Militant Math


9/11 was the seminal moment of our lifetimes. Black Sabbath,
the Oct. 7 attack in Israel, was, statistically speaking, hugely worse.
Public domain.

Disclaimer: The views that follow are my own …

2,977 Americans died on 9/11. There are 332 million people in America. On that one horrible day, one in every 111,522 of our countrymen perished. 9/11 changed everything about our world.

The Israelis call Oct. 7, 2023, Black Sabbath. On that one day, Hamas terrorists murdered roughly 1,400 people. They further took 240 hostages. The population of the modern state of Israel is 9.3 million. Israel lost one in every 5,670 citizens … in a single day.


Let’s put that in perspective. Scaled for our population, Black Sabbath was the equivalent of having Mexican drug cartels come across the southern border and murder or kidnap 58,546 Americans. That’s more people than we lost in 10 years of combat in Vietnam. How do you think Uncle Sam would have responded to that?

I’ll answer that question for you. We would have laid waste to everything those drug cartels held dear. We would have killed them until there were no more left to kill. As it is, we spent two decades after 9/11 at war in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs estimates that up to 4.5 million people died in the Global War on Terror. A great many of those were civilians. We have little moral impetus to be preaching to the Israelis about how they prosecute their fight in Gaza.

As I type these words, the death toll in Gaza has surpassed 10,000 people. If these sources are to be believed, thousands of those dead were children. That is objectively horrible. For any thinking, rational, compassionate person, those numbers are viscerally repugnant. However, let’s get one thing straight. That’s not the fault of the Israelis. Hamas bears sole responsibility for that carnage. Had Hamas not murdered 1,400 Israelis on Oct. 7, Gaza would still be intact, and every one of those Palestinian kids would still be alive.

Dead Palestinian children was their goal from the very outset. These animals are waging an intentional war for our heartstrings. They are playing us all, and they are very, very good at it. If Hamas released the hostages, acknowledged Israel’s right to exist, and swore off terrorism, this war would be over tomorrow.

The Israelis make superb weapons. They have to.

A Most Remarkable Double Standard

We cannot view Hamas and radical Islam through the same lens as we see ourselves. These nutjobs absolutely worship death. Their sordid lot is so awful that their thought leaders convince them that paradise after a glorious martyr’s death is the only thing that makes life worth living.

In the West, we are conditioned to cherish human life. To feel otherwise is considered psychotic. That’s not the way these people are wired.

Children in that world are indoctrinated from birth to die for their religion. While we are teaching our kids to mind their manners and be nice to people, they are training their children to hate Israelis and shoot guns. It’s not terribly uncommon to see grade schoolers clutching assault rifles taking part in violent demonstrations. They are not like we are. They never will be. How can we ever hope to successfully combat fanaticism on such a breathtaking scale?

We’ve Actually Done This Before

There is a historical precedent. The Japanese forces we faced in the Pacific during World War II subscribed to the Bushido Code. Bushido loosely translates as “Way of the Warrior.” In places like Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima and Okinawa, that meant suicidal banzai charges and, eventually, kamikaze attacks.

The Deep South was dotted with German POW camps during World War II. Some 500 camps held more than 400,000 European prisoners. The Soviets took a further 3 million German POWs in the East. By contrast, the Japanese government’s wartime POW Information Bureau cataloged a total of just 42,543 Japanese prisoners taken across all theaters of war. That’s because the typical Japanese soldier preferred death in the service of his Emperor to life in subjugation to us.

Today, Japan is one of our most reliable allies. They are a prosperous democracy — the third-richest country in the world. Did you ever ponder how they got there?

The reason our Japanese friends are thriving today is that we eventually threatened that for which they were willing to die. Once they came to appreciate that continued resistance would result in the destruction of the Imperial system they were sworn on pain of death to defend they settled down, grew up and started behaving sensibly. However, it was truly horrific getting there. The moral rightness of those decisions is still hotly debated even today.

I took this picture of a Merkava tank on the side of the
road in Israel in 2012. By necessity, Israel has an exceptionally
militarized society.


So, how does all that apply to the Middle East in 2023? First, Hamas is never going to quit. Listen to some of their leaders speak online. They’re not hard to find. “From the River to the Sea” means the utter obliteration of Israel and the Israelis. They make no pretense about that. After losing 6 million Jews to the Holocaust, I’m afraid that’s not really going to work out for the Israelis a second time.

As a result, this fight is going to be long, bloody and awful. When your enemy intentionally fires rockets out of civilian neighborhoods and builds elaborate tunnel systems underneath hospitals, things will invariably get messy. Add some 240 hostages to the mix, and you have the recipe for chaos. All involved need our prayers. This one is going to hurt … a lot.

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