HL 186 – War Factoids Constantly Reported and Facts Never Mentioned

May 14, 2024

Home | Blog | HL 186 – War Factoids Constantly Reported and Facts Never Mentioned

How many score times have you read and heard reports that Rafah, where Israel is poised for a major offensive against Hamas, is a place where civilians from other parts of Gaza took refuge and were told to do that by Israel.

And how many times, save right here, has it been reported that when civilians flocked to Rafah, Hamas moved large numbers of terrorists there and wove them into the civilian population – both those who had lived there and those recently arrived?

Izz ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades

Logically, the next question concerns the number of times you’ve heard/read that each Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist the IDF may kill in Rafah will result in the death of a greater number of civilians?[1]  Keeping in mind that when the news agencies report the number of Gazans killed and the ratio of terrorists to civilians, the numbers come from an organ of the terrorist organization itself.  The proportion of civilians who collaborate with Hamas is never reported.

Third, have you seen/heard/read any projection of the number of additional Israeli civilians and the far greater number of additional Gazans who will die if most of the people in the Izz ad–Din Al – Qassam Brigades are not killed this time.[2]  Unlike the many times when U.S. pressure and coercion resulted in Israel not completing this task.  With 2021 and 2014 being just two of many more times when this occurred (See HL 138 – “The Squad Backs Iran In Its’ Proxy War Against Israel and The United States” May 21, 2021) putting the lie to the assertion endlessly reported that Biden’s “redline” of no offensive weapons for an assault in Rafah is something new in U.S./Israel relations.  There have been many such red lines over the years and most coercively during the Republican Reagan, Bush 41 and Nixon administrations.  As Lindsey Graham and his current GOP colleagues pretend not to remember.

Those coercions served perceived U.S. interests at the time and some resulted in the death of more Israelis and far more non-Israeli-Arabs, including Palestinians. In January 1991, Bush 41 and his Secretary of State, James Baker, begged Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Shamir, to hunker down, shelter in place and not retaliate when it was assumed that Iraq would attack Israel in response to what? – not an Israeli attack on Iraq but the U.S. attack of Iraq labeled Desert Storm.  Our response to Saddam Hussein’s attack on and occupation of Kuwait – an attack championed and assisted by Palestinians and their Authority.  The presumed Iraqi attacked on Israel occurred, most heavily on January 18, 1991.  It included Iraqi missiles that landed in and around Tel Aviv.  Israel did not retaliate, as it easily could have, with extreme prejudice.  Its forbearance contradicted long standing Israeli policies to not only always retaliate, but, if necessary, act preemptively.  This forbearance by Israel to the United States’ request is still deemed controversial and a mistake in Israel and certainly did nothing to calm Hussein, who was killed by American forces 15 years later, three years after the Bush 43 administration commenced its “Shock and Awe” invasion of Iraq.  Another of these coercive red lines involved the Nixon administration’s forcing Israel to allow the completely encircled and helpless Egyptian army to retreat unharmed in 1973, nineteen days after it, along with the Syrian army, surprise attacked Israeli forces on Yom Kippur.  That massive act of U.S. coercion arguably saved not only tens of thousands of Egyptian lives but many Israeli lives going forward.  History’s verdict, to date, give thanks to Nixon and Kissinger for that red line.

Saddam Hussein & Yasser Arafat

The fourth question: Why is this fight different than all other fights?  In particular different than our long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  How many times have you heard Biden and otherwise good and intelligent Senators like Chris Murphy say we don’t want Israel to make mistakes similar to those we made in those wars and especially their hand to hand, urban, fighting, theatres.  But how many times has that advice been accompanied by recognition that crows must fly 7200 and 6800 miles respectively between those countries and the U.S., but that Gaza (and Hezbollah dominated Lebanon) border Israel.  And is it mentioned, let alone admitted, that this difference is relevant or that it might be dispositive?  I would say it’s at least a big fuckin distinction never mentioned by Biden, Murphy et al. during those “do as I say not as I do” homilies.

All invasions of the American homeland have been by enemies from far across the oceans.  During the Revolutionary and 1812 wars from England.  In 1941 from Japan.  In 2001 from either Saudi Arabia or Saudis based in Afghanistan, depending on one’s point of view.  Except with an asterisk for the English province of Canada in 1812, we have never had to worry about being attacked by neighbors, as Israel has every second since independence.  But a news article in the Washington Post last weekend raised a very disturbing thought about that.  The Post, whose Israel/Hamas war coverage is typical of the constantly reported/never mentioned pattern discussed above, reported that many candidates in imminent Mexican elections have been killed by the crime cartels who are a counter-government in our neighbor to the South.  These killings are accomplished by all manner of modern weaponry, including drones.  More than two dozen candidates for office have been killed prior to the elections to be held on June 2.  Hundreds of other candidates have abandoned their campaigns.  Candidates for federal offices, including senatorial hopeful Willy Ochoa, and the leading presidential contender Claudia Sheinbaum campaign while shielded by little armies from the Sinaloa, Jalisco New Generation and other crime cartels.  These syndicates have diversified into smuggling migrants into the U.S. along with their traditional line of business, smuggling illegal drugs into our country.

Claudia Sheinbaum

What if these crime cartels with big private armies cross the border in response to U.S. efforts to interdict illegal drugs and migrants?  After all they already annually kill thousands of Mexicans.  If, heaven forbid, they cross the border, will we hear from our leaders – “this is something we have to live with because these criminals are embedded in the innocent civilian populations of Mexico.”  Maybe, but I expect Americans would demand a shocking and awesome response, as when our homeland has been attacked by other foreign enemies and even, as with Iraq, when we just speculated they might.

[1]   How many times have your read or heard reports where the people who work for Hamas and Islamic Jihad are called “terrorists” instead of what they are usually called – “fighters” or “troops”, etc.  The designation was made by the United States and many other governments long ago and has very important consequences.  The State Department maintains and publicizes a list of all such foreign terror collectives, whose people are terrorists.  There are 68 such currently designated, of which 58 are Islamist, not Islamic regardless of what they call themselves.

[2]   The military wing of the Hamas terror organization.


  1. Lloyd Constantine

    So much there Mr.Smith that a full response would require a thousand words or a good picture of 10/7 which I’ll note was not included the NYTimes pictures of the year – not one . But I will make three points , yes a young Gaza coerced into Hamas membership that engages in terrorist acts for a terror organization is a terrorist. Say burning a baby alive. See D Lessing for The Good Terrorist. Second Hamas was founded with a charter explicitly committed to killing all Jews (not just Israeli Jews) well before Bibi came to power. Third I dislike him and have written extensively about my reasons. For a tiny amount of that see HL 138. And thank you and Mr. Rostow for your comments.

  2. NICHOLAS Rostow

    This is a highly serious and cogent comment about the realities of the Israel-Hamas-Iran conflict and the difficult options facing Israel. It also notes the political challenges the U.S. government faces in a presidential election year involving so much divisiveness beyond the norm. Excellent and important read.

  3. Eric J Smith

    Many young Palestinian men who “fight” with Hamas are coerced into that hellish activity by Hamas partisans. Are they “terrorists” or something else? As for the young men who willing enlist as “terrorists” to “fight” with Hamas, who was it who radicalized them, Hamas or Bibi Netanyahu??? Netanyahu in his arrogance left the Gazan border undefended while he used the IDF to dispossess, harass and kill Palestinians on the West Bank. If you are going to aggravate the situation by doing that, Bibi, then you need to cover your backside. The Israeli government somehow deluded themselves into thinking that they had bought off Hamas. What Hamas did on October 7th was an atrocity of the worst magnitude. But where does the blame lie? Bibi will likely find out when/if the conflict is over. Meanwhile Gazans suffer and die while Israeli pursues the unattainable through military action with no coherent notion of what will happen after Gaza is flattened using our 2K bombs. A good percentage of the tunnels remain. The Hamas leadership sits in Qatar and Beirut. The Hamas “terrorists” blend back into the general Palestinian population. Do all Palestinian men of “fighting” age have to die?? Perhaps Israel will succeed in martyring a few more Hamas leaders, but that is what they will be, martyrs.
    If Trump should win, we may see the realization of your analogy with the drug cartels in Mexico as the American military and Greg Abbott’s state troopers head across the border.


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