So I've been giving some thought to the usage of certain words. Here's a good one: Assassination versus Attack. Both the BBC and CNN are telling the same story about the funeral for blown-up Hamas head honcho Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, but on that side of the pond its an assassination, on our side its just an attack.
But what about Uday and Qusay? Weren't they important? But no one, not even the BBC, called their deaths assassinations.
Dictionary.com has the following to say on the word:
as·sas·si·nate ( P )
tr.v. as·sas·si·nat·ed, as·sas·si·nat·ing, as·sas·si·nates
1. To murder (a prominent person) by surprise attack, as for political reasons.
2. To destroy or injure treacherously: assassinate a rival's character
Obviosuly, we can set aside defintion #2, since the Israelis didn't so much call Yassin nasty names so much as smear him across the pavement.
So we're left with #1, and we have to ask ourselves...why is this such a big deal? Especially in this case. Is the blowing up of Yassin and some Hamas henchgoons any worse than the random deaths of Israeli civilians? Were the Israelis killed on the 15th at Ashdod somehow less dead because they weren't "prominent"?
After all, Yassin knew he was at war. He was one of the guys who declared it. Yassin's oft-repeated quote on the matter was: " The so-called peace path is not peace and it is not a substitute for jihad and resistance." In jihad, and while offering resistance, one accepts that one is under wartime conditions. One knows one can get killed in a battle.
On the other hand, the guys who were going about working at the docks at Ashdod had no such expectations, and it was because of Yassin's orders that they died.
So I'm not going to be shedding any tears over this guy.
Back in February, I decried the ongoing tit-for-tat violence between the Israelis and Palestinians as inherently non-decisive. I thought, and still do, that just raiding Palestinan towns (and they are full fledged towns now...you should stop calling yourself a refugee camp after 50 years or so) and blowing up Hamas and Islamic Jihad foot soldiers simply wasn't getting the job done. Foot soldiers are expendable and replaceable.
And there's absolutely nothing as expendable as a suicide bomber.
But if every time there's a big bombing in Israel, the response is to take out one of the high end leaders of these groups, such as Yassin, maybe those self-same leaders will have second thoughts about ordering another teenager to his doom.
The situation still sucks, and as I suspected might happen, even the slightest escalation by Israel has brought a tremendous (and, to my mind unwarranted) international condemnation and scorn.
But at least they're trying something newish...the combination of starting to pull out with stepped up violence directed at the "head of the snake" is one they haven't tried before, and it should be quite interesting to see if it works.