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The Commander in Chief's Lack of Military Awareness


November 21, 2012

The Commander in Chief's Lack of Military Awareness

ByShoshana  Bryen

Israelis  should be pleased that President Obama offered Hamas no comfort in his press  conference in Thailand.  "There's no country on earth that would tolerate  missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.  We are  fully supportive of Israel's right to defend itself. Israel has every right to  expect that it does not have missiles fired into its  territory."

But  Americans should be concerned that their commander in chief so profoundly  misunderstands what soldiers do and why they do it.  President Obama  suggested a Hamas-Israel ceasefire in part to protect Israeli troops.  "Its  not just preferable for the people of Gaza; it's also preferable for Israelis,  because if Israeli troops are in Gaza, they are much more at risk of incurring  fatalities or being wounded."

The  point of being a soldier is not not to be wounded.  The point and  the seriousness of a soldier's commitment are to be prepared to do battle, to be  wounded -- in fact, to die to protect your citizens, your homeland, and your way  of life.  We, as Americans, have drifted away from the concept in recent  years as we use the military less as a blunt  instrument and more as an adjunct to political activity.  President  Obama called Afghanistan a war of necessity, sending tens of thousands of  American men and women tens of thousands of miles on the grounds that they are  protecting American citizens in Des Moines and Santa Barbara until the day he  takes them out.  The link between their presence and our security is  tenuous.

The  link between the Israel Defense Forces and the defense of the people of Israel  is not tenuous.

Soldiers  used to be on the "front lines" so that the civilian population could be safe  "behind the lines"1.  Israel's enemies have neither the ability  nor the courage to fight the IDF, so they configured their Iranian assets to  rain missiles across a large swath of territory that is home to more than one  million civilians.  The radius of most of the Hamas rockets superimposed on  New York would cover all of Superstorm Sandy-land, as well as north and west to  Yonkers and White Plaines, NY and Elizabeth and the Oranges, NJ.  This is  not a single hurricane to flee, survive, and dig out of, but rather ongoing  random fire, with fifteen seconds to find shelter -- and shelter your children  or your elderly mother -- when the siren calls.  Not for 24 hours, but for  days and weeks and months.  The Red Cross and Bruce Springsteen don't come  in when it's over -- because it isn't over.  Ever.

Any  ceasefire that leaves in place the declaration of war by Hamas against the  people of Israel just gives Hamas time to regroup, rearm, and retrain for the  next time. 

A  word here about President Obama's belief that preventing an IDF ground incursion  would be "preferable for the people of Gaza."  What would be preferable for  the people of Gaza is a government that doesn't use them as hostages and human  shields.  Hamas ensures not only that Israelis live on the battlefield, but  that their own people do as well.  See Anderson Cooper's Twitter  feed for a picture of Hamas rockets being launched from the middle of a city  neighborhood.

Hamas  claims that it has nowhere else from which to launch.  It does -- I've  driven through it -- but to locate missile launchers away from the population  would ensure that a) the Israel Air Force could get a good shot at them and b)  there would be no civilian casualties to blame on Israel.  Putting military  assets in the middle of civilians to protect the military from retaliation is  the definition of using human shields.  It is the definition of a war  crime.

So,  to the president's point, Israel does have a right to defend itself from rockets  from Gaza and doesn't need his permission, although it is very nice to have his  support.  He no doubt also supports Israel's decision to narrowly target  Hamas leadership, much as the U.S. targets al-Qaeda.  But Israel has a  better picture than the president does of the total military problem and the  moral requirements of both offense and defense.  The president's proposal  to protect Israeli troops and Gaza civilians would protect Hamas terrorists and  fail to protect Israeli civilians -- who would know quiet only until Hamas  imports more and better weapons from Iran through the Sinai, whether with or  without Egyptian acquiescence.

An  IDF ground incursion might actually be less damaging for the people of Gaza than  air strikes at greater risk to the ground soldier -- something the American  Commander in Chief may not have calculated, but which, no doubt, the IDF has.   Israel is, as the president acknowledges, the aggrieved party.  When  the IDF goes to war -- by air and, if necessary, on the ground -- to stop the  criminal targeting of civilians by Hamas, Israel is entitled to determine the  strategy and the time and terms of any ceasing of fire.

There  is nothing wrong with being a president of the United States without military  experience -- on the other hand, we have elected twelve generals2 as  president, and most of our presidents until recently did spend time as  soldiers.  But it is a mistake to be commander in chief without  understanding the fundamental military equation that pits terrorists against a  civilian population (its own and that of its enemy) and the requirement of a  moral army to destroy the terrorists and free the people.  On both  sides.

Shoshana Bryen is senior director of The Jewish  Policy Center.


1  An Israeli general told the story of his visit to Tel Aviv from the Suez Canal  during the bitter 1970 Israel-Egypt War of Attrition.  He said, "My wife  and I sat in a café. I got SO angry watching people laugh and drink coffee while  my soldiers were being bombarded on the Canal.  Then I realized that my  soldiers are on the Canal PRECISELY so the people can laugh and drink coffee in  Tel Aviv."


2  Washington, Jackson, W. Harrison, Taylor, Pierce, A. Johnson, Grant, Hayes,  Garfield, Arthur, B. Harrison, and Eisenhower.  Extra points if you got  this right.

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/11/the_commander_in_chiefs_lack_of_military_awareness.html#ixzz2Ct11t2Bq

Entry #200


JAP69Comment by JAP69 - November 23, 2012, 6:19 am
This judge will feel the long arm of power.

Now that Obama is in his second term without the ability to be re elected he will need to make a move quickly to bring about his plan.
See what happens in the coming weeks and months.
I already seen where the statement was floated that he wants presidential power to control the budget. Bypass congress. Something along the line of controlling the budget, taxation or what ever.
JAP69Comment by JAP69 - November 23, 2012, 6:34 am
I posted the above comment in wrong article.

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