Monday, July 31, 2006

Disproportionate response

Israel has just committed an act of war during, well, a war, and the world is shocked, shocked. Surprise, during a war people tend to get killed. Even civilians. Especially if the local combatants have a nasty habit of hiding among civilians. Nevertheless every time Israel happens to kill civilians during this war there is a huge international outcry.

Partly this just goes to show that, as I wrote a year ago, war as such is very much against modern Western values and is usually only justified by appeal to necessity, and the thing about necessity is that it tends to seem a lot less necessary when it's somebody else's.

Still I don't remember there being quite as much of an outcry in 2003 every time when we hit civilians in Iraq, even though the necessity of forcibly bringing democracy to the reluctant Iraqis, and winning their hearts, minds and oil in the process is IMO a lot more questionable than the necessity of protecting the citizenry from rockets and occasional abductions. Being a cynic I suspect that it had to do with the fact the the US has a lot more nukes than Israel, and a lot more money, and therefore generally has to at least bomb a Chinese embassy to elicit a proper outcry.

Killing civilians, by accident or otherwise, is sad. The response of the politicians to this whole war, of the other hand, is full of dark humor. Chirac considers the war to be a disproportional response. Hmm, is that the same guy who six months ago promised to nuke any country that would sponsor a terrorist act against France? The funniest, however, was Putin. What did he mean by his "disproportional response"-comment? "It is not nice to attack a country just because they keep shooting rockets across the border and just kidnapped a couple of your soldiers and killed a few" or "500 dead civilians in two weeks of war is quite disproportional; now when we carpet-bombed Grozny we managed to kill 25000 of those fuckers in a week"?

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