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  • Robert Farago

Hamas Brutality Explained

Absolute power kills absolutely

I have a friend who knows war – up close and personal. When people ask him what war’s like, he has a two-word answer: “dead children.”

You can’t fight a war without collateral damage. No matter how careful you are, how precise your weapons, how humane your terms of engagement, innocent people will die. Men, women and children.

A fact that Israeli soldiers, sailors and pilots face as they hunt the killers who murdered, raped and abducted Jews.

You could say that’s a far cry from the IDF targeting innocent men, women and children, and you’d be right.

Hamas’ “fighting force” displayed a level of savagery that shocked and appalled all but their most fervent supporters.

But it’s a mistake to label their actions unusual, in either method or scale.

The Gnadenhutten Massacre of 1782. The Wiyot Massacre of 1860. The Wounded Knee massacre of 1890. Native Americans experienced the same kind of wanton slaughter at the hands of “settlers” and the U.S. Army.

Between 1915 and 1923, the Ottoman Empire murdered between one and 1.5 million Armenians, through forced deportations, massacres and starvation.

On Joseph Stalin’s orders, the Soviet Union created the Ukrainian famine of 1932 - 1933 (a.k.a., the Holodomor). Somewhere between 3.9 and 7.5 million Ukrainians starved to death.

And then there’s the Holocaust. Between 1933 and 1945, the Nazis exterminated approximately six million Jews and five million Roma, disabled individuals, homosexuals and political dissidents.

That’s hardly a complete list. Historian Dr. R.J. Rummel studied genocide stretching back thousands of years. As he pointed out on his web page

Genocide, massacre, and human slaughter; pillage, rape, and torture have been much more common than war and revolution. But historians do not dwell on such events. And even if they do, they very rarely attach numbers to them. They prefer the glamour of war, of diplomacy, of the clash of nations and personalities.

How do so many humans, how did Hamas come to the point where they’re ready, willing and able to commit large-scale atrocities against unarmed civilians?

According to Bard AI…

The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is a complex issue that cannot be reduced to a simple matter of religious or ethnic hatred. There are political, historical, and territorial factors at play that contribute to the ongoing tensions in the region.

Yes, there are historical grievances. But the shooting, beating, raping, kidnapping and torturing of thousands of Israeli non-combatants is tied to a simple fact: Hamas and their Arab enablers want to kill Jews. All of them.

The underlying psychology is the same as it ever was: a group of people come to view those outside their ethnic, religious, cultural and/or economic framework as “the other.” Unworthy of the most basic of human rights. The right to life.

Creating homicidal “othering” is a multi-level process, through “education,” religious instruction and propaganda. But there is another, more important common factor: oppression. wikipedia:

Political mass murder grows increasingly common as political power becomes unconstrained. At the other end of the scale, where power is diffuse, checked, and balanced, political violence is a rarity. For Rummel, "he more power a regime has, the more likely people will be killed. This is a major reason for promoting freedom.”

Hamas has done nothing to improve Palestinians’ quality of life, and everything to stoke their fear. Of Hamas.

Hamas created a brutal, repressive regime in the Gaza strip. The murdered any and all rivals for power, any moderating influences. There is no freedom of thought or expression. Just poverty, blind obedience, brain washing and extortion.

When your life is ruled by brutality, it’s a short step to inflicting brutality on “the other.” As we’ve seen in Hamas’ ISIS-style videos, the violence has been cathartic for its perpetrators. Sad but true.

And now Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, is determined to destroy Hamas. To do so, the IDF must be killers. Not mindless killers. But killers nonetheless.

Ironically, seeing Hamas as “the other” makes it easier to kill them. So the more important question is not how Hamas came to be such savages, but how do we preserve the humanity of those who strike them down?

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