I have begun to look forward to the weekly columns by Jonathan Chait in the Sunday Los Angeles Times because they are both hilariously though unintentionally self-revealing about the young Mr. Chait as well as easy material with which to work. Chait is the soft-underbelly of liberal-left punditry, the Washington Generals of columnists and radio guests.
So imagine the shock to find an excellent piece by Mr. Chait this AM: “Who says war has to be proportional?”
Now, excuse the idotic headline penned by some no-name without, obviously, a day’s exposure to international law or just war doctrine. Chait makes no such argument. Rather, he argues –correctly– that charges of “‘disproportionate force” by Israel are “silly.”
Not just silly, he might have added, but ignorant and themselves even immoral if made knowingly in order to assist the terrorists in Hezbollah in securing a respite from Israel’s just war against them.
Read the whole piece. My only quibble is that since Chait asserts there is doubt that Israel’s offensive is “working,” he ought to have given us his measure of success for future reference. The destruction of a significant number of missiles/rockets is am undeniable success form Israel’s standpoint, though perhaps not a strategic one.
Reintroducing into the calcluations of Israel’s enemies the idea that the long-suffering state isn’t going to accept the rules of one for one, or even ten for one anymore is another significant victory. At a minimum, Hezbollah will be deterred from its kidnapping plans for a long time. And if the response of the past two weeks is a predictor of future Israeli responses, Iran and Syria have to consider carefully that the era of supreme self-restraint on Israel’s part is over.
It may be that the utter destruction of Hezbollah won’t be the result of this battle. But there are tremendous arguments supporting Israel’s actions, and Jonathan Chait sets an example for other liberal scribblers to follow.