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Monday, May 02, 2011

Do as I say... not as I do!

I hate to rain on anyone's parade... and make no mistake, the death of Osama Bin Laden is certainly parade-worthy... but I find the international chorus of congratulations being offered to the US over the successful termination of this terrorist leader to be just a tad hypocritical.

After all:

  1. It was an extra-judicial killing.
  2. The operation entailed the violation of another country's sovereignty.
  3. The attack risks perpetuating the 'cycle of violence' (there will certainly be revenge attacks on US targets and targets belonging to most/all of the countries offering congratulations).
  4. There were almost certainly others killed in the attack. Is there irrefutable proof that they were combatants?

I mention these uncomfortable, inconvenient facts because when Israel hunts down and kills known/proven terrorists, we are soundly condemned for it.

I guess this is just one more lesson in paternalism that we have to swallow from the US; 'do as I say... not as I do'.

Posted by David Bogner on May 2, 2011 | Permalink


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I did notice how Obama said exactly what we always say, that nothing will come before our own security and we will be relentless in tracking people down. Frustrating.

Posted by: Benji Lovitt | May 2, 2011 1:22:03 PM

Okay, I get it. But I always got it. How do you reach them that don't get it?

You can't.

You can lead a jackass to knowledge, but you can't make him think.

Posted by: antares | May 2, 2011 2:16:15 PM

I did notice that Russia condemned the NATO attack on Qaddafi, saying that it was a disproportionate use of force. At least they are consistent.

Posted by: Sarah | May 2, 2011 2:35:28 PM

just to be " advocatus diabolo".... was the killing of those who perpetrated the munich assasinations comparable...?

Posted by: shabtai | May 2, 2011 3:34:25 PM

Yep. It's frustrating. I second antares.

Posted by: Leah Caruso | May 2, 2011 3:36:39 PM

Benji Lovitt ... Like I said. 'do what I say, not what I do'. Frustrating doesn't even begin to describe it.

antares ... Well said.

Sarah ... Russia and China will never pass up an opportunity to stick their finger in the US' eye.

shabtai... I don't think you read the entire piece... and certainly not in context. I am in favor of extrajudicial killings, even if they take place on someone else's soil... and even if there is acceptably small number of 'collateral damage'. The operation after Munich was, IMHO perfectly OK and achieved most, if not all, of its objectives (assuming revenge and creating deterrence were the prime objectives). I just have a problem with the US and Europe doing it... but condemning us when we do it.

Leah Caruso... I may not always agree with how he says things, but I rarely disagree with what he says.

Posted by: treppenwitz | May 2, 2011 3:44:05 PM

Quite right. What is also troubling is the sizeable group of people in the US who are pleased that it happened under Obama's watch and not Bush's; in fact I have run into a few people who stated that they would have disapproved of it if Bush (or a Republican) was President. The dysfunctional and hypocritical mindset continues to spread, politics trumps principle apparently.

Posted by: robin | May 2, 2011 4:27:32 PM

The next time Israel is castigated over an attack, remember Bin Ladin and the Tripoli bombing,which I heard Norway led under the NATO banner. The critics have no shame,and must be forced to recognize their own hypocrisy.

Posted by: ED | May 2, 2011 4:46:12 PM

Dare I say that the U.S. "condemns" Israel publicly for purely PR purposes... both at home and abroad.

I (personally) would have no problem is Israel issuing a tersely-worded statement condemning our use of lethal force on foreign, sovereign soil. Not that it will gather you much sympathy with Al-Qaeda, but give it a shot.

Posted by: ProphetJoe | May 2, 2011 5:52:28 PM

Israel ought to hire Charlie Sheen to help with Hasbarah.

Posted by: Jack | May 2, 2011 7:30:51 PM

You have a point here!

Posted by: Ilana-Davita | May 2, 2011 9:50:21 PM

"The US" may say certain things, but I think most Americans enjoy sitting back and eating the popcorn whenever Mossad goes and pays somebody a visit. If they had a "beer money for Mossad" initiative like they have "pizza for the IDF", I suspect Mossad would have a really well-stocked liquor cabinet.

Posted by: Maureen | May 3, 2011 12:09:21 AM

That said, I don't think it would be good for the US system of government to pull this kind of thing all the time. But every so often when there's a real need (like Pakistani higher-ups hiding OBL), I think we should do it, just to keep the rest of the world slightly worried. Israel, on the other hand, has to keep the rest of the world worried most of the time, so they really ought to pull crazy, effective, deadly missions fairly often.

Posted by: Maureen | May 3, 2011 12:13:32 AM

There is no proof that bin Laden was killed. They need to come up with the body so everyone can see it. Photographs are not enough - anyone can provide false images.

Posted by: Dina | May 3, 2011 8:03:47 AM

Cicero’s statement, inter arma silent leges (in time of war laws are silent) seems to apply. It's a tough balance. But putting devotion to vague and often inconsistent humanitarian law ahead of the need to eradicate an enemy dedicated to our destruction is suicidal. No one remembers the civilizations that have come and gone from this world because they weren't willing to fight a war to win it. I think Israel does a pretty good job striking that balance, even if individual soldiers cross the line from time to time. Considering the nature of our citizen's army, I'd be surprised if there weren't a few bad apples. That's not to say we couldn't do a better job with reporting and convictions of violations of our army moral code, but that's another issue. The issue at hand is the late bin Laden and I say good riddance. Whatever lines the American's may have crossed were blurred by bin Laden himself when he ordered civilian aircraft to fly into office buildings.


Posted by: Morey Altman | May 3, 2011 11:11:36 AM

On a serious note, I think you make some good points hera as always. But on a more tongue-in-cheek note, since I don't disagree with Israel's actions when it comes to terrorists and defending herself, can I still celebrate? Even a little?

Posted by: Amanda | May 3, 2011 2:03:38 PM

Russia condemns NATO for a disproportionate use of force? Anyone remember downtown Grozny a decade ago? Chechnya-the-wasteland? Pah!

Celebrate a little? Heck, I was going to drive through downtown Jerusalem shrieking and tossing candies from the car with "Born In The USA" on full blast, but my husband wouldn't let me.....so we danced around the living room at home, and broke out the Irish whiskey and had a toast to the Navy Seals....any objections please keep to yourself because I'm really not in the mood for political correctness or false morality poses.

Posted by: aliyah06 | May 3, 2011 11:28:52 PM

One word: "Entebbe!" We celebrated then; we celebrate now.

Posted by: Bob | May 4, 2011 4:47:16 AM

Oh, I think Israelis have every reason to celebrate. Remember, before 9/11, the US Cole, etc, Osama was the guy who ordered the hit on Rabbi Meir Kahane. And how different would the world have been if that hadn't happened. No Gaza pullout, no second intifada, maybe no Oslo...

The world is a far better place today than it was two days ago.

Still, point well taken.

Posted by: psachya | May 4, 2011 10:13:08 AM

robin... I have no problem with that. Don't get me wrong, I dislike Obama intensely and hate to see him getting any favorable PR. But Reagan got credit for releasing the Iran hostages even though he'd been in office only a matter of hours. If it happens on your watch, you get the credit (or blame). Those are the rules.

ED... In my experience, you can't force critics to do anything.

ProphetJoe ... If that's the case then let me say for the record that I'm tired of the US treating Israel like the fat girl in high school... fun to fool around with but don't let anyone see.

Jack... Winning!

Ilana-Davita ... I always have a point. It's just not always correct. :-)

Maureen... I have no problem with doing it (I've made that clear). I just hate the hypocrisy of condemning us when we do it.

Dina ... Nobody has a greater interest in revealing the US to be liars than Bin Laden. If he isn't dead, why hasn't he come forward to ruin Obama's parade.

Morey Altman... again, I am not being critical of the US for carrying out the operation. i am being critical of them for carrying out the operation even though they criticize Israel for carrying out identical operations.

Amanda ... You never need an excuse or permission to celebrate. :-)

aliyah06 ... As I said to an earlier commenter; Russia and China will never pass up an opportunity to stick their finger in the US's/West's eye.

Bob ... and your point is?

psachya ... I never said that Israel shouldn't be happy about the operation. Oh, and I think you overestimate the political clout carried by the late Rabbi Kahane.

Posted by: treppenwitz | May 4, 2011 10:59:54 AM

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