The New York Times has been a leader in the public charge against Israel's policy of preempting terrorist acts by targeting those who send out the suicide-bombing drones. So we can't help but make note of a recent Times obituary reporting on the death of one Rex T. Barber. Here is part of what the Times had to say about Mr. Barber:

Rex T. Barber, a World War II fighter pilot who was a central figure in the storied 1943 mission that resulted in the death of Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto, the architect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, died on Thursday at his home in Terrebonne, Ore. He was 84.

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The shooting down of the bomber carrying Yamamoto, the commander of the Japanese fleet, was a triumph of military intelligence and flying skills. It also generated a long-standing controversy. At issue was which pilot downed Yamamoto.

The article goes on to describe, in great detail, how several of the pilots in planes accompanying Mr. Barber's claimed credit for the “kill” and how the War Department kept changing its mind as to who deserved commendation. The conclusion read as follows:

Donald B. Rice, then the Secretary of the Air Force, said in 1993: “Historians, fighter pilots and all of you who have studied the record of this extraordinary mission will forever speculate as to the exact events of that day in 1943. There is glory for the whole team.”

Noteworthy is the absence of any concern for the fact that Yamamoto was not caught “in the act.” Nor was he convicted of anything. He was a decision-maker and strategist who sent others out to war. Yet, his eliminators were bathed in glory.

And, of course, rightly so. In war, the rules are different. If “taking out” the enemy's leadership restricts their ability to kill you, than it is certainly an acceptable alternative.

Does anyone doubt that Israel is in a war? It sometimes seems that the world thinks it is something else because the enemy targets little children in pizza shops rather than soldiers on the battlefield.

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