Wednesday, January 25, 2006

"I saw nothing in the movie to justify the claim that it seeks to establish the moral equivalence of terrorist killings of civilians and Israeli retaliations. While the movie includes an emotional exchange between a Palestinian terrorist and and the leader of the israeli counterterrorism team about the the moral claims of their respective national struggles, the focus of Munich is on members of israeli assassination teams and their mounting doubts about their assignment and what it may be doing to their values and personal lives...

The Issue of moral equivalence is raised by the critics, not the movie. But their assertion that of the 'absolute evil' of targeting innocent civilians, an assertion that I fully agree with, does not necessarily justify their conclusion about the moral difference between Palestinian and Israeli behavior... Wieseltier himself notes that "over the years more civilians have been killed in Israeli air strikes than in the palestinian atrocities that provoked the air strikes."
Henry Siegman, The Killing Equation, in the NYRB
It may be thought better, in view of the allegations of 'barbarity' of air attacks, to preserve appearances by formulating milder rules and by still nominally confining bombardment to targets which are strictly military in character avoid emphasizing the truth that air warfare has made such restrictions obsolete and impossible. it may be some time until another war occurs and meanwhile the public may become educated as to the meaning of air power.
Rules as to Bombardment by Aircraft, 1921. Quoted in Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Extremes.
The targeted killing of civilians is one of the hallmarks of modern war, and there is no moral equivalence between Israelis and Palestinians. Palestinians have the upper hand and nothing Hezbollah and Hamas have done has tipped the scales.

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