Eleven years ago as the city of Dresden, Germany commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of one of the most controversial Allied actions of World War II — the firebombing of that city, posters were plastered across the onetime Florence on Elbe, showing a picture of the city in ruins with the caption, “Dank Hitler,” thanks to Hitler. While the British dropped the bombs which leveled the city, it was Adolf Hitler who was ultimately responsible for the city’s ruin. And for the deaths of the 35,000 civilians killed in that raid.
Similarly, while Israel may be dropping the bombs on Lebanon this week, it is Hezbollah which is responsible for the destruction of Lebanese infrastructure and the deaths of Lebanese civilians as well as the terrorists whom Hezbollah houses in residential neighborhoods. By crossing an international border and murdering and kidnapping Israeli soldiers, Hezbollah started this war, just as Hitler started World War Ii by sending troops across an international border.
Given Israel’s response to Hamas’ kidnapping of an Israeli soldier in sovereign Israeli territory near the Gaza Strip, Hezbollah’s leaders should have known how Israel would respond. Israel has every right to defend itself. And as long as Hezbollah uses Lebanese airports, roads and bridges to transport munitions to attack the Jewish State, they become legitimate targets.
That Hezbollah would station its terrorist followers and their military equipment near civilians shows what little regard they have for human life. Indeed, by demanding hundreds of prisoners for a handful of Israeli soldiers, they show that they recognize that Israel, like other nations of the West, places a higher premium on human life than do they.
By violating international boundaries and kidnapping Israeli soldiers stationed in Israeli territory, Hezbollah and Hamas have declared war on Israel and they alone are responsible for the consequences. Let us hope that fifty years hence, citizens of a democratic Lebanon and Gaza will post pictures of the current destruction with the Arabic equivalent of “Dank Hezbollah and Hamas.”
UPDATE: Best of the Web ‘s James Taranto agrees with me: “Every civilian death, on either side of the border, is regrettable, but the ultimate blame for them falls on the aggressors, namely Hezbollah and its patrons.”