If LBJ had been Netanyahu


The analogy is not perfect, but it comes damn close. Three Israeli teenagers were abducted while hitchhiking and found murdered after a national search. Three young civil rights workers murdered in Mississippi 50 years ago. Both cases were senseless tragedies born of generations of unyielding and unrelenting hate.

What happened on the night of the kidnapping
The Times of Israel

The teenagers were shot dead in the backseat of the car within minutes of the abduction; the killers believed, erroneously, that the security forces were on their trail  —  Eyal Yifrach, 19, Naftali Fraenkel, 16, and Gil-ad Shaar, 16 …

Fifty years ago, almost to the day, three other young men were found in Mississippi. Also murdered, and also after a national search.

If LBJ were Bebe Netanyahu, here’s what he would have done:

clarion ledger bodies found

LBJ Vows Revenge Against Murderers of Civil Rights Workers

“[The teens] were kidnapped and murdered in cold blood by animals,” the Washington Post quoted President Johnson as saying at a hastily arranged cabinet meeting on Monday.

“In the name of the whole of America, I ask to tell the dear families — to the mothers, the fathers, the grandmothers and the grandfathers, the brothers and sisters — our hearts are bleeding, the whole nation is crying with them.” “The Klan is responsible, and Klan will pay,” Johnson vowed.

The Air Force conducted airstrikes early Tuesday morning against 34 targets in KKK-controlled Philadelphia, Mississippi. Also on Tuesday, a Mississipian who the FBI said was a member of the KKK was shot dead when he threw a grenade at forces carrying out an arrest raid in Philadelphia. The man was the first casualty since the bodies were found in a shallow grave in an earthen dam a few miles outside of town.

The FBI has said two well-known Klan operatives from Jackson are the primary suspects in the civil rights workers’ deaths. The men have not been seen since the teens disappeared, and military officials said the search for them would continue.

Federal agents blew up a door of one suspect’s home in Jackson early Tuesday, causing damage to the home, but did not destroy the rest of the house, said an FBI official, speaking on condition of anonymity due to protocol. He did not elaborate. Flames were seen after the blast…


The leftist newspaper the Pahrump Free Press (Nev.) responded with a carefully modulated editorial that said in part:


Southern Discomfort

Column: LBJ Should Not Turn Tragedy into Fiasco

The murder of three Civil Rights workers in Mississippi has sent shock waves through American society and raised fears that the relatively quiescent Southern states will explode into a new war.

A stormy cabinet session considered a variety of retaliatory options for the killings of James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael “Mickey” Schwerner, were shot at close range on the night of June 21–22, 1964, including another major military operation against the KKK in Mississippi and further boosting Starbucks construction in the Deep South.

In fact, the steps already taken by Federal authorities in the 18 days between the boys’ disappearance and the discovery of their bodies buried in an earthen dam amounted to pre-emptive relation: Hundreds of alleged Klansmen in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama were arrested and five young Southerners were killed by Federal forces responding to violent protests. In the immediate aftermath of the confirmation of the murders, the FBI destroyed the homes of the suspected killers and bombarded largely empty fields in Mississippi while Klan leaders went into hiding.

The Federal government is right to hunt down the two Klansmen who are believed responsible for the killings; to do more and inflict additional mass punishment on the entire Mississippi population is simply to perpetuate the violence and deepen generations-old grievances.

Reached for comment, a White House spokesman, who spoke under condition of anonymity stated: “Screw them. Those kids are dead. We will retaliate until we run out of bombs.” …

detroit riots 1967

Aftermath of LBJ’s first round of Mississippi airstrikes

But, of course, that didn’t happen.

The former “news” pieces have been adapted, respectively, from Fox News, and the Voice of America. I leave it to the reader to draw their own conclusions. However, I will gleefully consign any counter-analogy drawn from the same sources to cyber-limbo and thence to non-existence. Figure out a different trope.

You’ve been cheerfully warned.


For illustrative purposes only: Canada bombed by oil train

The Fourth Geneva Convention

Collective punishments

Article 33.  No persons may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.
Pillage is prohibited.
Reprisals against persons and their property are prohibited.

Under the 1949 Geneva Conventions, collective punishment is a war crime. By collective punishment, the drafters of the Geneva Conventions had in mind the reprisal killings of World War I and World War II. In the First World War, during the Rape of Belgium, the Germans executed Belgian villagers in mass retribution for resistance activity. In World War II, the Germans carried out a form of collective punishment to suppress resistance. Entire villages or towns or districts were held responsible for any resistance activity that occurred in them.[3] The conventions, to counter this, reiterated the principle of individual responsibility. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Commentary to the conventions states that parties to a conflict often would resort to “intimidatory measures to terrorize the population” in hopes of preventing hostile acts, but such practices “strike at guilty and innocent alike. They are opposed to all principles based on humanity and justice.”

Additional Protocol II of 1977 explicitly forbids collective punishment. But as fewer states have ratified this protocol than GCIV, GCIV Article 33 is the one more commonly quoted.

Israel is a signatory to the Fourth Geneva Convention, but, luckily, only to the third protocol stating that they won’t shoot at SOME ambulances.


Bombed out ambulance Gaza Strip, April 2009


 Mr. Williams has a lively blog His Vorpal Sword. This is cross-posted from his blog.

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About Hart Williams

Mr. Williams grew up in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. He lived in Hollywood, California for many years. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Santa Fe Sun, The Los Angeles Free Press, Oui Magazine, New West, and many, many more. A published novelist and a filmed screenwriter, Mr. Williams eschews the decadence of Hollywood for the simple, wholesome goodness of the plain, honest people of the land. He enjoys Luis Buñuel documentaries immensely.
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