Evslin: “Proportionate Response” encourages escalation

That which doesn’t kill the enemy makes him stronger.

by Tom Evslin

Some History

This post is about Ukraine, Israel. and Gaza.

Americans, like most people, don’t like war. Since this is a democracy, our political leaders avoid war as long as they can. Sometimes our wars have been longer than they had to be because we started too late and escalated too slowly.

Except for abolitionists, Northerners did not want a civil war with the South. Even after South Carolina’s attack on Fort Sumter, Lincoln struggled to get support for an all-out effort against the South. Towards the end of the war, now being pursued aggressively by Grant and Sherman, many in the North called for a truce which would leave slavery intact. Lincoln felt he had to be less than forthcoming about emissaries from the South who’d approached him lest Congress force him to negotiate. The war and slavery ended with the surrender of Lee at Appomattox.

The US stayed out of World War I for two years after Germany sank the passenger liner Lusitania in 1915 with many Americans (and some ammunition) aboard. In 1917 Germany resumed unrestricted submarine attacks on US shipping and the Zimmerman telegram from Germany was revealed promising the return of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona to Mexico in return for joining an alliance against the US. The US declared war on Germany. That war ended in an armistice; twenty years later Europe was at war again.

President Roosevelt faced enormous resistance to joining the war against the Nazis. He was well ahead of the American public in his willingness to supply the British with food and ships so they could continue to fight. There’s no telling when or if we would have entered the war had the Japanese not attacked Pearl Harbor. Conspiracy theorists still claim that Roosevelt deliberately ignored warnings of the attack in order to get public support for joining the war. That war ended in the unconditional surrender of Germany and Japan. They are now both prosperous and close allies.

Whether we ever should have been at war in Vietnam is questionable. However, the fact that we escalated slowly gave the North Vietnamese forces time to grow stronger. Opposition to the war grew in America. In the end we fled and South Vietnam fell. Although the people in South Vietnam are not particularly fond of their current rulers in Hanoi, Vietnam is now an increasingly prosperous country and a friend if not ally of the United States.

We were slow to take ISIS seriously, President Obama called them the “junior varsity”. It took terrible urban warfare in Fallujah and other cities with massive civilian casualties to dislodge them from territory they occupied in Iraq and Syria. The battle against them is not over yet.

Winston Churchill, who made many military mistakes but learned from them, said the path to victory is sudden, overwhelming force.

Ukraine, Israel, and Gaza.

President Biden has led the free world’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It is possible that he led our war-adverse nation and under-prepared allies as fast as he could; but, with hindsight, we gave Russia too much slack to pull its woeful army together and learn from their mistakes. Last summer’s Ukrainian offensive, when expectations were low, was a huge success. This summer seems to have ended in stalemate. If we and the rest of NATO had given Ukraine the artillery, rockets, and tanks we’re giving them now in the beginning of the war when Russian troops were in disarray, it’s possible Russia would have been driven from much of Ukraine. Instead, in the interest of signaling to the Russians that we didn’t want a wider war, we said out loud what we were not going to give Ukraine. If the Russians had been in doubt over whether new weapons would suddenly appear on the battlefield, they would have had to divert some of their over-stretched resources to worrying about whether Abrams tanks would overrun their positions. They should be worried now that they will lose their airforce to F-16s without warning instead of getting day-by-day reports on the slow training of Ukrainian pilots.

But Biden has been much better at countering Russian aggression than Obama and has been a much more effective leader of NATO than Trump. We have time to step up the game to help Ukraine regain the offensive with sudden, overwhelming force.

Some people have called for “proportionate response” from Israel to Hamas atrocities. I don’t think they really mean that Israeli soldiers should rape their way across Gaza beheading babies as they go. Perhaps they mean that Israel should have stopped once an equal number of Palestinians were killed. That doesn’t work when your enemy values the lives of its own citizens much less than you value them.  Hamas says it intends to conduct more attacks like Oct. 7 and destroy Israel; there is no reason not to believe their intent. Israel’s objective – what Biden has called “its responsibility” – is to eliminate Hamas as a military and political power. This disproportionate response, like the destruction of ISIS strongholds or Allied bombing during WWII, is absolutely necessary. The war should end with the unconditional surrender of Hamas, release of all hostages, and trials for the leaders and the actual perpetrators of war crimes on Oct. 7. Hamas (and their enablers and abettors in Iran) would prefer to fight until the last Gazan is dead. Allowing Hamas any illusion that it will once more be saved by world condemnation of Israel only prolongs the suffering of Gazam civilians. The world – and certainly the US – should demand that Hamas surrender so that the killing on both sides can stop.

Meanwhile Iranian proxies are shooting not just at Israel but at US troops in Syria and Iraq. We are responding “proportionately” to show Iran that we don’t want a wider war. We will only prevent a wider war by retaliating massively and disproportionately. Any attack on US soldiers by Iranian proxies must be met not only with overwhelming force against the assets of the attacker but against the head of the snake in Iran. That’s the way to avoid a wider war than we will have otherwise. We may be expanding the war in the short-term by taking the attack to the enemy, but anything which doesn’t kill him makes him stronger.

Peace is served by disproportionate response to aggression.

Categories: Commentary

7 replies »

  1. Mr. Evslin is totally correct. While a complete eradication of evil is not possible, the outing of evil’s main leaders will reduce evil’s effectiveness.

  2. Russia invaded Ukraine because of American led color revolutions overthrowing actual democratic administrations, lies about NATO expansion, and nearly ten years of ethnic barbarity perpetrated against the ethnic Russian population of Eastern Ukraine. Had we not supported actual Nazis for the better part of a decade in an attempt to undercut Russian influence in its own neighboring sphere, this war wouldn’t have started. Ask Victoria Nuland, and her Neocon associates why they did it. As for Israel & Palestine, also not my fight, and I’m sick of sending our military & money to any and all of these countries when they clearly don’t have even the slightest interest in my concerns, and nor do the people in American power who instigate these wars.

  3. I’m no expert in Middle Eastern tribal history. Although, I have learned about a document called the Balfour Declaration dated in 1917 as well as other agreements and skirmishes ensuing from then on. The Biblical history a hot topic of discussion creating differences of opinion as well. It appears some are lumping Hamas under the same command and control with Hezzbulah. My understanding these are two different factions, yet have a common ideal, but their funding mechanisms and support differ in some ways and are similar in other ways according to sources. More armchair quarterbacking on this subject than the Superbowl. No layman is 100% certain who is pulling the strings, igniting the violence, and funding the resources. The mainstream media can’t even decide or report it accurately without flipping like fish out of water. Yet, it may be the strings are fraying and funding drying up if this current battle cannot be esculated to drag others into it in some form or fashion. One thing is for sure, Zelensky is feeling abandoned and getting poorer each passing day. Civilians on each side are fed up being played and used as cannon fodder. It appears this could be a final battle or very long pause in the bloodline wars. We shall see as this too must come to pass.

  4. Some times countries are used to launder money. Case in point, a former president ships via two airplanes, full of American dollars to another country.

    Yet, people accept this as normal?

    Why wouldn’t they just send it via wire for $25? Why? Why would they physically fly cash? How about a check?


    This is one blatant, very obvious act. What is going on behind the scenes is obscene. But alas, there is no such thing as investigative reporting, there is no free speech, our minds are controlled by lies sent via smart phones.

    We don’t know how to discern truth from propaganda.

  5. Tom, it is thinking like you provide that is heading us to a major regional conflict involving many middle east countries beyond Israel and Syria. Biden has already committed to sending in US troops “to defend Israel”. So here we go again, just like the boondoggle of Afghanistan and Iraq. I have an idea, everyone who supports this approach sign their children and grandchildren up for the fight. No reason to just watch the killing from your armchairs, go get ’em, put your families at risk of maiming and death. Don’t commit other people’s children and innocent civilians lives for your wars that lead to nothing but death and destruction. Israel is not a democracy for everyone living there, ONLY a small minority of Arabs and anyone who meets the definition as a Jew. Here is what is going on for real, live from a Jewish Israeli journalist who is, and has been for years, reporting the unvarnished truth. We don’t live there, listen to non-Likud Party Israelis. This crazyness does not make Israel or any of us safer, it puts Jews and Americans at risk world-round. Wake up folks. You cannot bomb your way to democracy. Diplomacy and contrition are what is disparately needed:

  6. While the goal of totally eradicating Hamas seems like a good idea, it won’t happen. I can’t fault Israel for trying. It is interesting to me whenever we find ourselves watching these scenarios unfolding how so many in media or politics freely toss about the term “Armageddon” (I’m not referring to the author of this opinion article) without ever acknowledging (or accepting) the entire prophecy surrounding it. The enemies of Israel will ultimately be crushed, it will begin with Ezekiel’s war and end when The King splits the Mount of Olives in two. Oh, and as to war and wars there is also this to consider.

  7. This may seem cold but, I don’t care. We have enough problems created by OUR GOVERNMENT that what is happening no matter how unfortunate, is not my problem, not my concern. I love all those people, as Jesus says but I cannot nor will I add to the misery of the problems over there and “bring it home”.
    High gas, high food, high energy, rising cost of everything, JUST TO LIVE. That is my concern, not because of being heartless but because my heart is consumed by problems HERE. Too many of the gubment and media have lied to us so much we really don’t now what is happening in either of the places we stuck our nose into. I have too many local things to worry about to distract myself with “over there”.

    I remember the founding fathers bringing up us not getting into foreign entanglements and if this is not one, I don’t know what is.

    How about we stop child trafficking, or fentanyl use or OUR homeless problem or the high cost of electricity. Heck our gubment can’t even fix the border right. I am supposed to even believe this is happening. No, I am not heartless I just have bigger, local and more pressings problems then someone killing someone thousands of miles away.
    Notice I did not hear about aid to south Africa or other African countries with all the Bill Gates poisoning going on. Or what has happened in all the countries that the CIA has decided on regime change. All this money being sent is an invite to be messed with. Not a good thing.

    No I have bigger personal to me and mine issues.

    How about money to get qualified teachers (maybe even start having civic classes again) and arms at our schools where nuts shoot up kids. How about caring for all the aborted babies and that whole mess. How about addressing that I now have to carry a gun to go buy milk. A medical tyranny problem where you cannot get proper care at a hospital or doctors office. Heck they don’t even call them doctors anymore and they don’t treat people, they follow procedures and protocols, you know like putting people unnecessarily on ventilators to get a big payday. Lets not forget the lockdowns and restrictions over the fake covid that was actually the flu. Please, I care, but our house is a mess, we need to fix and clean OUR HOUSE before we can say or do anything to “help” those folks.
    I mean really, we have, in Vermont, unsolved murders, a new drug pusher problem and now foreign homeless who will not assimilate here to take our jobs and homes.

    BTW most of the “migrants” ( you know illegal aliens) are military age fighting men who come from a country that DOES NOT LIKE US and they have been living under a government thumb for in most cases generation so they have NO CLUE how we are in this country, in fact, most think we are foolish and weak.

    As far as Ukraine, sorry I have no love or sympathy for NAZIs. Be careful they may, just like Operation Paperclip bring those monsters here for sanctuary.
    Oh and guess what ,nobody of any importance was put down from the Nuremburg Trials. Look that up you will see. It is all a distraction to get us to not pay attention AT HOME. Wake up people.