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Seeking Peace Instead of Victory

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Ah, I wish you'd take just a half hour stroll 'round downtown Gaza, encouraging youngsters to put down their AK's and get a job. Now that would be educational. :dough:

Oh, and wear a nametag. I bet Hamas has Internet, so I'm sure they'll google Mammon and find it to be of Hebrew origin. Now that'd be a lesson in brotherly love for you.

How does that feel, defending people who would tare you to pieces in the streets just because your online nickname reminds them of another ethnic group? How does that mix with "Oh I'm just interpreting Objectivism differently"?

Those are rhetorical questions, I really don't need an answer.

Do you just assume everyone in Gaza(and the Middle-East) is a blood thirsty monster waiting to kill Jews at every moment? I think a lot of them are undereducated, poor and hungry. They look outside to try to find the source of their problems, rather then inside. And that's a perfect opportunity for exploitation by ideologues, Islamic or otherwise.

If you can convince some people that working with Israel is better then hopelessly attacking it, then you've nip part of the problem in the bud right there.

What's this fuss about interpreting Objectivism differently?

I do a lot of things differently.

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What book would you recommend and why?

Let's start with the following:

  • The Case for Israel, The Case for Peace, and The Case Against Israel's Enemies--all by Alan Dershowitz
  • The Tragedy of the Middle East and The Long War for Freedom--both by Barry Rubin
  • Arab Nationalism in the 20th Century--by Adeed Dawisha
  • The Fight for Jerusalem--by Dore Gold
  • Beyond Chutzpah--by Norm Finklestein
  • The Other War--by Stephanie Guttman
  • Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad --by Matthew Levitt and Dennis Ross
  • From Beirut to Jerusalem--by Thomas Friedman
  • Six Days--by Jeremy Bowen

Why? Because you have demonstrated that you don't know what the hell you're talking about and because these books will provide you a basic grounding. Some are pro-Israel, at least one is viciously anti-Israel, and some are about as unbiased as it's possible to be concerning this topic.

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You might try reading this, TW:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081230/ap_on_...a/ml_egypt_gaza

I gather from this article and a news story I caught on radio today that Egypt may want Hamas gone nearly as badly as the Israelis. If true, where does that leave your theory?

If I see reasonable evidence that my opinion is inaccurate, I will adjust my view accordingly. My main point in this thread has been to argue that reducing Gaza to rubble might not be the best course. You'll note that I have frequently said I don't know what the right course is, but that I suspect this is the wrong one. My main beef with the other arguments put forth in this thread is that they have tended to be uninformed repititions of the idea that mass destruction of an enemy population is always the best course. So I provided examples to the contrary, where this approach made things worse, and where other approaches worked rather well. My argument is that globalization and cultural milieu cannot be ignored in favor of simplistic approaches which purport to be the ultimate answer in every situation. The Great Power era of history is over (for now), and that fact needs to be recognized.

So, yes, if I am presented with adequate evidence that this type of operation might actually help Israel's long-term security, I will change my mind. My main contention is simply that it is not a foregone conclusion that it will help Israel's long term security, and I tend to lean towards it not helping things in the long run. It's kind of ironic that my arguments in here have been against the wisdom of the operation, but I keep defending it on The Economist's website against people arguing that Israel is being aggressive and imperialistic.

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Israel is looking into a 48 hour ceasefire. link

I think this is a great move and somewhat in the direction of what The Wrath has been suggesting. If Hammas stops the rockets, then Israel has been successful. If they don't, then Israel will (hopefully) have more international support.

Although I'm guessing it may not work out that cleanly. Hammas may stop the rockets for now and then attack within a few days claiming it to be retribution for Israel's atrocities and the cycle continues. Even if they don't attack right away, Hammas will still be in power which means no permanent peace in the near future.

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Israel is looking into a 48 hour ceasefire. link

I think this is a great move and somewhat in the direction of what The Wrath has been suggesting. If Hammas stops the rockets, then Israel has been successful. If they don't, then Israel will (hopefully) have more international support.

Although I'm guessing it may not work out that cleanly. Hammas may stop the rockets for now and then attack within a few days claiming it to be retribution for Israel's atrocities and the cycle continues. Even if they don't attack right away, Hammas will still be in power which means no permanent peace in the near future.

You're guessing that it won't work, but you still think it's great news. Why?

I think the fact that Hamas just legalized crucifying Jews makes their intentions a lot clearer than your speculation or that of the pragmatist journalists' and professors' in The Wrath's books. That war will end when they and the Iranian fanatics backing them are destroyed. That is the realistic expectation, not that some day there'll be peace-talks sponsored by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, with Hamas, Hezbollah, the Iranians, and the Jews all at one table, and Israel will have achieved its long-term security goals.

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You're guessing that it won't work, but you still think it's great news. Why?

I think the fact that Hamas just legalized crucifying Jews makes their intentions a lot clearer than your speculation or that of the pragmatist journalists' and professors' in The Wrath's books. That war will end when they and the Iranian fanatics backing them are destroyed. That is the realistic expectation, not that some day there'll be peace-talks sponsored by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, with Hamas, Hezbollah, the Iranians, and the Jews all at one table, and Israel will have achieved its long-term security goals.

Have you read the damn books? No? THEN QUIT TALKING LIKE YOU KNOW WHAT THE BLUE F*** YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT.

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If I see reasonable evidence that my opinion is inaccurate, I will adjust my view accordingly. My main point in this thread has been to argue that reducing Gaza to rubble might not be the best course. You'll note that I have frequently said I don't know what the right course is, but that I suspect this is the wrong one. My main beef with the other arguments put forth in this thread is that they have tended to be uninformed repititions of the idea that mass destruction of an enemy population is always the best course. So I provided examples to the contrary, where this approach made things worse, and where other approaches worked rather well. My argument is that globalization and cultural milieu cannot be ignored in favor of simplistic approaches which purport to be the ultimate answer in every situation. The Great Power era of history is over (for now), and that fact needs to be recognized.

So, yes, if I am presented with adequate evidence that this type of operation might actually help Israel's long-term security, I will change my mind. My main contention is simply that it is not a foregone conclusion that it will help Israel's long term security, and I tend to lean towards it not helping things in the long run. It's kind of ironic that my arguments in here have been against the wisdom of the operation, but I keep defending it on The Economist's website against people arguing that Israel is being aggressive and imperialistic.

Just a thought, but if Israel is being attacked, don't they have a moral right and obligation to defend themselves? I imagine in the minds of Israel's leaders that after seeking peace since the state was created hasn't worked maybe they feel as though the only option left is unilateral military action.

I'm just pointing out that this seems to me to be a regional problem, and the solution should be regional. If they want to fight and kill each other, that's their business.

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Have you read the damn books? No? THEN QUIT TALKING LIKE YOU KNOW WHAT THE BLUE F*** YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT.

Why do I need to read those specific books you recommended (some of them out of thin air, since you haven't read them either), in order to know what's going on in Gaza and Israel?

I have seen the list of authors, I 've heard of most of them, I've heard them speak on the issue before, and they are undoubtedly pragmatists. A couple of them are also racists. Not to mention that most of them have no military expertise whatsoever.

The reason why you don't have a solution to the Middle East conflict is precisely because you have adopted their philosophy, instead of looking at what you're reading with a critical eye. Their philosophy rejects the idea that we can ever live a principled life, and promotes exactly what you're practicing: making decisions by only looking at the concretes of one narrow issue, and winning arguments not by explaining the reasons why you've reached those conclusions, but rather by engaging in a shouting match, or claiming that you're the only one who could possibly be aware of reality, because that reality is hidden precisely in the one set of books you've read.

Why are those books necessary before I understand reality? What type of secret information do those authors have, that is unavailable anywhere else? Are there any Mossad agents or Hamas Military Wing members among those authors, who enlightened you to a hidden reality which is never reported in the news, or are those authors simply filtering the information available on TV, through the prism of their own view of the world?

Please, since I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about, enlighten me: what's the significance of the information contained in those books, in relation to the subject at hand?

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Why do I need to read those specific books you recommended (some of them out of thin air, since you haven't read them either), in order to know what's going on in Gaza and Israel?

Those specific books may not be necessary to know what's going on, but reading something is absolutely necessary.

I have seen the list of authors, I 've heard of most of them, I've heard them speak on the issue before,

I'm calling bullshit. If you had, you would be able to address the specific historical circumstances I've mentioned. As it stands, all you've managed to do is repeat the same mindless talking points over and over again, trying to apply them to a situation that you clearly do not understand.

and they are undoubtedly pragmatists.

Some of them, sure. Others believe in the principle of doing what will protect the Israeli people, even if that means not blowing up the entire Gaza Strip.

A couple of them are also racists.

Norm Finklestein, and...?

Not to mention that most of them have no military expertise whatsoever.

But you do, naturally. Ariel Sharon (i.e. the man who chose to withdraw from Gaza) was, however, a war hero who commanded an armored division during the Yom Kippur war. Also, if I'm not mistaken, Menachim Begin (the PM who signed the peace treaty with Egypt) was an active fighter in the Jewish underground during the 40's.

By the way, terrorism is a lot different than traditional military conflict. I shouldn't have to tell you that most of the world's terrorism experts have never served a day in uniform.

The reason why you don't have a solution to the Middle East conflict is precisely because you have adopted their philosophy, instead of looking at what you're reading with a critical eye. Their philosophy rejects the idea that we can ever live a principled life, and promotes exactly what you're practicing: making decisions by only looking at the concretes of one narrow issue, and winning arguments not by explaining the reasons why you've reached those conclusions, but rather by engaging in a shouting match, or claiming that you're the only one who could possibly be aware of reality, because that reality is hidden precisely in the one set of books you've read.

Jesus tapdancing Christ, you are the very definition of the term "Randroid." God forbid we should make decisions about specific circumstances based on the facts of those specific circumstances.

And I'm not claiming I'm the only person aware of reality. Only that you are completely ignorant of it. And, once again, being educated on the subject doesn't require that you read the particular books that I mentioned. You asked for recommendations, and I gave them to you. By all means, choose different authors, books, etc. Just try to learn what the fuck you're talking about before you engage in these debates.

I say again, you have not offered a single instance to show that you understand the situation. You have not once brought up an instance where Israel bombing its enemies into oblivion has worked out well. This is how I know that you have no clue about the situation...because, if you did, you would point out those instances because they DO exist! It would go a long way towards making your case if you would point them out. I can think of at least a couple. You cannot, because you are completely uneducated regarding this topic.

Why are those books necessary before I understand reality? What type of secret information do those authors have, that is unavailable anywhere else?

See above.

Are there any Mossad agents or Hamas Military Wing members among those authors,

I guess I was sick that day in the 4th grade when my class was taught that this is a requirement for understanding the Arab-Israeli conflict.

who enlightened you to a hidden reality which is never reported in the news,

Watch the news sometime.

or are those authors simply filtering the information available on TV, through the prism of their own view of the world?

I nominate this for most ironic statement of the entire thread. This is exactly what you are doing. Sure, they do it too, as does everyone with an opinion. The difference is that the authors I listed,* and to a much lesser degree, myself, understand the forces at play.

*plus many other authors...don't want you thinking, as you have suggested, that these are the only people I consider experts

Please, since I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about, enlighten me: what's the significance of the information contained in those books, in relation to the subject at hand?

Oh, you know...background and historical information about the subject at hand. Pretty important stuff if you're going to try and act like you know what you're talking about.

Edited by The Wrath
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I think the dude is asking a perfectly sensible question.

It's sensible, sure. It's also been addressed numerous times. I have repeatedly said that Israel has the right to defeat Hamas in any way it thinks necessary. Your lack of ability to understand the difference between the "morality" and "strategic wisdom" of the current campaign is your problem, not mine.

As for reading this whole thread, it's probably a waste of the dude's time. There's very little information and rational argumentation in it.

Well here's one place we can agree. I'm afraid we just disagree on who is the source of the irrational argumentation.

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I'm calling bullshit. If you had, you would be able to address the specific historical circumstances I've mentioned. As it stands, all you've managed to do is quote the repeat the same mindless talking points over and over again, trying to apply them to a situation that you clearly do not understand.

What specifically am I missing?

Surely you do understand that "calling bullshit" without backing it up proves my point, that you don't have any arguments to make, or the mental capacity to make them?

I say again, you have not offered a single instance to show that you understand the situation. You have not once brought up an instance where Israel bombing its enemies into oblivion has worked out well. This is how I know that you have no clue about the situation...because, if you did, you would point out those instances because they DO exist! It would go a long way towards making your case if you would point them out. I can think of at least a couple. You cannot, because you are completely uneducated regarding this topic.

The reason why you aren't naming those two instances is because it would make your statement ridiculous. So go ahead, name them, and we'll see if the statements "Israel bombed them into oblivion" and "the act of doing so caused Israel to be less secure than whatever the alternative would've been" actually apply.

To my knowledge though all the wars Israel fought ended in an armistice agreement or cease-fire, never the unconditional surrender of the enemy, which is the natural conclusion of "being bombed into oblivion"(your words). But go ahead, pick two of the seven wars (and a few major squirmishes), which fit your description, and prove me wrong.

Jesus tapdancing Christ, you are the very definition of the term "Randroid."

I assume by that you mean someone who agrees with everything Ayn Rand said, without being able to explain why. I challenge you to mention a single issue I'm wrong on, in which I brought up "because Ayn Rand said so" as my sole argument. Without that, the same point I made before applies: you lack the capacity to back up your statements with arguments.

By the way, saying that I'm the definition of a Randroid doesn't mean what you think it means: You're implying that only people who posses all my characteristics (both physical and mental) are Randroids. I'd be a pretty lonely Randroid, if that were the case.

It's sensible, sure. It's also been addressed numerous times. I have repeatedly said that Israel has the right to defeat Hamas in any way it thinks necessary. Your lack of ability to understand the difference between the "morality" and "strategic wisdom" of the current campaign is your problem, not mine.

I believe the other question was whether the Israeli government has an obligation to defend its citizens and territory from rocket attacks, and if so, how else are they supposed to go about it. Where exactly did you answer that question?

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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What specifically am I missing?

Surely you do understand that "calling bullshit" without backing it up proves my point, that you don't have any arguments to make, or the mental capacity to make them?

I call bullshit because you haven't demonstrated the ability to back up your points with any specifics regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict. If you had really heard those people speak on the topic (or, rather, listened and absorbed what they had to say), you would have been able to offer something other than Sean Hannity talking points.

The reason why you aren't naming those two instances is because it would make your statement ridiculous.

Nope, because there are more recent counterexamples.

So go ahead, name them, and we'll see if the statements "Israel bombed them into oblivion" and "the act of doing so caused Israel to be less secure than whatever the alternative would've been" actually apply.

You missed the point. The point is that there are examples where complete physical domination of the enemy improved security. The fact that you haven't pointed them out when doing so would help your case leads me to believe you don't know what they are. In fact, I strongly suspect that the reason you're asking me to point them out is because you want to be able to say "oh yeah, I knew about those" and then come up with an excuse as to why you didn't point them out earlier. But, since you asked, here they are:

Israel's complete destruction of Egypt's air force in 1967.

Israel's domination of Egypt and Syria during the Yom Kippur War.

Israel's victory in the 1967 proved that the Arabs could not defeat Israel in traditional military fashion. The Yom Kippur War is more debatable (especially since Egypt and Syria considered it a moral victory), but, as far as I can tell, it was Israel's last conventional war.

Then there was the 1981 bombing of Iraq's Osirak reactor.

Had you pointed out these examples, you could have used them to support your case. But you didn't. And that shows that you were unaware of them or, at least, not familiar enough to use them to support your argument. Of course, depending on what is meant by "complete defeat of the enemy," you could always argue that only the 1967 war qualifies. But it's a strong enough example that you could make the case entirely on it alone, without relying on the others.

Now, I know what you're going to say next. "See this proves my case." Well, there are also counterexamples, which I have already pointed out.

To my knowledge though all the wars Israel fought ended in an armistice agreement or cease-fire, never the unconditional surrender of the enemy, which is the natural conclusion of "being bombed into oblivion"(your words). But go ahead, pick two of the seven wars (and a few major squirmishes), which fit your description, and prove me wrong.

You don't get it. There is no such thing as the unconditional surrender of a terrorist group. It doesn't happen. Especially when it has the backing of regional powers like Syria and Iran.

And you're right...they did all end with cease-fires. What did you expect? That Israel would invade Egypt, overthrow the government, then set up an Israel-friendly government in its place? It hardly had the strength to do that. It wreaked about as much destruction as it was able to do, and it worked as well as could be expected. My central point remains that Israel does not have the strength to topple the regimes of all of its enemies. Could it topple the Hamas rule on Gaza? Well yeah, but that isn't going to get rid of Hamas, and it isn't going to make Israel's other enemies back down. In fact, there's a strong argument that doing so will ultimately make Israel's enemies stronger. That is the point which you seem unable to grasp.

I assume by that you mean someone who agrees with everything Ayn Rand said, without being able to explain why. I challenge you to mention a single issue I'm wrong on, in which I brought up "because Ayn Rand said so" as my sole argument.

You haven't explicitly said it. Instead, you use talking points that sound like they came straight from the Ayn Rand Lexicon and assume that they stand on their own, without any reference to the specifics of the Arab-Israeli conflict. If, perhaps, you could reference some specifics and show how they support your Lexicon talking points, I wouldn't be accusing you of ignorance. But since you didn't point out the 6 Day War, bombing of Osirak, etc. (indeed, you left it to me to make your points for you), I have no choice but to conclude that all you have are talking points that you got from Capitalism Magazine, or some similar source.

Without that, the same point I made before applies: you lack the capacity to back up your statements with arguments.

Are you joking? Which one of us has been providing historical examples to back up his arguments? Hell, I even provided historical examples to back up your arguments, because you have proven so inept at doing so yourself.

Accuse me of pragmatism all you want, but you are totally ignoring the fact that my stated principle is THE LONG-TERM SECURITY OF ISRAEL. LONG-TERM SECURITY is more important than stopping the immediate rocket fire, which hardly ever hurts anyone. Because without long-term security, many, many more people will die. You are being extremely asinine in your refusal to acknowledge the difference between saying "Israel shouldn't be concerned with defeating Hamas" and "there are more effective ways to ensure the eventual defeat or disarmament of Hamas."

By the way, saying that I'm the definition of a Randroid doesn't mean what you think it means: You're implying that only people who posses all my characteristics (both physical and mental) are Randroids. I'd be a pretty lonely Randroid, if that were the case.

I have a great idea. Let's take statements that are obviously meant as sarcastic exaggerations and pretend that they are meant to be taken 100% literally.

I believe the other question was whether the Israeli government has an obligation to defend its citizens and territory from rocket attacks, and if so, how else are they supposed to go about it. Where exactly did you answer that question?

I have repeatedly said that I don't know what the answer is. If you missed the 11346224572457 different times I have said that, then you need to brush up on your reading comprehension skills. My only argument has been that I suspect this is the wrong approach, and that bombing Gaza into the stone age is not obviously the only way to do it, as you seem to think.

I now have a challenge for you. Using one of the examples I provided above, I want you to discuss how that particular example improved Israel's long-term security. If, as I suspect, you can't do it, then I stand vindicated in my accusation that you don't know what the fuck you're talking about.

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Now, I know what you're going to say next. "See this proves my case." Well, there are also counterexamples, which I have already pointed out.

The reason why I haven't pointed them out is because I don't consider those examples a good argument for my point. Those are all isolated battles that were won, not examples of a leader following his principles, and achieving lasting peace and security for his country, by crushing the enemy's spirit and will to fight forever. The one perfect example of such a leader was Winston Churchill, who took on a world much more hostile than the one Israel is facing today, with far lesser odds than Israel has now against its enemies.

You are expecting me to engage in the same type of pragmatist arguments you are limiting yourself to.

What did those victories achieve? Are israelis secure, safe from terrorism? Beyond the obvious, which is that those actions Israel took were better than doing nothing, what could I possibly prove by bringing them up? Hey, here are some examples of actions that did not end the conflict, but rather showed the enemy what not to try anymore: conventional warfare. Is that what my argument should be?

No, my argument stays the same: this is an enemy who's ideology will sustain his will to fight until the bitter end, and out of the three options:

[1. Continue the same type of limited war indefinitely.

2. Allow yourself to be wiped out, by inaction.

3. Crush the enemy the second it attacks you, starting today, with Hamas in Gaza.], the third one is the only one which will end the conflict.

My central point remains that Israel does not have the strength to topple the regimes of all of its enemies. Could it topple the Hamas rule on Gaza? Well yeah, but that isn't going to get rid of Hamas, and it isn't going to make Israel's other enemies back down.

Those are all opinions you are stating, without any proof.

First off, Israel most certainly has the military might to defeat all the Arab states. That is the reason why they are not being attacked, and something military experts you will find are in agreement about. And that superiority doesn't even depend on the nuclear arsenal Israel, almost certainly, is in posession of.

Second, a show of strength is the only thing that will make one's enemies back down. This is not an opinion, but a basic application of logic.( All humans need some degree of reason to survive, and Arab dictators have shown outstanding survival skills: it is perfectly reasonable to expect them to continue showing such skills, therefor it is perfectly reasonable to expect them to pick on Israel if it is showing signs of weakness, rather than strength)

But, alas, you are rejecting this course of action for fear of what other Arab states will do.

As a result, I must repeat two questions you already refused to answer once:

1. Why do you think the Arab states haven't attacked Israel during the Lebanon war, when over 1000 Arabs died, but will attack now, if similar numbers die?

2. What course of action are you suggesting instead, and why?

You haven't explicitly said it. Instead, you use talking points that sound like they came straight from the Ayn Rand Lexicon and assume that they stand on their own, without any reference to the specifics of the Arab-Israeli conflict. If, perhaps, you could reference some specifics and show how they support your Lexicon talking points, I wouldn't be accusing you of ignorance. But since you didn't point out the 6 Day War, bombing of Osirak, etc. (indeed, you left it to me to make your points for you), I have no choice but to conclude that all you have are talking points that you got from Capitalism Magazine, or some similar source.

That is a statement you could easily prove, if it were true, by simply pointing out my source. That is, had you actually recognized my arguments as being borrowed from one of the two specific places you're accusing me of having borrowed them from.

I have a great idea. Let's take statements that are obviously meant as sarcastic exaggerations and pretend that they are meant to be taken 100% literally.

Sarcastic exaggerations are deliberate overstatement of some measurement. However, the concept of a definition is not an exaggerated version of resemblance (which, if it were, would've made your statement a sarcastic exaggeration). You just thought it is.

But since it isn't, your remark isn't a sarcastic exaggeration any more than me saying "you're like a triangle miles away from the truth" (thinking that triangle is an impossibly large number) is.

I have repeatedly said that I don't know what the answer is. If you missed the 11346224572457 different times I have said that, then you need to brush up on your reading comprehension skills. My only argument has been that I suspect this is the wrong approach, and that bombing Gaza into the stone age is not obviously the only way to do it, as you seem to think.

Fine. If you suspect that one solution isn't the right one, then you must have a degree of understanding of the situation which allows you to form at least a tentative opinion. How else would you know that this one solution might be the wrong one?

So please, for the first time, do share what do you suspect the right solution is, and don't forget to tell us why. Remeber, you don't have to give a definitive answer, just one which has the same degree of certainty as your suspicion that this other solution is the wrong one.

I now have a challenge for you. Using one of the examples I provided above, I want you to discuss how that particular example improved Israel's long-term security. If, as I suspect, you can't do it, then I stand vindicated in my accusation that you don't know what the fuck you're talking about.

Those were all actions in which Israel acted to neutralize a short-term threat, which would've endangered its very existence. To the extent that they were expected to improve Israel's long-term security, by creating a permanent state of peace, none of those actions did. (though I suspect few in Israel actually expected them to do so. I'm sure American and European "thinkers" did)

More often than not they were the only option Israel had (because of the balance of power the Soviet Union, a much stronger power, was determined to maintain in the region). In those cases Israel did what they had to do: defend against the immediate threat, postponing a permanent solution until events beyond their control changed the situation.

As far as my not being able to prove a hypothesis you came up with and I reject, that only confirms that logic is still valid, nothing else. It certainly doesn't prove anything. And keep in mind, the object of the discussion is not my competence. Those reading this thread and others are perfectly able to form an opinion on that, as well as yours, based on our posts, if they care to. I don't feel the need to prove myself beyond that.

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The Wrath,

Perhaps it would help if you explain what you mean when you say "THE LONG-TERM SECURITY OF ISRAEL." For me, that means reaching a point where rockets dont rain down upon you, cross boarder kidnappings no longer occur, and people with explosives taped to their chests dont detonate themselves in crowds of women and children. It seems to me that so long as there are people willing, eager and able to do those things living beside you, there are no long term prospects for either peace of security.

What I find interesting about that reading list you provided, is that it has not given you any sense as to Israel's proper course of action. As Jake Ellison pointed out, you seem convinced almost to the point of an emotional meltdown that Israel is on the wrong path, yet you seem to have no earthly idea as to what the right path would be. Sorry, but that just doesnt make any sense.

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The pro-US Arab states are beginning to blame Hamas for the Israeli defensive. While not coming out directly and blaming it on the terrorist activities of Hamas and Hezbola, and while not directly condemning Hamas and Hezbola, at least they are putting the blame kinda in the right direction.

"CAIRO, Egypt -- Saudi Arabia's foreign minister on Wednesday blamed Palestinian divisions for Israel's onslaught on Gaza, a reflection of U.S.-allied Arab governments' anger at the Hamas militant group."

And:

"Pro-U.S. Arab countries _ Egypt, in particular _ have come under heavy criticism in widespread street protests, as well as from Iran, Hamas, the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, for allegedly not doing enough to stop Israel or help Gazans. Officials and pro-government media in Egypt and Saudi Arabia have responded by blaming Hamas for provoking Israel and accusing the militant group of being a proxy promoting the power of regional rival Iran."

You know, there was a time when the Arab states would never have implicitly supported Israeli defensive actions. But they are now worried that Iran may get the upper hand in the Middle East, and they don't want that.

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Dude, read the thread before asking a question like that.

Yes, I did read the thread. I'm stating my opinion that Israel has the right to attack its aggresors and that this is a regional conflict. I see very little evidence that ISraeli counter-attacks are not that right answer. Israel can make peace and sign treaties with all their neighbors, but that will not stop Hamas. You can not argue peace with an irrational entity.

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Progress is being made every day, as evidenced by some wonderful news:

"The day before a powerful blast sent his headless body flying out of his Gaza home on Thursday, senior Hamas leader Nizar Rayan predicted that the Islamist movement would defeat Israel.

"God willing, Hamas will win," Rayan said in a vitriol-laden speech that the movement's television broadcast just after he, his four wives and 10 of his children were killed in the Israeli blitz of the Gaza Strip on Thursday. "

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I've been following the news regarding this latest outbreak of violence in the Middle East between Israel and Gaza, and it is very clear that Israel was minding its own business and then got barraged with rockets from Gaza.

Yes, I read that clearily as well right here:

"The United States understands that Israel needs to take actions to defend itself," White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe told reporters.

Washington accuses Hamas of provoking Israel by declaring a 6-month-old truce dead on December 19 and firing rockets.

"Hamas has once again shown its true colors as a terrorist organization that refuses to even recognize Israel's right to exist," Johndroe said.

And how about the moral justification for Israel's retaliatory attacks (from an Ayn Rand Insitute older article, that's still applicable here, since the principles are the same:

Israel and those who attack it are not moral equals. Israel is, like the United States, a "mixed economy," which retains a significant respect for individual rights. Its citizens, whatever their race or religion, enjoy many freedoms, including freedom of thought and speech, and the right to own property. The purpose of Israel's military is only self-defense: to protect its citizens from aggressors. Consequently, Israel has a moral right to exist.

Those attacking Israel, by contrast, are terrorist organizations, dictatorships and theocracies, which deliberately violate the rights of their own subjects. Even if these organizations and regimes had never initiated force against Israel, they still would have no moral right to exist.

ARI's moral support of Israel is obviously not an endorsement of all of its actions or policies. We are critical, for instance, of Israel's failure fully to separate state from both religion and economics, as the principle of individual rights demands. But we recognize that those who attack Israel are not seeking to establish an even freer nation: they are seeking to wipe out the only outpost of freedom in the Middle East.

We support Israel not for its failings but for its virtues, and we understand that those who threaten Israel's freedom also threaten America's. If they succeed in destroying Israel, they will turn their full attention to the United States.

(bold emphasis mine)

It really is becoming an "all-out war":

Israel is methodically targeting the Hamas domain, bombing government offices, security compounds, commanders, and even Hamas-linked clinics, mosques and money changers. Yet Gaza's Islamic rulers show no sign of buckling under the aerial onslaught.

"Israel has destroyed the buildings, but Hamas is still here," Ahmed Yousef, a Hamas spokesman, said Thursday, the sixth day of the bombing campaign. "There is no anxiety over the existence of Hamas — even if they destroy all of Gaza — because we are among the people."

(from this article)

Well, as they say in a movie I never saw "V" is for Vendetta, "ideas are bulletproof." But you can certainly crush the threat, rendering them seemingly powerless - their ideas are bulletproof, but they aren't.

Israeli Vice Premier Haim Ramon said the bombing would continue. "Hamas has suffered a lot," he said. "We have hit its military infrastructure, its government infrastructure, its tunnels. We still have a lot of targets to attack in coming days."

On Thursday, a warplane dropped a one-ton bomb on the house of Hamas strongman Nizar Rayan, killing him, his four wives and nine of his 12 children. Rayan, among Hamas' top five leaders in Gaza, had taken few precautions in recent days, even appearing in public, unlike other prominent Hamas figures who have gone into hiding.

They are crushing the threat.

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