Thursday, July 06, 2006

On Gaza

For those needing further authoritative evaluations of Israel's so-called "disengagement" from Gaza, look no further than former IDF Chief of General Staff Moshe Yaalon. As reported in the Israeli Daily Yediot Ahronot (hat-tip Israpundit) Yaalon, speaking to Haaretz said:
"The intellectual failure of the disengagement is this: the fact that there is no one to speak to on the other side doesn't mean that we can ignore the other side and the effects of his activities on us. The fact that even the Fatah leadership is not ready to recognize the State of Israel as a Jewish state while it says it is committed to the road map peace plan doesn’t mean it is possible to ignore the fact that pulling out under fire is perceived as surrender and encourages terror," he said.

He added that "The disengagement was a strategic mistake of the first order. It brought about Hamas's victory. It emboldened terror groups. It has fueled the Palestinian struggle for years. It created a feeling among the Iranians, the Muslim Brotherhood, and al-Qaeda, that Israel can be beaten. That Israel is a society of spider webs as Nasrallah said or a rotten tree as Ahmadinejad said. And therefore the disengagement not only harmed us badly, but also harmed America's strategic war on terror in the region. It created a feeling among Muslim extremists that as it defeated the Soviets in Afghanistan it defeated us in Gaza and it will defeat us in Tel Aviv. As such, as they destabilized a super power, they will destabilize the west by defeating Israel."
Armchair strategists, such as Charles Krauthammer and Victor Davis Hanson should take note.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good article. Thanks for the link.

Its so hard to understand the Conservatives, even the better ones. Guys like Krauthammer and Hanson can be good on some things and god-awful on others. I think its their pragmatism that blinds them to the consequences of Israel's and the US's weak-willed foreign policy.

Although, I have to say, it is somewhat more shocking on the part of Hanson. He is in part a military history scholar. He above all people should know the consequences for a nation if it fails to defend itself.

D. Eastbrook

Gideon said...

You're right -- he should. Frankly, I lost a lot of respect for Hanson ever since he adopted what amounts to a pollyanna approach to both Israel and the Bush administration. I seem to remember earlier in the present conflict he occasionally took a somewhat more critical approach. But since then his focus has been on the left and their absurdities without any regard for the fact that much of what the right does isn't really that great either.

Pragmatism, as you say, may explain his confusing attitude. Also I would add that, like all Conservatives he does not seem to believe in ideals or greatness when it comes to man. Conservatives think that those are misguided leftist concepts. Instead, human beings are flawed little creatures and we should be happy with what little we do achieve. Sigh...

Anonymous said...

"Instead, human beings are flawed little creatures and we should be happy with what little we do achieve."

I guess if your starting point is some omnipotent God, then ultimately you have to view men as flawed; that is if you are to be consistent. But there is an argument regarding Conservatives that I don't understand fully.

I read somehwere on HBL the point that since Conservatives think man is flawed and depraved, that they actually argue for freedom based on this. Somehow, if man were perfect, he would be worthy of dictatorship. Do you have a mental grip on that argument? I have no doubt that it is true (given what I know about Conservatives) but I just don't fully understand all the reasoning.

D. Eastbrook

Gideon said...

You're quite right they do argue for freedom (well, a kind of "freedom") on these grounds. I think this may be a relatively recent thing -- a 20th century response to socialism. During the Enlightenment, Locke and others did not argue on these grounds. This is a result of Marx and the socialists. You see the "scientific" socialists always argued that the free market amounted to primitive anarchy and man could do better by "rational" planning of allocation of economic resources. They also argued on moral grounds that selfless planners would do a more "just" (i.e., altruistic) job than selfish capitalists.

For the most part the Conservative response has not been to point out the various flaws in this argument (some such as Ludwig von Mises did point out the economic flaws). Rather, Conservatives point out that the people who might do the planning are just as capable of making mistakes as the people in the free market and are also just as selfish. Thus because human beings are potentially flawed and corruptible, we should not have a planned economy -- rather we should be left free, at least somewhat free.

As Ayn Rand pointed out many times this is hardly a convincing argument for people who take morality seriously. It's no wonder there are still socialists who keep insisting that we just haven't tried hard enough. Socialism and dictatorship in general must be defeated on moral grounds. It cannot be defeated by insulting man.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the response! I understand it much better now.

D. Eastbrook