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Sunday, April 7, 2024

 Chef Andres is accusing Israel of war crimes.  Israel claims the death of the World Kitchen people was because its’ military made a “horrible mistake.”  I have no way of knowing what happened, but I certainly agree that it was a horrible mistake.  I believe that all war is a horrible mistake.  Moving around on an active battlefield is exceptionally dangerous, even if everybody knows what is supposed to be going on.  Having said all of that, I believe that the IDF unit that attacked the vehicles that the World Kitchen people were in, was attempting to destroy them.  My reasoning is based on the report wherein the World Kitchen people are said to have moved from a first vehicle that was attacked, to a second vehicle that was then attacked, and finally to the third vehicle in which they were killed.  If true, the persistence of the attack would seem to me to indicate intent and, although I do not know what visibility was at the time that the attack took place, I find the report that the vehicles were plainly marked and the activity of the aid group known to Israeli authorities extremely damning.

There is, however, no question in my mind that the Israeli National Government did not order the attack.  No matter how intent they are on destroying Hamas, national level politicians are smart enough to not purposefully do this.  I am certain that the mistake is the responsibility of someone lower in the chain of command and very well might go all the way down to the individual that pulled the trigger.  His or her motivation could be almost anything that one can imagine, including being the victim of misinformation.  Individual warriors are often motivated by perceived injustices and visceral emotions, not felt by others.  The average American that has never been in combat has absolutely no concept of what happens inside an individual combatant’s head in the heat of the fight.  For most of us, war is just a game that we played as kids, or a computer program that we master as adults.  The American people are oblivious, uninformed, irrational, and stupid about what killing at scale is like.  Our ignorance is not our fault, but it is, nonetheless, a serious problem for us - far greater than any one of the tragedies that are presently occurring on battlefields in Gaza, Ukraine, Miramar, Somalia, Mexico, or Chicago.

I believe that Chef Andres has every right to be furious about the needless death of his people, but this incident does not materially change much of anything on the ground in Gaza.  We are still faced with a regime in Teheran that intends to destroy Israel and the United States.  Gaza is nothing more than one of several battlefields in that larger war, which is being integrated with other major disagreements that are ongoing in other dimensions and places.  Focusing on minutia, no matter how horrible, takes our attention away from the larger game that is afoot all over the planet.  Our priority need is to get a handle on the overall strategy, after which we can focus on the minutia that so captivates our imaginations.  We do not currently have a strategy to deal with Radical Islam and that is going to be our undoing unless we start putting our minds to the challenge.  Were I in a position to influence what is happening, I would chastise Israel for the battlefield mistake, and move on to addressing the more fundamental challenge presented by Radical Islam.  (In the ensuing conversation with Israelis, at every level, I would remember our own irresponsible, “over-the-horizon” strike, on the innocent family in Afghanistan and would be commiserating with Israeli warfighters as friends contending with an enemy that plays by other rules.  (I would also have a conversation with the leadership of all volunteer organizations about the reality of active battlefields.)

Addendum:  An AP story that I saw on April 11 pretty much confirms my speculation regarding this horrific mistake on the Israeli military's part.  The most important element of which was that the entire episode took place at night.  Moving around on an active battlefield at night is, at best, a crap shoot.

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