Sunday, January 4, 2009

Kristol makes another unsuccesful excursion into the Mideast

I was anticipating that Middle East expert Bill Kristol would be writing about the Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip.

Though I'm not about to go through the rights and wrongs of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I do think that I can still show the ways in which Bill Kristol is, yet again, wrong.

"Obviously, war is an unpredictable business," says Kristol. What made him come to that conclusion? Oh, maybe it was the dozens of predictions he made about the Iraq War that turned out to be wrong.

An Israeli success in Gaza would be a victory in the war on terror." I don't see how this would be the case. A democratic Iraq that establishes an anti-American government isn't a victory in the war on terror, right? Then I don't think that a Hamas elected government in Gaza was much of a victory, and the fact that Israel has to go into Gaza is proof of that. Even Kristol says: "After all, it’s Gaza, from which Israel withdrew in 2005, not the West Bank, that became a Hamas stronghold." Yeah, it became a Hamas stronghold because Hamas was elected; examples like this always complicates the democracy-spreading fantasies of neo-conservatives (which of course leads one to believe that spreading democracy really isn't the crux of neo-conservatism).

Kristol goes on to say that "there are sound reasons why the United States... will stand with Israel as it fights."
Most reason-headed people believe that it is a two-state solution that the US and Israel should be working towards. Kristol shows no clue of that being the desired goal here, and is more interested in a US-Israeli alliance that would squash the Islamic terror that he talks about here. It's not so much that the Israeli invasion (and Hamas fired rockets into Israel) presents a blockage to a future peace and Palestinian state; it's that Kristol and other neo-conservative, though not necessarily against a two state solution, seem to just be not that concerned about it, and more in love with epic good and evil battle that they (and, admittedly, Islamic fundamentalists) want to engage in.

I think that what also is happening here by Kristol and others (President Bush being one) is a conflation of what terrorism and "terror" are. Hamas firing rockets into Israel is in no way acceptable or justified, but I struggle to see why it is terrorism. even if civilians are targets. Calling them acts of aggression or war makes sense (in wars civilians unfortunately are often targeted), but I think that we have a set of what terrorism is (suicide bombings, hijackings) and Kristol and the president just want to fit these events into the nice little "war on terrorism box" that they've put together this last decade.

"But a defeat of Hamas in Gaza — following on the heels of our success in Iraq — would be a real setback for Iran." Wow, I'm not sure where the delusion begins or ends in that sentence. Wiping out Hamas would be a good thing, though there is no way to tell whether its worth the cost. Looks like Kristol forgot the "war is unpredictable" part of his column. He's already setting the course for what would lead up to a possible showdown with Iran. No worries, though, says Kristol: good thing we're fighting them (al-Qaeda) over there (Iraq) and that Israel is fighting them (Hamas) over there (Gaza) so that we won't have to fight them (?) in Iran.

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