Disproportionate?

Hugh Hewitt
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Posted: Jul 20, 2006 12:00 AM

"'CNN's Hezbollah Bureau --Evidently the Statute of Limitations Has Run on the 1983 Murder of 241 in the Beirut Marines Barracks."

The mounting criticism directed at Israel's self-defense is centered on the charge that Israel's response to the shelling of its cities, the murder of eight of its soldiers and kidnapping of two others is somehow "disproportionate."

Anyone leveling that charge ought to be asked for the measure of "proportionality" being employed. And that question should begin with executives at CNN.

Michigan Congressman John Dingell declared on Tuesday night to Larry King that "I think Israel has overreacted."

Israel is a nation of 7 million people, with an active-duty military of approximately 200,000. America is home to approximately 300 million people, with a standing military of 1.4 million.

Thus, speaking proportionately, America's devastating loss of 3,000 on 9/11 would be the same as Israel's loss of approximately 70 of its civilians. Speaking proportionately, Hezbollah's ambush would have killed more than 470 and kidnapped 10. What would America do in response to such an attack in its civilian and military populations if mounted from Mexico or Canada?

And this comparison significantly understates what Israel is responding to.

Although there are many competing sets of data, I count more than 1,500 Israeli deaths due to terrorism attacks since 9/11.

In response to 9/11, America has invaded --justly, and in a great cause-- two sovereign nations since that awful day.

But Israel is acting "disproportionately" in responding to Hezbollah's ambush and killing of eight of its soldiers and murder of two others under the cover of hundreds of randomly aimed rocket attacks on its civilian population?

One fourth of Israel has been confined to bomb shelters since Hezbollah began this war. And Israel is supposed to go only so far but not far enough to stop the rockets that have killed dozens of civilians?

Hezbollah has sophisticated weaponry as well, lethal enough to cripple an Israeli ship and kill four of its sailors, but Israel is supposed to allow an enemy sworn to its utter destruction to enjoy a safe haven within a marathoner's distance of its third largest city?

Nowhere has the surreal rhetoric reached greater heights than on CNN, and not just in the mouths of guests, though incredibly CNN has been giving air time to Hezbollah terrorists. (Imagine CNN offering Osama or Mullah Omar access to its cameras for a walk about post-9/11 but pre-regime change Afghanistan.) Hezbollah spokesman Hussein Nablusi got lots of air time this week on the "most busted name in news." Keep in mind that Hezbollah murdered hundreds of Marines, but CNN's Nic Robertson couldn't get a question in about that attack.

Robertson got a "tour" of south Beirut Tuesday, courtesy of Hezbollah, and here was his summary report to Wolf Blitzer:

"In all that time we were there, which was a very, very brief period, we didn't see any evidence of military equipment, we didn't go into the buildings, we didn't search underneath the rubble, but some of the buildings were really torn up, there was a lot of debris hanging out of, hanging out of broken sides of buildings, a lot of debris strewn along the sides of roads, and in all of that we didn't see any evidence of a military infrastructure or anything like that. Again, though, Wolf, I have to say that it was a very brief and swift tour, escorted by Hezbollah."

That wasn't a "tour," it was a propaganda shoot.

Imagine something similar during WW 2, or Korea or even Vietnam.

The Robertson report is stunning even by CNN's "Eason Jordan standard" of news massaged for the sake of staying "in-country." Jordan has since left CNN, but after the invasion of Iraq, he admitted that CNN censored the news out of Saddam's nightmare to keep the cameras rolling in Baghdad.

What, we have to wonder, is the price being paid by CNN in Beirut?

Then there's the failure to even have the courage of the network's convictions.

Read Lou Dobbs' inane commentary from Tuesday. It is vague almost to the point of being a joke.

But the last graph uses the magic words:

"In the Middle East, where is our sense of proportion? Where is our sense of perspective? Where is our sense of decency? And, finally, just how smart are we?"

Wink, wink. Nod, nod.

CNN has lost its mind and its bearings if it can not distinguish between terrorists with massive amounts of American and Israeli blood on their hands and legitimate governments, and if the network's reporters and analysts cannot imagine the simple projection of what hundreds of rockets raining down on America might bring forth as an American response.

There is absolutely no lack of proportionality in Israel's response to the hundreds of terrorist attacks perpetrated upon it by Hezbollah, or even in response to just the events of last week or the rocket attacks of just one day since.

There is only a lack of common sense and minimum perspective among many observers, most obviously those employed by and appearing on CNN.

By the way, CNN cannot claim ignorance of the Hezbollah responsibility for the 1983 attack. From CNN's own files:

"WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Iran is responsible for the 1983 suicide bombing of a U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, that killed 241 American servicemen, a U.S. District Court judge ruled Friday. U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth said the suicide truck bombing was carried out by the group Hezbollah with the approval and funding of Iran's senior government officials. Lamberth ordered that the plaintiffs in the case -- the servicemen wounded in that bombing and the families of those killed -- have a "right to obtain judicial relief" from Iran. The judge called the October 23, 1983 bombing "the most deadly state-sponsored terrorist attack made against United States citizens before September 11, 2001." "In the early morning hours of that day, 241 American servicemen were murdered in their sleep by a suicide bomber," he wrote. "On that day, an unspeakable horror invaded the lives of those who survived the attack and the family members whose loved ones had been stolen from them."

U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth said the suicide truck bombing was carried out by the group Hezbollah with the approval and funding of Iran's senior government officials.

Lamberth ordered that the plaintiffs in the case -- the servicemen wounded in that bombing and the families of those killed -- have a "right to obtain judicial relief" from Iran. The judge called the October 23, 1983 bombing "the most deadly state-sponsored terrorist attack made against United States citizens before September 11, 2001."

"In the early morning hours of that day, 241 American servicemen were murdered in their sleep by a suicide bomber," he wrote. "On that day, an unspeakable horror invaded the lives of those who survived the attack and the family members whose loved ones had been stolen from them."

CNN must have concluded that the statute of limitations has run on the murder of hundreds of Marines and 21 other U.S. servicemen. I doubt very much if the American people agree.