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Israel’s Actions Could Lead to “Strategic Defeat,” Warns Pentagon Chief

Without doubt, military superiority belongs to Israel, and yet Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has raised eyebrows by saying Israel faces a “strategic defeat” if it doesn’t reduce civilian casualties in Gaza. The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says over 15,200 – mostly women and children – have died since the start of the war.

The White House has questioned the official death count from the Palestinian side; however, even by conservative estimates, civilian deaths are in the multiple thousands. In a recent New York Times article entitled “Gaza Civilians, Under Israeli Barrage, Are Being Killed at Historic Pace” (which proved controversial), the Times said more civilians have died in Gaza since Oct. 7 than have died in Ukraine after nearly two years of grinding war with Russia.

Lloyd Austin directed his remarks on Saturday towards the lasting consequences of widespread killing of non-military individuals. He emphasized not just the future negative response from the international community, but also the possibility of increasing radicalization among an entire populace.

“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,” AUstin said in a speech at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, Calif., on Saturday.

The secratary mentioned that he has made a concerted effort to encourage Israeli leaders to take measures to minimize harm to civilians and prevent violence against settlers in the West Bank.

“We will continue to press Israel to protect civilians and to ensure the robust flow of humanitarian aid,” he added.– The Hill

In spite of this exceptionally uncommon commentary and caution, Austin reiterated that the United States will continue to be Israel’s “most intimate ally globally” and the support from America will never falter. He stated that Washington’s endorsement of Israel remains “completely evident.”

Watch Austin’s remarks given in California over the weekend:

The high number of civilian casualties has already sparked anger among BRICS nations and other countries in the Global South. China and and Russia have taken the lead in criticizing Israel, while the United States remains isolated in its unwavering support for Israel at the United Nations.

According to The Guardian, the United States and Israel found themselves in a minority at the UN general assembly when only 12 other countries supported their opposition to a resolution that urged a lasting humanitarian ceasefire and an end to the fighting in Gaza. This situation highlighted the isolation of the US on this matter.

Meanwhile, members of the US Congress who are known for their aggressive stance continue to intensify the ongoing dispute by making statements similar to the one below, in which Senator Lindsey Graham dismisses and strongly criticizes Austin’s communication regarding ‘strategic defeat’…

Graham firmly declined the concept, expressing, “He is incredibly inexperienced! I must admit, my trust in him has completely vanished.”

“How about focusing on protecting our soldiers, men and women in Syria and Iraq?” Graham continued. “Strategic defeat would be inflaming the Palestinians? They’re already inflamed! They’re taught from the time they’re born to hate the Jews and to kill them.”

Graham continued calling it “really naive” to say that Israel is fighting against a “tranquil population” that was “only inflamed after Israel goes in to defend itself.”

“I am not interested in causing harm to innocent civilians,” he stated. “However, Israel is engaged in a conflict that extends beyond its battle with Hamas. The country is also targeting the supporting infrastructure of the terrorist organization. In my view, a strategic misstep would be allowing Hamas to maintain its foothold.”

As Israel settles in for a ‘long war’ this will continue to blow back on the White House, which will face mounting pressure both internationally and at home. The near future looks more and more bleak for the Biden administration and its political survival, as Moon of Alabama observes:

With every new daily report about blocked aid and more death in Gaza more U.S. voters will reject such brutal policies. Few outside of Israel support such plans. Most Biden voters won’t. If Biden does not pressure Netanyahu to end the slaughter he will very likely lose the election.

This is similar to the conclusion of entrepreneur and geopolitical analyst Arnaud Bertrand, who emphasizes, “There’s no overstating how extraordinary such a statement by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is, warning Israel it’s heading towards ‘strategic defeat’.”

The well-being of civilians is paramount in conflicts like this. If you push them towards the enemy, you’ll exchange a short-term win for a long-term loss. In other words, causing harm to civilians will only create more enemies, ultimately rendering your efforts futile. It’s crucial to prioritize their safety to achieve a genuine victory.

And as such what Israel has been doing so far is nothing but dig the hole it’s in deeper and deeper … After, obviously, it’s doing all this with Pentagon weapons and support in a myriad of ways, so Austin’s words are pretty disingenuous …

The United States perceives Israel as a vital strategic asset in the Middle East, akin to an indispensable aircraft carrier. The Americans believe that if they were to withdraw their unwavering support, Israel would rapidly become vulnerable and struggle to maintain its position. This perception highlights the depth of the predicament that both Israel and the United States have created for themselves.

The seemingly indestructible aircraft carrier is facing an unprecedented crisis as it struggles to stay afloat, and the US is now publicly acknowledging that the carrier’s actions are, in fact, hastening its demise. Despite continuous American support, the carrier is taking on water at an alarming rate, prompting the US to issuing a blunt warning that the carrier’s actions are putting its future in jeopardy.

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