In other words, what happens when you fight violence with violence, only to discover that by doing so, you're creating even greater levels of violence and instability? Is an overresponse to terrorist violence really a sign of progress, or is it pretty much the same thing as putting your hand in a hornet's nest, after one of the hornets stung you?
Will points out that it would be wrong of the Bush administration to criticize Israel for its use of force in Lebanon, not because Israel's use of force is necesarily justified, but because it would've been a very hypocritical thing to do after responding "to two hours of terrorism one September morning by toppling two regimes halfway around the world with wars that show no signs of ending."
But wait... it gets better!
He also goes after Bill Kristol's neocon screed, The Weekly Standard, by calling their editorial advocating an attack on Iran "so untethered from reality as to defy caricature".
"The U.S. military has enough on its plate in the deteriorating wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which both border Iran. . . containment, although of uncertain success, did work against Stalin and his successors, and might be preferable to a war against a nation much larger and more formidable than Iraq."
Indeed, it could be argued that containment was working in Iraq too, despite the effect that the excessively harsh sanctions were having on the Iraqis. Both Rice and Powell said as much, in fact.
Will also points out that The Weekly Standard also advocated war with Syria back in late 2004. Presumably, the neocons would have the U.S. fight / occupy four countries at once then... and maybe contribute considerably to a UN force in Lebanon too?
It seems odd to rely on a Conservative to say it, but the essential truth remains. As anyone who has ever been in a raucous bar will tell you, sometimes the wisest thing to do is simply not to fight. Not attacking indiscriminately when provoked isn't necessarily cowardice or appeasement. Sometimes, it's simply wisdom.
One constant remains: you've got to pick your battles carefully. Pick too many at once, and you risk losing all of them.