Friday, July 14, 2006

The Sliding Scale of Appropriate Disproportion

A number of world leaders have condemned Israel’s attack on Lebanon, citing the “disproportionate use of force” by Israeli forces in response to the killing and capturing of its troops.

I am not an expert in Middle Eastern affairs and I know only the basic history of the conflict. Accordingly, I hesitate to provide any opinion or analysis of the current state of the escalation.

I can, however, evaluate the claim that Israel’s response was “disproportionate” in relation to the U.S. response to an attack by Islamic radicals.

Israel and Islamic Radicals

The Provocation:
3 killed, 2 captured in Hezbollah attack

The Response:
61 casualties

Proportion of response:
1:20 (counting 2 dead as provovation)
1:12 (counting 2 dead and 3 captured as provocation)


United States and Islamic Radicals

The Provocation:
2752 killed in 9/11 attacks

The Response – Phase 1:
3,485 (estimated) Afghan civilians
8,587 Afghan troops killed
459 Coalition troops

Total – Afghanistan: 12,531

The Response – Phase 2:
40,000 (estimated) Iraqi civilians
5,600 (estimated) Iraqi troops
Plus about 30 journalists/aid workers
2,772 Coalition troops killed

Total - Iraq: 51,154

TOTAL RESPONSE: 63,685 casualties.

Proportion of response:
1:23 (including Coalition casualties in response)
1:22 (not including Coalition casualties).


The U.S. use of force was more “disproportionate” than Israel’s. Yet rather than condemning the acts of violence, the international community (with few exceptions) actually assisted in the acts of violence.

I do not know what the "appropriate proportion" of response is. I merely point out that the "appropriate proportion" is currently variable, depending on which country it is that wishes to defend herself.

Take that for what it's worth.

2 Comments:

Blogger Craig said...

Hezbollah wants this war. They don't care how many Lebanese are killed as a result of it.

You have extremists on both sides, and little regard for those caught in the crossfire.

So what else is new?

2:56 PM  
Blogger torporific said...

The problem is the crazies on the Israeli side have F-15s, tanks, nuclear weapons and Uncle Sam's bankroll.

Proportionality has always been an issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In recent years of the conflict, there have been 3 Palestinians killed for every one Israeli. In spite of this, Americans are inundated with images of Palestinian suicide bombers, but we rarely see the damage wreaked by the Israeli response.

12:25 PM  

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