January 31st, 2006

The silence of the lambs

On this recent thread, about Jonathan Steele’s Guardian article concerning the Hamas victory, commenter Shan made the following interesting observation:

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.

I used the word “accidental” in the sense that includes the idea of “unintentional.” The definition of “accidental” is as follows:

Occurring unexpectedly, unintentionally, or by chance.

Shan is correct in pointing out that the innocent deaths from Israel’s targeted bombing of terrorists are not unexpected. But they are most definitely unintentional, unwanted, and undesired.

But Shan introduces a topic that could use further discussion. Rather than to nitpick about the meaning of the word, I think his/her larger intention was to point out that the Israelis who decide to bomb a Palestinian terrorist do know that, although they try incredibly hard to reduce what is known as “collateral damage,” chances are that their bombs will hit more than the intended target. That must be factored into the equation of every strike.

Ah, to have perfectly clean hands! To obtain a magic bullet that targets only the guilty is a wonderful goal indeed. But it is, unfortunately, an unrealistic dream at the moment–although the smarter and smarter the bombs (and intelligence) get, the closer it is to being realized.

The United States, Israel, and most Western states who engage in combat all aim mightily towards that goal. And that goal is getting closer and closer; compared to the messy horror of WWII or even an event as recent as the Gulf War, collateral damage has taken far fewer lives.

But this progress has had has the unintended effect of lowering the bar and raising expectations. Now there are many people who want (and expect!) that civilian (or “innocent”) casualties in war, or in targeted terrorist assassinations, become zero. And that seems impossible.

It’s impossible because bombs are still bombs, and they are not all that smart. Until and unless we develop a bomb that successfully seeks out only a single set of DNA, I think it will always be the case.

But Shan is correct in another way: these collateral deaths are not completely accidental, although they are completely unintentional on the part of the Israelis. There is an intent on the part of the terrorists themselves, a purposeful, cold, and calculated PR move. Let me explain.

One thing terrorists in the Middle East count on is the reaction of Europeans and Americans who hate and deplore the killing of innocents. That’s most of us, of course. But there are those who deplore such deaths equally no matter what the circumstances, and those people are, in a sense, the “targets” of the terrorists, as much as the children they blow up with their bombs, although in a totally different way.

In other words, terrorists rely on people such as Jonathan Steele to ignore the fact that they (unlike soldiers, for example) purposely live among families, women, and children. This is a win/win situation for the terrorists: it either affords them protection because it plays on the opposition’s reluctance to kill innocents (an opposition of which they are fully aware, by the way, although they may mouth words to the contrary); or, in the event of an attack, they count on the fact that deaths of such innocents will lead many in the West (such as our hero Jonathan Steele) to draw a moral equivalence between Israel and terrorists. Win/win, as I said.

The best thing, of course, as far as the Israelis are concerned, would be if the Palestinian government were to crack down on said terrorists so that the Israelis wouldn’t have to. But this has never happened, despite intermittent Palestinian leadership lip service to that effect. Therefore the Israelis are faced with a dilemma.

Israel (or any other nation in the same position, such as the US in hunting down people such as Bin Laden and his henchmen) is faced with Hobson’s choice: do nothing, and get hit over and over again by terrorists who, I repeat, purposely target innocents. Or kill those terrorists, and understand that some innocents will probably die also, despite the fact that you are doing the very best you can to minimize the killing of innocents in the process.

Kindheartedness is a wonderful thing, as is empathy. No one with any sense of either can fail to feel sorrow and even revulsion when innocent people are slaughtered. But what is the proper response? To recoil from the entire situation with such horror that one fails to draw any moral distinctions whatsoever? That way leads to other horrors, I’m afraid.

There is a paradox here. One finds it, for example, in pacifism (see my pacifism series for a rather lengthy discussion of the matter). That paradox can be stated many different ways–for example, Orwell’s “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf” (go here, and scroll down to the heading “rough men” for a discussion of whether Orwell in fact ever said exactly those words).

In this respect, note also the Talmudic “he who is kind to the cruel ends up being cruel to the kind.”

The truth is, there is no way to be totally and unequivocally kind. One is always implicated in some sort of cruelty no matter what stance one takes, passive or active. The Israelis try to avoid the infliction of death on innocents, knowing that by fighting back at all, they will inevitably inflict some. But if they desisted from the assassinations, and were “kind to the cruel,” they believe (and rightly so, in my opinion) that it would lead to the loss of far more innocent lives, particularly those of Israelis.

Israelis try to make their bombs smarter and smarter, and in this case “smart” means “killing only the target.” Palestinians try to make their bombs dirtier and dirtier, and in this case “dirty” means “killing as many people as possible, and the more innocents, the better.”

Why do some observers persist in seeing no difference? Why do some insist on holding Israel and the US to a standard that is both impossible and dangerous, a standard by which no self-defense would be possible, and by which “the cruel” would end up triumphing?

There are many answers. Some people hate America and Israel so much that they would rejoice at their destruction. Those people are not the subject of this particular discussion.

I am more interested in the others, those unrealistic Utopians who have abdicated the responsibility to make moral distinctions about killing–types, purposes, contexts, goals. What is their motivation? I believe that many of them are driven by the need to keep their own hands clean (please see this post of mine, particularly the second half, for a more thorough discussion of this phenomenon and what lies behind it). It serves their cause to believe, against all evidence throughout the long march of history, that all violence can be avoided if we wish it to be, that it can eradicated by pleasant talk and understanding.

To distinguish those situations in which talk has a chance of working from those in which it does not is a difficult task. But it is one that must be faced realistically, and not covered over with dreamy imaginings.

To deplore the killing of innocents is easy, especially when there are no immediate consequences for doing so. Safe in Western countries, protected by freedom of speech and all the wonders it entails, it is easy to forget the truth of what Orwell said (or perhaps didn’t exactly say): People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. It is easy to forget that such violence can never be perfectly targeted solely at the guilty. Nevertheless, we must do our best to see that as few lambs as possible are led to the slaughter.

57 Responses to “The silence of the lambs”

  1. Bezuhov Says:

    Nice scare quotes on security there. Of course Israel has nothing to be concerned about, what with the religion of peace inspiring remarkable restraint among the poor long-suffering Palestinian populace. Whatever.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    It is bad enough, of course, that one shoud knowingly kill civillians, even if it is supposedly for ‘security’ reasons. But I think the issue is not whether Israel kills lots of ciivllians unnecessarily in its security operations (which it does) but that it kills lots of civillians for no reason at all. The number of Palestinian civillians killed arbitrarily by the IDF is in the thousands, while the number beaten, shot, gassed, and otherwise injured without any official reason given is in the tens of thousands.

    Israel is running a prison, and no prison ever existed without keeping the prisoners in fear of their lives all the time. This is impossible to maintain without senseless killing and violence.

  3. Ymarsakar Says:

    A lot of people don’t mention that there are two sides in a war, and that if one side goes on the defensive then the other goes on the offensive. The side that is more humane and is looking at their bellybuttons, are usually the ones that are going to get combo hit by artillery, mobile assault, and air power.

    There’s no truth without truth in it. You just can’t take one subject and forget everything that happened around it. Can’t take one evidence and say this proves something regardless of any other facts, with fake but accurate.

    WWII was a problem of technology and basic human resources. We have better resources, which is one of the reasons we can afford to be humane, in the sense that if the WWII Allies were humane, they would have gotten their ass kicked in short time. Because it really didn’t matter if they were or were not humane, they didn’t have the people or the technology to do it, so it didn’t really matter. To be humane was not to be on the attack, to be not on the attack meant losing.

    Once High Command could tolerate thousands of collateral dammage after a few bomb strikes, it is very easy to raise the threshold higher based upon the justification that the sooner the war ends, the less people have to die.

    America’s current magnanimity does prolong the war, although it is not a surefire ticket to victory for the terroists. It may simply get more people killed, but it isn’t a propaganda victory. Though it is a morale booster for the enemy, since it makes us out to be weak in their eyes.

    A lot of things have changed since the WWII generation, and most of the changes are unnoticed. Yet they are fundamental to the war being conducted now.

    Such things as JDAMs and GPS and laser guided missiles and self-guided munitions make humane warfare possible. Therefore the temptation in WWII to wrack up more kills to end the war and break the enemy’s will to fight, although politically impossible given how Hitler was still alive, made logical sense given the technology and military inefficiency of those days. Those days were about speed and numbers. Our war suffers from the same temptation, but a temptation to lower the casualties given our technology. We face such needs as accuracy instead of speed, intelligence instead of numbers.

    Those things set the tone for warfare. Yet it also sets up the gaps in the defensive perimeter that can be exploited by the enemy. The greater point is that just as Goering can exploit via propaganda the Allies destruction of civilians, the terroists can also exploit the Coalition’s humane treatment.

    Hitler was Germany’s center of gravity and weakness, the question most people don’t know to ask is what is Al-Qaedas.

    If we are wrong, if Al-Qaeda’s center of gravity is not the Middle East and the people’s support, then we might still win the war. Just as the Allies’ mistook Germany’s will to fight as residing in their people, and yet still won.

    America did not mistake the center of gravity of Japan, which is why we got Japan to surrender. We knew the center of gravity was the Emperor and we won that gamble.

    Whoever was in charge of the German campaign, lost his. Probably it suffered from too much vengeance and rage. As with Versailles, it clouded people’s judgements. Curiously, it did not cloud America’s judgement for the most part.

    For a nation that works spectacularly well alone, it is downright weird that it wants others to butt in.

  4. Richard Aubrey Says:

    I guess it depends on who’s apologizing. The State Department hasn’t been on our side in decades. Kennedy said the toughest part of his job was making State do what he wanted them to do. In a kind of super-unionism, the senior Foreign Service Officers can only be fired by a committee of their peers.

    Their pensions are apparently supplemented by Saudi money.

    As one Saudi said, when you take care of your friends when they’re retired, you’ll have more friends who aren’t retired.

    And journos are sort of like CNN and Eason Jordan. Either cowards or above the unseemly Americanism of Americans.

    I’m not apologizing and I’m going to buy Danish shortly. Ham, maybe.
    Since I don’t drink anything that costs more than my aftershave, it would have to be food.

    Well, apology or not, this could have been a test to see if Muslims would act like civilized people or like fanatics.

    Thanks for responding to our little survey, guys.

  5. erasmus Says:

    Richard Aubrey:
    Been following the Danish cartoon insanity. You have no idea how angry I am at Europeans and Americans for not responding with united fury.
    I came to the USA after WWII as a refugee kid and what fell in love with was a Twain/Mencken spirit of anybody can say anything (not inciting harm to others etc) about any topic–from God to Jesus to Moses and all elected officials and Important or Self-Important Poobahs in all areas of public life and cultural life.
    Now, we debate (here and in Europe) the possibility or need of an APOLOGY.
    To hell with that.

  6. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Erasmus.

    Morgenthau would have killed half the Germans, more or less, by starvation/default.

    The point is that, by the time of WW II, people were really, really pissed. Really pissed off. Insanely angry. I use Morgenthau to demonstrate it, not to promote his plan.

    No reason not to be insanely angry.

    We have an interesting situation today, in which most of the fighting men are either regulars who have some roots in the post towns in the States, or Guard and Reserve troops who come from damn’ near a neigborhood.
    That means a bad day for a particular company, even if the rest of the forces are taking it easy, is a very bad day for a particular town.

    It hasn’t happened to us much since the Civil War, but once in a while circumstances conspire.
    There’s a town in southern Wisconsin whose WW I monument lists a surprising number of dead, considering our casualties in the war and the size of the town–small. I think it’s Burlington, but I haven’t been there in thirty years. If every town were like that in the entire country and the same bastards started up again….

  7. erasmus Says:

    above: not anon, but erasmus

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Richard Aubrey
    Well, of course. And then Britain, which stood alone against Hitler from the fall of France until Pearl, lost the most after the war. And the bloody Germans experienced their Wirtschaftswunder (economic miracle) in the mid-1950s (1) and for a while turned into the strong man of Europe.
    Read quite a bit about Morgenthau’s plan (a good deal is in Beschloss, “The Conquerors”), but Germany as a Kartoffelacker (potato field) would have had awful consequences too.
    I was there in the US Army (57-59) (4th Armored) and then lived in Hamburg as a prof of an American Jr Year Abroad and visiting lecturer in 1973-74. Tectonic shift! That year in Hamburg the Germans were bemoaning the loss of a sense of humor–a “Jewish thing,” as one prof at a seminar phrased it so delicately.
    The Pythons picked up on that one beautifully.
    Do multicultural societies develop a sense of humor? I doubt it. No “there, there.”

  9. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Well, Erasmus, considering the Germans attacked everybody they could find on a map, twice, and killed a good many Brits–maybe five times as many as of the US–the forgive-forget thing takes a bit more time.
    I first noticed that in the Benny Hill comedies, while there were a few digs in Fawlty Towers.
    And the occasional monologue comics earlier.

    Kipling wrote a poem about the Witches of En-dor. It apparently warned against the swarms of seances or whatever it was going on after WW I as women tried to talk to their men.
    I don’t know if Kipling actually thought something might come if called from the vasty deep or if he simply knew this was a losing effort when he said the end is ruin and death (in some metaphorical fashion).
    Missing from his anthologies are some stories about the war–called “hysterical”–but, then, he’d had to pull strings to get his son past a physical, only to see him killed fighting with the Irish Guards in 1915. Leaving three more years.

    Missing from discussions of the operations in WW II is the fact that the decision makers on the Allied side were all adults during–if they did not fight in–WW I. They saw the horror and they saw the result of letting the bastards back up.
    THAT was sure as hell not going to happen again.
    You ever hear of the Morgenthau Plan?
    Nope. Never again.

  10. erasmus Says:

    Richard Aubrey:
    Yep, results would have been similar, if less severe, without the directive.
    Moreover, Americans often don’t take into account UK responses toward Germans during and after the Blitz.
    Look at the Brit tabloids today. Nazi jokes a la Benny Hill. And then Prince Henry did his cute Swastika trick.
    There are other directives and memos of debates. In the Taylor book, in older sources, in German histories of late. For Germans it’s a relatively new topic.

  11. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Erasmus. Precisely.

    However, as I have pointed out, even without the directive, the result would have been similar.

    The RAF simply could not hit anything smaller than a city.

    In the Pacific, LeMay went over to those tactics when strategic bombing against military targets proved to be ineffective. He took most of the guns off his bombers, so they had to fly at night. He sent them in at 5000 feet because they were harder to hit at night, and with the fuel saved by not having to labor up to 30,000 feet, or carry the guns and oxygen. With the weight saved, they could carry more bombs. More firebombs, principally. And all they could hit was cities.

    This brings up the question: Given the circumstances of WW II, what if you can’t do any good trying to bomb strategic and military targets?

    Prior to an attack my father’s unit was involved in in Germany, the Air Corps devastated the town. The German troops were outside the town, unhurt. “We still had losses….losses….” mused my father. On another occasion, the higher-ups preceded an Infantry attack by having a bunch of B25s attack at medium altitude. Their losses were so awful that the Infantry guys (who were a mile back and could see clearly) were saying they’d rather have gone in without air support than have this happen.

    In war, choices are not unlimited.

    I would also ask the question, for speculative purposes, of whether we court actual defeat because we are too careful, too humane. If so, we would be defeated by, and ruled by, the less careful and the less humane.

  12. erasmus Says:

    You want a directive? OK.

    The Air Ministry on February 14, 1942, to Bomber Command:

    “It has been decided that the primary object of your operations should now be focussed on the morale of the enemy civilian population and, in particular, of the industrial workers. With this aim in view, a list of selected targets…is attached.” (Taylor, p.119)

    Clear enough?

  13. Ymarsakar Says:

    I don’t know why people insist on believing the Nazi propaganda and the Soviet propaganda that followed afterwards, highlighting the mass civilian casualties of Dresden.

    There comes a point where taking the enemy’s advice on whether your policies are good or not, becomes a wrong thing to do.

    As for terroist logic. That’s the only logic terroists understand, if you want to fight terrorism or communicate to them in order to deter them, you have to use their logic. Democrats want to communicate with terrorism, but they don’t know the lingo so they fail miserably and get a bunch of children killed and then try again.

    For others that don’t want to get the terroists to stop, they just want them to die, using terroist logic becomes far less appealing.

  14. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Sometimes material issues intervene and affect moral issues.

    The RAF’s bombers, including the famous Lancaster, could not live in the daylight skies. They were covered with fabric stiffened with a kind of glue called dope. They were inadequately armed, the Lanc having maybe ten .303 machine guns. The Lanc’s armor consisted of a piece about as big as a frying pan behind the pilot’s head.

    Being unable to sustain a daylight bombing campaign,the Brits switched to night bombing. Instead of the accuracy–for the time–of the famed Norden bombsight which required visual acquisition of the target, they bombed on flares. Preceding the bomber stream was a small force of Pathfinders, who would fly low and fast, using specialized radio gear, and who would drop flares into the target area. The following bombers dropped on the flares, and, as the fires built up, simply pitched their loads into the fire. Since the bomber had to fly straight and level to do that, they had to give up their evasive manuvering for the few minutes of the run-in, thus becoming more vulnerable to night fighters. The combination of determination, to hold on to get a good run, and to will to live another day by reverting to their manuvering, caused them to salve the first by dropping on the near edge of the fire–called “creepback–thus extending the bomb impact area back toward the axis of the advance of the bomber stream.

    The USAAF, having bombers made entirely of metal, armed with a dozen or so heavy machine guns, and trained to fly in “combat boxes” to cover each other, tried the daylight approach and only lost about 40,000 guys.

    Since the Circular Error Probable was about a quarter mile (half the bombs landed within a quarter mile of the target and the other half didn’t) during daylight bombing, even the military-only strikes would salt the surrounding landscape pretty heavily.

    But, to quanitify the actual results of the Dresden raid as if they indicate intent is ignorant. The results might have been the same if they’d tried military-only. To go to intent, you need some smoking-gun memo speaking of intent.

  15. anon Says:

    Grackle:
    Please do a google on “moral bombing” before you puff yourself up so against people who don’t agree with you. Try this one for size (from the BBC site):
    “A few weeks before the end of World War Two, Winston Churchill drafted a memorandum to the British Chiefs of Staff:

    ‘It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed … The destruction of Dresden remains a serious query against the conduct of Allied bombing.’”

    The implication–if you’ll excuse my french–is clear enough. Lastly, rather than trying to argue away this ugly but necessary contribution to the allied victory, face honestly and directly the possibility that we may have to do it again. What’s flambe’ for Hamburg, Dresden, Tokyo, etc is flambe’ for Tehran.

  16. erasmus Says:

    grackle:
    Since you insisted that “all” Allied bombing in WW against German cities was “military,” here’s a report from the RAF official history on the July27/28 1943 raid on Hamburg:

    “The concentrated bombing caused a large number of fires in the densely built-up working class districts of Hammerbrook, Hamm and Bogfeld…
    “The bombing continued for another half hour, spreading the firestorm gradually eastward. It is estimated that 550-600 bombloads fell into an area measuring 2 miles by 1 mile. The firestorm raged for about three hours and only subsided when all burnable material was consumed.
    THE BURNT OUT AREA WAS ALMOST ENTIRELY RESIDENTIAL.”
    (caps mine)

    All Allied bombing was military?
    Of course the Brts wanted to get back at the Krauts for hitting the residential areas of their own cities. Since the USA never experienced that, they did less of it.
    But let’s not pretend.

  17. DavidP Says:

    Neo-con,
    Israel made its first attempt to assassinate Rantissi just as Mahmoud Abbas, as PM, was trying to negotiate a ceasefire. I don’t know whether you think that, since Hamas is a terrorist group, as a Hamas leader he was by definition the head of a terrorist group.

    As for Sheikh Yassin, he was the ‘spiritual leader’, we are told.

    Regarding not holding elective office, oppositions can have politicians, too.

  18. erasmus Says:

    grackle:

    I was not going back that far in history, only looking at WWI and after.

    But as the Taylor book and others prior point out, there were elements (individuals) among the Allied air forces who did indeed consider bombinmg of civilian housing areas as occasionally necessary–if inadequate accuracy prevents you from knocking out the German factories, knock out the housing of the workers, and of course them–so the factories will be deprived of their work forces if still standing and operative.
    Memos in the Taylor book show that.(Will find them for you if you want and have time.) That this policy did not become the primary policy of the Allies is a tribute to them.
    If you read German, read the special issue of DER SPIEGEL on Allied bombing of German cities (all based on the work of German
    historians.) Not to rewrite” WWII or make the Allies look bad, but the emphasis is necessarily different when the loser looks examines the same evidence.

  19. grackle Says:

    Erasmus: Perhaps I incorrectly interpreted the point of your first comment. I thought you were trying to put forth the idea that the Allies targeted Dresden & Hamburg in order to inflict civilian casualties – with this statement:

    That was the point[of the Dresden & Hamburg bombings]–to destroy the morale of the civilian population.

    I leave it to the reader to decide what your point was in the above sentence.

    History, the facts & even the book you quoted teach us that the Allied bombing planners had no thought of bombing Dresden, Hamburg or any other German city for the purpose of inflicting “terror” on the German civilian populations. The purpose was always to destroy German factories & troop transport centers. I thought it wise to set the historical record straight – my modest effort to prevent the erroneous rewriting of history.

    Along those lines, your last statement seems to put forth the implication that before modern times, as in “Guernica, Rotterdam, Warsaw etc etc,” there was some sort of tacit agreement or agreed upon custom by warring nations to never inflict harm on civilians & that civilian casualties are a primarily post-WW1 phenomenon – a result of the warring nations of WW2 kind of raising the ante – a viewpoint that is historically inaccurate.

    True, not a lot of civilian casualties were inflicted in WW1(compared to subsequent conflicts) but that was simply because of the nature of the trench warfare of that war & because aircraft had not become the important weapon they became after WW1. On the contrary – from ancient times up to WW1, warring factions purposefully imposed immense damage to civilian populations.

    Read some books on the ancient wars & you’ll see what I mean. Terrorizing civilians was definitely on the agenda. Or simply read Homer if you’re the literary type & contemplate what happened to the citizens of Troy.

  20. saintknowitall Says:

    Israel uses high energy rockets. These rockets don’t have explosives. They use a weight in the rocket as a hammer, if you will. Therefore, the amount of “collateral damage” is decreased dramatically. Any explosion occuring from one of these high energy attacks is usually due to explosives already in the area.

    As opposed to the “other side” placing high explosives filled with nails and ball bearings inside a bus or restaurant.

  21. erasmus Says:

    grackle:

    You write:

    “ALL bombing that necessarily takes place in or near a civilian population is in some sense a ‘terror raid.’”

    Indeed. That was my point. After Guernica, Rotterdam, Warsaw etc etc the participants in WWII accepted the “necessarily” in your sentence and proceeded on that necessity.
    That does not make the officers and men in the Allied air forces into Bomber Harrises. But the terror raid, “in some sense,” as you say, had become part and parcel of warfare. Not, as the Germans practiced it, as terror for terror;s sake, but “in some sense.”
    That distinction must be maintained, although the burnt flesh takes no notice of the “necessarily.”

  22. grackle Says:

    These ‘rules’ of ours must be of pretty recent issue. I think the Allies themselves called the air attacks on German cities “moral bombing”, though I wonder if this wasn’t a typo and what they really meant was “morale bombing”. Either way, the implication is clearly that the enemy population was a legitimate target and killing them desirable. I think that for all our sakes the sooner we all get this, the sooner we can end this war.

    To anonymous 1:32:

    Don’t you think for the sake of your credibility you would be better off sticking to the facts, instead of a vague, self-manufactured “implication”? “Morale-bombing” indeed. You would be much better off if you tried researching before spouting, but of course, then you would be left with nothing.

  23. Antidhimmi Says:

    It is true that taking innocent life in any struggle is objectionable. However, there are some situations that innocents can avoid.
    1. Don’t invite terrorists to dinner.
    2. Suggest that they find another place to crash for the night.
    3. Don’t share taxis with them- even if it is a little cheaper.
    4. Try and avoid meetings and rallies where they will be present.
    5. If you choose to ignore 1-4, then don’t involve other family members in your activities.

  24. Antidhimmi Says:

    It is true that taking innocent life in any struggle is objectionable. However, there are some situations that innocents can avoid.
    1. Don’t invite terrorists to dinner.
    2. Suggest that they find another place to crash for the night.
    3. Don’t share taxis with them- even if it is a little cheaper.
    4. Try and avoid meetings and rallies where they will be present.
    5. If you choose to ignore 1-4, then don’t involve other family members in your activities.

  25. Anonymous Says:

    These ‘rules’ of ours must be of pretty recent issue. I think the Allies themselves called the air attacks on German cities “moral bombing”, though I wonder if this wasn’t a typo and what they really meant was “morale bombing”. Either way, the implication is clearly that the enemy population was a legitimate target and killing them desirable.
    I think that for all our sakes the sooner we all get this, the sooner we can end this war.

  26. grackle Says:

    Erasmus replies:

    From Frederick Taylor’s “Dresden,” p.378:
    “In its origins the attack on Dresden was in any case not a pure ‘terror’ raid but an amalgam of military horse trading between the eastern and western Allies and intelligence-led wishful thinking.” Not “pure” terror, not “all” military either. Some of each.

    Erasmus, it was ALL military. ALL bombing that necessarily takes place in or near civilian populations is in some sense a “terror raid.” The brief quote offered by you does nothing to contradict the essentially military nature of the Dresden bombing. I don’t have Taylor’s book handy but will instead cite portions of a review of his book from the Guardian Unlimited , a news source not known for it’s conservative viewpoint:

    “Attempts to treat the bombing of Dresden as a war crime perpetrated against the innocent inhabitants of a historic cultural centre of no industrial or military significance began two days after the attack. This was the handiwork of the Nazi propaganda supremo Goebbels, whose “spin doctors” exaggerated the city’s population by a factor of four to support the wild claim that two million refugees from the east had been caught by the raids, and who doctored the number of corpses publicly burned (with the help of the SS who had some experience of these tasks) by adding an extra nought to the actual figure of 6,856. A regime that had picked British targets from Baedecker guide books dilated upon the damage to Germany’s own cultural heritage.

    After a brief hiatus when the East German communist authorities were scared to cast aspersions on any of the Allies – for the bombing of Dresden had largely been designed to relieve pressure on the Red Army – by 1950, a predominantly British raid was being blamed on the Americans, with Truman and then Eisenhower cast as the prime culprits: “Wall Street wanted to make it impossible for the Soviet Union, its supposed ally, to help the German people after the end of the war,” in the leaden Marxist argot. Nazi talk of “Anglo-American air gangsters” was recycled in the equally un-free communist press.

    Although the raids on Dresden have passed into the annals of Allied obloquy, eclipsed only by Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in fact all that was exceptional about the bombing of Dresden was that for contingent reasons the raids went horribly right; the level of destruction visited upon, say, lowly Pforzheim was far greater, since a sixth of its population and 83% of the town were wiped out.

    Dresden was also an important railhead, used to funnel men and materials from the rest of Nazi-occupied Europe into the fight against the advancing Red Army.”

    The article goes on to point out that Dresden factories were producing military teletype machines, bomb sights, fuses, radios & enormous quantities of ammunition.

  27. neo-neocon Says:

    To DavidP: For Steele to refer to Rantisi as a “politician” was disengenous.

    He was the head of a terrorist group, and that’s why he was killed. Period. The Israelis do not go around killing generic Palestinian politicians. Neither Rantisi nor Yassin were running for elective office at the time, I believe, nor did they hold elective office.

    By the way, however, I agree with your comment of 12:02. In fact, the Palestinians use that sort of logic to justify suicide bombings of Israelis, saying that because military service is compulsory in Israel, they are just killing future soldiers when they kill Israeli children. It’s the sort of reasoning that leads to indiscriminate killing, I’m afraid. Not good.

  28. DavidP Says:

    It must now be assumed that every voting age Palestinian killed is a guilty supporter, unless proven to be against Hamas.

    This is Bin Laden’s logic:
    It must now be assumed that every voting age American or British killed is a guilty supporter, unless proven to be against Bush or Blair.

    This was the logic used for 7 July, I believe.

  29. Tom Grey Says:

    I offer again my presciption for Israel — Give land for peace; TAKE land for war.

    At the next attack on Israel from any Palestinian, UNILATERALLY declare the “fence” as the border that Israel will defend. And declare that it will annex the 100 “most inconvenient” adjacent Palestinian properties (houses & land) for each rocket attack or attempted bomb attack.

    And annex 1000 properties for each additional Israel civilian killed by any terrorist attacks.

    This wonderful post, Neo, brings up clearly the issue of “guilt” in a democracy for actions of the gov’t — perhaps actions of a gov’t you voted against yet the majority accepted.

    Usually, in a Western/ Christian “civilized” total war, the killers wear uniforms, on both sides. Then it can be presumed that one NOT in a uniform is not one of the killers — a “presumption of innocence” (civilian status). Supporters of terrorists are, like terrorists, NOT wearing uniforms, but not innocent — only “presumed” innocent until proven. In the past, anyway.

    It must now be assumed that every voting age Palestinian killed is a guilty supporter, unless proven to be against Hamas. Israel is now fully justified in presuming guilt of all Palestinian voters.

    This logic also applies to Islamofascists — they are correct in presuming WTC “civilians” as being “guilty” of supporting free speech, free religion, and other liberty that Islam Sharia forbids. If, from the Islamofascist view, all supporters of such subversive freedom are guilty, then it follows that most Americans ARE guilty.

    I know *I AM GUILTY* of supporting freedom, and opposing Sharia. And I don’t want them to kill me, nor FORCE me to live under Sharia.

    Go Bush, go democracy — for freedom and human rights!

  30. skip davis Says:

    “[They] want us, our children and our way of life killed in any and every way possible.”

    Rabbi Lionel Blue said it years ago: what a tragedy to see a victimized people wholly embrace the bankrupt 19thC doctrine of national exceptionalism!

  31. Harry Mallory Says:

    “As for murdering Palestinians politician, well, Israel did assassinate Rantissi and Sheik Yassin, 2 significant Hamas leaders.”

    You make that sound as though that were a bad thing.

  32. DavidP Says:

    I’ve come to this thread rather late, having come via a link from Norman Geras to this blog.

    I didn’t actually see any great ‘hostility to Israel’, at least in the passages you quoted. I have not, however, paid that much attention to The Guardian since its joy in April 2004 at what seemed at the time to be a US setback in Falluja (what turned out to be a tactical retreat).

    I don’t see the point of talking about ‘the manipulative US approach’ or being determined that Europe ‘have an independent role’.

    I don’t myself regard Hamas’s victory as ‘the best news from the Middle East for a long time’. But it is a reality that has to be dealt with. Unless you adapt Brecht’s advice and suggest that Israel dissolve the Palestinian people and elect another one.

    The renunciation of violence and the recognition of Israel could be the endpoint of negotiations with Hamas, not preconditions for them.

    As for murdering Palestinians politician, well, Israel did assassinate Rantissi and Sheik Yassin, 2 significant Hamas leaders.

  33. Goesh Says:

    Play by the rules with terrorists, lose by the rules. Arrogance gets more people killed than ignorance, and it does not bother me when ‘lambs’ get killed because there are no ‘lambs’ in war, there simply are none, only circumstances. Lambs consume resources, suscribe to religious and national ideologies and maintain boundaries in every way a fighter does and are no different than fighters except they don’t carry rifles. Resources, boundaries and ideology are at the bottom of every war and I don’t think for a minute that intelligence, law, morality, elightenment, evolution, good will, empathy, diplomacy, economic policy and warm fuzzy hugs have in any way diminshed the potential for war. Without all of the above, I think there would have been just as many wars as we have seen. War is to pound an opponent into submission so that both sides can cease their aggression, the sooner the better. Jihadis are wired to kill us. All this talk about lambs and tactics and rules and Geneva conventions and civilized conduct is nothing but a collective expression of doubt about the obvious: islamofacists want us, our children and our way of life killed in any and every way possible. We can’t win unless we can find some satisfaction in the death we deliever to the enemy camp, not when the nuclear option is viable in the enemy camp. Am I any different or better than the enemy? Probably not, the only difference being that I happen to be in your camp. If in the course of a firefight you look down at a dead enemy, you will most likely be killed yourself by the enemy you chose not to see by looking down. We continue to collectively look down and I cannot say with any certainty that we are winning this war against terrorism.

  34. erasmus Says:

    grackle:
    From Frederick Taylor’s “Dresden,” p.378:
    “In its origins the attack on Dresden was in any case not a pure ‘terror’ raid but an amalgam of military horse trading between the eastern and western Allies and intelligence-led wishful thinking.”

    Not “pure” terror, not “all” military either. Some of each.

  35. westbankmama Says:

    Superbly written neo-neocon.

  36. Anonymous Says:

    ” If one felt a hankering to uncover zealotry for war, why would one look here, in the company of Magritte of all people, and not toward, you know, the ones blowing stuff up all around the globe?”

    Because the ones blowing up stuff all around the globe are scary, and might track Shar down and kill him in broad daylight, like they did to Theo Van Gogh.

    Better to only criticize people who won’t kill you, even if you have to pretend they have “an incurable zealotry for war” to do it.

    Shar’s still trolling, he’s just realized he has to be more subtle about it. I’ll take the easy victory, and Shar can blow his “we become them” rhetoric out his arse.

  37. Nicholas Says:

    Your conclusions agree pretty well with mine, here.

  38. Bezuhov Says:

    Well done, Neo, all around, and to Shan for a willingness to find common ground. This sentence struck me:

    “I find myself reading it and trying oh so very hard to find something to seize upon so to yell ‘Aha! Proof of an incurable zealotry for war,’”

    Admirable self-awareness on Shan’s part, but I’m curious. If one felt a hankering to uncover zealotry for war, why would one look here, in the company of Magritte of all people, and not toward, you know, the ones blowing stuff up all around the globe?

  39. Tovya @ Zion Report Says:

    I agree. To deplore the killing of the innocent is a thing of wonder… but to take action against it? That is bliss.

    The Palestinians breed their infants to treat us as though we are sub-human. You cannot have peace with a people who look upon you as an animal.

  40. Shan Says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful response. I find myself reading it and trying oh so very hard to find something to seize upon so to yell “Aha! Proof of an incurable zealotry for war,” but, alas, I can not find anything. It can be frustrating to read your work armed with a mindset honed in reading the over-the-top partisanship of political blogs. Nuance, to paraphrase the President, is hard work.

    The essential dilemma: once military superiority is established, as it is in the case of Israel versus the Palestinians, victory must be defined beyond mere military success. What I mean to say is, if the goal is to eradicate the enemy, Israel could do so in a way that would make the Six Day War look like the Hundred Years War. So, why doesn’t Israel send the IDF in to, in the unfortunate words of another blogger, “push the whole lot of them [the Palestinians] right into the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea.”

    It is because such a victory would go against every ideal the State of Israel stands for, go against the very foundation of justice and humanity that Judaism has championed in the world for five thousand years.

    You may call this unreasonable utopianism, but I would argue that this is the very soul of free and liberal and democratic societies. We are the good guys precisely because we fret about inadvertently killing innocents. They are the bad guys precisely because they intentionally murder innocents.

    This is a war we must win. It is also a war, due to our overwheling technological superiority, we can easily win. We must reject the easy victory or else we become the enemy we try to defeat.

    Best,
    Shan

  41. Bezuhov Says:

    “Ah, but caricature is so much easier than critical thought, U.B.”

    Spoken like a true pro.

  42. the unkown blogger Says:

    Sam, thanks for taking the time to post that hilarious comment. Please get your own blog immediately and let us know where to find it.

    UB

  43. Ymarsakar Says:

    German political response to the raid took several turns. Some of the leadership, especially Robert Ley and Joseph Goebbels, wanted to use it as a reason to abandon the use of the Geneva Conventions on the Western Front. In the end, the only positive political action the Nazi government took was to use it as a propaganda prop.

    Goebbels had the numbers of the dead inflated by a factor of ten and German diplomats circulated the figures along with photographs of the destruction, the dead, and badly burned children in neutral countries. By coincidence, the day before the Dresden raid, a German Foreign Affairs document had been circulated to neutral countries criticising Arthur Harris “The arch enemy of Europe” and as a leading proponent of “Terror Bombing”.

    On February 16 Goebbels ministry issued a press release which outlined the Nazi propaganda line: Dresden had no war industries, it was a place of culture and clinics. On February 25 a new leaflet with photographs of two burnt children was released under the title “Dresden – Massacre of Refugees” and stating that not 100,000 but 200,000 had died. At this time no official figure had been released so the numbers were speculative but the foreign press like the Stockholm Svenska Morgonbladet were using phrases like “privately from Berlin” . Fredric Taylor state that “there is good reason to believe that later in March copies of – or extracts from – [an official police report] were leaked to the neutral press by Goebbels’s Propaganda Ministry… doctored with an extra zero to make [the total dead from the raid] 202,040″ . On March 4 Das Reich a weekly newspaper founded Goebbels ran a lengthy article for the German public emphasising the suffering and the destruction of a cultural icon without mentioning any loss the destruction had caused the German war effort

    Frederick Taylor makes the point that this propaganda was very successful, because not only did it affect attitudes in neutral countries at the time, but it reached into the British House of Commons when Richard Stokes used information from Goebbels’s German Press Agency. Taylor continues by saying that although the destruction of Dresden would have affected peoples perception of the Allies claim to absolute moral superiority, part of the outrage is Goebbels’s final propaganda master piece.

    The more things change, the more things stay the same, eh?

  44. grackle Says:

    A correction for erasmus: Hamburg & Dresden were military targets. Both cities & the factories & troop transports in their area were important to the Nazi war effort. Both cities were highly protected by antiaircraft guns so the allies bombed at night to reduce Allied casualties & bomber losses. At night there are no clear targets for the bombardier, hence the necessity of carpet-bombing & the civilian casualties. The Allies didn’t bomb any German city in order to destroy the city or kill civilians. Allied targets were always military.

  45. Ymarsakar Says:

    To Neo, last few comments addressed to Bunnies.

    But this progress has had has the unintended effect of lowering the bar and raising expectations. Now there are many people who want (and expect!) that civilian (or “innocent”) casualties in war, or in targeted terrorist assassinations, become zero. And that seems impossible.

    This progress has also had the unintended effect of promoting and giving rewards to people that endanger civilians and use civilians as a weapon in war. Because they are counting on your lack of attacks on their families and those they hold precious, and so long as they suffer no negative consequences for using a tactic in warfare, they will continue to do.

    Because the terroists live in a win/win scenario, but not the exact one you describe. If we kill civilians, the terroists win propaganda among the civilians. If we don’t kill civilians, terroists get safe havens and show the impotency of the occupation/imperialist/zionist entity.

    There are ways to break this guerrila tactic balancing of murder. Instead of operating combat strikes, Israel should operate psychological warfare. Psychological does not kill people, it does not put bullets in people or maim them, it only destroys people’s minds and will. Destroy their mind and their bodies will follow.

    With the proper counter-protections, Neo, the terroists go from win/win to lose lose. In Iraq, if terroists launch a mortar from a village and the U.S. counter-mortars the position, a proper propaganda counter will put the blame on the terroists. And give people incentive to NOT allow terroists to launch mortars from their villages if they can help it, BECAUSE they know that the weapons of the terroists are not helping them, but Americans with their reconstruction, baby tools and food, and etc are. Given a choice between terroists blowing up their children clustered around the lovable and dovable Americans in their cool looking armored humvees and the lovable and dovable Americans, they will always choose the Americans even without the fear of retaliation. It just tends to take longer, like with the Sunni Insurgents. There’s a very good reason Sunnis and Kurds treat AMericans better than the Shia. The Shia have never seen the iron fist of America, nor what backed our political promises. They didn’t see it in the Gulf War and they sure as heck don’t see it now when their American appointed British occupation forces let Muqtada Al-Sadr run around murdering and killing people.

    If terroists don’t endanger civilians and the host population, they lose again, because their tactical mobility goes down to zero and their potential to initiate combat strikes against civilians and military personnel decreases, signifying weakness on the part of the terroists to all who may not have yet opposed them.

    Proper psychological counter-tactics turns a terroist win-win scenario into a lose-lose scenario. Many things in war are variable and mercurial like that, where one tactic that might have worked in one set of circumstances do not work in a changed environment. The inability to adapt to new enemies, changing weapons and tactics, and a lack of mental agility is the cause of why Generals are said to always fight the last war, never the future one. How long a General takes to master the tactics of the current war, rather than the previous one, determines victors and losers. As it does in Iraq. We are adapting faster than Al-Qaeda, we are winning the propaganda war in Iraq. We are not winning the propaganda war in America. The internet barely holds the President at 40% approval ratings, without the internet, it would be below 30%.

    Iraq is not about taking territory, it is about winning over the mind of the Iraqi man, woman, and child. The US holds to a conciliatory manner of doing things, not an iron fist one, but perhaps an iron fist in a velvet glove. There is always the military backing whatever political operations the diplomats seek to impose in Iraq. The military itself does not want to involve itself in civil reconstruction and occupation, and it has cost us, to everyone’s detriment. Paul Bremer knew it himself when he took charge, that the military did not train the Iraqis cause the military thought Police would just pop up out of no where, and that military training police to do internal security is wrong. It’s not wrong, it’s just fighting the last war, not the current one.

    Israel’s policy and national character towards terrorism is very different from the American one. And it shows in the length and breath of the terroist threats facing them. In Palestine, the terroists truly do have the win-win scenario Neo talks about. Yet it need not be that way.

    Or kill those terrorists, and understand that some innocents will probably die also, despite the fact that you are doing the very best you can to minimize the killing of innocents in the process.

    The choice is not between killing terroists or letting them go. The Democrats understand this at least, you can’t kill all the terroists. Because terrorism is an idea and a tactic, but just because you can’t kill a person does not mean you cannot mentally cripple them, into a 5 year old retard on a monkey swing.

    There is war, there is guerrila war, and then there is politics. Politics happen after wars, and wars happen after politics. But guerrila wars happen all the time, war or no war, politics or no politics. The infamous “asymetrical warfare”, without political symetry or the rules of war symmetry. What fearful symmetry.

    But what is the proper response?

    It has to be psychological war.

    Why do some observers persist in seeing no difference? Why do some insist on holding Israel and the US to a standard that is both impossible and dangerous, a standard by which no self-defense would be possible, and by which “the cruel” would end up triumphing?

    Because they don’t understand guerrila warfare. They don’t understand Israel’s tactics nor the reason for them, simply because the people who oppose Israel do not truly care whether civilians or not if they were at the helm. They would panic and blow up a city, like New Orleans, and then blame it on some else. They produce more casualties, not less due to their lack of understanding and willful ignorance. They also don’t understand the terroist’s tactics, they believe terroists are just like themselves. No, they are not like Western intellectuals in the least, though they are just as good at propaganda. Perhaps therein lies the confusion. The intellectuals see in the Palestinians, a people as well versed in human propaganda as they themselves, and therefore they jump to the conclusion that these are their brothers…

    As for Erasmus’ comments, Neo, everyone should understand that the sole reason the Nazis should not have targeted civilians because it removed the protections from their own civilians. But then again, to terroists and Nazis, their civilians being targeted because of their actions do not matter in the least. The Israelis do not have the bad consequence of having their civilians targeted, if they kill other people’s civilians, because their civilians are ALREADY being targeted. Therefore a person with no family to lose, has no reason not to kill the family of his enemies. Israel doesn’t exploit that native vengeance in humanity, and while it keeps Israel’s hands clean, it also keeps the terroists fighting. Perhaps that is comfort to the Jews, but for some reason, it does not seem comforting to me.

    We get no credit whatsoever from you for refraining from nuking Tehran

    You get credit from me. Like most Jacksonians, we may not agree with those who’d prefer a more peaceful solution, but we also don’t think they are worse people for it. The world takes all kinds of people, warriors as well as diplomats, killers as well as healers.

    (is there really any other kind?)

    Ya, there’s a realistic Utopian, it’s called a Founding Father.

  46. gcotharn Says:

    Sam,
    Hilarious. Its Chinese menu + text-messaging methodology. It only lacks a fortune cookie. You could order any item “Hunan style” if you were especially hot and exercised over it.

  47. Sam Says:

    I guess we need to be more nuanced when sorting out the anti-war constituency. I know that, as Iraq war supporters, we get tired of being lumped in with the Nazis and the Khmer Rouge all the time. So let’s be fair.

    List of Anti-War Categories:
    1. People who oppose the Iraq war specifically, on moral grounds.
    2. People who oppose the Iraq war specifically, on legal grounds.
    3. People who oppose the Iraq war specifically, on religious grounds.
    4. People who oppose the Iraq war specifically, on political grounds.
    5. People who oppose the Iraq war specifically, on military grounds.
    6. People who oppose the Iraq war specifically, because it was Bush’s idea.
    7. People who oppose the Iraq war specifically, because it distracts us from the real War on Terror.
    8. People who oppose the Iraq war specifically, because it distracts us from saving the environment, feeding the poor, rescuing hurrican victims, fixing Social Security, etc.
    9. People who oppose the Iraq war specifically, on a combination of the previous grounds.
    10. People who oppose any war that the Republicans are involved in because of something or other to do with Big Oil or the Military Industrial Complex.
    11. People who oppose any war the United States is involved in on any of the previous grounds.
    12. People who oppose any war the United States is involved in because the United States is Bad.
    13. People who oppose any war the United States is involve in because the United States is Good.
    14. People who oppose any war white people are involved in because Western Civilization is Bad.
    15. People who oppose any war anyone is involved in because War Doesn’t Solve Anything.
    16. People who oppose any sort of definite move anyone’s part because actions have unpredictable consequences and it’s safer to have endless discussions about the nature of problems rather than taking actual steps to solve them.
    17. Wussies.

    Did I miss any?

    OK, now any anti-war people who show up can simply refer to themselves by these handy numbers and we’ll immediately know pretty much where they’re coming from.

    Next step: A similarly organized list of pro-war counter-arguments. That will really save some disk space.

    It will also keep all of us from having to listen to the same freaking discussions over and over and over that we’ve been enduring since 2003 – evidently without anyone becoming any better or wiser for it.

    Imagine a typical comment exchange using this system:

    dove01 said…
    Hi, I’m a 2, 7, and a bit 13-ish.
    2:45 AM, January 32, 2006

    sgtslaughter said…
    dove01, get real: #14, #7, and #8.
    2:46 AM, January 32, 2006

    dove01 said…
    #8? I just said I was #14.
    2:47 AM, January 32, 2006

    sgtslaughter said…
    Well, #14 is doo-doo.
    2:48 AM, January 32, 2006

    dove01 said…
    Everyone on this blog is stupid.
    2:49 AM, January 32, 2006

    neo-neo said…
    Be nice!
    2:50 AM, January 32, 2006

    There – my stab at healing the festering wound in America’s body politic. Gonna grab some supper, then sort out that global warming thing.

  48. W.B. Reeves Says:

    What bothers me though is that when the rhetoric starts flying, those “unrealistic Utopians” (is there really any other kind?) so easily become “everyone who opposes the Iraq war” when you don’t have to be Ghandi or Barry McGuire to see why one would have some serious misgivings about it.

    Ah, but caricature is so much easier than critical thought, U.B.

  49. the Unknown Blogger Says:

    Neo wrote:

    I am more interested in the others, those unrealistic Utopians who have abdicated the responsibility to make moral distinctions about killing…It serves their cause to believe, against all evidence throughout the long march of history, that all violence can be avoided if we wish it to be, that it can eradicated by pleasant talk and understanding.

    I’m curious why on Earth do you find these people so interesting? The true numbers of people who truly believe (or even “espouse”) the idea that “all violence can be eradicated by pleasant talk and understanding” are very, very small, and their influence on a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g (except maybe pop music – from the ’60s) is even smaller. I personally find them extremely boring.

    The only thing I can think of is that your ruminations on them make for really popular blog entries. You and your commenters spent a tremendous amount of time Ghandi-bashing when it’s obvious Ghandi’s influence on the anti-Iraq war crowd has been about, oh, nil.

    Which is all fine, really. What bothers me though is that when the rhetoric starts flying, those “unrealistic Utopians” (is there really any other kind?) so easily become “everyone who opposes the Iraq war” when you don’t have to be Ghandi or Barry McGuire to see why one would have some serious misgivings about it.

  50. SippicanCottage Says:

    I remember Mark Steyn writing about the peace loving “human shields” that showed up in Bagdhad before the shock and awe started, and asked to be taken to the orphanages to protect them from harm.

    They were mightily confused when the Iraquis wanted to take them to military installations instead, and explained the orphanages had plenty of human shields already, called orphans.

    These persons remain confused, I see.

  51. The Bunnies Says:

    (sorry for the double post)

    And if you think that doing what you can to keep innocent people from getting hurt (as opposed to hoping that they get maimed for CNN) is simply one of “our rules” and not somehow connected to a basic sense of human decency, I truly pity you (but will do everything I can to avoid having anything to do with you at all costs).

    You demonstrate the worst kind of self-contradictory relativism which in fact approves of inhumanity. We get no credit whatsoever from you for refraining from nuking Tehran, but terrorists who would nuke Detroit in an instant if they could are simply trying to adapt to injustice. You hold them to no standards whatever but hold us to the hightst while simultaneously implying that we are inferior.

    You epitomize why I can’t stand the Left anymore.

  52. PP Says:

    Bob, you’ve got it backwards. We’re not playing by our rules, we’re playing by theirs. If we (or the Israeli’s) played by our rules, we’d be in a field somewhere waiting for an army to show up. The terrorists are the ones taking it to the streets.

  53. The Bunnies Says:

    And Bob, when is the last time you’ve heard of a terrorist who knew he was being targeted purposely avoiding innocent people so that none of them would get hurt if he gets nailed?

    Iran has purposely put most of its nuclear facilities in heavily populated areas. Do you seriously think that wasn’t on purpose?

  54. David Says:

    Bob: Do you honestly think that using rocks and trees for cover is morally equivalent to using women and children for cover?

  55. Bob Says:

    “terrorists… purposely live among families, women, and children.”

    My question: Where are they suppose to live? In a cave in Tora Bora? Wouldn’t be much of global war on terrorism, would it? Seems like we’re always expecting our enemies to play by our rules? Didn’t the Red Coats make that mistake?

  56. Brad Says:

    The current win/win situation for Iran will be Israel’s next Hobson’s choice. And one can expect the moral equivilence card to be played no matter what the outcome.
    It is, after all, Western Civilization, in all its manifistations, that so bothers the Left. The children of Foucault, who so strongly believe in the destructive power structure that is intertwined within the very fabric of society, and see no hope other than the classic “radical restructuring of society” that they want to ram down everyones throats.

  57. erasmus Says:

    Nice sentiment, about as “few lambs as possible.”
    But the world has crossed that line and we aren’t going back. The Germans may have started targeting civilians with Guernica, and continued in Rotterdam and London. The Allies picked up the beat in Hamburg and Dresden. We knew that most of those killed in these cities were “lambs.” That was the point–to destroy the morale of the civilian population. The burning to a crisp of a four-year-old girl in Hamburg did nothing to deter the German military efforts, nothing.
    The Israelis have agonized about the killing of lambs while hitting terrorists. But have done it anyway. The beat will go on.
    Good old Curtis LeMay was right, unfortunately, in his view of what it takes to win a war:
    “Kill enough of them, and they’ll stop.”
    Ain’t civilization grand?

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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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