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January 25, 2009

Comments

Agreed, Hamas' hawkishness is insane.

I must have missed these "hawkishness" debates, because it always seemed quite clear to me that one of the drives behind "hawkishness" is the desire to see others suffer. Hawks don't ignore pictures such as this, they *enjoy* them -- if only in a "such are the wages of sin" kind of way.

In the dictionary, under "missing the point" there is a reference to Brett's comment.

It was worth it.

The Disasters Emergency Committee this week requested all British broadcasters to run an emergency appeal for aid for Gaza - the agreement is that a 2-minute appeal is made that all broadcasters can agree to, and is then broadcast on all channels for a week.

DEC appeals are not normally turned down (DEC is a consortium of all major charities in the UK), but the BBC blocked this one, claiming that to broadcast images of the devastation inside Gaza as an emergency appeal, would "violate their neutrality".

I'm still working on a post about this - I got distracted by the ex-Nazi Pope thinking now was the right time to ex-excommunicate a very public Holocaust denier - but in summary: I think the BBC have got themselves into a rare old muddle, because yes, the images we do not see on our news screens showing the horrors of the Israeli attack on Gaza will undoubtedly influence opinion - as you say, the cost of hawkishness - but then: providing information to the people so that people can make up their own minds is what the BBC is supposed to do. It's what I pay my licence fee for.

Apparently, only the powerful have rights.

Calling the pope an "ex-Nazi" is pretty damn unfair, Jes, and I'm sure you know it. There's an abundance of things to criticise him on, and this ain't one of them.

"Apparently, only the powerful have rights."

The powerful are wrong to wage genocidal wars of aggression. The powerless are wrong and STUPID to wage them. See that picture up there? The wages of stupidity. The Palestinians went out of their way to select a government which would launch attacks on a much more powerful neighbor. Are they supposed to be spared the consequences just because they're too weak and incompetent to make it a fair fight?

In fact, let me be clear about this: I didn't miss the point, I get it perfectly. But the hawks here are Hamas.

Shorter Brett and the rest of the gliberatarian patrol: "Might makes right."

"I got distracted by the ex-Nazi Pope thinking now was the right time to ex-excommunicate a very public Holocaust denier"

Off topic, but yeah--what is wrong with Benedict? At least his insensitivity extends to both Muslims and Jews. That's got a nice medieval consistency to it. Maybe that's what he is going for. One could disagree with John Paul II on many things, but I always respected him. This guy, not at all. (Antrumf may have a point about the unfairness of the ex-Nazi thing, but given what Benedict has just done, I'm not going to worry about it too much.)

Getting back to publius's post--I agree.

Brett, imposing a blockade is also an act of war. It doesn't justify Hamas's rockets, which in turn don't justify Israel's war crimes. Etc...

Slightly off topic, but not too much--a NYT op ed piece on this subject that is worth reading. Atran is always worth reading, in my experience.

Scott Atran

There's also the usual witless, one-sided Orwellian Thomas Friedman column that I won't link. The US should try to get Hamas into a unity government. Good idea, Tom, but maybe you could mention how the US did its best to destroy the unity government that the Palestinians were forming after the 2006 election. Sometimes the US helps states to fail.

My second link to the April 2008 Vanity Fair article on the US role in the Palestinian civil war didn't go through

Link

I didn't detect Brett justifying anything, only describing 'hawkishness'.

"I didn't detect Brett justifying anything, only describing 'hawkishness'."

Oh, bullsh**. Here is Brett--

"Are they supposed to be spared the consequences just because they're too weak and incompetent to make it a fair fight?"

Brett is claiming the Palestinians started the war and justifying the Israeli response. You can agree or disagree, but it's tiresome when you pretend you can't even see what argument is being made.

what is wrong with Benedict?

Nothing out of the ordinary really, he's been pulling stunts like that for decades and there's a reason why they called him "God's Rottweiler". The "ex-nazi" smear, however, is just stupid.

Eric Williams at Wampum provides a list of links for those who want to provide relief to Gazans in the aftermath of the Israeli assault.

As all the organizations linked provide aid to more than one locality, it's essential to note with your contribution that it is intended for Gaza.

//In making arguments intended to make themselves feel serious and strong and morally clear, the hawks...//

Because they only make the arguments so they can feel a certain way. They have no sincere purpose to improve things.

And speaking of excrement--

Link


Donald: -what is wrong with Benedict?

He believes in one Church, fascist and indivisible, authority unquestioned. Further discussion would derail this thread.

d'd'dave: Because they only make the arguments so they can feel a certain way. They have no sincere purpose to improve things.

Exactly so. Like you with the Guantanamo Bay prisoners.

For whatever it's worth, the Israeli pullout of Gaza was intended to create exactly this state of affairs.

//Exactly so. Like you with the Guantanamo Bay prisoners.//

Touche.

Ergo I'm a hawk because i comment to relieve boredom.

The totals of those killed since December 27 continues to rise as some of those wounded die, and as the rubble of collapsed buildings is cleared. It is clear from the images now coming out that unless evacuation from the neighborhoods hardest hit was total, there are bound to be more bodies found.

The powerful are wrong to wage genocidal wars of aggression. The powerless are wrong and STUPID to wage them.

I'd say in this case the powerful are being pretty STUPID as well, unless Israel has a cunning plan to advance its interests by increasing the level of worldwide hatred for it.

In Israel, officials said that on Sunday, the cabinet is expected to discuss a proposal that the government defend the military if there are any international attempts to accuse it of improper activity or war crimes. The proposal is expected to assert that soldiers and officers operated in accordance with international law, the military’s values and moral principles.

White phosphorus was used in heavily populated areas, and against targets known to be entirely civilian (such as the UN warehouse of food that burned down). There is both photographic and video evidence of this, as well as medical evidence of civilians hit.

There is clear medical evidence that the Israelis also used Dense Inert Metal Explosives, an "experimental" weapon first developed by the U.S. that has horrific human effects. I don't know if Israel has manufactured their own or if they were purchased from the U.S.

There is also the evidence of improper activity by IDF troops, both the aftermath in houses they occupied and the widely reported incident in which people, including a number of children, were not allowed to leave the building in which their parents lay dead after being killed by Israeli fire.

There is also the scale and high proportion of civilian deaths, which resulted from the apparent targeting of schools, hospitals, and residential buildings (always with the same rationale, that Hamas fighters were firing from them or from positions very near by).

As a result, the Gaza Human Rights Center is seeking arrest warrants for 87 persons in six countries.

The launching of Qassam rockets over the Gaza border at Sderot and Ashkelon is also a war crime, for which it would be perfectly reasonable to seek arrest warrants. Smashing up tens of thousands of homes, pulverizing several thousand more, and killing close to a thousand women, children, and noncombatant men is the approach the Israeli government chose to take -- one that appears to have been popular with a significant majority of Israeli voters.

The excerpt at the beginning of my last comment is from the NY Times article linked in publius' main post.

"For whatever it's worth, the Israeli pullout of Gaza was intended to create exactly this state of affairs."

I'm unclear how one guy's opinion speaks to the varying or collective (and changing) opinion of the Israeli government, and therefore how that link supports your assertion. It's one guy's opinion. I could equally point to what "the U.S. intends" in foreign affairs and quote Brett Bellmore to prove my case.

Big thanks to Donald Johnson for the link to Atran. Delightful to see anthropologists working on such helpful interventions.

Speaking of interventions: if d'd'd'dave comments "to relieve boredom", "with no sincere desire to improve things", does that mean he is "disrupting meaningful discourse for its own sake"?

"Brett is claiming the Palestinians started the war and justifying the Israeli response."

Pretty much. Hamas' stated aim is genocide, the Palestinians elected them, they're waging that war they promised against Israel, and Israel is merely responding to their aggression.

As such, it's Hamas that are the "hawks" here. No nation would stand by peacefully in the face of a neighbor launching missiles into their territory.

If the disparity of power were reversed, Israel would be one big charnel pit. The Palestinians should be glad the people they're attacking are more merciful than they are.

Pretty much. Hamas' stated aim is genocide, the Palestinians elected them, they're waging that war they promised against Israel, and Israel is merely responding to their aggression.

"Responding" by carrying out the assault they planned and prepared for while the ceasefire - that Hamas was abiding - was in effect. Interesting notion of "response", that.

No nation would stand by peacefully in the face of a neighbor launching missiles into their territory.

You realize this can be turned about w/o alteration, don't you? Oh, wait, Palestine isn't a nation per se, so I guess they're obliged to stand by peacefully in the face of their neighbor launching missiles into their territory.

"f the disparity of power were reversed, Israel would be one big charnel pit. "

If the disparity were reversed, there wouldn't be an Israel. There'd be Arab Jews living as second class citizens in a predominantly Muslim society. Or so I'd guess.

Hamas was originally supported by the Israelis as a way to weaken the PLO. It turns out that supporting religious fanatics as a way to weaken your enemies doesn't always work out too well. To get to your parallel universe where Hamas is top dog would take so many alterations in the timeline it's a little hard to say what that universe would be like.

At any rate, if you read the Atran article I linked you'll find a hint that even Hamas fanatics are might be willing to live in peace with Israel, on terms that might not be unreasonable for Israel if face-saving concessions are made by both sides. It is, however, easier just to assume they're all crazed lunatics who can't be changed, so better just to bomb Palestinians and use the living rooms of their homes as public urinals. That will ensure that a larger proportion of Palestinians will be more inclined to daydream about genocide, support actual terrorist attacks against Israeli children and thereby justify further invasions, aerial strikes, and home vandalism by racist morons in the IDF.

Why do these posts so frequently start out sounding like sensible and reasoned arguments but often conclude with hardened name calling of either other posters or the subjects(objects?) of discussion?

i also see the blockade as an act of ongoing violence. it doesnt justify rockets - nothing does, and those people are committing war crimes too

but the idea that israel is stoically enduring unprovoked violence is absurd. they're starving and economically strangling an already miserably poor group of people.

frankly, im not really seeing anymore the national interest benefits of the alliance to america

GoodoleBoy--

Probably because people who defecate in other's homes, or who attack children on either side or whose religious beliefs are fanatical and hate-filled are not the sort of people one normally describes with kind words or as having loving attributes.

Do you have something specific to say about any particular post?


GoodOleBoy: Why do these posts so frequently start out sounding like sensible and reasoned arguments but often conclude with hardened name calling of either other posters or the subjects(objects?) of discussion?

"Start out"? This thread turned into hardened name-calling from the very first comment.

We have managed to have reasonable and sensible I/P discussions on ObWing - occasionally - but for that to happen the hardened supporters of either side need to quell their urge to explain how the whole thing is absolutely all one side's fault.

Actually, Goodoleboy, I'll spare you the trouble and just assume you were talking about me, since you evidently had no problem with Brett's comments. Yes, egotistical of me, I know.

I would have no problem with Brett's comments about the murderous and stupid behavior of Hamas if he would acknowledge the murderous and stupid behavior of the Israelis, but instead, he defended their behavior. You will often find that is the kind of disagreement that makes ObiWi threads turn so disagreeable. When all the participants in a thread agree that both sides do terrible and inexcusable things, then there may still be some disagreement, but it's not usually acrimonious.

That photograph looks like Hiroshima after the atom bomb.

Well, here's what I think I see. Brett did not justify the 'hawkishness' of either side, but observed that support for Hamas was 'insane' since any sane person would know that Hamas was going to do something 'hawkish' which would lead to a 'hawkish' and 'disproportionate' response.

Okay, Goodoleboy, that's your opinion. I disagree, but I won't argue any more about it.

"We have managed to have reasonable and sensible I/P discussions on ObWing - occasionally - but for that to happen the hardened supporters of either side need to quell their urge to explain how the whole thing is absolutely all one side's fault."

Yes.

//does that mean he is "disrupting meaningful discourse for its own sake"?//

Perhaps if meaningful discourse was taking place. But that is not the case.

This weekend, I bought and read Rashid Khalidi's The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood (I thought I'd see what all the fuss was about). It was a well-written and fairly objective book, though it covered the pre-1948 period more thoroughly than afterward. I was left wanting more information about the PLO's evolution through the years. Still, I learned a lot and I recommend the book to anyone interested in the Palestinian perspective on the whole thing.

My thinking on the I/P conflict has changed recently. I no longer believe a two-state solution is possible, given the huge numbers of settlers in the West Bank and the lack of Israeli political will to either remove them or engage in massive ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. I think the most likely outcome (decades away, at least) is that at some point the Palestinians will demand Israeli citizenship, and international pressure will force Israel (eventually) to give it to them.

I have to disagree with Publius. I would not call the ruins in Gaza the wages of hawkishness. I would call them the wages of irresponsibility.

I have to agree with those who say that asking Israel to ignore large numbers of rockets fired at a working class community in the South asked too much. Asking any nation to ignore that kind of shooting over the border asks a lot, but given the circumstances of Israel's founding, asking an Israeli government to live with the firing of rockets on a regular basis asked more than they could stand. But I cannot come up with reasons Hamas should ignore the slow-motion ethnic cleansing aimed at poor Palestinian Arab farmers in the West Bank, either.

In my opinion, the underlying problem stems from the way that members of both societies have, for various reasons, effectively outsourced their relations with the "other" side to the most extreme and least responsible members of their societies. Both sides pay the price, and both sides remain convinced that the other side will pay a higher one.

Two things can break this wretched spiral: divine intervention, or a willingness of both Israelis and Palestinians to rein in their irresponsible and extremist members. Building mutual trust will take time and effort, but without it, both Israelis and Palestinians face a grim prospect.

I also think that calling comrade Ratzinger an ex-nazi is wrong. Not becasue I have any sympathy for him but becasue I think that this very specific claim is wrong (in the same sense that Stalin was not a Trotskyite*).
He acts in accordance with my worst prejudices against him and he is definitely at the far right end of the spectrum but "nazi" or "ex-nazi" does not fit. The church accused the original fascism of stealing their act without giving them their fair share (and was willing to accept a more churchified version any time) but opposed nazism from the start because Hitler** was unwilling to share any real influence. Ratzinger is an intolerant authoritarian who will do almost anything to keep the hierarchcial structure intact*** (even joining forces with those his predecessors threw out for being too
reactionary). Unitary executive anyone?
*ex priest-hood candidate/theologian/etc. on the other hand would be correct but misleading, if his evil was attributed to it
**who was actually an agnostic who claimed the "defender of the faith" mantle only for tactical reasons.
***with "I am right only if everyone else is wrong" as a central part.

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