You would think that some truths are self-evident and don't need much explanation. For instance, you would think a country has a right to strike back in the name of self-preservation when an act of war -- like, say, kidnapping soldiers and firing rockets -- is undertaken by one of the many neighboring factions committed to the destruction of that aforementioned nation.
You would also think, for instance, that Salon -- a respectable, left-leaning Web magazine ostensibly made up of educated, thoughtful readers -- would not need the no-shit-Sherlock primer of an article titled "Why Israelis believe they're right: Much of the world sees the Israeli attacks on Lebanon as disproportionate. But for the vast majority of Israelis, including some former doves, the war against Hezbollah is deterrence in self-defense."
Evidently, the editors of Salon believe much of the world needs to understand the rationale of a country that must practice self-defense.
The astonishing thing is, amid a global anti-Israel bias, much of the world really does need to understand such rationale.
Most of Israel's critics have latched on to the new catchphrase of the moment, "disproportionate response," as if there is such a thing as a "proportionate response" to self-preservation. Did the attack on Pearl Harbor necessitate U.S. forces strafing a Japanese naval base and then calling it even? Did 9-11 necessitate specific retribution on skyscrapers in Kabul?
Salon writer Samuel G. Freedman breaks down the notion of "disproportionate response":
"Compromise might have worked had the conflict indeed remained one that, like the Cold War, pitted two rational, secular adversaries against each other. But in Hezbollah, as well as in Hamas, Israel now faces an opponent that holds to the absolutism of religious doctrine, specifically the messianic martyrdom of jihadist Islam. The assaults by Hamas from Gaza and Hezbollah from Lebanon both came after Israeli withdrawals to borders accepted by the United Nations. For six years in south Lebanon and one year in Gaza, there has been no occupation, and Ehud Olmert built a centrist governing coalition in Israel on the promise of pulling out from most of the West Bank.
"Maybe the people so ready to assail Israel now should have been watching more closely a few months ago when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran convened a conference devoted to the exterminatory premise of a 'world without Zionism.' Maybe they should have been listening more closely when Ahmadinejad declared his desire to 'wipe Israel off the map.' Instead the conference was pooh-poohed as the same old demagogy, a populist giving the red meat to his base, and the translation of the speech was dissected by Iran apologists as if the only relevant question was whether the president's Farsi phraseology meant altering the map with a gum eraser or white-out.
"Plainly, Ahmadinejad took himself seriously, as seriously as one presumes Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah took his own reference to attacking 'occupied Palestine.' By which he meant not the West Bank and Golan Heights but, well, Haifa, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv."
By golly, those threats sure do seem, well .... what's the word I'm looking for ... disproportionate, maybe?