‘We Did It Too’: The Ugliest Excuse for Israel

It has become a familiar refrain from U.S. officials and Israel-defenders, and it goes something like this: The Israeli military has gone out of its way to protect civilians, in fact it has done so more than any military in the world—and, by the way, when it comes to civilian slaughter amid drone and missile attacks in urban centers, the U.S. military has done it too. 

It’s an odd way to excuse and deflect responsibility from the gruesome images and stories from the ground in Gaza today, which include ostensible “precision” Israel Defense Forces (IDF) strikes on refugee encampments that sparked infernos killing more innocents than any reported Hamas terrorists in the operation. As reported in the Washington Post, “Parents were burned alive in their tents while children screamed for help. Doctors recounted struggling to treat gruesome shrapnel wounds with dwindling medical supplies.”

The U.S. military “did the same thing,” said National Security Spokesman John Kirby, himself a retired rear admiral, in a briefing on Tuesday. “We have conducted airstrikes in places like Iraq and Afghanistan where, tragically, we caused civilian casualties,” he added.

Let us put aside for a moment that the U.S. military was responsible, over a 20-year period, for a very wide range of civilian deaths during the Global War on Terror—in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, and Libya. Let us also put aside that American bombs, drones and yes, soldiers, were responsible for carnage that, contrary to Kirby’s out of place admission Tuesday, was never fully “atoned for,” much less officially acknowledged in any way that would give survivors relief or closure from the horrific events.