Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Israel's Unnecessary War

By Aussiegirl

Agreed - it's Israel's mistake, and ours. The endless pressures to concede and talk and negotiate with terrorists and to engage in the ludicrous pipe dream of a "road map to peace" has led us to this stage. We have the idiotic notion that was put forth to allow Hamas to stand for elections, and when they won, we were counseled by those who implemented this lunacy that Hamas would now be constrained by having to "pick up the garbage" and offer social services. Predictably, Hamas has not taken to garbage collecting with the same vigor that they apply to killing Jews. Until the U.S. stops pressuring Israel to concede and until WE understand that democratization is not going to turn terrorists into George Washingtons, we will continue to lose this civilization war with hegemonic Islam.

Daniel Pipes: Israel's Unnecessary War

Israel's Unnecessary War
By Daniel Pipes

Yes, you read that correct. The blame for the current fighting falls entirely on Israel's enemies, who deploy inhuman methods in the service of barbaric goals. I wish the armed forces of Israel every success against the terrorists in Gaza and Lebanon, hoping they inflict a maximum defeat on Hamas and Hizbullah while taking a minimum of casualties.

That said, the rest of this column focuses on erroneous Israeli decisions that led to an unnecessary war and suggests the only way Israel can win that war.

For 45 years, 1948-93, Israel's strategic vision, tactical brilliance, technological innovation, and logistical cleverness won it a deterrence capability. A deep understanding of the country's predicament, complemented by money, will power, and dedication, enabled the Israeli state systematically to burnish its reputation for toughness. [....]

By 1993, this record of success imbued Israelis with a sense of overconfidence. They concluded they had won, ignoring the inconvenient fact that Palestinians and other enemies had not yet given up their goal of eliminating Israel. Two emotions long held in check, fatigue and hubris, came flooding out. Deciding that (1) they had enough of war and (2) they could end the war on their own terms, Israelis experimented with such exotica as "the peace process" and "disengagement." They permitted their enemies to create a quasi-governmental structure (the "Palestinian Authority") and to amass hoards of armaments (Hizbullah's nearly 12,000 Katyushas in southern Lebanon). They shamelessly traded captured terrorists for hostages.

In this mish-mash of appeasement and retreat, Israel's enemies rapidly lost their fears, coming to see Israel as a paper tiger. Or, in the pungent phrasing in 2000 of Hizbullah's leader, Hasan Nasrallah, "Israel, which has both nuclear power and the strongest air force in the region, is weaker than a spider's web." As I wrote in 2000, "their earlier fear of Israel has been replaced with a disdain that borders on contempt." As Israelis ignored their actions' effect on enemies, they perversely seemed to confirm this disdain. As a result, Palestinians and others rediscovered their earlier enthusiasm to eliminate Israel. [....]

Deterrence cannot be reinstated in a week, through a raid, a blockade, or a round of war. It demands unwavering resolve, expressed over decades. For the current operations to achieve anything for Israel beyond emotional palliation, they must presage a profound change in orientation. They must prompt a major rethinking of Israeli foreign policy, a junking of the Oslo and disengagement paradigms in favor of a policy of deterrence leading to victory.

The pattern since 1993 has been consistent: each disillusionment inspires an orgy of Israeli remorse and reconsideration, followed by a quiet return to appeasement and retreat. I fear that the Gaza and Lebanon operations are focused not on defeating the enemy but winning the release of one or two soldiers — a strange war goal, one perhaps unprecedented in the history of warfare — suggesting that matters will soon enough revert to form.

In other words, the import of hostilities underway is not what has been destroyed in Lebanon nor what the U.N. Security Council resolves; it is what the Israeli public learns, or fails to learn.


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