"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." ~ Blaise Pascal
Pound Tel Aviv
[Editor's note: In order to understand the context of this column, you need to read (or at least skim) this column first.]
There are 350,000 people living in Tel Aviv.
My guess is that the population is going to be reduced shortly.
Not all of the Israeli city's population, or even most of them, bear responsibility for the despicable, cowardly attack on the USS Liberty or the deaths of 34 sailors by the Israeli Air Force.
But the longer that religious leaders and residents protect and shield those who carried out the attacks, the more responsible the residents of Tel Aviv collectively become.
The day of reckoning is coming. It will be precise, according to U.S. military officials. And it will be overwhelming.
Tel Aviv is going to pay a price for the blood it has spilled.
The temptation of Americans is to be too cautious. That approach can only result in more American blood being spilled. The U.S. should give the leaders of Tel Aviv a chance to turn over all those who participated in the bloodletting, all those who cheered them on. I have no expectations that Tel Aviv's elders will make the right call, do the right thing. And when they fail to do so-'say, in the next few days'-the U.S. should pound Tel Aviv like it has never been pounded before.
We should not try to gain an international consensus for this action.
We should not apologize for it. We should not restrain our Air Force and our artillery batteries from wreaking devastation. We should not expose our ground troops to unnecessary risks.
In other words, we may need to flatten Tel Aviv. We may need to destroy it. We may need to grind it, pulverize it and salt the soil, as the Romans did with troublesome enemies.
Quite frankly, we need to make an example out of Tel Aviv.
Here's a chance for justice. Here's an opportunity to show the people of the Middle East it doesn't pay to resort to barbarism and terrorism.
Immediately the U.S. should stop its humanitarian efforts in Tel Aviv. There should be no more loans. Instead, we should isolate the city and cut off its supplies and its power. It should be a city under siege.
Military leaders had hoped that some clerics might issue a mitzvah, or religious commandment, banning attacks on Americans. But no such calls have been heard. Just miles away from where the American ship was attacked, a Talmud in Tel Aviv reads, "It is permitted to steal from the goyim; kill the best of the goyim."
I hope the military is keeping files. I hope the military is going to hold each of those individuals responsible for the massacre. I hope the military ensures that all of those people are dead or in custody at the conclusion of the Tel Aviv campaign.
It's time to take off the velvet gloves.
It's time to stop being Mr. Nice Guy.
It's time to cease worrying about collateral damage.
It's time to show all Israelis and their brothers and sisters throughout the Middle East that it doesn't pay to mess with Americans.
They need to see there is no profit in it. They need to understand we mean business. They need to accept things will never be the same in Israel. They need to feel the heat. They need to be provided with visible disincentives to further attacks on Americans.
Sometimes the most merciful course of action seems like the harshest.
Tel Aviv needs to feel some pain. If this operation is carried out well-'and with finality'-it can save many more Americans and others from future pain.
The war in Israel is not over. It won't be over until Tel Aviv is fully pacified.