Israel has far more reason to become fiercely hawkish than the US did after 9/11. The American response to 9/11 would have been adequate had it been limited to going after al Qaeda in Afghanistan (and Pakistan) and some additional security at home. The threats Israel faces from Hamas and Hezbollah are far greater, far closer to being existential than al Qaeda's threat to the US or the West. I can't blame Israel at all for putting itself on a complete war footing.

I suppose one could compare a potential Israel-Iran conflict to the US invasion of Iraq as an example of overreach. Again, though, the threat to Israel of a potential Iranian nuclear weapon is much greater than any threat Saddam Hussein would have posed to the US had he had WMD programs.

By all means, Israel should have plans for a post-Hamas Gaza, hopefully including cooperation from Arab countries that recognize Israel. But the only way this conflict is going to end is with the complete destruction of Hamas - something that would benefit not only Israel, but Palestinians as well.

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With the fall of the Soviet empire, we, especially in the US, were in a dreamworld talking about peace dividends and believing that the arc of history was bending all by itself towards a more just and predictable world. The events of 9/11 brought us out of that dreamworld. Did the normalization of relations with the Gulf States and a booming economy lull the Israelis into a dreamworld of their own? If so then the lessons of 9/11 and 10/7 are reminders that the arc of history bends towards justice only through the efforts of those who are willing to risk their lives and livelihoods to make it happen. The question that the pundits are totally unable to answer is what action - and action is the important word - should the Israelis take in the name of justice?

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Oct 19, 2023·edited Oct 19, 2023

Commenting on the BLMChicago announcement of support for Hamas (as emblematic of a notable trend), Douglas Murray wrote "Sometimes a flare goes up and you see exactly where everyone is."

I haven't noticed people in Israel either screaming for vengeance or casting the attack in apocalyptic terms, as Sam Kahn suggests, but how does one minimize the tens-of-thousands of people cheering the atrocities in London, NYC, Sydney and elsewhere? What does one do when our "sense-making institutions" fail so miserably to notice the obvious sense here? Mr. Kahn's "Move along, nothing to see here" message -- at least that's what it feels like to me -- falls flat.

Israel doesn't have the luxury of unnecessary wars. Even the first Lebanon war began with an important and agreed-upon operational goal.

And there's no point claiming that Hamas doesn't represent the Palestinians as far as wanting to see Israel wiped out. Most don't see it as a near-term possibility, but it's still a aspiration, if not an actual goal.

Lastly, it would be bad politics as well as bad psychology and bad morality for Israel to stop short of causing catastrophic pain in response to the atrocities committed by Hamas.

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