Terrorist Violence Is All The Same

Violence is Violence

Violence is Violence

In October 2000, at the beginning of the current phase of the Palestinian war against Israel, more than 40 retired American Admirals and Generals signed a statement developed in conjunction with JINSA. The statement has been in the news recently, so we took another look at it. We discovered, of course, that American forces in Iraq are facing some of the same bestial human behavior that Israel continues to face – suicide bombers (willing and unwilling), military installations amid civilian neighborhoods, ammunition and weapons in schools and hospitals. And American forces are responding much like the IDF – with “remarkable restraint.”

We are pleased that the US has undertaken to learn from Israel, but dismayed that some of the lessons are late in reaching our troops. A suicide bomber killed four Americans with a bomb under his shirt; standard practice in Israel is to have suspects strip to the waist. Yet we continue to choose our targets to minimize civilian casualties, continue to choose not to return fire into civilian areas or religious sites. Even the media has begun to report on the high standards of coalition troops and their respect for the population of Iraq – would that Israel could get the same fair treatment.

The democracies surely are fighting the same war on different fronts.

The Statement

“We, the undersigned, believe that during the current upheavals in Israel,the Israel Defense Forces have exercised remarkable restraint in the face of lethal violence orchestrated by the leadership of a Palestinian Authority that deliberately pushes civilians and young people to the front lines.

“We are appalled by the Palestinian political and military leadership that teaches children the mechanics of war while filling their heads with hate.We are appalled by Palestinian ‘military commanders’ who place armed adults amid civilian rioters, including children, and then callously use the inevitable casualties as grist for their propaganda mill. The behavior of those Palestinians, who use civilians as soldiers in a war, is a perversion of military ethics.

“What makes the US-Israel security relationship one of mutual benefit is the combination of military capabilities and shared political values – freedom,democracy and the rule of law. Yitzhak Rabin said one can only make peace with one’s enemies. But the enemy must have decided to put down his weapons – rocks as well as rifles – and make peace in good faith. The Palestinian-initiated violence in Israel strongly tells us that the necessary good faith is sorely lacking on the Palestinian side.

“America’s responsibility as a friend to Israel, the only country in the Middle East that shares our democratic and humanitarian values, should never yield to America’s role as a facilitator in this process. Friends don’t leave friends on the battlefield.”

Enough said.