The Doctrine of ‘Proportionate Response’

December 31, 2008

‘Disproportionate’ is a word that has come into vogue when discussing Israel and her response to terror and violence. We have reached the point where no matter what the Israeli reaction or response to terror might be, the discussion always centers around what is a disproportionate response, what was a disproportionate response or what may be a disproportionate response.

The media fascination- and obsession-  with the idea of ‘disproportionate response’ is understandable, because ‘proportionate response’ contributed to the deaths of millions in Rwanda, Sierra Leonne, the Congo and Darfur. These atrocities are allowed to go one because just about any kind of response and or intervention are considered ‘disproportionate’ by one side or the other. Somehow, proportionate response- even if that leads to the deaths of millions- must be seen as the moral response.

Proportionality (defined moment by moment) is the mechanism by which we can justify doing nothing as millions die. The Doctrine of Proportionate Response exists solely to shield us from taking moral stands and taking moral positions. If the Doctrine of Proportionate Response is applied equally, then the doing nothing becomes the moral thing to do.

Of course, proportionate response is precisely what makes war and atrocities acceptable ideas. As we have noted,

Europe isn’t a Muslim dominated continent today, because the Islamic invaders that were stopped at the gates of Vienna in 1683, could no longer pay the price of advance. European defenders were extracting too high a price from the invaders. When it became clear to the invaders that war was no longer the smart way to go, the Muslim world found a way to live in peace with their Christian neighbors. The same thing happened when the Crusades failed. Christan Europe found a way to live with the Levant…

Wars begin and end because of the various costs of waging war. That is as true today as it has been in the past, and that will be true in the future.

Wars have economic costs and moral costs.

Peace among nations is arrived at when the cost of war becomes ovewhelming. Racism, bigotry and hate are overcome when the cost of racism, bigotry and hate becomes too great for a society to bear.

As long as nations and peoples perceive the cost of war as acceptable, then we will have war, racism, bigotry and hate.

It interesting to note that the hate directed at Israel and Jews is never referred to as ‘disproportionate.’ It is also true that the lopsided voting record against Israel by the United Nations Human Rights Commission (an assembly that includes some of the most oppressive and failed nation-states in the world) is never referred to as ‘disproportionate’ despite the admonition of three successive United Nations Secretaries- General. The same applies to United Nations General Assembly, now a forum for over the top racism, bigotry and hate- none of which seems to qualify as ‘disproportionate.’

None of the institutionalized hate and bigotry of the Arab world is ‘disproportionate.’ In fact, the Arabs will tell you that there are not enough calls to genocide and there is not enough hate and racism directed at Israel and Jews. In schools, media and from the pulpit, calls for genocide, bigotry and hate are considered ‘proportionate’ and reasonable.

The NGO’s for whom anti Jewish and anti Israel sentiment are daily bread, compete with other over who is more anti Jewish and more anti Israel, taking pride in their ‘originality’ or ablity to pass that hate as rational and reasoned.

The psychotic Arab media routinely  whip themselves and their readers/viewers into a frenzy, denying the Holocaust as a ‘Jewish plot’ on the one hand while promising another very real holocaust a few moments later, in the same breath.  Tales of outrageous Jewish conspiracies are sandwiched by pronouncements that Muslims are strategizing and will soon control the world and the destiny of all mankind.

The Doctrine of Proportionate Response and the belief that evil can be negotiated with failed to prevent the Nazi Holocaust and it has failed to prevent untold deaths since then. The racist angle of the doctrine cannot be overlooked. In speaking of Rwanda, Romeo Daillaire, UN military commander noted

They knew how many people were dying…the world is racist, Africans don’t count; Yugoslavians do. More people were killed injured, internally displaced and refugees in 100 days in Rwanda than in the whole eight to nine years of the Yugoslavia campaign…

Why didn’t the world react to the scenes where women were held as human shields so nobody could shoot back while the militia shot into the crowd?

Why didn’t the world react to the scenes where women were held as human shields so nobody could shoot back while the militia shot into the crowd?

Daillaire’s words are almost equally applicale to events in Darfur and elswhere today.

The media is as complict in today’s sorry state of affairs as are the adversaries. It was the media that gave the disasterous Doctrine of Proportionate Response a platform. It is the media that gives the spokespeople and advocated for racism, bigotry and genocide a proportional soap box. The media does not demand the eradication of evil because as we noted, ‘The Doctrine of Proportionate Response exist solely to shield us from taking moral stands and taking moral positions. If the Doctrine of Proportionate Response is applied equally, then the doing nothing becomes the moral thing to do.’

What a wonderful world.

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5 Responses to “The Doctrine of ‘Proportionate Response’”


  1. [...] also the Doctrine of Proportionate Response. Excerpt: It interesting to note that the hate directed at Israel or Jews is never referred to as [...]

  2. Larry Sheldon Says:

    Arabs using the best they’ve got, it is therefore proportionate that the Israelites use the best they have got.

    Another way of looking at it: The ones that started first can stop first–everybody gets a fair chance.

  3. WhoStruckJohn Says:

    Actually, you know, the Israeli response is not proportionate.

    If it were actually proportionate, they’d have to randomly fire 4,000 155mm artillery shells into Gaza City, rather than attempting to target Hamas personnel, smuggling tunnels, and arms caches more precisely.


  4. [...] SIGCARLFRED– Israel’s Malaise And Resurrection; The Doctrine of ‘Proportionate Response’; The Incredible Arrogance Of The Beast …. [...]

  5. Robert Light Says:

    Question: How do the people who trot out the phrase “disproportionate response” _NOT_SEE_ THEMSELVES as saying something totally irrational?

    This is something I deal with here: http://www.imovedon.org/?p=14#more-14


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