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Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Continuum of Barbarity
Staying with Booman for a moment, I'd like to respond in very simple terms to Alan Dershowitz' argument that:
There is a vast difference — both moral and legal — between a 2-year-old who is killed by an enemy rocket and a 30-year-old civilian who has allowed his house to be used to store Katyusha rockets. Both are technically civilians, but the former is far more innocent than the latter. There is also a difference between a civilian who merely favors or even votes for a terrorist group and one who provides financial or other material support for terrorism.
As far as I remember, every Israeli citizen is obliged to give at least two years of service to the Israeli army. Where does that put them and their families on the "continuum of civilianity?" Does the esteemed Harvard Law professsor think that makes them fair(er) game? I doubt it.
Monday, July 24, 2006
From Gideon Levy in Ha'aretz (don't click just yet):
Collective punishment is illegitimate and it does not have a smidgeon of intelligence. Where will the inhabitants...run? With typical hardheartedness the military reporters say they were not "expelled" but that it was "recommended" they leave, for the benefit, of course, of those running for their lives. And what will this inhumane step lead to? Support for the Israeli government? Their enlistment as informants and collaborators for the Shin Bet? Can the miserable farmers...do anything about the Qassam rocket-launching cells?
Levy was not talking about Lebanon. This piece appeared on July 3, nine days before the Hezbollah raid in which three Israeli soldiers were killed and two kidnapped, and which formed the pretext for the current Israeli action against Lebanon.
He was talking about Israeli actions against the residents of Gaza, which, coincidentally, have also been attributed to a kidnapping, that of Gilad Shalit by Palestinian militants on June 25. The response to the kidnapping included forcing 20,000 people from their homes, cutting off the electricity to another 750,000, taking a quarter of the Palestinian parliament into custody, and Israeli fighters buzzing the Syrian (!?) presidential palace.
Although heavy-handed, at least there was some kind of rationale behind these actions: for no reason, one of their own had been taken from them, and they were going to do whatever it took to get him back. Fair enough, no?
Shalit's freedom could have been secured by the tried and true expedient of a prisoner exchange. The Gazans would not have had to be made to suffer (more), Hezbollah would not have been given the pretext to go on their kidnapping raid, and Lebanon would not now lay in ruins, 500,000 of her citizens refugees.
Israel does what Israel wants. But this time it should be known its pathetic fig leaf of a justification isn't worth the shit remaining in Ariel Sharon's decaying, war criminal bowels.
Left-wing blogger, signing off.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
In Defense of Silence
Josh Marshall linked tonight to a post by ennis at Sepia Mutiny that wondered why American bloggers had had so little to say about the terrorist bombings in Mumbai.
While trying to deal with the tragedy in Mumbai, I have been wondering what the coverage of the story tells us about ourselves.
He goes on to detail what he believes to be the paucity of coverage the story has received in the larger blogs, and relates an email exchange he had with two of them:
I emailed the following question to three significant political bloggers:
Although I hadn't been asked, I decided to give the answer a shot myself in comments:
I think the answer to your question is that American bloggers just don't know enough about the situation in India/Pakistan to have an informed opinion. Take, for example, "The Pakistani government supports Muslim separatists in Kashmir". I see statements to this effect scattered through the news coverage I read, but I don't have any way of verifying it. I don't know the reliability of the sources, the evidence upon which such a pronouncement is made, or enough about the history of the relationship to form any kind of solid idea of what is truly meant. It may be the case that Musharraf is arming, training, advising, and inciting the militants, but I have no real knowledge about it. I don't know how popular the separatists' cause and actions are in Pakistan. I don't know to what degree Musharraf's political support depends on his backing them. All I know is that the tensions between India and Pakistan have of late revolved largely around Kashmir. And, for all I know, it could be serving as a proxy for resentments dating back to 1947, the Raj, or before.