I Do Not Believe There Are Any Just Wars to Be Waged in the Middle East
War-Is-Interested-in-You Watch... This is way out of my lane, and way above my pay grad. However, I do feel I should say something. But maybe I should just shut up...
The American army took six months to prepare, and then a month and a half to fight, the Second Battle of Fallujah back in late 2004.
Gaza City is much larger and denser than Fallujah was. Hamas is not a pick-up scratch force of terrorists, militants, and militias. By late 2004 American infantry was very good at doing what is did. Israeli infantry is inexperienced in war. Training is only training. Reservists are reservists. And active-duty soldiers who have been deployed as bullyboy military policy protecting god-maddened morons on the West Bank of the Jordan River are not the soldiers you wish to go to urban combat with.
Plus technology has evolved since 2004 and, as it always has since 1850, continued to reinforce the eggshells-armed-with-hammers character of the battlefield.
x: death and destruction rained on the adversary.
y: death and destruction rained on civilians.
z: death and destruction suffered by your military forces.
What are the upper limits on the permissible ratios y/z, y/x, and z/x—limits both from the standpoint of morality and from the standpoint of really-existing politics?
Hamas aims at y/z and y/x both equal to ∞—and that for Hamas, civilians are not caught in the line of fire but rather sought out. Hamas takes steps to raise the y/x of any Israeli military action. And if Hamas had the power Tel Aviv would already be a sea of radioactive glass.
But those do not mean that Israel has acquired any right to do deeds that produce any large-but-finite y/x.
having spent decades strengthening Hamas as a counterweight to Fatah, Netanyahu and his coalition believe that they must do something or their political careers are over.
Netanyahu and his allies think that as long as their y/x is smaller than Hamas’s ∞, that they are still the less-evil guys here.
or at least Netanyahu and his allies think they will be perceived as the less-evil guys by those with power outside Israel-Palestine
for Netanyahu and his allies think that with Nova Music Festival, Beeri, and Kfar Aza, Hamas has done the damage to support for Palestinians that the Black September in Munich and the (trivially in context, but seriously annoying to the western power élite at the time) airline hijackings of Arafat did at the start of the 1970s.
and Netanyahu and his allies think they will not be penalized and bear no extra responsibility for the fact that while Hamas cannot act at scale, Israel can.
But just because you think you need to be doing something, and being stupid and immoral is doing something, does not mean you should be stupid and immoral. Especially not if the doing something involved doing what Hamas has planned for seems unwise to me:
Marc Champion: Israel's Revenge Would Be Better Served Cold <https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2023-10-13/israel-s-revenge-would-be-better-served-cold>: ‘There are no good choices, but Israel shouldn’t give Hamas what it wants—and planned for…. There’s time to prepare Hamas's destruction, rather than dance to its tune. The terror group has had years to prepare its defenses, so let it wait a little longer; they won't improve. The pressure to move in quickly is political…
The right to wage a just war does not just rest on there having been a sufficient injury and injustice:
You also need to have the right intention—justice, rather than vengeance
The actions you undertake and the consequences and counteractions they trigger must also pass a utilitarian test.
The odds that in the end the situation will be better than it would have been otherwise must be in your favor.
None of Hamas’s actions, undertaken or contemplated, pass those tests. Hamas cannot wage a just war. And those who cheer for it, and claim that it is, can, or might, should be deeply, deeply ashamed of themselves—and should just shut up. And stay shut up.
But, as I envision with the current Israeli government intends with Operation Peace-for-Negev, I cannot see it any more passing those tests than Begin and Sharon’s Operation Peace-for-Galilee did.