When the United States was attacked at Pearl Harbor, it did not respond with a parallel “proportionate” attack on a Japanese naval base. It launched a four-year campaign that killed millions of Japanese, reduced Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki to cinders, and turned the Japanese home islands into rubble and ruin.
Disproportionate? No. When one is wantonly attacked by an aggressor, one has every right — legal and moral — to carry the fight until the aggressor is disarmed and so disabled that it cannot threaten one’s security again. That’s what it took with Japan. ~Charles Krauthammer
Via Rod Dreher
Let’s consider the first obfuscation Mr. Krauthammer uses: likening the kidnapping of two soldiers to Pearl Harbor. Talk about losing all sense of proportion….Second is the refrain we heard earlier in the week, invoking the wonder of total war and citing major war crimes as the appropriate ultimate response to any kind of attack. How is this a credible argument? Why are Podhoretz and Krauthammer able to get away with making arguments like this, as if they were the morally responsible ones, when they are the ones approving of civilian holocausts (which, as it happens, were gratuitous slaughters entirely unrelated to defeating the Japanese military in the field)? No wonder they think the abuse of the Lebanese civilian population is unimportant, the creation of a humanitarian crisis irrelevant and the targeting of refugees beside the point–in Mr. Krauthammer’s sad little moral universe, the targeting of civilians is the means to victory! Now, who else believes that is the way to win a conflict? Hm…let’s see.
What is the rationale for all this? It worked with Japan, after all, so we should always unthinkingly repeat whatever the Allies did in WWII. That’s what morality means to Mr. Krauthammer: a moral universe governed by eternal recurrence in which fighting the eternal Axis by any means, fair or foul, will be justified. Still, it is interesting how the proponents of the argument from war crimes never cite Soviet brutality as examples to be followed (so far, no one has said that southern Lebanon should receive the Red Army treatment of Germany in 1945, but I assume this is just an oversight). I guess it might be impolitic to start praising commie atrocities as a means to justify Israeli excesses. Let’s also think about what Mr. Krauthammer’s standard of what is appropriate response for the Lebanese, who were “wantonly” attacked in 1982 and have thus far been deprived of disarming and disabling the aggressor for all these years. I expect Mr. Krauthammer won’t be crying over their inability to exact retribution on the original aggressor.