Though Israel is dissembling now, Gillerman spoke the truth then. No sooner had Hezbollah taken the two Israeli soldiers hostage than Israel unleashed an air war — on Lebanon. The Beirut airport was bombed, its fuel storage tanks set ablaze. The coast was blockaded. Power plants, gas stations, lighthouses, bridges, roads, trucks and buses were all hit with air strikes.

Within 48 hours, it was apparent Israel was exploiting Hezbollah’s attack to execute a preconceived military plan to destroy Lebanon — i.e, the collective punishment of a people and nation for the crimes of a renegade militia they could not control. It was the moral equivalent of a municipal police going berserk, shooting, killing and ravaging an African-American community, because Black Panthers had ambushed and killed cops.

If Israel is not in violation of the principle of proportionality, by which Christians are to judge the conduct of a just war, what can that term mean? There are 600 civilian dead in Lebanon, 19 in Israel, a ratio of 30-1, though Hezbollah is firing unguided rockets, while Israel is using precision-guided munitions.

Thousands of Lebanese civilians are injured. Perhaps 800,000 are homeless.

Yet, whatever one thinks of the morality of what Israel is doing, the stupidity is paralyzing. Instead of maintaining the moral and political high ground it had — when even Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan were condemning Hezbollah, and privately hoping Israel would inflict a humiliating defeat on Nasrallah — Israel launched an air war on an innocent people. Now, 87 percent of Lebanese back Hezbollah, and the entire Arab and Islamic world, Shia and Sunni alike, is rallying behind Nasrallah. ~Pat Buchanan

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