Posted by: Steve Coplan | July 18, 2006

Overwhelming force

I could certainly advance an argument on why the use of overwhelming force cannot be supported from an ethical and philosophical standpoint, but on a more pragmatic level, it just doesn’t work. How many people following developments in Israel and Lebanon can actually pinpoint the root cause of this escalation at this point? Not many, I’d argue, since Israel has submerged its right to defend itself against attacks on civilians and a deliberately provacative act of kidnap by Hizbullah with a ferocious show of force. And what does Israel have to show for it? Not much really, apart from destroying any possibility of detente with Lebanon unless it’s down the barrel of a gun and potentially even destabilizing Lebanon again – which would play into the hands of Hizbullah’s sponsors Iran and Syria.

Olmert may be trying to play the tough guy to shore up his support on the right, but he does have a clear example of the shortcomings of overwhelming force to draw on: Iraq and Afghanistan. Any victory that the US has achieved against military forces is now utterly irrelevant.

The state of Israel has been existence for close to sixty years – 58 to be exact. Justifying using overwhelming force because there is no partner for peace on the other side after that length of time starts to sound insincere.



  1. Pretty good. Corny as it is, violence solves nothing and religion is a tool of the state.

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