The criticism that Israel is using a "disproportionate response" to the kidnappings of its soldiers is an attempt to morally disarm Israel and make Israel out to be a bully. This notion is ludicrous when considered in the full context: Hezbollah and Hamas initiated the current crisis in an ongoing war against Israel's right to exist. Notice that no one cried "disproportionate response" when Hamas demanded 1,200 prisoners in exchange for one Israeli hostage. Hamas and Hezbollah aren't playing a game of proportions, why should Israel?
Israel, an outpost of freedom in the Middle East, has every right to use whatever means necessary for her long-term interests to defeat those who are warring against her. All the "disproportionate response" critics are accomplishing is to empower Israel's enemies to wage more war, harm more Israeli citizens and escalate the violence. They are kicking Israel when she is down, when she needs our support the most.
Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute is spot-on: World Leaders Encourage Hezbollah and Hamas.
"The worldwide condemnation of Israel's retaliation against Lebanon is morally obscene," said Dr. Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute. "The calls effectively demand that the innocent victim be sacrificed to the aggressor."
"Instead of excoriating Hezbollah and helping Israel to annihilate it, President Bush and other leaders urged that the victim, Israel, not cause 'excessive' damage to the aggressor--and begged that no harm come to Lebanon's terrorist-supporting government. Were Israel to follow such calls, it would have to leave in place the terrorist leadership and infrastructure that works to abduct, blow up and slaughter Israelis.
"The obscene premise governing so many of the West's leaders is the belief that we have no moral right to defend ourselves against the forces of Islamist barbarism.
"All of this can serve only to encourage Islamic totalitarian groups to intensify their war on Israel--and the West."
From The Jerusalem Post: Chirac: Israel has gone too far.
French President Jacques Chirac castigated Israel for its military offensive in Lebanon on Friday, calling it "totally disproportionate," while he and other European leaders expressed fears of a widening Middle East conflict that could spiral out of control.
Referring to Israel's attacks Friday on Lebanon's international airport and other transport links, the latest in a three-day offensive, Chirac asked aloud whether Lebanon's destruction was not the ultimate goal.
"One could ask if today there is not a sort of will to destroy Lebanon, its equipment, its roads, its communication," Chirac said during an interview in the garden of the presidential Elysee Palace to mark Bastille Day, the French national holiday.
From Russia to Spain, leaders voiced concern at the escalation of the conflict, with Lebanon now drawn into the spiral of violence that has long been the mark of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.
In Russia, President Vladimir Putin called on all sides to stand down.
"All the sides that are involved in the conflict must immediately cease military action," he said before a G-8 summit this weekend in St. Peterburg. ...
In Spain, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero warned Israel that it was "making a mistake" to attack Lebanon and said that both the EU and the United Nations must secure "an immediate cessation of the hostilities."
"One thing is defense, which is legitimate, and another is a counteroffensive of widespread attack," Zapatero told Punto Radio. "It won't bring anything other than an escalation of violence."
The Vatican, the seat of the Roman Catholic church, echoed that remark - and the fear of a widening conflict.
"In fact, the right to defense on the part of a country does not exempt it from respecting norms of international law above all for that which concerns the safety of the civilian population," said a statement by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican's No. 2 official.
Pope Benedict XVI was following the situation, the statement said, warning that it risks "degenerating into a conflict with international repercussions."
From FoxNews: G8 Leaders Agree on Statement About Mideast Fighting.
Leaders of the world's wealthiest nations agreed Sunday that three Israeli soldiers kidnapped by terror groups must be returned as a first order of business, and that all sides must put down their arms to resolve a conflict that is tearing up both Lebanon and Israel's northern region.
Members of the Group of Eight, the world's industrialized nations and Russia, issued a consensus statement that they say sends a "strong message" on the Mideast crisis.
UPDATE I: Bush is still ridiculously urging "restraint" from Israel, but at least we're sending them jet fuel for their warplanes.
UPDATE II -- July 17: Some critics of our inclusion of the Pope in this cartoon are trying to distance the Pope from the comments of Cardinal Sodano. But this news report quotes the Pope as follows:
"In recent days the news from the Holy Land is a reason for new and grave concern for all, in particular because of the spread of warlike actions also in Lebanon, and because of the numerous victims among the civilian population." ...
"But neither terrorist acts nor reprisals, especially when they entail tragic consequences for the civilian population, can be justified," he said. "By such paths, as bitter experience shows, positive results are not achieved."
UPDATE III: A very relevant observation at Tigerhawk that I think also applies Israeli strikes in Lebanon. (via Alan Fang)
There has been some complaint about Israel's reactions in Gaza as "asymmetrical." Those complaints are, frankly, silly. Military actions in war are meant to be asymmetrical and lead to victory. They are not meant to be measured to achieve a stalemate.
UPDATE IV: Via LGF, at Tale of Two Demonstrations:
From Atlas Shrugged: Stand With Israel Rally in New York City Overwhelming
From Reuters: Marchers chant "death to Israel" at Berlin landmark
UPDATE V -- July 21: More from Pope Benedict XVI: Pope makes new appeal for peace in Middle East.
"In reality, the Lebanese have the right to see the integrity and sovereignty of their country respected, the Israelis the right to live in peace in their State, and the Palestinians have the right to have their own free and sovereign homeland," a message from Pope Benedict read, as released by the Vatican Information Services on Thursday.
The Lebanese surrendered their sovereignty when they continued allowing a terrorist state to exist within their borders. Palestinians leadership has never demonstrated that they would create anything but a terrorist state, and they have no right to that.
UPDATE VI -- July 26: From LA Daily News: Vatican heaping blame on Israel counterproductive. (hat tip Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi)
It is incumbent upon the pope to advocate a peaceful solution, but realism tells us that Islamic militants - feeling that their acts of terror are God's bidding - will not sit down at the negotiation table and broker an agreement with the infidels. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah does not lead his followers in chants of "Peace treaty now!" but in a chorus of "Death to America!" and "Death to Israel!"
Posted by Forkum at July 16, 2006 07:19 PM