He wonders what is the difference between Alan Dershowitz and Ward Churchill on the status of civilians. I agree: I don't see a difference either:
Easily Distracted: I don't have a lot to add to what's being said in many venues. The disproportionate character of Israel's response strikes me as being both unwise and unjust, and the same for unqualified American support for those actions. The unwise part seems more pertinent: the actors in this situation (including Hizbollah and Hamas) have a deeply flawed understanding of cause-and-effect, of the likely outcomes of what they're doing. But then, what else is new in the Middle East?
I am a stickler for consistency, so I also really do struggle to understand how we can fiercely act in response to terrorism, defined as deliberate attacks on civilian populations, and then find ways to justify or excuse military action which either has enormous effects on noncombatants or which even appears to deliberately target them.
Crooked Timber draws attention to a particularly egregious case of such excuse, Alan Dershowitz's argument that civilians in Lebanon aren'9t civilians if they stay in their own homes and communities.... [A]s one commentor at Crooked Timber observes, it would seem to be roughly the same logic as Ward Churchill's justly infamous argument about "little Eichmanns." Not seeing a lot of cries for Dershowitz's resignation just yet, but I've been out of touch....
There's no question that Israel has some difficult, maybe impossible quandries to struggle with in trying to legitimately defend itself. But to try and categorically justify what's happening on the logic that some civilians are less civilians, that they're all legitimate targets: how is that different from terrorism?