Collateral damage


In supporting the attacks, Samuel Freedman doesn’t bother to focus on the enormous human cost to the Lebanese civilians who, in many instances reported on NPR and elsewhere, appear to have been deliberately targeted by Israeli missile attacks (there’s a word to describe deliberate attacks on civilians designed to terrorize them: the word is terrorism). To Freedman, such unfortunate deaths are collateral damage in pursuit of a higher gain. To me, these deaths are clearly immoral and can only serve as a catalyst for further radicalization, endangering Israel’s future as a nation.

Some other highlights of Freedman’s article include the assumption that Israel really isn’t at war with Hezbollah, but Iran. Using that logic, Hezbollah and Israel aren’t fighting at all. It’s a proxy war between the US and Iran. All of this dovetails very nicely with an insane PNAC fantasy: “we” can eliminate evil (a la Perle/Frum’s The End of Evil) if only we are brave enough to use our Kristol balls and tackle the “root causes” of terrorism.* And sure enough, on CNN this weekend, an earnest discussion was held under the caption: “Iran: The Root of Evil?”

Nevermind that the situation is far more complicated than a mere proxy war. You get nowhwere, and fast, unless you immediately, and directly, address the proximate issues. In this case, they are (1) The outrageous kidnapping of Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah; (2) The outrageous and counterproductive destruction of Southern Lebanon by Israel; and (3) the unconsionable and wholesale slaughter, on both sides, of utterly innocent civilians.