The Calculus of Death


News reports at the hour of this writing indicate that the attacks by Hezbollah rockets on Haifa and the towns of northern Israel have resulted in 24 Israeli deaths, while the retaliatory barrage of Israeli airpower on targets in Lebanon have killed at least 170 human beings. What I see no one asking is this:

In the deadly calculus of war, are we prepared to accept that a lethality ratio of a little better than 7 to 1 deaths, in the name of a right to self-defense, is acceptably proportional, so long as the seven are somehow associated with the bad guys?

By that calculus, America should be perfectly happy to kill about 21,000 Saudis and Yemenis and whatnot in retaliation for 9/11. Except, oh, wait: we substituted Iraqis, didn’t we, and raised the ratio by another order of magnitude.

Remember, it’s the bad guys who have no respect for human life. That’s why we have to kill so many more of them, than they ever do of us.

Or maybe I just never was that good at math.

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