*Targeting civilians

TARGETING CIVILIANS…. When I first saw Glenn Greenwald’s piece yesterday on Michael Goldfarb’s latest missive, I thought there had to be some kind of mistake. Glenn made it sound like Goldfarb, the Weekly Standard writer and former John McCain aide, had endorsed deliberate military attacks against innocent civilians.

But it wasn’t a mistake; that’s exactly what Goldfarb argued. Under a headline that read, “Ruthless,” Goldfarb commented on an Israeli airstrike that killed a Hamas leader, his wives, and his 12 children.

The fight against Islamic radicals always seems to come around to whether or not they can, in fact, be deterred, because it’s not clear that they are rational, at least not like us. But to wipe out a man’s entire family, it’s hard to imagine that doesn’t give his colleagues at least a moment’s pause. Perhaps it will make the leadership of Hamas rethink the wisdom of sparking an open confrontation with Israel under the current conditions.

Noting how odd it is to see “the ethics of Osama bin Laden being explicitly adopted by the organs of mainstream conservatism,” Matt Yglesias explained, “To be clear, [Goldfarb’s] not saying that it’s sometimes okay to kill a bad guy’s innocent children as part of a military operation directed against the guy. He’s saying it’s better to kill his children than it would be to avoid killing them.”