July 28, 2006
Disproportionate response and other possibilities

Humanitarian anti-Semites are calling the Israeli response disproportionate. Okay, maybe not all of them are anti-Semites. But the sentiments they are directing at Israel are no more distorted than me calling them anti-Semites.

The issue of disproportionate is more complicated than the aforementioned humanitarians are claiming. They are now saying that there are 800,000 Lebanese refugees caused by Israel's violence. They are not talking so much about the 1,000,000 Israeli refugees caused by Hezbollah rockets. They have been spending the last two weeks out of work, in shelters, have fled or sent their children to the center or south of the country, but not so far south where they would be vulnerable to the rockets coming out of Gaza.

One may quarrel about the relative suffering. Israel's refugees are complaining about the build-up of tension; a lack of air conditioning in some of the shelters; problems of keeping the children busy; the uncertainties of running out for food when the sirens may go off at any moment and most of the stores are closed; and the lack of clarity as to how much the government will compensate for damage and lost income. Lebanon's refugees may be suffering more, but that is due to their government not providing for them, having giving over much of their country to the Shiite fanatics, and Hezbollah's fighters not letting some people leave neighborhoods that serve as launching sites and storage places for their weaponry.

I woke to news of a killing at a Jewish community center in Seattle, apparently by a Muslim taking revenge for what the Jews of Israel were doing. In a reverse of the usual pattern, I wrote to my son and daughter-in-law, asking if they were safe.

Our younger son did an overnight with army friends at the Dead Sea. We don't know when they he will return home, but it is likely to reach over 100 F when the sun comes up.

The IDF is implementing a call up of perhaps 50,000 reservists. With a number that big, it will include some if not all of the group currently at the Dead Sea. It is not clear how the army will use its expanded forces. Hopefully their function will be to scare the Syrians, but that is probably too optimistic. Our daughter's boyfriend already has his orders. The unit of one nephew is likely to go. A niece is 8 months pregnant, but that won't keep her husband at home if he is on the list.

We were planning to attend the 50th reunion of my high school class. We have another two weeks before having to purchase the tickets for the flights we have reserved. I doubt that we will do it, given the situation, but we won't make a final decision until the travel agent's deadline. My guess is that I will not get to see how all those beautiful virgins have aged.

This could end when Israel has destroyed enough of Lebanon and Hezbollah's rockets, and killed enough of the Hezbollah operatives, and the government decides that further destruction is not worth any greater upset of the humanitarians. That is the most likely scenario, and the least destructive.

Yet another possibility involves the Syrians. We are mobilizing for the possibility. They are on high alert. Remember The Guns of August, Barbara Tuchman's book about the onset of World War I. Big wars can erupt, perhaps unintentionally, from preparations that go too far.

The Iranian authorities must also be concerned. Reports are that Iranian and Iraqis volunteers are on their way through Syria to join the battle in Lebanon. Israelis are already suffering from missiles that got to Hezbollah from Iran and Syria. I doubt that Israel will use its big stuff against the regime that has committed itself to our destruction, but I would not be a competent if I did not mention the possibility.

Posted by Ira Sharkansky at July 28, 2006 10:50 PM

Initially I too thought it was not proportionate. However, it didn't take me long to realize that it should be disproportionate. It is just foolishness to criticize a military operation for being disproportionate. There is no law of war that states one nation's response must be proportionate. Would that mean indiscriminately launching rockets? Nonsense. Any general with superior force seeks to leverage that advantage to quickly win the war. So now I don't care that the IDF force is disproportionate. It needs to be in order to not only defeat the enemy that hides in civilian centers, but disproportionate force as a response "might" discourage future attempts to kidnap Israelis.

Posted by: Tim on July 30, 2006 08:33 PM
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