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Murphy on Biden and Israel


Carthago delenda est [Carthage must be destroyed]
– Cato the Elder

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy always has been a stalwart soldier in President Joe Biden’s army of progressive polemicists. But Biden‘s recent withholding of arms for Israel is, even for a practiced polemicist, an attempt to square a political circle. It is perfectly plain to all that Israel will never be safe from terrorist molestations unless Hamas and other Iran supported terrorists groups are militarily defeated.

Biden’s recent decision to deny offensive arms to Israel is an attempt – some would say for political reasons – to put some distance between himself and Israel’s war Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. If at the beginning of the war between Hamas and Israel, Biden had claimed that the United States “has Israel’s back,” his imprudent decision to deny military aid and U.S. Congressional appropriated funds to Israel at war can only represent a step back from Israel’s exposed back.

Following the October 7, 2023 murderous assault of Iran-backed Hamas on Israeli citizens, Biden unflinchingly supported Israel’s war on Hamas, both the government of Gaza and Iran’s chief instrument of terror in the Middle East. Hamas replaced The Palestine Liberation Organization in June, 2007 in a violence scarred election. It has refused ever since to hold public elections. For terrorist minded governments – cf. Hitler’s and Russia’s Stalinist regimes – one democratic election unfixed is one too many.

Far from punishing Iran for its support of the separate terrorist groups in the Middle East – Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis of Yemen – Biden suspended economic sanctions on Iran, spurring a new wave of terrorist support that is pledged to “push Israel into the sea.” Like Iran, the Houthis – known as Ansar Allah, “supporters of God,” are Shia. Saudi Arabia, bordered by Yemen, is Sunni, as is much of Arabia.

Iran’s commitment to its terrorist groups is far more resolute than Biden’s commitment to Israel.

This writer noted at the beginning of the Biden administration that it would not be long before Netanyahu – Israel’s Churchill – would feel in his back the prick of the knives firmly held in the hands of Israel’s on-again-off-again U.S friends in the Biden administration. 

Israel withdrew both troops and settlements from Gaza in 2005. A short two years later in 2007, Hamas, a militant organization whose professed intentions towards Israel were murderous, took control of the Gaza Strip. And Gaza, under the direction of Hamas, was left unguarded to pursue peace and prosperity. But economic flowers did not bloom in Gaza under Hamas’ hand. Instead, Gaza became a Trojan Horse within besieged Israel pledged to its destruction.

Now then, Connecticut’s three term U.S. Senator Chris Murphy knows all this. He is intimately familiar with the decades long struggle between Israel, surrounded by Middle East enemies, and the friends of Iran, among whom we must now number President Biden, committed to a “two state” solution, a demonstrable failure.

Here is Murphy fielding some questions from CNN’s “State of the Union” host Dana Bash on May 12, 2024. Bash should be congratulated for presenting a Biden apologist with other than soft ball questions, Murphy’s usual fare among the Northeast’s timid interrogators.

BASH: Do you support what President Biden told Erin Burnett, that he is blocking some military aid to Israel and won't support them, will block more if in fact Israel goes into Rafah more aggressively?

MURPHY: I do support President Biden's decision. And let me tell you why. President Biden is learning the mistakes of U.S. military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. What we learned in both of those efforts was that you cannot defeat a terrorist ideology, you cannot defeat a terrorist movement with military force alone.

Indeed, Biden’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan was, most everyone but Biden will agree, a disaster of monumental proportions. The clever evasion in Murphy’s answer is introduced by the word “alone.” Israel is fighting both an ideology and a terrorist group. The terrorist group may be defeated by a sustained and serious offensive military attack. Something in Biden does not like offensive military measures. The defense of Ukraine is tolerable just so long as Ukraine’s military refrains from serious and sustained offensive measures. What Murphy is not saying is that Shia ideology cannot be defeated by pointless negotiations. Peace negotiations are successful after – not before – wars have been concluded by decisive military victories. That lesson can be learned by both Biden and Murphy from a cursory review of history, which is very clear on the point.

Murphy continued his answer: “In Afghanistan, we spent 20 years there. And, ultimately, we were so cavalier about civilian casualties that we made the Taliban stronger. And we ultimately lost that engagement to the Taliban.”

Actually, the Taliban was made stronger only after a United States-Afghani capitulation to the Taliban, and Murphy’s reference to “cavalier civilian casualties” is bitterly ironic, considering the casualties of American troops in Afghanistan caused by Biden’s ill-starred withdrawal. The United States has had a presence in Korea since the end of the Korean engagement, which has not yet ended. Following the imposition of a demarcation line, western ideology turned South Korea into a flowering enterprise, while North Korea remains poor and subject to the whimsy of godlike tyrants.

Murphy’s argument, rigorously applied, should call for the withdrawal of all American troops everywhere in the world.

Good luck with that.

Murphy continued: “And so, in Israel, what Joe Biden is telling the Israelis is, we will be partners with you, but you have to understand that the pace of civilian casualties, the amount of humanitarian disaster there is in the long run going to make Hamas stronger, is going to make it more likely that Israel will be attacked again, and is going to make other terrorist organizations that have designs to attack the United States stronger. So we will be partners in this fight, but in the situation of Rafah [the last stronghold of militant Hamas] we cannot have a military invasion of Rafah that ends up in tens of thousands of additional civilians dying. That would be bad for Israel from a moral and a strategic standpoint.”

Sorry, but it is the pursuit of a unicorn, an impossible and fanciful creature – the so called “two state solution” – that has exposed Israel’s civilian population to constant, withering military attack. What Murphy is saying, in a circuitous way, is that any military victory by Israel over its enemies is immoral and strategically unwise, and further, that any military victory in any ideologically driven war is an immoral and strategic failure if victory involves the death of civilians, often used by the enemies of Israel as ideological shields to fend off an Israeli victory. That attempt apparently has succeeded as an effective piece of reckless anti-Semitic propaganda now rattling administrative spines on university campuses across the United States, urged by morally superior pro-Hamas students and military geniuses such as populate ivy league universities and politically subservient foggy-bottom experts in Washington DC.

Bash asked Murphy if a critic was right in supposing “that what the president said is actually kind of doing the opposite of what you just warned of and that actually is helping Hamas?”

Murphy’s answer, though according to script, was obtuse morally and strategically. So, we have no obligation to write a blank check of military support to any of our allies. We have a right, as a sovereign nation with our own independent security concerns, to make sure that, when we are partnering with an ally, that we are partnering with a winning strategy.

“Winning for whom?” Israel might ask.

Civilian losses in war are always to be deplored, but some perspective is necessary. The Israeli attack on Hamas battalions in Rafah is necessary, but Rafah will not be Dresden.


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