Noted for December 8, 2012
Aaron Carroll: Raising the Medicare Eligibility Age Is Really, Really, Really, Really Bad Policy

War Is Cruelty: Middle East Weblogging

Ariel Sharon withdrew from Gaza as a dry-run for withdrawal from the West Bank…

And Gaza was taken over by crazies who want to destroy Israel and launch rockets over the border to try to kill civilians whenever they can.

And Israeli left arguments that withdrawal from the West Bank would bring peace suddenly became a lot less credible.

Walter Russell Mead:

America, Israel, Gaza, the World: As Israeli airstrikes and naval shells bombarded Gaza this weekend, the world asked the question that perennially frustrates, confuses and enrages so many people across the planet: Why aren’t the Americans hating on Israel more?… [T]he real force driving American support for Israeli actions in Gaza isn’t Islamophobia, Jewish conspiracies or foam-flecked religious nuts. It’s something much simpler….

Theoreticians of “just war” say that in order for war to be justifiable, two tests must be met. You have to have a legitimate cause for war (self defense, for example, rather than grabbing land from a weaker neighbor) and you must fight the war in the right way. You must fight fair (that is, fight a just war), and you must fight nice. One of the criteria for jus in bello… is proportionality….

For some, Zionism itself is an illegitimate idea…. For others, Israel['s] occupation of the West Bank and other crimes against the Palestinians have deprived it of a just grounds for war when Palestinians attack it…. But more moderate critics… focus on jus in bello… proportionality. When the Palestinians flick a handful of fairly crude rockets at random across Israel, these critics say, Israel has a right to a kind of pinprick response… [but not] to respond to limited attacks with unlimited force….

The whole jus in bello argument sails right over the heads of most Americans…. An endless war of limited intensity is worse, many Americans instinctively feel, than a time-limited war of unlimited ferocity…. This is the same logic by which someone like Osama bin Laden could justify his attacks on civilians at the World Trade Center, and it is the fundamental logic behind Hamas’ indiscriminate attacks on Israeli civilian targets. Americans don’t like it when their enemies use this kind of logic, but it is a type of warfare they understand….

Thus when television cameras show the bodies of children killed in an Israeli air raid, Jacksonian Americans are sorry about the loss of life, but it inspires them to hate and loathe Hamas more…. They blame the irresponsible dolts who started the war… they admire Israel’s strength and its resolve for dealing with the appalling blood lust of the unhinged loons who start a war they can’t win, and then cower behind the corpses of the children their foolishness has killed. The whole situation strengthens the widespread American belief that Palestinian hate rather than Israeli intransigence is the fundamental reason for the Middle East impasse…