Some of you will appreciate Gary Kamiya’s essay “The Israel Rules” in Salon.
You probably heard that the Israeli Defense Force shelled a UN school in the Gaza strip, killing 30 people and injuring 55. The UN says all the casualties were civilians, not Hamas. The IDF says mortars were being fired from the school. The UN says the schools were sheltering civilians. According to Little Green Footballs, terrorists were using the schools as a weapons dump. Juan Cole has a video of a young Palestinian woman confronting Israeli troops who were firing on children.
Even if the IDF were correct, something the Right accepts unquestioningly because the IDF never, ever lies like their enemies do, then Israel would only be responding to Hamas’ war crime by committing another war crime. You can’t get to the moral high ground – let alone win a COIN operation – by allowing the rules of war to be set by barbarians, something that the intellectually and morally bankrupt Right never seems to acknowledge.
The Right’s argument is that Hamas started the violence, so everything Israel does is justified. Basically, it’s the “Jimmy did it first” level of morality; bankrupt, indeed. We’re also way past the point that “who started what” means anything. We’re in chicken and egg territory. Hamas and the IDF are feeding off each other, partners in the same dance.