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Cost - Benefit Analysis, the war in Gaza
Spoiler alert, Ukraine is the same
Okay TAT readers, it’s Monday and let’s take on the week. Too cheerful for a Monday? I wanted to begin with something positive because today’s TAT will be my clear, blunt CBA/ Cost-Benefit Analysis, of whether Israel’s war is worth the enormous loss of human life, on both sides of this conflict.
Spoiler alert for those who wish to skip the reading; Yes, this war must be prosecuted until Hamas and related terrorist organizations are dismantled to the point, that they are no longer an existential threat to Israel, the Palestinian people, the region and hence, the world.
Today’s piece simply weighs the overall value of Israel’s purging Gaza of Hamas and similar barbarians, for all involved.
Please be advised that this is stark analysis, without bias and that is utterly absent from today’s media environment. If it seems cold-hearted, it is because that it is. In order to do this, I have had to put aside my own, deep emotional entanglements, from my long career in counterterrorism and a deep, half-century love affair with Israel. The starkness of this discussion may startle many but if someone doesn’t start telling the truth passionately and from deep experience, the endless stream of pundits will continue to get it wrong, hence painfully perpetuating these recurring catastrophes.
For background, I have written several TAT articles that laid out the initial blame by all players, back on October 9th, followed by the regular updates listed below. They are in chronological order with #1 being the oldest/ Oct 9th piece.
Israel - by Paul Cobaugh - Truth About Threats
Let's unpack the complex, barbaric attack on Israel and those to blame.(truthaboutthreats.com)
Short Friday notes after yesterday's long report on Israel (truthaboutthreats.com)
A quick Sunday update regarding the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in Gaza (truthaboutthreats.com)
Three things about the war in Gaza that we all must understand. (truthaboutthreats.com)
5th in the series, Israel and Hamas updates. (truthaboutthreats.com)
Has all media, good and bad, forgotten how to report with facts and context? (truthaboutthreats.com)
Friday updates - by Paul Cobaugh - Truth About Threats
What the hell is wrong with almost all media reporting on the conflict in Gaza and ignoring the brutality in Ukraine and other nations? (truthaboutthreats.com
“If it bleeds, it leads” - by Paul Cobaugh (truthaboutthreats.com)
Mid-week, national security, news round-up (truthaboutthreats.com)
When we blame countries and terrorist groups for war, don’t forget to blame corporations too! (truthaboutthreats.com)
First, the situation:
Israel, born of the Holocaust had been long in the works when the UN voted for the creation of a Jewish State. Earlier Zionism, not the same as the pejorative that it has now become due to the Narrative Warfare of 1948 Arab states, had been proposed in other areas of the world. Historically though, just like the non-Jewish Arabs, their homeland is precisely where it is now. The British Mandate called the entire area, Palestine. At the formation of the State of Israel, Muslim residents were quite appropriately called Arab, not a pejorative. The Palestinian people are ethnically Arab.
Both Arabs and Sephardic Jews are Semitic in modern terms, essentially since the early 18th century, as defined by early 18th century European, Christian philosophers. The bottom line to this history lesson is that Jews and Arabs have lived in what most call the Holy Land, from time, immemorial. Cohabitation of the same land has existed since Islam first burst on the scene, in the 7th century, AD. Of course, and at the time this also included another newer religion, Christianity. Other religious belief systems had existed in the region as long as history has been recorded. Cohabitation of the land was occasionally peaceful and more often than not, the opposite.
“From the river to the sea,” a phrase now popular among passionate “Palestinian” or rather Arab activists actually has a far more negative downside and is an expression of genocide towards Jewish and occasionally Christian inhabitants of Israel. This sentiment is written into the Hamas Covenant and specifically indicates that all Jews must be killed. There is no ambiguity about this.
"Hamas Covenant 1988 The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement 18 August 1988 In The Name Of The Most Merciful Allah "Ye are the best nation that hath been raised up unto mankind: ye command that which is just, and ye forbid that which is unjust, and ye believe in Allah. And if they who have received the scriptures had believed, it had surely been the better for them: there are believers among them, but the greater part of them are transgressors. They shall not hurt you, unless with a slight hurt; and if they fight against you, they shall turn their backs to you, and they shall not be helped. They are smitten with vileness wheresoever they are found; unless they obtain security by entering into a treaty with Allah, and a treaty with men; and they draw on themselves indignation from Allah, and they are afflicted with poverty. This they suffer, because they disbelieved the signs of Allah, and slew the prophets unjustly; this, because they were rebellious, and transgressed." (Al-Imran - verses 109-111). Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it" (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory). "The Islamic world is on fire. Each of us should pour some water, no matter how little, to extinguish whatever one can without waiting for the others." (Sheikh Amjad al-Zahawi, of blessed memory)
Iran, home to state sponsored Holocaust denial and benefactor of both Hamas and Hezbollah sees Israel the same, as imminent victims of Muslim genocide of the Jewish people.
This war is but the latest battle in a millennium of a religious wars to exterminate the Jewish people and supported by both Sunni (Arab states) and Shia (Iran). The 1948 war for independence, began quite literally, one minute past the UN declared statehood for Israel, with all Arab nations, launching a full-scale assault on the nascent Jewish state. With the exception of the Begin, Sadat, Carter Camp David Accords, little has changed since. The drive to carry out the “river to the sea” policy has gone on unabated.
Still, the modern peace movement, most often seen as beginning around 1993, is powerful in Israel. The overwhelming desire of the majority of Israelis, Arab or Jewish is for peace and a two-state solution. Those who stand in the way are most notably, the Israeli extreme-right, now headed by Prime Minister Netanyahu and on the opposite side, Arab states and of course, Shia Iran. Neither are a majority of anything but like the Trump MAGA movement, Putin’s far-right global leadership, Modi’s BJP and a host of other global far-right extremists, the pot is constantly stirred for war.
The Israelis tortured, barbarically murdered and taken hostage on October 7th along with the innocent Palestinian victims since are stuck between far-right extremists/ opportunists and the axis of evil that I highlighted in my first assessment of this war.
Now that the background is established, here is the stark, reality-based CBA.
First, the risks to Israel, her citizens, the Palestinian people, the region and beyond.
The prevailing narratives around the Palestinian issues in Israel, have long ranging effects and suffer from the persistence of false narratives like, apartheid, genocide and occupation. No one, especially the surrounding Arab nations do as much for the Palestinian people, as the West. Let’s clear the air here.
The West Bank came under Israeli control after the 6-day war, which was initiated with a pre-emptive strike against the Arabs nations, preparing to initiate another war against Israel.
Apartheid is also a poor fit since that nearly 2 million Arabs/ Palestinians, are citizens of Israel.
Genocide is patently dishonest and won’t be dignified here with a response.
Outside of the Camp David and Oslo Accords, it is Palestinian leadership, driven by regional powermongers like the Saudis, Iranians, Turkey and other Gulf states, that stir the pot habitually, to diminish the global standing of Israel.
Still, the overwhelming majority of Israelis, still support a two-state solution.
Israelis have, since the very first minute of statehood, had to defend against the onslaught of Arab genocidal foes. Now, even the habitually at odds, Shia vs. Sunni issues are superseded by a collective approach to drive Jews, “from the river to the sea.”
The bottom line here is, self-defense is a necessity in Israel from both Sunni and Shia terrorist organizations.
As we can see here, the risk is all-too-well documented by the scale of Hamas’ barbarity on Oct 7th and 8th.
Human shields ad nauseum. Hamas, as with all other regional terrorist organizations, draw countries and security collectives into a trap, if you will. They begin fights they can’t win but by sacrificing their own people via a variety of tactics, including human shields, raises their own posture while attempting to destroy that of those drawn in trying to protect the innocent.
The issue regarding risk to civilian lives, is shared equally by Israeli’s and Palestinians and the risk is derived from barbaric terrorist organizations, like Hamas and Hezbollah, both Iranian trained, supported and supplied.
Outside of the direct risk, is that the region is more volatile than at any time in my very long lifetime and that instability has global impacts for security, the global economy and much worse.
A full accounting of these risks demands a tactical and then, decisive and immediate resolution, in the form of an Israeli decimation of Hamas’ warfighting capability.
Finally, no long-term security can be achieved until we can put to bed, the large-scale threat capacity of terrorist beasts like Hamas. Since it is they and those who fund, train and supply these organizations who perpetually derail peace talks, those organizations must become impotent to such potential, once and for all.
Assessing the mentioned risks
In order to protect either Israeli civilians or Palestinian civilians, it is Hamas that must go, and Iran must be neutered. In order to protect the world from the instability imposed by the axis of evil in the chart above, we can no longer afford to allow what has become the decades-long norm, to go on. Hamas’ use of their own people as bait and human shields, has been the lion’s share of deaths inflicted mostly against innocent civilians.
Iran’s contributions to Putin’s genocide in Ukraine and the massacre via NAZI level atrocities by their proxies Hamas and Islamic Jihad, at scale on and before Oct 7th, must come to an end.
The stability of the region is key to so many of the issues at stake in what the national security community has been calling “Great Power Competition.” The Mediterranean Sea, The Suez Canal and the network of commercial transportation routes overland are the key to Xi’s global conquest strategy called the China Dream, of which the BRI, Belt and Road Initiative, is key to this strategy. Russia is another key to his BRI strategy and must survive Putin’s genocidal war against Ukraine.
The diversions, globally induced by Putin, are key to saving him and Russia for Xi’s sake. The incessant slaughter in Gaza matters not to Putin, Xi, the thuggish theocrats in Tehran, and is more like water off of a duck’s back. In other words, so long as these selfish, immoral thugs get what they want, not one other life matters.
All of the points above are critical and yet only scratch the surface of what could easily be book’s worth of analysis.
The benefits by fully dismantling the warfighting capabilities of Hamas.
First, the end of Hamas would offer the below tanigible benefits:
Israeli and Palestinian lives would be saved.
Palestinians would no longer be oppressed, tortured on their own land by Hamas terrorists.
Palestinians living in Gaza and to a point, the West Bank would have the ability to fairly elect leaders that could and likely would follow through on peace agreements leading to the desired, two-state solution.
Peace or even a normalization of life between Israel proper and Gaza, would be an economic benefit to all. Commerce could again flow without Hamas stealing the bulk of all Western aid flowing into the strip in order to redirect it to offensive terrorist activities.
Israel would benefit by slowly reducing their security posture and relations would improve. The kibbutzim (plural for a kibbutz) around Gaza hold a significant amount of peace activists with already well-developed relationships inside Gaza. True, after Oct. 7th, those relationships are now more fraught with trust issues but likely recoverable.
It would remove one of Iran’s attack dogs from the kennel, which by default improves regional stability and security.
It deprives Iran of a more significant role to play for either Putin or Xi, therefore interrupting an important piece of Xi’s BRI infrastructure and Putin’s ability to stir trouble as easily for his own selfish purposes.
It will deprive local donors like Turkey and Qatar of their influence over a significant terrorist organization. This by default also improves regional stability.
The intangible benefits include:
Xi, Putin, Iran and other aggressive, state-sponsored terrorist organizations would take note of consequences and likely partially curtail some of their overt terrorism.
Xi, Putin, Iran and Erdogan, would have to reshuffle their strategies to construct an anti-western collective to take the lead on global issues. It’s not that the US and NATO must lead, it’s just that leaving global leadership to thugs, despots and other authoritarians, is the single most dangerous decision that anyone could make at this point in history. The world shied away from such decision-making, prior to WW II and what we saw from the late 1930s through the end of the second world war, should never be revisited. Allowing Putin, Xi, Theocrats and populists to run the world would lead to unimaginable suffering for everyone, not to mention destroying global commerce.
For decades now, Jordan and Egypt have had mostly normalized relations with Israel. There was a normalization agreement planned for Israel and the Saudis that Iran wanted disrupted, using the Hamas attack to throw the region into its current state of chaos. Ridding Gaza of Hamas significantly alters the potential for large-scale future conflicts from the Gulf to the Mediterranean. This would be a serious setback for Xi’s global conquest calculations. He will still have far too many leverageable relationships in the region, but peace deprives him of being able to force his agenda onto Israel, the Gulf States and Egypt.
Finally in the intangible benefit department, depriving authoritarians and terrorists of advantages builds the beginning phase of collectively operating closer to human rights. Doing this between populations typically at war with each other leads towards a situation, long thought unattainable.
Having watched the Camp David agreements signed by President Carter, Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin was one of the highlights of my life and in the decades since, the benefits to Israel, Egypt and the region have been extraordinary. It’s a great model for what can be achieved when war can be shelved.
This cannot happen with Hamas in charge of Gaza. In fact, none of the above benefits can be achieved while Hamas remains intact.
War is hell, goes the saying and this is true. I know this firsthand and personally for me, it was wars against terrorism. I know what happens when terrorists are removed in quantity and productive diplomacy and support fills the power vacuum. The US got much of this wrong in Iraq and Afghanistan but when and where it worked, the model is sound and beneficial. The key here is to have a sound strategy for what comes next, when hostilities cease. All of the major players should have a seat at this table, except those who planned, supplied and trained the terrorists or benefited from their work. This means that especially, the Palestinian people and the Israelis in the peace movement are key participants.
When victims have power, they rarely want to revisit conflict. I saw a few comments in the past couple of days that struck a chord with me on a deep level. They sounded something like this, and I paraphrase:
“After the Holocaust, Jews did not start a war of retribution against a defeated Germany. Germany stepped up and not only made amends, but atoned to a point, for the horrors of the Holocaust and now feels an obligation to support Israel.” There can be progress towards peace in the worst of circumstances.
This is adult thinking on a higher level. It has been absent in the Middle East from the time of the PLO which transformed the interest in peace, into a sideshow calculated for aid, corruption and profiteering, by keeping terror as the tool of choice. We now have a chance to save countless future lives by eliminating Hamas as step one and squeezing Tehran, Syria, Lebanon and Hezbollah next. As discussed above, this removes the momentum from Xi and Putin’s plans for an overwhelmingly evil bloc.
While that I have not followed any specific CBA process for making this analysis, the bottom line is the same. Israel, like Ukraine is doing the dirty work and doing their level best to follow recognized rules of engagement. They both must be supported for the sake of the entire world. The lives cost now, and if we get the follow-through right, will not only save innocent lives by the thousands but foster progress for the victims and habitual participants of conflict.
The CBA analysis says that clearly, eliminating Hamas, is our only hope for progress, where none was thought possible. Can we all now stop making this a black and white issue where some only back Israel and some the Palestinians? Listen, read and learn the full truth, not the propaganda that seems to dominate our news feeds. No good answers are easy answers, and all require an investment of time, resources and lives. Don’t make the now spiraling investment of lives, for nothing. There is hope but only by having the courage to see the long game.
Is a little peace too much to hope for? As a lifetime optimist, my hope springs eternal… and prayers too. Godspeed a sustainable peace, for all innocent victims… everywhere.
My best for the rest of your week,