the calculus of surrender. The right to surrender has to be conditioned on the expectation that he who surrenders will honor that surrender. If someone has a record of violating the terms of surrender, he loses the right of surrender. His next defeat should and must be his death. The question is whether the action of palestinian fighters extends this umbrella to all palestinians. Since they train their eight year old children as suicide bombers, and since their women are acting as suicide bombers as well, there is a case to be made.

njcommuter on December 30, 2008 at 4:24 PM

This all goes back to the time of David when he was fighting the Palestinians I mean Philistines and all the other Arab tribes. There will never be peace there until his millennial reign read the bible. All of these “world leaders”, who are trying to broker a peace deal, are only doing this to put a political feather in their cap. Their labor is done in vain.

0321_GUY on December 30, 2008 at 4:25 PM

Victory comes when your enemies are dead or absorbed into your population. Rome was particularly good at this. It’s why their legacy lasted so long.

LenSp1 on December 30, 2008 at 5:44 PM

The conflict will end when one side wins. Given that the Palestinian objective has always been genocide, I can’t conscience letting them win. Can anyone?

TheUnrepentantGeek on December 30, 2008 at 3:21 PM

No. Israel needs to win this once and for all, however that may be. Hamas will never stop launching rockets at Israel, how many years are they supposed to tolerate this madness?

scalleywag on December 30, 2008 at 6:18 PM

Bomb the bastards back to the stone age and then ask them if they are going to behave themselves and if they refuse tell them we’ll bomb them until no one answers the phone.

mixplix on December 30, 2008 at 9:04 PM

There have been peace talks and papers signed for decades. They’re still fighting.

Israel and Hamas need to fight it out tooth and nail until somebody cannot answer the bell.

Any other opinion is totally wrong.

fossten on December 30, 2008 at 10:05 PM

Nothing will change until the right-wing gets into power, not just in Israel, but America, Europe and India. As long as leftists are in control, we’re in serious danger. 57 countries already lost the battle against this 7th century death cult. Islam should not be underestimated for one second. Lebanon and Sudan are its latest victims.

The liberals are just too “intellectual” to understand that in war there is a winner and a loser and losing entails the ultimate consequences. We need to attain peace on our terms, not our enemies.

We need to start treating leftists as traitors and enemy collaborators whenever they take the side of our muslim enemy. It is because of them we’re losing the GWOT (war against Islam). I wish we in the West could realize that Islam is today’s Nazism, and we should eliminate it.

thinkagain on December 30, 2008 at 11:08 PM

This reminds me of a broken record…

Broken records are funny things. They always skip in the same places. Hamas and to a grater extent, Hezbollah and Iran keep this broken record going round and around and around….. There was a tremendous amount of blowback to the Israeli’s from the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006. This proved to be a very beneficial and helpful distraction for Iran so they could continue full speed ahead on their nuclear ambitions for building a nuclear bomb, I mean, peaceful nuclear energy plants. The most damaging blow to Israel, the Israeli government and the IDF was allowing this cancer to grow. Note to the Israeli government: cut out the cancer completely next time.

The world, which, once again was suffering from tunnel vision on those 34 days of fighting in Lebanon took its eye off the ball (Iran’s nuclear bomb, I mean, peaceful nuclear energy plants expedition). Israel’s, colossal failure to explain its purpose of conducting a half-assed attempt to root out the… anyway they could not get a passing grade while giving an example of explaining that “it was attempting to confront the fixation Iran had on taking over southern Lebanon” through its proxy army Hizbullah. Israel’s version of House and Senate Democrats were to “worried” about world opinion, Arab opinion, the sky falling and everything else left wing liberals think about. This, luckily, allowed Teheran to epically fail in its attempt to stealthily move into the shadows and quietly advanced its movement to build a nuclear bomb, I mean, peaceful nuclear energy plants.

So today, we are listening to that same broken record again and again and again…, and we again sound the alarm that there is, yet again, a clear and present danger, a danger that is repeating itself like a broken record. This danger is Hamas/Hizbullah and Iran. They, Hamas and Hizbullah, are the sole creations of the Iranian Mullaocracy albeit Hamas, once a semi-stand alone entity, was drawn into the Iranian family willingly because of the wonderful benefits of weaponry, militant training from their all expenses paid trips to Iran and free rocket scientist degrees as a wonderful special bonus program.

We now enter the realm that contains the topic at hand, which is Hamas. Hamas has become a permanent indentured servant to Iran’s Mullah’s and their cronies. Israel cannot conduct this operation, Operation “Cast Lead,” as they did in 2006. If they took anything that they learned from that campaign I hope, it is this; do not stop short of the goal. A touchdown only occurs once the ball breaks the plane of the goal line.

Israel lost an excellent opportunity back in 2006 to score the winning goal when they caved in to world pressure and their version of our House and Senate Democrats pressure as well. Again they will find themselves listening to the broken record again in six to 12 months from know when rockets, once again will be reigning down all over the holy land.

What is not clear yet, at least through the foggy lens we are currently looking through, is if Israel is honestly intending to pursue its goals of restoring long-term calm and peace in the South. The IDF’s plan is very complex, given that Hamas’s reason to attack Israel (with Iran’s most gracious blessings, Allah be praised) is to wipe the Jewish people off the face of the earth. Hamas is a ruthless group of thugs, kind of like the Chicago political machine, who have little regard for life even the lives of their fellow Palestinians which was so well publicized in their bloody hostile takeover of the Gaza Strip over eighteen months ago(which was conveniently left out of the MSM’s coverage).

There are many signs that Israel is not making an effort to highlight the role Iran is playing in this and for a good reason which will go unwritten(read between the lines here). We all know; with the exception of the Arab league, the UN, the EU etc., (how deaf, dumb and blind they are) that Iran is training/bankrolling/cheerleading/ and enabling Hamas. Israel knows Iran, via Hezbollah and its puppet Syria, is on the precipice of achieving total proxy control of Lebanon. So why is there no mention of Iran in their press conferences? As I said earlier, broken records are funny things. This is the same poor little Iran: who is already armed with ICBM’s and MRBM’s that can reach Israel, Europe and ultimately North America. This same poor little Iran that is moving closer and closer to full nuclear capability which it intends to use to accomplish its demonic goals with those ICBM’s and MRBM’s. Moreover, this is the same poor little Iran: who continuously challenges and bullies Middle East countries, The EU(a waste of space), The UN(worthless), The Arab League(empty suites) and the rest of the civilized world, with their mouthpiece President “Tim” Ahmadinejad cheerleading that challenge, which is backed by the entire Teheran Mullaocracy. Some good news though is there seems to be trouble in paradise. Iranian Colonel Mohammed Reza Arian defected to the west on August 28th of this year via an overland route through Iran to the town of Van, Turkey. His first stop in his journey to the west was a United Nations Refugee Agency office/post in the city of Van. This is quite a new development that is likely to lead to a new shake-up in Iran’s unintelligent office of unintelligence. This defection shows that senior Iranian military officials are not being controlled, I mean, monitored in an effective “no leash” manner. Moreover, this shows the level of dissatisfaction inside the oppressed Iranian military ranks. The level of dissatisfaction has reached new highs in their military. This could mean that there could be more defections to the west. More people inside Iran are being encouraged to cooperate with the “great Satan’s” Western intelligence agencies.

The kicker in all of this is the interesting role that Turkey is playing in this three-ring circus. Not only is Turkey a neighbor with Iran They are friendly with Iran. Therefore, Turkey seems to be walking that thin gray line and playing that tricky double “two-faced” game with Iran. Many Iranians working out of country are concerned about the rise of CIA activity in Dubai, Turkey, other gulf states and the republic of Azerbaijan. Dubai and other gulf states have hundreds of thousands of Iranians that live and work there which makes it a target rich environment for western intelligence agencies, which they are fully exploiting. Many neutral countries are fully engaged in anti-Iranian intelligence activities. The Dutch, the Swiss, the Belgians etc. are just a few neutral countries that have been conducting such activities with great success. According to some Dutch media, this activity has become increasingly successful in recruiting new agents inside and outside of Iran.

Getting back to that broken record. The long-term goals of Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Brotherhood etc. and their growing ability to threaten Israel and beyond(Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia need to start looking over their shoulders) represents the same long-term goal of Iran and its pledge to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. Israel’s goal of Operation “Cast Lead” can only be accomplished by throwing this broken record out. Israel has to explain to the world, competently, how bad the cancer is and that the only way to survive is to cut the cancer out completely. If it does not then they will make the same mistakes they made in 2006. A weakened resolve, allowing a cease-fire, will only allow the cancer to continue to grow. If Israel wants to learn from its mistakes in 2006 then it will press on until all of its goals are met by cutting all of the cancer out. This will push the clock back enough to let the people of Israel rest enough before the next skip in this broken record comes along, which by my watch will be in another six to ten months from now if not sooner due to someone putting a new scratch on this broken record.

0321_GUY on December 30, 2008 at 11:09 PM

I won’t worry about the Palistinans getting their own state unitl after some socialist nut with a funny mustache murders six million of them. Until then, screw ‘em.

liberty0 on December 31, 2008 at 1:13 AM

The Palistinans are the most stupid people on Earth. All the Christian Palistinians have left, and they were the only ones with any sense. The Muslim Palistinians are dirt bags, and are collectively too stupid to accomplish anything positive. Shooting rockets into Israel is about all they can come up with, and that is like beating yourself over the head. /STUPID/

They need to change their attitude 180 degrees, and look for help to build an economy and a better life for their stupid people.

saiga on December 31, 2008 at 10:28 AM