That's just about all an Israeli can say about the suicide car bombing in Iraq today that killed four U.S. soldiers. And if you think that it's tough just visiting this neighborhood, try living in it. Instapundit pulled this paragraph out of a recent Mark Steyn column:
In so far as the enemy has a strategy, it’s to use their own people as hostages. The ‘pockets of resistance’ in the southern towns have been able to make mischief because they blend in with the local populations. They know that Washington and its allies are concerned above all to avoid casualties among Iraqi civilians and, indeed, among your typical Iraqi conscripts. In other words, everything the Baath regime does is predicated on the moral superiority of their foe. If things were the other way round, if Iraq invaded Vermont and some diehard Yankees holed up on the outskirts of White River Junction and started firing on Saddam’s forces as they attempted to advance up the valley, the Republican Guard would think nothing of levelling the entire downtown area and everyone in it. Who’s going to complain? There’s no Baghdad ‘Not In Our Name’ movement.
This is all so incredibly familiar to Israelis. Try as they might to root out terrorism without hurting civilians or provoking an international outcry, they can't. If they try to pinpoint the terrorist leaders with assassinations, it's illegal. If they bomb their headquarters from the air, random civilians die. If they go in house to house, risking their own soldiers' lives it's a "massacre" as happened in Jenin. If they severely limit movement to try to stop the terrorists' ability to get into Israel, they are making the lives of Palestinians miserable and hellish.
It seems that nothing short of throwing up their hands and letting the terrorists in to do their job will satisfy their critics.
(And don't tell me that handing back the West Bank and Gaza will solve the problem. Trust me, if someone handed offered the Israeli people a signed guarantee that giving back the territories would result in an end to all suicide bombings and other terror and peace, love and harmony, with the Arab world, trust me, they'd jump on it. Poll after poll bears this out. But no one's handing out that guarantee, or even a credible ceasefire offer for that matter. If they were, the Israeli left would not be so emasculated at the moment.)
So here's an Israeli memo to the coalition forces heading into populated areas in Iraq: you've got a frustrating, stressful, dangerous and pretty damn thankless job ahead.
And coming back to the Mark Steyn Vermont metaphor, it's darn hard for the IDF to hold every Palestinian life sacred when they know that many of them would blast Tel Aviv to kingdom come if they got half a chance, and it's going to be hard for the forces in Iraq as well. The miracle is that, like the coalition forces, the military leadership and the vast majority of IDF soldiers still try. I know that many people reading this won't buy into it, that they will point to the hundreds of Palestinian civilians killed in the intifada and tell me that I'm full of you-know-what. But just as Baghdad and Basra would be paved over already if that's what the United States really wanted to do, if the Israeli army didn't show incredible restraint, with mercifully few exceptions, we would be talking about hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians.
I would close with the point that the U.S. and other coalition partners can feel lucky that they at least have the option of packing up and going home Vietnam-style if it gets to be too much, and that Israel doesn't have that luxury. But is that really true in a post September 11 world? I suppose that this pivotal question: whether trying to stop the halt threats overseas before they add up to death and destruction at home is viable and legitimate, is what the entire war debate is all about.