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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21 Comments

  1. steve sturm July 18, 2006
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