Friday, August 04, 2006

World at War

Israel continues to pound Lebanon and the West Bank on a daily basis. They've been backed into a no-win situation...the people of Israel rightfully demanded action by their goverment when rockets were striking their towns and soldiers were kidnapped from their own soil. But each day that Israel kills more civillians, the support for militant Islam grows in Arab countries.

So what is a nation to do? How can Israel possibly extract a victory from this situation?

The first step is this: a temporary, conditional ceasefire. Olmert should release a statement along these lines:

"As of midnight tonight, the IDF will pull back all troops to within Israeli borders, and all military actions on foreign soil will cease. If the rocket attacks into Israel stop, and the missing soldiers are returned, then the ceasefire will continue indefinitely. If the rocket attacks continue, or the kidnapped soldiers are not returned within seven days, Israel will be forced to defend her citizens through further military actions."

There are several reasons that make this the best option:

  • The strategic gains of additional military actions are minimal. All high-value, easily-identified targets have already been destroyed.
  • Each day that more Lebanese and Palestinian civilians are killed, support for Hizbollah and Hamas grows in the Arab world, and support for Israel in the non-Arab world continues to wane.
  • By acting first and extending the olive branch, the pressure now shifts to the Hizbollah and Hamas leadership. Seeing a way out of the conflict, Lebanese and Palestinian people should pressure these organizations into accepting the terms of peace.
  • Israel retains the option of additional military force if their terms are not met.
  • France could stop whining and start sending their forces to southern Lebanon.

We are on a dangerous brink. The U.S. and Israel are precipitously close to fighting multi-front wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Iran. While war with these insane extremists may be inevitable, it is important that we manage the engagement properly. The only way to successfully fight these wars is with united international support. And the daily bombing of civillians is not the way to garner support.

So what do you say, Ehmud? How about stepping up and making a bold move toward peace? Yes, you were quite justified to go after the bastards who attacked Israel, but at this point, any short-term military gains you might achieve are overshadowed by the long-term gains in support for militant Islam. You have proven the strength of Israel's deterrence, you've satisfied the populace's demand for an aggressive response, and you've destroyed the infrastructure of the enemy. Now is the time to pull back and think of the future.


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