In outlining the goal for winning the Persian Gulf War against Saddam Hussein for invading and occupying Kuwait in 1991, Gen. Colin Powell, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, “Our strategy to go after this army is very, very simple. First, we’re going to cut it off, and then we’re going to kill it.”
The ceasefire announced last week between the terrorist organization Hamas and the state of Israel is the opposite of that strategy and solves nothing. As with previous ceasefires it simply gives Hamas an opportunity to regroup and reload in time for the next assault, perhaps with even more sophisticated and deadly weapons supplied by Iran.
Some critics of Israel said that it did not respond “proportionately” to the Hamas attacks. Was proportionality a consideration after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor? President Truman ordered nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki because Japan refused to surrender at the end of World War II. Did we respond proportionately to the threat from Nazi Germany when we carpet bombed German cities, especially Dresden?
Winston Churchill put it best when he stated the goal of Allied forces: “What is our aim? … Victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror; victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.”
The Biden administration has pledged to help rebuild Gaza with money we don’t have. Yes, we rebuilt Germany under the Marshall Plan following World War II, but that was after we won the war. We did the same for Japan, after achieving victory.
Israel should never have withdrawn from Gaza. It did not take a prophet to know what would follow its unilateral decision. At the time, I wrote that Gaza would become one more base for terrorists to launch attacks against the Jewish state. Under pressure from the U.S. and Europe to withdraw from Gaza, Israel gained nothing, but instead lost another level of security.
As U.S. blogger Larry Levine has written: “Israel needs to take over Gaza, kill all Hamas terrorists and demilitarize it. This time when the world rebuilds, it will not be with Hamas at the helm. There will be casualties, but no country in the world can live like this.”
President Biden has withheld direct criticism of Israel, possibly because of his longtime friendship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but others in his administration, who are veterans of the Obama years, have a track record of favoring Israel’s enemies.
Still, Mr. Biden has said a “two-state” solution is the best approach to resolving the conflict that existed even before Israel’s re-establishment in its ancient homeland in 1948. The problem is and always has been that radicals desire a one-state solution that doesn’t include Israel or the Jewish people. Since these radicals believe their motivation is rooted in their religion, it is impossible for them to make peace with a nation and a people they believe their god wants destroyed.
The Economist magazine gets it. In its May 20 edition it said, “Even with a ceasefire, Israel and Hamas will not stop fighting each other. The agreement to restore calm is welcome. Pity it won’t last.”
The response to this continuing warfare should not be a false sense of satisfaction about a ceasefire, or a pledge to rebuild Gaza while the terrorist occupiers re-arm. Rather, Israel should be encouraged to wipe out the terrorists who do not even put the interests of their own people first.
A ceasefire is worse than a truce and even a truce is no substitute for victory.
• Cal Thomas, a nationally syndicated columnist, is the author of “America’s Expiration Date: The Fall of Empires, Superpowers and the United States” (HarperCollins/Zondervan, January 2020).
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