In a surprise attack by Hamas terrorists, thirteen hundred men, women, and children, mostly non-combatants, were slaughtered in Israel on 7 October 2023. The terrorists abducted another 199 to use as bargaining chips, human shields, or reasons known only to them.
One could point to the killing of German and Japanese non-combatants by US strategic bombing in WW2 as an immoral equivalence. One could sympathize with the plight of Palestinians who feel their land was stolen by Jews in the wars of 1948, 1967, and 1973.
Those issues aside because too complicated to here compare, repaying what you perceive to be immoral acts with equally immoral acts is, I think, immoral.
That idea allows me to consider the 7 October attack in isolation, and ask “If our country was attacked in like manner, how would we respond?” This is where perspective arrives. I will make my point by analogy (please remember this is just an analogy).
Suppose agents of the Mexican government, to show their displeasure with US policies and people, were firing rockets at Texas towns every few days. Then they decided to get serious and make a larger-scale attack.
The US population is 35 times larger than that of Israel, so the 1,300 people murdered in Israel would equate to 45,500 US citizens murdered by agents of Mexico. The 199 men, women, and children abducted by Hamas would equate to 7,000 US citizens/visitors held hostage as bargaining chips. “Don’t hit back at us or we’ll kill these hostages.” Is this not double depravity in the ISIS model?
I note that The US lost 2,403 souls in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. In the Korean War of 1950-1953, we lost 36,634 people, mostly military. And we went to war against Al-Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan upon losing 3,000 American civilians in the 9/11 attack of 2001.
Thus, one should be able to understand Israel’s reaction to the 7 October attack by Hamas killers. Easy for outsiders to urge restraint. But put yourself in their shoes. What would we do?
Bob Moores retired from Black & Decker/DeWalt in 1999 after 36 years. He was the Director of Cordless Product Development at the time. He holds a mechanical engineering degree from Johns Hopkins University