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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

December 19, 2002

One man's restraint is another man's poison

Emananuel A. Winston writes in The Legacy of Restrained Engagement the word and the actuality of "restraint" have different meanings and different results. "Restrained engagement" in the face of terrorism seems to be a formula of self-sacrifice for no reason whatsoever.

US President George W. Bush and US Secretary of State Colin Powell have been insisting that Israel show restraint in punishing the Arab Palestinians after every major homicide bombing or shooting attack.

"Restraint" in the face of terrorism is a formula for more casualties, longer wars and always the probability of terror re-emerging after a "restrained" assault and early withdrawal. This, then, is the formula Bush/Powell has placed on the shoulders of Israel. Having done so has resulted in a rapid growth of terrorist organizations, who have learned from Israel’s "restrained" incursions. Mr. Bush has shot us all in the foot.

The concept of "restrained engagement" is a by-product of the philosophy of pacifists, who believe that if you do not hit the enemy too hard, they will appreciate the "restraint" and show friendliness in the end. That is pure State Department appeasement.

Release the hounds...