The Lesson Of Palmyra

Recently, the Syrian Army and allied militia, backed by Russian air strikes, liberated the city of Palmyra from the group that calls itself the Islamic State (but refered to by many others as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh).

This liberation illustrates the foolishness of the U.S. strategy of supporting “moderate” rebels to defeat the Islamic State as this victory came after a truce between Assad and rebels that weren’t part of al-Qaeda or the Islamic State. In practice, these “moderate” rebels don’t focus on attacking the Islamic State. Mostly, they only fight them when they’re being attacked by them. Instead they focus on attacking Assad’s forces, forcing them to divert forces that otherwise would have been fighting the Islamic State. But now with those other rebels ceasing to fight Assad, Assad can now defeat the Islamic State.



Israel should abolish conscription

I am in principle opposed to conscription since it constitutes forced labor, or to be more blunt slavery. But as the great Ludwig von Mises pointed out, if the protection against foreign totalitarian rule requires it, it can perhaps be justified in some circumstances since freedom from totalitarian rule might be dependent on it. And in the case of Israel that was for long not an entirely unreasonable argument, given how much bigger the population controlled by enemy governments were.

However, there is simply no invasion threat to Israel right now. The two main invasion threats to Israel have been Syria and Egypt. Syria is a big mess with the government being busy maintaining control of the small fraction of the country it still  controls and the rebel groups (including the Islamic State and al-Qaeda (Nusra)) being busy fighting the government-and each other. Meanwhile, Egypt is controlled by a relatively pro-Israel dictator, dependent on the U.S., who is more hostile to the Hamas government in Gaza than to Israel.  Which means that there is no need for large numbers of ground forces, and therefore no need for conscription.

Israel still face the threat of missile attacks, from various groups, but that should be dealt with by improving and increasing missile defence systems like the Iron Dome, David Sling’s and  Arrow systems, and strengthening the Israeli air force. And in general by improving military Israeli military technology, not forcing young Israelis to unnecessary forced labor.