FEATURED Air Force

The Difference Between IDF and US Military Ops

USA Today photo of an IDF Air Strike in Gaza during the latest escalation of tensions in the Middle East.
USA Today photo of an IDF Air Strike in Gaza during the latest escalation of tensions in the Middle East.

Earlier today, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) launched air strikes against a mosque and a nursing home for the disabled.  Now, before we begin condemning Israel and the IDF, HAMAS deserves condemnation first for hiding weapons and terrorist leaders in these places.  Hiding there is an act of absolute cowardice and they do it only because they want the headline to be “Israel strikes Gaza mosque, home for disabled as death toll climbs.”  Seeing as how there is probably a weapons cache under every hospital, school, and mosque and a HAMAS terrorist holding the hand of every kindergartner, I think it goes without saying that HAMAS actually WANTS the IDF to hit this politically sensitive targets.

Because Israel and the IDF have never given HAMAS or anyone else any indication that they’ll so much as blink when targeting a nursing home, hospital, apartment complex, or anything else that would be considered a violation of just basic human dignity.  Of course, Israel will often try to justify it by firing a warning shot of sorts to warn people to leave the building if they’re targeting a cache, but it’s not that easy to empty a nursing home or hospital and in the crowded neighborhoods, people don’t always know what building is being targeted.  It’s a poor excuse to justify the IDF hitting any of these targets with an air strike.  Beyond that, the people who go to these buildings or facilities don’t always know there’s a HAMAS leader or weapons cache hidden in or below the building.  And as I said before, they there are so many, they don’t know where to go to be safe.

Now, you would hope that the people would get pissed at HAMAS and give them up to Israeli authorities.  And many Palestinians do report their intelligence to Israel because they are pissed at HAMAS.  Some of it for the idiot behavior of HAMAS, some of it because they’re loyal to the rival Fatah party.  However, a great many others get pissed at Israel because the IDF is forcing them to live like fish in a barrel and they’re actively blowing up their mosques, hospitals, schools, and homes.  As a result, they turn to HAMAS to fix the problem; who then launches rockets into Israel in what has been one of the greatest acts of militaristic futility the world has ever seen.

HAMAS; which is so inept in its military capabilities; should really be ashamed of how little they destroy with their enormous weapons arsenals.  HAMAS could end all of this nonsense today by dedicating the money they waste trying to hurt Israel to political organizations in the United States that have been trying almost as futilely to break the blind support of US politicians and large swathes of voters for Israel.  HAMAS is really not only embarrassing themselves by launching these ridiculous attacks against Israel, but they’ve done unfathomable damage to their own international public relations cause.

US and Iraqi soldiers in Baghdad after raiding the the Abu Hanifa mosque in Baghdad on November 19, 2004. Three were killed when terrorists started shooting, five were injured.  However, US and Iraqi forces showed restraint in the crowded mosque and managed to capture 40 others.  The IDF would have just dropped a bomb through the roof.
US and Iraqi soldiers in Baghdad after raiding the Abu Hanifa mosque in Baghdad on November 19, 2004. Three were killed when terrorists started shooting, five were injured. However, US and Iraqi forces showed restraint in the crowded mosque and managed to capture 40 others. The IDF would have just dropped a bomb through the roof.

But Israel and the IDF should be equally ashamed for falling prey to HAMAS’ political stunts by blowing up mosques, hospitals, and schools.  Let me be clear, I’m not blaming the IDF pilots or soldiers.  These are strategic decisions being made by the upper levels of the IDF and ultimately the Israeli government.

Unlike the IDF, the United States will not blow up a mosque.  In Iraq, if Sunni insurgents were keeping weapons in a mosque, we would send soldiers in to clear the mosque.  The worst collateral damage would be the front doors being broken down and bullet holes in the walls if our guys were met with resistance.  Your average Sunni Muslim might be annoyed that Americans came in and shot up the place, but they wouldn’t blow themselves up over it.

US Soldiers of the 101st Airborne and Afghan police preparing to arrest a Taliban leader in Mandozai, Afghanistan.  While more dangerous, the United States does this to minimize collateral damage that would be done by air strikes and collect important intelligence on terrorist operations, strategies, finances, and locations.
US Soldiers of the 101st Airborne and Afghan police preparing to arrest a Taliban leader in Mandozai, Afghanistan. While more dangerous, the United States does this to minimize collateral damage that would be done by air strikes and collect important intelligence on terrorist operations, strategies, finances, and locations.

Unlike the IDF, the United States will not blow up a home for the elderly or disabled.  If terrorists were using such a place to hide their leadership, we would have sent troops in trying to capture first and kill only if necessary to minimize collateral damage and preserve the lives of the innocent bystanders.  Israel puts a bomb through the window and within 24 hours, every son and grandson of the people in that home are asking HAMAS how they can help destroy Israel.


Although mistakes happen from time to time, the US forces in Afghanistan strive to show remarkable restraint and cultural sensitivity.  Even as terrorists flee into this mosque, the building is not targeted.

If you’re going to win the War on Terrorism, not that President Obama is trying anymore; but if you’re going to win, you have to play for the hearts and minds of the communities where the terrorists are.  Israel doesn’t even want you to think that’s what they want.  As a result, the IDF shows no restraint, regardless of the situation.  Because of this, Israel is more of a liability than an ally in the Global War on Terrorism.

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Kevin Tracy is an Air Force veteran, terrorism/counterterrorism expert, and jack of all trades. KTracy's day job is designing electrical systems for new fossil power plants and environmental solutions. On the side, he keeps a blog, fundraises for political candidates and the St. Baldrick's Foundation, writes and illustrates comic books, and studies foreign affairs in depth.

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