August 19, 2005

Hey, It's 'Auto-Rocket' Time!

Charles Krauthammer:

That is Israel's strategy. There are two problems with it: What about the rockets? What about the world?

The first problem is that while the fences do prevent terrorist infiltration, they do nothing about rockets. For months Palestinians have been firing rockets from Gaza into towns within Israel proper. The attacks are momentarily in suspension, but with the enhanced ability to smuggle in weapons from Egypt, and with no Israeli patrols looking for them, the attacks will resume and get far worse.

What to do? Something Israel should have done long ago: active and relentless deterrence. Israel should announce that henceforth any rocket launched from Palestinian territory will immediately trigger a mechanically automatic response in which five Israeli rockets will be fired back. There will be no human intervention in the loop. Every Palestinian rocket landing in Israel will instantly trigger sensors and preset counter-launchers. Any Palestinian terrorist firing up a rocket will know that he is triggering six: one Palestinian and five Israeli.

Israel would decide how these five would be programmed to respond. Perhaps three aimed at the launch site and vicinity and two at a list of predetermined military and strategic assets of the Palestinian militias. [emphasis added]

Heh. "Perhaps three aimed at the launch site and vicinity..." "...no human intervention in the loop..." Who gives a eff if the "vicinity" is full of civilians? Or if the perpetrators, you know, have vacated the "launch site" and non-bad guys are now hanging there instead? But hey, they're all towel-headed terrorists anyhow, right?

What risible, hysteric fare from one of the smartest oped writers in the biz! Look, we all have our off days, this hapless Junior Walter Lippman very much included, but if this is what is passing for serious security policy recommendations to dispense to the Israelis from our Beltway commentariat elites, well I'd recommend that Arik Sharon and his generals turn to more sober sources for going forward advice (yeah don't worry, they know this already).

Yes, by all means retaliate, fiercely even, if rocket attacks occur. But please have human beings manning the retaliatory effort, OK, and please do your utmost to kill those actually responsible for the attacks--yes, to include destroying their logistical support assets. But note that "predetermined military and strategic assets" get, er, moved around now and again. And those behind the rocket attacks don't stop and hang at the launch site all day enjoying a rustic picnic and the Gaza seaviews. In a densely populated area like Gaza, Krauthammer's irresponsible musings would result in the routine death of innocents. One difference between IDF helicopter gunships strafing densely populated areas to kill militia and terrorists is that there is no purposeful intent to kill innocents (though it often happens)--unlike your Hamas or Jihad Islami operative who purposefully aims to slaughter as many Israeli innocents as possible. Krauthammer's 'idea,' if we want to dignify it with such a moniker, would blur such moral differences quite materially in my view. Shouldn't Charles K care about that? One party tries to contain, really contain, collateral damage--the other doesn't care a whit, indeed, purposefully kills civilians whenever possible. What would 'auto-rockets' do to Israel's reputation on the world stage? How would it really enhance Israel's security? Would fewer rockets then really be in the offing, given such macho, auto-deterrence? Of course not. Or perhaps we should ask a more apropos question. Is anyone out there reading this really taking this laughable fare seriously? I fear the answer is yes, but tell me I'm wrong!

Posted by Gregory at August 19, 2005 05:04 PM | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Krauthammer is Dr. Strangelove, down to the degree and the wheelchair. If you liked the way the movie ended, keep supporting him.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim at August 19, 2005 05:52 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Not that I necessarily agree with this reported idea of CK's, but you're all up on your Orwell, right? I paraphrase: Sometimes the only thing to do with somebody who drops a bomb on your mother is to go and drop two bombs on his mother.

Could we get past the mean-spirited part and consider what actual effect this would have? For instance, would it lead to reduced popular support for the Pal rocketings? Would it lead to increased criticism from whomever? Keep in mind the terrorist rubric that 'we are democrats, we support the government, we are targets; our babies will grow up to be soldiers, they are targets; X has offended the whole [terrorist] people, the whole people of X will suffer.' It could certainly be said that the response was predictable and that the Pals brought it on themselves.

Of course, my sentiments are not so much 'tit-for-tat' as 'he tits you, you tat him till your arm gets tired.' Remember all the talk of "full-corps fire' and 'ending it with a whistle' (which the IDF refrained from doing) at Jenin? Now they need scarcely refrain. I suppose morally they should provide a few days of warnings first, but why does Assad get away with a Hama and Israel gets the poke in the eye for targeted killings of avowed enemies?

The eternal problem with nice, nice, nice is that it gets read as weak, weak, weak. And tugging off the bandage one hair at a time usually hurts worse than a swift yank. Sherman might have understood.

And since people such as the Pope (or his speechwriters) seem to equate Israeli and Arab actions, why not try it that way? In theory (and NO I DO NOT SUPPORT THIS) Israel could send bombers into Pal markets, into Saudi restaurants, into Iranian aquariums, into Syrian hospitals. This would be far worse than they do now, right? Yet it would be exactly what is being done to them.

So how would this then be presented, if Israel's targeted, minimal responses now are equated with the vile acts done unto them? You see the quandary.

Posted by: Nichevo at August 19, 2005 05:54 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

When you write "one of the smartest op-ed writers in the biz" do you really mean "barking mad wingnut moonbat"? What has Krauthammer ever written that would make you think he is "one of the smartest op-ed writers in the biz"?

I'm genuinely curious.

Posted by: Brad DeLong at August 19, 2005 06:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I agree that Krauthammer is an intelligent guy, but he's had a number of "bad days" recently. His previous column on "situational libertarianism" was also strange and poorly thought through.

Posted by: Anonymous Liberal at August 19, 2005 06:22 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Who gives a eff if the "vicinity" is full of civilians?

I guess I don't understand Greg's point. Obviously the Palestinian terrorists don't care if they kill civilians - that's their whole purpose!

And Krauthammer's point is that the Israelis won't have killed any civilians, because the decision to launch the missiles and the targeting of those missiles are ENTIRELY in the hands of the terrorists.

Posted by: Al at August 19, 2005 06:29 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

CK has written some great stuff, but he often goes out of his way to be provocative. Especially when he has to get to the details of anything military, where he isnt too strong. I wouldnt take this too seriously, and I wouldnt discount CK in general as a result.

Posted by: liberalhawk at August 19, 2005 06:36 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

where's the discussion of the mine shaft gap?

Posted by: DC Loser at August 19, 2005 06:38 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The "no human intervention" is the true genius of the thought. It is cause and effect, reduced to its simplest form, no good or evil even plays into it. The only known quantity is "you fire a rocket from X, a counterbattery barrage will arrive there a minute later". If its from an empty patch, very well, if it's from a school yard - blame the ones who CAUSED the automatic response.


apex

Posted by: apex at August 19, 2005 06:40 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"The "no human intervention" is the true genius of the thought."

Guess you missed the movie?

Posted by: DC Loser at August 19, 2005 06:54 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

DC - this isnt about blowing up the world - its about actions having consequences.

CK is sick and tired of folks blaming Israel, rather than the rocket launcher folks, when the rocket launchers fire and israel fires back AT the rocket launchers. This is less a proposal, that a thought experiment, to help us understand how idiotic it is to blame Israel, not Hamas, when Hamas takes actions that make Israeli retaliation inevitable. This is especially important NOW - with Israelis IN Gaza, israeli troops could try to do things ON THE GROUND to stop terrorism - now all Israel can do is counter battery fire, and retaliation from the air. IF hamas doesnt refrain from terror, and IF the PA doesnt stop them, its going to be very messy, and there will be LOTS of dead Palestinians. CK is establishing right off the bat the moral responsibility.

Posted by: liberalhawk at August 19, 2005 07:16 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I have never found Krauthammer either smart or even rational. The man is pretty much a lunatic. This idea is typical, and even if he isn't responsible for it, his celebration of it is inidcative of his mindset.

Posted by: David Studhalter at August 19, 2005 07:39 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

So I guess the Germans had a point when they staged civilian reprisals against partisan attacks on their troops? It was the partisans' fault those civilians hostages were killed? Shades of Lidice and Ouradur-sur-Gland.

Posted by: DC Loser at August 19, 2005 07:45 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Perhaps his emotions are getting the best of him right now; stirred by images of kids' birthdays being interrupted by IDF forces. Of course he is being premature by writing this before the evacuation has been fully accomplished. It is also a silly idea. It would be too easy for the Palestinians to say that the Isrealis shot first. Getting weapons out of the hands of the extremists will be Abbas's biggest challenge. Missles from Isreal would not be helpful.

Posted by: Chuck Betz at August 19, 2005 08:03 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Hysteric is the correct adjective indeed. Some people are simply unaware of the existence of their own brain.

Viva the Lebanese Federation

Posted by: vox populi at August 19, 2005 08:44 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Yes, by all means retaliate, fiercely even, if rocket attacks occur.

**IF ROCKET ATTACKS OCCUR, they are a daily reality that is sadly never reported because it would prove that the Israeli's are under constant attack

please do your utmost to kill those actually responsible for the attacks--

**The society is sick, their leader (Abbas) calls this just the beginning and calls for Jews out of Jerusalem, the society is responsible for formenting the hate over decades and until the society takes responsibility for its inhabitants they all bear the burden.

In a densely populated area like Gaza, Krauthammer's irresponsible musings would result in the routine death of innocents. One difference between IDF helicopter gunships strafing densely populated areas to kill militia and terrorists is that there is no purposeful intent to kill innocents (though it often happens)--unlike your Hamas or Jihad Islami operative who purposefully aims to slaughter as many Israeli innocents as possible. Krauthammer's 'idea,' if we want to dignify it with such a moniker, would blur such moral differences quite materially in my view.

**Sadly it is only in your view. The Israeli's no matter what precautions they take are always equated with the terrorists and the humanity they have shown the Arabs has never been acknowledged internationally.

Is the opinion piece over the top - yes it is. Sadly, strength is the only thing the Arabs understand and Israel is receiving less than nothing for this act, as CK notes The NYT asks for more. Abbas is a Holocaust denier and he allows the terrorist to operate with abandon including rockets being launched at Israel proper during the withdrawal and releasing any one captured firing at Israel.

Gregg, I like your writing a lot but I think Israel is a blind spot for you and it is time that Israel stopped making concessions. Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza do not deserve to be allowed to enter Israel and the fence should be closed until the society behind it can function in a civilized manner. If Mexico or Canada were to fire rockets across the US' border what would you have us do?

Posted by: Steven at August 19, 2005 08:49 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Israel should announce that henceforth any rocket launched from Palestinian territory will immediately trigger a mechanically automatic response in which five Israeli rockets will be fired back."

This is not so smart. Israeli rockets are rather large and expensive. They would be better of using tube artillary. I think they would be better off lobbing 10 155mm anti-personel at the approximate location of every mortor round and rocket site. They could man and use 155 mm guns and ammunition from their normal stocks. This would be much more cost effective than using rockets, missiles and airstrikes. The Jorgyptions will soon be introducing anti-aircraft missiles which will make helicopter strikes more dangerous for the IDF.

The Jorgyptions will of course fire them from schools and hospitials, but what the hell, the collateral damage will all be martyrs and get 72 virgins in Paradise.
So, right idea, wrong system.

Posted by: DocMartyn at August 20, 2005 01:12 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Doesn't the US supply patriot missiles to Israel? Can't they use them to defend against the Militant's rockets?

Posted by: cynical joe at August 20, 2005 07:25 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Doc?

That's more like it. You've got to just know that that entire strip is pre-registered.

Joe? What Doc and I are saying is that if the gun bunny FO's are on their game, you can have an artillery shell back down range before the rocket even hits Isreali soil. Hey - won't that be a great one for the lawyers?

Yeah - we're that good. Sleep peaceably.

Posted by: Tommy G at August 20, 2005 07:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

cynical joe,

Patriots are designed to shoot down aircraft and theater ballistic missiles like SCUDs. The Kassam "missiles" made by Hamas are basically like artillery rockets, much smaller and shorter range than SCUDs.

Posted by: Lynxx Pherrett at August 21, 2005 03:39 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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