Sunday, August 27, 2006

Equations of Death

Now that the deadly, bloody fighting of the Lebanese-Israeli conflict seems to have settled down and the criiticisms of the Israeli leadership are coming from the Israelis themselves (thought not for the reasons we'd like to see but rather that the Israeli forces weren't brutal enough), The Washington Post casts a paean to the Israeli leadership in an attempt to depict them as some body of conflicted souls who really, really feel the pain of every civilian death they cause. Or, at least, Blumenfeld paints former military chief of staff Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon as a man of conscience, which he may well be. As for the rest of them, especially head of Shin Bet, Avi Dichter, they come across as mindless in their approach to the conflict.

But I wonder if the Israeli leadership hear how they sound when some of their consideration in the program of "targeted killing" involves this sort of reasoning:
They also asked a mathematician to write a formula to determine acceptable civilian casualties per dead terrorist.
Admittedly, a difficult task that. Determining an acceptable kill ratio is something the Israelis have apparently never quite figured out and, indeed, this is admitted:
How many civilian casualties were acceptable? The mathematician whom the military had enlisted had failed to produce a formula.
I'd like to know who this so-called "mathematician" was, but one thing is clear, he couldn't have been very good. Wasn't this "formula" in eight grade algebra?

I apologise for the facetious tone but how else can one respond to such absurdity? Either the Israeli leadership thinks that engaging such calculus portrays them as empathic or they're simply nuts. Is it not obvious that there is no such fucking formula?


Blogger Kel said...

It's obscene to even search for such a formula. Israelis don't seem to understand that most of us regard "targeted killings" as an obscenity.

They are killing people rather than arresting them and putting them on trial.

Shouldn't that anomaly be obvious to the "nearest thing to a democracy in the Middle East", as they are always being called?

2:38 AM  
Blogger theBhc said...


I'm afraid not, these days. That fact is clearly demonstrated by the Washington Post and its front page praise about how much thought the Israelis put into their assassinations. Like we should all be happy about what a thoughtful bunch of assassins comprise the Israel's government. There is not the slightest notion that maybe "targeted arresting" might be the more legal and preferable way for a country that is touted as the Middle East's only democracy.

10:41 AM  
Blogger Shahid said...

I loved the way you controlled your exasperation until the very last sentence. I will check back here often!

2:31 PM  
Anonymous al-fallujah said...

and this is the only democratic, civilised nation in the middle east right? they're nothing but a bunch of savages like their cousins occupying iraq..but they too have a day of reckoning around the corner

2:52 PM  
Blogger Motherearth2000 said...

How about this, I went on to an Isreali blog trying to understand 'the other side' if you like. One post proclaimed....
Red Cross ambulances were bombed in Lebanon because of suspicians they were being used to transport Hezbollah weapons. I find it abhorrant that any red cross or journalist should put others lives at risk by 'spying or terrorist activities, so I was naturally interested in this story. When later a new post proclaimed this story had been proven. This was the example. The truth was.... The red cross has found some wounded Hezbollah fighters and were transporting them to a nearby hospital. And an accompanying comment? Hah! now we know the red cross were working with the enemy. We were right. They deserved to be bombed... ! Don't they have the hypocratic oath in Israel? I was disgusted but there you are. Presumably this made everyone feel a lot better and was supposed to make me understand the Israel psyche more. I for one am still lost..

3:26 PM  

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