Saturday, February 17, 2024

Apropos Comparison

If the MSNBC host is using "wild" as a synonym of "accurate" and, especially, "apt," his is an insightful tweet.


New York governor Kathy Hochul in the video above says

.... call out Hamas for what it is. It is a terrorist organization that must be stopped. No- no country should live with that specter over them. And for those who don't understand this dynamic, their own stake in their own country, I'll give you an example. 

I'm from Buffalo.... if Canada one day were to attack, I'm sorry, my friends, the next day there would be no Canada. I love Canada. We did have the War of 1812. They did burn Buffalo, so there might be a little conflict here. But think about that. There's a natural reaction. You have a right to defend yourself and make sure it never happens again and that is Israel's right. 

To give Hayes his due- and to be quite generous- the analogy is a little weird because the government of Canada never would allow, less encourage, much less be a party to, such an attack. It is not only an ally of the USA but is a civilized and peaceful state.

Nonetheless, Hochul's analogy is accurate because Canada and Buffalo are adjacent to each other, as Gaza is adjacent to Israel. Moreover, the attack of October 7 was not carried out by a bunch of rogue terrorists but by members of the ruling party, Hamas, of Gaza.

And if recent American history- or common sense- is a guide, we know that what the New York governor is saying is prima facie accurate. It is hard to exaggerate the enormity of the mass murder of Israeli citizens because 

The October 7 attack is the deadliest per capita terrorist attack since the Global Terrorism Database started data collection in 1970, with a rate of slightly over one person killed per every 10,000 Israelis. This metric adds context for the national impact of the attack and sense of loss for Israel. As President Biden invoked in his reaction to the attack, it is as if 40,000 to 50,000 Americans had died on 9/11. 

And even though 40,000 Americans were not killed on 9/11/01, the Watson Institute of International & Public Affairs of Brown University has explained

.... we know that between 280,771-315,190 have died from direct war related violence caused by the U.S., its allies, the Iraqi military and police, and opposition forces from the time of the invasion through March 2023. The violent deaths of Iraqi civilians have occurred through aerial bombing, shelling, gunshots, suicide attacks, and fires started by bombing. Many civilians have also been injured.

Because not all war-related deaths have been recorded accurately by the Iraqi government and the U.S.-led coalition, the numbers are likely much higher. Several estimates based on randomly selected household surveys place the total death count among Iraqis in the hundreds of thousands.

Several times as many Iraqi civilians may have died as an indirect result of the war, due to damage to the systems that provide food, health care and clean drinking water, and as a result, illness, infectious diseases, and malnutrition that could otherwise have been avoided or treated.  The war has compounded the ill effects of decades of harmful U.S. policy actions towards Iraq since the 1960s, including economic sanctions in the 1990s that were devastating for Iraqis.

Despite more than $100 billion committed to aiding and reconstructing Iraq, many parts of the country still suffer from lack of access to clean drinking water and housing.

Unlike the attack of October 7, the horrific attack of September 11, 2001 was not launched by one government or state actor upon another's people. The Bush Administration and its supporters claimed a close relationship, now generally seen as widely exaggerated, between Al Qaeda and Iraq President Saddam Hussein. By contrast, Israel was attacked by the governing authority of an antagonist, Gaza. We weren't attacked by Iraq, yet (justifiably or not) started two wars; Israel was attacked by Gaza.

It has responded with ground forces and with bombing, preceded by recommending that Gazan residents in the line of fire to evacuate. These warnings are inadequate but undoubtedly have saved thousands of lives.. These are not numbers reported by the media, let alone taken at gospel truth, as are the numbers of Palestinian lives lost according to the Gaza-based Ministry of Health, an agency in the Hamas-controlled government. (The phrase "according to" or word "says" is uncommon in the centrist and liberal portion of the media.) 

As the Watson Institute acknowledges, "no one knows with certainty how many people have been killed and wounded in Iraq since the 2003 United States invasion." But we are expected to swallow whatever number is next spouted by Hamas as casualties in the current war.

If agents of the Canadian government slipped across the northern border and murdered 1,000 or so Buffalonians- let alone 40,000- the governor (whomever she or he might be) would call on the federal government to retaliate. And it would, with massive force, probably beyond what the Netanyahu government has done.

So Chris Hayes should suck it up. He may- apparently won't- promote the idea that tit for tat (or tit for much more than tat) is ineffective or does not effectuate world, or regional, peace. But if Hayes wants to argue that we'd take lying down an attack such as that conducted by Hamas, he's ignoring evidence and common sense. And on this matter, exposing himself as a fool.

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