The world has just witnessed an act of barbarism! It is hard to accept human beings perpetrating the atrocities we have seen. Israel has vowed to destroy the barbarians responsible and to ensure it cannot happen again. Most Western leaders have expressed their support and reaffirmed Israel's right to self-defence. A few, however, have qualified their support, demanding that any response by Israel be 'proportionate'.
What, I ask, is a proportionate response to such heinous war crimes? The common use of the word 'proportionate means 'of relative equal magnitude'. What would be of relatively equal magnitude to 5000 rockets launched indiscriminately towards large built-up areas, the massacre of over 1000 mainly women and children of all ages, and the brutal abduction of over 150 hostages.
Would a proportionate response be randomly firing 5000 rockets back into Gaza, capturing 1000 men, women and children, massacring them, and then abducting 150 random civilians off the streets of Gaza? No one could argue that would not be of equal magnitude.
What would the civilised world say of that? What would Australia's Foreign Minister Penny Wong say to that? After all, in one of her earliest tweets on the attack by Hamas she added; -
"Australia urges the exercise of restraint & protection of civilian lives."
Restraint? Protection of civilian lives? Would that be proportionate? I don't think many would think so. Did Hamas show restraint? Did they protect civilian lives? Certainly not!
Of course, she is not alone. Many, too many, so-called leaders and commentators urge restraint on Israel when they would never do so for other countries faced with terrorist attacks. Did they urge restraint on the US after the 9/11 attack? Of course not. The US started the war on terror, invaded Afghanistan, and later Iraq. They did not hold back. Nor did their citizens want them to. It seems Israel alone is singled out for such advice on proportionality, restraint, and the protection of civilians.
I hope these leaders never face Israel's dilemma, but if they do, I expect they would truly identify with Israel, perhaps for the first time, and then say proportionality be damned. If these barbarians target my people, we will use disproportionate, unprecedented, unforgettable force to ensure that these perpetrators will forever remember there are severe, brutal, disproportionate, consequences to such atrocities. Consequences harsh enough to build a wall of deterrence that lasts for decades.