Michael Gerson, Evangelical Christian who does not care even to mention the predictable and extensive collateral damage in Gaza, bravely faces down a straw man argument, and loses. He writes:
While Israel's military operations didn't accomplish everything, they also didn't accomplish nothing. But the "force doesn't solve anything" argument runs so deep for some that real-world outcomes matter little. Military action by Israel is always counterproductive, because Israel must eventually negotiate with its most bitter enemies. The sooner the better.
Call it the Fallacy of the Eventual Answer. It is true that the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is two states living side by side in peace. But it is false to say that the fight against terrorists and the security of Israel have no part in achieving that goal.
Yes, of course there are pacifists, and of course there are SOME who never advocate military action, and of course military action sometimes achieves things which peaceful negotiation cannot (assignment: name three). The question at hand, however, SOME would say, is whether this particular military action, with its costs in civilian casualties in Gaza and so forth, has strengthened Israel's ultimate position, increased its security, laid the groundwork for a durable peace, and so forth. Maybe it has, maybe it hasn't. But that's rather another discussion than the one Gerson wants to have here.
But more fundamentally–and this is the loss to the straw man part–the straw man suggests a military action may not be the answer, but that does not entail that Israel (1) not fight terrorists; or (2) have no security. It's military action, not security, that's at issue.
Like so few in our liberal media, Richard Cohen has the balls to stand up to the enemies of Israel (in his print column). But rather than doing the cowardly thing of engaging with an actually informed person, Cohen takes the bold step of making up an unnamed opponent with a weak argument. This way Cohen sacrifices himself by making his own argument look weak, and himself like a cowardly jerk, while he is really just courageously distracting his readers from seeing the moral complexity of the current situation in Gaza. He writes:
I get the impression that Israel is expected to put up with this. The implied message from demonstrators and some opinion columnists is that this is the price Israel is supposed to pay for being, I suppose, Israel. I am informed by a Palestinian journalist in a Post op-ed that Israel is trying to stop "amateur rockets from nagging the residents of some of its southern cities." In Sderot, I saw homes nagged to smithereens.
Yes, of course. Those who think that Israel should sit back and do nothing while being bombed can raise their hands now. Anyway, Cohen is such a vicariously belligerent dishonest dumbass that he cuts out the second part of the quote above. Here it is:
In its efforts to stop amateur rockets from nagging the residents of some of its southern cities, Israel appears to have given new life to the fledging Islamic movement in Palestine.
Not to be pedantic, but the point is that Israel has strengthened the hands of Hamas by responding in the way that it has. But Cohen, who "gets the impression" and sees the "implied message," deprives his readers of the pleasure of seeing that "the politics by other means part" of the current war might not have been wisely thought out. It takes, however, real courage to make up, and then face down, such hollow men. People, after all, might think Cohen a superficial sort of thinker.