Over the last week, the Administration has announced a new $200 million package of military aid to Ukraine and its intention to send significant additional economic assistance. We do not know when the new aid will arrive in Ukraine, but we certainly acknowledge and appreciate the support especially considering how Hamas’ attack on Israel has added additional demands on resources.
We do continue to press for more weapons to allow the Ukrainians to attack the Russian military with precise, pervasive, and persistent long-range artillery. And we appreciate President Biden confirming on last Sunday’s segment of 60 Minutes that the United States can support Ukraine and Israel and “still maintain our overall international defense”.
FOUN has long made the case that Ukraine defeating Russia and driving the Russians out of Ukrainian territory is in our American national security interests. However, as we know there are views on the Hill and in the public questioning continuing support for Ukraine. We have and continue to believe such views are strategically wrong and short-sighted.
But here I do not restate the many overwhelming arguments rebutting the opposition to aid to Ukraine. Here I present Daniel Henninger’s piece last week in The Wall Street Journal discussing the frighting “the new normal” established by the barbarism of Putin’s Russia and Hamas and suggest Russian and Hamas’ total disregard for innocent civilian lives must compel opponents of assistance to Ukraine – and Israel – to reconsider their views. One cannot seriously suggest they are willing to ignore barbaric genocide.
To stand by in the face of unconscionable atrocities is to encourage the slaughter of innocents.
Our adversaries will continue until they are stopped.
Evil openly kills, kidnaps, rapes, destroys - it must be stopped.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Killing Civilians: The New Normal
For Hamas in Israel and Putin in Ukraine, killing the innocent is now part of the plan.
Oct. 11, 2023 6:02 pm ET
The Wall Street Journal here provided a video warning it might be distressing to some viewers. Instead, I insert a Michael Ramirez cartoon addressing the evil evident before us.
The most noted aspect of Hamas’s attack on Israel is that its fighters on the ground explicitly targeted Israeli civilians for killing. Israelis were shot while driving along the street. They were pulled from their homes and killed. Hamas carried out the mass murder of some 260 people at the Tribe of Nova music festival.
The reaction of any normal person to these scenes, especially because the images are put on screens by the hour, is horror. President Biden called the Hamas attack “sheer evil.” True. But that suggests an event falling outside our daily experience, a rarity. No longer.
The moment has arrived to recognize that for the adversaries of the free world, killing innocent civilians is the new normal.
Vladimir Putin, a purported friend of Israel, has said little, other than blaming a failure of U.S. policy in the Middle East. No surprise there. What Hamas did to the Israelis is what Mr. Putin has been doing to civilians in Ukraine for almost two years. [Actually almost 10 years. RAM]
Since the February 2022 invasion, it is estimated that about 10,000 Ukrainian civilians have been killed. Russia has killed hundreds with missiles fired into residential areas of Ukrainian cities and towns. It has targeted schools, hospitals and food markets.
Just last week, a Russian rocket killed more than 50 people attending a funeral in the village of Hroza. The Russian siege of Mariupol last year killed thousands of civilians. Russia has shelled columns of refugees. One of the most infamous atrocities was the massacre of men, women and children by Russian soldiers in Bucha, north of Kyiv.
I want to emphasize: These civilian deaths—by Hamas in Israel and Russia in Ukraine—are not collateral damage from urban warfare. They are part of the war plan, thought out by calm men sitting around a table, in Moscow or Beirut, looking at maps and civilian targets.
In 2015 and into 2016, Mr. Putin—and Hezbollah—helped Syrian President Bashar al-Assad implement the siege of Aleppo in northern Syria, which also targeted schools and hospitals. Some 75% of the fatalities were civilians. Thousands were children.
On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu likened Hamas’s murders to the “atrocities of ISIS.” The Islamic State perfected the targeting of innocent civilians during the Iraq war, such as the 2016 bombing that killed 200 people on a Baghdad shopping street.
Afghanistan’s Taliban became synonymous with the killing of innocent civilians, culminating in the August 2021 bombing at Kabul’s airport that killed dozens of civilians and 13 U.S. service members.
What few gains Mr. Putin made in eastern Ukraine were facilitated by Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner Group paramilitaries, including, as The Wall Street Journal reported, the atrocities against civilians in Bucha. The Wagner Group has been linked to hundreds of civilian killings in Mali and the Central African Republic.
Hamas and Hezbollah, whatever their ideological underpinnings, are now essentially Iran’s own Wagner Group. Killing Israelis is what they do, for money.
It is affecting to note there are—or were—international rules, most prominently the Geneva Conventions, against the acts described in this grim catalog (to which add China and the Uyghurs). Such acts are called war crimes or crimes against humanity.
That is increasingly unenforced parchment paper. Crimes against humanity are becoming normalized.
Again, consider Ukraine. After two years, a numbness about Mr. Putin’s civilian atrocities has set in. So much so that some House Republicans, including speaker candidate Jim Jordan, and at least one GOP presidential candidate, Vivek Ramaswamy, are open to defunding Ukraine. Gov. Ron DeSantis is ambivalent.
The standard argument against more funding for Ukraine is that there is “no plan.” Israel has a plan: Defeat Hamas. How about this plan for Ukraine: Defeat Russia.
Some, aware of the Ukraine example, are asking how long this week’s outpouring of support for Israel will last. Good question. The Hamas-Iranian strategy may be to drive the Israel Defense Forces to enter Gaza’s dense neighborhoods, ensuring the death of Israeli soldiers from roadside bombs, killing local civilians as well, and, as planned, eroding the world’s morale.
Another question for the we’re-done-with-the-world wing of the Republican Party is how many Americans would they leave on the other side. Hostage-taking, along with civilian killings, is now established in our adversaries’ playbook.
Hamas is holding more than 100 people hostage, including an uncounted number of Americans. Hamas’s paymaster and planner, Iran, just exchanged five American hostages for $6 billion. Mr. Putin, who has abducted hundreds of Ukrainian children into re-education camps inside Russia, is holding Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and former Marine Paul Whelan.
Our adversaries—Russia, Iran, China and North Korea—will continue the mass killing of civilians and hostage-taking as a strategic policy until the U.S. decisively counters this awful new normal.
That means funding a credible U.S. military deterrent and ensuring that the Israelis and Ukrainians have the means to defeat uncivilized enemies. The likely alternative is another lapse into pre-9/11 complacency. The cost of that, this week has proved again, is too high.