I haven't written at all here about the recent war between Israel and Gaza. The response by liberal Americans (of which I am one) and of the international community has been one of horror. In particular, on Facebook, which I consider to be a fairly good indicator of what people are thinking (well, maybe just people like me), two "friends" who are Jewish men, neither of whom I would characterize as particularly religious but who identify in some way as Jewish, were posting regularly about the horror they felt about the situation of the Palestinians. It was sad for me to see these posts, not because I didn't understand how they felt, but because I felt they weren't seeing the whole story. I actually responded to one of the posts at one point, trying to give some of the background, some context, and somehow, that comment wasn't heard.
Then the war ended as quickly as it began, and we've been hearing less about it (on Facebook and other places). The new Obama administration is more on peoples' minds and in the news.
But today, at shul, the Rabbi chose to talk about the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and their code of values. Very interesting choice of topic. He wanted us to know, he said, the grounding, the basis for the actions of the IDF, before we could actually think about how they responded in this particular situation. So he was giving us some background. (Interesting approach!) Here is a link to some of what he presented to us.
I think where he is going with this is: Hamas doesn't have a code of values (although I did find this online). Or rather, their value is: destroy Israel at all costs. So there isn't a basic framework of trying to fight ethically (whatever that means), trying to preserve life during war (if that is really possible). I suppose you could say: what does it matter that there is an ethical framework to the IDF? The end is the same. Lots of people die. Who cares about the framework? But I think his point will be: we do care. And it does matter.