A Smoother Pebble


Suicide Bombings continued

5) But, even under this definition of combatants, there will still be non-combatant casualties.

It’s all a question of numbers, even the U.S. and Israel kill civilians. In most wars civilians are the majority of casualties. A tactic that kills 10 civilians for every 1 combatant killed would be unacceptable; but on the other hand 10 combatants dead for every one civilian killed would be acceptable, indeed it would be a great improvement over the past. It seems that the combatant/non-combatant kill ratios for Palestinian suicide bombings are not much worse than other tactics historically considered acceptable.

War is inherently messy, and you’re inevitably going to kill people you don’t want to. Since World War I about one in every six American war deaths has been caused by friendly fire.

The Palestinians could confine themselves to targeting Israelis only when armed and uniformed. But why should they be expected to? From the Palestinians’ point of view suicide bombings are an efficient way of attacking a far stronger foe.

It is even arguable that Palestinians could be justified in deliberately targeting Israelis below military age- babies too, as they will grow up to be Israeli soldiers. Now even in a war for civilisation like that the Allies fought against Hitler, it was unacceptable to deliberately target German babies, because whatever the outcome of the war, no one seriously imagined that it would be going in twenty years when the baby would have become a soldier. But the Israelis and the Palestinians have been fighting for half a century. An Israeli newborn in 1988 would be in the IDF now, and a Palestinian in 1988 would have had reasonable grounds for believing that the baby would one day grow up to fight him. So why would the baby not be a legitimate target?

It might be argued that babies have not yet made the choice to join the Israeli army and could theoretically become conscientious objectors. But this is all rather far-fetched; one can’t treat an enemy as an individual in a war.

6) What if this happened in Australia?

Australia has a very small, professional army, and no conscription, so the arguments above don’t apply.

7) How convenient.

Honestly, I’m pro-Israel, and would be grateful to anyone who thought of a valid reason to condemn suicide bombings.

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