On Killing Civilians

Cal Thomas | Syndicated columnist | Thursday, July 25, 2002

On Killing Civilians

The usual Israel-bashing is occurring from the usual sources following a missile attack that killed the #2 leader of the terror group Hamas and several others. There are several things about this. First, when Israel kills civilians, it is not deliberate. Hamas deliberately kills civilians. Second, the Hamas leader, Salah Shehade, masterminded many attacks against Israeli civilians and recruited many of the homicide bombers. Third, the terrorists always hide among civilians, knowing that if Israel comes after them, they will get bad press and diplomatic criticism because civilians die.

As Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said this week about the estimated 400 Afghan civilians killed in U.S. operations: "It is an unfortunate fact of war that, inevitably, innocent civilians are killed. This has been true throughout the history of warfare, and it remains true even in this age of advanced technology and precision-guided missiles."

If that is true for Americans in Afghanistan, it should be true for Israelis in their own back yard. I'm Cal Thomas in Washington.