Friday, January 9, 2009

The Meaning of Israeli Subjugation of Gaza

EXCERPT: Conquest is supposed to accomplish something...something that lasts longer than the flowing of blood. It is supposed to leave behind a message that alters the behavior of other adversaries, thus benefiting the one who went to all the effort. Will conquest of Gaza do that?

TEXT: After the slaughter is over, what will the military message of Israel's devotion of its full non-nuclear military power to the subjugation of the impoverished, imprisoned 750,000 children and 750,000 adults of Gaza?
To keep things simple, let us assume total Israeli victory, because for the regional superpower to achieve anything less would truly seem to signal a pathetic failure of military might to accomplish anything at all. So, assuming total Israeli subjugation of the ability of Gaza to resist, what will the message to the world be?

Well, the U.S. did that to Iraq in 2003. Yes, Iraq had been decimated by some 15 years of attack already, but still it was far, far more powerful than Gaza. After all, Iraq was an actual country; it traded; it was not surrounded by a wall. And what, five years on, is the message from Iraq about U.S. power? The message is that U.S. power really isn't very effective at reaching positive goals, that its destructive force does not translate into clear victory or enhanced influence in the world. It not only degrades the home country's economy and enhances the influence of its antagonists (e.g., Iran), but it cannot even pacify those countries it conquers, not to mention prevent flying shoes. And one might note in passing that all this reIsulted despite very conscious U.S. employment of Israeli military tactics.

Five years later, which adversaries of the U.S. are truly impressed by the U.S. performance? Identify an adversary that has visibly trimmed its sails in "shock and awe." Afghan tribesmen? Pakistani tribesmen? Russia (remember Georgia...)? Somali Islamist jurists? Hezbollah? Hamas?

Hamas leader Khaled Meshal made a telling point in a recent interview with Counterpunch:

since ’82, 26 years ago, Israelis has not won any war. They did not defeat the Palestinian resistance, and they did not defeat the Lebanese resistance. Since that time, Israel has not expanded but has contracted. They have withdrawn from southern Lebanon and from Gaza.

Their wars indeed resulted in (1982) Arafat returning to Palestine and the rise of Hezbollah and (2006) the strengthening of Hezbollah's political position in Lebanon.

Would total victory over Gaza wipe all that away, leaving the message that Imperial Israel had arrived? Exactly who would even total victory impress? For those who argue that "A victory is a victory is a victory," I have only one word: "Grenada."

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