I've lost track of how many “Now we've had it” operations we've seen over the years. There was Lebanon in the summer of '06, after Hizballah kidnapped soldiers. There was a massive raid in the West Bank four or five years ago, after a series of terrorist massacres; that was when the IDF confined Arafat to his Muqata. And before that, and before that...
The problem is straightforward: We have to do something, but there's nothing to do.
To sit on our hands while thugs bomb our cities is suicidal madness. Certainly, they lack the means to destroy our country. But the psychological toll on a population under threat is huge. They count on it – that's why they launch the kassams. Their goal is to make Israelis want to get out. Not out of Gaza, but out of Israel.
So we need to do something... but what?
Diplomacy is meaningless. You're talking to people whose declared goal is to eliminate you. Your goals run directly counter to theirs. So how can you gain their support for your vision? To borrow from Ury, how to Get to Yes?
Threatening bluster is just that, bluster. It accomplishes nothing, the equivalent of a frustrated cry at a television screen or computer monitor.
Sanctions do nothing, because the people running the show in Gaza are happy to let the people suffer. They enjoy it, knowing it brings headlines and international sympathy.
And so we are left with military force, with airstrikes and a ground assault and a lot of burned out buildings and dead bodies and UN resolutions.
Eventually, because this operation will run true to the same pattern we have seen every time before, because this Israeli government has no strategy, no goal, no benchmark of success or definition of victory, the troops will pull back. Hamas will launch a few missiles to show it still can, to save face, to declare triumphant victory.
And the rockets will resume.
And we'll be back where we started from.
And who know where Gilad Schalit will be?