Friday, July 14, 2006
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper calls Israel’s retaliatory attacks on Lebanon, including bombing of the Beirut airport and residential areas in Beirut, killing 50 civilians and only one Hizbollah fighter, “measured.”
Measured? What exactly does that mean? Measured with what? Against what? Is he saying it’s justified? He seems to be implying that, because also called Hizbollah’s attacks “unjustified,” and said that Israel has the right to defend itself.
All safe statements, in the weaseliest sense. Sure, any country has the right to defend itself. But I’m not alone in seeing the Israeli actions as escalation, not measured response. Time magazine, the Globe and Mail newspaper and other major Western news outlets have stated the Israel is escalating the conflict. The foreign ministers of both France and Italy called Israel's attack "disproportionate."
Comedian Jon Stewart described it as “World War Three breaking out” on the Daily Show on July 13, and even George W. Bush has promised Lebanon’s Prime Minister Fuad Saniora to pressure Israel to stop the attacks.
The lesson here, for Prime Minister Harper and other weasels, is to choose your weasel words more carefully. If this is a “measured” response, then Israel should also measure the risk more carefully. And Harper should measure his words.