Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Chess, not checkers...

I absolutely do not have time to get involved in breaking down the terrorist/Israeli crisis that is currently taking place in northern Israel and Lebanon. However, I read something online today that caused me to respond with a comment, which I rarely do anymore. Then the author took the time to respond to me... and rather than keep the discussion going there, I am bringing the whole thing here and stealing it for a blog post. I posted the flag because I don't want there to be any mistake who I support. Feel free to check in on some of my past Arab/Israeli conflict writings here.

Here is what I read. Take some time to read it if you can. It is thoughtful and well written from an informed and educated person about the conflict.

This is what I wrote in response:

While your post is strongly written and certainly somewhat analagous to the situation, I think you are talking about checkers in a chess game.

You are clearly a well informed and insightful person, but take a gander at the whole board.

Isn't it convenient this whole thing started relative moments before the G8 summit? I think it is.

What has overtaken the entire G8 agenda? Israel-Hizbollah

What has been pushed to the backburner for the G8? Iran's impending nuclear capability and proliferation in the region.

What happens if Iran reaches nuclear capability?

Gd only knows, but you are 100% correct that if unconventional weapons are employed, Israel will have no choice but to respond with retaliatory strikes. Damascus and Tehran will in all likelihood be scorched with nuclear fire.

The Hizbollah are nothing but pawns of an Iranian insanity that could kill millions.
If that maniac gains the capability, I believe he will launch. Right now, he is just sacrificing pawns to Israel to buy himself enough time to make a run at check mate.
Maybe I am wrong, but the whole world seems to be falling for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's gambit of "hey look over there."

The author of the blog, responded:

No1ofconsequence... You may be right. What the heck, you are probably right. But that doesn't negate the fact that Israel has to respond to the source of the attacks. If We were to attack Syria or Iran right now and ignore Hezbollah, the world would (justifiably) condemn us for an unprovoked attack. Yes, this is likely a proxy war... but just because the G8 are preoccupied don't think for a minute that Israel has taken its eye of Syria or Iran.

Here is the problem with that response. Of course Israel has not taken its eye off of Syria and Iran. I am sure Israel is poised to deal brutal and crippling blows to Syria right now should they even blink in Israel's direction, however, Israel does not have ability to bring Iran's nuclear program to a halt. Only the G8 and the UN can do that.

Of course the questions remain, what should Israel do, or what should they have done? There is no easy answer. Israelis are prepared for dead soldiers. They are hardened by years of conflict. Israelis are not prepared for missing or kidnapped soldiers. The unresolved nature of a kidnapping gnaws at the collective soul of a people that have been fighting for survival since the 40's. They had no choice but to respond with overwhelming force, because not to, would have most likely brought down the Olmert government.

However, I believe that to continue to meet each poke with a sledgehammer blow is not prudent to the long term security of Israel when faced with the possibility of a nuclear Iran within 2 years. Doing everything possible to make sure the G8 doesn't lose focus on Iran is the key. Hizbollah could have kidnapped those soldiers at any time. Why do it on the eve of the G8?

To disconnect from the emotion of the loss of these brave young men is difficult, unbearable. However, wouldn't the chess move, the strategically victorious move be not to act. To say Kaddish (the prayer for the dead) for their souls and cry out to the UN, the G8 and anyone else who would listen and say, "We sacrifice for peace and choose restraint. We leave it up to the world community to disarm Iran and choke off their support of terror. Iran and Syria support Hizbollah. Iran and Syria acted against our sovreignty. Iran is building nuclear weapons as we speak. You must act against Iran, you must act against the threat of nuclear terror, because if you don't, we will. We don't have that many young men to sacrifice for the greater good. This act of restraint will be the last act of restraint."

How could the G8, which already had nuclear proliferation in western Asia and IRAN on the top of their agenda, fail to act in the face of Israel's sacrifice? Iran's misdirection play may have failed.

Maybe I am wrong. Maybe it wouldn't have worked and those brave boys would have been lost in vain. However, if I am right, I think there could have been major movement from the world community. Chess requires seeing the whole board and thinking 12 moves ahead. If Iran puts a nuclear warhead on a Shahab 3 missle Israel will only have one move and Gd help us all if they are forced to make it.


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