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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Euro Critics Act Like Teenagers

Teenagers who do not have to earn the money to pay the mortgage, buy food, electricity, clothing and other necessities, can carp about the capitalist system, materialism and environmental purity. But the parents who get up way too early by alarm clock, lose hours and composure in traffic and work hard throughout the day, have less energy and more at stake for such sophomoric commentary. The same holds true for the Euro critics of Israel who claim the response to terrorism was not proportional.

Thomas Sowell discusses the inanity of the proportionality argument. First, we have to consider that those critics have been protected like teenagers by American military might. Sowell writes:

People who have long been sheltered from mortal dangers can indulge themselves in the belief that there are no mortal dangers. Nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran or North Korea -- and, through them, in the hands of hate-filled terrorists -- may be all that will finally wake up such people. But that may be tragically too late.

Sowell provides the historical context of the grievance of the Palestinians and why Israel has responded so brutally:

During all the years when Arab countries controlled the land now proposed for a Palestinian homeland, there was no talk about any such homeland. Only after Israel took control of that territory as a result of the 1967 war was it suddenly sacred as a Palestinian homeland.

There is no concession that will bring lasting peace to the Middle East because the terrorists and their supporters are not going to be satisfied by concessions. The only thing that will satisfy them is the destruction of Israel.

For a more in-depth historical review, see Dennis Prager today.

For most of my career, I have had to deal with the issue of punitive damages awarded at trial. While I personally feel they are unconstitutional (punishment meted out by a civil trial based upon a preponderance of the evidence?), I understand that they are awarded to stop a certain behavior from recurring. They are awarded on top of the compensatory damages and are computed at some multiple of those compensatory damages (except in some places where juries are unfamiliar with decimals and zeros). The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot be more than a 10-1 ratio of punis to compensatory damages.

Just think of Israel's response as punitive damages. If you pick a war with someone, you cannot guarantee the response. Maybe the terrorists expected this international reaction (see Europe and UN but not the Arab leaders) to stop the Israeli military reaction immediately but, as with Saddam, realpolitic may be a bit too late. Israel's intent to stop the bombings and kidnapping requires these measures. Anything short of that invites its continuance.

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