W. Thomas Smith, Jr

Union Army Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman – the man responsible for laying much of my family’s homeland to waste in the final year of the American Civil War – once said, “War is all hell.” He was right: There is no way to bring war to the enemy that does not mirror what we might imagine hell to be.

Nevertheless, there are indeed justifications for this hell-on-earth we call “war.” Though some will deny it, the very security and prosperity we Americans enjoy today is an absolute extension of our own battlefield victories and success in war since 1775. And so the idea of approaching war half-heartedly or without the same willing commitment to destroying the enemy as is his toward us, is both foolish and destructive.

Which is why I tip my hat to Israel in its hard-hitting military offensive against the Iranian-supported terrorist group Hamas in Gaza, and pray for both Israel’s ultimate, decisive victory and a speedy end to the conflict for the sake of the innocents.

But make no mistake, Israel has a right – in fact an obligation to its people – to fight madmen who deliberately target civilian populations (with no military value whatsoever) with rockets, mortars, and suicide bombers.

Former CIA operations officer Clare M. Lopez, vice president of the Intelligence Summit and a professor at the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies, agrees.

In a conversation over the holidays, Lopez says, “This action signals Israel's recovery [since the 2006 war with Hizballah in Lebanon], renewed determination to demonstrate its refusal to give up, and dedication to its own survival.”

Thank God: because Israel must never surrender to forces which would have no qualms about driving every non-Muslim man, woman, and child into the sea. Nor should we. And that means delivering “hell” in its myriad manifestations to the enemy on all asymmetric fronts: including military, political, and media (through the aggressive prosecution of the broader war of ideas).

The enemy is certainly fighting us on all fronts, and he is cleverly forcing Israel and the West onto ground, which – for the good guys – is impossible to attack from or defend.

As Middle East expert Dr. Walid Phares, director of the Future of Terrorism Project at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, points out, “It is clear that the Gaza war – triggered at the request of Tehran in the framework of an ongoing regional strategy pursued by the Khomeinist regime at least since 2005 – is aimed at collapsing both the democratic and peace processes from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon, to the Palestinian territories."

Every move is calculated and carefully orchestrated.

W. Thomas Smith, Jr

W. Thomas Smith Jr. is a former U.S. Marine rifle-squad leader and counterterrorism instructor. He is the author of six books, and he has covered war and conflict in the Balkans, on the West Bank, in Iraq, and Lebanon. Visit him online at http://www.uswriter.com.
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