I noted in "U.S. to Israel: Do As We Say ..." a repeated pattern of the U.S. government permitting to itself exactly what it prohibits to Israel. "As American diplomats chastise Israel for its tactics," I wrote, "U.S. soldiers openly embrace many of those tactics." I then offered an explanation for this – not hypocrisy, bias, or holding Israel to higher standards but "the invisible assumption that Israel is engaged in a peace process while the United States is fighting a war." I offered several examples of this rank inconsistency and am listing others here as they appear.
July 22, 2003: U.S. forces found and killed Saddam Hussein's two sons, 'Udayy and Qusayy, and this provides an even more compelling case. Imagine the sour official American reaction were Israel to kill the sons of its barbaric leaders in like fashion, especially if they were the #2- and #3-ranking political leaders, and then have the bad taste to celebrate this achievement, as did the U.S. government?
May 20, 2004: American deadly incursions are fine, Israeli ones are not. Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post explains in his article, "White House Criticizes Israel on Attack":
In rare public criticism of Israel, the White House rebuked the Jewish state yesterday for its deadly incursion into Gaza, saying it did not "serve the purposes of peace and security" and had "worsened the humanitarian situation." … The White House statement, issued in the name of press secretary Scott McClellan, stopped short of condemning Israel and did not ask for a stop to the incursion. The statement urged Israel to "exercise maximum restraint now." It also called on the Palestinian Authority to consolidate its security forces and "act to stop smuggling and halt terrorism."
The administration's criticism of Israel came after Arab television stations broadcast reports that U.S. aircraft had attacked a wedding party in Iraq that killed dozens of people near the Syrian border. U.S. military officials said the fighting involved insurgents, and a senior administration official in Washington said the reports of the U.S. attack played no role in the rebuke of Israel for its attack on civilians.
Aug. 27, 2005: In his weekly radio address, IMRA points out, George W. Bush lauded Israel for retreating while emphasizing that his government intends to do quite the reverse:
During the past two weeks, Prime Minister Sharon and the Israeli people took a courageous and painful step by removing Israeli settlements in Gaza and parts of the northern West Bank. I congratulate the Prime Minister for his bold leadership. …
Our strategy is straightforward: As Iraqis stand up, Americans will stand down. And when Iraqi forces can defend their freedom by taking more and more of the fight to the enemy, our troops will come home with the honor they have earned.
Jan. 3, 2014 update: It's not just the Bush administration that engaged in this pattern of hypocrisy; here's an example from its successor Obama Administration concerning parallel actions in Afghanistan and Israel: The Zionist Organization of America noted
the glaring hypocrisy and inconsistency of the Obama Administration for urging Israel to free Palestinian Arab terrorists with Jewish blood on their hands while simultaneously expressing outrage that Afghan President Hamid Karzai intends to free dozens of prisoners with the blood of Americans on their hands.
When the Karzai's government released terrorists who killed Americans, the American response was severe: "These are guys that are tied directly to killing and trying to kill our forces and Afghan forces. This is an issue of deep concern. It is serious." In contrast, of course, the U.S. government pressured the Israelis to release 104 convicted murders.
Oct. 2, 2014 update: This time, the U.S. government condemns Israel for civilian casualties, then breaks its own rules, notes Alan M. Dershowitz in "The Education of a Wartime President." Extracts:
Last year the Obama administration issued, with considerable fanfare, a new military policy designed to reduce civilian casualties when U.S. forces are attacking enemy targets. This policy required "near certainty" that there will be no civilian casualties before an air attack is permitted.
When Israel acted in self-defense this summer against Hamas rocket and tunnel attacks, the Obama administration criticized the Israeli army for "not doing enough" to reduce civilian casualties. When pressed about what more Israel could do—especially when Hamas fired its rockets and dug its terror tunnels in densely populated areas, deliberately using humans as shields—the Obama administration declined to provide specifics.
Now the Obama administration has exempted itself from its own "near certainty" standard in its attacks against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. In a statement on Sept. 30 responding to questions by Michael Isikoff at Yahoo News, the administration said that in fighting Islamic State, also known as ISIS, the U.S. military can no longer comply with Mr. Obama's vow last year to observe "the highest standard we can meet." …
There must be a single universal standard for judging nations that are fighting the kind of terrorism represented by ISIS and Hamas. …The decision of the Obama administration to abandon its unrealistic "highest standard" pledge indicates the urgent need to revisit anachronistic rules with which no nation can actually comply, but against which only one nation—Israel—is repeatedly judged.