Aug. 13: Needless risk

As the mother of a soldier, I cannot understand why we are fighting house to house, putting our soldiers under unnecessary risk.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Needless risk... Sir, - At this time, we must all pull together. However, as the mother of a soldier, I cannot understand why we are continuing to fight from house to house, putting our soldiers under unnecessary risk, resulting in too many losses. In addition to Hizbullah, Iranian soldiers are reportedly fighting our soldiers in the Lebanese villages. Israel has the power to raze these villages before allowing our soldiers in. It has called for all civilians to leave, and provided 48 hours in the midst of the fighting to allow this. Those left are either fighters or supporters of fighters - and still our soldiers are endangered by having to search each house for possible guerillas. Our defense minister has taken the stance that it is unethical to destroy homes in these villages, even at the risk of death to our soldiers, but this idea is immoral. No soldier should have to die preserving the villages that hosted Hizbullah. We deserve to know that our army is taking every possible precaution to defend our soldiers and us, and not using false moral equivalency ("15 soldiers killed in firefights," August 10). ATARA WEISSMAN Nof Ayalon ...and torment Sir, - Larry Derfner begins his most recent cage-rattling as follows: "Imagine if all these kidnappings, killings and rockets had started while Israel was still bogged down in its occupation of Lebanon (1982-2000) and Gaza (1967-2005)" ("Regaining our faith in war," August 10). The point he misses is that these torments would not have occurred, and one million Jews would not now be cowering in bomb shelters, had we not left Lebanon in the first place. He seems to be attempting to justify the suicidal policies of the post-Oslo era. MOSHE MORGENSTERN Morristown, New Jersey Extreme times Sir, - Let us assume that the suspect Lebanese sources are correct in claiming 1,000 casualties in the first 30 days of the war, as I heard on the news. In a 24-hour period between February 13 and 14,1945, a mere three months before the end of an already won war, British and American bombers were responsible for the deaths of at least 50,000 civilians in Dresden. Every 30 minutes 1,000 German civilians were killed. As a quick Internet search will show, some historians place the figure much higher. LOUIS GARB Jerusalem Sir, - We have our own humanitarian disaster going on here and cannot afford to bleed in sympathy with innocents in an enemy country. We must put ourselves first and protect our own. SHALVA DAVIES Jerusalem Sir, - In World War II when the Japanese attacked America, the US rounded up many Japanese living in the States and put them in camps. The US has been severely criticized for these actions, but a sovereign country must protect its citizens. Extreme times demand extreme solutions. OSCAR MARGULIES Ginot Shomron Footnote Hizbullah Sir, - Ran Cohen's "A wretched decision" [to order a major ground offensive] (August 10) might make sense if not for the fact that we are facing a diabolical, suicidal, irrational enemy. As a proxy for Iran, which has made it clear it will settle only for the destruction of Israel, anything less than a head-on confrontation with Hizbullah would make the long-term existence of Israel problematic. Hizbullah must be degraded to a footnote in the struggle for a free and democratic Middle East. As Shakespeare said in Julius Caesar: "Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once." PAUL BERMAN Shoham Let Israel win... Sir, - It is time my nation took a step back and let Israel finish the job. Israel is not at war with Lebanon; it is at war, via proxy troops, with Iran. My nation needs to realize this and encourage Israel to do everything it can to destroy the enemy. We tend to forget that, via Hizbullah, 241 US Marines were murdered in 1983 on orders from Iran. Mr. Bush: Let a nation that believes in victory, not political correctness, finish the job. ROBERT SAVA Caldwell, Idaho ...World War III Sir, - Israel and the US are facing their most serious crisis of the last 25 years. Yet, by and large, Americans do not understand what is at stake. Our president has so thoroughly botched the Iraqi war that 60% of our citizens say it was a mistake and we should leave. Equally incredible is the lack of any understanding of the fascism now dominating public life in the Middle East. We seem more intrigued by the upcoming NFL season, rising gas prices and illegal immigration. For some of us, the first shot of World War III has been fired at Israel. Sadly, in spite of our experience with 9/11, you are largely alone, at least for now. This fight with Hizbullah must be won at any cost. We will attempt to so inform our leaders. RON MANUTO San Jose Sir, - Bottom line: After so many years of torment, Israel is doing now what it should have done years ago. Payback time, indeed! HERB STARK Massapequa, New York Sir, - Push forward, and see the Lord work! MARK STEWART Arkansas Sick of the BBC Sir, - I am not a spokesperson for the Jewish community in England, but can assure readers that Anglo-Jewry is sick of the Beirut Broadcasting Corporation's anti-Israel reporting ("Israel says BBC not reporting the war fairly," August 10). In spite of the enquiry into its reporting on the Middle East, the BBC has again excelled in one-sidedness, causing untold harm to Israel's image in the world. In the current conflict viewers get a hostile presentation of "facts." Hizbullah terrorists are "militants" or "fighters." The word "terrorist" is absent from all reporting. And if an Israeli response is invited, interviewees face hostile questioning, or viewers get edited sound-bites. The BBC's apparent agenda is for viewers to believe Israel is inflicting "disproportionate harm" and "heinous suffering" on Palestinian and Lebanese populations, while Israeli citizens appear not to suffer much from Hizbullah's terrorist rockets attacks. BBC News should have have no place on Israeli TV screens. LAWRENCE RYZ London Larsen on Iran Sir, - Re "NGOs that take sides" (July 30): Gerald Steinberg faults Terje Roed-Larsen for failing to mention Syria and Iran in a BBC interview; but it was Roed-Larsen, in his capacity as UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Envoy for Implementation of Security Council Resolution 1559, who was responsible for the groundbreaking report that introduced Iran's role in Lebanon into the council's record. As US Ambassador John Bolton said of the report Roed-Larsen wrote on Annan's behalf: "I view the references to the secretary-general's report on Iran's disruptive and unhelpful role in Lebanon to be extremely important. It's the first time Iran was mentioned." Larsen's report became the basis for Resolution 1680, which highlighted for the first time in a Security Council Resolution the provocative relationship of Iran and Syria to Lebanon. As a result, Roed-Larsen was the only member of the three-man team Annan dispatched to the region that Bashar Assad refused to meet with. EVE EPSTEIN, Vice President National Committee on American Foreign Policy Great Neck, New York