Current Articles of Interest

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Stinging Hamas

There's no such thing as a winnable war
It's a lie that we don't believe anymore
Mr. Reagan says we will protect you
I don't subscribe to this point of view
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too
Of course, Mr. Reagan knew very well that a nuclear war was unwinnable, which is why he strengthened America's deterrent capability, protecting us and ultimately making it possible to win the Cold War. However much the Russians loved their children, it took Reagan to free them (and the children of the captive nations of Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia) from the monstrous ideology of communism (though to be sure, Russia and some of the others still have big problems).

OK, so Sting got the Cold War wrong. Whatever. But we were reminded of this by a post from blogger David Gerstman on the current war between Israel and Hamas, the terrorist group that holds sway in Gaza. Yesterday, as ABC News reports, an Israeli air strike killed Hamas leader Nizar Rayyan and 15 members of his "family": four wives, six sons and five daughters.
Unlike the Russians, Rayyan did not love his children. Gerstman tracks down a 2000 New York Times story (written by the notoriously anti-American Chris Hedges) that quoted the terrorist as hoping for his own sons' deaths:
''There was not a single night that we did not think and talk about Palestine,'' Mr. Rayyan said, his eyes moist. ''We were taught that our lives must be devoted to reclaiming our land.''
Mr. Rayyan spent 12 years in an Israeli jail for his pursuit of that end. His brother-in-law was a suicide bomber who blew up an Israeli bus in 1998. His brother was shot dead by Israelis in street protests seven years ago. Another brother was expelled to Lebanon and several more were wounded in clashes.
Today, his three sons--ages 12, 15 and 16--daily join the youths who throw rocks at Israeli checkpoints. All, he said, yearn to be one thing--martyrs for Palestine.
''I pray only that God will choose them,'' he said.
The Jerusalem Post's Khaled Abu Toameh reports that Rayyan got his wish in at least one case:
At the beginning of the second intifada, Rayyan sent one of his sons to carry out a suicide attack in Gush Katif's Elei Sinai in 2001. Two Israelis were killed. Rayyan was also responsible for a series of suicide bombings and attacks inside the Green Line, including the suicide bombing in Ashdod Port in 2004 in which 10 Israelis died.
As it turns out, the Israel Defense Forces cared more about Rayyan's children than he did. reports:
Prior to striking Rayyan's house the IDF tried to warn his family about the imminent attack and urged them to evacuate the place, but they refused to do so.
Ha'aretz reports that this is typical:
The IDF has made frequent use of what is known as "knocking on the roof": Militants are warned by phone when a residential building used to store arms will be bombed, and told to vacate the premised [sic] together with their neighbors. The weapons caches are hit only after the residents leave.
Hamas has tried placing civilians on the roofs of such buildings when the phone call warning comes in. In these cases, the IDF fired antitank missiles near the building, and in a few cases the residents left.
"Israel is so scrupulous about civilian life," notes columnist Charles Krauthammer, "that, risking the element of surprise, it contacts enemy noncombatants in advance to warn them of approaching danger." He sums up the situation nicely:
For Hamas, the only thing more prized than dead Jews are dead Palestinians. The religion of Jew-murder and self-martyrdom is ubiquitous. And deeply perverse, such as the Hamas TV children's program in which an adorable live-action Palestinian Mickey Mouse is beaten to death by an Israeli (then replaced by his more militant cousin, Nahoul the Bee, who vows to continue on Mickey's path to martyrdom).
At war today in Gaza, one combatant is committed to causing the most civilian pain and suffering on both sides. The other combatant is committed to saving as many lives as possible--also on both sides.
The moral asymmetry is so great that Israel is on the right side even by Sting's standards.

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