We killed 57 civilians in the Lebanese village Kfar Kana today. That’s about a two-day toll in Iraq and next to nothing in Sudan, Algeria, Afghanistan, or other war-torn Muslim countries. The Iran-Iraqi war took millions of lives, and scores of other intra-Arab wars killed more than 100,000 civilians each. The Allies had no reservations about bombing German and Japanese cities. The Lebanese cheered Hezbollah attacks on Jewish population centers. Palestinian suicide bombers specifically target Israeli civilians. So why should Israel behave any differently? Beside, the Israeli army did every thing possible to spare civilians. They were given hours to leave the villages that hosted Hezbollah fighters. In effect, Israel agreed to let the guerillas escape along with the villagers to avoid killing civilians.
Kfar Kana’s villagers stupidly stayed put and hid not in a bomb shelter, as the media has it, but in a basement. No reasonable person would hide in the basement of a house targeted for aerial attack. Israel made no mistake; the locals did.
Whether or not that Hezbollah provoked Israel to bomb Kfar Kana does not matter. Israel acted within the normal limits of war. It need not offer pitiful excuses and ask for forgiveness. Wars are about killing. The moral cripples from Peace Now at Israel’s helm embarrass the country, demoralize the army, and lose the war.