Monday, January 5, 2009

Why the West Can't Win - Avraham Burg

Ha'aretz, January 5, 2009 - Beyond the two piles of bodies and the mourning and bereavement of both peoples, through the fragmented voices of Israel's leadership, it's already possible to feel the sour taste of the next combat loss. We haven't won anything since the Six-Day War. We managed to be saved from disaster in 1973, we got ensnared but survived in 1982, and there is no lack of other examples. Why is this happening? Why do our wars end in a permanent accord of ambiguity?

I think it's no longer possible to win wars. We're not the only ones who can't; the West as a whole is incapable of doing so. It's hard for me to remember a single war in the past 60 years that the United States clearly and decisively won. Dresden and Berlin were pounded to the ground, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed, and from there the West embarked on a new path.

Western Europe almost totally abandoned the war option. It doesn't fight, and in any case isn't assessed on the basis of its ability to win wars. The United States, by contrast, went from isolationism to being the country chiefly responsible for Western state-sponsored violence.

....It seems to me that if the goal of a war is the destruction of the enemy, it is a war that is doomed to fail. For reasons that are well-known to us, it is no longer possible to annihilate nations or at least suppress their aspirations of independence. And for no less important reasons, one must hope that we do not have soldiers who are willing to destroy solely for destruction's sake. The objective of modern war must be war for the purpose of forging dialogue. And if no dialogue with the enemy develops, then the war must be deemed a failure.

It therefore appears that Israel's leadership in the Gaza war is due to fail in our names....

Avraham Burg is an Israeli who was formerly an MK and chairman of the Jewish Agency.

No comments: