THE BLOG
06/08/2006 12:03 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

"Targeted Killing" of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

As the civilized world justly celebrates the long overdue killing of Abu M al-Zarqawi, it must recall that his death was brought about by what has come to be known as "targeted assassination" or "targeted killings." This is the same technique that has been repeatedly condemned by the international community when Israel has employed it against terrorists who have murdered innocent Jews. When Israel targeted the two previous heads of Hamas, the British foreign secretary said: "targeted killings of this kind are unlawful and unjustified." The same views expressed at the United Nations and by several European heads of state. It was also expressed by various Human Rights organizations.

Now Great Britain is applauding the targeted killing of a terrorist who endangered its soldiers and citizens. What is the difference, except that Israel can do no right in the eyes of many in the international community. Surely there is no real difference between Zarqawi on the one hand and terrorist leaders from Hamas and Islamic Jihad on the other hand. If it is argued that Sheik Yassin was merely a spiritual leader of Hamas (a total lie since he explicitly authorized numerous terrorist acts), then it must be noted that one of the people targeted by the United States was Sheik Abd-al-Rahman, who was also described as a "spiritual advisor."

When the United States and British forces have engaged in targeted killings of terrorists, there have often been collateral deaths of non terrorists, as there apparently were in this instance as well. The military announced preliminary findings that a woman and a child were among the dead. Collateral deaths are inevitable when terrorists hide among civilians and use them as shields. Both Israel and the United States make great efforts to reduce the number of collateral deaths and injuries but they do not always succeed.

I applaud the targeted killing of Al Zarqawi. His death will save many innocent lives. But I also applaud the targeted killings of anti-Israel terrorists whose deaths save numerous lives. All decent people must insist on a single standard of judging tactics such as targeted killing. It is nothing short of bigotry to approve this tactic when used by the United States and Great Britain but to condemn it when it is used by Israel.