I see Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak has torn a page from your playbook: When your popularity is in the crapper, start a war. Nothing turns the electorate on like a certified badass.
According to yesterday’s New York Times, his Labor Party’s numbers were so low, pundits thought the party might disappear altogether. That was your problem when you took a criminal act, 9/11, and hyped it into a Global War on Terror.
Just as your numbers soared, so did Barak’s. There’s nothing like an election to bring out the nastiness in a politician. As one Labor Party member put it, “Israel’s McArthur is back.” Of course, we must conveniently ignore the fact that McArthur fought an army while Barak is fighting women and children.
However, according to the Israeli propaganda machine, this is not as bad as it sounds. As an IDF spokesman explained, “Anything affiliated with Hamas is a legitimate target.” Assumingly, this includes women of childbearing age who might birth future terrorists and toddlers who will grow up to become terrorists. This makes the aerial bombing much simpler since every destroyed school and every bombed child is, post hoc, a “legitimate target.”
In other words, if you live in the same ghetto as a terrorist, you are one because you lacked the get-up-and-go to move to a better neighborhood.
Israel is demonstrating one of the basic tenets of colonial warfare: You don’t fight an enemy; you fight a label that has been elevated to the status of a buzz word that evokes a knee-jerk reaction from a public too lazy to think. In Vietnam, every dead peasant was a Viet Cong (VC). Now, every dead Palestinian is a terrorist.
As you discovered on 9/11, nothing makes a wimp appear tough on (fill in the blank) like ordering butchery without getting his hands bloody.