Thursday, May 09, 2024

Why the President is Wrong

New York Congressman Mike Lawler
I have not changed my mind. I still believe that President Biden is a true friend of Israel. At the same time as I also indicated yesterday I have profound differences with respect to his current Israel policy. And I have surely not changed my mind about that.

President Biden has held back a shipment of  military aid from Israel that they could use in pursuing Hamas's last refuge in Rafa  I really do believe he is doing this for what he believes are  humanitarian reasons. He fears that an invasion into the densely populated area of Rafa would result in massive unprecedented civilian casualties. He may very well be right about that. The question is, however, whether such a massive number of collateral civilian deaths is morally justifiable. The president obviously thinks it is not. 

I understand his concerns. But his sense of morality in this case is misplaced. Much the same way the mainstream media's moral outrage is misplaced. Rather than repeating my reasons for believing that (which I have done many times since the war began) I will excerpt the major part of a PBS interview of Republican congressman Mike Lawler. I completely agree with his perspective. Asked whether he was comfortable with Israel's conduct in the war, here is what he said:

Yes, I am.

Hamas is a terrorist organization who indiscriminately slaughtered innocent women, children, babies on October 7, and uses their own Palestinian civilians as human shields. Israel has a right to defend itself. Nobody would tell the United States after 9/11 or during the war on terror not to go after al-Qaida or ISIS.

And so I think the approach by the administration is wrong. Congress passed the aid to Israel, along with Ukraine and Taiwan, weeks ago. And so it is incumbent upon the administration to fulfill the legislation that was passed by Congress and get these high-payload munitions to Israel as quickly as possible.

The fact that they are delaying it and having not informed Congress, but rather tried to hide their decision, is wrong. And so I believe very strongly that they need to move quickly to get the munitions to Israel.

Asked about the high number of civilian casualties he said the following: 

Well, first of all, these numbers are based on the Gaza Health Ministry. They do not differentiate between terrorists killed.

Obviously, we want to avoid innocent casualties in any war, but there is a reality of war. And so I think Israel has done its very best to limit the casualties. But, again, when Hamas is using innocent civilians as human shields, setting up operations in hospitals and schools, setting up operations in hospitals and schools, I think Israel is conducting the war as best they can, adhering to international law, and making sure that they are rooting out terrorists who are responsible for what happened on October 7… 

Israel is under threat and attack. And again, Hamas is a terrorist organization. And so they have a right to defend themselves. They have a right to prosecute this war. And I think the president should be supporting the state of Israel as they conduct this war… 

(You) are dealing with a terrorist organization that is using civilians, innocent civilians, as human shields.

Look, I want the Palestinian people to be free from their oppressor. Their oppressor is Hamas. And so the objective of everyone should be to eliminate Hamas as the governing body of Gaza and make sure that the Palestinian people are free.

And, ultimately, the fastest way for a cease-fire to occur and for the avoidance of any civilian casualties is for Hamas to surrender and release the hostages. That should be what everyone, including those on college campuses, is demanding.

The fact that you have some folks identifying with Hamas here in America is deeply disturbing. And it does nothing to actually help protect innocent civilian life in Gaza.

Mike Lawler is not alone

The decision also drew a sharp rebuke from House Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who said they only learned about the military aid holdup from press reports, despite assurances from the Biden administration that no such pauses were in the works. The Republicans called on Biden in a letter to swiftly end the blockage, saying it “risks emboldening Israel’s enemies,” and to brief lawmakers on the nature of the policy reviews. 

Here is how former President Trump reacted: 

"Hamas murdered thousands of innocent civilians, including babies, and are still holding Americans hostage, if the hostages are still alive," Trump said in a Truth Social post. "Yet Crooked Joe is taking the side of these terrorists, just like he has sided with the Radical Mobs taking over our college campuses, because his donors are funding them."

And finally there is this exchange between Republican Senator Lindsay Graham and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Joint Chief of Staff Chairman General Charles Q. Brown. If this doesn't explain the morality of Israel's conduct in the war, than I have to question the moral intelligence of those who don't get it.

Compare any of these Republican responses with what's coming out of the mouths of Democrats. With the exception of a few of the more courageous ones (like Senatot John Fetterman) most sound pretty much the way Democrat Chris Van Hollen does in that same PBS interview. 

Israel's reaction was as follows:

Israel fumes as Biden signals a harder line against a Rafah ground assault

The president's threat to cut off supplies of weapons was met with a mix of concern and fury by the U.S. ally on Thursday.

Is there any wonder why I have gravitated so strongly to the right? As should any supporter of Israel. 

A word to all the Netanyahu haters. This is not about him. This is about Israel's very survival as a Jewish nation. There is no question that Israel must destroy Hamas. I doubt there is a single Israeli leader of consequence that would dispute that. If any of them have a better way of doing it let them say so. I haven't heard a word from any of his detractors other than somehow blaming him for the President's decision without a shred of proof that anyone else in his shoes would do things differently.