January 29th, 2006

Why is this man the senior foreign correspondent at a major newspaper?

Dymphna at Gates of Vienna is astounded at this article by the Guardian’s senior foreign correspondent, Jonathan Steele, in which he sees the recent Hamas victory as a chance for Europe to try its more nuanced approach to the Middle East conflict.

Steele is so nuanced he is practically insane. That’s not a word I ordinarily use (“insane,” that is, not “nuanced”), and of course it’s hyperbole.

But I can think of no better one to describe how out of touch this man is with reality. Either that, or he doesn’t actually believe a word he says, and merely trusts that his readership is totally out of touch with reality.

Either way, I have a question: why is this man senior foreign correspondent at a major newspaper? Surely even a leftist/liberal rag such as the Guardian could find a journalist who advances their arguments and positions with more finesse and believability than this:

If Europe, weak though its power may currently be, wants to have an independent role in the Middle East, clearly different from the manipulative US approach, it is vital to go on funding the PA regardless of the Hamas presence in government. Nor should the EU fall back on the cynical hope that Hamas will be as corrupt as Fatah, and so lose support. You cannot use European taxpayers’ money to strengthen Palestinian institutions while privately wanting reforms to fail. Hamas should be encouraged in aiming to be more honest than its predecessors.

Above all, Europe should not get hung up on the wrong issues, like armed resistance and the “war on terror”. Murdering a Palestinian politician by a long-range attack that is bound also to kill innocent civilians is morally and legally no better than a suicide bomb on a bus. Hamas’s refusal to give formal recognition of Israel’s right to exist should also not be seen by Europe as an urgent problem. History and international politics do not march in tidy simultaneous steps.

Almost every sentence in these two short paragraphs shows a naivete (at best) and a wrongheaded illogic (at worst), plus a subtext of such profound hostility to Israel and joy at the Hamas victory that it is, quite simply, stunning.

Hamas should be encouraged in aiming to be more honest than its predecessors.” I wonder how Steele proposes to reinforce that honesty; strangely enough, he’s mum on the subject. I think the construction of the sentence is also interesting; note he writes “encouraged in aiming” to be more honest, not in actually becoming more honest. Perhaps Steele would be satisfied with the mouthing of good intentions by Hamas.

It’s clear that Steele’s main interest is in sticking it to those dreadful Americans, and in showing that Europe knows so much better how to handle these matters. Along the way, he seems to have a great respect for (and trust of) the Hamas leaders he’s interviewed.

But I was most aghast at the following sentence of Steele’s, “Murdering a Palestinian politician by a long-range attack that is bound also to kill innocent civilians is morally and legally no better than a suicide bomb on a bus.” I’ve heard such sentiments before, it’s true. But usually from commenters on a blog rather than a senior foreign correspondent of a major newspaper. If this is an example of his reasoning power, his editors should be canning him, pronto.

Interesting that Steele says “murdering a Palestinian politician,” as though the Israelis are in the habit of killing the Abbas’s or the Arafat’s of the Palestinian world. The word “terrorist” seems to stick in Steele’s craw, even when there is no doubt in the world that is what is meant. This sort of subtle use of inexact language is as pervasive as it is pernicious.

But even beyond that is the idea itself, treating all civilian deaths in a way that is devoid of context, intent, history, goal–anything but the sheer fact of a death. By that type of reasoning (and I use the word “reasoning” advisedly), an accidental traffic death is as bad as gunning someone down in cold blood, police killing a bystander with a stray bullet while pursuing a murderer would be the same as the killer him/herself, and on and on and on. Yes, the collateral damage resulting from the killing of a terrorist who purposely hides among civilians is a terrible thing, as is the purposeful blowing up of Israelis by a suicide bomber. But to say they are morally and legally equivalent is abhorrent.

I looked up Steele’s biographical details online, but could find very little. I did find a list of his articles, and perused quite a few. No surprises there; they are pretty much of a piece. Here are some representative ones, in case you’re interested: this, this, this, and this.

What goes into the making of a Jonathan Steele? The only clue I could find was this article. Take a look at it.

It turns out that Steele, although British, was a graduate student at Yale during the tumultuous 60s, and played a small part in the civil rights movement in the South. In the article, he describes his experiences as a civil rights worker at the time of the Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner murders. He clearly feared for his own life, and found the entire experience to be a formative one.

In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if Steele sees the Palestinians as the equivalent of the blacks of Mississippi whose civil rights were so long denied, and the Israelis as the southerners who despised them, although its a bit of a stretch, “The image of Price and Rainey, leering and chewing tobacco through the trial, was branded on many Americans’ minds as a symbol of ignorant racism.”

The image may have also been branded on the mind of one rather young Englishman at the time, and may have been generalized to Americans as a whole. My guess is that this is when Steele’s politics became set in stone. In fact, he hints as much:

But in the end the Freedom Summer of 1964 may have done more for the volunteers who took part in it than for the people they tried to help. Some went back into the mainstream, but with a new commitment to justice. A few became lifelong radicals. None remained untouched.

And here Steele states it even more clearly:

As a British graduate student I took part in the mock election to elect Aaron Henry as governor of Mississippi in November 1963 and again during the Summer Project of 1964 as a volunteer in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

It was an inspiring and radicalising experience.

Steele was part of an important movement for freedom in this country, and his idealism, hard work–and yes, bravery–were rewarded. The danger is when such experiences are overgeneralized and become the lens through which all later life is viewed–a lens that, with age, can become cloudy with cataracts.

82 Responses to “Why is this man the senior foreign correspondent at a major newspaper?”

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  2. Ymarsakar Says:

    You don’t even understand the arguments here, distorting my points into something you can easily dismiss doesn’t grant you any greater understanding of the stream of ideas here.

    You can’t explain the points, you can’t debate the points, you can’t counter the points, and you most assuredly cannot concieve of a reason to believe in my new ideas.

    You don’t know how to look at things from another person’s perspective, you don’t use logic nor understand nor understand it when someone else is using it, and all this simply from your view, is a lack of persuasion on my part.

    Obviously, smart logic doesn’t persuade someone like you, who doesn’t play on the same level playing field here. Nor is it intended to. Smart people understand what is going on, and anyone who can use logic, is smart. If you can’t use logic, regardless of your fictional education, then I’m sorry, but you’re not on a level playing field here.

    For example, you could not summarize my logic nor my argument, at all. Neither here, nor there, nor in the future.

    To do that, would require a sense of perspective, a looking out from another’s eyes, and some sense of personal human understanding. Your lack of such qualities, do not make a complete debate.

    People who understood the logic of the arguments, can point out the flaws in them. They don’t usually misinterpret it to mean that people who disagree are not smart.

  3. W.B. Reeves Says:

    Where have you been that you haven’t heard those arguments on the internet and on this blog site? I hope it wasn’t a Republican bubble, cause anyone who gets out on the net can hear this from many folks.

    In other words, no one has made that argument on this thread. Whatever you may have heard elsewhere, unless it was said by someone on this thread, has little relevance.

    It would make sense that only the Palestinians is creating external enemies to maintain power. What doesn’t make sense, is people who say that it is possible here in the US but not possible in Palestine.

    You may think so but that doesn’t make it so. Arguing that those who don’t see it your way just aren’t as smart as you isn’t terribly convincing.

    Again, the idea that political elites create external threats to maintain power isn’t something a smart person doesn’t understand. It should be easy to think about how the political elites changed from the conservative whites to the blacks and the white liberals however.

    Like the first two African American Secretaries of State for example? Interesting that you would presume that Conservative Whites would be antagonistic to Blacks whereas Liberals would be their natural allies.

    Again, harping on how smart you believe yourself to be is a poor tactic.

  4. W.B. Reeves Says:

    Why do I need to specify? Is there any doubt that some exist? You want names and addresses?

    Yes you do. For all I know you could be refering to Coretta Scott King or Clarence Thomas, not to mention David Duke. You don’t have to convince me of the existence of race pimping. I’ve seen it in all colors. What that has to do with the kind of things I described, other than to justify a pose of cynicism or apathy , I’m not sure of.

    I do appreciate that you provided a context for your remark. It gives me a measure of your Judgement as well as your meaning.

    But there’s nothing like harking back to Freedom Summer when good was good and bad was bad and there wasn’t any trouble telling the difference.

    None of the incidents I described took place in 1967. Rather more recently than that. Exactly how are we to “get past” a line of thinking that produces events like the Oklahoma City bombing? Sounds like a problem to me.

    Events in my own experience won’t allow me to share your nonchalance.

  5. Ymarsakar Says:

    Where on this thread has anyone made the accusation that Bush is generating terrorism to maintain his power?

    Where have you been that you haven’t heard those arguments on the internet and on this blog site? I hope it wasn’t a Republican bubble, cause anyone who gets out on the net can hear this from many folks. If you want examples, you can go google it. It’s not my problem if you can’t find them.

    Famous crack of, “Do you think Bush is holding Osama Bin Laden in a secret location right before the 2004 election?” by Albright.

    Exactly what sort of power do suicide bombers retain after they have blown themselves to bits?

    If you haven’t seen examples, then I can’t help you.

    Like I said, those who think Bush is creating external enemies understands the logic. Those who don’t, don’t. Those who don’t, but want to, might want to do some personal research.

    It would make sense that only the Palestinians is creating external enemies to maintain power. What doesn’t make sense, is people who say that it is possible here in the US but not possible in Palestine.

    Most educated members of the Enlightenment already know that tyranny of the government can be done through creating external enemies, we do not exempt America from this. This is why we support the 2nd Ammendment. But people who say that it doesn’t exist in Palestine and say that it does exist in America, don’t operate on the same logical wavelength.

    If you believe it can or has happened in America, then you’d better damn have a good reason why it isn’t going on in Palestine.

    Anyone who doesn’t, I’ll skip over with a car going 140.

    However, if you think that racism, whether organized or unorganized, ceased to be a problem in 1967 you’re kidding yourself.

    Again, the idea that political elites create external threats to maintain power isn’t something a smart person doesn’t understand. It should be easy to think about how the political elites changed from the conservative whites to the blacks and the white liberals however.

    Again, a person better have a damn good reason why they believed it happened before, but ain’t happening now. Why racism was a problem back then, and why it isn’t a problem created by others to maintain power right now.

    It isn’t that people don’t get the logic. They do. Except people who are smart or just people who aren’t, can do doublethink quite well. They can hold two contradictory ideas in their mind, and it doesn’t bother them. Dumb people don’t think about it, so they have no problem. People who aren’t sharp just takes too long to figure out a quadruple backstab, so they don’t bother, better things to worry about like finance and divorces. So they might not understand the contradictions. People who are smart do understand the contradictions, but they are pretty sharp and fast so they can basically criss-cross the electrical circuits and make the circuit still work with bad components so to speak. It may present an electrical fire problem, but it works. For awhile.

  6. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Why do I need to specify? Is there any doubt that some exist? You want names and addresses?

    I don’t know where Jesse Jackson lives, but you could start there.
    Or Al Sharpton.

    Or a good many who, as has been discussed, found their meaning either in real civil rights work or in learning to chord “We Shall Overcome” on a cheap fourstring and progressed no further.

    Or those who need it to shepherd their black voters to the booths in nice, neat lines.

    John McWhorter says racism exists. But he says it’s not a problem, nor an excuse, and anybody with a modicum of determination can get past it. Getting past the miserable K12 ed in the ‘hood is tougher, and, at this point, most of that is under the control of blacks in the big cities, or extremely liberal whites.
    Getting past certain other issues, see Ogbue on the education issues in Shaker Heights–which mirror McWhorter’s when he lived there.
    Racism is exists but other issues should be of greater concern since they have greater effects.
    But there’s nothing like harking back to Freedom Summer when good was good and bad was bad and there wasn’t any trouble telling the difference.

  7. W.B. Reeves Says:

    I think one unstated point about racism today is that if it did not exist, many people would have to re-invent it.

    Very glib Richard. Meaningless without specifying which people you’re talking about though.

  8. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Reeves.
    I think one unstated point about racism today is that if it did not exist, many people would have to re-invent it.

  9. W.B. Reeves Says:

    Brad,

    Your post reminds me of how people sharing space on the same globe can inhabit entirely separate realities.

    I spent about 7 years actively involved in counter organizing against the Klan and neo-Nazi groups. That experience encompassed events such as Klan led mob assaults on civil rights advocates, harassment and vandalism targeting black families in predominately white neighborhoods and similar attacks against Jewish individuals and communities. They also included racially motivated murders. Bombings as well.

    1967? Hardly. 1988 through 1995 to be exact.

    I’m very glad that the world has changed to the degree that a Condoleeza Rice or Colin Powell can rise to the heights they have. The US Government’s repudiation of de jure white supremacy was no small achievement.

    However, if you think that racism, whether organized or unorganized, ceased to be a problem in 1967 you’re kidding yourself.

  10. W.B. Reeves Says:

    Here’s a hint, the people who say that Bush is generating terrorism to create a state of emergency and to maintain power, should understand easily how the Palestinians and Arabs generate Zionist occupation to create a state of emergency and to maintain power.

    Where on this thread has anyone made the accusation that Bush is generating terrorism to maintain his power?

    Exactly what sort of power do suicide bombers retain after they have blown themselves to bits?

    If you want to say that political elites tend to exploit crisis in maintaining their own power, I would agree. If you want to claim that Arabs and Palestinians are the only ones so engaged, you’re right, such “logic” does escape me.

  11. W.B. Reeves Says:

    I prefaced my initial accusation of dishonesty by stipulating that far from a penchant, such accusation is against my nature:

    Here you elide the instance where you described something I said as a lie. You appended no disclaimer to that comment. Is there a particular reason why you pretend that you only impugned my honesty on one occasion? I suppose if you admitted to repeatedly attacking my character it might suggest that you have a penchant for such things.

    In the case of Mr. Reeves, who considers Israelis no better than murders and then has the temerity to compare me to a holocaust denier, the accusation of mere dishonesty may be too kind.

    Considering that neither the word “murders”, nor any variant of it, appears anywhere in any of my posts, you are ill positioned to be criticizing others for dishonesty. Likewise my comments were limited to specific actions of the Israeli military. I imagine if you make a practice of vilifying entire ethnicities it’s easy to impute the same vice to others.

    It takes no “temerity” to compare your argument, as opposed to your person, to those exploited by the holocaust deniers. If you dislike the association I suggest you stop using their tools.

  12. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Brad.
    Thanks. But, on rereading the comment, I see I did not emphasize sufficiently my view that these folks–and Steele, since he’s the subject, ‘way back–are almost physically stuck in this time warp.
    Several years ago, the KKK in its diminished glory had a minor demonstration on the state capitol grounds. Two of my erstwhile colleagues showed up to symbolically sweep the ground where the hated Klukkers had stood the day before. That’s probably the best day they’d had in years.
    Sad.

  13. Brad Says:

    Good comment Richard.

  14. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Getting back to Steele and the origin of his worldview:

    I did some civil rights stuff in the Sixties in Mississippi. I am acquainted with some folks who did the same, naturally.

    Some are stuck in that worldview. There used to be a Presbyterian pastor in our area whose seminary class did some logistical work in Alabama supporting the Selma march. This guy couldn’t pass the salt and pepper without examining the request for evidence of racism and trying to decide what he should do about it. His insistence that racism was ubiquitous made him comical, and led him to say things which were factually grossly at odds with reality. Things about university hiring or minority representation on campus. He thought that the reason black students were going to XXXX college was because the local branch of UMICH was racist. I told him that, when I graduated, kids who could only get into XXXX were ashamed to admit it. It was a function of miserable secondary ed. He had not a clue, nor wanted one. Might upset his worldview. Problem is that the rest of us had the clues and fell about–as the Brits say–at his next and the next after that exhibition of cluelessness.
    There are others, details too boring to relate here, who live for 1967. I don’t have much to do with them, as the time is about forty years gone. Republicans are desperately hoping Condi will change her mind. Which reminds me. If Condi is an exemplar of the state of race relations today, the greying-ponytail crowd have nothing of use to say to any of us. Thus, she must be an oreo, or they are useless. Which do you think trumps which in their minds?

  15. Bezuhov Says:

    “Given your penchant for calling people liars and impugning their honesty”

    I’d like to retire, but leaving your ad hominem distortions to speak unchallenged does you a disservice.

    I prefaced my initial accusation of dishonesty by stipulating that far from a penchant, such accusation is against my nature:

    “Liberals like myself believe strongly in giving people the benefit of doubt, innocent until proven guilty, but the left is rapidly exhausting that benefit with your feckless behavior vis-a-vis the question of Islamic terror/fascism.”

    I have questioned the honesty of two posters here. In Shan’s case, I may have been too severe, although choosing to interpret Neo’s comment as he did is still problematic in the exact way stipulated in the original post of Mr. Steele. I fail to see how efforts aimed toward blurring distintions helps anyone involved.

    In the case of Mr. Reeves, who considers Israelis no better than murders and then has the temerity to compare me to a holocaust denier, the accusation of mere dishonesty may be too kind.

  16. Bezuhov Says:

    “Only smart people can stop themselves from thinking.”

    Precisely.

    “I defy you to demonstrate where my own position disagrees in any significant way with Shan’s.”

    The difference is one of degree, not kind.

  17. Ymarsakar Says:

    People who think that the terroists’ aim is the State of Israel, obviously don’t understand the methods of oppression and guerrila warfare tactics.

    Here’s a hint, the people who say that Bush is generating terrorism to create a state of emergency and to maintain power, should understand easily how the Palestinians and Arabs generate Zionist occupation to create a state of emergency and to maintain power.

    It doesn’t take someone with iq of 150 to comprehend the logic. But it does take someone with an IQ of 165 to understand one logic, but not the other. Only smart people can stop themselves from thinking.

  18. W.B. Reeves Says:

    Hmm, rereading Shan’s original post, it was certainly more honest and clear than what followed.

    How is it then, that you chose to attack Shan and anyone who defended Shan?

    Given your penchant for calling people liars and impugning their honesty, I suppose it’s my turn to issue a challenge. I defy you to demonstrate where my own position disagrees in any significant way with Shan’s.

    I won’t hold breath.

  19. Bezuhov Says:

    “You’re hardly in a position to accuse others of obfuscation though.”

    I’m sure this flamewar became tiresome to all but us two three posts back, so I will retire, noting you offer no support for this claim. As usual.

  20. Bezuhov Says:

    “Again the difference is one of degree, not of kind.”

    Keep telling yourself that. Characterizing your argument as insane would be too kind.

    The soft bigotry of low expectations rears its ugly head again…

  21. neo-neocon Says:

    Re the discussion in these most recent comments, please see this new post, which I wrote before I saw most of them (I seem to have written it at about the same time this discussion was going on).

  22. Bezuhov Says:

    Hmm, rereading Shan’s original post, it was certainly more honest and clear than what followed.

    I still contend that his criticism of Neo is a distinction without a difference. A fender-bender is not the only sort of accident: the word lends itself to many connotations, and I’m still not clear on why Shan chose the one he did.

    I’d continue to beat this dead horse, but I see our host has a new post up on this very subject.

  23. W.B. Reeves Says:

    I challenge you to show where I have done so. More twisting of words and obfuscation. Frankly, it is tiresome. The phrase I did use – self-styled independent thinker – means that the person is anything but and everyone but that person himself knows it

    Point taken. I should have checked to make sure I was quoting you accurately rather than relying on memory.

    You’re hardly in a position to accuse others of obfuscation though.

  24. W.B. Reeves Says:

    I’ve addressed it repeatedly. Quit trying to pretend otherwise. The terrorists are trying to maximize civilian casualities, the Israelis to minimize them. How much clearer can I be?

    No you haven’t. The distinction you raise is completely irrelevant to Shan’s point.

  25. W.B. Reeves Says:

    This is a flat-out lie. You may get away with such tactics when people are not paying attention. Don’t kid yourself that they’ll work when they are.

    I suggest you not kid yourself. The justification of necessity is precisely the argument used by terrorists. Observing the fact is no lie, regardless of whether you accept the argument or not.

    Given the choise between killing five civilians and fifty, the terrorist chooses the latter, the Israelis, the former. This is NOT identical.

    A valid distinction which has nothing whatever to do with the point above. That being, the use of the justification of neccessity. I could relate the terrorist’s argument for you but since I don’t accept it, I have no intention of providing you with an opportunity to pretend that I do.

  26. W.B. Reeves Says:

    As far as innocent civilians go, the main difference between our side and theirs is that their primary target is the innocent civilian. Mr Reeves would be well to consider that fact of life (and death).

    If you’re refering to the conflict between the Palestians and the Israeli’s, which is the subject under discussion, I believe the terrorist’s primary target is the State of Israel. The attacks on civilians are a means to that end.

    You have hit on a legitimate distinction though. The terrorist strategy relies on maximizing civilian casualties. The Israeli strategy as described does not. This is not an inconsiderable distinction.

    However, it is not the distinction that NeoNeo chose to make. Nor does it vitiate the fact that both strategies encompass the willful infliction of civilian casualties. Again the difference is one of degree, not of kind.

  27. Bezuhov Says:

    “BTW, as a U.S. citizen I live in a politcal system created in large part by “free thinkers.” I find it odd that you would use the term as an epithet.”

    I challenge you to show where I have done so. More twisting of words and obfuscation. Frankly, it is tiresome. The phrase I did use – self-styled independent thinker – means that the person is anything but and everyone but that person himself knows it.

  28. Bezuhov Says:

    “Shan was responding to the contention that civilian deaths due to Israeli actions were “accidental”. You haven’t even addressed this question much less refuted Shan’s argument.”

    I’ve addressed it repeatedly. Quit trying to pretend otherwise. The terrorists are trying to maximize civilian casualities, the Israelis to minimize them. How much clearer can I be?

  29. Ymarsakar Says:

    Why would the Israelis choose to kill five and the terroists kill 50 when the Israelis could obviously kill far more than 5 easily with their nuclear weapons, and Palestinians have to go out of their way to kill more than 5 Israelis given the wall?

  30. Bezuhov Says:

    “You could argue the necessity defense but of course, that is the identical argument employed by the terrorists.”

    This is a flat-out lie. You may get away with such tactics when people are not paying attention. Don’t kid yourself that they’ll work when they are.

    Given the choise between killing five civilians and fifty, the terrorist chooses the latter, the Israelis, the former. This is NOT identical.

  31. W.B. Reeves Says:

    More illiberal obtuseness. Can you honestly claim that given the choice between killing the terrorist with five collateral deaths or killing the terrorist with fifty, the Israelis would choose the latter?

    I think the obtuseness on display here is your own. Illiberal or otherwise.

    Shan was responding to the contention that civilian deaths due to Israeli actions were “accidental”. You haven’t even addressed this question much less refuted Shan’s argument.

    Instead, you try to change the subject to an argument no one has made. You may consider it the pertinent point but since it was not the issue under discussion, it is more than disingenous to reference it.

    In any case, it is a variation on the “numbers argument” much beloved by Holocaust deniers. They attack the credibility of the reported numbers of victims of the Nazi genocide, as though proving that they only slaughtered 4 million rather than six would somehow lessen their culpability. They also like to contrast the numbers of Hitler’s victims to those of Stalin, Mao and sundry other slaughterers, the idea being that this comparison makes Hitler less of a butcher. I can do without this sort of “moral relativism.”

    Is there a significant difference between a bomber who kills six and one who kills sixty? Of course. But it is a difference of degree, not of kind. It is measured by the scope of the killing, not the morality of the killer.

    It seems to me that you are the one who wants avoid “difficult truths.” The fact is that both sides are willing to sacrifice innocent lives in pursuit of what they conceive to be the greater good. That one side may be more bloody minded than the other is cold comfort to the dead.

    BTW, as a U.S. citizen I live in a politcal system created in large part by “free thinkers.” I find it odd that you would use the term as an epithet.

  32. MikeZ Says:

    There’s been a lot of discussion about whether Mr Steele is insane or not. One of the characteristics defining “insane” (and someone else can look it up in the DSM-IV) is a distorted view of reality, or a very wrong view of reality. Mr Steele seems to qualify on that count. Naturally, neither “neo-neocon” nor myself put that forward as a clinical diagnosis (though she does seem to be qualified).

    As far as innocent civilians go, the main difference between our side and theirs is that their primary target is the innocent civilian. Mr Reeves would be well to consider that fact of life (and death).

    Mark Steyn’s column,

    It’s the Demography

    is worth reading. One of the quotes he uses is:

    “As Jean-Francois Revel wrote, ‘Clearly, a civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself.”‘

    As far as I’m concerened, that describes the Left to the proverbial “T”.

  33. AmericanWoman Says:

    If you think the Guardian content is bad, try the Talkboard. I have been a regular there for about 4 years now. It’s a real eye opener.

    This type of article plays right to the typical reader of the Guardian.

  34. W.B. Reeves Says:

    WB Reeves: I believe some of that calculus is already stated in my essay, if you in fact have read it. I can only conclude that you have not. Do you actually believe that accidentally killing innocents is the same as purposely killing them? If you do, the words “morality” and “ethics” are lost on you, I’m afraid.

    Thanks for responding. I read your reply with interest as did the others. More so in your case, as I reread your original essay.

    Yes, I did indeed read it prior to my earlier comment. I must confess that I couldn’t quite follow your reasoning. Hence, your clarification is appreciated.

    That said, I would contend that you are mistaken. Do you actually believe that any military planner could be unaware of the likely consequences of firing a missile into an apartment building or a city street? Those who authorize such actions are perfectly aware that civilian deaths and injuries are a near certainty. They have made a conscious decision that such people are expendable in pursuit a larger goal. One could describe the resulting casualitiies in many ways but “accidental” and “unintentional” do not apply.

    Consequent to this, your colorful analogies regarding accidental (or negligent) police shootings, etc. miss the mark. There is nothing happenstance about such deaths. They are a matter of cold calculation.

    You could argue the necessity defense but of course, that is the identical argument employed by the terrorists.

    I’m still curious about the calculus that leads you to distinguish between “Israelis” on the one hand and “collateral damage” on the other. As someone with a background in therapy, I presume you are familiar with the mechanism of dehumanization. Did you intentionally employ it, or was it a rhetorical slip?

    While you may be comfortable in labeling me dead to morality and ethics rather than probing these issues, I prefer to give you the benefit of a doubt. Otherwise, I’d hardly bother posting these questions.

  35. Bezuhov Says:

    It is not poverty/absence of opportunity that drives Islamic terror. The terrorists are the best and brightest of their society, the would-be Charlemagnes of the next hegemonic culture.

    Terrorism is not a cry for help, it is the chosen means by which an illiberal elite attempts to intimidate liberal elements within Islamic countries into silence and their would-be supporters in the west into cowering isolation.

  36. Bezuhov Says:

    “But to call it “accidental,” as though it were like a fender bender on the highway, is disingenuous.”

    More illiberal obtuseness. Can you honestly claim that given the choice between killing the terrorist with five collateral deaths or killing the terrorist with fifty, the Israelis would choose the latter?

    That is the pertinent difference, and to attempt to cloud it is at best avoidance of a difficult truth (there is such a thing as evil, and even the oppressed are not exempt) and at worst deliberate distortion for nefarious ends.

    Liberals like myself believe strongly in giving people the benefit of doubt, innocent until proven guilty, but the left is rapidly exhausting that benefit with your feckless behavior vis-a-vis the question of Islamic terror/fascism.

  37. Shan Says:

    Ne, although I disagree vehemently with your newly acquired views, I respect your erudition and ability to clearly articulate those views. No wingnut, you, but someone who has reacted wrongly, I think, to the defining moment of our times.

    Having said that, I must take exception to your calling the killing of civilians in an Israeli air-strike “accidental.” For someone who claims to care about what words mean, you must realize there is nothing “accidental” about it. The commanders who give the go ahead for a strike know perfectly well that some civilians will also die. They make the calculation that the cost of these deaths is less than the cost of allowing a terrorist to live.

    They are probably right, and Israel, alone amongst civilized nations, takes the greatest pains to minimize civilain casualties in what is a war.

    But to call it “accidental,” as though it were like a fender bender on the highway, is disingenuous.

    Best,
    Shan

  38. Harry Mallory Says:

    Well, Van, I dont see this evidence that free markets cause poverty. I dont see that happening here. In fact, not surprisingly, I see it being the other way around.

    We hear about lay-offs and “out-sourcing”, but if US auto-maker were less beholding to unions and government restrictions and taxes, they may become more competitive and thus provide more jobs, increasing the tax base necessary to find meaningful living wage jobs to victoomhood wallowing Palestinians.

    Yes, Im being funny again.

    Its not that I disagree that people having jobs equals a sense of security and thus making happier people less predisposed to explode bombs on public transportation, but unless we can move those people off their religious fanaticism, its not going to matter.

  39. Van Says:

    Harry -
    You obviously have a very good sense of humor, which I find refreshing.

    Simply put, many in your own camp suggest the same thing (jobs trump dispare) – Thomas Friedman “The Lexus and the Olive Branch”

    I am in agreement with Mr. Friedman on some levels and one is that if people are working and earning a decent living they will have less interest in strapping a bomb on them selves and blowing up a night club.

    Now, there will always be a demented assortment of insurgents ready to kill anyone that disagrees, we have that here in the States, but they have less support if the people can participle in what we call the middle class – that’s my opinion anyway.

    Incidentally I disagree with Friedman (sometimes called the Pied-Piper of Globalism) when he implies that the “so called” (emphasis mine) free market is a cure for world poverty. There is a lot of evidence that the free market (laisser-faire capitalism, neo liberal policy – what ever you want to call it) actually creates poverty. But that’s another discussion entirely.

  40. Harry Mallory Says:

    Neo-Neo:
    “What are these fantasies? That Hamas could be a broker for peace. That an accidental killing of a civilian is morally and legally identical to a purposeful killing of a civilian.”

    More fantasies:

    1. That the WOT could have just been a police action.

    2. We could have contacted the SDS in Iran and had gotten information about Al Qeada members, even though the SDS are not in charge of anything.

    3. Get OBL & Al Q, and you end terrorism.

    4. Open Mc Flaffel franchises in economically depressed Moslem countries and you end terrorism. (Franchise the disenfranchised.)

    5. It is the responsibility of the US and others to provide jobs to victimhood wallowing martyrs.

    Frustrating isnt it?

  41. Van Says:

    To Neocon:

    Thank you for taking the time to clarify your statements.

  42. Bob Says:

    Troutsky,

    I’ve been thinking the same thing lately. Thanks for putting it so forcefully.

  43. neo-neocon Says:

    Van 3 PM: You are misreading the post. Reread, please:
    |
    Steele is so nuanced he is practically insane. That’s not a word I ordinarily use (“insane,” that is, not “nuanced”), and of course it’s hyperbole.

    But I can think of no better one to describe how out of touch this man is with reality. Either that, or he doesn’t actually believe a word he says, and merely trusts that his readership is totally out of touch with reality.

    In other words, just to make it crystal clear, I say:

    (1) When I use the word “insane,” it’s hyporbole. In case you don’t know the meaning of the word “hyperbole,” it’s “a figure of speech in which exaggeration is
    used for emphasis or effect.” It was not meant to be literally true, and I stated that upfront.

    (2) I actually say he is either insane in that hyperbolic way I’m using the word (which I further explain as being “out of touch with reality”), or he is writing strategically to manipulate his readers, who believe the fantasies he is dishing out even if he doesn’t.

    What are these fantasies? That Hamas could be a broker for peace. That an accidental killing of a civilian is morally and legally identical to a purposeful killing of a civilian.

    My characterization of Mr. Steele is based totally and completely on his stated viewpoints, not the other way around.

  44. Harry Mallory Says:

    Van:

    “If you want to take the wind out of a terrorist movement give the people meaning employment.
    For many there just putting food on the table is a daily struggle.
    If they are able to form and grow a middleclass will not be a terrorist movement.”

    Van, Van, Van….

    No, no…must resist condescending and pedestrian remark…must, r-e-s-i-s-t.

    I cant, I cant. Im not strong enough.

    Van, thank you for taking an interest in the affairs of our planet and be sure to stop by often in order to get a better feel for whats going on in our world.

    The alternate reality must be a fascinating world. You really must send us a post card.

    Your friend,

    Harry

  45. Dan Says:

    Van:

    I disagree. Far be it from me to stick up for NNC on her own blog, but this particular quote from Steele suggests to me she’s on the money with this one:

    Murdering a Palestinian politician by a long-range attack that is bound also to kill innocent civilians is morally and legally no better than a suicide bomb on a bus.

    If that isn’t one of the finest examples of moral equivalence then perhaps your argument about this being little more than an ad hom attack might hold some weight.

    The latter part of the article may be a convenient “Just-so” story, but the evidence against Steele, from his own writing alone, is pretty damning. Here’s Norm’s take on him.

  46. Anonymous Says:

    I tire of the “root causes” of terrorism. Like the “root causes” of crime that everyone touted in the seventies, (disenfranchisement!) they seem to be a beautiful liberal dream with no basis in reality.

    The terrorists were NOT disenfranchised youths with no hope for the future. They were middle class kids with expensive educations. They claimed to be fighting for the disenfranchised. But so have smart sociopaths throughout history. So much more appealing than saying “I kill people because I want to.”

    Please stop with the “give them jobs” already. It solves nothing. Also, we have no way to do it. Look what happened to the greenhouses in the territories that were given to the Palestinians. We can give them the means of production, but until they heal their sick culture we can’t get them to produce.

    There is more to man than the search for bread. What’s in man’s head is more important than what’s on his table.

    Portia

  47. Van Says:

    I stand corrected. I was really offering my connotation.

    Sorry.

  48. Anonymous Says:

    Van:

    Get a better lexicon. A leftist is not necessarily a communist. Have you never heard of the social democrats, in Europe or in the USA, of their history and political philosophy? In Europe, they were hated and persecuted (imprisoned and killed) equally by the Stalinists and Fascists. Almost a badge of honor. Read a little.

  49. Van Says:

    Troutsky –
    Leftist is synomonous with the American Communist party, at least in my lexicon. I don’t begrudge Neocon for not wanting to be called leftist, it is equilivant to calling a conservative a facist.

  50. Brad Says:

    Van,
    You still have the equation backwards.

    Troutsky,
    Given the fact that your progressive views are shared by “developmentally-disabled teenagers,” one would not expect you to understand the nuances of a thinking persons worldview. You critisize others and make claims about things you know nothing of, but don’t stop to consider the fact that you haven’t had an original idea in forty years.

    Sincerely yours,
    Brad

  51. jack Says:

    Regardless … it is against the law in the US to fund any terrorist on the official list … period.

    Hamas is still on that list.

    The US will have to chage the law or remove Hamas from the list.

    What are the DEMS take on this?

  52. troutsky Says:

    Neo’s “conversion” makes more and more sense as I read her posts.The kind of liberal who is afraid of being called a leftist is like the nature lover who won’t be called an environmentalist.She never was a liberal because she only understood liberalism as a cultural identification.With her corporatist, nationalist values she was always on the Right,like many other “liberals” she just didn’t realize it.

  53. Van Says:

    My last post was meant for Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) – sorry – sleep deprivation.

    So far Tom Grey has made the most sense out of all of us.
    If you want to take the wind out of a terrorist movement give the people meaning employment.
    For many there just putting food on the table is a daily struggle.
    If they are able to form and grow a middleclass will not be a terrorist movement.

  54. Van Says:

    My last post was meant for Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) – sorry – sleep deprivation.

    So far Tom Grey has made the most sense out of all of us.
    If you want to take the wind out of a terrorist movement give the people meaning employment.
    For many there just putting food on the table is a daily struggle.
    If they are able to form and grow a middleclass will not be a terrorist movement.

  55. Anonymous Says:

    This thing leads to an interesting question: bin Laden et al have become very conscious of the Western Left and seem to speak directly to them in many of their press releases and videos (e.g., al- Zawahri’s recent statements). At what point will decent people come to realize that they are engaged in a round-about dialogue with such folks and be bothered by it?

  56. Van Says:

    ML1 –
    With respect, you may be wrong about that. Here’s why:

    a. Neocon makes claim about Steele
    B. There is something objectional about Steele
    C. Therefore Steele is wrong

    This is clasic Ad Homenim Abusive. I could be misreading the post, but it seems to more objectional to his character rather than his agrument.

  57. Dan Says:

    Following on from Andrew Zalotocky’s excellent round-up of the Guardian’s record in providing a mouthpiece for ultra-conservative Islamists (in itself a little odd for a supposedly left-wing paper), I notice that today’s issue has an article by Azzad Tamimi entitled Hamas will make a deal. They “forgot” to acknowledge that he is a spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain, our equivalent of the Muslim Brotherhood. Nice. Harry’s Place did a nice expose of some of his more repellent views.

    And before I go, great post neo-neocon – I’ve linked to it if you don’t mind?

  58. Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) Says:

    I know that I am going to take a lot of heat for saying this, but I think that Neo Neocon is dangerously close to miring herself in the ad hominem abusive fallacy.

    Since you’ve obviously taken some level of logic, you should know better than that!

    Ad hominem is taking the identity of the author (insane, in this case) and concluding that the argument posed by the author is also that attribute. What Neo has done is to take the argument, conclude that it is insane, and hypothesize that the author is probably insane, too. While that may be a hasty generalization, to say that it’s (similar to) ad hominem is to say that p -> q is (similar to) q -> p. It’s not. And it’ll cost you on a philosophy 101 test.

  59. Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) Says:

    “Last time I checked, intentionally bombing civilians was a war crime”

    The intention of the homicide bomber, other than intentionally killing civilians, which is itself indeed a war crime, is to terrorize other civilians into submission.

    Isn’t damage to civilians only a war crime if there is actual targeting of civilians (as opposed to targeting military targets when civilians are within the kill zone of that target)?

    Also, isn’t the use of human shields (which is exactly what terrorists do) itself against international regulations, or am I thinking of something else?

  60. Van Says:

    I know that I am going to take a lot of heat for saying this, but I think that Neo Neocon is dangerously close to miring herself in the ad hominem abusive fallacy.
    Whether or not the writer is “insane” is aside from the point that he may be on to something worth stating.
    The EU may have an opportunity to deal with Hamas in a way that we have not been able to.
    I doubt that Hamas will negotiate with us under our condidtions, mainly because of our support for Israel and because, in there eyes, we are brutally killing their Muslim brothers and sisters. (I’m not suggesting that we should not support Israel or that we are intentionally murdering innocent civilians)

    I agree that he, Jonathan Steele, does not seem to be objective on some levels, especially when he states,
    “Hamas’s triumph in Wednesday’s Palestinian elections is the best news from the Middle East for a long time.”

    However he is correct in saying, “European governments should take a more sensitive view. The first watchword is caution.”

    The article does illustrate some hope of Hamas moderation, and that there is something to work with in that regard, “This is no mosque-driven revolutionary or wealthy jihadi of the Osama bin Laden type, motivated by ideology or a desire for adventure.”
    And
    “For 11 months no Hamas member has gone on a suicide bombing mission. That is no mean achievement, which foreign diplomats rarely credit.”

    In this next statement Jonathan Steele goes completely astray from conventional reason and he is dead wrong.
    “Hamas’s refusal to give formal recognition of Israel’s right to exist should also not be seen by Europe as an urgent problem.”
    This issue has to be the first that the EU, or any governing body, deals with. Hamas must see Israel as an independent nation state and all other negotiations must build upon this fact.

    “Hamas may eventually disarm itself and recognize Israel” – this cannot be peripheral.

    Jonathan Steele may have distain for the way the U.S. has handled relations with the Palestinian and he may be wrong on several points. It is perfectly acceptable to disagree with him; however, even an “insane” person can be right about some things.

  61. Ymarsakar Says:

    To Bezuhov, then Goesh.

    Actually, the Jews are so uptight they lobbied for Israel. They could have all went to America and been safe from French pogroms, Muslim Riots (France again), Dutch assassination teams, and etc.

    But they didn’t, nor did they want to stay in Europe. Maybe the Holocaust caused them to rethink which continent was safer.

    The truth is, Israel wanted to be in Palestine because that was the religious center and homeland of the Jews. Myths are hard to fight, the myth of Palestine and Israel can become reality with enough blood and toil. and they got what they wanted. Forget the British and the Germans and the Americans, Israel decided and the fault for that decision lies with them, not anyone else.

    This is the kind of argument used against African-American critics of affirmative action, and its no more persuasive in this instance.

    If you think that African-Americans that make it and are against affirmative action, were successful not because of their personal drive and beliefs, but because of the government giving them handouts and free opportunity, then of course it is unpersuasive. Just as it is unpersuasive to a criminal that what he did was wrong and that the victim didn’t deserve it. People with prejudices never justify the critics of those prejudices. It’s not mentally healthy for them to do that, and it is far more rewarding to construct a rationality than to find the solution. Those are not the people who are worth convincing in the first place. A person will not accept that he is a free loader if he is bound and determined to be one. Some people have guilty consciences, and a shred of personal honor and pride, those might be able to be saved.

    The Guardian does not seek to remove the protection.
    Obviously, the Guardian would not want to remove protections over them, but over Iraq they are fine with that if it doesn’t benefit them economically and financially.

    Irregardless of what they want, what happens is something independent of wishes.

    We deserve what we get, or is it we get what we deserve?

    You get what you pay for, and you pay for what you get.

    I would imagine the ‘sacred cow’ status of hamas will be sustained and the cash will continue to flow to them, under the watchful eye of jimmy carter types.

    Big original question. Who is more evil in the end, those who enable terror and evil people or the evil people that actually directly committ the evil acts? If evil people couldn’t do evil without the support of the enablers, who is more evil in the end?

    Bookworm wrote something about that and Steven Spielberg.

  62. Anonymous Says:

    The Germans and Austrians (often to the delight of and with the support of other Europeans) slaughter more than 5 million Jews, and then these very Europeans and the Americans carve out a Jewish homeland among people with no involvement in the genocide. They should have given Jews a piece of Germany or all of Austria.
    Sure, Zionism goes back to Herzl and its aspirations for a safe piece of land are understandable. But what’s it got to do with the Palestinian farmer minding his olive trees near Haifa? So Jews lived there more than a thousand years ago. Indians lived where I’m sitting only 300 yeas ago, and nobody seriously considers giving the territory back to them.
    Under American leadership, the Europeans screwed up because in their usual arrogance they thought they could pawn off the unwelcome Jews on another less than splendidly white and culturally inferior people.
    Another fine mess. But the Israeli and Palestinian children will suffer, not the bloated Belgian or Austrian windbags. Pity.

  63. Andrew Zalotocky Says:

    Anonymous asks if someone from the Guardian got fired for belonging to al-Qaeda. No, but the truth isn’t much better. A trainee reporter named Dilpazier Aslam was fired for his membership of an Islamic extremist group called Hizb’ut Tahrir. However, this only happened after his affiliation was exposed by the blog The Daily Ablution, whose coverage is summarised here. Read the whole thing – it should destroy any lingering respect you may have for the Guardian.

    If that doesn’t do it, note that The Guardian has published a speech by Bin Laden in its “Comment” section. It also published an article by an al-Qaida member named Sa’ad al-Faqih, but described him simply as “a leading exiled Saudi dissident”.

    There was also a fawning interview with Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is thorougly fisked here.

    As the saying goes, my enemy’s enemy is my friend, and the Guardian’s emnity towards America has led it to some very unsavoury friends indeed.

  64. Goesh Says:

    According to an MSN article I just read, the US has given 1.5 billion to the Palestinians since 1993. That is alot of money to keep the refugee camps in continued squalor. I bet most of it is Arafat’s coffers, though of course some of it was spent to kill Jews. We deserve what we get, or is it we get what we deserve? I never could get that one straight. I would imagine the ‘sacred cow’ status of hamas will be sustained and the cash will continue to flow to them, under the watchful eye of jimmy carter types.

  65. Tom Grey Says:

    I would like to see a more honest attempt at aid — EU giving individual Palestinians house building mortgages, and business starting loans.

    Also the US. And the UN.

    Stop supporting “governments” — and give aid/ loans directly to people.

    Low cost cell phones; opening Internet cafes; a Palestinian computer assembly plant (like the Czech Bravo company; or a Palestinian Dell) — help provide initial capital to individuals.

    Terrorist Hamas should be used as an excuse to have aid bypass the government — and this could be a model for corrupt Africa, too.

  66. Bezuhov Says:

    “Not only do they not provide help, they actually hinder our efforts to protect the world while at the same time benefiting from the protection that they seek to remove.”

    This is the kind of argument used against African-American critics of affirmative action, and its no more persuasive in this instance.

    The Guardian does not seek to remove the protection. They believe, sometimes correctly, that they are making that protection more effective through the liberal process of self-criticism and reflection. That they are unable to extand this courtesy to our enemies is tragic if not entirely unexpected.

  67. Ymarsakar Says:

    The problem with the Guardian is that it will gladly freeload off of the United States’ sacrifices, while snubbing us behind our backs and in front of us.

    Not only do they not provide help, they actually hinder our efforts to protect the world while at the same time benefiting from the protection that they seek to remove.

    Like one of those physics-engineering problems, something will break eventually.

    Either it will be us or it will be Europe’s complacency. Already the Mid East’s complacency has been broken. They can no longer blame the US for every woe and stupidity, when they elected their own leaders.

    Europe doesn’t seem to work like that however, which is probably why the Jihadists are jumping ship for the European continent as fast as they can.

    W.b. reeves moral calculus is pretty bad.

    The idea that international law or law of any kind protects a baby and a woman thousands of miles away, just because people want to believe it is true, is ridiculous.

    Most men’s moral calculus is based upon the fundamental ability to protect their family, their own, and themselves. In that order. If that requires dropping two bombs on Japan, then that’s just how the game is played. The rules have not changed since man’s inception, only the perception of humanity has changed, both for the better and for the worse.

    Many Leftists and morally confused people believe it is international law and international corrupt institutions like the UN and World IC Court that preserves their liberties, living standard, and decadence. But that is a worldview not based on the reality of the human condition, but on a constructed reality of an idealistic fantasy.

    Fantasies do not protect people’s families from terroists. Fantasies don’t even provide them with sustenance.

    The reason why civilians are not targeted is because if one side targets civilians, then the other side will target civilians, and this ends up either destroying one or both sides and few people are insane enough to want that. Terroists, actually don’t give a damn about civilians or anyone else. So they have no problems with attacking our civilians. If we targeted the terroist’s family and the family of the suicide bombers, then the terroists might stop taking american hostages and beheading them, but America is unlikely to initiate a Phoenix Program to counter Iran and Syrian invasions.

    Their plans are consistent with guerrila tactics. Launch an attack, then wait for a response, then go into the burned out village and propagandize that the Americans had no reason to burn down the village. Except America doesn’t follow the terroist’s scripts and the terroists then become angry and take it out on the women and children. Like General Mattison said, any man that gets a kick out of slaughtering women and children, is going to be killed and we’re going to have fun doing it. Having fun killing strangers is a problem, having fun killing Evil People is not a problem at all.

    The terroists are terroists and not guerrilas for a fracking reason, and it is basically because they really don’t give a damn what happens to their host populations.

    There are two kinds of men. Men who seek to protect their family and achieve the best means to do so. And men who seek to pillage, rape, and loot other people’s families and their property. The funny part is that they steal from other people’s families to give to their own, or if they have no family, they give to themselves.

    That’s basically the dichotomy through history.

    America actually is pretty enlightened compared to most Utopian Socialist Republics. We make great use of the female half of our population. If women want to fight in the service of their country, a nation that liberated them from the shackles known throughout the rest of the world, then I say more power to them. We’ve outlasted the period where women dieing affected the population, demographics, and resource potential of a people.

    In the end, it really all comes down to what a person wants. To protect his family and to do his duty, discharging his responsibilities in life, or freeing himself from responsibilities and just doing whatever he or she can get away with. It is pretty sad when the IRA has to become terroists to protect themselves from the Protestang Orangemen terroist squads. While many of us may not condone that, I can certainly understand it their need to protect their women and children.

    There’s always a big Ying and Yang tug of war between these kinds of people. Or even between different groups of the first kind. Between the American haters of this world and those who prefers to see their family alive, happy, and sane even if it means living under American rule and occupation. Like Massoud.

    God only knows what Massoud would have given to give to Afghanistan what he could only have dreamt of. To him, rebuilding Afghanistan would have taken more than his life, it would have taken generations of his son’s and daughter’s as well.

    And yet, not in Massoud’s wildest imaginations could he have known the full effect of American occupation and reconstruction.

    That’s the moral difference between a person that will accept help, even from his sickest enemy, because he values his family’s safety above his pride.

    Europe seeks to accept America’s help (NATO) while at the same time trying to oppose us. What kind of man is pitiful and dishonorable enough to derive enjoyment from weakening the people who protect his family and children? What kind of a woman is happy to stick it into the eye of American soldiers, men and women, who are in their continent to protect their sorry ass children from enemies that Europe insults us by claiming existed because of America?

    The moral calculus is pretty clear. Those who don’t protect their family, are failures. Those who don’t allow others to protect their family are stupid and arrogant. Those who allow others to protect their family and then attack the protectors, are nothing but Trash.

    Humanity would be a lot better off without them. We could get back to U.S. Marines vs Al-Qaeda gang raping terroists, round 526, if it was just us and the enemy. A more brutal fight, but also a more honorable fight than we would ever get from our European “allies”.

    With friends like these, who needs enemies.

    When a man or a woman says, “I care more about your family and children, than I do about mine” you definitely know something is wrong.

    I guess the answer to Neo’s question as to why this man is the senior guy at a major newspaper, is that he is there because he is not a weapon, he does not maintain weapons, and he doesn’t serve any other useful role.

    Journalism serves what purpose, that the internet and phone cameras can’t? Fake but accurate, how does that protect our family and our children?

    Europe has the luxury of “opposing” America, since Europe gets America to fight in every one of their wars and to clean up afterwards. WWI, WWII, WWIII, and now even WWIV The War on Terror.

    Europe left behind a hell of a mess in the world politically, economically, and morally. Now it is up to America to clean things up. Americans don’t mind if we shoulder most or all of the load, what we do mind is people trying to claim the credit while at the same time stabbing us in the back. That doesn’t go too well with those of us that carries vendettas.

  68. neo-neocon Says:

    WB Reeves: I believe some of that calculus is already stated in my essay, if you in fact have read it. I can only conclude that you have not. Do you actually believe that accidentally killing innocents is the same as purposely killing them? If you do, the words “morality” and “ethics” are lost on you, I’m afraid.

  69. Baron Bodissey Says:

    Neo — misogyny in the SDS sounds like an interesting topic. You might want to post on that sometime. Dymphna would be interested, I’m sure.

    It reminds me of a credit on a Grateful Dead album cover for “chick vocals”.

  70. Bezuhov Says:

    Just when the clumsiness of the conservatives starts to make me uncomfortable (perhaps it reminds me too much of my own!), along comes the inevitable sophist power-play of the self-styled independent thinker, and I remember why I’m where I am – allied with conservatives, if not entirely one myself.

    “Last time I checked, intentionally bombing civilians was a war crime”

    I marvel at my President’s ability to treat such obtuseness as if it were sincere. And yet he does, and so must I.

    The intention of the homicide bomber, other than intentionally killing civilians, which is itself indeed a war crime, is to terrorize other civilians into submission.

    The intention of those killing the terrorist is to eliminate the terrorist, and to deter his compatriots from doing likewise. The intention is far from terrorizing innocent civilians, it is to protect them from the terrorist.

  71. W.B. Reeves Says:

    Yes, the collateral damage resulting from the killing of a terrorist who purposely hides among civilians is a terrible thing, as is the purposeful blowing up of Israelis by a suicide bomber. But to say they are morally and legally equivalent is abhorrent.

    Well, clearly you think so. I’m curious as to what moral calculus you employ to make such fine distinctions. Certainly the dead are equally dead, the mutilated equally mutilated and survivors equally bereaved, or do you have a methodology for competitively ranking suffering? I’d be interested in hearing you articulate it if you do. While you’re at it, you could cite the governing legal authority that you invoke. Last time I checked, intentionally bombing civilians was a war crime, regardless of whether the bomber is blown up in the process or no.

    BTW, what are the ethical standards regarding therapists who publically describe those of differing opinions as “insane”?

  72. TmjUtah Says:

    I applaud the honesty of Hamas, too.

    The lineup of Western intelligentsia, cynical old europe apartchiks, and empty headed BDS suffers behind the push to keep funding the Pals after they’ve elected the Waffen SS (masks instead of black uniforms) just makes the lines clearer.

    I don’t think the U.S will give much money to a U.N. that writes checks directly to terrorists, either.

  73. neo-neocon Says:

    Baron B: never, never, never was I like that!

    I was not a leftist, for starters, just a plain old garden-variety liberal.

    I think I mentioned in one of my Vietnam “change” pieces taking one of my roommates to task back in college when she said our purpose in Vietnam was genocide. I always tried to be precise about the use of words, and hated that sort of hyperbolic nonsense. And I attended one SDS meeting, but was utterly repulsed by the ridiculous over-the-top rhetoric, and what I remember as a great deal of–of all things–misogyny.

  74. Bezuhov Says:

    His attitude toward the Palestinians is of a piece with that of once common sort of southern liberal, who was just as racist as his neighbors, but who saw inferiority as reason for pity rather than hatred.

    The dissappearance of this type of liberal – many became neocons like yourself upon discovering that African-Americans didn’t need nor want their pity, just a chance – is a not inconsiderable factor in the loss of the south for the Democratic party.

    Not having lived there in the meantime, the lesson is lost on Steele.

  75. M.Vitruvius@gmail.com Says:

    Almost every sentence in these two short paragraphs shows a naivete (at best) and a wrongheaded illogic (at worst), plus a subtext of such profound hostility to Israel and joy at the Hamas victory that it is, quite simply, stunning.

    On the contrary, the logic of the two paragraphs you quoted was absolutely impeccable. It is the axioms and the goals that you find incomprehensible.

    The axioms are that the European Union (or a constituent core of its states, including France, Germany, and then Britain/Spain/Italy, in about that order) deserve and require international influence and relevance.

    All right, fair enough. That’s axiomatic for all states, in the sense that it is axiomatic that all men require, say, food, water, and means of defense.

    The second axiom is that the best method for the European Union to achieve this influence and relevance is through a prgram of strategic difference from the United States. Some of that arises from the dislike of the European citizens for the United States. Some does not– it is naturally difficult to feel relevant when you are following someone else’s stronger lead.

    The calculus then enters the buffer between the amorality of pure state politics and the necessary morality of any situation embedded in the real world: Is it more important to be relevant, even if it involves the cynical manipulation of, say, Palestinian people? Or is it more important to do the right thing?

    We know Mr. Steele’s choice.

    And please, don’t think that’s a uniquely European phenomenon. It is not. Look to American history prior to the Civil War to see the results of role reversal in that regard.

  76. lmg Says:

    There’s a current TV commercial where a fiftyish CEO is telling his lackey about his new cellphone:

    CEO: I have XXX anytime minutes. No one can tell me when I can talk or for how long. (smirk) It’s my way of sticking it to The Man.

    Lackey: But sir, you are The Man.

    CEO: That’s right.

    Lackey: So you’re sticking it to yourself.

    CEO: Maybe.

    Seems about as logical as these perpetual revolutionaries in the media.

  77. terrye Says:

    Oh yes to folks like Steele the Palestinians are civil rights activists, native Americans…but not Jews in the Holocaust, excuse me alleged Holocaust.

    The truth is guys like this get off on being part of some grand movement to stand up the Man. It makes them feel good. So they keep trying to bring back that feeling. Even it means ignoring reality.

  78. Anonymous Says:

    Didn’t someone from the Guardian get fired because he was a member of Al-Queda?

  79. Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) Says:

    Tell me — back when you were a liberal, you were never that bad, were you?

    Don’t ask, don’t tell.

  80. Baron Bodissey Says:

    Ms. Neo, you’re spot on about this man — the more closely one looks at him, the worse he seems.

    Tell me — back when you were a liberal, you were never that bad, were you?

    I have liberal friends, and my boss is a stalwart Democrat. But I can have reasonable discussions with them, and we have common grounds, as humane and civilized people.

    But not with this…

  81. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    All struggles against The Man are the same, apparently, regardless of the justice of the cause.

    For those of us who spent time in music, it has the same sad sound as “I used to play for Garland whenever she came through DC.”

  82. chuck Says:

    He clearly feared for his own life, and found the entire experience to be a formative one.

    Oh, I don’t know about that, I think you are too kind. Steele isn’t all that different from some of the other columnists writing for the Guardian, many of whom are rather bizarre. Check out George Monbiot, for example. David Aaronovich is now one of the sanest remaining, which is somewhat unexpected as I believe he was raised as a communist. One of the other sane columnists, Julie Burchill, has moved to the London Times, perhaps driven away on account of her attachment to Israel. The Guardian columnists are interesting not so much for their opinions but as examplse of common pathologies.

    But hey, it is not just the Guardian. These days John Simpson, the BBC world affairs editor, is also a bit nuts.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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