October 17, 2006

Is Self-Defense a War Crime?

Alan Dershowitz asks Is Self-Defense a War Crime?

Michael Ignatieff, current candidate for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada, characterized "what happened in Qana" during Hizballah's recent war against Israel as "a war crime." It is possible that he believes that even if the Israeli killing of Lebanese civilians was an unintended consequence of its efforts to prevent rocket attacks against its own civilians, it was still a war crime. Such a view would reflect a perverse and dangerous approach to international law that would make it nearly impossible for democracies to protect their civilians from terrorists who launch rockets from civilian population centers. It would also encourage other terrorist groups to emulate the tactic employed by Hizballah: to use local civilians as human shields behind whom the terrorists fire their rockets at enemy civilians.
Is Canada suffering from self-hatred?