Friday, January 9, 2009

Meet "The Captain"

I want everyone meet "The Captain," as he will be called. And no, he's not Ed Morrissey.

This week, while trying to put together what would have been The Obligatory Gaza Post, I thought about how much better-positioned he is to comment on that situation than I am, especially about whether the Israeli actions in response to Hamas are "proportional." Because whether during his former career in the Navy, his current career in the defense industry, or his repeated trips to Israel and the rest of the Middle East, this man has "Been There, Done That" more than anyone I know.

Then I thought it would be much more worthwhile to simply turn this whole post over to him:

The Israelis I know (it's a somewhat right-wing-skewed sample, admittedly) are weary but resolute. Weary of the gullible (or propagandizing) reports. Weary of the attacks on Israeli people, most of which who are not in uniform, but who happen to be at the wrong place/time. And weary of the UN forces who allow the avowed enemies of Israel to traffic in arms in plain view.

But the resolve is there. Despite the Israelis who want to still "give peace a chance," the ones who are determined to save as much of Israel and as many Israeli lives as possible remain committed to taking action when it is necessary. And they don't count the toll from Hamas rockets versus the toll from Israeli military strikes as being the only numbers on the ledger. No, unfortunately for Hamas (and Gazans), when Israel strikes at Hamas sites (even the ones specifically located inside or adjacent to civilians), they are remembering the Israelis killed by homicide bombers, the Israeli lives snuffed by the Pakistani assassins in Mumbai (you did see that the Jewish center there was their primary target, right? not the hotels? not the railway station?), and all the other Jews killed by Muslims. Because Islamic leaders continue to call for Muslims to kill all the Jews. Fire up new ovens. Develop nuclear weaponry. Have the same sort of "innocent" women and children become explosive-laden martyrs in search of any Jews.

"Collateral" damage is a horrific term. I never allowed my people to use it. It removes the pain from the description of innocents killed unintentionally or ignorantly. The Israeli people realize that in this type of "asymmetric" conflict, previously in Lebanon, now in Gaza, those who hide their weapons and themselves amidst non-combatants, in mosques and hospitals and other places usually respected as sanctuaries...those hidden combatants and their weapons must be sought out. And in so doing, the innocents will almost certainly be harmed. That Israeli pain is dulled by now, but it is still pain. The skewed (or malicious) reporting will happen, and it will only make the pain worse. But Israel is a manifestation of resolve, and unless it collapses in whole, unless the genocide succeeds in full, the resolve will never end.

Just like the debate over proportionality, a subset of this asymmetric war.