I have only one question about Israel’s military operation in Gaza: What is the goal? Is it the education of Hamas or the eradication of Hamas? I hope that it’s the education of Hamas. Let me explain why.There may be no clearer distillation of the Friedman method than this. Announce that you "have only one question," and then immediately follow that declaration with two. Good god, man, throw in a "by which I mean," for the love of all that's decent.
-Lil' Tommy Friedman
Friedman goes on to crow that he "was one of the few people who argued back in 2006 that Israel actually won the war in Lebanon started by Hezbollah." This is like touting one's belief, circa 2006, that housing prices would rise twenty percent per annum forever, or claiming to have been one of the people who argued in 1617 that Simplicio made the better argument in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. Friedman's rationale?
Israel’s military was not focused on the morning after the war in Lebanon — when Hezbollah declared victory and the Israeli press declared defeat. It was focused on the morning after the morning after, when all the real business happens in the Middle East. That’s when Lebanese civilians, in anguish, said to Hezbollah: “What were you thinking? Look what destruction you have visited on your own community! For what? For whom?”Back here on Planet Earth, meanwhile, Hezbollah (along with its coalition partners in the Resistance and Development bloc) has veto power in the Lebanese Parliament and holds eleven of thirty cabinet posts. I wouldn't mind that sort of defeat myself.
In a larger sense--and Friedman is hardly alone in this kind of thinking; he's only the most glaringly moronic exemplar of it--what you see here is the popular, failed strategy of arguing against terrorism and guerrilla resistance on the basis of its efficacy, to pretend, as above for instance, that the mythical "people" will look at the destruction around them and kick out the goons who were "responsible," to pretend that it de-legitimates itself. But the position of Hezbollah wasn't weakened in the '06 war; it was strengthened. People may have disapproved of kidnapping a couple of Israeli soldiers in a dumb effort to game a prisoner exchange, but they blame Israel for killing a thousand Lebanese civilians.
Bombing Gaza, killing a hundred Palestinians for every one Israeli, doesn't affect the popular currency of Hamas. If Israel kills all but one militant in Gaza, Hamas comes out the moral victor. The wet-eyed pro-Israel faction in America may not like it, but there it is. I don't make the news, I just read it, brother.
Israel de facto recognizes Hamas’s right to rule Gaza and to provide for the well-being and security of the people of Gaza — which was actually Hamas’s original campaign message, not rocketing Israel. And, in return, Hamas has to signal a willingness to assume responsibility for a lasting cease-fire and to abandon efforts to change the strategic equation with Israel by deploying longer and longer range rockets.If Israel "de facto recognize[d] Hamas's [sic] right to rule," then it wouldn't have closed the borders and laid siege. I have just one question for Tom Friedman. Why should Hamas "signal a willingness to assume responsibility for a lasting cease-fire"? By which I mean, what does it benefit Hamas, or Gaza in general? Not with a viable state. Not with a workable economy. Not with open borders, or the right to issue passports, or the ability to travel unrestricted to the West Bank, or compensation for long-since-expropriated property. Hamas can exchange restraint for a calmer imprisonment. Unsurprisingly, they are not moved by the offer.