September 07, 2004

Quote of the Day

Natalie Solent:

Once it became acceptable to a broad section of Islam (and to Western apologists for terrorism) to select Jewish children as targets it was only a matter of time before non-Jewish children would also be selected. Children are the most convenient terrorist target as they are physically easy to control or kill, and because people will concede more to save them. The only thing that stops a Beslan happening every week is the shreds of morality that remain even in the minds of terrorists. Once the taboo was breached for Israeli victims it was breached for everyone.
Via sharp new blogger Eric the Unread.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at September 7, 2004 02:13 PM
Comments

And who are these "western apologists" for terrorism? It's the same people who don't see terrorists; they see "militants" and "activists".

You've heard them on NPR, read their op-eds in the NYTimes, and visited their Left-leaning blogs. They are literally under orders not to use the term "terrorist" lest it violate their "neutrality"; lest it give credence to GOP/"neocon"/zionist policies.

Posted by: David at September 7, 2004 02:40 PM

David,

I wouldn't say using "militant" is the same as apologism. But it is a bit of a whitewash.

An apologist for terrorism is a person who says Palestinians have the right to resist Israeli occupation after a school bus explodes.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 7, 2004 03:10 PM

Michael,

they are both apologies for terrorism; they differ only in degrees.

Posted by: David at September 7, 2004 03:35 PM

I call bullshit.

I bet you can't find me a single example of a "western apologist for terrorism" who condones targeting children.

And David, since you made the claim, the challenge for you is to find one of these people who appears on NPR, in the NY Times or has a blog.

I'm happy to wait.

Posted by: Mork at September 7, 2004 04:12 PM

"they are both apologies for terrorism; they differ only in degrees."

By a large number of degrees then. Do know the difference between wording and motive.

Posted by: Stephen at September 7, 2004 04:22 PM

I wonder when Westerners are going to get pissed off enough to return fire in kind? Unless the "moderate" Muslims step up soon this is going to end much worse for them than it is for us.

What they don't seem to realize is that we will win this war eventually. No qualifications, we will win. The only question is how draconian will we have to be? Talking nice didn't work, so now we're hitting back. Next we'll use a bat, then a gun. If need be we will elect a President and congress to enforce a complete international travel interdiction on terrorist states. By the time we're ready to take such a step I suspect we'd get little resistance around the world.

Obviously that would be unfair to a lot of people and we'd prefer not to do it. But we will rather than watch our citizens be targeted. And if you want to exponentially accelerate the process the best method would be to attack a school.

Such steps seem drastic at the start of a conflict, but when everything is at stake everything is on the table.

Posted by: mj at September 7, 2004 04:23 PM

Mork,

A pretty good example on NPR involves a well-known apologist for palestinian terrorism, Julie McCarthy. She is reporting from the scene of a suicide bomb where many children were killed, and she accidentally tells the truth by calling the suicide bombers 'terrorists'; and she instantly stubles all over herself to correct error, literally clearing her throat before calling them "activists". It was quite hilarious, and pathetic.

Have a hear:

http://www.npr.org/features/feature.php?wfId=1403953

Posted by: David at September 7, 2004 04:26 PM

>>>"By a large number of degrees then. Do know the difference between wording and motive."

Yes, I know the differenc between wording and motive; and I know what their motive is. By calling somebody a "terrorist" you diminish his cause, and they are loathe to diminish a good freedom fighter's cause. So they use the term "activist" instead. See my post immediately above by the way.

Posted by: David at September 7, 2004 04:28 PM

David - you ducked the challenge - find me one who condones targeting children, as Solent claimed, and you and Michael endorsed.

Posted by: Mork at September 7, 2004 04:39 PM

Alright, so "activist" is a neutral term while "terrorist" is not. I agree, mainstream journalists should call Palestinian bombers "terrorists," regardless of connotation. Still, to think that they are apologizing for Palestinian terrorism just by using milder words is ridiculous. Not to patronize or to be redundant, but there is more than just the language when you observe what a person says.

And, if anything, the probable reason as to why journalists use "militant" and "activist" is that they're trying to be absolutely objective, which is obviously not a possible task. "Terrorist", as you say, does carry negativity. But again, if one wre to ask me about describing Hamas/Hezbollah/Islamic Jihad agents, I'd say "terrorist" would be a reasonable and justifiable term.

Posted by: Stephen at September 7, 2004 04:43 PM

>>>"find me one who condones targeting children, as Solent claimed, and you and Michael endorsed."

Mork,

Do you think it's so blatant? It doesn't have to be. I gave you my definition of apologizing for terror in my very first post--calling a terrorist a "militant" or "activist"--- and I delivered by it. I also explained the motive.

Now it's your turn. Why will the BBC call IRA perpetrators "terrorists", but when it involves the palestinians they are simply "militants" and "activists"?

Posted by: David at September 7, 2004 04:48 PM

>>>"And, if anything, the probable reason as to why journalists use "militant" and "activist" is that they're trying to be absolutely objective, which is obviously not a possible task."

Stephen,

you're close, but not quite. What they are trying to be is "neutral", not objective.

When you are neutral towards terrorism, you're apologizing for it. You're minimizing it's horror and criminality. To be neutral towards terrorism is to be unfair, not "objective".

Posted by: David at September 7, 2004 04:52 PM

Yeah, David, like I thought.

You know, if you devoted half as much energy to thinking constructively about defeating real terrorists as you do to trying to find domestic enemies to smear, folks like me might take folks like you more seriously when you claim to be concerned about terrorism.

Posted by: Mork at September 7, 2004 04:53 PM

Mork,

your turn. I'm waiting.

Posted by: David at September 7, 2004 04:58 PM

Look up the word apologist. Not trying to put words in you mouth mork, but this kind of debate is tiresome(yeah I know, tune in to a different channel).

Mork has hit on something that has been a tickling irritation for me. Except for radical religious zealots and their ilk, I can't think of anyone who has defended the actions of terrorist. This is what the term apologist implies. Euphemist might be a better word. I would be interested in seeing somebody meet Mork's challenge, based on the definition of apologist.

For my money, throw political correctness by the wayside. A terrorist is any combatant whose method is to illicit terror. So if that's what they do, call them a terrorist. "Suicide bombers" prove their guilt through their actions...so let's call them what they are..."homicide bombers" you know...murderers.

Posted by: bubba at September 7, 2004 05:15 PM

The origins of this unwillingness to name terrorists seems to lie in the Arab-Israeli conflict, prompted by sympathy in the press for the Palestinian and intimidation by them as well. The sympathy is well known; the intimidation less so.

Reuters' Nidal al-Mughrabi made the latter explicit in advice for fellow reporters in Gaza; to avoid trouble "Never use the word terrorist or terrorism in describing Palestinian gunmen and militants; people consider them heroes of the conflict."

http://www.newssafety.com/hotspots/gaza.htm

Posted by: David at September 7, 2004 05:25 PM

You've heard them on NPR, read their op-eds in the NYTimes, and visited their Left-leaning blogs.

Name one. Name one who's had an op-ed in the NYT.

They are literally under orders not to use the term "terrorist" lest it violate their "neutrality";

Literally, eh?

Posted by: kc at September 7, 2004 05:35 PM

AP calls suicide bombers "revenge bombers".

http://%20www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=7&x_issue=11&x_article=556

Posted by: David at September 7, 2004 06:17 PM

Suicide bombers strike civilian targets in Saudi Arabia and Morocco, and National Public Radio quite reasonably labels the attacks "terror" and the attackers "terrorists," but when — at almost the same time — Palestinian suicide bombers launch five attacks against Israelis, NPR reporters, and hosts, as they have in the past, virtually banish the word "terror" from their vocabulary.

http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-safian061003.asp

This is what Natalie Solent is talking about.

Posted by: David at September 7, 2004 06:20 PM

David: This is what Natalie Solent is talking about.

I really don't think so. But maybe she'll come over here and settle the argument.

I have heard plenty of people say Palestinians have the right to resist occupation, explain the acts of terrorism away because they are "in despair," etc ad nauseum. That's apologism. When you make excuses for the perpetrators or blame violence on the victims it can only encourage more of the same.

I do agree that calling Hamas "revenge bombers" is certainly getting there.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 7, 2004 06:47 PM

Michael,

and refusing to call terror for what it is because you sympathize with their cause is also apologizing for it.

There is no qualitative difference between calling a terrorist a "revenge bomber", or a "freedom fighter" or an "activist" or a "militant." They all have the same motive, and they all obfuscate the truth.

Whether it be because of "sympathy" or because of "political correctness", they are both apologies.

Posted by: David at September 7, 2004 07:12 PM

You know, David, you've done this for as long as I can remember. You refuse to make a distinction between those who sit on the sidelines in the War on Terror and the terrorists, themselves.

Those who choose to sit on the sidelines in this struggle piss me off immensely, but they're not fucking terrorists. You focus all of your anger and all of your rage on them. Ignore them. Try channeling it at the actual terrorists for a change.

Believe it or not, I get just as pissed at these "neutral" types as you do. But I don't waste my time trying to pick fights with them. When you try and constantly root out the "enemy within", you do nothing but shatter the unity focused on the enemy elsewhere.

Joseph McCarthy did more to hurt the cause of the Cold Warriors than he did to help them by looking as ridiculous as he possibly could and giving them a bad name. Sooner or later, your modern McCarthyism is going to do the same to the War on Terror. Knock it off.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 7, 2004 08:34 PM

Grant,

I didn't call them terrorists. I called them apologists. There's a difference. So re-read my posts dammit. I've backed up everything I said.

Posted by: David at September 7, 2004 08:42 PM

David...

Unlike so many others here, I'm not really taking up an argument against the terminology you're using. I could care less, quite frankly. I'm taking up an argument with your constant focus on the "enemy within" and the effect I think that has on our focus with the enemy overseas: Radical Islamist Terror.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 7, 2004 09:07 PM

Grant,

because when "the enemy within" refuses to acknowledge the problem (as evidenced by their language), it makes it that much more difficult to deal with the enemy overseas. I consider it of utmost significance they we can't even agree on the language.

Posted by: David at September 7, 2004 09:11 PM

In the end, David, we're both after the same thing. You want everyone off the sidelines and fully engaged in the fight. So do I. I'm just saying you're going about it the wrong way.

I respect these "neutral" types as much as I respect a spoiled toddler who always acts up. So how do you deal with a spoiled toddler who always acts up? You ignore them. You don't pay any attention to them at all and, sooner or later, they stop acting up because they see it's not getting them anywhere.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 7, 2004 09:12 PM

Yes, their refusal to even recognize or acknowledge the problem does hurt our focus overseas. But drawing attention to them, even if it is negative attention doesn't help either.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 7, 2004 09:15 PM

Dig through the old dKos archives. He came out and basically said that 'at least Saddam kept order in Iraq'. That's being a Saddam apologist. Just like saying Mussolini kept the trains running on time is being a Mussolini apologist. The archive is there unless he memory-holed it like his comments about how it's ok to kill Americans as long as they're mercenaries or any other differing opinion someone might make in the comments section.

Posted by: Court at September 7, 2004 09:20 PM

Natali quoted Norm Geras, about the Ma'alot murders in 1974. See http://tomgrey.motime.com/1094591226#335812

Norm was replying to John Band, who opposed trivializing the WW II Holocaust. And listed some allied/ anti-evil crimes: "Come to that, how many children did the Red Army kill in Chechnya again? The US Army in Vietnam and Cambodia?”

This is the PC sickness, that because of My Lai and the reality of imperfect American soldiers, the US Army is about on the same moral plane.

Even in Vietnam, the US soldier was (trying to be) liberator, NOT occupier. I am enraged at Kerry's Lie (1971) about this.

One of the leaders of Pali terrorism, Arafat, was awarded a Nobel peace prize. The Palis have NOT accepted Israel, nor have they agreed to live in peace / nor stop terrorists.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at September 8, 2004 01:04 AM

I have heard plenty of people say Palestinians have the right to resist occupation, explain the acts of terrorism away because they are "in despair," etc ad nauseum.

What irritates me about people like David and, on many occasions, you, too, Michael, is that you regard any attempt to explain as an attempt to explain away.

It seems to me that, even if it is factually correct that a terrorist carried out his act because he thought of himself as the victim of a particular injustice, there is no way to express that simple fact without being accused by you folks of moral depravity.

It is not enough, therefore, to condemn terrorism, but we must also deny the obvious truth that terrorists perceive the world in a certain way that makes their acts justifiable to themselves.

In other words, the only way to be moral is to be ignorant.

Posted by: Mork at September 8, 2004 01:54 AM

>>>"It seems to me that, even if it is factually correct that a terrorist carried out his act because he thought of himself as the victim of a particular injustice, there is no way to express that simple fact without being accused by you folks of moral depravity."

Mork,

Why do you feel the need to "explain" a terrorists point of view? You think we don't know their point of view? I can explain the palestinian point of view better than most Liberals can, and probably better than most palestinians can. Thanks for caring, but I don't need the help.

Posted by: David at September 8, 2004 03:04 AM

"I call bullshit.

I bet you can't find me a single example of a "western apologist for terrorism" who condones targeting children."

Bullshit was the word on my lips as I read your comment. There are plenty of western supporters of Hamas child killing. For instance Yvonne Ridley who was a candidate for George Galloway's party RESPECT has explained that killing Israeli children is justified because they could grow up to be soldiers. I'm sure there are plenty others who are less stupid than Ridley who condone it implicitly.

Posted by: R.F. at September 8, 2004 03:29 AM

R.F. - got a source for that? By which I mean a direct, first hand quotation.

Which would exclude the reactionary columnist Andrew Bolt writing that she "reportedly" made these comments, which he does not quote directly ... let alone in context.

Posted by: Mork at September 8, 2004 03:59 AM

Mork

In a word, Pacifist. It is the Pacifist who condones the slaughter of children worldwide.

While Pacifists get their PEACE the innocent are slaughtered.

The Pacifists for Peace fly blood-soaked doves.

Do you recognize what you are?

Posted by: syn at September 8, 2004 05:50 AM

syn - huh?

To the extent that I understand your comment, you seem to think I'm a pacifist. Which couldn't be further from the truth.

Posted by: Mork at September 8, 2004 07:06 AM

Mork -

You asked for evidence of Western apologists for terrorism. How about this.

Natalie Solent described the Maalot massacre, where heavily armed Palestinian terrorists slaughtered a schoolful of children.

This happened on May 15th, 1974. Two years before that was the Munich Massacre. Palestinian terrorists murdered unarmed Israeli athletes.

How did the international community respond?

They acknowledged that terrorist Arafat was their own personal hero.

"In 1974, when the UN General Assembly invited Yaser Arafat to address the body, he was the first representative of a non-governmental organization to appear before a plenary session of the General Assembly, and also the first speech to the UN by the head of a terrorist organization, responsible by his own admission for death and destruction across the Middle East. Arafat gave his speech on November 13, 1974 in his revolutionary garb with a holster attached to his hip (although he left the gun outside the hall). In the speech he bitterly denounced Israel as imperialist, colonialist, and reactionary. He recited all the familiar Palestinian claims about "usurpation of our land" and refugees. He attempted to ally himself with anti-colonialist, nationalist movements all over the globe. Arafat closed his speech with a threat to Israel, saying:"

Today I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter’s gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand. I repeat: do not let the olive branch fall from my hand.

"Even though Arafat's militant words were based on unfounded assertions and a mythical history of the Middle East, he was not seriously challenged. In fact, his speech received a standing ovation by the UN delegates, excepting the US, Israel and few others. "

....

I'd say that giving significant political power and standing ovation to an admitted terrorist counts as "condoning" the targeting of children.

I don't think you're going to find any quotes from these many wealthy and powerful terror collaborators saying "I think bayonetting babies is really cool". We're talking about journalists, diplomats and other intellectuals. They're morally deficient, cowardly and cruel, but they're not stupid.

By the way, in Munich, 1972, the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes was not considered sufficiently serious to canceling or postpone the Olympics. "Incredibly, they're going on with it," Jim Murray of the Los Angeles Times wrote at the time. "It's almost like having a dance at Dachau."

Jim Murray seems to be the only one of his ilk who doesn't like that dance.

Posted by: mary at September 8, 2004 07:20 AM

Come on, mary. Was there really no point while you were writing that post that you were struck by the absurdity of the logic you were employing?

By that definition of "condoning", you could come up with an example of someone condoning anything. For example, you could easily come up with hundreds of examples of members of the Bush administration "condoning" terrorist acts.

Posted by: Mork at September 8, 2004 07:35 AM

Mork

Quite frankly, after having read numerous comments made by you over the past several months, I have no idea what you are.

This is why I posed the question "Do you recognize what you are?"

Posted by: syn at September 8, 2004 07:40 AM

you could easily come up with hundreds of examples of members of the Bush administration "condoning" terrorist acts

Fine. Come up with hundreds of examples of the Bush adminstration giving power to and standing up and cheering for an admitted terrorist. And find hundreds of examples of the administration doing this immediately after said terrorist makes threats.

Or don't. Because the actions of the Bush administration are not the point here. The point is, how was the taboo against the direct targeting of children and other innocent civilians originally breached - and by whom? When was approval shown for terrorism?

In 1972 and in 1974, there were two examples. (Note that the US and Israel didn't join in the applause.)

Of course, I'm acting in good faith here, assuming that you actually want an anwer to your question. In general, it seems that you 'argue' a point by asking for something, then when it's given to you, you say 'I don't like that.' 'don't like that either' no matter what it is.

I've played that game with many toddlers, and it gets old really fast.

Posted by: mary at September 8, 2004 09:02 AM

>>>"In general, it seems that you 'argue' a point by asking for something, then when it's given to you, you say 'I don't like that.' 'don't like that either' no matter what it is."

You noticed that too?

Posted by: David at September 8, 2004 09:12 AM

David - the 'don't like it' line of reasoning is easy to spot when you spend time with play-doh eaters.

A long running 'don't like it' argument is usually a sign that they need a nap.

Posted by: mary at September 8, 2004 09:36 AM

You know, sometimes I have a bad day at work... but then I wander over here and watch you all slash at each other with hot pokers, and it brings a smile to my face.

Thanks everyone.

Hail Eris,
Hail Chaos,
Hail Discord,
Hail Hail,
Hail Yes!!!!!

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 8, 2004 11:29 AM
A long running 'don't like it' argument is usually a sign that they need a nap. [Emphasis Mine]

I believe the current highly intelligent teenager [with or without tenure] lingo is "time out." Imposing extended sleep would damage their internal clocks and is, therefore, child abuse.

But with the rest of the exchange, I too have heard multiple comments using the "nits make lice" arguments to rationalize terrorist attacks against Israeli children based on the argument that they will eventually serve in the IDF one day. That the argument is shared by a Galwayist is no surprise.

But that argument is not going to be "liked" as shown above and is thus "Morked" from the argument.

Posted by: Bill at September 8, 2004 11:34 AM

It makes perfect sense for the international media to want to appear unbiased about israel/palestine. And if they simply call palestinians terrorists they will look very biased.

I'd say they did it wrong. What they should do is call palestinians "freedom fighters" or "guerrillas" when they attack the israeli military or settlers. If israely children are among the settlers the media should editorialise about how irresponsible it is for israelis to bring children into a war zone. When palestinians attack israeli civilians in israel they should be called "terrorists".

Similarly, when israelis make airstrikes that kill or wound civilians etc, they should be called "state terrorists". But when they kill palestinian soldiers it would be called "acts of war".

Posted by: J Thomas at September 8, 2004 12:10 PM

Mork: It is not enough, therefore, to condemn terrorism, but we must also deny the obvious truth that terrorists perceive the world in a certain way that makes their acts justifiable to themselves.

If you are going to explain why Hamas kills Israelis you must say that it is because Hamas wants to conquer the state of Israel. They say so explicitly themselves, so there is no point in denying it unless you don't know what Hamas is really about. Any person who says "Hamas has the right to resist Israeli occupation" or "Palestinians blow up Israelis because of despair" is just complete and utter nonsense.

Sure, Hamas can justify their actions to themselves. But if you're going to whitewash what those justifications are (and I'm not accusing you personally of doing this) then there is a problem. It's either ignorance or something far worse.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 8, 2004 12:34 PM

J Thomas: Similarly, when israelis make airstrikes that kill or wound civilians etc, they should be called "state terrorists".

Only if they deliberately target civilians. Find me an example, just one, where the Israeli military targeted a bus full of civilians for no reason other than to kill Palestinians.

What they should do is call palestinians "freedom fighters" or "guerrillas" when they attack the israeli military or settlers.

Settlers are civilians.

There is a huge moral difference between fighting a soldier and murdering a civilian. I completely agree. But what if the same people fight both soldiers and civilians on different days? Can a Hamas member really be a "freedom fighter" on Monday and a "terrorist" on Tuesday? That would be a neat trick.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 8, 2004 12:41 PM

By the way, J Thomas, you are an apologist for terrorism. Jewish children have been murdered in their homes on settlements in the West Bank. And you just called the people who murdered them "freedom fighters."

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 8, 2004 12:43 PM

J Thomas,

I am considering quoting you on the main page of this blog as an apologist for child-murdering terrorists since some people in my comments section have hard time believing such a person exists. But I will first give you a chance to clarify what you said here. I don't want to be unneccesarily mean. I realize you may not have meant to say what it appears you did say.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 8, 2004 12:46 PM

MJT,

Interperting another man's words is risky business at best. If Cheney is allowed language so "sloppy", that it seems to some people, that he's directly trying to sway the election through Fear, then surely someone in a silly blog can use sloppy language.

Our Commander in Chief used "sloppy" language too, just last week... he's a great intellectual cough... will you hold some random poster to a higher standard? ;-P

Toskie

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 8, 2004 12:58 PM

Tosk: then surely someone in a silly blog can use sloppy language

Yeah, I know. That's why I asked him to clarify. I sent an email, too. I'm not trying to be a dick about it. But there are people who really think it's okay to kill unarmed settlers. That isn't only terrorism, it's ethnic cleansing.

I think the settlers are fanatics and fools, but that does not mean it is okay to murder them.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 8, 2004 01:04 PM

J Thomas,

you don't have the balls to stand by your terror-loving statements. It's all hush hush.

Five bucks you don't even answer Michael's email.

Posted by: David at September 8, 2004 01:21 PM

Michael,

"I think the settlers are fanatics and fools, but that does not mean it is okay to murder them."

Hear Hear! I agree completely.

David,

You really need to relax. You'll give yourself a stroke.

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 8, 2004 01:25 PM

Michael, I am criticising other people's hypocrisy at this point more than apologising for terrorism.

No, I don't advocate that anybody's children be killed.

However, consider how many people say it's perfectly fine for israeli airstrikes to kill palestinian children provided that they are trying to hit adults.

By that logic, if a palestinian suicide bomber is trying to kill an israeli soldier, it would not matter how many women and children he also hits.

Recently an israeli airstrike killed a Hamas leader and also killed three dozen civilians and wounded over 120 others. The claim is that this is fine because they were aiming at the Hamas leader. Do you see the utter moral bankruptcy here? This is state terrorism.

Sheer hypocrisy. The israelis and palestinians are playing a deadly game in which the israelis get to make most of the rules. They aren't playing by the rules of occupation the rest of the world claims to have established. The israelis accept no responsibility for feeding or otherwise caring for the population of the occupied territory, they annex land, they bring in settlers, they do airstrikes and artillery strikes on civilian populations, they do collective punishment. The UN provides the food because the occupying israelis don't accept responsibility for feeding the palestinians or letting them grow their own food. They don't play by the UN rules.

The israelis do torture of detainees who have not been arrested for a crime, they do occasional summary executions, they do assassinations at close range and with letter bombs, mines, missiles fired from drones and from aircraft, etc. They do assassinations in neutral third-party nations like denmark. The israelis get more than $3 billion a year in military aid from the USA, some of which goes to tanks, helicopters, armored bulldozers, drones, surveillance equipment etc that they use to go after palestinians, whose total GDP is far far less.

And yet somehow the entire moral discussion here is about palestinian terrorists being unfair to israelis!

Note that the israelis put severe limits on the ability of palestinians to travel within the west bank, and strict limits on their ability to communicate among enclaves. Palestinian phone and internet access has been severely limited. If one little secret group of palestinians chooses an attack on israelis, the others don't get much say in it and may not hear anything about it unless israel radio announces it. The palestinians have been prevented from having anything like an effective government. But somehow all the palestinians get blamed for the actions of each small group of dead terrorists.

Did you know that your political beliefs are somewhat similar to Timothy McVeigh? How would you like it if the US government put razor wire around your neighborhood and bulldozed your house because McVeigh bombed a federal building and killed women and children? And they hold you responsible....

I probably shouldn't post now, I haven't had enough sleep and there are probably things that aren't written well enough, that somebody can pick at to claim that I'm antisemitic and a terrorist-lover and therefore completely wrong about everything.

The dispute between israel and the palestinians is not one between right and wrong, or good and evil. It's a dispute between wrong and wrong, and between evil and evil. It is absurd for the USA to subsidise one evil side to the value of $6 billion to $12 billion in mostly-nonsecret aid, and who knows how much secret aid. It is utterly absurd that our deficit is paying for the evil Likud regime. It is a travesty that we stand 100% behind Likud and yet we claim to be an evenhanded unbiased mediator in peace talks.

I'll stop now.

Posted by: J Thomas at September 9, 2004 12:49 AM

>>>"Recently an israeli airstrike killed a Hamas leader and also killed three dozen civilians and wounded over 120 others. The claim is that this is fine because they were aiming at the Hamas leader. Do you see the utter moral bankruptcy here?"

J Thomas,

I personally fail to see the bankruptcy there, and I fail to see your logic; you offer none; just pacifism. And pacifism is illogical and irrational. Your moral equivalence shines through, and we know that this reasoning is only used to justify atrocities by the "oppressed", never to justify the deeds of the oppressor. In other words, whatever side you, J Thomas, happen to favor gets a pass.

By your illogic, accidently shooting someone on a deer hunting trip is the same as walking into a store and shooting the butcher. No court of international law agrees with you.

War is hell, and it isn't going away anytime soon. Yet even war has rules to protect "the children". And those rules say you don't TARGET the children; which suicide bombers DO, and Israelis DON'T.

Posted by: David at September 9, 2004 07:28 AM

David,

You do realize that nothing you said was actually logical, right?

"I personally fail to see the bankruptcy there, and I fail to see your logic; you offer none; just pacifism."

You may personally fail to see something, but that doesn't logically follow that it is not there, only that you cannot see it. Your statement is not logical.

"And pacifism is illogical and irrational."

No, pacifism is a broad term which in some cases may be irrational and illogical. However, in other instances, pacifism is a very logical choice. Your statement is illogical.

"Your moral equivalence shines through, and we know that this reasoning is only used to justify atrocities by the "oppressed", never to justify the deeds of the oppressor."

This entire statement is not logical in any sense. I cannot even begin to dissect it for you. You seem bent on using words like 'we know' 'is only used', and 'never'... these words are not part of a logical discussion. Your statements are illogical.

"In other words, whatever side you, J Thomas, happen to favor gets a pass."

But, you said moral equivalence was only used to support the oppressed.... what if JThomas sides with the oppressor in some instance, would the oppressor get a 'pass' through his moral equivalence? If so, then your previous statement was not only illogical, but wrong. If not, then this statement is wrong. Either way, your statements are illogical.

"By your illogic, accidently shooting someone on a deer hunting trip is the same as walking into a store and shooting the butcher."

This is an illogical example. The Isrealis have attacked with explosives/rockets in highly populated areas. A more correct example would have been... "accidently shooting someone while aiming at a deer in the middle of Times Square during Rush Hour..." Nonetheless, your statement is illogical.

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 9, 2004 10:45 AM

>>>"You may personally fail to see something, but that doesn't logically follow that it is not there, only that you cannot see it. Your statement is not logical."

The feeling is mutual Tosk; simply because you are unable to grasp my logic doesn't make it illogical. You merely fail to grasp it. Keep working at it.

Posted by: David at September 9, 2004 10:48 AM

Truly you have a dizzying intellect, David.

There are conditions that must be met for a statement to be logical. If the statement is demonstratably false, contradictory or based on opinion, it is not logical. Logical statements are very rarely made with words like 'never'. As my old mentor liked to say, "Never is a hell of a lot longer than you think it is."

It's also amusing that your last post spews yet more illogic... note:

"...I fail to see your logic; you offer none..." - David, September 9, 2004 07:28 AM

"...simply because you are unable to grasp my logic doesn't make it illogical. You merely fail to grasp it." -
David September 9, 2004 10:48 AM

These two statements cannot exist together in a logical way. Your statements ARE Illogical.

You are writing as an illogical person, at least in these instances. This is not my opinion, your opinion, anyone's opinion... it is the simple structure and statements in your comments.

Logic isn't easy. Keep trying, one day you might get it.

I won't hold my breath though.

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 9, 2004 11:06 AM

Tosk,

great. Does that feel better now?

Posted by: David at September 9, 2004 11:09 AM

David,

I'm sorry? Were you trying to say something... I'm not really sure what your last post meant (other than "Shit, I don't have a comeback... I'd better punt and snark")

I could be wrong though... I'll blame it on 'noise' in the communication channel unless you care to clarify.

Eat it.

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 9, 2004 11:12 AM

>>>Eat it."

Are you infuriated? ;-)

good

Posted by: David at September 9, 2004 11:18 AM

"Are you infuriated?"

No, why do you think so? I'm rather amused, actually. There are occasionally very strong Right wing or Left Wing arguments that I am hard pressed to rebutt... your's, on the other hand, especially this bit on logic has been quite amusing.

...

Ah Ha! You presumed on my last line! I re-read it and suddenly realized. The full statement should have been:

When Eris hands your the Apple of Discord:
Eat It!

Sorry for any misunderstanding.

Ratatosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 9, 2004 11:38 AM

Well Tosk,

if you're not infuriated and are feeling well indeed, then that's good too I suppose.

Posted by: David at September 9, 2004 11:51 AM

bows

David, that was a well stated way to end this silly argument. Good form.

Until we next cross words, then.

;-)

Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord

and

other stuff

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 9, 2004 11:55 AM

Come up with hundreds of examples of the Bush adminstration giving power to and standing up and cheering for an admitted terrorist.

Here is one example. The Bush administration gave power to etc Allawi, who organised a terrorist organisation in iraq while Saddam was still in power. They did car bombs that killed civilians, though perhaps in every case they intended to also kill government officials. It was reported that one of Allawi's car bombs blew up a school bus full of iraqi children. But later reports stressed that the reporters did not actually know which american-supported terrorist group was the one that blew up the children, it might have been some other iraqi terrorist group supported by the USA.

Allawi has the full support of the Bush administraion as prime minister or iraq. A UN representative was supposed to choose a prime minister, but each of his choices declined to accept the position; apparently they were afraid. Allawi got to be the head of the IGC, the predecessor of the GC, shortly before the IGC announced that he was the new prime minister and the UN guy didn't disagree. The guy who was the IGC head before him got blown up by a car bomb just outside the gates of the Green Zone.

Posted by: J Thomas at September 9, 2004 02:36 PM

Your moral equivalence shines through, and we know that this reasoning is only used to justify atrocities by the "oppressed", never to justify the deeds of the oppressor.

Well, no. I am not justifying atrocities by the oppressed. You are justifying atrocities by the oppressor.

I say we have no business condoning the atrocities by either side. We have no business arming either side. It is against american interests to give israel billions of dollars to settle the west bank and oppress the palestinians.

I'm not interested in hairsplitting arguments about which is a split-hair worse. They're both extremely bad. The particular crazed individuals and small groups of palestinians who do atrocities in israel are just about as bad as the israeli government. Maybe a little better, maybe a little worse, neither is good enough for the difference to matter.

I am not a pacifist. I say the USA should fight our own wars, it is not in our interest to fight israel's wars. Given the deep divides between israel's interests as perceived by Likud and US interests, I think it might be a very good idea to stop allowing dual citizenship. You can be an israeli or an american. Choose. Similarly, you can be a palestinian citizen or an american citizen.

Until the good guys in israel and in palestine effectively cooperate against the evil on both sides, it is wrong for us to provide either side with money, weapons, satellite data, military intelligence, military training, joint military exercises, hi-tech plans, etc. israel and palestine should both be allowed to buy oil on the open market, the way we do.

Posted by: J Thomas at September 9, 2004 02:56 PM

J. Thomas -

I don't support Allawi, nor do I believe that he is in any way the solution to the problems in Iraq, and I hate to nitpick, but at what point was it proven that he was involved in the bus bombing?

At what point did he openly state that he was a terrorist?

How many Iraqi terrorist groups were confirmed to be supported by the USA. Got any links?

Earlier, you criticized the moeny given to Israel. Do you know how much money the US gives to the Palestinian Authority?

You also mentioned utter moral bankruptcy. Have the Israelis ever poured out into the streets to celebrate the mass slaughter of innocents. That is a time-honored Palestininan tradition.

Every culture has monsters. In most cultures, these monsters, like McVeigh, are opposed to the prevailing cultural mores.

In contrast, the Islamist terrorists are following a specific set of laws, their version of Shariah. These laws allow the slaughter of children and all other nonbelievers (ie. most of the world's population) They also allow slavery. These monsters are created and supported by their society.

The Palestinian constitution declares that Islam will be the state religion and Shariah will be the law. Societies that legalize slavery and genocide are, to me, more abhorrent than democratic states that use military means to defend themselves.

Posted by: mary at September 9, 2004 03:02 PM

J Thomas,

Israel is fighting it's own wars, always has. So if you're not a pacifist, and you believe the U.S. has a right to defend itself, then allow the Israelis the same benefit.

Now, if you're not interested in "hairsplitting", then don't. We already know what terrorism is, when you try to redefine it so that everybody is somehow guilty of it, you're engaging in that hairsplitting you say you're not interested in.

If you have disagreements with U.S. policies towards Israel, fine. If you disagree with Israeli policies, that's fine too. But don't pretend that targeting children on a school bus is equivalent to targeted assassination of known terrorists. They aren't.

Posted by: David at September 9, 2004 03:49 PM

David, once again you are trying to justify state terrorism.

You can say that blowing up 50 children with an airstrike is justified if the strike also kills one person that israeli intelligence says is a terrorist.

You are wrong.

If you want to say this is $6 billion a year better than blowing up a school bus, go ahead. Neither one can possibly be morally justified, except perhaps with the tired old "war is hell, bad things happen in wars" cliche.

Likud does not deserve any US support. They are evil.

Posted by: J Thomas at September 9, 2004 10:23 PM

"Earlier, you criticized the moeny given to Israel. Do you know how much money the US gives to the Palestinian Authority?"

In 2003, about $20 million. I don't have a number for 2004 but I suspect it's zero.

"You also mentioned utter moral bankruptcy. Have the Israelis ever poured out into the streets to celebrate the mass slaughter of innocents. That is a time-honored Palestininan tradition."

Supposing that this repeated media event is not staged, you are arguing that the palestinians in general are evil. This is not an adequate argument for the USA to support the evil Likud.

"Every culture has monsters. In most cultures, these monsters, like McVeigh, are opposed to the prevailing cultural mores."

In israel they are running the government.

Posted by: J Thomas at September 9, 2004 11:00 PM

>>>"You can say that blowing up 50 children with an airstrike is justified if the strike also kills one person that israeli intelligence says is a terrorist."

In 60 years of conflict, name me ONE incident in which 50 children were killed by an Israeli strike. The simple facts aren't on your side perhaps? Hyperbole is a dead give away for that.

Again, I don't care what you think of Likud. You're entitled. But terrorism is a tactic; and like pornography, I know it when I see it. No amount of Israel-hatred can change that.

Posted by: David at September 10, 2004 07:11 AM

J Thomas - In israel they are running the government

Got any links to back that allegation up? I'm sure David Duke, Noam Chomsky, the National Front, Indymedia or JewWatch has loads of them.

In fact, your entire argument is link-free. Do we, alone and through the UN, give 0$ to the Palestinian Authority?

Do Israeli laws explicity sanction slavery and genocide, as Shariah laws do? Do they legislate the subjugation of women and homosexuals?

"Likud is evil" may be proof enough for the Chomskyite/Indymedia crowd (or is it the National Front/KKK crowd - same difference), but here, ZOG conspirators are frowned upon.

Posted by: mary at September 10, 2004 07:18 AM

Mary, it appears you have not begun your lit search about the israeli occupation.

It's pure unadulterated evil. Don't trust me on this. Look it up.

This is hardly something that would need specific links from me.

What you are doing is like asking me to provide links to show that tne nazis ran death camps. If I were to claim that nazis didn't run death camps I could see asking for links, since the sites making that claim are few and far between and of course are heavily discredited.

Why don't you instead look for lnks showing the benevolence of the occupation? When you look for those you'll find the others by default.

Posted by: J Thomas at September 10, 2004 10:15 AM

I’m afraid that a reliable source supporting your claim that the occupation is pure, unadulterated evil is hard to find.

I have done research - at its worst, the occupation uses a much milder version of tactics that were used by the British when they were expanding their landholdings – settlers, etc.

Unlike the British, the Israelis did not forbid education, attempt to destroy the language or destroy the economic welfare of their occupied territories.

Do you believe that the British are pure, unadulterated evil? I don’t. Even the most hardened Irish Republican would find that comment to be a bit histrionic.

Posted by: mary at September 10, 2004 12:20 PM

>>>>"Do you believe that the British are pure, unadulterated evil?"

The anti-Israel HYPERBOLE is the first tip off that Israel is on fairly solid ground.

The simple facts of the matter don't serve J Thomas's purposes.

Posted by: David at September 10, 2004 12:34 PM

Mary, you are claiming that the israelis have not destroyed the economic welfare of the occupied terrirories?!

You have revealed yourself.

I'll just mention that the tactic of arguing "We're OK because somebody else is worse" is not a very good one. Suppose it turns out that the israeli occupation is after all worse than the british. You can still argue that everything is OK because you aren't as bad as the nazis. ;)

Posted by: J Thomas at September 10, 2004 07:30 PM

Mary, you are claiming that the israelis have not destroyed the economic welfare of the occupied terrirories?!

Economists in general agree that the Palestinian economy experienced real growth from the 1970’s to the mid-1980’s. The GDP declined during the first Intifada. The economy recovered in the late ‘90’s, and in 2000 unemployment fell to 10%.

Then Arafat started the second intifada and destroyed the economy yet again. Arafat’s communications minister, Imad Faluji, said:

"Whoever thinks that the Intifada broke out because of the despised Sharon's visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, is wrong ... this Intifada was planned in advance, ever since President Arafat's return from the Camp David negotiations,"

If you’re saying that people who have deliberately destroyed the Palestinian economy are absolutely evil, then you are saying that Arafat is absolutely evil. I can’t disagree with that.

This would be in addition to your acknowledgement that the Palestinian tradition of pouring into the streets to celebrating the murder of innocents is evil.

In general, Islamic law is more severe than the laws that the Nazis in Germany followed. So, yes, in that way, the Islamists who follow Islamic law are worse than the Nazis.

Posted by: mary at September 11, 2004 07:39 AM

Mary,

great post. It's a microcosm of the whole Israel/palestinian debate. Your facts vs his hyperbole.

Posted by: David at September 11, 2004 08:42 AM

Mary, you are blaming the israeli destruction of the palestinian economy on the palestinians.

You are blaming the victims.

The israelis went in with tanks and urban warfare specialists and destroyed optometry shops and medical clinics, they destroyed computers and phone centers. The europeans were upset that they had supplied nearly a billion dollars worth of capital equipment to palestine and the israelies destroyed what they didn't carry off.

You can try to make the moral argument that the poor innocent israelis had no choice. That the evil palestinians who had all the power forced them to do it. But if you try to argue that it wasn't the israelis who destroyed the palestinian economy, you must do it by outright lies.

Posted by: J Thomas at September 11, 2004 12:34 PM

>>>"The europeans were upset that they had supplied nearly a billion dollars worth of capital equipment to palestine and the israelies destroyed what they didn't carry off."

J Thomas,

the Israelis have been targeting infrastructure and empty buildings because they are loathe to target civilians. Yet they have to inflict pain on their enemy too. So you see, it's never occurred to you because of your myopia, but their choice of targets is humanitarian.

paleostinians, on the other hand, blow up school buses full of jewish children; but you worry about "capital equipment" and "computers."

You people make me sick.

Posted by: David at September 11, 2004 01:11 PM

"paleostinians, on the other hand, blow up school buses full of jewish children; but you worry about "capital equipment" and "computers."

I'm tired of discussing this with you, when I poke at you, your caged mind only reacts with more hatred. And I doubt there's a fourth person who's still interested here.

But here's a link:

http://www.rememberthesechildren.org/remember2004.html

They look like they aren't favoring one side or another, they just count the dead children. They list it as 6 dead israeli children for 2004 and 109 dead palestinians, so far.

I suppose you could argue that the suicide bombers are trying on purpose to kill children and the israeli army isn't. It could be argued that this makes all the difference since the road to heaven is made of good intentions....

Posted by: J Thomas at September 11, 2004 08:39 PM

J Thomas,

I went to your site and counted the dead palestinian "children." 75 of those "children" were 15, 16 and 17 years old, just old enough to creep up on Jewish communities to plant bombs, just old enough to attack Israeli soldiers with slingshots and stones the size of my fist. They are not much older than a young Israeli recruit by the way. I don't like it that they're shot, but if they were in school, instead of shielding gunment, they'd probably still be alive.

Posted by: David at September 11, 2004 09:11 PM

Yes, David. Some of them probably were throwing rocks at israeli soldiers when they were shot dead. Some were killed by airstrikes; they happened to be sleeping in the wrong neighborhoods. Some by tank fire etc. So let's throw out the 75 who were older than 14. Then it's 6 israeli children and 34 palestinian children. You want to use the 6 israeli children to argue that the 2 millioni palestinians are so morally tainted they deserve no rights.

Arguing the number is 34 instead of 109 is like the stupid nazi-apologists arguing that it wasn't 6 million jews killed in the death camps but only 2 million. It is not a convincing moral argument at all.

Posted by: J Thomas at September 12, 2004 08:48 AM
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