Murphy's Law: September 5, 2001


Israel's policy of killing terrorist leaders is very popular in Israel, with some 70 percent of the population approving. But world media reaction has been more mixed. Supporters of the Palestinian terrorists (whose targets are largely civilians) call the attacks murder and illegal. Over 80 percent of Palestinians approve of the attacks on Israeli civilians. Historically, military leaders have never enjoyed any legal protection from attack. There was one attempt at the end of the 30 Years War in 1648, but the thought of making the aristocrats responsible for starting wars immune from attack never caught on. While it's illegal for American's to assassinate foreign heads of state in peacetime, there is no such restriction in wartime. During the 1980s, there was a lot of nervous discussion among senior American politicians about "decapitation" attacks (that targeted enemy leaders) because of the availability of much more accurate nuclear weapons. Research on this subject was classified and open discussion discouraged. This subject was quietly allowed to fade away with the end of the Cold War. But in war and peace, enemy leaders have been considered fair game. It makes sense. Kill the leaders, and the followers are less likely to fight. This saves lives and ends the fighting sooner. The Palestinians realize this, and are trying real hard to make the "murder" tag stick. The Palestinians are also aware of their inability to go after Israeli leaders. Israel has better intelligence resources, and helicopter gunships 


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