An absolute must-read from the always excellent Walter Russell Mead about the American reaction to the conflict in Gaza right now:
Commentators around the world grasp at straws in seeking to explain what’s going on. Islamophobia and racism, say some. Americans just don’t care about Arab deaths and they are so blinded by their fear of Islam that they can’t see the simple realities of the conflict on the ground. Others allege that a sinister Jewish lobby controls the media and the political system through vast power of Jewish money; the poor ignorant Americans are the helpless pawns of clever Jews. Still others suggest that it is fanatical fundamentalists with their carry on flight bags packed for the Rapture who are behind American blindness to Israel’s crimes.
America is a big country with a lot of things going on, but the real force driving American support for Israeli actions in Gaza isn’t Islamophobia, Jewish conspiracies or foam-flecked religious nuts. It’s something much simpler: many though not all Americans look at war through a distinctive cultural lens. Readers of Special Providence know that I’ve written about four schools of American thinking about world affairs; from the perspective of the most widespread of them, the Jacksonians, what Israel is doing in Gaza makes perfect sense. Not only are many Jacksonians completely untroubled by Israel’s response to the rocket attacks in Gaza, many genuinely don’t understand why the rest of the world is so steamed about Israel—and so angry with the United States.
Read the whole thing, because he absolutely nails it.
His Imperial Majesty is and always have been a “Jacksonian” when it comes to armed conflict. If you decide to enter into it, then you must, absolutely, do everything in your power to finish it as quickly and decisively as possible. Or, as we like to put it, ask yourself this question:
Is conflict necessary?
If yes, then you MUST use all available force, without pity and without restraint, to crush the threat decisively, definitively and as permanently as you can make it. “Holding back” only prolongs the conflict, which makes it worse for everybody, including the enemy who, if the answer was “yes” to the first question, we really don’t give two shits about to begin with, but this is only to say that we’re not out to harm more than we have to. As long as not doing harm does NOT interfere with the only important objective, which is to eliminate the threat. For good. As quickly as possible.
For examples of conflicts where “restraint” benefited no one, see Afghanistan, Iraq, Viet Nam and just about every other conflict fought since the “kinder, gentler” approach to warfare came into being after WWII.
For examples of the opposite, see WWII, particularly Hiroshima and Nagasaki where our actions, though admittedly horrifying, ended up saving more lives by at least one order of magnitude than would have been lost if we’d been worshiping at the altar of “proportionality.”
This rule of “don’t enter a fight if you have no intentions of finishing it” that we cherish and respect encompasses everything, not just war. It’s the same rule that tells us to not draw a gun unless we’ve already determined that we need it and are willing to use it. If we haven’t reached that point, mentally, before we clear leather, then we’re just a fucking irresponsible poser waving a lethal weapon around for no good reason other than to “look tough”, which is a pretty good indicator that we’re too fucking dumb to own one in the first place.
If you are not willing to kill, pay close attention to the fact that we’re not saying “intent on killing”, then you have no fucking business waving that boomstick around.
And so it goes in war. Once you have identified a threat that needs to be neutralized and you “clear leather” by mobilizing, then you’d damn well better be willing to put everything you have available into immediate and unrelenting use if the threat doesn’t go away immediately.
As to “just war”, we don’t generally use the term. Mainly because it is such a subjective term that it is all but meaningless. When eggheads with tenure venture into bloviating about the concept, it is only in order for them to adorn their support of any given conflict that they happen to agree with with the illusory concept of “objectivity.” It is also bullshit. For pretty much any conflict you can come up with, we’re almost willing to bet you we could make an “objective” case for the other side, even if it’s a side that we hate with the fire of a thousand suns. It’s irrelevant.
What is relevant is that you pick a side, and once you’ve done that you’d better be sure that you picked the right one, because once you’ve done so, you’re either committed to seeing that side winning or you should have just stayed at home baking pies.
As to this current conflict between the paleosimian murderers in Gaza and the people of Israel, it isn’t hard for us to pick a side. Hamas started it. They rained hundreds, they HAVE rained thousands of missiles upon Israel, so it is beyond unreasonable to expect Israel to NOT respond. And, with that out of the way, having decided that Israel has a right to defend herself and that Hamas is to blame, the rest is minor stuff. If we care about how Israel chooses to terminate this threat against her, it is ONLY to the extent that we worry, deeply, that she isn’t going to throw the kitchen sink at the ululating barbarians until they beg for mercy, because that would accomplish absolutely nothing other than to kick the can down the road and guarantee more deaths on both sides.
The paleosimians had a choice. They chose poorly. Now they will either surrender unconditionally or die. What happens from here on out, every single death, is on THEIR heads. THEY chose this.
Which is why His Imperial Majesty is utterly indifferent to the avalanche of propaganda about “innocent paleosimians dying” that we are already seeing from the NeoNaziMedia. We’re certainly NOT indifferent to the plight of the pali kids who’re dying, but their deaths are on the heads of the barbarian swine who started the conflict. THEY chose to start it, THEY can end it at any time. Anything that happens in between THEY own.
We would love for them to finally realize this and save countless lives on both sides in doing so, but we’re not terribly optimistic.
But the crypto-Nazi pali sympathizers can take and stuff up their Khyber Passes their allegations that the losses in this conflict is somehow Israel’s fault.