Limitations of Restraint
Liberals seem to have literally childish views on war and peace. Apparently many of them seem to believe that if we just close our eyes and bury our head in the sand the Islamic terrorism will go away. Their view are so absurd as not really worth discussing. However, despite a reputation for toughness, most Conservatives do not seem to fully understand the necessity of fighting a total war either. They insist that carefully limited engagement that selectively target isolated individuals or groups, while giving maximum protection to so-called innocent civilians is the road to long-term victory. This means, among other things, that we place the values of our own soldiers below the value of any enemy civilians. I think this is neither moral, nor will it work in the long run. Neither in Iraq nor in Israel.
With respect to Iraq, Andrew Sullivan has this important commentary today on Iraq:
The inability or unwillingness of the U.S. to seal the borders or effectively counter the terror contributes to the general view that the insurgents are going to win, and therefore the notion that the U.S.-led liberation may make matters even worse than they were before...
The key moment was probably when George W. Bush blinked in Fallujah. That was when the general population inferred that we were not prepared to win. It's amazing, really. This president has a reputation for toughness and resolution. Yet at arguably the most critical moment in this war, he gave in. He was for taking Fallujah before he was against it.
With respect to Israel, DEBKA, has this insightful commentary:
Clearly, the Sharon government by locking itself into a preconceived plan is being thrown back on bad defense measures instead of pursuing effective offensive action that would offer Israel a true escape from harsh reality.
It would appear that in both places means short of what's necessary are employed. Certainly, it is easy for me to sit in the comfort of home and criticise. But that does not change the fact the current approach is not working. Both the US and Israel need to put the needs of their own populations and soldiers first and need to be a lot more ruthless than they have been. The moral ideas that the leaderships of both countries use must change. For some suggestions see here.