This will only get Michael Goldfarb excited:
Dead babies, mothers weeping on their children's graves, a gun aimed at a child and bombed-out mosques - these are a few examples of the images Israel Defense Forces soldiers design these days to print on shirts they order to mark the end of training, or of field duty. The slogans accompanying the drawings are not exactly anemic either: A T-shirt for infantry snipers bears the inscription "Better use Durex," next to a picture of a dead Palestinian baby, with his weeping mother and a teddy bear beside him. A sharpshooter's T-shirt from the Givati Brigade's Shaked battalion shows a pregnant Palestinian woman with a bull's-eye superimposed on her belly, with the slogan, in English, "1 shot, 2 kills."
A "graduation" shirt for those who have completed another snipers course depicts a Palestinian baby, who grows into a combative boy and then an armed adult, with the inscription, "No matter how it begins, we'll put an end to it."
Some of these t-shirts are approved by commanders at various levels. Some aren't. The Cheneyfication of Israel deepens. But this is what troubled me:
"I can understand people who look at this from outside and see it that way, but I was in Gaza and they kept emphasizing that the object of the operation was to wreak destruction on the infrastructure, so that the price the Palestinians and the leadership pay will make them realize that it isn't worth it for them to go on shooting. So that's the idea of 'we're coming to destroy' in the drawing."
The message of these t-shirts has been essentially condoned by Israel's leadership. Soldiers will always do bad things; and they will say profane things; and the pressures they are under are immense. But when the leadership of a country gives a quiet pass to this kind of animus, the dogs of war get very hard to rein back in.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.