As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Ground War

Israel has moved ground troops into Gaza. They could not achieve their goals through long-range bombing alone, no matter how precision. In fact, it was completely unclear what they were trying to achieve with the air assault, other than inflaming the entire Arab street. As for the goals of the ground attack:

The Israeli military said in a statement that the objective of the ground campaign was “to destroy the terrorist infrastructure of Hamas,” the militant Islamic group that controls the area, “while taking control of some of the rocket launching sites” that Hamas uses to fire at southern Israel.

I just don't know how that can be accomplished. A ground attack on Gaza is equivalent to a ground attack on New York City in many respects. The area is dense, meaning that civilians will certainly be at risk (and dropping leaflets telling them to get out of harm's way when they are blockaded from moving anywhere is almost comically cruel). In addition, the Hamas "infrastructure," consisting of crudely made rockets, could be literally anywhere in the tightly packed strip. So unless the goal is regime change or mass death, I don't see how they can be successful. And Tzipi Livni has said that Israel is not seeking regime change.

This is a replay of the 2006 invasion of Lebanon, which also ended poorly, with Hezbollah able to claim victory after the ground war failed to achieve murky objectives. The result will not make Israel safer or move us toward peace.

I have to applaud Lois Capps for being an American leader willing to reject internal pressure and make an independent judgment of the situation:

"Obviously, Israel has the absolute right to defend itself from Hamas terrorists and other threats to its security. The ongoing rocket attacks on Israel are unacceptable and must be stopped. However, I fear the current military operation in Gaza represents a vastly disproportionate response that will further destabilize the region.

"Simple humanity demands that we grieve for the dead Palestinian child as much as we mourn the dead Israeli child. The numbers of dead and injured in Gaza, and the televised images of the humanitarian crisis now unfolding are truly shocking. And while this renewed state of war is clearly a tragedy for the Palestinian people, it will also bring a renewed state of fear in Israel because the threat of another wave of suicide bombing in Israeli cities is all too real.

"As a Member of Congress strongly dedicated to Israel's security, I believe an immediate ceasefire is necessary. And since this eruption of violence in Gaza is so clearly detrimental to U.S. national interests, I call upon both President Bush and President-elect Obama to use their influence to push both sides to stop shooting and renew the ceasefire."

We need an immediate cease-fire on all sides. An international force to maintain it, with Palestinians responsible for border crossings, would be a good step.

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