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Author Topic: When self-defense is labeled as "immoral"
Lisa
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I wish it was April 1. I could maybe understand this if it was.

In today's Jerusalem Post, I read the following:
quote:
In a briefing to journalists late on Monday, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz addressed the issue of ongoing Palestinian Kassam rocket attacks against Israeli towns and cities.

In the past week alone, Palestinian rockets have hit the western Negev, Kibbutz Nir Am, Kibbutz Nahal Oz, and Highway 34 near Sderot, and the terrorists are said to be perfecting missiles with an even longer range.

"In order to deal with the Kassams," Halutz said, "we would need to breach various constraints that we have imposed upon ourselves, moral constraints and others, that we do not wish to breach, and I do not recommend that we do so." The chief of staff later explained that he was referring to more aggressive counterterror operations designed to stop the rocket launchings against Israel, as these would inevitably harm innocent Palestinian civilians.

I can only cry at such misplaced "mercy".
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smitty
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Well, the media portray such retaliations as attacking peaceful Palestinians, not the ones doing the rocket attacks. Not stating an opinion, just the way it comes across.
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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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I respect the care he is showing for the innocent Palestinians who would be killed. It's tough work to respect individual lives, and it's easy to lump the slaughtered innocents into a catagory of collateral damage, dying for the greater good.

Even if you don't agree, starlisa, you don't have a little bit of respect for his position?

[ January 11, 2006, 06:40 PM: Message edited by: Irami Osei-Frimpong ]

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Rakeesh
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Then your solution is...what, exactly?

It's very easy to applaud this respect for individual lives, but at some point the question will remain the same but the answer will be different. At what point do the individual Israeli lives count for as much as the lives of the Palestinians terrorists are using to shield themselves?

In other words, if this goes on long enough, eventually the ratio of Israelis killed by these missile attacks will equal and then exceed the number of Palestinians who would be killed to stop these missile attacks.

I don't have a lot of respect for answers that blithely ignore such obvious considerations in favor of the moment.

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Pelegius
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That answer becomes much clearer when you refuse to think of Palestinian lives and Israeli lives and learn to think of human lives.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Irami Osei-Frimpong:
I respect the care that he is showing for the innocent Palestinians that would be killed. It's tough work to respect individual lives, and it's easy to lump the slaughtered innocents into a catagory of collateral damage, dying for the greater good.

Even if you don't agree, starlisa, you don't have a little bit of respect for his position?

Um... not really. He's the head of the Israeli army. His first priority has to be protecting the lives of the people he works for.

I suspect that if he spent less time worrying about Palestinian casualties in cases like this, the Palestinian civilians might make some attempt to curb the ones firing the rockets.

Of course, that could be naive. Maybe they wouldn't do any such thing, since there doesn't appear to be any sign at all that they oppose firing rockets at innocent civilians. In fact, they seem to applaud such actions. In which case, I can't fathom concerning ourselves with their welfare. Particularly if it puts us at risk.

Imagine you're the army commander. Do you want to explain to the mother of a 2 year old girl who was killed by a rocket that you could have taken out the rocket emplacement, but you were worried that "innocent" Palestinians (who are dancing in the streets now celebrating the death of the 2 year old "oppressor") might have gotten hurt?

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Pelegius:
That answer becomes much clearer when you refuse to think of Palestinian lives and Israeli lives and learn to think of human lives.

The value of a human life is different when you're talking about attackers and their supporters on the one hand, and victims on the other.
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Sterling
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quote:
I suspect that if he spent less time worrying about Palestinian casualties in cases like this, the Palestinian civilians might make some attempt to curb the ones firing the rockets.

Of course, that could be naive. Maybe they wouldn't do any such thing, since there doesn't appear to be any sign at all that they oppose firing rockets at innocent civilians. In fact, they seem to applaud such actions. In which case, I can't fathom concerning ourselves with their welfare. Particularly if it puts us at risk.

Since, of couse, there's no danger for a civilian in tring to stop an aggressive armed person from firing a rocket.

Nor any danger of having the more radical and violent members of your faction think you a traitor.

[Roll Eyes]

Jeez, damned if you do...

Not all Palestinians celebrate the death of innocent Israelis, any more than the opposite.

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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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quote:
Then your solution is...what, exactly?
It depends.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
That answer becomes much clearer when you refuse to think of Palestinian lives and Israeli lives and learn to think of human lives.
This line of thinking can never become the primary line for a military commander.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
I suspect that if he spent less time worrying about Palestinian casualties in cases like this, the Palestinian civilians might make some attempt to curb the ones firing the rockets.

Of course, that could be naive. Maybe they wouldn't do any such thing, since there doesn't appear to be any sign at all that they oppose firing rockets at innocent civilians. In fact, they seem to applaud such actions.

At least you're consistent, Lisa. I'd hate to think that you recognized the humanity and independence of your self-described enemies for even a second.
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Enigmatic
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quote:
I suspect that if he spent less time worrying about Palestinian casualties in cases like this, the Palestinian civilians might make some attempt to curb the ones firing the rockets.

Of course, that could be naive. Maybe they wouldn't do any such thing, since there doesn't appear to be any sign at all that they oppose firing rockets at innocent civilians. In fact, they seem to applaud such actions. In which case, I can't fathom concerning ourselves with their welfare. Particularly if it puts us at risk.

There doesn't seem to be any sign at all that you oppose killing innocent civilians either. In fact, the whole point of starting this thread seems to be criticizing someone for being opposed to killing innocent civilians.

--Enigmatic

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Lyrhawn
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Or just another excuse to vent yet another incarnation of starLisa's rhetoric.
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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
That answer becomes much clearer when you refuse to think of Palestinian lives and Israeli lives and learn to think of human lives.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This line of thinking can never become the primary line for a military commander.

Really?
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Lyrhawn
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A smart military commander would be aware of the potential fallout for the civilians under his care when taking actions against the civilians of his enemy.

In other words, attacking Palestinian civilians will have deadly reprecussions for Israeli civilians. Though in the past the ratio has always been many more dead Palestinians than dead Israelis, it ends up being something of a wash when the deaths cause more Palestinians to join the cause.

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Puppy
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Terrorism is primarily a political tool, not a military tool. It isn't used to achieve battlefield victories, but to effect political change by intimidating leaders into giving in to you out of fear.

So you can win all the military victories you want against terrorists but if you lose the political war, you have still lost. It sounds like this leader gets it. Firing through the human shields at the terrorists might kill some terrorists and make a lot of noise, but in the end, it would serve the terrorists' political purposes, not the Israelis'.

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Tresopax
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quote:
He's the head of the Israeli army. His first priority has to be protecting the lives of the people he works for.
Would you also agree that Palestinian militants should care first about protecting Palestinians, and not worry about the number of innocent Israelis they have to kill in order to do so?

The fact of the matter is that self-defense often IS immoral - whenever one is so concerned about protecting oneself that one ignores one's moral responsibilities to everyone else.

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Lyrhawn
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I don't know about everyone here, but I maintain a difference between self defense where you shoot someone who is pointing a gun at you, and self defense where you shoot someone who knows someone who in the past pointed a gun at you.
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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by Puppy:
Terrorism is primarily a political tool, not a military tool. It isn't used to achieve battlefield victories, but to effect political change by intimidating leaders into giving in to you out of fear.

So what? You seem to forget that battlefield victories are also a political tool, used intimidate leaders into giving in to you. How terrifying is a terrorist that loses every battle?

I do think, though, that starLisa may be blaming the wrong guy. He's in charge of the military; he does not set policy. Although he is careful to say 'we' and 'us', it is entirely possible that the rules of engagement were actually set by politicians with a view to wider world opinion. As a professional military man, it would then be the general's job to back those policies whether he agreed with them or not. For all you know, he is actually a gung-ho fascist type who would like nothing better than to bomb every Palestinian settlement to dust.

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Bob_Scopatz
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quote:
I don't know about everyone here, but I maintain a difference between self defense where you shoot someone who is pointing a gun at you, and self defense where you shoot someone who knows someone who in the past pointed a gun at you.
Yes, I agree with this.

I'm sure the point will be made soon, however, that the guy who pointed a gun at you in the past is still out there, and has done it so many times before that there's no real reason to expect that he WON'T do it again soon.

To me, the ideal would be to go arrest them and have a trial.

It'd be interesting to see, for instance, the evidence against particular individuals who have been targetted for elimination by the Israelis. Even granting that it's particularly difficult to make a case against a terrorist leader (who may order killings but never actually pull the trigger), my definition of morality includes a requirement of being more than just "sure" that a certain person is a terrorist before you order a missile strike on the building they may (or may not) be occupying at any given moment.

Really, the tough part is that this situation is not subject to the rule of law, or the "rules" of war. It's something that we, in general, as human beings haven't got rules for.

To me, that's one of the reasons why terrorism is effective (in so far as it DOES disrupt the peace). Because there are no rules, the response to terrorism is bound to look like blundering incompetence.

Sadly, it mostly IS blundering incompetence, and that doesn't help the victims of it feel any better about their corner of the world either.

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Icarus
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quote:
Originally posted by Pelegius:
That answer becomes much clearer when you refuse to think of Palestinian lives and Israeli lives and learn to think of human lives.

*nod*

A flower is born, and then it blooms, but eventually it dies.

[/beingthere]

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Lalo
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quote:
Originally posted by Pelegius:
That answer becomes much clearer when you refuse to think of Palestinian lives and Israeli lives and learn to think of human lives.

Then I have to ask... which ends more civilian lives, stopping terrorists or tolerating attacks?
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Bob_Scopatz
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quote:
stopping terrorists or tolerating attacks?
Are those the diametrically opposed alternatives?

Seems to me we're discussing a particular set of methods used in the past in an attempt to stop terrorists, unsuccessfully, and comparing that to other tactics that have also proven ineffective.

Perhaps what we want to determine is which of the many strategies open to a government committed to the rule of law is the most effective.

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Lalo
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The choice was to compare casualty losses in situations where intelligence comes of a terrorist group's location, and stopping it runs the risk of harming civilians. Of course there are better methods of combatting terrorism -- gainful employment and land probably chief among them -- but the question belonging to "that answer" Pelegius commented on is "At what point do the individual Israeli lives count for as much as the lives of the Palestinians terrorists are using to shield themselves?"

And if the answer truly is a numbers game, I don't think it's unfair to ask which solution costs more lives.

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Sterling
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quote:
And if the answer truly is a numbers game, I don't think it's unfair to ask which solution costs more lives.
It may not be unfair, but it may be asking the impossible.

You might- might be able to say "such and such 'terrorist' undertook actions with other terrorists a,b, and c; these actions killed x number of people over the course of a year; presuming the terrorist would have had y number of years of continued activity, in eliminating him, we have prevented the death of (number killed * number of years activity would have continued)/ number of terrorists engaged in those activities." It's kind of brutal and cold to put things in such terms, and at least some of the figures would be utter speculation, but you could do it. I don't doubt that someone, somewhere, is probably doing just that.

But then you get to the cost of killing a civilian, and that gets even more speculative. These countries become more likely to withdraw some or all of their support, or not vote favorably on a U.N. issue, or complicate some trade issue. These ministers spend more of their time answering letters of concern, and possibly get burnt out in the process. And more to the point, These friends and family members, previously uncommitted or borderline, now take an active role in terrorism themselves. These civilians believe their situation that much more hopeless, their chances of survival that much slimmer, and if they don't actively support the terrorism, they at least don't see any reason to oppose it, since day-to-day life has become so throwaway anyway.

At the point you have to consider such statistics, I truly wonder if gut moral feelings aren't at least as accurate.

To put it bluntly, while I support the existence of Israel, and marvel at the tenacity of those who founded it, the current state of affairs generally shows all the moral high ground of a Los Angeles gang war. Yes, a lot of people are living in a siege mentality, yes, too many people close to things see attrocities way too frequently and it has hardened the people who have to make decisions. Come down to it, though, and those are excuses, not justifications.

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Lyrhawn
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I think part of the problem is the siege mentality you speak of.

If tomorrow Israel decided on an entirely new strategy, one that consisted of helping Palestine, it'd still be doomed to failure because of their preexisting mentality. Let's say they moved into Palestine and started to rebuild schools, and hospitals, and actively worked to bring food to starving areas and to boost their economy, basically helping them in a way that no Arab nation ever has, it still wouldn't work.

One guy in the back of a Honda would launch a shoulder mounted rocket into the Negev and land on a small house killing a young Israeli boy, at which point he IDF would go bucknutty and send in the Apache Longbows to eliminate the threat, which would result in civilan deaths, and then they are back to square one.

Israelis, as evidenced by starLisa's repeated posts that affirm this statement, have a very difficult time in seeing a difference between Palestinians and Palestinian terrorists. They think they are one in the same, and even if 99% of the people supported a peace with Israel, that 1% could goad Israel into blowing holes across Gaza.

And I really don't know what the solution to that is. I'm hard pressed to tell Israel to just absorb those losses, but at what point does it become a short term loss for long term gains? This struggle could go on for another hundred years, and in that time thousands of Israeli lives could be lost through a continued cycle of violence.

Could a few years of deaths, with no retribution, end the cycle and be worth it, if it meant no deaths in the future? Deep down, Palestinians realize there will always be an Israel, even if the rest of the Muslim world refuses to accept that fact (though I think they really have). Deep down, do the Israelis realize there will always be a Palestine? Probably. I suspect the majority of them do.

Israel is in a unique position to end the violence and set itself up as Palestine's benefactor and protector. They'd be doing something the rest of the Muslim world has refused to do, to try and make coexistance with Palestine profitable, safe and healthy for both sides and have it not revolve a culture of death and sacrifice. The US would back Israel in that regard, and many Palestinians would approve of a US and European backed effort, even if Israel was the one doing the helping.

It has merit, but sadly it'll never work.

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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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quote:
Terrorism is primarily a political tool, not a military tool. It isn't used to achieve battlefield victories, but to effect political change by intimidating leaders into giving in to you out of fear.

So you can win all the military victories you want against terrorists but if you lose the political war, you have still lost. It sounds like this leader gets it. Firing through the human shields at the terrorists might kill some terrorists and make a lot of noise, but in the end, it would serve the terrorists' political purposes, not the Israelis'.

There is a lot of truth in this quote. I don't agree with everything there, but I do believe that military solutions to political problems, just like scientific solutions to political problems, are easily prescribed and often inappropriate.
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Rakeesh
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I think people are ignoring my intentional use of the word primary.

As for these questions of politics, political objectives are not to my knowledge supposed to be in the purview of military commanders.

Edit: At least, not people whose sole job is a military commander.

[ January 12, 2006, 10:37 PM: Message edited by: Rakeesh ]

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Will B
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Oh, come now. Israelis don't see a difference between civilians and terrorist? If that were true, they would have carpet-bombed Jenin, rather than taking it house by house.

But I fear that in 10 years, the question of non-nuclear missiles against Israel will be moot. Whether it is depends on whether the UN will take action. That is, we're in trouble.

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Lyrhawn
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Carpet bombing Jenin would have universally united the world against Israel. They would have lost ALL political traction and all military support.

You're seeing the result of the IDF being told what is reasonably acceptable for political reasons, but the more I see and hear from people like starLisa, I wonder how many Israelis really see a distinction. I hope for the sake of Israel's future she's an extreme minority.

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Rakeesh
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It's up to you to decide, Lyrhawn, if nakedly self-serving political motivations are the only reason Israelis attempt to show restraint where civilian deaths are concerned.

While there certainly are political benefits, it might just be that the Israeli leadership places a higher priority on preventing the death of innocents than does the militant Palestinian leadership.

(Note: I'm not saying all Palestinian leadership is militant. I'm referring here to the portions of Palestinian leadership who are militant.)

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Tresopax
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I'd suspect that both place a high priority on preventing the death of innocents, yet the Israeli army simply has more options available to it than Palestinian militants. A direct war between the militants and the Israeli army would result in the militants being devastated.

Unfortunately, there is only one option available to either side that will actually solve their ongoing crisis - and that is the one option neither side seems willing to commit to: serious compromise. They will give and take, but neither side seems willing to give enough to satisfy the minimum that the other is willing to take. But this is what happens when you create a state for one religion and culture in an area where not all people are from the same religious and cultural heritage. You aren't really going to be able to have peace until either everyone from a different religious and cultural background leaves, until the state dissolves, or until that state ceases representing only one segment of its population.

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Enigmatic:
quote:
I suspect that if he spent less time worrying about Palestinian casualties in cases like this, the Palestinian civilians might make some attempt to curb the ones firing the rockets.

Of course, that could be naive. Maybe they wouldn't do any such thing, since there doesn't appear to be any sign at all that they oppose firing rockets at innocent civilians. In fact, they seem to applaud such actions. In which case, I can't fathom concerning ourselves with their welfare. Particularly if it puts us at risk.

There doesn't seem to be any sign at all that you oppose killing innocent civilians either. In fact, the whole point of starting this thread seems to be criticizing someone for being opposed to killing innocent civilians.

--Enigmatic

Do you seriously not understand the difference between attacking murderous terrorists and civilians sometimes getting hurt as a side effect and deliberately targeting civilians?

It certainly sounds as though you don't get the difference. And that, in a nutshell, is the source of the lunatic moral relativism that's being pasted onto a situation that has a very clear good side and bad side.

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Katarain
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quote:
Do you seriously not understand the difference between attacking murderous terrorists and civilians sometimes getting hurt as a side effect and deliberately targeting civilians?

It certainly sounds as though you don't get the difference. And that, in a nutshell, is the source of the lunatic moral relativism that's being pasted onto a situation that has a very clear good side and bad side.

I think that sums it up pretty well.

This is a "Me, too!", "I agree!" post. Not much I have to say of my own...

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
If tomorrow Israel decided on an entirely new strategy, one that consisted of helping Palestine, it'd still be doomed to failure because of their preexisting mentality. Let's say they moved into Palestine and started to rebuild schools, and hospitals, and actively worked to bring food to starving areas and to boost their economy, basically helping them in a way that no Arab nation ever has, it still wouldn't work.

True. We've actually done that. We pay huge amounts of money to Arab villages, and they don't pay taxes, so it's a one way street. We give them scholarships to college, and free schooling for their children. And if there are any "starving areas", they aren't under our control in any way, and going in there would be a bloodbath.

The number of Jewish Israelis living below the poverty line is enormous and growing, and it's because of the constant drain on the economy necessary to prevent the Arabs from destroying us.

quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
One guy in the back of a Honda would launch a shoulder mounted rocket into the Negev and land on a small house killing a young Israeli boy, at which point he IDF would go bucknutty and send in the Apache Longbows to eliminate the threat, which would result in civilan deaths, and then they are back to square one.

If one guy in the back of a Honda were to commit such an atrocity and the Palestinian leaders got up and roundly condemned the act, and the Palestinian media bemoaned the viciousness of the terrorist scumbag who did it, Israel wouldn't do anything of the sort.

But that's not what happens. Three times in the history of the State of Israel, a lone Israeli Jew has killed Arabs in a way that's similar to what the Arabs do to us all the time. And every time, the entire Israeli populace has gone absolutely apeshit with horror over it.

It is positively sickening that you can't see the difference between a culture that reacts to the brutal and animalistic targeting of innocents with celebrations or indifference and one which actually values human life enough to risk our own people to prevent casualties among the enemy.

quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Israelis, as evidenced by starLisa's repeated posts that affirm this statement, have a very difficult time in seeing a difference between Palestinians and Palestinian terrorists.

That's because Palestinians make it very hard to see any difference. There is a culture of support of the ones who actually carry out these attacks. Indifference is about the best reaction you ever see from them, and dancing in the streets is more common.

During the Gulf War, Palestinian Arabs, even those with Israeli citizenship, who are given the right to elect representatives to the Knesset, danced on the rooftops as the Scuds fell, and sang:

Saddam, Saddam
Ya habib
Udroob, udroob
Tel Abib

That means "Saddam, Saddam, O friend, smash, smash, Tel Aviv."

Did any of the scum who did that actually commit acts of terror? Maybe not. But you'll forgive me if I don't shed a tear when they get caught in the crossfire.

quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
They think they are one in the same, and even if 99% of the people supported a peace with Israel, that 1% could goad Israel into blowing holes across Gaza.

That's not true. If we knew that Palestinian society would fall on such a person like a ton of bricks, we wouldn't do any such thing. But it isn't happening. And I don't see any sign that they're at all interested in it happening.

They have land, now. It's not all the land they want, but it's independent. And what have they done with it? Declared the kernel of their new state? Nah. Because it isn't a state that they're after. No, they've used it as a base for making war against Israel.

Can you even imagine what would happen if Canada allowed someone to fire rockets from Canada into populated areas in the US? When someone does something like that as a lone wolf, it's maybe a crime. When they do it with the support of their nation, it's war.

quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
And I really don't know what the solution to that is. I'm hard pressed to tell Israel to just absorb those losses, but at what point does it become a short term loss for long term gains?

Easy for you to say. And I really do hope that some day you find yourself learning what it really means to have a savage population trying to murder you. That you find yourself on the target side of this kind of war. Because you seem to be unteachable with words.[/QB][/QUOTE]

quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Israel is in a unique position to end the violence and set itself up as Palestine's benefactor and protector. They'd be doing something the rest of the Muslim world has refused to do, to try and make coexistance with Palestine profitable, safe and healthy for both sides and have it not revolve a culture of death and sacrifice. The US would back Israel in that regard, and many Palestinians would approve of a US and European backed effort, even if Israel was the one doing the helping.

The most dangerous of the terrorist leaders are the ones Israel has educated. We've given them schooling, we've given them free rides at Hebrew University, and they've used that education to better their ability to murder us.

Your idea doesn't have merit, Lyrhawn. It's been done, and it's being done, and the results have been the opposite of what you imagine they would be. You need to lose the delusional thing and get a reality check.

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Lisa
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Rakeesh, things have gotten to the point where anyone not calling for the utter and immediate annihilation of all Jews everywhere is considered a "moderate" Palestinian leader.

Find me one Palestinian leader who calls for the utter repression and imprisonment of fellow Palestinians who shoot rockets at Israel and send suicide bombers across the border. Yes, all Palestinian leadership is militant.

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monteverdi
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StarLisa,

I have read with fascination a number of your, let's say 'fundamentalist' posts (i.e. the Hannukah thread). I agree, in principle, with the spirit of your questioning.

On the issue at hand I would only ask that you too remain consistent...

As you know, from your own readings, all Israelis (all Jews in Israel) are soldiers. Your distinction of civilian/soldier for the purposes of making what is merely a political arguement is disingenuous.


If you'd like to disagree of course you may, but then I would ask that you reconsider your position on how a Jew should understand Hannukah.

The moral relativity is yours. Imagine if you lived in Israel.

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boogashaga
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Perhaps instead of the "broadsword" approach, israel could utilize "the guys" and try a "sugical" approach? They have the teams, and theirs are very good, trust me. We have not seen them in action very much lately and i wonder why. Most of trhe time you do not see these missions all over the news, but their results generally are apparent,but perhaps not to a casual observer. "The guys" are one of the top counterterrorist groups around and have incredible experience agaist this particular foe. They appear to be being held in reserve for some reason. Also, the military commander noted above would generally not mention this unit or it's missions to the press in any event.
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Rakeesh
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Tresopax,

quote:
I'd suspect that both place a high priority on preventing the death of innocents, yet the Israeli army simply has more options available to it than Palestinian militants. A direct war between the militants and the Israeli army would result in the militants being devastated.
I don't understand what possible definition of the words "high priority" you could possibly be using to describe the level of importance militant Palestinian leaders put on avoiding civilian deaths. They target civilians for death and execute them in cold blood.
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Scott R
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How much of a threat are the Kassam rockets? My understanding is that they are inefficient and dangerous to fire. One news report (from NPR, I think) said that more people have been killed launching the missles than have been killed by the missiles hitting their targets.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by monteverdi:
On the issue at hand I would only ask that you too remain consistent...

As you know, from your own readings, all Israelis (all Jews in Israel) are soldiers. Your distinction of civilian/soldier for the purposes of making what is merely a political arguement is disingenuous.

See, that's the problem with getting information from "readings" and knowing things from personal experience. Most Israelis are not soldiers. Women have to do 2 years of army when they turn 18 (or maybe it's down to a year and a half; I don't recall). They don't do reserve duty. And most religious girls don't do army at all. Instead, they do national service of a non-military sort.

As far as men are concerned, they do 3 years of service when they turn 18 (though, again, that may be only 2.5 years now). Then they do reserve service until they're 55 (unless that's been lowered as well).

Reserve duty differs from person to person, but in most cases, if you do it for a month out of a year, that's a lot. During the rest of the year, only someone who has no knowledge of the reality would refer to them as "soldiers". They are 100%civilians except during reserve duty.

Nice attempt at making excuses for Palestinian terrorism, though. Sorry to make it harder for you.

quote:
Originally posted by monteverdi:
If you'd like to disagree of course you may, but then I would ask that you reconsider your position on how a Jew should understand Hannukah.

The moral relativity is yours. Imagine if you lived in Israel.

This last has just so many things wrong with it.
  • I do disagree, and I don't need your permission to do so.
  • I disagree on the basis of knowledge, which is in contrast to what you may have picked up from reading the odd newspaper article.
  • There is absolutely no connection whatsoever between this subject and Hanukkah.
  • You seem not to know what the term "moral relativity" means, because it makes no sense as you're using it.
  • And finally, I lived in Israel for 12 years. I haven't been in Chicago for that long. You might want to check your facts before making silly claims.

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Tresopax,

quote:
I'd suspect that both place a high priority on preventing the death of innocents, yet the Israeli army simply has more options available to it than Palestinian militants. A direct war between the militants and the Israeli army would result in the militants being devastated.
I don't understand what possible definition of the words "high priority" you could possibly be using to describe the level of importance militant Palestinian leaders put on avoiding civilian deaths. They target civilians for death and execute them in cold blood.
Do you see why I get so outraged, Rak? There seems to be a serious disconnect in people's minds. Almost as though they're so terrified of the idea that some people might just be utterly evil, and so they're compelled to substitute fantasies of what they'd like to be true for what's actually the case.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
How much of a threat are the Kassam rockets? My understanding is that they are inefficient and dangerous to fire. One news report (from NPR, I think) said that more people have been killed launching the missles than have been killed by the missiles hitting their targets.

Oh. My. God.

Scott, you should be ashamed of yourself for even suggesting such a thing. They're f***ing shooting flying bombs at us. What kind of a person tries to minimize that by talking about the relative efficiency of the rockets?

Good Lord. If someone mugs you with a Saturday Night Special, is it mitigated by the fact that those things are poorly made and often backfire?

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Rakeesh
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I think you're overreacting, starLisa, in a big way. Scott has not said, "It's OK because they're terribly inefficient weapons." He has asked how dangerous these weapons are because he's heard reports that they're potentially as dangerous to the operator as the target.

You're reading into that that he is saying, "Forget about it, then."

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Enigmatic
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quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
Do you seriously not understand the difference between attacking murderous terrorists and civilians sometimes getting hurt as a side effect and deliberately targeting civilians?

It certainly sounds as though you don't get the difference. And that, in a nutshell, is the source of the lunatic moral relativism that's being pasted onto a situation that has a very clear good side and bad side.

I do, as a matter of fact. Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz seems to get the importance of that difference. You, on the other hand, seem to be advocating decreasing the difference to a very fine line. You're not saying the IDF should "deliberately" target civilians, but you are saying that the IDF shouldn't be concerned if civilians get killed.

To an outside observer, your statements in this thread make it much harder to see the conflict as so clear-cut "good" vs "evil" as you see it. Or rather, it looks like Israel is trying to stay Good and you want them to not try quite so hard.

The problem with being the Good side is that you have to, as Halutz said, impose upon yourself "moral constraints."

--Enigmatic

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camus
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quote:
aggressive counterterror operations designed to stop the rocket launchings against Israel, as these would inevitably harm innocent Palestinian civilians.
This doesn't really sound like "sometimes getting hurt as a side effect." If you know that civilians will be killed and you intentionally do it anyway, that's not much different than deliberately targeting them, imo.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by camus:
quote:
aggressive counterterror operations designed to stop the rocket launchings against Israel, as these would inevitably harm innocent Palestinian civilians.
This doesn't really sound like "sometimes getting hurt as a side effect." If you know that civilians will be killed and you intentionally do it anyway, that's not much different than deliberately targeting them, imo.
It's incredibly different. Would you live next to someone commiting atrocities and do nothing about it?

Furthermore, that's ridiculous. The rockets being fired from the ruins of Gush Katif can be destroyed, and if "innocent civilians" get hurt, it's because they've moved to that area in the past month or two. It's not as though they were living there all along.

When are you going to insist on a modicum of self-responsibility on the part of the Arabs? They can't have it both ways. We keep our civilians away from military emplacements, because that's what sane and civilized people do. If the Arabs did the same, this wouldn't even be an issue. They are counting on our restraint.

These are people who transport arms in ambulances marked with the Red Cross. They do not subscribe to the humanitarian code of conduct accepted by most of the world.

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Scott R
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quote:
Scott, you should be ashamed of yourself for even suggesting such a thing.
Suprisingly, I'm not ashamed at all. You'd think I would be (heck even *I* think I would be) with my overactive Mormon guilt gland and all-- but I'm not.

Even more supringsing is the fact that I don't think I SHOULD be ashamed about posting what I posted.

Wow. I AM Mr. Apathy, aren't I? Dangit, that means Jon's going to have to change my title back on the GalacticCactus. Now THAT I'm bummed about-- I liked being Mr. Astounding.

If it helps you feel better, I give you permission to interpret my comments as a scathing mockery of Palestinian technical expertise.

And truthfully, the Palestinians KNOW that the Kassam's are ineffective and dangerous. So why continue using them? The conclusion that I reached, given my limited knowledge of the subject is that they are trying to send a political message to the Israelis:

No peace, not ever. Not even if we have to kill ourselves with our own crappy hardware.

It makes for a succinct statement of barbarism.

If I understand things, the Kassam missile attacks are not a big threat; the Israeli military knows it; the Palestinians know it. So why spend worry on it? Especially when you realize that taking away their weapons is not going to do anything to secure your country. Palestinians are notoriously good rock throwers, I hear. Will you try to remove all the rocks in the mid-east, too?

Spend more time worrying about winning over the Palestinian populace (which, oddly, cannot be done through collateral damage-- I'm quite sure of it), and protecting Israelis from serious threats.

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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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Rakeesh,

I don't that think that even a military commander need to abdicate his humanity for a more efficient result. If so, then there is something ghastly about the military.

Now is about the time where people trot out MacArthur's speech about how the primary objective of the military is to win, and that's when I say that MacArthur is wrong. If you win a war in a manner which makes a stable peace impossible to achieve, then one has won a war and failed as a military commander.

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monteverdi
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Starlisa,

Don't be silly !

I am not talking about the constitution of the modern political state of Israel, but about the Torah!
(Which, as you have insisted, especially in your Hannukah thread, should be zealously upheld!)

How can you now wear the garb of a secular rationalist? As you know, the Promised Land would always be fought for and need be defended by all the chosen.

Herein lies your moral relativity: the Palestinians are simply taking you seriously (at least as seriously as you wish Jews would take themselves, according to your Hannukah postings)--and we should, of course, fight back; but, not complain, as you do, about the immorality of the enemy!?

p.s. by reading I only meant the Torah, and not, as you intimate, the news...

Regards,
MV

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