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  #1  
Old 01-17-2009, 09:41 PM
Bloggingheads Bloggingheads is offline
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Default UN Plaza: Gaza and the UN

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  #2  
Old 01-17-2009, 11:51 PM
a Duoist a Duoist is offline
 
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Default Re: UN Plaza: Gaza and the UN

The Arab world's early opposition to the creation of Israel in Palestine was characterized by power-politics of sovereign states. That's almost completely gone.

Now, after peace agreements have been concluded between Israel and its most immediate nation-state neighbors over the past thirty years of wars, the opposition to Israel is made most virulently by non-state actors: Hamas (despite its election) and Hizbollah, acting as proxies, yes, but both, as non-state actors, fanatically committed to the removal of Israel from the Middle East.

Where's the discussion in this diavlog about the changed nature of the militant opposition to Israel in the Middel East, from state to non-state actors, and how such a change further marginalizes the United Nations, the forum for nation-states? Where's the discussion of the one revolutionary nation-state backing both Hamas and Hizbollah in its dedication to eliminating Israel? How are sovereign nation-states in the United Nations to deal with murderous, non-sovereign, non-state actors who have no interest in governance: Isn't that the central, burning question for the UN since 9/11?

The fuel for this fire comes not from nation-states, so it is likely to endure for decades to come, perhaps culminating in a mutual incineration of Tehran and Tel Aviv. The fuel for this fire by non-state actors comes from an idea, and that idea sees Arab monarchs, Christian capitalists, moderate Muslims and Jews of all stripes as impediments to be eliminated.

Gaza, like Lebanon, is a new battlefield for Israel, one without a capital city to conquer or a territory to be held. This idea cares nothing about nation-states, so the UN is simply another impediment to achieving the final goal. Gaza and Lebanon are merely precursors; the next Middle East war begins tomorrow, or next week, or next year, or next decade, until the idea of sacrifical virtue, the morality of homicidal/suicide, achieves its ultimate purpose: The homicide of Israel as the mechanism for its own suicide.

Is there anyone at the UN who understands what is actually happening, and what the final cost is going to be?
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  #3  
Old 01-18-2009, 12:50 AM
InnerCityPress InnerCityPress is offline
 
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Default Re: UN Plaza: Gaza and the UN

This is a great comment, it brings to (my) mind the absence of Hamas from any of the discussions at the UN, of the Security Council resolution or now the Fri Jan 16 General Assembly resolution, debated and adopted after this BloggingHeads diavlog was recorded, unfortunately – two late arising links:

With Gaza Still Shelled, UN General Assembly Meets, Egypt Keeps Out Doctors, Fatah Complains of Cash, UN Takes Sides
http://www.innercitypress.com/gaza3cash011609.html

and recap / explanation of Friday night’s action: At UN, Egypt's Gaza Text Beats Ecuador's, Bombing Continues, No Vote for Cape Verde
http://www.innercitypress.com/gaza1verde011709.html

Another non-state actor condemned Friday at the UN: the Lord’s Resistance Army… Gonna reflect more on your post, thanks.

Matthew Russell Lee, Esq., Inner City Press
Office at UN: Room S-453A, United Nations Headquarters, NY, NY 10017 USA
Desk: 212-963-1439 - Cell: 718-716-3540
Email Matthew.Lee [at] innercitypress.com
www.innercitypress.com
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  #4  
Old 01-18-2009, 01:55 AM
matthawk matthawk is offline
 
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Default Re: UN Plaza: Gaza and the UN

The Israeli's bomb a UN school in Gaza killing 40, then they bomb the UN compound itself and deny access for relief workers the Palestinian civilians suffering from the injuries of war and destruction of infrastructure -- which insures the slow death of the population there...

...One must ask this: At what point does Israel's "strategic interest" cross the line and become "state terror" against a civilian population? What does it say about the IDF and the Israeli government if they are willing to take down a whole apartment building, and the civilian population within it, in order to get one Hamas activist?
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  #5  
Old 01-18-2009, 05:25 AM
Eastwest Eastwest is offline
 
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Default Re: At What Point is this "State Terror"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by matthawk View Post
...At what point does Israel's "strategic interest" cross the line and become "state terror" against a civilian population?...
Actually, that "point" was like 1948, if I recall correctly.

EW
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  #6  
Old 01-18-2009, 05:43 AM
pampl pampl is offline
 
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Default Re: At What Point is this "State Terror"?

While I share Lee's attitude towards the global obsession with Gaza, I gotta nitpick one detail: the president of Red Cross says "he had seen no evidence of the use of white phosphorus"

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/15/wo...t.html?_r=1&hp
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  #7  
Old 01-19-2009, 12:29 AM
InnerCityPress InnerCityPress is offline
 
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Default Re: At What Point is this "State Terror"?

As to white phosphorus (how ever you spell it), check out the summary at http://blog.wired.com/defense/2009/0...day-david.html

"Shortly after the incident, which was reportedly in response to fire from Hamas militants inside the compound, United Nations Relief and Works Agency spokesman Chris Gunness claimed fires had been started by white phosphorus shells. The United Nations now continues to press the claim. In a video conference from Gaza, John Ging, the director of operations for UNRWA, gave his account of the incident.

"It looked like phosphorous, it smelled like phosphorous and it burned like phosphorous, so that's why I'm calling it phosphorous," Ging said.

Ging said U.N. officials had warned Israeli liaison officers that shrapnel had been coming into their compound. UNRWA also had fuel trucks parked in their compound that were supposed to be dispatched to resupply centers -- and Ging said they notified the Israelis of their location. Shortly thereafter, the compound was hit by shellfire.

Now, as Hambling observed yesterday, those firsthand observations do not necessarily mean the UN folks have it right. The shells, he wrote, may have been standard high explosive -- white phosphorus shells only burn a few minutes -- and there was plenty of stuff around to catch fire. Still, U.N. humanitarian affairs chief John Holmes is echoing the claim. Reuters quotes him as saying: "Those on the ground don't have any doubt that's what they were. If you were looking for confirmation, that looks like it to me."

Will continue to follow how this plays out...
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  #8  
Old 01-18-2009, 09:04 AM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Matt Lee Offers...

a fair critique of Israeli tactics.
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Last edited by AemJeff; 01-18-2009 at 09:06 AM.. Reason: Adjusted the end of the clip to include last phrase
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  #9  
Old 01-18-2009, 11:30 AM
gwlaw99 gwlaw99 is offline
 
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Default Re: Matt Lee Offers...

video of hamas using UN ambulences as troop transports
http://www.videosift.com/video/Hamas...troop-carriers
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  #10  
Old 01-18-2009, 12:04 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Matt Lee Offers...

Quote:
Originally Posted by gwlaw99 View Post
video of hamas using UN ambulences as troop transports
http://www.videosift.com/video/Hamas...troop-carriers
Stipulated to. It's not an answer to what Lee has to say. Israel has difficult dilemmas to solve in every conflict with the Palestinians. How they handle them is a completely fair basis for judgment.
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  #11  
Old 01-18-2009, 01:59 PM
opposable_crumbs opposable_crumbs is offline
 
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Default Re: UN Plaza: Gaza and the UN

I guess the acid test is whether the Israeli army would behave in such a way, if Israelis were amongst the civilian population?
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  #12  
Old 01-18-2009, 02:03 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: UN Plaza: Gaza and the UN

Quote:
Originally Posted by opposable_crumbs View Post
I guess the acid test is whether the Israeli army would behave in such a way, if Israelis were amongst the civilian population?
I doubt there's an army on the planet that would pass that test. I'd be happy to be shown I'm wrong about that.
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  #13  
Old 01-18-2009, 02:38 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Doctor, Peace Advocate Loses 3 Daughters to Israeli Fire and Asks Why

Gazan Doctor and Peace Advocate Loses 3 Daughters to Israeli Fire and Asks Why
By DINA KRAFT

TEL HASHOMER, Israel — Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is a Gazan and a doctor who has devoted his life to medicine and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.

But on Saturday, the day after three of his daughters and a niece were killed by Israeli fire in Gaza, Dr. Abuelaish, 53, struggled to hold on to the humane philosophy that has guided his life and work.

As he sat in a waiting room of the Israeli hospital where he works part time, he asked over and over, “Why did they do this?”

Elsewhere in the hospital another daughter and a niece were being treated for their wounds.

“I dedicated my life really for peace, for medicine,” said Dr. Abuelaish, who does joint research projects with Israeli physicians and for years has worked as something of a one-man force to bring injured and ailing Gazans for treatment in Israel.

“This is the path I believed in and what I raised and educated my children to believe,” he said.

Dr. Abuelaish said he wanted the Israeli Army to tell him why his home, which he said harbored no militants, had been fired upon. He said if a mistake had been made and an errant tank shell had hit his home, he expected an apology, not excuses.

[...]

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Old 01-18-2009, 02:57 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Glenn Greenwald: When Israel acts, Congress applauds. No debate required.

Unanimous Consent
When Israel acts, Congress applauds. No debate required.

By Glenn Greenwald

In most of the world, the Israeli attack on Gaza is viewed as an intensely controversial act and, more commonly, an excessive, unjustifiable, and brutal assault on a trapped civilian population. But not in the United States—at least not among America’s political and opinion-making elite. Here one finds a bipartisan consensus as simplistic as it is unquestioned: Israel’s bombing campaign and invasion of Gaza are right and just, and it is the duty of the U.S. to support these actions unequivocally.

From the moment Israel began dropping bombs on Gaza, leaders of America’s two major political parties rushed to announce their total support, competing to see who could most fulsomely praise the offensive. So complete was the agreement that they all seemed to be reading from the same script. While other Western governments issued even-handed statements condemning both Israel and Hamas and their diplomats worked furiously to forge a ceasefire agreement, America’s political leaders stood on the sidelines, cheering with increasing fervor.

When it comes to Israel’s various military actions, there is far more dissent within Israel, where one commonly finds prominent, vehement criticism of the Israeli government, than there is within the U.S., where such criticism is all but nonexistent. Indeed, in the U.S. Congress, there is far more unqualified support for Israel’s wars than for America’s own.

[...]

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Old 01-18-2009, 03:12 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Mearsheimer: Another War, Another Defeat

Another War, Another Defeat
The Gaza offensive has succeeded in punishing the Palestinians but not in making Israel more secure.

By John J. Mearsheimer

Israelis and their American supporters claim that Israel learned its lessons well from the disastrous 2006 Lebanon war and has devised a winning strategy for the present war against Hamas. Of course, when a ceasefire comes, Israel will declare victory. Don’t believe it. Israel has foolishly started another war it cannot win.

The campaign in Gaza is said to have two objectives: 1) to put an end to the rockets and mortars that Palestinians have been firing into southern Israel since it withdrew from Gaza in August 2005; 2) to restore Israel’s deterrent, which was said to be diminished by the Lebanon fiasco, by Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, and by its inability to halt Iran’s nuclear program.

But these are not the real goals of Operation Cast Lead. The actual purpose is connected to Israel’s long-term vision of how it intends to live with millions of Palestinians in its midst. It is part of a broader strategic goal: the creation of a “Greater Israel.” Specifically, Israel’s leaders remain determined to control all of what used to be known as Mandate Palestine, which includes Gaza and the West Bank. The Palestinians would have limited autonomy in a handful of disconnected and economically crippled enclaves, one of which is Gaza. Israel would control the borders around them, movement between them, the air above and the water below them.

The key to achieving this is to inflict massive pain on the Palestinians so that they come to accept the fact that they are a defeated people and that Israel will be largely responsible for controlling their future. This strategy, which was first articulated by Ze’ev Jabotinsky in the 1920s and has heavily influenced Israeli policy since 1948, is commonly referred to as the “Iron Wall.”

What has been happening in Gaza is fully consistent with this strategy.

[...]

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Old 01-18-2009, 03:46 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Juan Cole: On Ethnic and Civic Nationalisms

A perceptive essay by Professor Cole on Israel's ethnic nationalism.
_____________________________________


Israel Hits Another UN School before Ceasing Fire;
On Ethnic and Civic Nationalisms

by Juan Cole

Israeli war planes stayed home on Sunday morning, sparing densely-populated Gaza the intense aerial bombardment to which it had been daily subjected for the previous three weeks. In the hours leading up to the Israeli decision to stop bombing the defenseless Gazans for the next 10 days, the Israeli military shelled yet a fourth UN school--where 1600 refugees from the vast swathe of destruction wrought by Israeli airstrikes-- were huddling. The Israelis killed two little boys and wounded a dozen other refugees.

As Bob Ostertag perceptively writes at Huffington Post:

"Steven Erlanger's lead on a front page story in the New York Times
today . . . went on at great length rationalizing Israeli conduct during their
assault on Gaza. It ran the same day that Israel hit a fourth UN school. Four
of them. The Times cannot even publish its rationalization of the last UN
school bombing before a new one is hit. Reading it made me physically ill.
Move the context to, say, Bosnia. Imagine a front page story in the Times
sympathizing with the tough calls that had to be made by those poor Serb
gunners bearing down on the besieged city. . ."

Ostertag put his finger an an important comparison. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's brand of Zionism is a form of ethnic nationalism. Ethnic nationalism differs in important ways from civic nationalism. Civic nationalism is based not on ethnicity but on national ideals. The mainstream of French nationalism since 1789, for instance, has been civic, not ethnic. That is why a Senegalese African like Blaise Diagne could be elected to the French parliament in 1914. Senegal was a colony but a few districts were seen as French soil and so could send representatives to Paris. This would be as though in the same period Tanzanians could serve in the German parliament or Uzbeks in the Tsarist Russian Duma. Obviously, French society is made up of fallible human beings and there is practical discrimination against French of black African heritage, but it isn't legal discrimination.

Nations characterized by civic nationalism in their legal structures are numerous in the world-- all the countries in Latin America, Red China, India, the United States, South Africa, most of Europe, etc. Civic nationalism often coexists with a dominant ethnicity exercising power in the state, but it does not require it. Thus, the United States won't be a majority North-European Protestant country much longer, and Latinos, African-Americans, Irish-Americans and other non-WASP groups played an essential role in the election of Barack Obama.

In contrast, the Baathist form of Arab nationalism under Saddam Hussein in Iraq actively discriminated against non-Arabs such as Kurds, and many Sunni Arab Iraqis even mischaracterized their Shiite coreligionists as stealth Iranians. Militant Arab nationalists have waged an insurgency since 2003 to fight the new dominance of Kurds and Shiites in Baghdad. Likewise, Apartheid South Africa was ruled by Afrikaner nationalism.

I fear that Zionist nationalism in Israel is most often more like Baathist Iraq than it is like France or Argentina.

Likewise lot of central European nationalism, such as the Serb chauvinism of Slobodan Milosevic, was ethnic. Ethnic nationalism has pathological features, whereas civic nationalism has the potential, at least, to be civilized. Much Zionism suffers this flaw, of having an ethnic core. That is the reason for which Palestinian-Israelis were under martial law for the first few decades of Israeli history, and for which many Palestinian villages in Israel are not legally recognized, being denied building and other permits as a result (some Palestinian villages consistently vote for the rightwing Likud Party as a quid pro quo because a Likud government gave them legal recognition).

It is also the reason for which Israeli election authorities could by fiat simply ban certain Arab parties from running in the next election. There are 12 Arab deputies in the Israeli parliament of Knesset, seven of them from the Arab parties (there are 120 deputies altogether). Israeli ethnic nationalists have found this situation intolerable, though Palestinian-Israelis are under-represented, being 20 percent of the population. Obviously, this Arab representation will be further reduced by the ban.

Those wedded to the supremacy of ethnic nationalism often allege that it is natural. But there are lots of ethnic or ethno-religious groups in the world that are not nation-states. Sikhs, Jains, Afro-Brazilians practicing Condomble, Berbers, the Quechua, Mayans, etc., etc., etc. There are lots of multi-ethnic states. In a modern world of globalization, significant population movements are common (think of all the Italians who went to the US and Argentina). Maintaining a monochrome ethnic nationalism is more and more difficult and therefore requires more and more violence, regimentation and legal legerdemain. Me, I doubt if it is viable in the medium to long term.

If Israel is to flourish, it must recognize itself as a multi-ethnic, civic state. It already has 1.4 million Palestinian-Israelis, and at least 300,000 non-Jewish Russians, according to the 2008 census. It also has a growing population of Thai, Sudanese and other guest workers, who are not citizens but who may never go back home. (Germany's experience with the Turkish guest workers was that many became citizens in the end). Excluding guest workers condemns a capitalist society to demographic and economic stagnation. Where guest workers are already present, disallowing them citizenship creates enormous social problems. Israel will be a Jewish-majority state for some decades. But it can't remain that way in the long run without doing some very unpleasant things that will make its leaders really look like Milosevic.


posted by Juan Cole @ 1/18/2009 12:46:00 AM



(Source)

Last edited by TwinSwords; 01-18-2009 at 03:50 PM..
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Old 01-18-2009, 04:14 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Barak up; Livni down; Netanyahu still favored to win

Israel's Barak back from the brink after Gaza war
by Chris Otton Chris Otton

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israel's war on Gaza has catapulted defence minister and ex-premier Ehud Barak back into the reckoning ahead of elections next month but has been a disaster for the main ruling party, say analysts.

While another former prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is still seen as the most likely victor when Israel votes on February 10, pundits say Barak has been the big political winner of the 22-day war and pulled his party back from the brink of oblivion.

In contrast, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's lacklustre performance on the diplomatic stage is seen as having dealt a heavy blow to her three-year-old Kadima party's prospects which now faces being frozen out of power.

"The great beneficiary will be, of course, Ehud Barak, the man who came in from the cold," the columnist Ben Caspit wrote in Sunday's Maariv daily.

"Benjamin Netanyahu can rejoice as well. He saved himself three weeks of smearing and excuses, restored the security agenda, and kept his advantage.

"The loser, at this stage, is Tzipi Livni. Her agenda has evaporated."

Only a month ago, the polls made grim reading for Barak's Labour party which was being tipped to see its share of the 120 seats in the Knesset fall into single figures for the first time ever.

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Old 01-18-2009, 04:29 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Gideon Levy: Open response to A.B. Yehoshua. "We have crushed their livelihood"

Be sure to read Yehoshua's letter. He, by the way, is one of israel's more distinguished novelists.


An open response to A.B. Yehoshua
By Gideon Levy

Dear Bulli,

Thank you for your frank letter and kind words. You wrote it was written from a "position of respect," and I, too, deeply respect your wonderful literary works. But, unfortunately, I have a lot less respect for your current political position. It is as if the mighty, including you, have succumbed to a great and terrible conflagration that has consumed any remnant of a moral backbone.

You, too, esteemed author, have fallen prey to the wretched wave that has inundated, stupefied, blinded and brainwashed us. You're actually justifying the most brutal war Israel has ever fought and in so doing are complacent in the fraud that the "occupation of Gaza is over" and justifying mass killings by evoking the alibi that Hamas "deliberately mingles between its fighters and the civilian population." You are judging a helpless people denied a government and army - which includes a fundamentalist movement using improper means to fight for a just cause, namely the end of the occupation - in the same way you judge a regional power, which considers itself humanitarian and democratic but which has shown itself to be a brutal and cruel conqueror. As an Israeli, I cannot admonish their leaders while our hands are covered in blood, nor do I want to judge Israel and the Palestinians the same way you have.

The residents of Gaza have never had ownership of "their own piece of land," as you have claimed. We left Gaza because of our own interests and needs, and then we imprisoned them. We cut the territory off from the rest of the world and the occupied West Bank, and did not permit them to construct an air or sea port. We control their population registrar and their currency - and having their own military is out of the question - and then you argue that the occupation is over? We have crushed their livelihood, besieged them for two years, and you claim they "have expelled the Israeli occupation"? The occupation of Gaza has simply taken on a new form: a fence instead of settlements. The jailers stand guard on the outside instead of the inside.

And no, I do not know "very well," as you wrote, that we don't mean to kill children. When one employs tanks, artillery and planes in such a densely populated place one cannot avoid killing children. I understand that Israeli propaganda has cleared your conscience, but it has not cleared mine or that of most of the world. Outcomes, not intentions, are what count - and those have been horrendous. "If you were truly concerned about the death of our children and theirs," you wrote, "you would understand the present war." Even in the worst of your literary passages, and there have been few of those, you could not conjure up a more crooked moral argument: that the criminal killing of children is done out of concern for their fates. "There he goes again, writing about children," you must have told yourself this weekend when I again wrote about the killing of children. Yes, it must be written. It must be shouted out. It is done for both our sakes.

This war is in your opinion "the only way to induce Hamas to understand." Even if we ignore the condescending tone of your remark, I would have expected more of a writer. I would have expected a renowned writer to be familiar with the history of national uprisings: They cannot be put down forcibly. Despite all the destructive force we used in this war, I still can't see how the Palestinians have been influenced; Qassams are still being launched into Israel. They and the world have clearly taken away something else from the last few weeks - that Israel is a dangerous and violent country that lacks scruples. Do you wish to live in a country with such a reputation? A country that proudly announces it has gone "crazy," as some Israeli ministers have said in regard to the army's operation in Gaza? I don't.

You wrote you have always been worried for me because I travel to "such hostile places." These places are less hostile than you think if one goes there armed with nothing but the will to listen. I did not go there to "tell the story of the afflictions of the other side," but to report on our own doings. This has always been the very Israeli basis for my work.

Finally, you ask me to preserve my "moral validity." It isn't my image I wish to protect but that of the country, which is equally dear to us both.

In friendship, despite everything,


(Source)
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Old 01-21-2009, 11:16 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Gaza War "utter failure for Israel" G. Levy

Gideon Levy / Gaza war ended in utter failure for Israel
By Gideon Levy

Quote:

On the morrow of the return of the last Israeli soldier from Gaza, we can determine with certainty that they had all gone out there in vain. This war ended in utter failure for Israel.

This goes beyond the profound moral failure, which is a grave matter in itself, but pertains to its inability to reach its stated goals. In other words, the grief is not complemented by failure. We have gained nothing in this war save hundreds of graves, some of them very small, thousands of maimed people, much destruction and the besmirching of Israel's image.

What seemed like a predestined loss to only a handful of people at the onset of the war will gradually emerge as such to many others, once the victorious trumpeting subsides.

The initial objective of the war was to put an end to the firing of Qassam rockets. This did not cease until the war's last day. It was only achieved after a cease-fire had already been arranged. Defense officials estimate that Hamas still has 1,000 rockets.

The war's second objective, the prevention of smuggling, was not met either. The head of the Shin Bet security service has estimated that smuggling will be renewed within two months.

Most of the smuggling that is going on is meant to provide food for a population under siege, and not to obtain weapons. But even if we accept the scare campaign concerning the smuggling with its exaggerations, this war has served to prove that only poor quality, rudimentary weapons passed through the smuggling tunnels connecting the Gaza Strip to Egypt.

Israel's ability to achieve its third objective is also dubious. Deterrence, my foot. The deterrence we supposedly achieved in the Second Lebanon War has not had the slightest effect on Hamas, and the one supposedly achieved now isn't working any better: The sporadic firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip has continued over the past few days.

The fourth objective, which remained undeclared, was not met either. The IDF has not restored its capability. It couldn't have, not in a quasi-war against a miserable and poorly-equipped organization relying on makeshift weapons, whose combatants barely put up a fight.

The heroic descriptions and victory poems written abut the "military triumph" will not serve to change reality. The pilots were flying on training missions and the ground forces were engaged in exercises that involved joining up and firing weapons.

The describing of the operation as a "military achievement" by the various generals and analysts who offered their take on the operation is plain ridiculous.

We have not weakened Hamas. The vast majority of its combatants were not harmed and popular support for the organization has in fact increased. Their war has intensified the ethos of resistance and determined endurance. A country which has nursed an entire generation on the ethos of a few versus should know to appreciate that by now. There was no doubt as to who was David and who was Goliath in this war.

The population in Gaza, which has sustained such a severe blow, will not become more moderate now. On the contrary, the national sentiment will now turn more than before against the party which inflicted that blow - the State of Israel. Just as public opinion leans to the right in Israel after each attack against us, so it will in Gaza following the mega-attack that we carried out against them.

If anyone was weakened because of this war, it was Fatah, whose fleeing from Gaza and its abandonment have now been given special significance. The succession of failures in this war needs to include, of course, the failure of the siege policy. For a while, we have already come to realize that is ineffective. The world boycotted, Israel besieged and Hamas ruled (and is still ruling).

But this war's balance, as far as Israel is concerned, does not end with the absence of any achievement. It has placed a heavy toll on us, which will continue to burden us for some time. When it comes to assessing Israel's international situation, we must not allow ourselves to be fooled by the support parade by Europe's leaders, who came in for a photo-op with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Israel's actions have dealt a serious blow to public support for the state. While this does not always translate itself into an immediate diplomatic situation, the shockwaves will arrive one day. The whole world saw the images. They shocked every human being who saw them, even if they left most Israelis cold.

The conclusion is that Israel is a violent and dangerous country, devoid of all restraints and blatantly ignoring the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, while not giving a hoot about international law. The investigations are on their way.

Graver still is the damage this will visit upon our moral spine. It will come from difficult questions about what the IDF did in Gaza, which will occur despite the blurring effect of recruited media.

So what was achieved, after all? As a war waged to satisfy considerations of internal politics, the operation has succeeded beyond all expectations. Likud Chair Benjamin Netanyahu is getting stronger in the polls. And why? Because we could not get enough of the war.
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  #20  
Old 01-18-2009, 04:42 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Avnery: The Boss Has Gone Mad

An excellent essay by Uri Avnery...


The Boss Has Gone Mad
Uri Avnery

January 17, 2009

[...]

In this war, politicians and generals have repeatedly quoted the words: “The boss has gone mad!” originally shouted by vegetable vendors in the market, in the sense of “The boss has gone crazy and is selling the tomatoes at a loss!” But in the course of time the jest has turned into a deadly doctrine that often appears in Israeli public discourse: in order to deter our enemies, we must behave like madmen, go on the rampage, kill and destroy mercilessly.

In this war, this has become political and military dogma: only if we kill “them” disproportionately, killing a thousand of “them” for ten of “ours”, will they understand that it’s not worth it to mess with us. It will be “seared into their consciousness” (a favorite Israeli phrase these days). After this, they will think twice before launching another Qassam rocket against us, even in response to what we do, whatever that may be.

It is impossible to understand the viciousness of this war without taking into account the historical background: the feeling of victimhood after all that has been done to the Jews throughout the ages, and the conviction that after the Holocaust, we have the right to do anything, absolutely anything, to defend ourselves, without any inhibitions due to law or morality.

[...]


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  #21  
Old 01-18-2009, 05:06 PM
Markos Markos is offline
 
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I don't know why Matthew calls Paul Volcker a "Republican." Paul Volcker was appointed to be Fed chairman by Jimmy Carter. And in 2000, Paul Volcker supported Democrat Bill Bradley for President.
(And in 2008, I think he also supported Democrat Barack Obama for President, though I'm not sure about that.)
He also was the person most responsible for stopping the runaway inflation of the late the 1970s and beginning of the 1980s.
If he's partisan, he certainly hasn't be 100% Republican.
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Old 01-18-2009, 11:29 PM
InnerCityPress InnerCityPress is offline
 
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Sorry, as to Paul Volcker I should have been more specific. I know many consumer advocates who were around when Volcker was in charge of the Federal Reserve Board, and they say he was dismissive of community concerns, to the extent that they held protests at each of the local Federal Reserve Banks against him. So he seems like a strange choice for Obama. But then again, Geithner does too…

As to white phosphorus (how ever you spell it), check out the summary at http://blog.wired.com/defense/2009/0...day-david.html

"Shortly after the incident, which was reportedly in response to fire from Hamas militants inside the compound, United Nations Relief and Works Agency spokesman Chris Gunness claimed fires had been started by white phosphorus shells. The United Nations now continues to press the claim. In a video conference from Gaza, John Ging, the director of operations for UNRWA, gave his account of the incident.

"It looked like phosphorous, it smelled like phosphorous and it burned like phosphorous, so that's why I'm calling it phosphorous," Ging said.

Ging said U.N. officials had warned Israeli liaison officers that shrapnel had been coming into their compound. UNRWA also had fuel trucks parked in their compound that were supposed to be dispatched to resupply centers -- and Ging said they notified the Israelis of their location. Shortly thereafter, the compound was hit by shellfire.

Now, as Hambling observed yesterday, those firsthand observations do not necessarily mean the UN folks have it right. The shells, he wrote, may have been standard high explosive -- white phosphorus shells only burn a few minutes -- and there was plenty of stuff around to catch fire. Still, U.N. humanitarian affairs chief John Holmes is echoing the claim. Reuters quotes him as saying: "Those on the ground don't have any doubt that's what they were. If you were looking for confirmation, that looks like it to me."

Will continue to follow how this plays out...
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Old 01-19-2009, 12:25 AM
grits-n-gravy grits-n-gravy is offline
 
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In listening to Matthew and Mark go back and forth over Israel's apparent disregard for the UN and other humanitarian groups working in Gaza, I am somewhat convinced it reflects Israel's contempt, even hatred, for Gaza civilians.

Last edited by grits-n-gravy; 01-19-2009 at 01:04 AM..
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Old 01-20-2009, 06:53 AM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
 
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A moral dilemma was brought up earlier in the log. Essentially is it OK to attack a civilian location to get at terrorists?

Both commentators, and likely many here would say emphatically, no.

My question to you all is one of degree and extent. Is there ever a time when the cost of allowing certain "militants" (a euphemism for terrorist without having to implicate and call out the religious aspect, cowardly btw and dishonest, a dishonestly of omission) to escape is worse then striking them? Even if there are civilians in harms way? Of course noone wants too many civilians casualties, but I think these calculations are a matter of degree. The extreme pacifist wants no aggression anytime, ever.

I think many UN types want to abstain from violence if ANY innocents are in harms way. And then there are those who are willing to accept some innocent deaths to bring certain "militants" to justice as opposed to letting them just walk freely, again, and again, and again. And to the extreme on the other side, there is the idea of obliterating your enemy, no matter the cost. I do not think Anyone is full tilt towards the latter, but I suspect Israel is farther along that path than most nations, including the US, though that stance did not come about in a vacuum.


Hostage takers? Such neutered rhetoric why? why is it so important to refuse to call a spade a spade, to damp the actions of certain people and their rationales?

http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/171...5:08&out=06:41

Hostage takers? How about "terrorists" who would use civilians as a shield. Does that not strike such "ethical" U.N. people as even worse than the one firing to attack an enemy recklessly? Or is it that hamas, being muslim and arab are not expected to abide by the same thresholds of ethics and standards? Hmm. Such a rich tell from the rhetoric. A phrase stripped of all offense, meant solely to stroke the sentiments of the likes of Hamas supporters. lovely. Inaccurate, wrong, but no need to offend right? Not if they belong to certain groups anyway.

It reminds me of that video footage after Rodney King was shown getting beaten up by the police, the riots afterward in Los Angeles showed a guy pick up a brick of some sort of throw it at a guys head, and the news announcer said something to the effect of:

"the gentleman has just struck..."

gentleman? interesting choice, if a guy is hurling a brick at an innocent mans head in some twisted rage, why call him gentleman? I would classify him a thug. Not some sugar coated drivel.

maybe I make too much of things, I am babbling now, anyway, all I had to comment/ask about for now.

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Old 01-20-2009, 07:42 PM
grits-n-gravy grits-n-gravy is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonIrenicus View Post
A moral dilemma was brought up earlier in the log. Essentially is it OK to attack a civilian location to get at terrorists?

Both commentators, and likely many here would say emphatically, no.

My question to you all is one of degree and extent. Is there ever a time when the cost of allowing certain "militants" [...] to escape is worse then striking them? Even if there are civilians in harms way?
I don’t think we should assume that the State, though it claims to have a monopoly on violence, is the only actor making these kinds of moral calculations. Liberation movement fighters engage in the same kind of calculus. I’m sure Hamas didn’t come to the decision to use questionable asymmetrical tactics lightly. Having said that, the question should be broadened beyond “militants” to include more conventional types of warfare. For example, was it justified to drop an atomic bomb on Japan? I guess my answer to that would depend on whether there was a solid basis to believe substantially more civilian lives would be saved than if an alternate course of action were pursued. While I’d apply the same reasoning to answer your question of militants, I’m not at all comfortable with such utilitarian approaches to sanctioning violence against innocents.

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Old 01-21-2009, 10:49 PM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grits-n-gravy View Post
I don’t think we should assume that the State, though it claims to have a monopoly on violence, is the only actor making these kinds of moral calculations. Liberation movement fighters engage in the same kind of calculus. I’m sure Hamas didn’t come to the decision to use questionable asymmetrical tactics lightly. Having said that, the question should be broadened beyond “militants” to include more conventional types of warfare. For example, was it justified to drop an atomic bomb on Japan? I guess my answer to that would depend on whether there was a solid basis to believe substantially more civilian lives would be saved than if an alternate course of action were pursued. While I’d apply the same reasoning to answer your question of militants, I’m not at all comfortable with such utilitarian approaches to sanctioning violence against innocents.
I have heard both takes on the atomic bomb droppings on Japan. Some contend that the act was one of absolute malevolence, an illustration of the derangement of the US, then and now. (typical US = evil take)

The other side I have heard is that It saved lives, their contention is that without that tactic, there would have had to be a large ground invasion, involving many more military personnel as well as Japanese civilians fighting, farmers, women, everything.

I am not sure if that is completely true, but for the sake of argument, if it was true that A land invasion would have needed to occur to dethrone the emperor, divinity, then there is a very good chance that many more lives would have been lost.


Here my utilitarian roots come through. I would lean towards the path where the ends justify the means, unless things are too lopsided. In the case of saving more lives, it makes it easy for me to decide. For those uncomfortable making such decisions, then perhaps the more "honorable" tactic could have been followed, killing many, many more people.

That sentiment and sense of right certainly can be expensive. Are tens of thousands of lives worth less than ones sense of having a clean conscience?

On the continuum of ends justify the means, I guess I would put myself about

pacifist__________________________________________ total utilitarian
|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
________________________________________X_________ __________


That is why many UN types grate the sensibilities of those of us who are more hawkish in foreign policy matters I think, and vice versa, I tend to see UN types as far more towards the pacifist extreme (i.e. troops with no ability to fight to keep peace... because using violence to stop violence is the worst possible thing? ever?)


Take the reactions to Gaza, I see it more as a guy standing still and a midget coming up to him and slapping him weakly, again, and again, and again, some slaps land in sensitive areas but most falling with far less harm, days, weeks, Years upon end. Then one day, the guy standing still gets fed up with the nonsense and punches the midget.

I look at that and get the reaction, looks fine to me

many UN types go into a frenzy and rail against the guy who would dare punch the guy that attacked him. You hit harder than the midget !!!!!! You were in the wrong !!!!! You should wait and let mediators come and convince the midget to stop, mediators who have the authority to go after noone, kill noone, just stand around with no power. And if he does not stop attacking? Am I never to be allowed to fight back? because my swings hit harder? because the midget dodges attacks and uses his own peoples civilian population as a shield? We should just say, well, he went and hid behind a school, guess thats it, you are free to go guy!

To me it seems astonishingly lopsided logic.

I am probably failing to convey the sense of disgust some of us find at this type of pacifistic world view, but there it is.

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Old 01-21-2009, 11:42 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Originally Posted by JonIrenicus View Post
I have heard both takes on the atomic bomb droppings on Japan. Some contend that the act was one of absolute malevolence, an illustration of the derangement of the US, then and now. (typical US = evil take)

The other side I have heard is that It saved lives, their contention is that without that tactic, there would have had to be a large ground invasion, involving many more military personnel as well as Japanese civilians fighting, farmers, women, everything.

I am not sure if that is completely true, but for the sake of argument, if it was true that A land invasion would have needed to occur to dethrone the emperor, divinity, then there is a very good chance that many more lives would have been lost.


Here my utilitarian roots come through. I would lean towards the path where the ends justify the means, unless things are too lopsided. In the case of saving more lives, it makes it easy for me to decide. For those uncomfortable making such decisions, then perhaps the more "honorable" tactic could have been followed, killing many, many more people.

That sentiment and sense of right certainly can be expensive. Are tens of thousands of lives worth less than ones sense of having a clean conscience?

On the continuum of ends justify the means, I guess I would put myself about

pacifist__________________________________________ total utilitarian
|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
________________________________________X_________ __________


That is why many UN types grate the sensibilities of those of us who are more hawkish in foreign policy matters I think, and vice versa, I tend to see UN types as far more towards the pacifist extreme (i.e. troops with no ability to fight to keep peace... because using violence to stop violence is the worst possible thing? ever?)


Take the reactions to Gaza, I see it more as a guy standing still and a midget coming up to him and slapping him weakly, again, and again, and again, some slaps land in sensitive areas but most falling with far less harm, days, weeks, Years upon end. Then one day, the guy standing still gets fed up with the nonsense and punches the midget.

I look at that and get the reaction, looks fine to me

many UN types go into a frenzy and rail against the guy who would dare punch the guy that attacked him. You hit harder than the midget !!!!!! You were in the wrong !!!!! You should wait and let mediators come and convince the midget to stop, mediators who have the authority to go after noone, kill noone, just stand around with no power. And if he does not stop attacking? Am I never to be allowed to fight back? because my swings hit harder? because the midget dodges attacks and uses his own peoples civilian population as a shield? We should just say, well, he went and hid behind a school, guess thats it, you are free to go guy!

To me it seems astonishingly lopsided logic.

I am probably failing to convey the sense of disgust some of us find at this type of pacifistic world view, but there it is.
I'm kind of with you for a lot of this, but for a couple of points. I think "disgust" is an awfully strong reaction. Pacifism has had some spectacular successes in the last century. I think that a lot of contemporary pacifists mostly miss the context and utterly fail to understand what made Gandhi and MLK successful. Gandhi chose his battles carefully and won them with extremely canny tactics and a great deal of directed aggression. I highly recommend Louis Fischer's biography, though judging by the current price on Amazo, it's not going to be easy to find.) But, given that, it has been shown that in the right circumstances and with good planning it's possible to counter state oppression pretty effectively with non-violent means. I'd say that the pacifist movement, on the whole, hasn't really grokked the history of Gandhi's successes to quite the same level as virtuosos like King. I'd say that it's not a completely unreasonable point of view, but that the application of the idea is often less than perfect.
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Old 01-22-2009, 04:39 AM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Quote:
I'd say that the pacifist movement, on the whole, hasn't really grokked the history of Gandhi's successes to quite the same level as virtuosos like King. I'd say that it's not a completely unreasonable point of view, but that the application of the idea is often less than perfect.
How would you say warists and warism has done?

Warism (or militarism) is often linguistically sanitized by its proponents and called "defense," as in the Defense Dept (formerly Dept of War).

Pacifism is often misunderstood as being something passive, but pacifists are much more typically activists who are committed to nonviolent conflict resolution.
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Old 01-22-2009, 08:29 AM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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How would you say warists and warism has done?

Warism (or militarism) is often linguistically sanitized by its proponents and called "defense," as in the Defense Dept (formerly Dept of War).

Pacifism is often misunderstood as being something passive, but pacifists are much more typically activists who are committed to nonviolent conflict resolution.
I agree completely with that last sentence, but I don't think the underlying dichotomy is real. At the international level we still live in a largely Hobbesian world. Pacifism at the state level doesn't really recommend itself as a strategy, not if you have anything at all of value to someone else. Neologisms like "warist" seem to exist to suggest a false choice.

I have a lot of respect for Pacifism. When it's used effectively it's an awesome, elegant tactic. But it depends on intangibles like moral authority and shame for success, and those aren't useful tools against psychopathy.
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Old 01-22-2009, 04:42 AM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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I have heard both takes on the atomic bomb droppings on Japan. Some contend that the act was one of absolute malevolence, an illustration of the derangement of the US, then and now. (typical US = evil take)

The other side I have heard is that It saved lives, their contention is that without that tactic, there would have had to be a large ground invasion, involving many more military personnel as well as Japanese civilians fighting, farmers, women, everything.
This is a warist way of framing the issue: The only choices were nukes or a huge bloody invasion that would have killed more people. The pacifist would argue that the correct course was to resolve the conflict nonviolently.

Was is that automatically off the table?
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Old 01-22-2009, 08:26 AM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
 
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This is a warist way of framing the issue: The only choices were nukes or a huge bloody invasion that would have killed more people. The pacifist would argue that the correct course was to resolve the conflict nonviolently.

Was is that automatically off the table?
You could be right, there could have been a way, but it is interesting to note that the more pacifistic types NEVER want to get backed into an ethical dilemma or moral blind spot for them. When time comes to make a choice between bad and worse, they often choose, pass.

It reminds me of an interview with Cindy Sheehan on Hardball awhile ago. She is the quintessential pacifist in my view. She stated plainly to Chris that she was against all war. And then Chris brings up the obligatory WWII as war worth fighting. And Cindy, true to form, remarkably similar to your sentiments deflects the issue by saying if she were in charge they would not get to that situation of war in the first place.....

I remember being stunned as I heard that woman then, I thought...

ok, sweetheart [in my MOST condescending tone!], but since things HAVE gotten into such a bad situation, what are we to do now? Let Hitler march through Europe ?!?!?

That was never asked.

I submit this to you, I am all for better options, but there are times when the options before us, either because of circumstance or intellect, or whatever else, give us choices that are not palatable. What do you do?

The pacifistic tendency is to dodge, ignore (perhaps it will go away), very reluctant to get their hands dirty, after all, every policy choice and fight that is worth fighting is one where the choices are cotton candy, fluff.

So lets not fight "evil" in the world, lets fight "poverty" and "global warming"

And by the way I am perfectly in favor of working against the latter two. But what of the UN types and some liberals on the first?

They are often eager to wage fights against the darkness of nature, the darkness of circumstance, but eerily silent on the battles against the darkness of man.

I ask you UN types, do not forget the latter, ignoring it does not make it go away, I wish it did, I know it is the least comfortable battle for many, but it cannot be ignored.

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Old 01-22-2009, 09:04 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Quote:
It reminds me of an interview with Cindy Sheehan on Hardball awhile ago. She is the quintessential pacifist in my view. She stated plainly to Chris that she was against all war. And then Chris brings up the obligatory WWII as war worth fighting. And Cindy, true to form, remarkably similar to your sentiments deflects the issue by saying if she were in charge they would not get to that situation of war in the first place.....

I remember being stunned as I heard that woman then, I thought...
ok, sweetheart [in my MOST condescending tone!], but since things HAVE gotten into such a bad situation, what are we to do now? Let Hitler march through Europe ?!?!?

That was never asked.
Here's the problem: Warists always like to raise the question at the exact point in time when the murderer is holding the knife to your daughter's throat and only you can stop him with a bullet. "You idiot, pull the trigger!"

But warists neglect the myriad of other opportunities prior to the rapist getting into that dead-end. The right question to ask, as Cindy Sheehan pointed out, is how many millions of times did we have the opportunity to defuse, outvote, out-organize, outsmart Nazism long before Hitler ever got to power and every step of the way once he had power? There were at least 6 million ways to save Jews without violence, but they all failed, not because people weren't violent enough but because people's courage, commitment and imagination failed in nonviolent resistance.

The time for to stop the next war is now before someone puts a gun to your head.
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Old 01-23-2009, 01:00 AM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
 
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Here's the problem: Warists always like to raise the question at the exact point in time when the murderer is holding the knife to your daughter's throat and only you can stop him with a bullet. "You idiot, pull the trigger!"

But warists neglect the myriad of other opportunities prior to the rapist getting into that dead-end. The right question to ask, as Cindy Sheehan pointed out, is how many millions of times did we have the opportunity to defuse, outvote, out-organize, outsmart Nazism long before Hitler ever got to power and every step of the way once he had power? There were at least 6 million ways to save Jews without violence, but they all failed, not because people weren't violent enough but because people's courage, commitment and imagination failed in nonviolent resistance.

The time for to stop the next war is now before someone puts a gun to your head.
Unfortunately, we are not all powerful and all knowing enough to avoid all means of aggression to stop worse aggression.

The best laid plans are always open to failure, using 20/20 hindsight to apply to real time situations is impossible because it does not exist to us.

As hard as we can and should and Will try to achieve out goals through non coercive means, there will come times when the best option, at that point, is force, violence, a choice between bad and worse, and true to form, as you admit plainly, the pacifist tendency in those situations is:

Pass


You refuse to make that choice.


With respect, that is not the adult way to behave. Would you expect that from your doctor?

A man is camping and falls over a cliff, he survives but his arm is badly damaged, bloodied, and wet. Lets say he develops gangrene or frostbite in one of his extremities before he is rescued.

Barely clinging to life, he is taken before several doctors who decide they can save his life, but he will need to have a limb amputated.

But one doctor happens to have an aversion to cutting off peoples limbs. And begins to chastise the patient, barely clinging to life, "you should not have been so reckless, why did you let yourself get into a situation where such damage would be caused?

Patient: It was an accident, ... a falcon swooped out of nowhere and knocked me to the ground ( just bear with me for the sake of argument ). What difference does it make, given the choice between losing a limb, and death, I choose the former !!!!!!!


In this situation, it may well be true that doctor is perfectly right that this accident could have been avoided, or at the very least prevented from flaring up to the degree it has now. The problem is that we will never be able to completely remove these types of situations from occurring in life. And when they do occur, the idea of just taking a mulligan and not making the hard choice strikes me as a childs move.

The adult thing is to accept that some things we must do in this world will not bring us pleasure, some things we do will be things we do not like doing, but we do them anyway if it provides the best course.

The pacifist is not whole, they are living with the ethical framework of a child that has yet to grow up.


So again, it is not surprising to me that many of like mind are more hesitant to deal with addressing the problems of mankinds "evil" actors, that would involve putting them in those no win situations as far as a pacifist is concerned, a choice between doing something distasteful, and something calamitous.

In those situations the craven often comes out in the form of doing nothing of substance, which defaults the result to the calamitous. It's like the trolley problem in a way, better to let a bad result happen by some other force than to have any bad be a direct result of MY actions, even if That bad result is better than the first option that had no hand from me.

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Old 01-23-2009, 03:33 AM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Portraying warists as the courageous "adults" strikes me as ridiculous.

But it's the kind of ridiculous bravado that war-based cultures typically concoct to justify their violence and present it as inevitable, rational and altruistic.

I suppose it works both way: I tend to think of warists as infantile, intellectually lazy and cowardly.

Neither of us will live to see how history ultimately judges pacifism vs. warism, but I'd bet on Gandhi getting better reviews in a century or two than Harry Truman.
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Old 01-22-2009, 02:41 PM
grits-n-gravy grits-n-gravy is offline
 
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This is a warist way of framing the issue: The only choices were nukes or a huge bloody invasion that would have killed more people. The pacifist would argue that the correct course was to resolve the conflict nonviolently.

Was is that automatically off the table?
I concur with this completely. Good point.
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Old 01-29-2009, 02:29 PM
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I was surprised to learn that Israel censors military info and even banned international reporters from conflict areas. Here is an underground site called Israeli Uncensored News http://samsonblinded.org/news which runs some very odd reports.
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Old 01-22-2009, 06:31 AM
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I am probably failing to convey the sense of disgust some of us find at this type of pacifistic world view, but there it is.
You convey your disgust vividly, but it is misplaced. Besides, belligerent midgets are even rarer than midgets.

There may be critics of Israel who are motivated by pacifism (a consistent pacifist would have to condemn Hamas as well), but the vast majority of critics are motivated by (1) disgust at the disproportion of the Israeli response and (2) indignation at the concerted policy of neglect of the underlying problem. In other words, they are not disputing the right of the state of Israel to protect its citizens by force; they are disputing its right to conduct itself outside the norms of international law regarding the treatment of a population in an occupied territory as well as its persistent refusal to come to terms with the Palestinian problem.

The "UN types" you find so contemptible are merely doing their job---acting to bring humanitarian help to a population that is in dire straits. They have no official peacekeeping role.
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Old 01-22-2009, 08:05 AM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
 
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You convey your disgust vividly, but it is misplaced. Besides, belligerent midgets are even rarer than midgets.

There may be critics of Israel who are motivated by pacifism (a consistent pacifist would have to condemn Hamas as well), but the vast majority of critics are motivated by (1) disgust at the disproportion of the Israeli response and (2) indignation at the concerted policy of neglect of the underlying problem. In other words, they are not disputing the right of the state of Israel to protect its citizens by force; they are disputing its right to conduct itself outside the norms of international law regarding the treatment of a population in an occupied territory as well as its persistent refusal to come to terms with the Palestinian problem.

The "UN types" you find so contemptible are merely doing their job---acting to bring humanitarian help to a population that is in dire straits. They have no official peacekeeping role.
1. When a neighbors house got infested with termites, they tented the house. That was a disproportionate act, the termites did far less damage than they chose to do to the termites, and yet it was the proper course to take nonetheless. Am I comparing anyone to termites, well no, just making a point that proportionality is a useless concept in many cases. Based on the tactics of HAMAS, there is no way to attack their capabilities except to use greater and more precise force. And contrary to what many believe, saying STOP IT and sending off strong diplomatic notes! is neither a firm response, or effective one.


2 is more complicated, take the barricades and road blocs as an example, that is not an ideal status quo, but those were not erected in a vacuum, suicide bombers had a b-line in far more areas before the oppressive tool of walls and the like were erected.

But this gets back to the chicken and egg dance of first faults of injustices and indignities.

Let me put it to you like this, had the population of the Palestinians not been so hostile and antagonistic to Israel, they would already have a state, barricades could easily be nonexistent today.

What I will NOT do, is attempt to explain away every Palestinian attack as the result of oppression. It is like the arguments people make about poverty being a cause of crime in and of itself. While crime and poverty does have a higher correlation, there is a certain base level of criminality that has nothing to do with poverty.

If any doubt this, ask yourself why any white collar crime exists? particularly the cases where the culprits are already extremely wealthy. If crime and unethical behavior were exclusively the purview of the poor, then we would not expect crime anywhere else.


In a similar way, antagonism towards Israel and its existence is certainly in part due to its policies, but that is not enough to explain away all the opposition to Israel, you cannot say that if Israel did X, Y, and Z that the Palestinian population would cheer and be contented, it is not just about a state for some of them, it is about not being able to square the existence of the state of Israel at all.

All I want from UN types who rail against Israel is to acknowledge that part of the degeneracy is squarely on the shoulders of the Palestinians.

When a majority of the Palestinians decide that they care more about their childrens future, than their hatred of Israel, they will be infinitely better off. And right now, tolerating a group that uses its own citizens as props for canon fodder and as shields is not my idea of proper priorities.
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:43 AM
Francoamerican
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Default Re: UN Plaza: Gaza and the UN

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Originally Posted by JonIrenicus View Post
Let me put it to you like this, had the population of the Palestinians not been so hostile and antagonistic to Israel, they would already have a state, barricades could easily be nonexistent today
You speak with such confidence about hypotheticals. Maybe, maybe not. Diplomats who have been involved in negotiations over the years might see things differently.

The fact is: Israel is in violation of international law even if Israel (and the United States) refuse to recognize the applicable international law. Gaza is an occupied terrority, de facto if not de jure, and Israel has treated its inhabitants in a way that is unacceptable under international law.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JonIrenicus View Post
In a similar way, antagonism towards Israel and its existence is certainly in part due to its policies, but that is not enough to explain away all the opposition to Israel, you cannot say that if Israel did X, Y, and Z that the Palestinian population would cheer and be contented, it is not just about a state for some of them, it is about not being able to square the existence of the state of Israel at all. .
Yes, and there are many Israelis who are of the same opinion about the existence of a Palestinian state.

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Originally Posted by JonIrenicus View Post
When a majority of the Palestinians decide that they care more about their childrens future, than their hatred of Israel, they will be infinitely better off. And right now, tolerating a group that uses its own citizens as props for canon fodder and as shields is not my idea of proper priorities.
Nor mine. But, as far as I have been able to ascertain, this is Israeli propaganda, eagerly lapped up by the American media. Never forget the old saying: the first victim of war is the truth.
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Old 01-22-2009, 03:31 PM
gwlaw99 gwlaw99 is offline
 
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Default Re: UN Plaza: Gaza and the UN

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Originally Posted by Francoamerican View Post
(1) disgust at the disproportion of the Israeli response and (2) indignation at the concerted policy of neglect of the underlying problem. In other words, they are not disputing the right of the state of Israel to protect its citizens by force; they are disputing its right to conduct itself outside the norms of international law regarding the treatment of a population in an occupied territory as well as its persistent refusal to come to terms with the Palestinian problem.

The "UN types" you find so contemptible are merely doing their job---acting to bring humanitarian help to a population that is in dire straits. They have no official peacekeeping role.
1. You should be more disgusted by the fact that you do not understand the law of proportionality, but feel the need to pontificate about it. The law of proportionality does not mean Israel must act in the same way as Hamas. Otherwise, Israel could just lob 2000 missiles in Gaza population centers.

"Under international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute, the death of civilians during an armed conflict, no matter how grave and regrettable, does not in itself constitute a war crime. International humanitarian law and the Rome Statute permit belligerents to carry out proportionate attacks against military objectives,[1] even when it is known that some civilian deaths or injuries will occur. A crime occurs if there is an intentional attack directed against civilians (principle of distinction) (Article 8(2)(b)(i)) or an attack is launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage (principle of proportionality) (Article 8(2)(b)(iv). Article 8(2)(b)(iv) criminalizes:"

Notice that Hamas's missiles clearly fall under this definition while Israel's do not.

As with the farce that occurred with Jenin the truth about the casualty numbers in Gaza is starting to come out from the Palesinians themselves, who begged Hamas members not to fight in civilian areas. The number of total dealths has already dropped by more than half and will probably drop even more. Just like the Jenin casualty reports the international press reported verbatum from Palestinian sources and which dropped from 5000 to 50 Here is what an Italian newspaper reported today after interviewing people in Gaza.

Hamas also launched missiles in the last week from schools and hospitals for the sole purpose of creating as many civilian deaths as possible from Israeli retaliation.
Here is a video of Hamas using two schools as cover for launching a missile.

Here is a video of a Alarabiya-TV reporter telling someone that Hamas just fired a missile from their news building.

Then there is the video of captured Hamas documents showing how they hide arms caches in civilian homes.

And of course we all remember the video of Hamas using UN ambulances to transport it's members.
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