September 11, 2003

The Problem of Yasser Arafat

Israel has decided to remove Yasser Arafat.

The security Cabinet decided on Thursday to expel Yasser Arafat but put off immediate action. Individual government officials and Cabinet ministers have not yet commented.

"Recent days' events have proven again that Yasser Arafat is a complete obstacle to any process of reconciliation ... " the Cabinet's communique stated Thursday. "Israel will act to remove this obstacle in the manner, at the time, and in the ways that will be decided on separately ..."

The United States has notified Israel it is opposed to the expulsion of Yasser Arafat even though "he is part of the problem and not part of the solution" in the tense standoff with the Palestinians.

I do not think this is wise.

If Yasser Arafat is expelled from the West Bank, he will have more power and prestige than he currently has. He will have freedom of movement and he will be free from harrassment. He can give orders by telephone and rally support around the world. He will get a hero's welcome wherever he goes. He will not be made irrelevant.

Better, perhaps, to imprison him in Tel Aviv. He would have no freedom of movement and he would be unable to give orders to anybody. But someone would be kidnapped and held for ransom. And the ransom would be the release of Yasser Arafat.

No. I see only two workable solutions.

One: Keep him isolated in Ramallah and endure the status quo. For now.

Or put him on trial for Murder, Kidnapping, Torture, Terrorism, Assasination, and Crimes Against Humanity. Give him a lawyer, conduct the trial in English, and televise it. Then execute him.

He is guilty on all counts.


NOTE: I am not advocating the last position. I simply think it would be more just and more productive than exile. The status quo regarding Arafat, awful as it is, is probably better on balance. For now. Build that wall, Israel. Faster.


UPDATE: David Bernstein agrees.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at September 11, 2003 10:52 PM
Comments

Why not conduct the trial in French, German and Indonesian, too?

Posted by: Dave at September 11, 2003 11:01 PM

Michael said:

Or put him on trial for Murder, Kidnapping, Torture, Terrorism, Assasination, and Crimes Against Humanity. Give him a lawyer, conduct the trial in English, and televise it. Then execute him.

He is guilty on all counts.

I Replied:

Michael One little problem with that Israel does not have the death penalty and the last time they used it was in the 1960's when they hanged Eichmann for crimes more henious that what Arafat would be charged with. The harshest punishment he would get from a Israeli court would be life imprisonment without any parole.

Anyway the Jerusalem Post has publically advocated for Arafat's assaination.

Posted by: Tristan Jones at September 11, 2003 11:40 PM

I had thought that the power struggle with Abbas would expose Arafat, in the eyes of younger Palestinians, as the brutal manipulator and obstruction to reform that he is. Maybe that was naive. But now I fear that Israel will be playing into his masquerade as the hapless victim of the Zionist menace, hamstrung by Sharon's strongarm tactics.

I often think that what the Palestinian people need is what the Catholic church needs: decapitation of the doddering head by natural causes.

No death worthy of a "martyr" will properly put that s.o.b. to rest. For Arafat we need something prosaic, something that will make virile thugs want to change the subject, something like prostate cancer.

I only very rarely wish sincerely for someone's death, but failing to do so in this case seems immoral.

Posted by: Jeremy Brown at September 12, 2003 12:00 AM

The only reason I hesitate to call outright for his execution is because the political fallout of doing it might be worse than not doing it. I am steadfastly opposed to the death penalty for the usual crimes, but not in cases of crimes against humanity and terrorism.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 12, 2003 12:28 AM

CNN reported that this is "esentially" a declaration of war. I think the Israeli gov't should consider a true declaration of war against the PA, and a true city by city occupation, curfew and banning large demonstrations or gun ownership, house searching, and the imposition of a free press.

Arafat should be jailed in Tel Aviv, incomunicado. Until the PA surrenders, unconditionally -- meaning they accept being banned, w/o Arafat, for new elections. All information about his money, his organization, should be revealed.

Israel should take over the policing functions, but allow Pali local homeowner associations to do local anti-looting protection. And call on Israel for more protection, if needed.

A strong, but fairly humane, real occupation. And support local news, opposite views, and elections for local associations -- who would get some funding, so there would be a real desire to win.

Um, yeah -- this is also my model suggestion for US occupied Iraq. Israel should occupy Pali for real, and practice real Pali nation-building with respect & recognition of Israel.

Posted by: Tom Grey at September 12, 2003 05:39 AM

(of course, I too, couldn't help but fantasize about an Allende style air-force coup attack against Arafat and his minions. I don't think such is optimal justice.)

Posted by: Tom Grey at September 12, 2003 05:42 AM

Seems to me that the Israelis need to consult
with the Corleone family: keep your friends close,
but your enemies closer.

Posted by: Paul Nelson at September 12, 2003 06:15 AM

There is that problem with Israel's lack of a death penalty.

The most pragmatic solution to the problem is to destroy his compound. Don't pretend to "arrest" him, don't send him into another exile to plot and plan. Take him off the board. Arafat the planner and facilitator and spoiler is more of a danger and a threat than Arafat the "martyr". The world's full of martyrs' graves. One more isn't going to make things any more dangerous for the Israelis.

Posted by: Mitch H. at September 12, 2003 06:43 AM

The basic problem is the Palestinina Authority or lack of thereof. Arafat is only part of the problem, killing or expelling him will not cure this festering wound. I believe that my feelings and opinon are better expressed by David Frum in todays NRO and here is the link: http://www.nationalreview.com/frum/diary091203.asp

Posted by: marek at September 12, 2003 07:37 AM

PS to my previous post:

The whole gang of the PLO thugs that Shimon Peres and the Oslo architects imported to WB/G from Tunisia should be either eliminated or exiled, subject to their level of involvement in terror.

Posted by: marek at September 12, 2003 07:42 AM

I've thought for long and long that Arafat needs to get the "nine grams" retirement package...I can still remember my astonishment twenty years ago when he and his cohorts were allowed to escape from Beirut to start again elsewhere...certainly, that ranks as one of the major miscalculations of recent Mideast history.

Posted by: Brian Swisher at September 12, 2003 08:45 AM

If the future resembles the past, the Israelis will end up not going through with it, and he'll just be holed up in Ramhalla for a few days or weeks. Again. He'll be re-empowered, his supporters will legitimately claim a victory against the Israelis, the psychopathic bastard can once again chant about how he wants to be a "martyr, martyr, martyr", and we'll go round and round again.

(The best part about the Telegraph article I linked to is the sentence: "But it is far from clear, after five weeks of bloody fighting, whether he is any closer to leading his people to the cherished aim of independence." No, it was actually perfectly clear.)

Posted by: Christopher Luebcke at September 12, 2003 09:57 AM

Ladies and Gentleman:

Would America put up with the sort of terrorism encouraged by Arafat, were it occuring on American soil?

If America kills Osama, will we be making him a "martyr" more powerful than if we just let him go? What of Saddam, and the so-called "Arab street"?

Surely we don't care about the "martyr" ramifications, so why should Israel?

Israel would be stupid to simply expel Arafat, they should target they guy like we're targeting bin Laden and Saddam. They should all meet the very same end as Udi and his brother.

Ok, let me have it, folks! Both barrels, too. :)

Posted by: Marc S. Lamb at September 12, 2003 10:44 AM

Well, what they absolutely shouldn't do is resolve to expel him (again), and then back down (again). Expel him, arrest him, drop his house on him--they need to do something to back up their words.

Posted by: Christopher Luebcke at September 12, 2003 11:09 AM

Sometimes I wonder if Israel is just hunkering down and waiting for a mega-attack, waiting for the Palestinians to knock over an apartment tower so they can kill Arafat and liquidate Hamas. Of course, they can do those things anyway if they want to, but they choose not to for their own reasons.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 12, 2003 11:16 AM

Michael,

In the list of Arafats crimes you forgot embezlement, malfeasance, and bribery. That portion of Arafats trial should be conducted in Arabic.

His crimes against the palestinians are another reason to remove him for good.

Properly exposed as a gangster and opportunist as Sadam has been should lower his marytr status a little.

Matthew King

Posted by: Mathew King at September 12, 2003 11:18 AM

Michael,

You asked if Israel is waiting for a "mega-attack" as an excuse to wipe out the Arafat and the PA.

If 800 of your women and children killed in the last 2 years, and the thousands horribly crippled doesn't motivate you to open up a can of whoopass™ on Arafat, nothing will.

Sadly, I see think Israel will be gone in 20 years. They seem incapable of taking the steps to resolve this terrible problem. We're seeing a society that has the resources and where-with-all to do what must be done, but they lack the will.

Why is terrorism perdominatly Arab tactic? 1) because their societies are so failed that they don't have the capability to compete militarily and 2) it's working for them! Why should they stop the war against Israel, they believe they are winning, and they are.

Even now Israel wrings it's hands about deporting Arafat, and how that might cause "instability". What insanity. The Arab Israeli conflict could be over in 6 months.

- JDAM Arafat and the 2000 nut jobs around his compound today to hell
- Tell all the Arab countries you are DONE trying to be nice to them. Rockets fying in from Syria? Act of war, nuke Damascus.
- Now that the other Arabs have seen what a crazy motherf**ker Israel is, they'll start to realize there could be a consequence to fomenting hate against Israel.
- Let the other governments know that if any attack occurs against Israel, there are 6 nuclear subs that will nuke every major city including Mecca, Medina, Ridyah, Cairo, Islambad, etc. Is the destruction of Israel really worth the complete destruction of the Arab world?

If this sounds extreme, look at the alternative; Israel dying of a thousand cuts, timid in its' response, being sapped of it's people, it's economy crushed, and it's will to live sapped. Which is what we have today.

Posted by: Francis at September 12, 2003 11:58 AM

Francis,

Nuking Damascus is absolutely and utterly beyond the pale.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 12, 2003 12:17 PM

It's kinda curious, the Israeli reaction so far. I've wondered why they didn't off Arafat long ago.

They don't seem to have any compunction about putting missiles into people that they think are a threat, so what's the big deal about Arafat?

Are they afraid of getting rid of the devil they know for the devil they don't know?

I just don't get it.

Posted by: eric at September 12, 2003 12:58 PM

Francis

I tend to agree with you "in principle". The idea is that when you've had patience and have tried everything short of all out attack (i.e. had enough),its time to back up words with action.

Nuclear response is extreme and frought with many undesirable consequences. However, anyone who believes that a terrorist sponsored nuclear detonation, whether in Israel or the U.S., is out of the question is not facing up to the worst possibilities. Check out http://www.belmontclub.blogspot.com/2003_09_01_belmontclub_archive.html#106294626987420206

Posted by: jake the snake at September 12, 2003 01:05 PM

Well, I just spent some time posting a reply only to have it fly out into cyberspace because I hit the "Cancel" button instead of Post. This is the third and last time that will happen.

Whether it be me, or the location of that "Cancel" button is mute at this point in the posting game.

Bye! :)

Posted by: Marc S. Lamb at September 12, 2003 01:08 PM

Michael,

You say nuking Damascus is beyond the pale. OK. You don't like my solution, I sure welcome other ideas.

Rather than say what can't be done, I'd like to see proposed solutions. Must be my background, I'm an engineer by profession, and solutions (even sub-optimal ones) are perferable to no solutions.

The big question is how do you dissuade the Arab world from actively workng towards the complete destruction of Israel.

Assume you've a population of ~9 million vs. 800 million Arabs, a crushed economy, a virtually indefensable country, and few natural resources to draw upon. You are being beat down, your morale and spirit destroyed, your women and children splattered on your streets weekly.

But don't do anything the rest of the world (which has historically persecuted Jews) might see as targeting "civilians" who shelter, support, and assist the "militants" who blow up your kids.

And don't threaten nuclear attack, because that might have uninteneded consequences, like making someplace like Mecca uninhabitable for 10,000 years, and that might make the Arab "street" upset, and then they might start targeting Jews or something...

I await a resonable solution. In my mind, full credit if you develop a strategy that enables Israel to survive the next 20 years, bonus points if your solution doesn't neccesitate the destruction of 1/3 of the Arab world. But make no mistake, Israels survival is the main objective.

The clock ticks...

Francis

Posted by: Francis at September 12, 2003 01:42 PM

Francis,

You say nuking Damascus is beyond the pale. OK. You don't like my solution, I sure welcome other ideas.

I wrote a Tech Central Station column where I advocated what I think would be a workable solution to this problem. You can read it here if you are interested.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 12, 2003 01:50 PM

Michael,

Thx for the pointer to your article. Very well written, and pretty rational approach.

I'm not optimistic it would work, but as I said, it makes sense, and imparts the necessary lessons (that terrorism does not pay). And your phasing of responsibilities is good.

My pessimism comes from the belief the Palestinians have been so indoctrinated in this cult of hate that they will not be able to let go of their genocidal goals. Killing all the terrorists might take killing 80% of the population.

But it's worth an attempt. There's always tomorrow for Damascus... :-)

Regards,
Francis

btw - I'm also in PDX, great place to live.

Posted by: Francis at September 12, 2003 02:29 PM

Francis,
The total population of Israel is less than 6.5 million of which about 1.5 million are Arabs.
How did you arrive at the 9 million?

Posted by: marek at September 12, 2003 08:17 PM

I agree that simply exiling Arafat is no solution. It would be like exiling Hitler and leaving the rest of the Nazi regime in place. The only way this makes sense is if Israel is prepared to completely erase Oslo and start over by destroying the PA, exiling the whole PLO Tunisia gang of thugs and re-occupying the entire West Bank and Gaza. I actually think this would be the best way for Israel to move forward and the best way to win the war. At that point Israel can finish the fence and pull out the isolated settlements w/o looking weak. The U.S. will not allow this so the best alternative is to wait Arafat out and hope a civil war after his demise somehow leads to a more pragmatic leadership. If Israel could hasten that blessed day undetected, I believe she would be well within her moral right to do so.

Posted by: Doug at September 12, 2003 08:24 PM

The U.S. will not allow this

This is my perception too, and it's a puzzlement why this is so.

Posted by: jeanne a e devoto at September 12, 2003 09:45 PM

I think Israel will kill Arafat during an attempt to "exile" him. (And I'm all for this.)

Two comments:

1) The recent video clips I've seen of Arafat look like a man who a) has no confidence, and b) is actually scared for his life.

2)There seems to be a full-force media campaign by Israel over the past few days to justify taking action against the Palis. Unfortunately, to me, it portrays them as weak --- they almost appear to be groveling to obtain the world's approval to actually engage in war.

I fully support Israel, and I wish they would just BOMB the Palis (i.e., make it a real war, instead of the "retaliation" mode), and tell everyone else to either like it or lump it. Uhm, sorta what Bush did with the UN.

We have no (no one has a) right to ask Israel to do less to defend its national borders against terrorism than we would do (have done) in similar circumstances.

They simply need to get on with it. Killing Arafat would send a message to the world that Israel is no longer willing to be a punching bag for terrorists, and that they are sick and tired of having to ask for permission from "the world" to act like a sovereign nation.

Arafat needs to go, the Palis need to be told (BY EVERYONE) that their M.O. is no longer going to be tolerated AT ALL. How is this bad for the world?

Posted by: cj at September 13, 2003 12:22 AM

And really, how can you say "Build that wall, Israel. Faster"? How insulting!

Were you a proponent for the US to build a wall around itself in the wake of 9/11 as the appropriate response to terrorist attacks? I don't think so.

Walls will not keep out terrorists.

Unless you are asking Israel to build a wall as a bomb shelter to protect itself while the rest of the world (and there are damn few left with the courage) goes in and conducts OPEN WARFARE on the Pali terroristic state, you are way out of line.

I generally like your blog, but sometimes you display a real disconnect between your opinions.

Posted by: cj at September 13, 2003 12:33 AM

cj,

Walls can keep out terrorists. Gaza is walled off, and there has not been a single terror attack from Gaza for years.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 13, 2003 01:16 AM

Perhaps because there were easier access points?

Who's to say they would not climb over a wall if that wall was all encompassing?

I'll ask another question, raised in my blog:

"If you ask Israel to fence itself in, ask yourself how that is any less than requesting that they delegate their country to ghetto status."

Posted by: cj at September 13, 2003 02:42 AM

And while we're discussing walls, can you cite an historical precedent where walling onself in worked?

Immediately comes to mind, is the Great Wall of China. But I think that has been construed, in retrospect, as being, while initially successful, ultimately leading to isolationism and not necessarily a model to replicate. And of course, it did not have to withstand modern means of attack, even of those accessible to the Palis (i.e., perhaps not up-to-par with the standards we've come to expect from America).

I daresay Rome dealt with walls in its time, but I don't immediately recall any relevant circumstances.

And, then, there was the Maginot Line.

I'm not trying to be snarky --- I'm sincerely interested in learning of an historical precedent wherein wall-building led to the ultimate greater good of a country.

Posted by: cj at September 13, 2003 03:37 AM

And somehow I left out the Berlin Wall, but that didn't turn out so good, either.

Posted by: cj at September 13, 2003 03:41 AM

Marek,

Sorry, I'll take your number of 6.5 living in Israel. I had lunch recently with a women from Israel, and when I asked I thought the population is 9 million, she said that sounded about right, but didn't know.

Practially, a wall will help, however, I agree with the sediment that it "ghettoizes" Israel. And more importantly, it doesn't break the will of those who work towards her destruction.

BTW - I do hope Arafat is killed very soon. The US is right, exile is not helpful...

Francis

Posted by: Francis at September 13, 2003 07:19 AM

cj,

I don't see how any of the examples you cite are parallels. First of all, Israel is not fencing itself in, it is fencing itself away from the Palestinians. Frankly, I have never understood what the fucking big deal about this is... when I first heard about this wall, my thought was, oh, well, it sucks that the Israelis have caved in and built a wall, but maybe now the Palestinians will be a little bit happier... those who call it an apartheid wall are right in one sense... it keeps the Israeli citizens away from what the Palestinians consider their territory, and keeps the Palestinians out of Israel proper. My understanding is that the Palestinians to prefer not to mix with Israelis. What would they want in Israel except to kill? To work? Well, if you try to destroy a country I think it is only fitting to lose the privelage to work there. If they want a state they are going to have to (finally) turn their attention to building their own fucking economy and stop relying on the people they so despise for employment. What else is there?

We live in a time now where a wall does not truly cut people off from each other in most meaningful senses. Israelis and Palestinians would not go visiting each other's countries for a while, but who really wants to do that anyway, except suicide bombers? The wall would not cut off any communication, it would not restrict travel to other parts of the world, so I don't see how it equals either isolationism or ghettoization. The wall keeps a certain national (NOT ethnic, NATIONAL) group out, it does not keep anyone in.

In short, I think you're right in that there is no real historical precedent... however, I don't see how it follows that the wall would be a bad thing overall, in this situation.

Posted by: grs at September 13, 2003 08:27 AM

Walls make good neighbors.

The US aid to the Palis should be in helping them register home/property ownership. Into private property, with clear titles. Palis with property will be more responsible.

I wonder if there aren't any Israelis willing to suicide-execute Arafat by, for instance, "stealing" an airplane (old F4 phantom jet?) and flying it into Arafat's compound. Israel could officially decry such "terrorism" ...

I think it important to accept the self-sacrifice of the suicide-bomber-murderers. It's not noble, because their cause is not noble. But, like the Japanese Kamikaze, it IS effective.

Finally, while the TCS article is reasonable, it misses one of the most important Human Rights -- free speech. Israel should fund Pali newspapers critical of Arafat, and protect those papers from censorship -- by attacking those who threaten the publishers, etc. A free press MUST come before free elections.

Posted by: Tom Grey at September 13, 2003 01:34 PM

In response to terrorist attacks on its citizens Israel has fought back, they have attacked Hamas leaders, they have expelled and confined Arafat, and they have refused to deal with him in any direct way. Assasinating him would make him a martyr - Palestinians love and are motivated greatly by martyrs.

They must find a way to make him irrelevant. They must find a way to stop the terrorist attacks on their people.
They must find a way to turn the world against the tactics of the Palestinian regime, including Hamas.

So,
Continue to ignore and confine Arafat.
Expel all non-Israeli citizens from Israel who are judged to be a threat.
Secure the borders.
Cease the killing of Palestinians, including Hamas leaders.
Demand the unequivocal support of the "international community" for the right of Israel to exist.

If Israel is unwilling to do these things then they should stop pussyfooting around and go on the offensive to destroy the Palestinian threat, regardless of what the rest of the world thinks.

Posted by: Steve at September 13, 2003 01:49 PM

Israel isn't the only nation which has built a wall to keep out people for various reasons.

There is a wall along parts of the Texas-Mexico border.
http://www.nationalreview.com/robbins/robbins080103.asp

Head Heeb posted about some African country building a wall to keep out people from the country next door which keep invading and massacreing them (I searched but can't find the link).

Same thing in eatern Europe, again I forget which countries are doing it.

But somehow only Israel's wall is a "ghetto," is a horrible example of "apartheid."

Clearly you know nothing about the history of the ghetto - its purpose was to wall Jews in, to keep them from interacting with the society in which they lived, to curtail their freedom. If anything is "ghettoizing" Israel, it's the boycott attempts and Israel's singular status at the UN, caused by the Arab bloc refusing it regional membership.

Meanwhile Israelis are not "ghettoizing " themselves - they travel, join international scientific projects, make international business deals, run humanitarian projects all over the world, etc. In fact, they are very worldly and much less ghettoized than the average citizen of Arab states.

Also the wall would not "encircle" the Palestinians. The West Bank has a long border with Jordan - Israel is not in charge of that border.

Posted by: Yehudit at September 13, 2003 05:57 PM

I think the best strategy to acheive peace for both sides is to get a Palestinian leadership that is honest and committed to peace.

To get there involved looking at all possible outcomes and covering all your bases.

Israel should look at who will replace Arafat when he dies. If a duplicitous terrorist thug, or former negotiator or diplomat with a record of lying and propaganda, were elected, it would mean more of the same - violence, incitement, failed negotiations.

If Israel waits for one of these characters to become head of the PA after Arafat's death and then gives him a 1-year "last" chance (as they always do under pressure from America), then they will realise they are stuck in the same cycle. Removing the new Palestinian leader through force will look pretty bad and be bad PR, even if he has a history of terrorism (like Arafat).

So Israel should knock off or arrest these cronies that will be likely successors in the present, and they should make public announcements about how they all had ties to terror groups.

Posted by: Jono at September 13, 2003 06:49 PM

The wall: It was Botswana - Jonathan had another post about it, which isn't working, but here's the original:
http://headheeb.blogmosis.com/archives/015497.html

The problem is that people are fleeing Zimbabwe by the thousands and heading for Botswana, which can't absorb them.

Posted by: Yehudit at September 13, 2003 07:40 PM

So Israel should knock off or arrest these cronies that will be likely successors in the present, and they should make public announcements about how they all had ties to terror groups.

Totally. It is Israel's moral right to decide the leadership of the Palestinian people through unaccountable assassination. Over time, a process of natural selection will kick in, with "peacability" determining "fitness." As a matter of fact, the genetic and/or cultural predisposition of Arab cultures toward using violence to solve problems will likely be culled to some extent. Best idea I've heard in years.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 13, 2003 09:46 PM

There will never be peace so long as Arafat is alive. Unless he has a terminal illness, he should be killed sooner rather than later.

The Pals are already up to their eyeballs in martyers. Whats one more? Could Arafat possibly be more dangerous dead than he is now? I doubt it. The propaganda machine is already cranking at full capacity.

There will be bad press for a week, but Arafat will be dead forever. Imagine how much better off we would be now, "martyr" propaganda and all, if Arafat had been killed a year ago.

Posted by: R C Dean at September 14, 2003 05:07 AM

No trial. The trial becomes a fucking circus with all the wacko fucking left wing papers, organizations and pundits having a veritable field day. CNN and MSNBC already sharpen up their preprinted press releases of its all about -
"A war between "old warriors", Arafat and Sharon and both need to be removed for 'peace'."

Note, it won't be about all the Arabs, Americans and g-d forbid innocent Jews he's killed, only about their self publicized lies/views.

At the next attack, Arafat dies. Israel's put the world and the US on notice. It'll happen.

THIS IS IT. I HOPE.

Posted by: Mike at September 14, 2003 01:30 PM

Kimmitt,
Nice use of sarcasm, but I take it that you oppose Israel removing Arafat's underlings who have ties to terrorism simply because Israel does not have the "moral right" to determine Palestinian leadership.

Thats a nice sentiment, and it might ring true if the Palestinians had a democratically elected leadership. It might even have some merit if the Palestinians had a seperate state with defined borders.

In 10 years, there has only been one election held and surprise surprise, the only opponent running against Arafat was an elderly grandmother who stole maybe 1% or 2% of the votes from him.

Israel has no less "moral" right to remove Arafat then the US did to remove Saddam. The two main differences being:

1) Arafat has the support of the international community and not a single UN resolution objecting to his sham elections, funding of terror and commitment to violence and incitement.

2) Israel could remove him easily, without waging a full scale war as was the case in Iraq.

Posted by: Jono at September 14, 2003 07:40 PM

In this Brave New World, a mere accusation of ties to terrorist groups is enough to merit assassination. To hell with due process, trials, or even the barest modicum of protections against arbitrary State actions! We've got terrorists to beat, and this pussyfooted liberal whining about the Rule of Law just gets in the way.

What do they think they're defending, liberty? Pshaw. Liberty's for when there are no threats whatsoever to life or limb; so long as there exists a single person in the world who wishes the US or Israel harm, there can be no concessions to liberty from the standpoint of security.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 14, 2003 10:56 PM

Kimmitt, giving you the benefit of the doubt, are you attempting to make the claim that Arafat has only "a mere accusation of ties to terrorist groups"?

Posted by: Phil Smith at September 15, 2003 09:37 AM

Now I finally understand the heavily used concept of straw man. Kimmit sets one up, knocks him down with a blistering attack of sarcasm, then calls it a day. All the while he has completely failed to address what the realities actually are and what people actually think or do.

Posted by: Christopher Luebcke at September 15, 2003 10:03 AM

Of course not; Arafat's ties to terrorist activity are more or less unimpeachable. I continue to refer to Jono's post regarding Israel's appropriate action.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 15, 2003 11:17 AM

Clipping the relevant part of jono's post: "...I take it that you oppose Israel removing Arafat's underlings who have ties to terrorism..."

Our host has done a good job of detailing some of Arafat's underling's ties to terrorism. Nowhere does jono advocate assassinating individuals who are merely suspected of ties to terrorism, or merely accused of ties to terrorism. Luebcke's right, I'm afraid; this latest of yours is simply another straw man.

Posted by: Phil Smith at September 15, 2003 11:30 AM

The implication that intelligence regarding ties to terrorist organizations is unimpeachably correct at all times flies in the face of reality. Government intelligence agencies make errors. They sometimes get vendettas. This whole "people who are suspected of having a connection to a terrorist acts have no civil, human, or other rights whatsoever" meme is horrifying to me.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 15, 2003 12:49 PM

people who are suspected of having a connection to a terrorist acts have no civil, human, or other rights whatsoever

Once again, it seems like you're reacting to something that doesn't actually exist. Can you cite an example that demonstrates a state actor--Israel, the US, whoever--acting or even speaking in a manner that remotely resembles the statement quoted above?

Posted by: Christopher Luebcke at September 15, 2003 02:22 PM

Jose' Padilla.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 15, 2003 04:56 PM

The Padilla case is a disgrace. However, he wasn't assasinated. And I don't believe that his fundamental human rights have been violated (at least not those that we would also include as civil rights). I also don't think that the Padilla case bears at all on the question of Arafat.

Posted by: Christopher Luebcke at September 15, 2003 09:00 PM

Ahmed Hijazi.

I am having a hard time figuring out what rights are more basic than those associated with being charged with a crime before detention by the State. We haven't quite gotten to "life," but we've certainly hit gross violations of "liberty and pursuit of happiness."

And this is just the stuff we know about; there is no reason to believe that these are the only incidents which are offensive to liberal values. There is a belief that anyone with a tie to terrorism has no civil or human rights. That belief has been put into practice by the US government on two high-profile occasions which I have just mentioned. I made my statement; you asked for support; I provided it.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 15, 2003 10:18 PM

Well said, Kimmit -- though I don't believe you've really articulated how you think Israel should make itself secure against Pali terrorists. It's OK to sarcastically, but all too accurately, describe the bloodlust of those who seek justice. (Like me.) (In general, IN-justice is the main justification for violence.)

But do you think Israeli-Pali peace will come sooner with Arafat alive, or dead? I must admit to believing peace comes sooner with him dead.

Does that justify his assasination/ execution? (Would I order it if I were Sharon?) Sigh; I don't know (nobody ever knows all the details -- about the future). Mike suggested that, at the next suicide-murder attack, Arafat gets it (I think this what he meant). I kinda like that.
I could also see a single big bomb/ missile on Arafat's compound that maybe gets him, maybe not.

Personally, I return to thinking that a new declaration of war by Israel against the PA and Hamas and Islamic Jihad and a city by city occupation/ house search AND property rights register might be the best of what is achievable.

Israel needs to have some police force to protect Palis that want peace from other Palis who want terror war, it's not clear how to get this.

Possibly paying Arab-Israelis LARGE amounts to help translate/ occupy/ administer the West Bank?

Posted by: Tom Grey at September 16, 2003 01:45 AM



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Essays

Terror and Liberalism
Paul Berman, The American Prospect

The Men Who Would Be Orwell
Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

Looking the World in the Eye
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

In the Eigth Circle of Thieves
E.L. Doctorow, The Nation

Against Rationalization
Christopher Hitchens, The Nation

The Wall
Yossi Klein Halevi, The New Republic

Jihad Versus McWorld
Benjamin Barber, The Atlantic Monthly

The Sunshine Warrior
Bill Keller, The New York Times Magazine

Power and Weakness
Robert Kagan, Policy Review

The Coming Anarchy
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

England Your England
George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn