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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

So What's Israel Supposed to Do?

From CNN:
"Israel: 25 dead, including 13 civilians, Israeli military says.

Lebanon: 183 dead, Lebanese authorities say, with no breakdown between civilians and military personnel." (Although there are no reports of any Hezbollah casualties yet.

Every time I check these figures, Israel is killing Arabs, Palestinians, etc. at 5 to 10 times the rates they kill Israelis. The nitiwts who always say, "So what's Israel supposed to do, stand by while its people are killed?" don't seem to realize that their justification for violence against innocent people works many times as well for Hezbollah as it does for Israel.

Of course, neither side is justified in its continual murder of non-combatants.

30 comments:

  1. What? Israel is pre-emptively knocking out the capabilities of Hezbollah to protect themselves from further loss of life ...

    You can bet if Hezbollah had the military capability of Israel, 1M+ Jews would be dead, almost all innocent civilians. Have you forgotten the 7 days war already?

    What I don't understand is the commitment to passivity: yes, absolutely, peaceful interaction is better. It doesn't work unless all the people involved find a way to agree to the proper uses of violence (defensive only) and forever agree not to initiate violence again and have some sort of system by which offenders can be punished for doing it. Not sure you're ever going to get that from Hezbollah types.

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  2. Nor will you get it from those Israeli government types!

    Israel is taking actions it knows will kill and injure many, many Lebanese civilians. I don't understand how you could recommend Hezbollah passivity in the face of such terrorist actions!

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  3. There's no moral comparison, Gene. For all it's errors and occasional move into uncivilized behavior, Israel does not want Lebanese casualties: they'd prefer it otherwise; while Hezbollah desires a broader war and to unite all of Arabia in the effort to eradicate the Jews. If half the Arabs died from a response from Israel, Hezbollah would be rejoicing that the "time had come" for a broader war. It's a worship of death.

    I agree if Israel can take steps which would logically reduce or eliminate the numbers of casualties they are severely immoral if they do not do so. However you do not adequately make that case. Hezbollah creates and supports the "human shield" problem (and kills their own people if they refuse to cooperate with their radical agenda). Israel attempts to mitigate those effects frequently at the cost of their security and lives. And I note people of Arab descent that live in Israel live far, far better lives than the reverse, no?

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  4. There's no moral comparison, Gene. For all it's errors and occasional move into uncivilized behavior, Israel does not want Lebanese casualties...

    Yes, but Gene's point is that Israel is willing to kill civilians to achieve its objectives. I obviously haven't spoken with any of the young lads, but it wouldn't surprise me if a great many of the Al Quada recruits wish they didn't "have" to blow up civlians in the marketplace, but that's their only tactic. So their objective is to get the US out of Iraq, and it's the only technique they think has any shot of success.

    Just like Israel wants Hezbollah to stop attacking them, and so they "have" to blow up civilians who are standing on a bridge, because it's their only tactic.

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  5. Bob - Nonsense: initiating aggression is very different from defending against it. That opinion truly deserves to be challenged as it says the innocent should be sacrificed for the pleasures of the violent aggressor.

    Hezbollah WANTS to eradicate Jews even to the extent they want to goad Israel into a misstep which leads all of Arabia into war against the Jews at enormous cost of Arab lives as well.

    Jews want to be left alone and not have their borders aggressed. It's Hezbollah (among others) that has created and sustained this situation in the majority. Israel is and has been fighting for survival for the last 50 years in an environment severely hostile to their existence -- The Jews felt (along with others) that the Jewish race would not survive without a state dedicated to the preservation of the Jews, seeing the enormous persecution of them (many other ethnicities can identify I am sure).

    Israel does have the rule of law and does have a moral use of violence (they prosecute their own soldiers for misdeeds), while terrorist have absolutely none whatsoever and celebrate their lack of limits to violence and celebrate death, even the deaths of their own precious children if it would "kill a Jew". Israel is thus forced to pre-emptively act to limit the damage Hezbollah can inflict.

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  6. That's hilarious, JIMB. Israel was founded by a bunch of European Jews who invaded Palestine, engaged in terrorism, kicked the residents off of their land, and siezed it for themselves. Now, if the displaced should object and try to get their own land back, they are "terrorists," and Israel is entitled to kill not only the objectors but anyone else who happens to be in the vicinity.

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  7. All right let me just make one more pass at this, to make sure everyone realizes what an anti-Semite and relativist I am. (A little levity to disarm would-be critics, folks, ha ha...)

    Bob - Nonsense: initiating aggression is very different from defending against it.

    Exactly. So Lebanese civilians would be totally justified in sneaking across the border and shooting Israeli troops, right?

    Now don't get me wrong, I understand your position. Israel "needs" to defend itself, and any babies who get caught in between Hezbollah and Israeli shells don't count as innocent victims of aggression, or if anything should be counted as victims of Hezbollah aggression.

    BTW how do you feel about the Israeli policy of cutting off imports because they might aid Hezbollah? If Israel had the strength to blockade the US (since some Arab Americans might aid Hezbollah), would that be OK too? Is there any point at which you would say, no, Israel has crossed the line in messing with third parties in its exercise of self-defense?

    That opinion truly deserves to be challenged as it says the innocent should be sacrificed for the pleasures of the violent aggressor.

    No that's not what my "opinion" is. My opinion is that, by definition, no innocents should ever be sacrificed, whether for the pleasures of the violent aggressor or the violent defender.

    Hezbollah WANTS to eradicate Jews...

    Right, and as the equally racist and anti-Semitic Gene pointed out, WHY is that the case? Forget the post WWII settlements. Go read the book of Joshua. There is a fairly long history of "we're attacking them because they attacked us because (they claim) we attacked them but that was because they attacked us because (they claim)..."

    Would it shock you to hear that people in Al Queda think the US initiated aggression in the Middle East? And that, say, 9/11 was proud Moslems taking a stand and showing that they would challenge the opinion that violent aggressors should be appeased?

    Israel does have the rule of law and does have a moral use of violence (they prosecute their own soldiers for misdeeds),

    Right, except that they don't consider bulldozing houses of acknowledged noncombatants and sending missiles to blow up cars on the off chance that they might contain a wanted terrorist, to be "misdeeds."

    while terrorist have absolutely none whatsoever and celebrate their lack of limits to violence and celebrate death, even the deaths of their own precious children if it would "kill a Jew".

    I'm glad I don't live in a society that celebrates warriors who die while killing enemies, or that would tolerate killing "a Jap" or "a gook."

    (And please don't accuse me of "moral equivalence," whatever the heck that means. I'm not saying your uncle in WWII is the same as Osama bin Laden. I'm saying though that the underlying justification for mass killing is virtually the same, and that the US has been fortunate enough to not need to resort to suicide bombers to achieve results. All we "have" to do is drop atomic bombs on cities and other such civilized means of mass murder.)

    Ah there, I feel much better. I'm sure I've totally changed your mind. (More levity folks, ha ha.)

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  8. Gene and Bob - You argue for a fantasy so you argue for evil. The economic corollary is arguing for communism and thus supporting mass death.

    (Bob) You give a bad example: Lebanese civilians could instead kill Hezbollah (They cooperate with Hezbollah because Hezbollah would torture and kill them and their families), the proximate and continuing cause of this conflict. (In fact, Arab states have roundly condemned Hezbollah for their recent actions). Compare that to Israel. She is composed of many people who express their views (many dovish) on policy without fear of retribution. What a difference!

    Getting back to the essential issue: you necessarily argue that good people should willingly sacrifice themselves to the dominance of violent evil by stressing that the criteria for action is innocents not ever be killed.

    If you truly believe this then you believe in martyrdom. You can surely participate and perhaps do more good than 1000 bombs. It has happened before.

    However, the further argument against the U.S. doesn't pass muster:
    1 - the U.S./Israel commits terrorism
    2 - therefore there are no grounds for supporting the U.S./Israel over Islamic Fanatics.

    You can see 2 doesn't follow 1.

    The fanatical Islamics want to unite all of Arabia into a caliphate ruled by a dictator, wipe out the Jews, and expand their territory: a much, much worse state of affairs.

    And if innocent lives are the criteria, there would be massive loss of innocent lives if we adopt your criteria for action. Our only chance is to restrain / redirect the U.S. government using various means and attempt to have a continuous rational policy in the middle east.

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  9. Bob, you give a bad example: Lebanese civilians could instead kill Hezbollah

    Hang on a second. We're not arguing about tactics here, we're arguing about what's moral or not. You said that innocent people are justified in killing aggressors out of self-defense. So I asked you, "Would it be OK for Lebanese civilians to kill the Israeli soldiers who are currently bombing them?"

    Your answer is that they could kill Hezbollah instead. Yes, that's true, just like Israelis could move to Australia instead of shelling Lebanon. That's not the issue. You are saying Israelis are justified because they're defending themselves, and so I want to know if your principle applies to innocent Lebanese civilians, too.

    Getting back to the essential issue: you necessarily argue that good people should willingly sacrifice themselves to the dominance of violent evil by stressing that the criteria for action is innocents not ever be killed.

    I don't know what you mean by "willingingly sacrifice" unless you mean "willingly adhere to moral precepts that in some cases would lead to their deaths."

    Do you endorse the principle that it is always immoral to, say, eat an infant? I hope not, because then you have just demanded that innocents willingly sacrifice themselves to aggressors. After all, what if someone puts a gun to your head and demands that you eat an infant or else he'll shoot you? So much for the alleged criterion of "it's always immoral to eat babies."

    If you truly believe this then you believe in martyrdom. You can surely participate and perhaps do more good than 1000 bombs. It has happened before.

    I didn't follow that. If you're asking me, do I think it is sometimes proper to die rather than violate one's conscience? Yes, of course I do. The greatest human who ever lived was a martyr.

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  10. Bob, you give a bad example: Lebanese civilians could instead kill Hezbollah

    Hang on a second. We're not arguing about tactics here, we're arguing about what's moral or not. You said that innocent people are justified in killing aggressors out of self-defense. So I asked you, "Would it be OK for Lebanese civilians to kill the Israeli soldiers who are currently bombing them?"

    Your answer is that they could kill Hezbollah instead. Yes, that's true, just like Israelis could move to Australia instead of shelling Lebanon. That's not the issue. You are saying Israelis are justified because they're defending themselves, and so I want to know if your principle applies to innocent Lebanese civilians, too.

    Getting back to the essential issue: you necessarily argue that good people should willingly sacrifice themselves to the dominance of violent evil by stressing that the criteria for action is innocents not ever be killed.

    I don't know what you mean by "willingingly sacrifice" unless you mean "willingly adhere to moral precepts that in some cases would lead to their deaths."

    Do you endorse the principle that it is always immoral to, say, eat an infant? I hope not, because then you have just demanded that innocents willingly sacrifice themselves to aggressors. After all, what if someone puts a gun to your head and demands that you eat an infant or else he'll shoot you? So much for the alleged criterion of "it's always immoral to eat babies."

    If you truly believe this then you believe in martyrdom. You can surely participate and perhaps do more good than 1000 bombs. It has happened before.

    I didn't follow that. If you're asking me, do I think it is sometimes proper to die rather than violate one's conscience? Yes, of course I do. The greatest human who ever lived was a martyr.

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  11. Gene - your history is way off base.

    Israel was founded in a "legal" (if war can be called that) process out of the Ottoman empire after WWII by the Allies in the UN. The Arabs refused to sign a peace treaty with Israel. The Arabs violently refused to permit any of the Arab refugees to settle in surrounding Arab lands (and given the massive difference in land mass - look at a map - I'd say there's some serious problems with Arab government's attitude toward their own people).

    Had the Arab states signed a treaty and honored it, a "Palestinian" state could have existed since 1947 or 1948. Given the fact that Israel has again and again traded "land for peace" (Not to mention the fact that Israel has forcibly ejected their own people off land to give it back to Arabs), I've got to believe that the intractability is that the Arabs believe all Arabs and Jews must exist under a specific type of rule no matter what the cost in innocent lives. After all, many Arabs live peacefully in Israel, so what's the big problem?

    Apparently it's the choice of government. The fanatics want the entire domain to be under the dictatorship of Islam and Jews living there under their own state under their own form of government is simply unacceptable.

    And of course, millions of Jews were forced to flee for their lives to Israel all over the globe (especially from surrounding Arab states where they'd lived for thousands of years) and their assets were confiscated.

    The massive immigration and integration of Jewish people continued with huge success in comparison to the regimes of Arabic rule (who refused Arab refugees at gunpoint). Many people have believed (correctly I think) that the Jewish people would likely not have survived without a state (hence the theory of Zionism). So there you have it. Israel ain't perfect, but they surely aren't the bad guys like some people say they are...

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  12. Bob - Hezbollah (and Hamas) are the primary cause of the situation, especially given the historical context, so it would only be proper for Lebanese to kill Hezbollah members, not Israelis (notice that killing more Israelis is EXACTLY what Hezbollah wants -- they want a bigger war).

    I would argue sacrifice in the service of greater evil is not appropriate - only sacrifice in the service of greater good. It is not an appropriate standard to demand that Israel sacrifice themselves to evil by setting the hurdle for action impossibly high.

    I think it's appropriate that you identify a better course of action at this point for Israel, given the fact that Hezbollah captured 10,000 to 15,000 Katyusha rockets and is committed to mass war.

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  13. Hezbollah (and Hamas) are the primary cause of the situation,

    How far back are we pushing the timeline? Wherever you want to start it, are you denying that the Arab at that point who wants to kill a Jewish person would have no good examples of prior Jewish aggression against innocent Arabs? And thus that Arab could say to you, "I'm just using self-defense against people who intitiate aggression against innocents! I'm doing exactly what you say I have a right to do."

    I think it's appropriate that you identify a better course of action at this point for Israel, given the fact that Hezbollah captured 10,000 to 15,000 Katyusha rockets and is committed to mass war.

    Are you saying that the shelling of northern Israel right now has nothing to do with Israel's bombing of Lebanon? When those Israeli soldiers were captured, suppose the Israelis had followed my "suicidal" strategy of not taking any steps that could result in the death of innocent Lebanese. Are you saying that more Israeli civilians would be dead today if they had followed this course of action, rather than bombing Lebanon?

    Do you think that the size of Hamas and Hezbollah is just some external given fact, that has nothing at all to do with Israel's checkpoints, curfews, bulldozing of houses, blowing up of cars, and bombing of airports when two of their soldiers get kidnapped?

    And can you please answer my question, do Lebanese civilians have the same right to self-defense as Israelis do? You keep saying that they should best use this right to kill Hezbollah people instead. OK maybe so, but that's a tactical question, not a moral one.

    Do you think some 20 year old Lebanese father, who has previously had absolutely nothing to do with violence and indeed tells his friends that Hezbollah sucks, has the moral right to kill an Israeli soldier if the latter is about to blow up a bridge on which the father's family is traveling?

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  14. Well, yes, but Israel initiated the aggression in the 1940s!

    Note that, unlike JIMB, I don't think this justifies knowingly killing innocent people on the part of Hezbollah.

    Aslo, I wonder how JIMB would feel if the Israeli army bombed his house in England, killing his family, because a Hezbollah agent had broken in and was hiding in the basement. Hey, it wasn't Israel who created the human shield problem!

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  15. Bob - Radical Arabs ARE more cupable here - they could have had peace for the last 60 years by honoring their agreements and stopping the terror attacks.

    In fact, Jews bought vast amounts of Israeli land and through hard work converted it from barren desert prior to WWI and Arabs were okay with that for some time.

    Sheikh Yousuf al-Qaradhawi, international Arab terrorist (lieutenant to Osama)spoke in May, 2005 and said : “Unfortunately, we [Arabs] do not excel in either military or civil industries. We import everything from needles to missiles…How come the Zionist gang has managed to be superior to us, despite being so few? It has become superior through knowledge, through technology, and through strength. It has become superior to us through work. We had the desert before our eyes but we
    didn’t do anything with it. When they took over, they turned it into a green oasis. How can a nation that does not work progress? How can it grow?”

    The shift from working with to opposing Jews started before the formation of the state of Israel.

    Britain attempted to partition the land early in the 1900s (1919?) with 85% going to the Arabs, but that was unacceptable and the Arabs began escalating their attacks.

    After WWII, the UN Partition Plan #181 and #194 was rejected by Arabs as well. Israel offered the Arabs in 1949 much of the land they had acquired by war, but the Arabs would rather have the "Palestinians" remain refugees as a political tool to incite more Arabs against Israel.

    From 1949 to 1956 Egypt launched about 9000 terror attacks from the Gaza strip (care to guess why Israel has occupied?)

    In 1967 Five Arab states Attacked Israel which was, by Arab admission, an attempt to drive the Jews into the sea. I note that many of those same Arab states today are more peaceful and less of a threat to Israel (in other words, the post-WWII policies WORKED far better than current policies and those policies were much tougher)

    Etc. Etc.

    The fact that a father sacrifices or saves his family on a bridge -- contrived to be sure -- does not make your case. Situations like that just don't happen frequently enough to be valid.

    Bottom line: the radicals don't want ANY non-Islamic country (doesn't matter what race) in the region, including more libertarian minded Arabic governments.

    Finally, the problem is also not that the present terrorist capabilities are insurmountable, but that the future capabilities (given technological "progress" in warfare and proliferation) will result in potentially massive attacks against civilians.

    So offer a workable solution supported by history and logic rather than criticizing as if all parties are equally guilty.

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  16. The fact that a father sacrifices or saves his family on a bridge -- contrived to be sure -- does not make your case. Situations like that just don't happen frequently enough to be valid.

    I'm not sure I follow your last sentence. Let me charitably interpret you to be saying, "Yes that would indeed be justified--since I said innocent people have the right to kill in self-defense--but that's not really what's happening in Lebanon. No Lebanese civilian could really save his family by killing any particular Israeli soldier, so your hypothetical is inapplicable."

    Is that what you're saying?

    BTW the reason I'm persisting in this is I think I will get you in a contradiction if you attempt to explain your principle of why Israel is justified in blowing up bridges and thereby killing innocent people. If you want to throw out principles then fine. Or if you want to change your principle to say, "Israelis have different rights from Lebanese" then OK. But as it stands you seem to be contradicting yourself.

    So again, do Lebanese civilians possess the same right to self-defense as the Israeli soldiers? Maybe it would be imprudent to exercise, or there wouldn't be a good opportunity to do so. But do they have the same rights as the Israelis, so long as they haven't participated in any terrorism nor aided any Hezbollah types?

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  17. Oh, another thing: You keep coming back to, "Hezbollah WANTS Israel to inflict casualties on Lebanese!" and "Hezbollah WANTS more Israelis killed!"

    OK that's certainly true for the latter, and probably true for the former in the short-run, in the same way Winston Churchill could sleep peacefully after Pearl Harbor. (That's true folks, in case you think I'm cracking a joke. WC said it in his diary or something.)

    By the same token, Hezbollah WANTS Israel to bomb bridges and kill civilians in Lebanon, right? "If you want open war, you will have it!" Right? So by your reasoning Israel is playing right into their hands.

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  18. Bob - No Israel is not playing into the hands of Hezbollah types, else 1/2 the Arab civilian population would be dead given the firepower of Israel.

    Israel does follow their laws to a great extent (with tragic exceptions) and does show extraordinary restraint. I pray they continue to do so and you should too. The focus on goodness (as opposed to badness) is essential for civilization.

    For instance, the Israeli high court reversed a decision that it was legal to hold innocents as bargaining chips with terrorists.

    Now that's good and that's real heroism: elevating justice by necessary sacrifice.

    Jesus did exactly that. He sacrificed himself so that man could communicate and be forgiven by God: a monumental good - and free for the asking by any man willing to admit sinning, pray, and accept it. And if Christianity is true, Jesus' second return will be to conquer evil by force, as he has earned the right to do so.

    That is why I disagree with your stance, including the reference (I am guessing) to Jesus Christ. I don't believe your moral code in this case elevates the good, nor is the comparison to Jesus congruent.

    Review the facts of the 1967 war in which the Arabs attempted to eradicate the Jews and where Israel, after decisively gaining the upper hand, did not march all the way to Cairo although they justifiably could have - and Israel also could have obliterated countless Arabs, which they chose also not to do. They even returned the land gained by the defensive war in an attempt at peace, although that did them no good.

    Part of the reason Israel has survived, I believe, is because it has the moral upper ground. I think many people know it, that is the reason for hysterics and history rewrites and moral equivalence arguments. The desire to see harm come to the Jews and the U.S. is almost spiritual, so seems the uniting of the left-wing and Islamic apologists.

    Funny thing is, I agree with your stance in many ways. I hope it will be applied correctly to our benefit in the future.

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  19. Bob - do Lebanese civilians possess the same right to self-defense as the Israeli soldiers? Yes they do. The question is whether it is indeed "self-defense" (i.e. justifiable action against an intentional aggressor) if an Israeli person in error targets an innocent Lebanese or more an accident whose blame is more squarely laid on Hezbollah. That is not so clear cut as you make it, is it?

    So your argument does not just fail because it is specifically contrived, it also fails because the moral dilemma is not conclusive one way or the other, and it also fails because the standard to which you hold good nations would preclude any warlike defensive action and thus you advocate their sacrifice to evil, and it fails because you exonerate evil from any punishment for its acts (they certainly will not follow your strictures without force backing it: which is apparently precluded), and it fails because you must also divorce present events from their history (clearly the nature, purpose, activity, and character of the entities at war can make a huge difference in just actions) -- all in the attempt to make your point.

    Should we all lay down arms and give in to evil because we know that innocent people will be killed? Should we empty jails and declare free reign for murderers because there are certainly on death row people unjustly convicted?

    Again, you offer no solutions whatsoever. I expected much deeper arguments from those of Austrian Economic persuasion (I assume you are, being on Gene's blog), although I do understand from a personal morality standpoint where you are right. You certainly have the right to sacrifice yourself.

    I must be missing the underlying issue, as the arguments (to me) seem conclusive. There is no perfect justice and accidents do not prevent our taking action.

    Is it your contention that Israeli's are intentionally targeting civilians? Is it that you do not believe in fanatic evil (on the Arab side)? Is it the difficulty in realizing there are no good solutions that are perfect? Please clarify your solution to this problem.

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  20. Gene - Israel did not initiate any aggression (are you not aware of how the state of Israel was formed? You can read these posts for a brief overview). There are innocent people in some conflicts, just as there is evil.

    Also I should pose the same question to you that I posed to Bob: should you demand that jails be emptied of all murderers because you know for a fact that some are innocent? Should you argue against the prosecution of the guilty because you know for a fact that some will be unjustly convicted?

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  21. The question is whether it is indeed "self-defense" (i.e. justifiable action against an intentional aggressor) if an Israeli person in error targets an innocent Lebanese or more an accident whose blame is more squarely laid on Hezbollah.

    I do not think it is correct to say that Israel is killing civilians in Lebanon "by accident." The civilian deaths are unintentional, I think. (I don't say that out of a conspiracy theory, but rather because I'm not sure exactly what Israel's goals are. To switch examples, I definitely do think the US wanted to terrorize the people in Fallujah and let them know that you do not drag around dead Americans, or you will regret it. Same thing here: Maybe Israel wants everyone to know that you do NOT kidnap Israeli soldiers, or you will regret it. And if the reprisal left no one dead then I don't think that message would be as crystal clear.)

    If Israel thinks Terrorist X is in a car and sends a missile to blow him up, I do not think it is an "accident" if everyone else in the car dies too.

    And no, it is not Hezbollah's fault that Israel blew up civilians on a bridge. If we changed the situation I might agree with you. If, say, somebody is shooting at a cop and has a kid by the throat as a shield, you could say that the bad guy "forced" the cop to kill the kid.

    But I don't think that's the same thing. You haven't answered one of my questions. The timeline went like this: Soldiers kidnapped, Israel bombs the cr*p out of Lebanon, and Hezbollah starts shelling Israel. Are you saying that had Israel just notified the authorities and so on in response to the kidnapping--just like New Jersey police would notify authorities if New Yorkers kidnapped people from Jersey--then Hezbollah would've done the same thing, i.e. started shelling Israel?

    If not, then you are wrong to say Israel's response was necessary to protect itself. I think in the short run at least, Israel's response "caused" Hezbollah to kill more Israeli civilians. (I put it in quotes because it's really in your worldview that people force others to kill innocents.)

    What Gene was getting at in this initial post is that Israel is not nearly the sitting duck that people seem to imply. Now it's true, you could argue that in the long run if Arabs knew Israel would never retaliate with impunity, they might start attacking more. But clearly in the short run, Israel's retaliation led to more Israeli deaths than if they had followed my "unrealistic" advice.

    Part of my problem with your position is its collectivism. You are justifying what people today are doing based on stuff that their fathers did. You are justifying killing Lebanese civilians because of stuff some other Lebanese did.

    Again I ask, do Lebanese have the same right to self-defense as Israelis? You keep dodging the question. Does that mean you see that if you say yes, you're going to be trapped?

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  22. Let me give quick replies to your two other questions (lest I also appear to be dodging them).

    (1) "What's your solution?"

    As I have argued repeatedly, I simply do not agree that Israel's specific behavior is necessary. For one thing, its actions have not prevented attacks on Israel.

    Of course I do not have some simple formula that will lead to Mideast peace. I never claimed that I did. What I am saying is that it is wrong to kill innocent people. If the goal is to behave morally, then yes I have a workable solution: stop killing innocent people. No matter what others do, you always have the power to act morally.

    Beyond that, though, I think you are also wrong pragmatically. In the long run your policy will lead to never ending war. At least under my approach, peaceful relations are possible down the road.

    It's like what people said after 9/11. It's true, the US by that point had built up such hatred around the world that even if it followed Lew Rockwell's advice, terrorists would still attack. Nonetheless, the best course would still be to try to undo the decades of anger US foreign policy has sown. It is certainly not true that invading Iraq has made the US more secure (I claim).


    (2) "Should we free the jails etc.??"

    I am a pacifist, so yes I think we should free the jails. (I have a post currently on Crash Landing on just this topic.) I don't think we should get into that here though, because it mixes the two things. One could (as I think Gene does) grant that force is OK against aggressors, just not against innocent people. Hence, Israel is wrong to bomb Lebanon.

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  23. Bob (Gene also?): Your worldview is immoral: more destructive of innocent life than supportive of it. True pacifists will sacrifice 1000 innocent people by inaction if 1 innocent person would be killed by action (even if unintentionally). Apparently you do not (really) believe that evil should be subject to good - because you do not believe evil should ever be combatted by appropriate violence. Would you truly sacrifice your children to this monstrous opinion?

    I note Gene is upset - rightly so - because his family was caught in an elevator and possibly endangered. Apparently there should be costs for negligence but not of a sustained genocidal war against Jews? Amazing.

    After all, you try to say history started in the last 2 weeks. But truly, radical Arabs have been trying to eradicate the Jews for decades (the Jews have not at all tried to eradicate the Arabs), despite numerous land gifts by Israel and a hard-line successful peace with Jordan and Egypt. The Radical Arabs (you should read their own words about killing Jews in their charters) are dedicated to wiping out the Jewish race and erecting a Nazi-style government in it's place - accusing the Jews of "orchestrating world affairs" and blaming Jews for nearly all the evil in the world. It's Naziism with an Arab face. There is no appeasement. They are evil. The longer a non-violent approach is taken the greater the armament of these radicals and the greater the loss of innocent life (including Arabs). Unfortunately, there is little option for containment. Inaction equals destruction of good.

    You analogy is like saying "if you punish rapists, they will rape again" and it will lead to "never ending rape". The so-called "cycle of violence". Nonsense.

    There is no cycle, provided we act appropriately in correctly targeting and dismantling the radical population. The "inaction" option has been tried again and again. It fails. Learn from history. Appeasement of evil does not work.

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  24. Bob - Your abbreviated history is not accurate. It's not so clear-cut.

    You neglect first the demand of Israel to return their soldier within 2 days, then the kidnapping of the 2nd soldier, then the movement of Israeli troops / knocking out of power in Gaza by Israel and the arresting of more than 60 Hamas members operating in Gaza (the 2nd soldier is found dead), then the escalation of demands by Hamas / Hezbollah to 1000 prisoners for the first soldier, then the deadline to Israel to free the 1000 prisoners and a rocket fired into Ashkelon beyond range Israel thought possible, (palestinian death toll at this time is said to be at 52), the leader of Hamas emerging and speaking from Syria, Hezbollah crossing the northern Israeli border and killing three soldiers and capturing two others, Israel responding with airstrikes into Lebanon (they've no authority to appeal to, as Southern Lebanon is controlled by HH), etc.

    And you neglect the hundreds of Israelis that have died in the last 5 years from drive-by shootings, suicide bombings, car shootings, etc., inside the borders of Israel, and even more in the Gaza "buffer-zone" Israel has created (and withdrawn from since 2005) to protect it's center. If radical Arabs would leave Israel alone and respect Israeli right to exist, the violence would stop, especially since Israel has made concession after concession. But it won't happen: The Nazi-like attitude is even in the radical Arab charters. It's not some big secret.

    Israel's response (if they do not overstep) is necessary as the escalation of capability and supplies will eventually leave less options open to Israel when finally HH does again attack Israel inside their borders as they have again and again in the past.

    And we are of course arguing priciples which affect the long run. There is no purpose in arguing for a short-run gain at a huge long-run loss.

    This is not collectivism (sins of the fathers visited on the children). It is a defense against a continuous policy which targets Israel.

    And I've answered the question three times. Lebanese do have the same right of self defense. They need to keep in mind who the continued aggressors are. Israel respects the borders of nation-states that behave themselves, while Hezbollah and Hamas are both dedicated to Jewish extermination and do not respect Israel's right to exist at all.

    And I think the "we should free the jails" attitude absolutely prevents you from seeing the reality of evil. Some people ARE evil Bob. And nothing short of a gun will stop them.

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  25. JIMB said: I note Gene is upset - rightly so - because his family was caught in an elevator and possibly endangered. Apparently there should be costs for negligence but not of a sustained genocidal war against Jews? Amazing.

    Actually it was my family that was in the elevator. And I can assure you that my strange world view is at least consistent. Even at my angriest moment, it never occurred to me to impose "costs" on people who had nothing to do with my family's predicament. I mean, if it weren't for the other shoppers and their complacency, Home Depot management would've been more responsible. So by your logic, I would've been justified holding another shopper hostage until my family was freed.

    After all, you try to say history started in the last 2 weeks. But truly, radical Arabs have been trying to eradicate the Jews for decades

    And if you asked those radical Arabs back 30 years ago why they hated Jews, they would've said, "No good reason, we just do"? Or would they have been able to point to centuries of (what they considered to be) abuses? Of course this doesn't justify present terrorism, or past terrorism/invasions. But you focus only on Arab crimes and not Jewish ones.

    (you should read their own words about killing Jews in their charters) are dedicated to wiping out the Jewish race

    Again, are you familiar with the Old Testament?

    You analogy is like saying "if you punish rapists, they will rape again" and it will lead to "never ending rape". The so-called "cycle of violence". Nonsense.

    I'm short on time so let me give the easy response: Your position says that in order to get tough with rapists, sometimes we need to punish innocent people. And yes, if there were a policy where we knew 1 guy in a group of 15 was a rapist, and so we imprisoned all of them for 10 years, then I think that would be a horrible policy and would lead to more injustice in the long run.

    You will retort that we need to occasionally lock up innocent people. Fair enough (though I disagree), but I don't think the proportions that would fly with most people would dovetail with Israel's "success rate" in limiting deaths to Hezbollah.

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  26. This situation is so simple that if not for having a favorite in the contest, JIMB would see the truth of it instantly. I'll try one more time: A robber kills my wife while robbing my home. He then flees into a large apartment building known to be occupied by many others.

    OK: Pursue him inside with an armed party, even though this presents some risk of accidentally shooting the wrong person.

    NOT OK: Bomb the apartment building.

    What Israel has been doing is bombing the apartment building. To say that only allowing the first option leaves Israel defenseless shows either blind prejudice or a deliberate desire to confuse the issue.

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  27. Gene - If Israel did what you say, millions of innocent Arabs would be dead: they are not at all doing what you say.

    Bob - Sorry for the misunderstanding. Glad you're family is okay. Note that any action you would take against Home Depot would certainly and negatively affect innocent people (employees, manufacturers, etc.). I wonder just how passive you are?

    You see, you've got to go to "straw man" ("Old Testament", "holding shoppers hostage") because frankly the passive opinion is just indefensible.

    Nothing on these posts says anyone should intentionally target innocent people. The question is how much risk of harm can you expose innocent people to combat the guilty? And what happens next if there is no pursuit and there is no cost for evildoing?

    I'll give you guys the last word and check back in a few days. Good luck and thanks.

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  28. JIMB -- To extend the analogy, no, they are not bombing the whole city the killer fled to, so, no, there are not millions of Arabs dead, but yes, they are bombing the whole apartment building, so there are hundreds dead -- not one of them, as of the last week, confirmed to be from Hezbollah. Aerial bombing of downtown Beirut is a tactic guaranteed to kill many innocent people. These are not "accidental" deaths like when your shot at the killer ricochetes and hits a bystander.

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  29. JIMB said:

    Note that any action you would take against Home Depot would certainly and negatively affect innocent people (employees, manufacturers, etc.). I wonder just how passive you are?

    C'mon this is getting silly now. You might as well say I am not really a pacifist because I'm arguing with you right now.

    You really think we're being arbitrary by saying there is a difference between using force against killers as opposed to unrelated third parties?

    And for my case specifically, you really think that if I post an angry blog post when my son gets trapped in an elevator at Home Depot, then consistency forces me to endorse Israeli bombing of Beirut?

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