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If you wanna send a message, use Western Union

Yesterday, before I could hit the mute button on my TV, I heard Hillary Clinton bray her position on the latest eruption of violence in the Middle East. Speaking in support of Israel's actions, Senator Clinton pronounced that "Israel has the right to send a message to Hamas and Hezbollah."

This is exactly why Hillary should not ever be president.

Israel is not "sending a message" to Hamas, Hezbollah, and their backers. They are blowing them up.

One does not wage war to "send a message." One wages war to kill people, people who pose a demonstrated threat. And wages war until that threat is gone, or you can't fight any longer.

HIllary, apparently, believes that the way to interpret Clausewitz' observation that war is "a continuation of politics by other means" is to see war as a diplomatic tactic: if your opponent won't talk sensibly, then smack them a few times until they are ready to talk.

It's apparently a belief that she shares with her husband. Bill Clinton's use of the military was limited, and always tied to diplomatic efforts. In essence, he would demand a negotiated settlement, then rattle his sabre to bring people to the table.

It's actually not a bad method. As Winston Churchill once observed, "Jaw, jaw is better than war, war."

But it has its limits.

One cannot reason someone out of a position they did not arrive at through reasoning. There are those who cannot be calmly persuaded or enticed out of their goals. North Korea played Clinton like a master, making promises and commitments they had no intention of keeping, and got what they wanted, for one example.

And the Islamist militants in the Middle East are another.

They have their stated goal: the extermination of Israel and the establishment of an Islamist state in its place, on the way to a global Caliphate. Any compromises, any settlements, any agreements they make are all oriented towards achieving that goal.

Israel understands this. They know that Hamas and Hezbollah's compromise is "OK, we won't kill you all. We'll kill half of you now, and the rest later." And the "message" they are sending back to them is a "Candygram for Mongo" to the nth degree.

Let me save Senator Clinton the cost of a telegram. Here's Israel's message to Hamas and Hezbollah: "You're not going to continue killing us with impunity. Now it's your time to die. Have a nice day."


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Comments (21)

Jay: Isn't your last paragr... (Below threshold)

Jay: Isn't your last paragraph inconsistent with your fourth?

What's so funny about peace... (Below threshold)
Elmo:

What's so funny about peace, love, and understanding?
Once the caliphate is here, once there are no more Jews or infidels.
There will be peace.
Get with the program.

Wiping someone out could be... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Wiping someone out could be construed as a message, but generally should be considered actually acting and not talking.

So JT, is Israel sending a ... (Below threshold)
Conor:

So JT, is Israel sending a message or are they declaring war? I am shocked that such a gifted pundit such as yourself could make such a blatant mistake!!!

Israel is sending a powerfu... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Israel is sending a powerful message, one that most of the pundits have missed. The message is that nations are responsible for the actions of groups they allow to openly operate within their borders. Lebanon has allowed Hezbollah to operate within it's borders thinking they could avoid responsibility for Hezbollah's actions. Israel is not buying it anymore than the U.S. bought it concerning Afghanistan. Israel and the U.S. need to pound that message home with whatever ordinance it takes to get it through the collective thick skulls so abundant the middle east. A nation is responsible for what it does or knowingly allows others to do from it's territory.

If Lebanon can't control it's southern border region, then it needs to evacuate it's people and cede the area to the U.N. as a depopulated demilitarized zone controlled and patrolled by U.N. troops.

I think you are picking ha... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

I think you are picking hairs Jay. This is a metaphor that Bush himself has used on Iraq, although less blatantly as a euphemism than Hilary.
"Senator Lieberman is right: Setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would send a message across the world that America is weak and an unreliable ally.
Setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would send a signal to our enemies that if they wait long enough, America will cut and run and abandon its friends."

"One does not wage war to "... (Below threshold)
Craig:

"One does not wage war to "send a message." One wages war to kill people, people who pose a demonstrated threat. And wages war until that threat is gone, or you can't fight any longer."

That is a vast overgeneralization dude. War's vary. Typically, war is just the highest ante you can place. Wars, from the standpoint of leaders, don't start when people start dying. Wars start when you make economic decisions that hurt other countries, and you start leveraging control. Eventually, one country boils over, and you fight. Fighting usually stops, not when one side is all dead, but when one side simply loses the will to fight.

When you fight wars, you ARE sending a message. You are sending the message that "what I want is more important to me than what you want, and I will get what I want. Give up, and spare yourself more misery."

Wars are half propaganda. You can see this in Iraq. We are overwhelmingly winning the war in Iraq on the ground, but we are losing the propaganda war. We are losing the message war. The terrorists are sending us the message that "you cannot win, without killing us all, which is against your culture." We are sending the message that "we will not give up."

People die in wars to send a message. The message is "we care more."

What do you bet that "elmo"... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

What do you bet that "elmo" looks just like the real "elmo"? LOL

One cannot reason someon... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

One cannot reason someone out of a position they did not arrive at through reasoning.

This is a very succinct telling of a point that too many people have failed to understand.

I have to disagree about "messages" and war. When you send a "message," the intent is to stop short of total victory while warning your enemy of what can happen if they don't abide by your rules. An example would be a limited strike on targets then pulling back and asking the other side if they've had enough metaphorically. An ongoing campaign against them combined with an invasion is stronger than a "message."

If Israel's intent was to get Hezbollah and the other terrorist morons to stop killing them then you might call it a "message." If the intent is to accomplish the same thing by wiping them off the face of the Earth, that's not a "message."

Ahh, I remember not too lon... (Below threshold)
jp2:

Ahh, I remember not too long ago when JT was comparing freedom in the Middle East to a dam breaking open...I wonder why he thinks anyone should take him seriously.

Adding to what Mac Lorry sa... (Below threshold)
Candy:

Adding to what Mac Lorry said: I was thinking last night about what would happen in the U.S. if we let the skinheads or the KKK watch our borders. The Black Panthers might be fun, or maybe La Cosa Nostra.

Unless I'm mistaken, this is basically what Lebanon has done - they have allowed these nutjobs with scary agendas to patrol the borders.

I'm in Maine - my daughter lives very close to the Canadian border. If the Canadians suddenly went insane and started firing rockets over the border at us Mainiacs, it would be horrific. I don't think most of us pampered Americans (myself included) can even toy with this horror occurring on our own soil.

I truly feel for the Lebanese citizens and the Israeli citizens who are having to live (or die) through this, and also for the foreigners, including Americans, who are having to flee the region.

But the Israelis have to stop this insanity by any means possible. I have chickens, and you learn something by watching chickens. If you let another chicken peck you and draw blood, all of the other chickens will come over and start pecking in the same spot. Perhaps this is a moronic parallel to draw - but the Israelis are covering their asses to keep anybody from drawing blood.

Ahh, I remember not too lon... (Below threshold)
yo:

Ahh, I remember not too long ago when JT was comparing freedom in the Middle East to a dam breaking open...I wonder why he thinks anyone should take him seriously.

Posted by: jp2


'cuz most of us realize that there are some well-armed and crazy-assed, bigotted, imperialistic, repressive jihadi beavers trying to close the breech.

... damn jihadi beavers.

And if Elmo gets to play El... (Below threshold)
Candy:

And if Elmo gets to play Elmo, jp2 can play Oscar the Grouch.

One cannot reason someon... (Below threshold)

One cannot reason someone out of a position they did not arrive at through reasoning.

Worse than that, you are suicidal if you negotiate with a person/group/nation that has less to lose than you do.

Negotiation is a peer-relationship. Israel has little to gain and much to lose by negotiating with, e.g., Hamas. Hamas, on the other hand, has little to lose and everything to gain.

So Hamas, and its apologists and rationalizers, are pushing for negotiation. Why not? Every day that a group of them can get UN per diem in some ritzy western hotel is a day they don't have to waste their precious dinar on Chinese rockets bought from Iran through Syrian suppliers. And they might get some of what they want anyway.

We can't negotiate with al Qaida et al; we can barely even justify negotiating with NKorea.

Get with the program... (Below threshold)

Get with the program

fwiw, elmo, it would be "get with the pogram".

Nasrallah, Meshaal and comp... (Below threshold)

Nasrallah, Meshaal and company need to learn that this time they will not be saved by the UN. It is time for them to reap what they sow.

Yawp.

Aaaah kind Sir! Please revi... (Below threshold)
JohnMc:

Aaaah kind Sir! Please revise your headline to this article, pluze. Western Union has been out of the telegraphy biz since 2004. It is no longer possible to send such a missive.

Reconizing that you were using a metaphorical draw on the concept.

There is a way to bring Ham... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

There is a way to bring Hamas and Hezbollah to the bargaining table. It's rather harsh, if not outright cruel, but it would very likely work: threaten to hijack Al Jazera's airwaves and overlay any Hillary speech you can find.

"I am SICK and TIRED of ..." whatever the topic is.

She could bring them to their knees in 30 seconds flat. Fingernails on a blackboard.

Am I the only one reading t... (Below threshold)

Am I the only one reading this thread who thought Elmo was being sarcastic? And then confirmed it by clicking the link and going to his blog?

When in doubt ..... sarc/on... (Below threshold)
Elmo:

When in doubt ..... sarc/on.

War and sending messages ar... (Below threshold)
docjim505:

War and sending messages aren't mutually exclusive. For example, we sent an important message to the Japanese at about 8:15am (local time) on August 6, 1945. Unfortunately, we had to repeat ourselves a few days later, but they eventually got the message, i.e. "Surrender or we'll exterminate you."




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