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State Dept. Spokesperson Matthew Miller at his press conference, December 4, 2023.

On Monday, State Dept. Spokesperson Matthew Miller was asked, right at the start of his daily press conference, “Last week, several US officials, including the Secretary and the Vice President, talked about the importance of Israel not repeating what it did in the north in the south. And I am wondering now that the operations in the south have begun, if you think that they are doing or following your advice.”

On the issue of following US advice: since 2003, several consecutive administrations have invested many trillions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a great deal of American blood that was shed there, with two essential outcomes: Iraq is now a satellite state of Iran, while Afghanistan is under total Taliban rule. The notion that the country with the most bankrupt Middle East policy would seek to advise Israel should be classified as bona fide sickness in the Manual of the Diagnosis and Treatment of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association.


But let’s move on to Mr. Miller’s response:

“What the Secretary made clear in our meetings with the prime minister and other officials of the Israeli Government on Thursday is that we do not want to see a military campaign in the south that looks like the north. And what we mean by that: We do not want to see the same level of civilian casualties; we do not want to see the same level of mass displacement. They briefed us on plans that were very detailed and that they said were intended to avoid mass displacement and civilian casualties. But as the Secretary made clear, it’s not just intent that matters; it’s results. And we are watching very closely and will continue to watch very closely before we draw any definitive assessments.”

Miller continued: “I will say that unfortunately, we do expect to see civilian casualties as a result of this campaign. That is sadly true in all wars; it is especially going to be true in a war in a crowded urban environment where the opponent, Hamas, is using civilians as human shields and hiding themselves, hiding their fighters, hiding their infrastructure, behind civilians.

“So, what we have made clear to Israel is that we expect them to comply with international humanitarian law and do everything they can to minimize civilian harm so we don’t see a repeat in the south of what we saw in the north. And with respect to that, we’re at the very early stage of the operation, and I think it’s too soon to draw a definitive conclusion.”


Miller did not offer suggestions as to how one fights a ruthless enemy that’s hiding behind civilian human shields without harming those civilians. Never mind that just about everybody in Gaza, even today is more likely than not to be a Hamas supporter. Ask Ronnie Krivoy, a Russian-Israeli hostage who escaped from his captors and hid for four days until he was caught and turned in by one of those “innocent” Gazan civilians.

The Spokesperson was then asked, “Is there an assessment – for example, the Vice President calling the death toll devastating and Secretary Austin talking about driving the population into the arms of the enemy? This suggests that the administration has come to some kind of conclusion that the way that the Israelis have been conducting these operations has not protected civilians.”

Mind you, the US military incinerated and otherwise annihilated some 1.5 million Iraqis in their effort to free Iraq from Saddam Hussein, who had no part in the 9/11 attacks. So far, it is estimated that about 15,000 Gazans died in this war, some 7,000 of them civilians. I would say the US could learn a thing or two from Israel about protecting civilians.

Miller responded: “I think you can take those comments at face value, just as you can take the Secretary’s comments not just last week but the ones he made in previous weeks at face value. You heard him say several weeks ago that far too many Palestinians have been killed as a result of this conflict. You heard him say before that that Israel needs to take additional steps to protect civilians. And we’ve had very direct conversations about steps that they can take to protect civilians, including as recently as last Thursday when we were in Israel.”


On the notion of “too many Palestinians being killed,” is there a cutoff number below which it’s OK to keep on killing them, but as soon as you reached it you must hold your fire? Would Secretary of State Antony Blinken provide this number in an official document, or is it an impressionistic idea that floats out there, too stupid to be actually considered by anyone, and yet, since it was uttered by a member of Biden’s cabinet, it is there to stay?

“So, I don’t think it is a secret that we think that too many Palestinians were killed in the opening weeks of this conflict. We want to see Israel take additional steps to minimize civilian harm. We talked to them about them when we were in Israel last week. They briefed us on their plans. And if you go through their plans about how they intend to minimize civilian harm, you have to step back and remember that the Israeli military is one of the most professional militaries in the world. They have legal determinations that they make when conducting strikes. They go through procedures where they weigh civilian harm when they conduct any of these strikes. They have put in place these plans I mentioned a moment ago to evacuate specific neighborhoods to keep civilians out of harm’s way rather than just telling an entire population to move.

“So, they are going about this with a certain degree of deliberateness to try to minimize civilian harm. But again, it’s not just the intent that matters; it’s the results. So, we want to be – we have been very transparent with them about what our beliefs have been. The comments that the Secretary made publicly were the same comments that he made in the meeting with them, that we want to see them take additional steps and we’re going to be watching to see how they do.”

All I can say is that, thank God, Israel’s security apparatus is finally rid of its humanitarian approach to winning wars, as well as its delusions about “containing” the Hamas terrorism. Let’s bless our soldiers with the strength and dedication it takes to kill our enemies, and should the US rebuke us for killing “too many” Gazans, we can always shrug and say, Sorry.


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