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Milton J. Madison - An American Refugee Now Living in China, Where Liberty is Ascending

Federalism, Free Markets and the Liberty To Let One's Mind Wander. I Am Very Worried About the Fate of Liberty in the USA, Where Government is Taking people's Lives ____________________________________________________________________________________________ "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Tolerance in the face of tyranny is no virtue." -Barry Goldwater-

Saturday, July 29, 2006

A Disproportionate Response?

I have heard alot of blathering being bandied about on Israel's supposed disproportionate response to the Hezbollah threat in Southern Lebanon. The EU came out and had this to say...
"The European Union is greatly concerned about the disproportionate use of force by Israel in Lebanon in response to attacks by Hezbollah on Israel," said a statement issued by Finland, which holds the EU's rotating presidency. "The presidency deplores the loss of civilian lives and the destruction of civilian infrastructure. The imposition of an air and sea blockade on Lebanon cannot be justified."
I just don't know what would constitute a proportionate response. I suppose it depends upon the situation. I know that in American law, if a person attacks you, with a knife, considered deadly force, you have the right to depend yourself with deadly force such as a gun. However, if one attacks you with, say a feather, a non-lethal force, then you do not have the right to defend using deadly force.

However, in the recent Israel-Hezbollah conflict, the cross border incursion by Hezbollah forces to kidnap two soldiers and kill several others should be considered a deliberate act of war, an invasion of sorts, despite being limited in scope. So what should have been the Israeli response? A cross border response by Israel to do what? Take and kill several hiding amongst civilian Hezbollah terrorists? And what will this accomplish? The Hezbollah threat under this scenario would remain largely intact in order to further their military aims against Israel. Hezbollah through these action communicated clearly their intentions to Israel that they desire to attack the nation and will continue to do so without provacation.

So the question still remains, what should the Israeli military response have been? The options for Israel range from doing absolutely nothing and lodging a complaint that will fall of the deaf ears of the farce called the UN to launching a devastating strike against Lebanon, Syria and Iran using all of their firepower including nuclear weapons. However, Israel has to keep in mind two critical objectives; first, what do they want to achieve with any military or non-military response and what are the costs of those responses.

An all out attack against Lebanon, Syria and Iran would probably lead to a conflict that even Israel may not be able to survive and would remain a final self-destructive option. However, with all the hateful words coming from Iran and Hezbollah being an Iranian military proxy on Israel's northern border, it would make sense for the safety and security of Israeli citizens [the government's duty] to degrade or eliminate the threat as completely as possible.

The problem is that the Hezbollah terrorists have deliberately dug themselves into positions next to and within civilian populations centers using them as human shields against any reprisals. This complicates the ability of Israel to conduct a theorectical European "proportionate response." Any response at all risks civilian casualties as Hezbollah has designed.

So, I am not too sure what Europe deems as a proportionate response. Additionally, Hezbollah isn't even supposed to exist as a military force on the border of Israel as demanded by the UN Security Council with Resolution 1559. But the worthless UN can make all kinds of silly resolutions without the will nor ability to ensure compliance, Israel has realized and the rest-of-the-world should realize that in order to clean the terrorists out, it will have to be done by those that want it done.

Charles Krauthamer makes some interesting points in his opinion piece questioning what the heck a proportionate response is. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, should the US response been to bomb one of their harbors?
When the United States was attacked at Pearl Harbor, it did not respond with a parallel "proportionate" attack on a Japanese naval base. It launched a four-year campaign that killed millions of Japanese, reduced Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki to cinders, and turned the Japanese home islands into rubble and ruin.

Disproportionate? No. When one is wantonly attacked by an aggressor, one has every right -- legal and moral -- to carry the fight until the aggressor is disarmed and so disabled that it cannot threaten one's security again. That's what it took with Japan.
In reality, a brazen attack cannot be considered a one-off event and reasonable people will expect that more attacks, even more destructive ones may follow. The US had the right and responsibility to respond and defend itself from Japanese attack costing 99,000 servicemen lives in the process. Israel, also, has the right and the responsibility to its citizens to defend the borders and people inside of those borders. If that means prosecuting a war against the threat, then why shouldn't they have the right to do it?

The failure from the proportionate complainers is that they lost their right to criticize when the UN failed to keep its end of the bargain and disarm or even somewhat impede Hezbollah hegemony in the region.

Also, we should all applaud Israel's bold actions since terrorists like Hezbollah and other groups should have to be concerned that they can and will be wiped out of they do attack civilians where the government has the right and is willing to defend their own citizens. The appeasers in Europe, I am afraid are unable or are unwilling to learn the tough lessons that many countries have to grapple with and that international terrorism is a serious threat to innocent people on both sides of the fence. Allowing these organizations to operate unfettered will only come back to haunt us with greater civilian deaths and calamities unless we have to the fortitude to deal with these threats now with strong and decisive action.

And who is taking the moral high ground in this fight? Hezbollah or Israel? Hezbollah has been putting military assets in built up populations centers in order to protect these assets from attack from a moral people. If they do get attacked, then there inevitably will be civilian casualties as the terrorists desire for propaganda purposes. However, keep this in mind...
Israel's response to Hezbollah has been to use the most precise weaponry and targeting it can. It has no interest, no desire to kill Lebanese civilians. Does anyone imagine that it could not have leveled south Lebanon, to say nothing of Beirut? Instead, in the bitter fight against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, it has repeatedly dropped leaflets, issued warnings, sent messages by radio and even phone text to Lebanese villagers to evacuate so that they would not be harmed.

Israel knows that these leaflets and warnings give the Hezbollah fighters time to escape and regroup. The advance notification as to where the next attack is coming has allowed Hezbollah to set up elaborate ambushes. The result? Unexpectedly high Israeli infantry casualties. Moral scrupulousness paid in blood. Israeli soldiers die so that Lebanese civilians will not, and who does the international community condemn for disregarding civilian life?
In my mind, Israel is not only doing what it feels compelled to do within the rules of engaging an enemy but also are taking the moral high ground by sparing civilian life to the best of their ability even at the cost to its military. Go Israel!

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