Friday, August 11, 2006

Israel's Right to Defend Itself

I'm pretty much losing my patience with this nonsense:

The chain of events was predictable: Hezbollah attacks Israel; Israel battles an enemy that hides among and fights from civilian populations, which inevitably leads to civilian casualties; the images of suffering reach Western audiences, which react with horror; the international community pressures the Jewish state to cease and desist.

Predictable, but foolish. Wars, as we all know, are now fought on TV and are subject to far greater -- and quicker -- scrutiny than ever. The tendency to support war and then recoil from its consequences is very modern and very human - but it is also a major handicap against an Islamic extremist enemy that is all too aware of our weaknesses.

If we are going to effectively fight the fascism of our time, we'd better face up to the sad fact that even the most just wars and justly fought wars cause civilian casualties.

Well, actually we have faced up to that fact, and accepted it. Americans do not like to watch our military cause casualties among innocent civilians, but we understand and accept that it is impossible to prevent such casualties when we're fighting in response to an attack on ourselves. See the civilian deaths caused by the toppling of the Taliban, casualties we regarded as lamentable but unavoidable.

What I'm getting tired of hearing is the argument Mr. Bernstein makes here, which both miscontrues the position of those opposed to Israel's bombing campaign and minimizes the recklessness with which the Israelis have carried it out. Even those of us opposed to the extent of the bombing understand that civilian casualties would be inevitable in any war on Hezbollah. So yeah, we've faced up to the "sad fact" that Mr. Bernstein would like us to. But he neglects to mention that with those "inevitable" casualties, have come casualties that seem all too evitable; the bombings of convoys of civilians fleeing the fighting, the bombing of buildings from which no Hezbollah rockets are launched and which only civilians are hiding in, the reckless shelling of a U.N. observation post despite the absence of Hezbollah fighters and despite repeated warnings from U.N. personnel. Repeated comments by Israeli leaders also give us the impression that Israel is not nearly as concerned about Lebanese civilians as their official statements say they are.

So, put down the straw man Mr. Bernstein. We're not opposed to what you say we are, you lack the integrity to be fully honest about what Israel has done, and you attempt to conflate Israel's recklessness with our own struggles with terrorism in an attempt to confuse the issue. You do Israel, and the American people, a disservice in doing so.