Articles

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Deterrence Only Works When They're Not Shooting at You

The revelation that the Iron Dome system can't protect Sderot is only the latest bad card played by the Olmert government as it goes through all its options for dealing with the problem of rocket attacks from Gaza, except the only one that will actually work-- reoccupying Gaza.

Month after month, Hamas has made the political and strategic case for reoccupying Gaza. Yet even with Israeli soldiers being held hostage in Gaza and Sderot continually under fire, it's the one card off the table as far as the Olmert government is concerned. And that is why Hamas has boldly made the case for reoccupying Gaza, because it knows this government is too weak to actually do it.

The pursuit of passive solutions was always futile, the Separation Wall to Disengagement to Iron Dome are all part of the same dead end, the attempt to find an alternative to engaging the enemy. But there is no alternative to engaging the enemy and the Iron Dome's inability to defend Sderot only highlights the nature of the problem. Iron Dome was intended to counter rockets from four kilometers away but the enemy is simply too close and breathing down our necks.

It isn't that pursuing anti-missile systems isn't a good idea, but until those systems are capable of effectively functioning on a large scale, the value of such systems is primarily as a deterrent. With SDI or "Star Wars", Reagan was pursuing a system whose value was not simply in its ability to deflect Russian ICBM's but in creating a loophole in MAD that left Russia naked to American ICBM's. The strength of SDI was that it not only promised to strengthen America's defenses but that it strengthened America's potential offensive capabilities. What really terrified the Russians was the prospect that America could hit them but that they would not be able to hit America back.

The Anti-Kassam systems Israel is developing have no such function. They're meant only to fill a gap in Israel's vulnerability to Kassams, just as the wall was meant to block suicide bombers. The problem is that closing one door, even if effective, allows the terrorists to pursue another strategy. If they couldn't get through the wall, they shot over it. If they can't shoot conventional rockets over the wall, they'll embrace a third strategy and Israel will once again find itself scrambling to catch up with hundred million dollar programs while exposing its citizens to harm.

SDI made sense as a form of deterrence because the Russians were not in a shooting with the United States. Once you're in a shooting war, worrying about deterrence falls into the category of "too little, too late". Israel is under fire and when a country is under fire, its only real choice is to put out the fire by fighting back.

Deterrence may seem more moral but in fact it's amoral, because it needlessly prolongs the violence. Jordan ended the Palestinian Arab Intifada in a handful of bloody days when it first began. Israel fired rubber bullets and tear gas. Today Israel has been carved up and a Palestinian Terrorist state is bombing it from inside its own borders. And yet the fundamental lesson still goes unlearned, it's better to brutally settle the question than to draw out the debate in order to maintain some illusory high ground.

6 comments:

Yobeeone said...

It was fun watching the Russians during the Reagan years. They were scared stiff of him because when he said something you knew he was going to do it - you just didn't know when. They hated that.

With Bush, no one is afraid because when he says something, he gives you the date, time and exact location of it happening.

With Evil Olmert....well...his record speaks for itself. Do a half-hearted, half *bleep* job, knowing it's only a cover up for his criminal behaviour behind the scenes. He and Bush have a lot in common.

Udiyah said...

Israel's reactionary leadership has not been able to draw a line in the sand the enemy is unwilling to cross. To conquer the challenge offered by Israel is a matter of honor and pride for the world's eternal 'refugees' and especially delicious with the permission of the West and our complicit media.

Israel built a wall and not only does the enemy dig tunnels underneath they shoot rockets over it. But Israel waits for Jews to die as inevitably they will, until they take out a terrorist or two.

It's escalated from outrage to chilling absurdity as evidenced by the poisonous comments made by UN special rapporteur, John Dugard. They've dropped all pretense. As a matter of fact, they're about as objective as any good Nazi ever was to Jews. And the way the world is reacting reminds me of the scene in the Wizard of Oz when they stumble through a poppy field and fall into a deep slumber. World leaders hold up the fixed masque of polite concern ("Of course Israel has a right to protect herself ... but") Behind the masque their eyes are closed and so it seems is the dreary existential matter of Jewish self-defense.

Keli Ata said...

I think my post got lost.

Sultan Knish said...

where?

Keli Ata said...

It wasn't anything important. I just wrote that since Hamas for all intents and purposes is an established nation they can't dimiss the rocket attacks on Sderot as the actions of rogue terrorists acting independent of Hamas.

Given all of that, the kassam attacks could be considered a declaration of war against Israel and Israel would be entirely justified in launching a ground and air attack.

That's all.

steve klein said...

Should Olmert government order the re-occupation of Gaza, wouldn't this at least be a tacit admission that 'disengagement' was a failure? Didn't Olmert and Livni support, even vote for disengagement as members of Sharon's cabinet?

Additionally, Olmert does not want to do anything which might serve to derail the peace process with the Fatah terrorists whose head does not rule out future armed conflict and resistance to liberate what is left of of the rump of "Palestine.' In other words, Abbas does not rule out the possibility of a massacre should Israel retreat from Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem thereby leaving his hand strengthened.

Even should Hamas take over in these territories, they are after all brothers.

The other day, President Abbas emphasized his rejection of the Jewishness of the state of Israel. "We rejected this proposal at the Annapolis conference last November in the USA, and the conference was almost aborted because of it..."

And: "I was honored to be the one to shoot the first bullet in 1965 (against the Jews), and having taught resistance to many in this area and around the world... we had the honor of leading the resistance. We taught everyone what resistance is, including the Hezbollah, who were trained in our camps."

The old warrior is clutching the handle of his knife. Genocidal monsters do not change their spots.

This is George W. Bush's and Ehud Olmert's man dedicated to peace. Bush made it clear he wanted Olmert to replace Sharon; he did not want any hard liners like Netanyahu, even though Netanyahu is at best a moderate who caves into immoral pressure.

When Bush was in Israel last month, he made a point of telling ministers to protect Olmert's position as prime minister. Bush needs Olmert to do his biding.

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