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Israeli Military Solution to Terrorist Missile Wars: It Works

In Culture War Replaces Missile War, Michael Totten makes a very keen observation: When it comes to Hizballah and Hamas terrorists raining down rockets on the civilians of Israeli towns and cities, the military solution works.

In early 2006, shortly before the outbreak of the Second Lebanon War, an Israeli intelligence officer predicted the future. "Missile war will replace terrorist war," he told me when I spoke with him at the Ministry of Defense.

He was right. Just a few months later, Hizballah launched thousands of Katyusha rockets into Northern Israel and forced hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee south toward Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. South Lebanon was punished much more thoroughly than Northern Israel, but the Palestinians in Gaza nevertheless took Hizballah's Baghdad Bob-style boasts of "divine victory" seriously. Hamas ramped up its own rocket war until fed-up Israelis gave Gaza the South Lebanon treatment this past December and January.

Hamas is a bit slower to learn than was Hizballah, but seven long months after the conclusion of Operation Cast Lead, the rockets out of Gaza have finally stopped. Israelis will no longer put up with indiscriminate attacks on their houses and schools. Many Palestinians in Gaza have likewise had their fill of Hamas's self-destructive campaign of "resistance."

The New York Times reports that Hamas has decided to wage a "culture war" instead of a rocket war because, as one leader put it, "the fighters needed a break and the people needed a break."

To that salient observation, I would add that the military solution to the missile wars works regardless of media-driven world opinion in opposition to Israeli military self-defense. Pain and fear combine as a powerful deterrent, as the quoted Hamas leader told the New York Times above.

Sometimes aggression can be blunted to some degree by non-physical forces in reaction, such as sanctions, isolation and various diplomatic consequences. But such reactions are effective against nation-states. They have little effect on a terrorist organization, even one that has embedded itself under the cloak of political rule and a certain degree of electoral legitimacy - as both Hizballah and Hamas have done.

No, terrorist organizations understand best the language of war, force and violence. It is the language they speak - witnessed by the terrorist actions of both Hizballah and Hamas - and it is the language the most ably hear. And Israel has proven that, at least in the missile war the terrorists around them have transitioned to, the military solution works. Witness the rarity of attacks.

This is not to say that every threat lends itself nearly exclusively to a military solution (see: Afghanistan), but in this instance it is unmistakably effective.

You may have missed the latest from Michael Totten earlier this week, and if so I strongly encourage you to catch up now. Michael is a gifted writer and storyteller, making his paragraphs and pages on otherwise technical terrorism and conflict issues readily accessible to all. Read on as he describes the culture war being waged while Hamas and Hizballah terrorists get their feet back under them. Michael is excellent, as always.

1 Comment

Excellent piece.

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