America’s leading foreign affairs columnist once again endorses collective punishment of Arabs. I wish he would stick to climate change:
Israel’s counterstrategy was to use its Air Force to pummel Hezbollah and, while not directly targeting the Lebanese civilians with whom Hezbollah was intertwined, to inflict substantial property damage and collateral casualties on Lebanon at large. It was not pretty, but it was logical. Israel basically said that when dealing with a nonstate actor, Hezbollah, nested among civilians, the only long-term source of deterrence was to exact enough pain on the civilians — the families and employers of the militants — to restrain Hezbollah in the future. [...] In Gaza, I still can’t tell if Israel is trying to eradicate Hamas or trying to “educate” Hamas, by inflicting a heavy death toll on Hamas militants and heavy pain on the Gaza population. If it is out to destroy Hamas, casualties will be horrific and the aftermath could be Somalia-like chaos. If it is out to educate Hamas, Israel may have achieved its aims.
This in much the same way that Osama bin Laden sought to “educate” American civilians about the price to be paid for supporting corrupt oil monarchies by killing people who happened to be in a prominent skyscraper, and the Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade tried to educate Israeli civilians about the cost of occupation with this suicide bombing in Beit Yisrael? Or, I suppose, the United States when firebombing Dresden. As with his repugnant remarks that the point of invading Iraq was to send a “suck on this” message to Arabs everywhere, Friedman is positing a much sicker rationale for military action than its actual initiators have been willing to articulate.