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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Thoughts on Israel/Lebanon

JIMB, this one's for you...

18 comments:

  1. Bob Murphy is certainly correct that the U.S. has committed (shamefully) terrorist acts. That in no way makes the case. Bob (and you Gene) are asserting something far greater than that.

    The assertion is that no innocent lives are worth the objectives to which can be aspired, nor is any action at all allowable if it can be reasonably forseen that there will be innocent casualties.

    Okay. Let's apply that criteria.

    Are innocent lives lost (or maimed or severely affected) by any justice system? An honest person would have to say yes. So that would make basic justice (courts, jail, etc.) impossible as innocent lives will be lost (even Hoppe's "contractual communities" as how could one force a person who is committed to violence out of a community without violence - and the risk of death - itself?) Similiarly, it would also make defensive wars impossible, as the enemy could (and will) capture innocent people and shoot them at will for any defensive response.

    The objective, of course, is to minimize the loss of innocent lives subject to the constraint that life is not always the highest value. And of course, Bob gives examples of the American Revolution neglecting that the U.S. forerunners did not hide behind innocent people, but instead used hit and run tactics, an entirely different situation.

    Bob also neglects the contrary view expressed by many involved in the American Revolution. Patrick Henry: "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

    It seems that in fact, like physics, one should investigate law, politics, and history (and religion) before one can adequately support an opinion. A great deal of argumentation is devoted to "axiomatic" logic without any further education of the historical issues involved. This belies an incredible (if not willful) ignorance of the issues. And its not like that information isn't available freely on the internet. The Charters of Hamas and Hezbollah, the legal structure of Islam and their beliefs, the U.S. Constitution (which we unfortunately don't follow), and Israeli law are available, and even to make it more obvious, the religious views of "radical" Islam are publicly announced by believers.

    With .1% of the landmass, no oil, and starting (in the 1900s) with barren desert, acquiring 40% of the land peacefully, and then having by international agreement the nation of Israel established, the Jews lost all their property when persecuted by the surrounding Arab nations and fled to Israel, it's incredible that the propaganda of "Jewish Aggression" still remains. Clearly not only "reparations" were paid through confiscated property, a great deal of the refugees were Syrians that decided to leave under their own desires because Arabia united itself in it's effort to eradicate the Jews. Now they could have easily absorbed the refugees, but they decided not to, seeing a political advantage. At present, 1.4M Arabs live in Israel and have monumentally better lives than in Arab lands.

    The Balfor document, established in 1922, was the proximate beginning of a potential Israeli state. It was felt, given the historical ties and the ownership and development of desert, that the Jewish state was appropriate. Later events made it an absolute necessity for the preservation of the race, given Naziism, Russian persecution, and the cyclical resurgence of radical Islamic warfare against unbelievers (you should know that Naziism has a lot in common with Islam).

    "But if we take the right to self-defense to include killing innocent people who had nothing to do with the original provocation, then we’ve thereby exonerated Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations, as well as guaranteed that the Middle East will be in perpetual warfare and “rightfully” so.

    Exonerated? So now Al-Quaeda can't even be held to the standard of targeting innocent people as a regular course of permitted action? I hope you didn't really mean that.

    This also shows incredible ignorance to the causes of the conflict. Islam is a religion of peace, and if you don't believe that, Islamic's will kill you. Do you guys comprehend the logic? Once the whole world is dominated violently by Islam there will be peace.

    There are basically 3 ways to live with Islam:

    1 - convert

    2 - pay the subjugation tax and have a hugely repressive set of laws to live under (for instance, a Muslim murdering one outside the faith may be fined, but only if another Muslim testifies against him as the testimony of non-Muslims is not accepted according to Sharia law)

    3 - Die

    Islam as a religion is to be spread by war (jihad is the highest honor), whatever provocation against Islam (even the existence of practicing "non-believers") is to be met with the severest violence, at the commands (and behavior) of Muhammed himself, usurping any of the earlier commands (often cited without this realization) in the Qu'ran of peaceful co-existence. Whatever spreads Islam is "good" whatever opposes it is "evil" -- so deceit, killing, maiming, violent subjugation, torture, rape, pillaging, destruction is okay "as long as Islam is spread".

    THAT is the continued cause of the conflict, and it is clear from the words of the terrorist organizations themselves.

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  2. Almost forgot something - Hezbollah began rocket attacks prior to Israel's response, almost immediately after the capture of the Israeli soldiers (continuing a policy of terrorism against Israel since their withdrawal from Lebanon). The timing is interesting given the weight of UN opinion on Iranian nuclear ambitions. In other words, Iran might have been motivated by the the inspections that Iraq underwent.

    Also, "Katyusha" (referring to the Katyusha rockets landing in Haifa and other Israeli cities) has become a generic term. The rockets are in reality made (or obtained from and altered by) by Iran. This is a proxy war where Iran is testing it's abilities. Given the history, there is little room for reasonable doubt that Iran will carry out their Islamic campaign.

    Israel's campaign is greatly slowed by their morally correct selective targeting. Hezbollah, of course, uses this to rally world opinion (whatever spreads the cause of Islam is just, remember) against Israel, calling it a "humanitarian crisis" ... well, yes. The reason it is a humanitarian crisis is because the Lebanese are alive. Kudos to Israel. I pray they stay on the moral high ground.

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  3. Almost forgot something - I believe Hezbollah began rocket attacks prior to Israel's response, almost immediately after the capture of the Israeli soldiers (continuing a policy of terrorism against Israel since Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon). The timing is interesting given Iranian nuclear ambitions. In other words, Iran might have been motivated by the inspections that Iraq underwent.

    Also, "Katyusha" (referring to the Katyusha rockets landing in Haifa and other Israeli cities) is a generic term for a portable rocket launching system (by truck originally). The rockets are in reality made (or obtained from others and altered by) by Iran. This is a proxy war where Iran is testing it's abilities. So far, Hezbollah has been acting like a well-trained army. (No terrorist group has 12,000 rockets without the support of a nation-state, nor does it obtain 3rd generation missiles capable of penetrating ship-defenses, such as happened when an Israeli ship was hit early on with a C-802).

    Given the history, rhetoric, and behavior, there is probably little room for reasonable doubt that Iran will carry out their Islamic campaign. They have planned it.

    Israel's response is greatly slowed by their decision of selective targeting. Hezbollah, of course, uses the installment of rocket launchers in residential areas (and the subsequent destruction of homes and living spaces) to rally world opinion (whatever spreads the cause of Islam is just, remember) against Israel, calling the refugees (no mention of the Israeli displacements) a "humanitarian crisis" ... well, yes. The reason it is a humanitarian crisis is because the Lebanese citizens are largely untargeted and alive. Kudos to Israel. I pray they stay on the moral high ground.

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  4. Gotta be quick for now:

    Patrick Henry: "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

    I'm pretty sure Patrick Henry was talking about his own death. If he just meant, "Give me liberty, or I'm going to kill some innocent civilians!!" then he's kind of a jerk.

    And did your confidence go down between postings? The above aren't identical, I noticed. In the second one you just "believe" Hezbollah initiated the rocket attacks before Israel bombed Lebanon.

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  5. Bob - Patrick Henry intended to influence other people to support him in the war with his speech, and innocent people (women, children, uninvolved, etc.) would in fact die based on the decision to go to war.

    Other excerpts of the same speech make that clear: "Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?"

    "It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?"


    Whether Hamas or Hezbollah fired rockets into Israel before Israel bombed the airport - I could not verify with more than three sources.


    I can say with more confidence the resolution agreed to by Lebanon was not upheld and Israel was not protected against terrorist or rocket attacks by Hezbollah (or Hamas) from Lebanon since their withdrawal. Hence the agreed withdrawal resolution can be considered void and Israel then defers to international law and warfare convention.

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  6. JIMB wrote:
    'Bob also neglects the contrary view expressed by many involved in the American Revolution. Patrick Henry: "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"'

    Yeah, he was willing to sacrifice his own life for the liberty of others. You're willing to sacrifice the lives of others for your own liberty.

    A little different, wouldn't you say?

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  7. JIMB wrote:
    "The assertion is that no innocent lives are worth the objectives to which can be aspired, nor is any action at all allowable if it can be reasonably forseen that there will be innocent casualties."

    This is just flat-out wrong as far as my stance goes. This was all handled, quite adequately, a long, long time ago in just war doctrine. You can reasonably forersee that if, for instance, you're Finland and the USSR invades, if you choose to resist, at some point it is highly likely something you do will go astray annd kill innocent people. That is fine, per just war doctrine. What you can't do is pretend innocent deaths are "accidental" when you are absolutely certain that some method of attacking the enemy will kill innocent people. You can't level the whole residential block your foe is in and say "What?! Some innocent people got killed?! Oh my Gosh!" Nor can you attack the property of non-combatants because at some point in time, the foe might make some use of it. (E.g., you can't bomb the Beirut airport because 1 out of 10000 passengers coming through it is tied to Hezbollah.)

    This is real easy, JIMB. You are either deliberately ignoring this distinction or are quite dull.

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  8. Gene - Just war doctrine makes my case, not yours.

    In the blizzard of interpretive history and propaganda emerging, our likely common ground of agreement is to look at the actors, how they behave, and the philosophical roots of their actions. I think we can revisit the current conflict and allow the actors (Israel and it's enemies) to speak for themselves by their actions:

    1 - Hezbollah has a high opinion of Israeli morality, perhaps higher than is yours. They prove it by hiding their weapons in population centers because they know Israel will behave morally and it gives them a tactical advantage both on the battlefield and, when casualties arise, in the press (contrarywise, Hezbollah's modus operandi is to intentionally attack decidedly innocent people). If anyone deserves moral condemnation, it is Hezbollah in the majority. Hezbollah continued their policy by operating near the UN observers putting those observers at risk as well - until the position was bombed. You can guess that Israel is handling thousands of targets which is reasonable to assume are chosen from intelligence (many Lebanese), radio intelligence, and rocket launches. To hold this as the "fault of Israel" (without other evidence) is to play the Hezbollah hand.

    2 - Israel's action is defensive. Given the history of Hamas and Hezbollah and their avowed desire to exterminate the Jews which is in print in their charters, never denied or retracted, a policy which is publicly announced and continuously practiced with no agreement or withdrawal or appeasement by Israel successfully having changed it, and a policy which is backed by the actions of Muhammed himself, Israel has little choice but to dismantle their capabilities. Frankly, Hamas and Hezbollah in fact are a better source for the issues (as is Islamic Sharia law) than your arguments.

    3- The property and lives of non-combatants are being compromised more by Hezbollah than Israel. Israel is forced to act. You apparently believe there should be more or equal lives lost in Israel giving the tactical and strategic advantage to armament of Hezbollah and putting Israel in an even more egregious position of extinction. It is completely illegitimate to hold this opinion as that will cause the necessity of an all-out-war for Israeli survival... and when survival is at stake, the risk is nuclear war. Contrarywise, no Arab state has to live in fear of Israel and could immediately sign a peace treaty with them (as did Jordan and Egypt) that Israel will honor, even at the frequent cost of losing civilians from Arab terrorists coming from those countries. The populations in the majority do not fear Israel targeting them in the sovereign states continually in provocative terrorist attacks, they in fact more fear radical Islam which is the reason for this problem.

    4- If you got your way, and Israel did not respond, and over time (which has been demonstrated over and over) Hezbollah / Hamas / Iran were fully armed and trained and (again) orchestrated an attack and immediately the call went to "blame Israel", then Hamas or Hezbollah eventually responded (claiming self defense) with NBC weapons, you can bet the response would be horrific, yet your arguments would still be the same even as millions would be at risk of death by the necessity of Israeli survival. You argue for a continued spiral of submission to evil.

    No one, not our framing fathers, nor any other people that love liberty and justice enough to risk death for it (signing the Declaration of Indepence was signing one's own death warrant and put one's family at grave risk) - holds opinions like these. I don't agree that after the American Revolution the citizens were "more subjugated" than before (at least not until the civil war), if the accusations of the Declaration of Independence are at all to be believed, and they should be, given the standards to which the men aspired who signed it.

    And Gene - We cannot avoid the loss of innocent lives no matter what our action. The issue is (and can only be) to minimize those losses in the long-run. If we lay down weapons, will there be greater or lesser loss of life for innocents? You maintain the present fiction by asserting we get to choose the outcome, but we don't. The choices of the other side force us to act as moral people.

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  9. Gene - Just to make sure you don't feel I'm not responding to your concrete criticism directly: Israel is not doing what you say. They did not immediately bomb apartments (they bombed the airport strip to stop Hezbollah but left the control tower standing), and with 12,000 rockets estimated in Lebanon, Israel - if they did what you say - would have killed 100s of thousands of people. You are just factually and morally wrong. I think the bases have been covered, abstract and concrete ...

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  10. JIMB, as I have already adequately responded to your contention that Israel is "not doing what I say they are," and you simply ignored my point, there is nothing more to say. You are so blindly prejudiced that, if Israel killed every person in Lebanon, you're response would be, "Hey, there are still Arabs left in Syria that Israel hasn't killed but could have!" And if Israel killed every Arab in the Mideast, you would point out, "They haven't gotten the guy in the deli down the block from me!"

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  11. JIMB, at this point you are just sticking your fingers in your ears and going, "Nah-nah-nah." If Israel killed every person in Lebanon, you would point out that, "Hey, there are some Arabs in Syria it could have killed but didn't." And if it killed every Arab in the Mideast, you would protest, "But the guy running the deli down the street from me is still alive!"

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  12. JIMB, just to add my two cents (I've been traveling), I disagree with your interpretation of Patrick Henry. In the quotations you've given, it doesn't seem to me that he's saying, "Let's stop being squeamish about killing the civilians on the enemy's side."

    No, it seems more as if he's saying, "Let's stop being squeamish about our OWN PEOPLE taking casualties. They are bringing the fight to us so peace isn't an option."

    In a sense it's pointless to argue this point, since even if Patrick Henry agreed with you, I would still hold to the claim that it's wrong to kill innocent people. But it's just ironic that you are quoting him as if he supports your position on Israel vs. Hezbollah, which (in these quotes) he doesn't.

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  13. Bob - Didn't make that claim. Made the claim that action should not always be precluded because it will cost innocent lives. Patrick Henry was arguing for war, and war always costs innocent lives. Those are hard facts which disagree with your position.

    Gene - Other way around. Until future casualties are taken into account in your analysis, no one can take your commitment to life seriously. This may be the last chance to curtail Hezbollah before they acquire some serious weaponry.

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  14. Gene - One other thing you should know - if Israel killed thousands of Lebanese in a wanton hunt for Hezbollah, I'd certainly be on board with your condemnation of them.

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  15. Sorry for double posting above -- the first comment seemed to have been lost, but then it showed up.

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  16. JIMB said:

    Gene - One other thing you should know - if Israel killed thousands of Lebanese in a wanton hunt for Hezbollah, I'd certainly be on board with your condemnation of them.

    Let's clarify this quickly before the test comes. If and when the civilian death toll in Lebanon breaks 2,000--after all, they killed over 50 in that one strike the other day--are you going to agree that Israel is, shall we say, overreacting?

    Or will you say that they are not engaging in a "wanton" hunt for Hezbollah, and so it's OK to kill thousands of Lebanese in this fashion?

    P.S. I realize it's hard to tell on the Internet, but I'm not being sarcastic. I'm really trying to pin down whether you really mean there is a certain number at which you'd agree with us, or if it has more to do with the care with which Israel bombs.

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  17. Gene - Let's say the chances that Hezbollah can obtain a tactical (i.e. small) nuke and get it into Israel (or the U.S.) are 10%; detonation is catastrophic killing 10,000-100,000 (final casualty numbers). Iran, sensing a weakened (and pissed) target country, immediately attacks Israel as they know what is coming and there's no point in delay. Martial Law is immediately implemented. The U.S. and Israel respond with unbelievable firepower, decimating Iran (and other countries in Arabia) to prevent execution of further attacks. There is no attempt at preservation of Arab life whatsoever as governments and people are in full panic-survival mode. What number would you give right now to ensure that doesn't happen?

    I'd support immediate cessation if it can be shown that Israel is operating indiscriminately in relationship to the necessity of a defensive military objective.

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