The Last Thing We Need
A leading Republican lawmaker said on Sunday U.S. forces may have to help "root out terrorism" in the Middle East conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, including taking aim at Hamas.
In an interview on "Fox News Sunday," Sen. Richard Lugar, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said American forces might be part of an international force to help stop attacks by Hamas, the main group behind a campaign of suicide bombings against Israelis, and other groups.
All across the Muslim/Arab world, probably one of the most universal issues of condemnation spit at the feet of the United States is that we give Israel too much leeway in it's dealings with the Palestinian terrorist problem. I won't discuss the legitimacy of those arguements right now.
However, if there was one thing we could do to really piss off Islamics and Arabs, it would be to get directly involved in the military effort against Palestinian terrorists.
Lugar said such a force could be used to quell Israeli and Palestinian disputes, "and, maybe even more important, to root out the terrorism that is at the heart of the problem."
Asked if that meant such troops would go after Hamas or other groups, he said, "That may be the conclusion."
And lest anyone think this would be just a peacekeeping force, Senator Lugar stays honest and speaks his mind. No, we'd be essentially pulling an Afghanistan in the occupied territories: actively striking against terrorist targets and "rooting out" such people. Don't misunderstand me...those people deserve to be either killed or arrested due to their actions. But why must America be involved in the effort?
Whether to insert forces into the volatile situation is being considered, including "whether they are to be all by themselves" or in conjunction with a United Nations or NATO force, he said.
"That is always a possibility but having said that, I would just say this is down the trail. We have to be very, very careful about the use of American forces," he said.
Why do I get the feeling that last bit carries as much weight as any other political boilerplate? It's a Cover Your Ass statement.
I see no compelling reason to get directly involved in Israel like this. Not when we have the problem of Principles vs. Diplomacy: as long as people have things they are unwilling to give up and an opposing force demands that to happen, there will be violence in Israel.
Add America to this and (as opposed to the predictions of some regarding possible outcomes in Afghanistan and Iraq) very likely drive the supply of terrorists upwards as well as their anti-American motivations. It would increase (and not just in the short-term) the threat at home and abroad.
International policy should be, first and foremost, about securing the safety of life and property of Americans both at home and overseas. I cannot see how this idea would accomplish this. I don't accept the notion that we "must remain active in [the] Mideast peace process" simply on the idea that Israel's ability to fight depends on the resources America sells and gives the country.
Senator Lugar is too ready to use American force and treasure abroad.