July 31, 2006

Article by Charles Krauthammer

Life in an Orwellian universe
By Charles Krauthammer

Israel's moral scrupulousness is being paid in blood - and
yet they're still branded as evil personified What other country, when
attacked in an unprovoked aggression across a recognized
international frontier, is then put on a countdown clock by
the world, given a limited time window in which to fight
back, regardless of whether it has restored its own

What other country sustains 1,500 indiscriminate rocket
attacks into its cities - every one designed to kill, maim
and terrorize civilians - and is then vilified by the world
when it tries to destroy the enemy's infrastructure and
strongholds with precision-guided munitions that sometimes
have the unintended but unavoidable consequence of
collateral civilian death and suffering?

Hearing the world pass judgment on the
Israel-Hezbollah war as it unfolds is to live in an
Orwellian moral universe. With a few significant exceptions
(the leadership of the United States, Britain, Australia,
Canada and a very few others), the world - governments, the
media, U.N. bureaucrats - has completely lost its moral

The word that obviates all thinking and magically inverts
victim into aggressor is "disproportionate,"
as in the universally decried "disproportionate Israeli

When the United States was attacked at Pearl Harbor, it did
not respond with a parallel "proportionate"
attack on a Japanese naval base. It launched a four-year
campaign that killed millions of Japanese, reduced Tokyo,
Hiroshima and Nagasaki to a cinder, and turned the Japanese
home islands to rubble and ruin.
Disproportionate? No. When one is wantonly attacked by an
aggressor, one has every right - legal and moral - to carry
the fight until the aggressor is disarmed and so disabled
that it cannot threaten one's security again. That's what it
took with Japan.

Britain was never invaded by Germany in World War II.
Did it respond to the blitz and V-1 and V-2 rockets with
"proportionate" aerial bombardment of Germany? Of course
not. Churchill orchestrated the greatest land invasion in
history that flattened and utterly destroyed Germany,
killing untold innocent German women and children in the

The perversity of today's international outcry lies in the
fact that there is indeed a disproportion in this war, a
radical moral asymmetry between Hezbollah and
Israel: Hezbollah is deliberately trying to create civilian
casualties on both sides while Israel is deliberately trying
to minimize civilian casualties, also on both sides.
In perhaps the most blatant terror campaign from the air
since the London blitz, Hezbollah is raining rockets on
Israeli cities and villages. These rockets are packed with
ball bearings that can penetrate automobiles and shred human
flesh. They are meant to kill and maim. And they do.
But it is a dual campaign. Israeli innocents must die in
order for Israel to be terrorized. But Lebanese innocents
must also die in order for Israel to be demonized, which is
why Hezbollah hides its fighters, its rockets, its
launchers, its entire infrastructure among civilians.
Creating human shields is a war crime. It is also a
Hezbollah specialty.

On Wednesday, CNN cameras showed destruction in Tyre.
What does Israel have against Tyre and its inhabitants?
Nothing. But the long-range Hezbollah rockets that have been
raining terror on Haifa are based in Tyre. What is Israel to
do? Leave untouched the launch sites that are deliberately
placed in built-up areas?

Had Israel wanted to destroy Lebanese civilian
infrastructure, it would have turned out the lights in
Beirut in the first hour of the war, destroying the
billion-dollar power grid and setting back Lebanon 20 years.
It did not do that. Instead, it attacked dual-use
infrastructure - bridges, roads, airport runways - and
blockaded Lebanon's ports to prevent the reinforcement and
resupply of Hezbollah. Ten-thousand Katyusha rockets are
enough. Israel was not going to allow Hezbollah 10,000 more.
Israel's response to Hezbollah has been to use the most
precise weaponry and targeting it can. It has no interest,
no desire to kill Lebanese civilians. Does anyone imagine
that it could not have leveled south Lebanon, to say nothing
of Beirut? Instead, in the bitter fight against Hezbollah in
south Lebanon, it has repeatedly dropped leaflets, issued
warnings, sent messages by radio and even phone text to
Lebanese villagers to evacuate so that they would not be
Israel knows that these leaflets and warnings give the
Hezbollah fighters time to escape and regroup. The advance
notification as to where the next attack is coming has
allowed Hezbollah to set up elaborate ambushes. The result?
Unexpectedly high Israeli infantry casualties. Moral
scrupulousness paid in blood. Israeli soldiers die so that
Lebanese civilians will not, and who does the international
community condemn for disregarding civilian life?

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