The Mossad is the feared Israeli intelligence and espionage service established upon the creation of Israel in 1949. The Mossad is effective and efficient.
Along with collecting intelligence, the Mossad from its outset has carried out “targeted killings.” They eschew the word “assassination” because that implies murder. They say their killings are in self-defense because their targets are terrorists bent on destroying Israel.
Occasionally, the Mossad acts quasi-judicially. The most notorious was their 1960 kidnapping of Adolf Eichmann in Argentina. They covertly transported Eichmann to Israel where he was tried for war crimes in organizing and administering the Holocaust. He was found guilty, correctly and fairly, and was hanged.
Over a period of decades, the Mossad tracked down and killed the Palestinian terrorists who kidnapped and murdered 11 Israeli athletes in the 1972 Olympics. The Israelis officially maintain that this was not a matter of revenge, but deterrence. Whatever you call it, civilized people shed no tears for those particular Palestinians.
The Mossad has conducted dozens of other targeted killings over the years. They answer to no one except the Israeli Prime Minister. At least once, they made a mistake in killing someone who’d been mis-identified to them. On balance, however, the Mossad has clearly made the world a better and safer place.
This week saw a new episode of barbarism rivaling the terrorism of the Palestinians. Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s military, one of the world’s biggest and most potent, to invade and conquer his peaceful neighbor, Ukraine.
Putin’s invasion is a war crime. In concept, he has no claim over the land he’s invading. His military conquest is illegal under international law and norms.
In methods, his invasion violates accepted treaties of war by deliberately murdering civilian men, women and children. Putin’s missiles rain down on residential buildings for the express purpose of killing some of the inhabitants and terrifying the rest. Some Russian soldiers are incognito in contravention to wartime rules. They’re dressed as civilians and driving civilian vehicles in order to penetrate and confuse Ukrainian defenders.
You may say that this is war and in war there are no rules. For example, in late WWII the Allies incinerated downtown Dresden, Germany in a firebombing that killed 25,000 Germans.
But the firebombing of Dresden was in the context of the Battle of Britain a few years earlier where the Luftwaffe attacked all-civilian targets in downtown London for months and later randomly launched V-1 and V-2 rockets into the city. It was also against the country, Germany, that started WWII and conducted it in a horrific manner, though not all the horrors were yet known at the time of Dresden.
In short, war crimes are not excused by the fact that they’re in the context of a war, especially if the war was started by the war criminal.
Which brings us back to Putin. The Mossad knows how to handle people like him. In doing so they will save thousands of lives and will deter future aggressors. Send them in.
OK, I realize that sending in the Mossad is about as realistic and practical as sending in, oh, James Bond. But wouldn’t it be great? And Putin certainly deserves it.