The Economist piece entitled “Proportional to what?” poses a dangerous question. The notion, as the article suggests, that proportionality in war is a “slippery idea” or that the facts are “nebulous” is the work of either an intentionally provocative or idly cynical author. Whatever the motivation for the words, it is precisely the dismissive tone embodied in such statements that has contributed to and defined the attitude more recently of larger states, like Israel and Russia, to issues of accountability for the death of civilians.

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