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Thread: Terrific Article: What Would Proportionate Response Look Like

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    Terrific Article: What Would Proportionate Response Look Like

    From Michael Totten:

    [quote][B][URL="http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/totten/48542"]What Would a Proportionate Response Look Like?[/URL][/B]

    [URL="http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/category/contentions?author_name=totten"]Michael J. Totten[/URL] - 12.30.2008 - 11:19 PM [I]“If someone was sending rockets on my house where my daughters were sleeping at night, I would do everything to stop it, and I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.” – President-elect Barack Obama[/I]

    Now that Hamas’s long war against Israel is matched with a short war in Gaza, protests are erupting everywhere from the blogosphere and Arab capitals to the United Nations, and they began on the very first day. [I]Salon.com[/I] [URL="http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/12/28/peretz/index.html"]blogger Glenn Greenwald[/URL] calls the Israeli retaliation to more than a year of rocket attacks a “massively disproportionate response.” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [URL="http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/middleeast/news/article_1450541.php/LEADALL_Violence_death_toll_escalate_in_Israel-Gaza_conflict_"]Navi Pillay[/URL] “strongly condemned Israel’s disproportionate use of force.” [B]The Israeli counterattack is, indeed, disproportionate, but it could hardly be otherwise. “At last count,” [URL="http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/thayer/48162"]J.G. Thayer wrote[/URL], “one Israeli and two Palestinians (sisters, ages 13 and 5) died from rocket attacks. So a proportionate response, one presumes, would have required Israel to kill a single Palestinian and two of its own citizens.”[/B]

    There were, I suppose, other “proportionate” responses available aside from killing one Palestinian and two Israelis. [B]The Israel Defense Forces might have launched thousands of air strikes against targets in Gaza to match the thousands of Qassam rockets fired at the cities of Sderot and Ashkelon. It’s unlikely, however, that this is what Israel’s critics have in mind.

    So what do they have in mind? What would a legitimate and “proportionate” response actually look like? Surely they don’t believe Israel should scrap its sophisticated weapons systems, build Qassam rockets, and launch those at Gaza instead.[/B]

    The “disproportionate response” crowd doesn’t seem to mind that Israel struck back at Hamas [I]per se[/I]. They aren’t saying Israel should only be allowed to negotiate with its enemies or that any use of force whatsoever is wrong. They’re clearly saying Israel should use less force, inflict less damage, or both.

    One problem here is that it’s not at all clear how they think Israelis should go about doing it. [B]The weapons used by each side can’t be the same. No one has ever said Israel ought to put its superior weapons systems in cold storage until Hamas can develop or purchase something similar. Presumably Israel is allowed to use its superior technology as long as the casualty count on each side is proportionate.[/B]

    But how would that work in practice? A single Israeli air strike is going to kill at least as many people as Hamas can kill in twelve months.[B] Does that mean Israel should be given a “license” of one air strike per year to use in the war?[/B] [B]If IDF commanders want to take out a target where they expect five Hamas leaders or fighters to be killed, do they have to wait until five Israelis are killed first? If the Israelis endure rocket fire until one civilian is killed, do they get a “kill one Palestinian terrorist” coupon?[/B]

    If strict proportionality isn’t necessary, what are the limits? If the Israelis kill two Palestinians for every Israeli that’s killed, is that okay? Or is doubling the number of casualties on each side too unfair to the Palestinians?
    [B]No army in the history of human civilization has ever hamstrung itself with these kind of restrictions in wartime, but let’s leave that aside for the moment and assume the IDF should be the first[/B]. Maybe Israeli commanders will be swayed by the legion of bloggers, Arab street radicals, and United Nations apparatchiks. [B]What, precisely, should be the limits and rules of proportionate war? If critics expect to be taken seriously, they will need to advise.[/B]
    [/quote]

  2. #2
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    That is a good article with some great points. Although totally inappropriate I did laugh when I read this:

    [QUOTE]The Israeli counterattack is, indeed, disproportionate, but it could hardly be otherwise. “At last count,” J.G. Thayer wrote, “one Israeli and two Palestinians (sisters, ages 13 and 5) died from rocket attacks. So a proportionate response, one presumes, would have required Israel to kill a single Palestinian and two of its own citizens.”[/QUOTE]

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    Good article. Terrorism does indeed "hamstring" superior forces who are self-obligated by morals to inflict as little collateral damage as possible. That is exactly why inferior militant groups use it...it is basically their only course of action "militarily":rolleyes: to use against a well-armed enemy.

    I have too very poorly thought out ideas. The following metaphor sucks, I know. Gang activity in inner American cities could almost be compared to acts of terrorism. Home invasion, shootings, drive by's etc...very terrorizing things if you happen to live there. I seriously doubt that US military would call air strikes in on Compton to effectively cure the problem. Just a guess.

    2.) B.) Whatever. Who makes these weapons the terrorists use? Do they manufacture them in their basements? What about all their AK's? Weapons manufacturers make a killing selling weapons to people who then in turn sell them to terrorists. Bomb the weapons facilities. Bomb the training camps. Kill the arms dealers.

  4. #4
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    Your article links to another good one. It makes some great points:

    [QUOTE]The Proportionality Trap
    J.G. Thayer - 12.28.2008 - 9:34 AM
    As predicted, Hamas and members of the Arab world are condemning Israel’s current attacks on Gaza as “disproportionate,” meaning “excessive.” And they do have a purely mathematical point — during the recent bombardments of Israel from the Gaza Strip, casualties have been light. At last count, one Israeli and two Palestinians (sisters, ages 13 and 5) died from in rocket attacks. So a proportionate response, one presumes, would have required Israel to kill a single Palestinian and two of its own citizens.

    There is a more fundamental problem here: the notion that Israel’s response (or, indeed, the response of any nation in a similar situation) should be “proportionate” to the provocation. And that is a horrific fallacy.

    The notion that one should only respond to an attack with roughly the same force used by the aggressor is based on some fatally flawed presumptions.

    The first is that the aggressor can be expected to respond in a rational manner. In this case, the presumption is that Hamas is actually interested in a peaceful solution and mutually beneficial situation. That is provably false. One need only look at Hamas’s charter and the group’s words and deeds to see that it is unabashedly dedicated to the absolute destruction of Israel.

    The second fallacy is more subtle. The point of a “proportional” response is that it is intended to end the current hostilities and return to the status quo. And in this case, it implies that the status quo prior to the provocations was acceptable.

    Hamas speaks of a “truce,” but their definition of a “truce” is one that no one else would recognize as valid. It consisted of a steady, constant bombardment of Israel by rocket and mortar shells. When they declared the truce to be at an end, they escalated the attacks, which in turn prompted Israel’s air strikes. Had Israel restrained itself to a “proportional” attack, then it would have been saying that the prior status quo — the rocket and mortar attacks reduced to one or two a day — was acceptable.

    No, by striking as hard as they did Israel is sending a different message. And it’s, in an odd way, more respectful of Hamas than a “proportionate” response would have been. Israel is saying, in effect, “you are the legitimate government of the Gaza Strip, and we are holding you to the same standard as we would the government of any other nation. And when a nation declares war on us and commits acts of war against us, we respond by waging war on them.”

    Hamas now finds itself having to argue before the world that it didn’t really mean all the things it said and did, that it doesn’t want to be treated that way, and that Israel needs to be restrained from further attacks.

    And, sadly, there are enough nations in the world who will side with them.
    [/QUOTE]

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    [quote=PlumberKhan;2946071]Good article. Terrorism does indeed "hamstring" superior forces who are self-obligated by morals to inflict as little collateral damage as possible. That is exactly why inferior militant groups use it...it is basically their only course of action "militarily":rolleyes: to use against a well-armed enemy.

    I have too very poorly thought out ideas. The following metaphor sucks, I know. Gang activity in inner American cities could almost be compared to acts of terrorism. Home invasion, shootings, drive by's etc...very terrorizing things if you happen to live there. I seriously doubt that US military would call air strikes in on Compton to effectively cure the problem. Just a guess.[/quote]

    The difference being that gangs tend not to do things like fire rockets or bomb malls, and even drive bys tend to be inter- or intra-gang warfare. Hard on people caught in the cross-fire, of course, but not quite on the same level. Throw in the fact that the people the government has an obligation to protect from the gangs are the ones who'd be hurt by an airstrike . . . and the situations aren't really all that comparable.

    [quote]2.) B.) Whatever. Who makes these weapons the terrorists use? Do they manufacture them in their basements? What about all their AK's? Weapons manufacturers make a killing selling weapons to people who then in turn sell them to terrorists. Bomb the weapons facilities. Bomb the training camps. Kill the arms dealers.[/quote]

    For a lot of the weapons, the terrorists do manufacture them in their basements. Or in university labs. Or smuggled in through tunnels under the border. And Israel has been bombing the weapons facilities, weapons makers, training camps, smuggling tunnels . . . the problem is that Hamas tends to locate them in civilian areas, so they are all but impossible to hit without at least some collateral damage. And so, when Israel does exactly what you suggest (which, btw, is what they're doing in Gaza now) they get protests and world condemnation and cries for restraint.

    The other issue is that one of Hamas (and Hezbollah's) main arms suppliers is Iran. And given that, "kill the arms dealers" isn't quite so simple.

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    The main problem with his article (there are many) and what many people here fail to acknowledge is that just like people say Israel has every right to respond to acts of aggression by Gaza, The Gazans also have the same right to respond to the Israeli aggression. Sure Palestinians indescriminantly lob these pathetic missles with disregard to human life (kinda like when Israel blocks the flow of food and medicine directly hurting Palestinian civilians) and do not target Israeli military targets, the answer to why they do this is quite simple...they cant. Their lack of military military sophistication does not enable them to do so.

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    [quote=kennyo7;2946955]The main problem with his article (there are many) and what many people here fail to acknowledge is that just like people say Israel has every right to respond to acts of aggression by Gaza, The Gazans also have the same right to respond to the Israeli aggression. Sure Palestinians indescriminantly lob these pathetic missles with disregard to human life (kinda like when Israel blocks the flow of food and medicine directly hurting Palestinian civilians) and do not target Israeli military targets, the answer to why they do this is quite simple...they cant. Their lack of military military sophistication does not enable them to do so.[/quote]

    First of all, Kenny, that's bull****. Sderot has no military targets whatsoever, yet its pounded by mortars and missiles daily. Its not accidental, its deliberate - the same way walking into a cafe and pulling the cord on an explosive belt is deliberately targeting civilians. I guess you had no problem with Hamas doing that either, huh? Come on, Kenny, don't be a coward - if its what you believe, stand up and say so proudly.

    Second, even if that were true, it doesn't excuse it. Saying "well, I can only kill women and children" doesn't make killing them legal, moral, or justifiable.

    Third, you're ignoring the point of the article - which is that Israel clearly has a right to defend its citizens against an enemy lobbing rockets at Israeli civilians. So to the people who criticize the Israeli response as "disproportionate" or "excessive", the question becomes "well, what amount of force do you consider reasonable" - and those people have no coherent response.

    Of course you, Kenny, are a totally different animal. You think that the Palestinians are perfectly allowed to attack as many Israeli citizens as they want, and Israel is not allowed to use any force at all in response. Which I suppose immunizes you from having to answer that question. At the same time, it immunizes you from persuading anyone to your point of view.

    I guess that's a fair trade

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    [QUOTE=doggin94it;2947065]First of all, Kenny, that's bull****. Sderot has no military targets whatsoever, yet its pounded by mortars and missiles daily. Its not accidental, its deliberate - the same way walking into a cafe and pulling the cord on an explosive belt is deliberately targeting civilians. I guess you had no problem with Hamas doing that either, huh? Come on, Kenny, don't be a coward - if its what you believe, stand up and say so proudly.

    Second, even if that were true, it doesn't excuse it. Saying "well, I can only kill women and children" doesn't make killing them legal, moral, or justifiable.

    Third, you're ignoring the point of the article - which is that Israel clearly has a right to defend its citizens against an enemy lobbing rockets at Israeli civilians. So to the people who criticize the Israeli response as "disproportionate" or "excessive", the question becomes "well, what amount of force do you consider reasonable" - and those people have no coherent response.

    Of course you, Kenny, are a totally different animal. You think that the Palestinians are perfectly allowed to attack as many Israeli citizens as they want, and Israel is not allowed to use any force at all in response. Which I suppose immunizes you from having to answer that question. At the same time, it immunizes you from persuading anyone to your point of view.

    I guess that's a fair trade[/QUOTE]

    As long as Israel continues its oppression of the people of Gaza, they have every right to offer a resistance. Even if it is a violent resistance.

    Why cant you understand that Hamas doesnt have the capability to hit Israeli military targets. If they did, they would. Hamas and the entire military force of every Arab nation combined could not come close to even offering Israels military machine any match. Its just not close. Sderot is an easy target logistically for whatever pathetic offensive capabilities Gaza/Hamas has. The reason nations resort to these tactics including suicide missions is because its the only offensive they have. If Palestine had a military of any significance they would not resort to such pathetic desperate acts. Thats what the Palestinians are...they are desperate. Desperate nations resort to desperate means.

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    [QUOTE=doggin94it;2947065]

    Third, you're ignoring the point of the article - which is that Israel clearly has a right to defend its citizens against an enemy lobbing rockets at Israeli civilians. So to the people who criticize the Israeli response as "disproportionate" or "excessive", the question becomes "well, what amount of force do you consider reasonable" - and those people have no coherent response.

    [/QUOTE]

    Im not ignoring Israels right to defend its citizens. It is you who are ignoring Palestinians right to defend itself against Israeli oppression.

    And BTW, i am not a "different animal" . My view point is shared by just about every nation in the world, including many Israelis. It is you my friend who is in the minority and truly represent a "different animal". Only the AIPAC bribed/blackmailed USA and radical expansionist Israeli Right shares your viewpoint.

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    [quote=kennyo7;2946955]The main problem with his article (there are many) and what many people here fail to acknowledge is that just like people say Israel has every right to respond to acts of aggression by Gaza, The Gazans also have the same right to respond to the Israeli aggression. Sure Palestinians indescriminantly lob these pathetic missles with disregard to human life (kinda like when Israel blocks the flow of food and medicine directly hurting Palestinian civilians) and do not target Israeli military targets, the answer to why they do this is quite simple...they cant. Their lack of military military sophistication does not enable them to do so.[/quote]

    One more thing - you appear to be inverting the timeline (shocking, that).

    Israel evacuated Gaza by late August 2005. Israel imposed a closure on Gaza beginning in June 2007. In the interim, Israel suffered many mortar and rocket attacks, including about 970 in 2006 alone.

    [IMG]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/5/54/Number_of_Morter_and_Rocket_Attacks_2001_to_early_2008V2.jpg/800px-Number_of_Morter_and_Rocket_Attacks_2001_to_early_2008V2.jpg[/IMG]

    Of course, given your logic in the past, I assume the Palestinians were firing those rockets because they knew Israel was going to blockade Gaza anyway, right? :rolleyes:

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    When we were kids, we had enough sense NOT to antagonize kids that could beat the tar out of us. Hamas and other terrorists groups depend on the notion of proportionate response and feign outrage when they feel "overly aggressed upon."

    Give me a break. The response is proportionate in the sense that first the terrorist said that their reason for firing rockets was worth the shedding of innocent, civilian blood. Israel's response is the same.

    Under the terrorist's philosophy of fair play (what an oxymoron that is), the kids who can beat the tar out of them don;t have the right to - no matter how many times they instigate.

    We used to have a nasty little poodle mix in our neighborhood. It would nip at our heels as we rode our bikes and bark incessantly - charge at you and bare its teeth. For the sake of the discussion, it even bit some kids and drew innocent blood. One day when I was about 14, my German Shepherd got out and I was chasing it up the block. Low and behold the nasty little poo mix charges out and starts barking like a maniac. Our shepherd bit him on the hind quarters, held on and repeatedly lifted the poo mix way up over his head and slammed it into the road. After a few slams and blood everywhere, Gino just dropped the dead dog in the middle of the road and went about his business. It was horrific to watch.

    But there were no more problems in the neighborhood. While every one might not have lived happily ever after and dog fights might break out to this day, for a time there was peace. Surely another aggressive yippy mutt will come along. Hopefully that one will not have to learn the hard way....

    But if you want to mess with the big dogs ................

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    [quote=kennyo7;2947089]As long as Israel continues its oppression of the people of Gaza, they have every right to offer a resistance. Even if it is a violent resistance.

    Why cant you understand that Hamas doesnt have the capability to hit Israeli military targets. If they did, they would. Hamas and the entire military force of every Arab nation combined could not come close to even offering Israels military machine any match. Its just not close. Sderot is an easy target logistically for whatever pathetic offensive capabilities Gaza/Hamas has. The reason nations resort to these tactics including suicide missions is because its the only offensive they have. If Palestine had a military of any significance they would not resort to such pathetic desperate acts. Thats what the Palestinians are...they are desperate. Desperate nations resort to desperate means.[/quote]

    Again, just come out and say it: in your view, Hamas is perfectly allowed to deliberately murder Israeli noncombatants, including women and children.

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    [quote=kennyo7;2947098]Im not ignoring Israels right to defend its citizens. It is you who are ignoring Palestinians right to defend itself against Israeli oppression.

    And BTW, i am not a "different animal" . My view point is shared by just about every nation in the world, including many Israelis. It is you my friend who is in the minority and truly represent a "different animal". Only the AIPAC bribed/blackmailed USA and radical expansionist Israeli Right shares your viewpoint.[/quote]

    Yes, only the "radical expansionist Israeli Right" shares my viewpoint that Israel should offer the Palestinians a state on all of the west bank and Gaza, with shared sovereignty over Jerusalem, before Palestinian cessation of violence (but with a "clawback" if violence continues). Yup, Kenny, your knowledge of the Israeli Right seems pretty deep :rolleyes: (You know, I'd say "you don't know what I think" - except I've explained that particular POV to you about 12 times, and you just don't care about reality. You have your propaganda points to make - AIPAC! LIKUD! RADICAL RIGHT! GREATER ISRAEL! ITS ALL ISRAELS FAULT! - and by God, piddly little things like reality aren't going to prevent you from making them :shakehead)

    BTW - Bribed/Blackmailed USA? Yep, those damn jews control everything, huh?

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    [QUOTE=doggin94it;2947125]Again, just come out and say it: in your view, Hamas is perfectly allowed to deliberately murder Israeli noncombatants, including women and children.[/QUOTE]

    Doggin.......... Kenny, it seems, thinks one can apply whatever standard one thinks is fair. Oppressed = attack back and kill women, children, civilians.

    Under such logic, Israel has ever right to respond with whatever might they deem fit to right the "oppression" or aggression of the attacks. Heck, bin Laden could think of any involvement in his nation's activities as justification for bombing the WTC.

    Case closed. They can both have the right to do as they see fit.

    Basic history class ........ a nation ALWAYS acts in its own best self interest.
    Last edited by JCnflies; 12-31-2008 at 07:44 PM.

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    If a comet ever hits the earth, I sure do hope it lands in the Middle East. The world wouldn't be a worse place for the loss, frankly.

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    [QUOTE=doggin94it;2947110]One more thing - you appear to be inverting the timeline (shocking, that).

    Israel evacuated Gaza by late August 2005. Israel imposed a closure on Gaza beginning in June 2007. In the interim, Israel suffered many mortar and rocket attacks, including about 970 in 2006 alone.

    [IMG]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/5/54/Number_of_Morter_and_Rocket_Attacks_2001_to_early_2008V2.jpg/800px-Number_of_Morter_and_Rocket_Attacks_2001_to_early_2008V2.jpg[/IMG]

    Of course, given your logic in the past, I assume the Palestinians were firing those rockets because they knew Israel was going to blockade Gaza anyway, right? :rolleyes:[/QUOTE]

    You are kidding right??
    That is but one of many blockades imposed on Gaza by Israel. Israel has been interfering with Gazas normal everyday livelihood for years. Its about Israels opression of Gaza not one specific blockade. Maybe if you felt what being oppressed by another nation you would understand. But since you belong with the oppressors, naturally, you dont get it.

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    [QUOTE=kennyo7;2947234]You are kidding right??
    That is but one of many blockades imposed on Gaza by Israel. Israel has been interfering with Gazas normal everyday livelihood for years. Its about Israels opression of Gaza not one specific blockade. Maybe if you felt what being oppressed by another nation you would understand. But since you belong with the oppressors, naturally, you dont get it.[/QUOTE]

    Israel has no clue what it is to be oppressed by other nations. They were barely out of the birth canal before they were attacked.

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    [QUOTE=JCnflies;2947224]Doggin.......... Kenny, it seems, thinks one can apply whatever standard one thinks is fair. Oppressed = attack back and kill women, children, civilians.

    Under such logic, Israel has ever right to respond with whatever might they deem fit to right the "oppression" or aggression of the attacks.

    Case closed. They can both have the right to do as they see fit.

    Basic history class ........ a nation ALWAYS acts in its own best self interest.[/QUOTE]

    So how do you fight against an oppressor who has the support of the worlds only super power and never has to answer for its actions??

    You are right, though, a nation always acts in its own self interest. But that doesnt mean you are immune to criticism from the worlds other nations.

  19. #19
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    [quote=kennyo7;2947234]You are kidding right??
    That is but one of many blockades imposed on Gaza by Israel. Israel has been interfering with Gazas normal everyday livelihood for years. Its about Israels opression of Gaza not one specific blockade. Maybe if you felt what being oppressed by another nation you would understand. But since you belong with the oppressors, naturally, you dont get it.[/quote]

    Yes, you're absolutely right. As a jew, I have no notion of what being oppressed means or how people might react to it. :rolleyes:

  20. #20
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    [quote=kennyo7;2947238]So how do you fight against an oppressor who has the support of the worlds only super power and never has to answer for its actions??

    You are right, though, a nation always acts in its own self interest. But that doesnt mean you are immune to criticism from the worlds other nations.[/quote]


    Again, even ignoring the absurd distortions of reality in your post:

    Option A: Civil Disobedience
    Option B: Peaceful Protest
    Option C: Attack Military Targets

    Not an option: Murder noncombatants, including women and children.

    BTW, I'm still waiting for it - why won't you just come out and say you have no objection to Hamas blowing up cafes, buses, schools, and whatever other civilians they can reach?

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