Michael Totten

Gaza and Afghanistan

Readers of this site know I support Israel’s war in Gaza. Long-time readers also know I opposed Israel’s 2006 war in Lebanon. Unlike some, I do not automatically assume critics of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead hate Jews or support terrorists. I’d be a patent hypocrite if I did, since I’ve had the very same accusations unfairly hurled at me in the past.
I do, however, object to the entirely predictable hysteria about Israeli “war crimes” by critics who demonstrate that they don’t know “what a war crime actually is”:http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/totten/48801, and who have no objection, or at least little or no vocal objection, to the war crimes Hamas commits every day.
There is a non-hysterical case to be made against Israel’s war in Gaza. The fact that people are being killed in the war is not it. Innocents as well as combatants die in every war. If you have nothing to object to besides that, then you should oppose the war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan for the same reason. That war is also being fought “disproportionately.” Far more innocent civilians have been killed over there than in Gaza. No doubt the rage among some in the Islamic world at the sight of those innocents killed encourages them to join the fight against us.
And Afghanistan isn’t currently shooting rockets at the United States.
Nearly every argument I have read and heard about Israel’s war in Gaza applies ten-fold to the war in Afghanistan. Yet many, if not most, of the very same people who deploy those arguments support the war in Afghanistan.
I find that curious.
So here’s some free advice to the critics of Israel. Find an argument that applies specifically to the war in Gaza that can’t also be said about every other war fought by a democracy against a terrorist army. If you cannot do that, you are not going to convince anybody.
UPDATE: “Here”:http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/mesh/2009/01/israels-ghosts/ is an example of a well-reasoned and non-hysterical argument. And “here”:http://yaacovlozowick.blogspot.com/2009/01/real-people-real-war-wisps-of-faint.html is an indirect rebuttal that is also well-reasoned and non-hysterical.