Skip to content

Six House Dems Tell Biden: Netanyahu’s Strategy vs. Hamas Will Fail, as U.S. ‘War on Terror’ Failed

U.S. House of Representatives. Credit: House of Representatives

Six House Democrats, all serving on intelligence and/or armed service committees, and all with military/intelligence backgrounds, sent a letter to President Biden on Dec. 18 pressing him to double-down on Israel to change its “unacceptable” military strategy, which harms Israeli security interests as much as U.S. security interests. “We know from personal experience that you can’t destroy a terror ideology with military force alone,” they wrote; rather, military force alone “can make it worse.” The six compared Israel’s current policy to the famously failed U.S. “war on terror.” Their letter is short but blunt:

“We are deeply concerned by PM Netanyahu’s current military strategy in Gaza. The mounting civilian death toll and humanitarian crisis are unacceptable and not in line with American interests; nor do they advance the cause of security for our ally Israel. We also believe it jeopardizes efforts to destroy the terrorist organization Hamas and secure the release of all hostages.

“From our positions on the Intelligence, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, we have consistently pushed for Israel to shift its military strategy—there has been no significant change.

“We have dedicated our lives to national security and believe our nation’s values are a source of credibility and power. Some of us also spent years fighting America’s war on terror. We know from personal and often painful experience that you can’t destroy a terror ideology with military force alone. And it can, in fact, make it worse.

“Accordingly, we urge you to continue to use all our leverage to achieve an immediate and significant shift of military strategy and tactics in Gaza.”

The statement was signed by Reps. Jason Crow (D-CO, former Army Ranger deployed in both Iraq and Afghanistan wars), Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ, 10 years in the Navy), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA, Air Force vet and daughter of Holocaust survivor), Seth Moulton (D-MA, Army vet, four tours of duty in Iraq), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA, CIA case officer) and Elissa Slotkin (D-MI, CIA Middle East analyst in Iraq war, held senior Pentagon and intelligence positions under GW Bush and Obama).

Some of the Congressmen have taken other initiatives to change U.S. policy in this theater. One is Colorado’s Rep. Crow, who sent his own letter to Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence two days after the above letter, requesting that she provide, by Dec. 27, specified information on U.S.-Israeli intelligence sharing guidance, “to confirm whether our current intelligence sharing sufficiently incorporates our standards and values,” and any changes since the start of the Israeli military operation in Gaza. Crow, who serves on the Permanent Intelligence Committee, augmented his requests in the cover letter with a list of specifics in a classified Annex, and he set a deadline for an answer, because previous requests from Congress have been ignored.

Crow wrote that he is “concerned that the widespread use of artillery and air power in Gaza—and the resulting level of civilian casualties—is both a strategic and moral error.”