Tinfoil Time, Indeed
Matthew Yglesias starts an otherwise interesting post of the Yassin assassination on a rather bizarre note:
So Israel’s been in a conflict with Hamas for about a decade now. The peace process collapsed and Sharon took over as Prime Minister years ago. And then he goes and blows up Sheik Yassin just in time to step on the Richard Clarke story. Hm. That can’t be right, right? Right. Right. Oy.
His substantive point:
To say something substantive about the Yassin business, this is really one of those force alone versus force and something else kind of times. I won’t be missing the “spiritual leader” of a terrorist organization committed not to ending the occupation, but to prolonging it through endless war for the destruction of Israel, but it’s a total fantasy to think that his existence is the essence of the problem over there. You can either kill (or forcibly remove) all the Palestinians, or else you can try and find a deal that most of them will be happy with. Just killing a few and hoping the rest will suddenly stop wanting independence isn’t really a plan.
I agree, of course. One would hope, indeed presume, that there’s a plan here. But the essence of the war on terrorism is–or, at least should be–to make the point that terrorism as a political tactic is so repugnant that it will not be legitimated through negotiation. Period. So, if you’re a terrorist, we’re going to kill you. If you play within the rules of civilized society, we’ll sit down and talk.
There’s obviously a reasonable contingent within the Palestinian community that will settle for half a loaf–a territory they can govern more or less independently that will co-exist with Israel. I honestly have no idea how large that faction is, though. And they’ve allowed Hamas and other terrorists to have a veto power over the negotiating process. It’s going to take internal action on their part to solve this problem.
I’m no fan of Sharon or the Likud party in general. I think they’ve done a lot of things to exacerbate the problem and have indeed fallen into the force alone trap on occasion. I think bulldozing the homes of suspected terrorists and rendering their families homeless is a bad idea. Continued thumbing of their noses at the world community by continuing the settlement policy is counterproductive as hell. But it’s hard to condemn the pinpointed targetting of the terrorist leadership for extermination. It won’t solve the problem by itslelf. But I’m willing to stack up dead terrorist bodies as long as it takes.