Beyond the Cusp

July 15, 2014

When Will the Israeli Ground Offensive Begin?

There will be numerous editorials and reported leaks all claiming the exact moment that Israel Defense Force (IDF) troops entering into Gaza. There have already been editorials predicting that Israel would be at a great disadvantage if they attempted to fight within Gaza City as Hamas would be better able to maneuver and would have traps and fortified sniper positions all staked out and manned. There was another article or maybe a talk radio show which made the case for how Israeli technology such as UAV drones and unmanned ground fighting vehicles as well as air support would rule in any situation. The truth is that we will likely never get to that point as the probability of an Israeli ground assault actually becomes more remote every day. It has nothing to do with tactical challenges or one side having an advantage or the other or anything even remotely logical. It has everything to do with political approval, world opinion, potential critical media coverage and a million other things which have no relevance to the actual theater of operations. Even if the IDF ends up being given the go ahead and begins to enter Gaza, within a couple of hours they will be recalled as frantic meetings will be pursuing peace with everything pivoting on stopping the ground invasion. If anything, the threat of an imminent ground invasion of Gaza will be used as a bargaining chip in order to force a cease fire.


The problem is that the Israeli government has lost their way. Rather than appear as the mighty ready to use the IDF and intelligently eradicate any problem they instead talk of how they have lead in a mature and sophisticated manner and have found a middle way, a path which addresses the problems and also keeps in mind the considerations of operating in a multicultural world and able to retain the approval and respect of the rest of the world. After all, the world has always loved the wise Jews of Chelm. They have become too comfortable and care far too deeply what their friends in Europe, the United States and other political realms believe and seek their acceptance and approvals otherwise they might not be included in the world confabs or invited to attend United Nations meetings which always are held in five star resorts at the best times of the year. If the political elites within Israel act in a brash and unfeeling manner and do not display the proper and approved confliction and remorse over having to resort to the brutalities of a ground offensive they may be forced to feel rejected as a punishment before being accepted back to the community of ruling elites. The leadership is more interested in showing that they are just as restrained as the foreign media claims that they must be. They are out to prove that they are really and honestly just as deeply feeling as anyone anywhere. They have grown older and become comfortable in their soft positions and the lifestyle of the politically connected which so often mixes comfortably with the lives of the rich and opulent. Why would they ever risk such an easy and often glorious life by resorting to taking steps to address the viscous terrorist fanatics who are raining rockets over the lands and people of Israel as doing so would likely make them victims of the spite and disapproval of those with whom they share a special bond, a bond that delivers more comfort and enjoyment than governing and doing the difficult which sometimes is an essential part of honest governing. After all, is it really wrong to seek to find some path to a peaceful compromise which will end the rockets without having to resort to such brutality as would accompany a ground assault of Gaza?


It is somewhat understandable that with voices coming from around the world and from every outlet and corner all on the same page demanding restraint, for Israel to use only proportional force, criticizing even the idea of a ground assault as it might cause collective punishment of the residents of Gaza or might injure a single noncombatant, that the Israeli leadership acts as if under siege and believes they must resist escalations at any cost. This was exactly what occurred in the last few conflicts in November 2012 and in December 2008 through January 2009 with Gaza which began exactly the same manner with steadily increasing barrages of rockets out of Gaza which was eventually answered with an air assault. The 2012 conflict added the debut of the miraculous performance of the Iron Dome which intercepted close to ninety percent of the rockets it attempted to intercept which allowed for the Israel attacks to be less immediate allowing for a peace to be reached without any significant ground offensive. Eventually in December 2008 and on to the end the following month there was a timid ground assault which appeared more intended to avoid casualties and risk avoidance than anything else. Soon after an agreement was found through deliberations aided by the Egyptians each time and the cycle was simply reset, Hamas decides the time had come to attack Israel and the rockets begin raining down on Israeli cities, towns and kibbutzim in ever increasing numbers. The reason this time is reputed that Hamas is having problems is they are facing a dire situation, with scant funds, Egyptian closure of the majority of the smuggling tunnels that brought in supplies from the Sinai Peninsula and also generate taxes to fund Hamas and their terrorist operations, having lost their benefactor in Iran after opposing Assad in Syria and just everything appearing like Hamas was approaching the end of their road. These problems facing Hamas could almost make one cry if they actually cared.


So, if Hamas is at the end of their rope, why not assist them by making a nice noose with the end of that rope. If one would look to Torah for the halakhic definitions and standards of war you find a completely different manner than has proven to be the Israeli strategies. Torah lays it out really straight forward instructing that evil must be destroyed if the innocent are to survive. We are instructed that the only aim of warfare is to protect our own people and as long as we are righteous and good in the eyes of the L0rd then we will prevail. But if we refuse to defend ourselves to the maximum of our capabilities using every ounce of power at our disposal as was the case under King Saul, then we will lose because of our lack of convictions and lack of the will to do that which is required to win. After the indecisiveness under King Saul, Israel found a King who would rule decisively and fight the wars like the entirety of the Children of Israel depended upon doing so, which back then, as now, was exactly the case. We, the Children of Israel, face a similar enemy today who willingly sacrifice their own children to their leaders and their deity who rewards those willing to die over those who choose to live. The date and even the calendar used by the rest of the world have changed but mankind and the rules of war are very much the same. The winners get to live on and the vanquished retreat if they are fortunate or cease if no channel of retreat exists for them. Now, as then, wars end once they have been won unilaterally and completely and seldom if ever by anything less. Has not the past conflicts with Hamas proven that nothing short of complete obliteration will ever put an end to their launching rockets, dispatching suicide bombers when possible, blowing up IEDs (improvised explosive devices) in attempts to murder IDF and civilians passing on the road, using their own civilians to protect their attacker who aim to murder our civilians, and their attempts to abduct our soldiers or youths to either hold hostage for trade for their terror masters in our jails or simply to butcher them in heinous and horrendous manners.


So, what will it take for Israel to have the kind of leaders who will do whatever it takes no matter the opposition or the wailing cries from the rest of the world who really do not have our best interests in mind and revel in seeing Israel victimized and appearing all weak and ineffectual. There are two kinds of leaders who are capable, some even revel in the acts, of taking the needful steps to resolutely end violent problems which threaten their nation. The obvious type is the young and restless leaders who have not been worn down and made impotent by the years and fights suffered along the way. The examples of such men are Yonathan Netanyahu leading the raid on Entebbe, the Commando officer and able men which included Benyamin Netanyahu following the orders from Ehud Barak, the bulldozer General Ariel Sharon, and the young men of the IDF who today stand ready to defend the Children of Israel from all evils and pestilence. The examples of the older and gentle men are obvious and can be easily discerned by even a casual observer. The other type of leader who is capable of fighting against the tides of contempt and disapproval to finish and complete the task of executing the necessary operations against the evils threatening the nation and its people is an older one who has learned the truths from history and knows that solutions are not always neat and tidy and often are opposed by those claiming to be the more civilized, civil, educated, knowing, knowledgeable, and amongst the elites of our world. This would be a leader who is capable of going the distance and suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune by taking arms against that sea of troubles and by opposing, end them, if I may murder a soliloquy from Hamlet and composed by William Shakespeare. The best example of such a man was William Churchill and his marshalling of England and standing firm against all odds and challenges of fortune to eventually defeat and destroy the evil that was Adolph Hitler and his Third Reich. For Israel to find such a leader the people will need to replace the leadership of the existing parties or form a new party which holds as its platform to face violence against the Children of Israel with greater force and make any battle forced upon Israel the final battle by whatever entity should be so foolish. Such a leader would also by definition force a resolution to the rights and ownership over the disputed lands, especially of Judea and Samaria, our ancient heart to our homelands. How any Israeli leader who has any problem with fighting to terminate the terrorist enmity that threatens the Jewish people and the Children of Israel, such as any people who have elected Hamas as their leaders, any society which gives out candy, sweets, pastries and other treats while dancing in the streets celebrating Jewish murders, shouting shrill victory shrieks and chants of “Allahu Akbar” when Jews are viscously and heinously butchered, tortured and murdered, rejoice as if it were a holiday when Jewish bodies are dragged through the streets or their blood is seen dripping off their murderers’ hands garnering great hues and cries of approval, can lead so poorly and expect the support, approval and to retain their position after the next election is beyond any known form of logic. The consequence of the choice eventually leads to one simple choice, will we or they live in this land in peace and security, there is no other final solution and it is time we realize this, our enemy has known this from the very beginning.


Beyond the Cusp


April 22, 2013

Rumors in All the Wrong Places

The horrific bombing of the Boston Marathon finishing line was timed to detonate at four hours after the start of the race which was expected and did coincide with numerous amateur runners completing the race and their friends and families waiting to congratulate them. The bombers’ plan to injure and possibly murder as many average people in order to maximize terror was successful in targeting average people and getting huge amounts of coverage by television and news cameras. The one failure was the striking terror in the hearts of the people at the scene of the terrorist strike. Instead what was witnessed was Americans at their best with people who were uninjured not running from the scene but running into the heart of the disaster area tending to the injured applying first aid and even using pieces of their clothing to apply pressure bandages and even using belts as makeshift tourniquets. What was exemplified was the best of Americans and humanity in a crisis situation with these brave people almost immediately assisting each other and not waiting for the first responders giving the world a taste of how not to be cowed by a terror threat and showing disregard for anything other than helping people who were for the most part total strangers. We witnessed people literally giving the shirt off their backs and the belts from their trousers. This is not meant to take anything away from the first responders who also arrived quickly and wasted no time rushing into the heart of the confusion and establishing a frenetic order and began transport of the injured to waiting hospital personnel who had prepared the necessary extra trauma and emergency supplies and beds to accommodate the disaster.

Unfortunately, the same praises cannot be lauded on either the mainstream media or social media both of which were full of conjecture, conspiracies and the entire host of misinformation. The number of people espousing their own hatreds blaming the government, secret clandestine organizations, or any group of people imaginable in Tweets or on Facebook were disgusting and gave examples of the worst in people. The only redeeming facts were those who derided those posting such conspiracies or assigning blame as a venue to castigate their own bigotries. Where the hatreds appearing on social media in not something new but the mere extent of these postings is what was somewhat alarming. The misinformation spread by the mainstream media prior to any actual facts is an entirely different animal. The race by the different new networks and departments to form theories and postulations as to who was behind the bombing was revealing to their prejudices and biases. The number of times there were claims of breaking news only to be followed later by more breaking news each one contradicting the previous startling statement. News reporting, especially by the news agencies that people and the public depend on for facts, should act with more restraint and discipline instead of acting in such an uncontrolled and amateurish fashion. While it is understandable that each news department has a desire to be the first to get the news right, but shouldn’t getting the news right be the first principle? What good is being first to be wrong? Apparently, the news sources placed more emphasis on making conjecture as representing news as long as it was first and might even be the first to finally get it correct. Between reporting every rumor with breathless excitement and expressing their personal biases as honest news the mainstream media managed to further destroy any semblance of trust which had possibly remained. It was my personal experience that the most trustworthy news sources ended up being some select foreign press and media sources which I have previously found to have the patience to wait for facts before jumping onto a story, any story, as long as it is a new story. Maybe they will take a lesson from this fiasco and will learn to actually verify the facts before running before the cameras only to have to retract reports as the truth eventually emerges. And may they please learn that personal conjecture is never good news and only makes them appear more amateurish than the average poster on social media. We should and do expect more from our media and hopefully they will grow and learn that actual facts are news and opinions and guessing is not doing anybody any favors, especially in an emergency situation when so many are seeking answers and expecting the plain and simple truth from their news reporting. As the old Dragnet theme stated, “The facts, just the facts.”

Beyond the Cusp

April 16, 2013

Boston Marathon Bombing Terror Attack

I had the misfortune of being available to be watching the news when the explosions occurred at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The initial reports were about as confusing as they could be which is to be expected. The videos which were available did show two distinct explosions about a block or two apart. The confusion was palpable. The first action that caught my attention was the number of times the video caught young men, likely in their late teens, who acted reflexively not seeming to be thinking taking off their shirts to use them as pressure bandages. Their actions reflect that the promise that Americans react with generosity and when everything is going completely insane around them that many just instinctively seem to know what is required from them and commit to action without a second thought. This was also one of the comments made by British and French soldiers in World War II about the American soldiers who often acted with purpose and ingenuity even without having received orders and took actions addressing the situation with an immediacy which they found astounding. Seeing these youth take immediate action and performing the needed steps to dress wounds and offer what aid they were able before the official first responders had arrived on the scene was a promising sign that in such times our society can function as one hopes it would. That is how it should be in any society which values individuality and life. When you put those two items in the foremost place of importance you get people who become the first responders stepping up to do what is required to assist and attend to those who are in need. Watching those actions was reassuring despite the calamity of the situation which was simply horrific in nature.


The other thing which I am always amazed by is the rapid response from news networks in their coverage. In this case the fact that the location was the finish line of the event of the day in the United States probably allowed for there to be media coverage already in place. The one mitigating point against such being readily available was that the first line runners had finished the race at least two hours earlier and those finishing at the time of the explosions were the amateur runners who average four hours to complete a marathon. That would indicate that the target neither was so much high name recognition victims nor was it for highest body count as either of those objectives would have required the bombs to have been timed for when the first larger groups of the top runners were finishing. These bombs were targeting the average people who were participating in the race for their own personal reasons such as just to share in the experience, satisfy a life’s goal, joining a group running the race, private reasons or proving they could run a marathon, a fete in and of itself. The other differences in the coverage of these situations over time have become more reserved and more careful in reporting possible scenarios. If anything, the reactions have swerved to the point where they seem to prefer finding any explanation or way of perceiving what are obviously terror motivated being blamed to any other reason no matter how far the required stretch.


The news develops so painfully slow and even so a piece of information just revealed which points to Middle East style motivations in these bombings beyond the fact that the two explosions were timed to affect as many people as possible with their being timed so those running from the first blast would be passing the second location when it detonated. This new information was the presence of ball bearings or shotgun pellets that were propelled by at least one of these bombs. Also, unconfirmed reports are there is a person of interest who is under observation being treated in one of the area hospitals where the injured are being treated. Hopefully we will know more by the morning but seems like for now they are simply beating the same guesses and the few actual facts to death and interviewing anybody who they can find. I knew that they were getting desperate for somebody who would present a different slant when Sherriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona was brought on for an interview. What he could possibly add is beyond my limited imagination especially from across the nation and having the same television or radio new sources as the rest of us also have available.


On the purely opinion and speculation front, this attack should not be too surprising other than it has not occurred even sooner. Many of those who are familiar and witnessed the Second Intifada which was launched by Yasser Arafat against the Israeli public from September 2000, have wondered how long it would be before terror attacks against the American public of a similar nature where any event which would draw crowds or places where people congregate such as restaurants or shopping malls became targets for a series of bombings possibly even including suicide bombers. This has been a fear-filled anticipation which law enforcement and those tasked with protection of the American public have likely missed many nights sleep when there were heightened times of alert of which the public were rarely made aware. Should such terror acts begin to be perpetrated on an intensified and seemingly regular cycle of violence against public areas randomly across the nation then perhaps there would be checkpoints at all events and private security checkpoints being operated by private security providing companies similar to what became the norm in Israel. One can only wonder what would be the government’s reaction in such a situation. I have always thought that efforts would become far more obvious and publically viewable once the public had begun to feel vulnerable and made their fears known. Should Americans become inconvenienced by fears over potential terror attacks in their daily lives that the government would step up security and interjection to prevent even the slightest possibility of continued terror acts, the world would likely witness an elimination of terror leadership often with drone attacks as we have witnessed with somewhat more frequency during the Administration of President Obama on a whole new level. Hopefully, if this should become an unfortunate reality one would pray that it did not become a partisan argument and we would witness all of our politicians working together to make America safe for all the people in their daily lives.


By the time this article gets posted we will hopefully have more known about the bombing attack in Boston. We will probably hear from President Obama at some point once the government has definitive information and hopefully even suspects and assigned responsibility for this act of blatant terror. Watching as the news unfolds over the rest of the week should prove informative. Should the spokespeople from Homeland Security or any other branch of the government refer to this as anything other than terrorism would be very damning. Such, as unlikely as it would appear, is a possibility and as proof may we look at the Fort Hood shootings by Major Nidal Hasan where there were fourteen service people and family killed and thirty two more wounded which was determined by the Pentagon to be a case of “workplace violence” and not an act of terror. Also remember the Trolley Square Mall shooting where Sulejman Talović murdered five shoppers and wounding four others before he was shot by an armed shopper. On tapes of the shooting the perpetrator can be heard yelling “Allahu Akbar” while shooting at shoppers yet this too was determined not to be a terror related event. Now all we can do is wait and judge our government as they make determinations and the official story is revealed and we are able to compare that to what we all have observed on the reports that have been shown near constantly since the bombing of the Boston Marathon. The only other actions we can all make is to pray and hope for a full and rapid recovery of those injured and a complete emotional healing of those stricken by this horrific attack.


Beyond the Cusp


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