US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is back in Israel today, reprising his sermon that better “protecting” Gazan civilians should be the “strategic imperative” for Israel’s military campaign.
His message echoes his comments last December (see the New York Times (December 18th webpage ) –
As the U.S. defense secretary, Lloyd J. Austin III, visits Israel, Pentagon officials say that one of his key messages in meetings with top Israeli leaders is the importance of limiting harm to Gazans. Israel, Mr. Austin recently predicted, could face “strategic defeat” that would leave the country less secure if it does not do more to protect civilians.
Protect them from Hamas, for sure. For it is Hamas that put them in mortal danger, using them to shield their tunnels from Israel’s assaults. How better to protect them from Hamas than eliminate Hamas?
But then, Mr. Secretary, “less secure” than what? Less secure than allowing Hamas to repeat its murderous rampages? As it has vowed to do. Again. And again.
What does the Secretary’s “strategic defeat” look like? Does he worry that “excessive” harm to Gazans will only now turn their hatred toward Israel?
That seems to be the thinking also of Josep Borrell, the Spanish politician serving as vice-president of the European Commission, who warned that Israel’s counterattack against Hamas in Gaza is “seeding the hate for generations.”
No, amigo. That hate was already seeded generations ago – by the jihadists. Their crop of hate was already in full bloom, on October 7th, before Israel pursued the terrorists across the Gazan border.
That crop of hate is deep-rooted. Lately, we hear that Gazan women have stepped forward as suicide bombers, because their bombs can be hidden under their Muslim dress, and Gazan children have been fitted for suicide belts.
Using smarter bombs to root out the terrorists (however more efficient that may be) will not curry favor with such suicidal fanatics.
Or, perhaps, the Sec Def and EC Veep have a superior insight into the deranged terrorist mind. That “caring more for civilians” would assuage the Hamas terrorists themselves – since they, in their hideaways beneath Gaza’s infrastructure, would be the principal beneficiaries of a more “humane” war. That they will be so impressed with Israel’s self-restraint that they’ll stop firing rockets into Israel. That they’ll forbear a postwar ISIS-style insurgency. That they will send their hostages home. At least, that they will stop raping them.
To put it politely, gentlemen, that’s delusional.
As for Gazan civilians, a sufficient majority of them elected Hamas to rule their Gaza in 2006. Since then, masses of Gazans routinely filled the streets to demonstrate their continued support for Hamas and hatred of Israel.
Thousands of Palestinians must have provided Hamas their labor and expertise to build their tunnels, certainly knowing their purpose. They may have declined to perpetrate the terror personally, but were willing to acquiesce, even support, Hamas doing it in their name.
On October 7th, crowds of Gazans, with bloodthirsty glee, cheered the returning terrorists dragging their captives (some dead, some alive) as trophies. Triumphant terrorists were proud to broadcast their fellow Gazans reveling in the grisly scenes.
They will not be won over by a “humane” deference to their plight.
To be sure, Gazans are suffering tragically – men, women and children, young and old. Homeless and hungry and sick. Or dead.
Theirs is the tragic calamity of following fanatics into their hateful and fateful lunacy. These Gazans were sacrificed by Hamas, as their disposable human shields and props for their cynical media campaign. They owe their suffering to Hamas.
Churchill famously stated the moral of his World War II memoirs –
In War: Resolution
. . .
In Victory: Magnanimity
In Peace: Good Will
Magnanimity toward the victims of the jihadists’ terror can come – after Victory.
Goodwill can prevail – after Peace.
But time is now for Resolution.