Discover more from Bug-eyed and Shameless
You Can't Bomb Your Way To Safety
All you can do is create cycles of revenge
“What I want to emphasize is that this is a serious friggin’ enemy.”
David Petraeus wanted his soldiers to know that this would be a brutal fight, but it was one that could be won. Most had never seen combat before. “They’ve been fighting big-time here. They don’t stop until they’re killed.”1
They had thought, originally, the enemy was “Saddam’s army.” That professional fighting force of outgunned soldiers and conscripts fought more ferociously than anyone expected. The regime eventually collapsed, yet the fighting didn’t end.
A new composite villain emerged: A coalition of Ba’ath Party loyalists and al-Qaeda. At least, that’s who the U.S. military suspected they were fighting. Maybe they were the same thing. Maybe there were other players yet to be identified. Soldiers were warned that Saddam’s forces had disguised themselves in civilian garb: They could anyone, anywhere. But they could be killed, Petraeus was sure.
America and its allies had already been fighting a war, ostensibly on terrorism and terror itself, in Afghanistan for the past two years. The invasion had quickly dislodged the central Taliban government in Kabul but found the security situation across the country spiralling out of control. There, at least, the Americans seemed alive to the fact that their opponents were a mix of the Taliban, local militias, and some foreign adversaries. In Iraq, America remained sure they would be greeted as liberators, just as soon as Saddam’s shadow army was ruined.
Petraeus’ soldiers weren’t so sure. “I wish I could go back in time and see if they were enemy, or just confused civilians,” one marine said then, recounting when he had shot three Iraqi men fleeing a checkpoint. “It could have been a truckful of babies, and with our Rules of Engagement you did the right thing.”2
As the Americans rolled through the country, they were hit by rockets fired from homes, schools, and hospitals. So U.S. forces shelled the homes, schools, and hospitals in their way. Only mosques were off-limits. “Despite America’s dazzling high-tech capabilities—the Marines move through Nasiriyah by blasting it to hell,” journalist Evan Wright recounted from the frontlines. Shock and awe. The schools and hospitals could always be rebuilt later. Maybe. Dead civilians, meanwhile, were the foundation for a new Iraq.
One person was certainly pleased: Osama bin Laden. His terror attacks had “exceeded all expectations” he boasted in a video. The idea of al-Qaeda as an invisible but ever-present enemy had fundamentally spooked America. Journalist Spencer Ackerman puts it succinctly: “Bush was showing the Muslim world the America that bin Laden depicted: Both a bloodthirsty oppresser and a vulnerable one.”3 The power America was projecting was not strength, but weakness. It could occupy Iraq, but it couldn’t protect itself while doing it. Bin Laden boasted he could send his mujahideen to any corner of the world to raise al-Qaeda’s shahada and America would come running.
Even if they could kill bin Laden and his senior leadership, as the Americans were rushing to do, it wouldn’t matter. The insurgents in Iraq, with time, were as unlikely to be taking orders from bin Laden as they were from a deceased Saddam Hussein. The insurgency was fighting the army which had blasted holes through their country.
America was not at war with a theology or ideology. It was at war with Iraq itself.
Two decades later, these are lessons worth learning, and learning fast. Israel is getting set to mount a ground offensive into Gaza. As I write this, it may have already begun.
Having already conducted weeks of shelling and airstrikes, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s aim is now to move into the Palestinian territory with two objectives: Destroy Hamas, and sever the feeble link between Gaza and Israel. Israel will launch this ground offensive armed with American weapons and informed by American training. But it seems determined not to adopt any of the American lessons learned from its own War on Terror.
What comes next could be one of the worst mistakes since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
This week, on Bug-eyed and Shameless, a preview of Israel’s brutal failure to come.
Part One: Shock and Awe
America had occupied Iraq for three years when the Pentagon recognized it was fighting a war it no longer understood. So, in 2006, it did what militaries do in that situation: It published a new doctrine.
Titled simply ‘Counterinsurgency,’ it became the new gospel for COIN (needless portmanteau of ‘counterinsurgency’) operations — the old one was 20 years old. Lieutenant General David Petraeus’ signature is on the first page of the 282-page document.
“The military forces that successfully defeat insurgencies,” it reads, “are usually those able to overcome their institutional inclination to wage conventional war against insurgents.”
As for why people join this insurgency, the Army points to an insidious ideology that works to “tap latent, emotional concerns of the populace.” That could include religion or ethnic aspiration, or “a goal of liberation from foreign occupation.”
But, according to the American military, insurgency was a byproduct of ideology. And ideologies, the U.S. military believed, could be countered. If they could make “steady progress” towards attainable goals, things would work out. “Where a large U.S. force is present to help establish a regime, such progress can extend the period before an army of liberation becomes perceived as an army of occupation.”
This, for the Americans, wasn’t an occupation. It was a liberation in progress. A COIN mission in real-time. If it were an occupation, there would be rules. “The occupying power must respect, as much as possible, the laws in force in the host nation.” But that didn’t matter, because America doesn’t occupy foreign nations.
It was all delusional, of course. America was occupying Iraq. As the U.S. military was writing this doctrine, the Iraqi insurgency was gearing up. The government in Baghdad was riven with sectarian conflicts, delegitimized by its inescapable partnership with the Americans. Ideologues, sure, but self-interested actors and opportunists all raced to take advantage of growing public anger.
And everything the occupiers did made that anger worse. Dozens were kidnapped and sent to black sites around the world, hundreds were sent to Guantanamo Bay, thousands to Abu Ghraib prison. The concept of a ‘prisoner of war’ was obliterated by the idea of ‘enemy combattant’ and ‘civilian internees.’ Whatever they were, they had no due process. Torture, either at the hands of the CIA or foreign security agencies, was commonplace and sanctioned. Civilian deaths jumped over 60% between the first three years of the war and the next three. Iraqis went and voted, and governments were formed, but nobody could change the fact that they were a country under occupation.
Americans presented this years as a civil war, and a sectarian conflict. A war that, they told themselves, would have happened regardless of their presence. They didn’t seem to appreciate that it was a war — launched by al-Qaeda’s bombing of the al-Askari Mosque — designed to trap them in the middle. It aimed to make their occupation as costly as possible.
Part Two: Clear, Hold, Build
Petrareus wrote a new COIN guidance in 2008, which began to recognize that the United States was still trying to fight a conventional war against an enemy it could not identify or explain. It offered all manner of directives that sounded great on paper. “Live among the people.” Get out of your vehicles and walk. Promote reconciliation. “Be first with the truth.”
He would later flesh out this directive further: “We cannot, in fact, kill or capture our way out of industrial-strength insurgencies.” He was describing a kinder, gentler occupation. One less obsessed with killing the serious friggin’ enemy and more occupied with acting as a benign, undemocratic government of the philosopher-soldiers. To rob the insurgency of their ideological power.
“The fact that our enemies torture, lie or kill indiscriminately is no excuse for us to compromise on what we know is right,” he wrote.
Petraeus had a chance to put this pastel occupation in place because of a troop surge which began in 2007, sent to handle the bloody Sunni-Shi’a fighting. This was occupation, yes, but it occupation designed to make life better amidst war. Clear, hold, build. Civilian deaths dropped by half. (Thousands still died violently every year.) Faced with growing anger at home, and content with a job well-enough done, America withdrew most of its forces in 2011.
Yet even on its way out, it confessed it had learned nothing. A senior commander proclaimed that al-Qaeda had been “neutralized” because 34 of its top 42 leaders had been killed or captured. It lauded friendly militias like the Sons of Iraq, which worked with the U.S. military to secure and hold Anbar province, as evidence that the security regime America left behind would keep the American-designed state together. It lauded the realpolitik of Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki, who possessed an unnerving ability to cling to power — often by leveraging his Shi’a base. Mosul would fall to the Islamic State by mid-2014.
That same year, the U.S. Army adopted yet another new COIN doctrine. It dispatched with the intolerable optimism of its previous edition. It offered a wearier, clearer look at the situation. “U.S. forces must never assume they will be welcomed by a local population,” it warned. “They may even be viewed as occupiers.”
One passage, in particular, finally came around to understanding why insurgencies work: “For success, an insurgency does not necessarily need to transform into a conventional military, but it must position itself to defeat the government or occupying power.”
The Islamic State’s caliphate promised not just to build an Islamic empire, but to sweep America — and Israel — out, denying them re-entry. Every aspect of its existence was the culmination of America’s misadventures in the region. Its self-proclaimed caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had been detained at Abu Gharib prison. He became head of the Islamic State of Iraq when his predecessor, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, was killed in a coalition airstrike. IS amassed support by crusading against al-Malaki’s anti-Sunni bias — ex-leaders of the Sons of Iraq were hunted one-by-one, in retribution for their role in the American mission. To fight the Islamic State, America would end up turning to Shi’a militias led by Qassem Soleimani, an Iranian military commander who had once boasted to Petraeus that he was “the architect of an expansionist Iranian strategy that exploited every mistake the United States had made in the Middle East since 9/11.”
All of America’s little decisions over the years had not only failed to stabilize Iraq at the time, it had planted the seeds for modernity’s first trans-national terror state. And for more chaos to come.
The Islamic State rose and fell brutally, and quickly. In fighting the terror state, America and her allies opted to stay, for the most part, on-base. Occupation wasn’t in the cards. It was IS who became the occupying force, and they proved incapable of holding territory that it had no claim to.
The whole region would continue its descent into tumult, even after its fall. Hardened fighters, more attuned to insurgency than nation-building, spread out: Some to Yemen, where a brutal civil war continues. Others to the Sahel, which still burns. Some to Syria, to fight its brutal dictator.
America finally withdrew from Afghanistan in 2020, opening the door for the Taliban’s return to power and exposing just how little two decades of building really meant.
That same year, an American drone strike killed Soleimani in Baghdad. Iran launched a revenge mission: Operation Martyr Soleimani. On January 8, Iran mistook Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 for an American jet, and fired a surface-to-air missile. All 176 on board were killed.
Part Three: Achieving Legitimacy
I recently picked up a copy of David Petraeus’ new book — the modestly titled Conflict: The Evolution of Warfare From 1945 to Ukraine.
Petraeus has achieved revered status amongst policy-makers, journalists, and military theorists — journalist Spencer Ackerman calls it the “cult of Petraeus.” This book, clocking in at over 500 pages, is supposed to be a bible for those who want to understand war and, for those with the power, to prosecute it better.
In a brisk recap and analysis of the Iraq war, he offers some of his lessons learned. The U.S. military, he writes, has become “enamored” with an offensive style “centered on guided munitions coupled with high-tech intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems that would presumably eliminate the fog and friction of battle.” He doesn’t dismiss those tactics, but concludes commanders tend to “overlook the equally important role of military forces in stabilizing countries after military operations have terminated.”
To invade and occupy a state whose people view you as foreign, Petraeus writes, you need legitimacy.
Achieving legitimacy is particularly crucial in the conduct of counterinsurgency operations. Indicators of the progress made in this respect include: The ability to provide security for the population; selection of leaders in a manner considered just and fair; a high level of public participation in political processes; a culturally acceptable level of corruption; adequate political, economic and social development; and a high level of central government acceptance by major public institutions. It is rare for a counter-insurgency effort to achieve lasting success without the host-nation government achieving such legitimacy.
The United States never achieved this legitimacy in Iraq or Afghanistan — nor Vietnam, for that matter. Those failures follow a very familiar pattern: Overwhelming conventional force designed to remove the existing state. Political alliances cooked up in Foggy Bottom to create new order. Meagre social development plans which pale against the scope of the destruction. An insurgency campaign deeper and pronounced than expected. Attempts at a policy reset that ultimately bring the cycle back to the beginning.
Petraeus’ point is that you can’t wage war and figure the rest out later. The period where local populations are willing to give you the benefit of the doubt is vanishingly small, if it exists at all.
What Petraeus never really comes around to saying is something fairly obvious: People need to have hope. They need to believe that American occupation is better than the alternative. The insurgents, we know, do not face the same standard. Their fight against the occupier papers over any atrocities they commit.
It is not great departure from the clear, hold, build days, but it understands that it is not a three step process. You need to do all three simultaneously.
Petraeus’ doctrine has a fatal flaw, of course: It hasn’t worked. He might say it has not truly been tested. But the fact is, he is still describing the last days of the Iraqi and Afghanistan occupations.
There is another option: Don’t fight the war at all.
Part Four: Neither Peace Nor Victory
In the 2006 Counterinsurgency doctrine, there is an incredible claim: “The United States began [the 20th] century by defeating the Philippine Insurrection.”
It’s also a horrific claim. America had invaded the Philippines, furious that local democrats were “trying to take Manila without our assistance," as one American general observed. America was close to defeating Spain in a traditional war , and it wanted her possessions. American forces swept onto the islands with overwhelming military force, and spent the ensuing years trying to “pacify” the locals.
American commanders were furious that local Filipino civilians were harboring the insurrectos. It forced them into concentration camps, waterboarded them, razed their towns, and even created new designations for these enemy combatants.
“They have never felt the full hardship of war and their professions of a desire for peace are merely words,” one commander wrote, “and do not come from a full realization of the discomforts and horror of a war that is waged in earnest and will full vigor.”
The U.S. estimated that in just three years, America had lost 4,200 soldiers, killed as many as 20,000 insurrectos and 34,000 civilians. Another 200,000 civilians died in a cholera epidemic enabled by the miserable conditions.4
As the origin of America’s counterinsurgency theory, it is both fitting and depressing. But the war was also provoked pushback from those who feared becoming an imperial power, such as Senator George Hoar. In 1902, he delivered a blistering speech to the Senate:
You have sacrificed nearly ten thousand American lives—the flower of our youth. You have devastated provinces. You have slain uncounted thousands of the people you desire to benefit. You have established reconcentration camps. […] You make the American flag in the eyes of a numerous people the emblem of sacrilege in Christian churches, and of the burning of human dwellings, and of the horror of the water torture. […] Your practical statesmanship has succeeded in converting a people who three years ago were ready to kiss the hem of the garment of the American and to welcome him as a liberator, who thronged after your men when they landed on those islands with benediction and gratitude, into sullen and irreconcilable enemies, possessed of a hatred which centuries can not eradicate.
America never truly won that war. Counterinsurgency and independence efforts continued in the Philippines until America’s departure a decade later. (Worth noting, however, that many insurgents did give up arms after being offered amnesty and political opportunity.) Hoar was right: America could never truly understand the radicalizing effect its own military might has. Human beings cannot be ‘pacified’ by firepower, they can only be killed and cowed. The former is quite permanent, but the latter is not.
It means that, whatever the strategic objectives of invasion, without a clear exit strategy you will have no choice but to fight the forever war. Any action you take will radicalize the people you control — and it will radicalize your own people as well.
Barack Obama, rarely one to observe his own words, once remarked: “A perpetual war — through drones or Special Forces or troop deployments — will prove self-defeating, and alter our country in troubling ways.”
Looking at wars from this light, fully measuring success towards strategic goals and accounting for the massive externalities that arise and the deep threats to domestic and international security, it leads you to only one logical conclusion: Don’t fight the war to begin with.
But that leads us to a troubling realization: The pain is the point.
Ackerman, once a member of the cult of Petraeus, writes how the “grotesque subtext” of the 9/11 era and the invasions that stemmed from it — “the perception of nonwhites as marauders, even as conquerors, from hostile foreign civilizations” — was not an accident. But the anger and bloodlust could never be satisfied.
For those millions of Americans who demanded vengeance for 9/11, and then for the United States' compounded misfortunes in seeking it, the Forever War brought only the pain and humiliation of attaining neither peace nor victory.
The pursuit of vengeance not only created new enemies that America failed to vanquish. It also created more ambitious ones, who had their own ideas about vengeance. Yet it was beyond the limits of respectable discourse to blame the Forever War for giving birth to new generations of forever-enemies. The agony of the war outlasted the enthusiasm of the political, media, cultural, and intellectual elites who had hailed it as the Great War of Our Time, a grand national, even civilizational crusade against ... something Islamic that hated freedom, or at the very least hated America. In the early years after 9/11, they even treated the open-ended nature of the war as a virtue, a Kennedyesque challenge for a reunited America that was finished with the frivolity of the 1990s, something that could prove America could again accomplish anything, no matter how arduous the struggle.
This brings us to Israel.
Every single aspect of America’s adventures in forever wars is Israel’s past, present, and — unless something changes — its future.
Israel, as I wrote previously (Dispatch #75), has insurgency in its DNA. In the invasions, counter-invasions, and regional wars that defined its existence, Palestine was left divided and occupied. Israeli policy became justifiably defensive, constantly guarding against the next invasion — treating the Palestinian territories as both risk factors and buffer zones. That history is, in a word, complex.
Suffice it to say that, by the 1970s, Israeli’s military superiority, with American help, looked assured. But anxieties took hold deep inside the Israeli state: Arab citizens or residents of the occupied territories were viewed as a fifth column, the only piece of the Israeli state that had yet to be secured. The Palestinians increasingly saw their push for independence threatened: The Palestinian Liberation Organization engaged in steady acts of terror to keep pressure applied, but it only served to exacerbate Israeli anxieties. The politically-minded Fatah found its push for peace frustrated by a growing radical fringe. Israel turns to expansionary religious governments, driving up Palestinian anxieties in turn.5
In Palestine, most of its political leadership was exiled, making the peace process feel, literally, far-off. It faced “twenty-two years of an Israeli policy that stifled the emergence of any effective territories-wide political leadership,” Helena Cobban wrote in 1991. Israel had tried to impose a political structure, but it only inflamed tensions in Palestine. Israel demanded self-governance from the occupied territories, but was prepared to offer virtually no development or planning in return. “Unwillingness or inability to offer a workable deal to any potentially cooperative Palestinian leadership in the territories, the practical policies pursued by the occupation authorities frequently served to decapitate any emerging territories-wide leadership,” Cobban goes on.6
In 1987 came the First Intifada, when Palestinian anger broke free. This was no longer the low-intensity terror campaign of the PLO, but an actual general uprising. Israel and the PLO knew that progress had to be made, and started the Oslo process in the early 1990s: But, as we know, those plans ultimately came to naught. The Second Intifada coincidence with the death of those accords.
Over this history, Israel consistently made the exact mistakes Petraeus describes. Israel, as the state responsible for the occupation, delegitimized itself at every step. Facing an insurgency, it deployed overwhelming conventional force. It used exile and deportations to kneecap political organizing, driving independence movements underground and to the extremes. It went so far as to support radical groups like Hamas to weaken the political power of more moderate vehicles like Fatah. It wrecked economic opportunity and prolonged human suffering through both negligence, indifference, and collective punishment. It removed hope that a political solution was a priority, or even viable.
It may have ended the formal occupation of the Gaza Strip in 2006, but its political and economic control continues. Israel is in a forever war against Palestine. Unlike America, it cannot simply pack up and go home. Its hopes of cutting off Gaza entirely are delusional.
Now it is set to throttle into a new era of this war, without any clear plan to resolve it.
The IDF says it has a three-phase war plan. We’re in the first phase now, which has already killed as many as 7,000, and the second phase could begin at any moment. Officials optimistically told the Financial Times that the ground invasion would involve low-intensity fighting aimed at eliminating “pockets of resistance.” The end of this operation will mean locking Palestinians into an ever-smaller Gaza Strip, carved-up by more security buffers. “Israel will not be part of the solution in terms of giving [Gazans] work,” one official told FT.
But no victory waits for Israel in Gaza.
We know that insurgency cannot simply be crushed — particularly not one this entrenched or so engrained in the psyche of a people. Even if the IDF can sweep in and kill every single member of Hamas in 10 hours, it will have guaranteed the future of the insurgency for another 10 years.
And that is a gargantuan if.
Hamas has spent years fortifying the Gaza Strip for this eventually. In the same way the PLO sought to increase the costs of Israeli expansion through the latter half of the 20th century, through suicide bombings and assassinations, Hamas will inflict whatever penalties it can on the IDF as it sweeps through Gaza City — which the IDF has not formally occupied in some 15 years. Hamas has a tunnel network in which to hide, Iranian-supplied arms with which to attack the Israelis, and, perhaps, even a reserve of suicide drones to target the incoming personnel.
Israel is facing catastrophe today, and quagmire tomorrow.
This is all in the name of keeping Israelis safe. But, at least since the Yom Kippur War, the primary threat to Israel’s safety has always been Palestinian misery. Inflicting more misery can only cause more risk.
Part Five: Not Victory, but Peace
Israel currently has two strategic objectives, and one emotional goal: The freeing of the 200 Israeli citizens held captive; the destruction of Hamas; and revenge.
The preferred strategy to achieve these goals is a ground offensive.
Military intervention to save those hostages carries enormous risk. Many are being held in tunnels underneath Gaza — based on some of the freed hostages, they are being well cared-for. Hamas says they will be released if the ground operation is aborted and airstrikes stop. The implicit threat is that, if the invasion goes forward, they will be executed.
The plan to kill Hamas is as absurd as the White House’s mission to destroy al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. Israel has been killing and capturing senior Hamas leadership for decades. Hamas is, at its very core, an organization born out of the hardships and suffering endured by the Palestinian people. As an organization, it has always tried to return that suffering to Israel in the most inhumane way possible. If there would be no security in the Gaza Strip, then Hamas would shake the Israeli sense of security at every turn. So whatever progress Israel makes on this objective on the ground, it is illusionary.
And so there’s revenge. That, in turn, will provoke more revenge. Given the scale and scope of the death in Palestine, and the threat of broader upheaval, it may even create an opportunity for a Hamas rival to pursue and even more brutal asymmetric warfare against Israel. While we’re not inclined to imagining a force more radical than Hamas, Islamic Palestinian Jihad has historically been the more militant of the two.
A ground invasion offers a very poor likelihood of success on those first two objectives, but it satisfies that short-term demand for retribution.
Consider the alternative: A negotiated ceasefire.
Hamas says it will release the hostages if Israel stands down its plans for a ground invasion. The only way to test this offer is to try it — but, given that Hamas has already released multiple hostages and it has generally not conducted macabre Islamic State-style propaganda videos, there’s good reason to think it’s a viable offer.
Hamas can be destroyed, but only if it is supplanted with something better. Some Israelis successfully slowed down and frustrated the Oslo Accords, giving Hamas an opening to use violence to end them permanently. We have now seen a quarter-century of pain caused by the void of a peace deal. This should be a wake-up deal that it now has to happen. While a peace deal has been consistently painted as capitulation that cannot happen amidst violence, it is actually the opposite: It is an agreement that becomes most necessary when violence is at its worse worst. A negotiated peace, or at least the roadmap to it, coupled with genuine steps towards improving the lives of Palestinians and towards independence is the only conceivable way to break the cycle that empowers Hamas. That, in turn, improves Israeli safety.
This strategy leaves no room for vengeance. And that’s where this debate always falls apart.
We should, of course, recognize the humanity of the Palestinian people. While some do try and excuse the death and devastation with buzzwords and catchphrases, I think the vast majority of us see their plight very clearly. The average Palestinian in Gaza is poorer, more likely to be unemployed, more likely to die early, and more likely to die violently than their Israeli neighbors. They have faced constant threats not just by Israel, but by Hamas — who governs Gaza, at least in part, by fiat, violence, and with scant democratic legitimacy. Gazans’ access to food, water, power, medicine, and the necessities of life are controlled by Israel and, often, taxed or stolen (and then, perhaps, redistributed) by Hamas. The violence committed in their name is abhorrent, as is the violence committed against them in response.
We should also not forget what happened to the more than 1,400 Israeli citizens who died on October 7. They deserve justice. But for many Israelis, there is no justice in war. “Let’s call for peace. Let’s call for hope. Let’s call for a complete ceasefire. Let’s call for building bridges,” Maoz Inon, whose parents were murdered by Hamas, told Democracy Now! “You can’t cure killed babies with more dead babies,” Yonatan Ziegen told Channel 4. “The most important thing for me and also for my brother, is that his death will not be used as a justification for killing innocent people,” Noi Katzman told CNN. A negotiated ceasefire does not necessarily prevent Israel from finding the October 7 architects and bringing them to justice.
Neither Israelis nor Palestinians deserve to live in fear. And they don’t have to.
But it will require that Israel reject the forever war.
Thanks, as always, for reading. But thanks, in particular, for reading this. It was, like the one I wrote at the very beginning of the conflict, a therapeutic effort to get my own thoughts in order.
The unambiguous lesson of the War on Terror is that a war that lasts for a decade is not a war its architects understand how to win. In Iraq and Afghanistan, US generals equated maintaining the war with winning it, and the only results were death, suffering, and failure. Israel’s recent wartime experiences with comparable endeavors are no more promising. Two decades of occupying southern Lebanon did not destroy the Palestine Liberation Organization. Nor did Israel’s return to war in Lebanon in 2006—another war launched after a terror group took Israelis hostage—meet its objective of destroying Hezbollah, which today threatens to open a second front on Israel’s northern frontier. All Israel accomplished was the killing of human beings in great numbers, and the creation of motivated, experienced enemies that often grew in strength. It requires willful disregarding of extremely recent history to believe that an invasion of Gaza will end any other way.
In the Company of Soldiers, by Rick Atkinson
Generation Kill, Evan Wright
Reign of Terror, Spencer Ackerman
Savage Wars of Peace: Case Studies of Pacification in the Philippines, 1900–1902, Robert D. Ramsey III
This is a deeply vulgarized history. It misses huge pieces and generalizes others. I know.
The Intifada: Its Impact on Israel, the Arab World, and the Superpowers, edited by Robert Freedman