Don’t poke the gorilla

Published on August 2, 2014

In a letter to the editor (“Less artillery, less rhetoric, and more respect,” The Telegram,Tuesday July 29), Tony Middleton of C.B.S. suggests that “two criteria that might be useful in recognizing the ‘aggressor’ in any conflict (are) territorial gain and body count.”

He is wrong.

Body count has nothing whatsoever to do with who the aggressor is.

For example, if I lock myself in a church tower and start shooting at people with a rifle, I am clearly the aggressor. It doesn’t matter whether I’m using an obsolete First World War Lee-Enfield rifle, whether I’m a lousy shot, or even whether I actually hit anyone.

If an RNC sniper shoots me in the head and kills me, that makes the RNC’s body count infinitely greater than mine, but it still doesn’t make the RNC the aggressor; I’m the aggressor, because I started shooting at innocent people. Body count is irrelevant.

Middleton talks about the “dramatic loss of territory by the Palestinians since 1946.” He needs to go back to school and learn some history; in 1946, “Palestine” was the property of Great Britain, and the term “Palestinians,” if it was used at all, would have referred to anyone living in the region — including Christians, Muslims and Jews.

Since Palestinian Muslims had no territory of their own in 1946, there has been zero “loss of territory” since then.

Middleton lists a bunch of numbers comparing the numbers of Israeli dead with the numbers of Palestinian (Muslim) dead. These are simply facts without conclusions.

What conclusions are we supposed to draw, Mr. Middleton? That if you start a war and get your ass kicked, then you’re allowed to call yourself the victim and blame the people you attacked because they’re better fighters than you?

Greg Stokes of St. John’s, in a separate letter, compares the fight between Hamas and Israel to a “66-lb weakling” getting beaten up by a “500-lb gorilla.” He simply ignores the fact that it is Hamas who continually attacks and provokes Israel.

If you insist on breaking into a gorilla’s cage and prodding it with a sharp stick, I see no reason to feel sorry for you, or

to blame the gorilla, when the gorilla defends itself.

William R. Lorimer

St. John’s