By Alan Dershowitz and Andrew Stein
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently stated, "I learned a thing or two about urban warfare from my time fighting in Iraq and leading the campaign to defeat ISIS."
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently issued the following warning to Israel:
“You know, I learned a thing or two about urban warfare from my time fighting in Iraq and leading the campaign to defeat ISIS. Like Hamas, ISIS was deeply embedded in urban areas.”
“And the international coalition against ISIS worked hard to protect civilians and create humanitarian corridors, even during the toughest battles.”
“So the lesson is not that you can win in an urban warfare by protecting civilians. The lesson is that you can only win in urban warfare by protecting civilians.”
“You see, in this kind of a fight, the center of gravity is the civilian population. And if you drive them into the arms of the enemy, you replace a tactical victory with a strategic defeat.”
That ill-advised admonition reflects a basic misunderstanding of the relationship between Hamas and most Gazans. Recent polls show overwhelming support by Gazans not only for Hamas but also for its barbarities of Oct. 7.
The sad reality is that the civilian population of Gaza is already in the “arms of the enemy.”
It is part of the problem, not the solution.
The only way to get these “civilians” out of the arms of Hamas is to show them that atrocities committed by Hamas will hurt the civilians of Gaza as well as the terrorists of Hamas.
This message is obviously not intended for infants and young children, who are completely innocent.