Here we go again with the same old justifications for Israel's heavy-handed military assaults on civilian populations. Typically, when the world begins to recoil from the photos and TV footage of the barbarity of the IDF's heavy-handed, unrestrained attacks; the defenders of Israel start cranking out the op-eds and letters to the editors in order to blunt the criticism of what can not be defended. Expressions like "moral equivalency" and "threats to Israel's existence" start to show up in every pro-Israel statement and diatribe (as if they were all coming from the same talking points.)
Ehud Olmert, set the tone in a speech on Monday
repeating the oft used red herring that Israel was on the brink of destruction, in order to justify his government's outrageous attacks on a totally defenseless sovereign country: "Isreal will not be held hostage," he vowed, as the onslaught he ordered began to grind Lebanon into a pile of concrete dust.
And as usual, the rest of the world is lined up against Israel and its efforts to defend itself. Kevin Ferris in the Inquirer
asks: "Will the world stand by as Israel takes Hezbollah apart? It seems unlikely." Of course, because Israel is a poor, beleaguered country, surrounded by enemies on all sides that just barely survives; but for the three billion dollars a year in US aide
, which goes mainly to pay for the most advanced and deadly weaponry in the world, Israel would cease to exist.
This is a very, very old chestnut that gets pulled out every time the Israeli government launches another one of its over-the-top retaliations for a relatively minor provocation. Who seriously believes that Hezbollah's Katyusha rockets or Hamas' Qassams are any match for the IDF or the IAF's F-18s? (Not to mention their fleet of Dolphin silent subs
that carry converted cruise missiles tipped with nuclear warheads.) Israeli soldiers have been captured before and trades have been made, what's the big deal now? And, let's get serious here, neither Iran nor Syria is contemplating attacking Israel; they'd be crazy to attempt such a thing.
Before the Six-Day War in 1967, the world might have bought this line of BS, but not anymore. Even General Matitiahu Peled, an architect of the Israeli's victory in that war, said
shortly after that:
"There is no reason to hide the fact that since 1949 no one dared, or more precisely, no was able, to threaten the very existence of Israel. In spite of that, we have continued to foster a sense of our own inferiority, as if we were a weak and insignificant people, which, in the midst of an anguished struggle for its existence, could be exterminated at any time. . . To claim that the Egyptian forces concentrated on our borders were capable of threatening Israel's existence not only insults the intelligence of anyone capable of analyzing this kind of situation, but is an insult to Tashal." [Maariv, March 24, 1972]
Of course, if you throw out the theory that Israel is fighting for its life by turning Lebanon into a gigantic crater; the 300 or so lives lost and the half-million (half the total population) displaced civilians so far, starts to look real bad in the eyes of world opinion.
Not to be deterred, though, Jack E. Cohen in a letter to the NYT
, writes that he is outraged that the US would even ask Israel to "minimize the damage to civilian bystanders." Don't they realize that, "Israel is, and has been, fighting for its life?" Everyone must understand that "Israel is determined to crush Hezbollah, and unfortunately, civilians will be victims."
Yes, "unfortunately," cars full of people desperate to get from under Israel's bombardment will have to be killed as they flee on the roads; the tops of buildings will have to be sheered off killing all those on the top floors; entire families will die in their homes, moms, dads, and children all together; and even the Lebanese army, which isn't in this fight, will be slaughtered in their barracks. Because as Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, explains: "Proportionality is not compared to the event, but to the threat, and the threat is bigger and wider than the captured soldiers." So, the threat that even more than the 13 Israeli civilians dead already from Katyushas
Livni says, "Unfortunately (there's that word again), civilians sometimes pay the price of giving shelter to terrorists." The NYT writes that Livni claims that civilians in southern Lebanon have Katyusha rockets under their beds. She says, "when you go to sleep with a missile, you might find yourself waking up to another kind of missile." Wow, I had no idea Israeli intelligence was so good; they can see under people's beds! Or is their version of Cheney's 1 percent doctrine: if one villager has a Katyusha under their bed the whole village gets leveled?
See, there is no moral equivalency between one or two Israelis targeted by terrorist and Palestinian or Lebanese civilians who are killed in their hundreds to stop those attacks. Just like John Bolton said: "I think it would be a mistake to ascribe moral equivalence to civilians who die as the direct result of malicious terrorist acts. It's simply not the same thing to say that it's the same act to deliberately target innocent civilians, to desire their deaths, to fire rockets and use explosive devices or kidnapping versus the sad and highly unfortunate consequences of self-defense." [AFP
Hell, even embryos are more important to W. & Co. than Lebanese civilians! Today W. vetoed the stem-cell reaserch bill because he said it crossed 'moral line.' "This bill would support the taking of innocent human life. Each of these human embryos is a unique human life with inherent dignity and matchless value."
You've really got to feel for those poor embryos!