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Just wars– and civilian casualties

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Gaddafi
Gaddafi

Because David Samel raises important issues, and has done so in a courteous but forthright manner, I will try to answer his queries and criticisms, in the same spirit. I have nothing further to add to the Ron Paul issue—I think by now everyone’s position on the matter is quite clear—so I will focus on the broader issues: noninterventionism, war and peace, civilian casualties, American exceptionalism, and the like.

Samel begins by asking:  “Is it really fair to characterize anyone who opposed US military action in Afghanistan, the first Gulf War, Bosnia and Kosovo, Libya etc. as “simpleminded”? As Phil Weiss has acknowledged, he wrote the headline on my original post, not me, though it is also true that I did say that “Ron Paul is a simpleminded fool on 90% (at least) of the issues, domestic and foreign.”  So let me clarify my argument, making the necessary distinctions:

First, I believe that most of Ron Paul’s domestic positions are indeed simpleminded, and much worse, disastrous on both moral and consequential grounds.  That makes him a fool.

Second, he’s not as bad on foreign policy, but bad enough.  I would not characterize anyone’s opposition to the post-9/11 military action in Afghanistan, the first Gulf War, Bosnia and Kosovo, and Libya as  necessarily “simpleminded,” though it very well might be, depending on how it is argued.  Rather, I say that to the extent such opposition fails to deal with the arguments on both sides, it is, at a minimum, simplistic.  For that reason, Ron Paul—but not everyone reaching the same bottom line—is simplistic.  Bosnia, Kosovo, and Libya are close calls, with substantial arguments on both sides.  However you come out on whether those military interventions were justified, if you don’t recognize the complexity of the cases and explain how you meet the legitimate counterarguments, you are simplistic, and your opinions are of no interest—and in a politician, especially a candidate for the presidency, potentially dangerous.

Samel continues:  “Slater’s perspective clearly assumes the awful premise of American exceptionalism, that the US is entitled to take actions that would be forbidden to other nations, because of our superior military capability, our superior morality, or both.” 

I assume no such thing.  Since Samel knows and acknowledges that I opposed the Vietnam War, the Iraq War of 2003 and its continuation through the present, the Afghanistan war after al-Qaeda was defeated,  and any attack on Iran, it is rather quaint of him to conclude that my view is that the US is morally entitled to do anything it wishes.  

I would have thought that my actual position would have been clear by now: all wars, including those initiated by the US, must be judged by the moral principles embodied in just war moral philosophy.  Some wars are justified by those criteria, most are not.  This has nothing whatever to do with “American exceptionalism,” unless I was arguing that the U.S, because of its superior morality and military power, should not be bound by just war principles.  I’m sure Samel, when he thinks it over, will concede that I make no such argument, that in fact it is the very opposite of what I believe and have repeatedly argued.

There’s yet another problem with the notion of American “exceptionalism.”  In several of the cases under discussion here–the US interventions in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Libya—the interventions were far from unilateral.  On the contrary, they were not only supported by most western states, a number of them actively participated, and in the case of Libya, provided the main military forces.

Civilian casualties.  Samel writes: “Slater acknowledges that all wars cause civilian casualties. True, but isn’t that a reason to oppose almost all wars, with very very few exceptions for cases like WWII?”

I don’t “acknowledge” that all wars cause civilian casualties—that’s like acknowledging that the sun rises in the morning.  What I argue—rather, what just war moral philosophy argues—is that the existence of civilian casualties, by itself, does not necessarily demonstrate that no wars are justified.  Indeed, Samel picks the very worse case, given his position, to make his own argument:  World War II.  Why?  Because even Samel acknowledges, though in as backhanded a way as he can, that WWII was justified.  Yet, WWII without a doubt caused far more civilian casualties than any war since. 

And I don’t mean only German or Japanese civilian casualties.  The liberation of France has been estimated to have resulted in over 60,000 deaths and 100,000 injuries, not to mention immense destruction to civilian homes and infrastructures. Did most French people think the price was too high, and would they rather have continued under indefinite Nazi occupation?  Well, at least most of the French people who weren’t collaborating with Hitler.

I’ll repeat the point I’ve made a number of times: the notion that you can decide on whether a war is justified or not by asking the families of those killed takes you nowhere—unless you think, for example, that we should have asked the families of German civilians killed in WWII, including the families of the Nazis and the SS, if they thought the Allied war to liberate Europe and destroy Nazism war was justified–and then ended the war if they voted no. 

Or, take the case of Libya.  The western intervention undeniably caused civilian casualties.  Is there any serious doubt that the Libyan people enthusiastically welcomed the overthrow of Gaddafi?  Or that the price of nonintervention would have been far greater Libyan deaths and the continuation of Gaddafi’s tyranny?

In short, the existence of civilian casualties, per se, tells you nothing about the justice of the war.  Then, the complexities begin: In what cause?  How many civilian casualties?  Is there evidence that civilians were deliberately attacked, or was every effort made to minimize the casualties?  How many civilians would have died, or suffered indefinitely under tyranny (or a thousand year Nazi Reich) if there had been no military intervention?  Were the principles of last resort, proportionality, distinction, and the immunity of civilians from deliberate attack observed?  Could diplomacy have worked?   And more. 

Are you simplistic if you don’t understand the need to consider such issues in making moral judgments about wars?   Of course.

A last point.  Samel says “Slater goes so far as to say that Bush’s wars were fought with bad-intentioned imperialism, while Obama has more benign motives. But he cannot support a Democratic President’s right to military action without sanctioning a Republican’s right as well.”

Of course I can.  The issue is not which political party makes the decision, but a proper evaluation of the validity of the decision, on the merits and irrespective of partisan politics.  Bush started a war with Iraq for a number of bad reasons, lied about his true reasons (none of which could pass the just cause test), and despite the fact that his administration knew that the argument that Saddam was still seeking nuclear weapons was probably false.  Obama went to war in Libya for legitimate reasons.  And even though I think Obama should have gotten out of Afghanistan and Iraq a lot sooner, his failure to do so does not demonstrate “imperialist” motivations. 

Life is a lot more complicated than that.

A failure to recognize the many complexities and vexing issues inherent in war-and-peace issues is, indeed: “simplistic.”  Maybe even “simpleminded.”

Jerome Slater
About Jerome Slater

Jerome Slater is a professor (emeritus) of political science and now a University Research Scholar at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He has taught and written about U.S. foreign policy and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for nearly 50 years, both for professional journals (such as International Security, Security Studies, and Political Science Quarterly) and for many general periodicals. He writes foreign policy columns for the Sunday Viewpoints section of the Buffalo News. And his website it www.jeromeslater.com.

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403 Responses

  1. seafoid
    seafoid on January 9, 2012, 10:08 am

    “Bosnia, Kosovo, and Libya are close calls”

    Who facilitated the war in Yugoslavia in the first place? Who profited from it? By the time the Bosnia intervention came around the war had been going on for 4 years. Who wanted that war? Why did it have to be a war ?
    The resort to war is always a failure. It often follows economics.

    • James October 8, 2011 at 11:49 am in reply to Chaos4700

    now seems like a good time to quote smedley butler
    “War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small ‘inside’ group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.”
    In another often cited quote from the book Butler says:
    “I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”

    “Or, take the case of Libya. The western intervention undeniably caused civilian casualties”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16051349

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka on January 9, 2012, 11:49 am

      “now seems like a good time to quote smedley butler”

      There’s never a bad time to quote Smedley Butler, in my opinion.

  2. Walid
    Walid on January 9, 2012, 11:24 am

    “the US interventions in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Libya—the interventions were far from unilateral. On the contrary, they were not only supported by most western states, a number of them actively participated, and in the case of Libya, provided the main military forces.”

    You’re picking and choosing here, J. Slater. Before NATO joined the gang bang, the first hits on Libya were the 112 US Tomahawks aimed at 20 targets. Before NATO started its bombing runs, Obama got an after-the-fact Congressional approval for the $25 millions he had already spent in arming the Libyan insurgents. Saying Europeans actively participated is providing a smoke screen for the US. Are the NATO countries active in Afghanistan because they have an interest there or is it simply because they are doing as a service to the US? On Libya, when the 112 Tomahawks were launched in March, Vice-Admiral Gortner in a Pentagon briefing said: “Our mission right now is to shape the battle space in such a way that our partners may take the lead in…execution.”

    Pentagon officials also said that as the campaign evolves, U.S. support aircraft would provide airborne surveillance, refueling and radar-jamming capabilities, and several F-16s may participate in patrols over no-fly zones above Tripoli and Benghazi.

    The show was America’s all the way; NATO members and Arab allies were there for the turkey shoot and for a piece of the future action and to make the US happy. America, for a country not actively engaged in Libya was already up to $750 million in costs in the first 2 months of the assault.

    • Jeffrey Blankfort
      Jeffrey Blankfort on January 9, 2012, 9:57 pm

      Walid, I would disagree that Libya’s was America’s show while I also question Slater’s assumption as if it were fact that had there been no NATO intervention that there would have been deaths at the hands of Qaddafi than at the hands of NATO and the internecine war that ensued on the ground. That intervention was largely pushed by France, the UK and Italy to insure that their investments in Libya’s oil which had been negotiated with Qaddafi would not be jeopardized and the US, as their NATO ally, was obliged to contribute despite the reluctance of War Secretary Gates and Obama who, politically, did not need another US war at that moment.

      There has been a great deal of hyperbole about the attack on Libya being the first step in the “recolonization” of Africa and the re-establishment of a US base in the country but the fact of the matter is that outside of its oil and given its relatively small population, Libya was a minor player in the region, geopolitically, despite the meglomaniacal colonel’s best efforts and lavish expenditures to make himself “King of Africa.”

      While there seems to be no question that the majority of the Libyans supported the overthrow of a dictator of 42 years, there was a considerable number who benefited from his largesse that supported him to the end. If, as it appears, the country is headed for a civil war that number is likely to increase.

      Qaddafi, with his big mouth, opened the door for intervention, of course when he publicly threatened to wipe out the rebels, who he characterized as Al Qaeda even if it meant going “house to house, door to door and room to room.”

      As is the case with Syria,a far. far, more important country geopolitically, what began as legitimate protests against a ruthless dictatorship provided the opening for players, mostly with Western addresses and/or Western backing, to enter the struggle in pursuit of interests that had nothing to do with the well being of the country’s inhabitants or bringing them anyone other than the neocons’ version of democracy.

      • philweiss
        philweiss on January 9, 2012, 11:24 pm

        what about begin’s big mouth when they wiped out 100 people in deir yassin and hundreds of thousands fled. big mouths can be very threatening.

      • tree
        tree on January 10, 2012, 12:27 am

        Phil,

        Begin opened his big mouth AFTER Deir Yassin, and other numerous massacres, had already occurred. (And then his “big mouth” was mainly for Western and Israeli consumption.) It wasn’t the “big mouth” that was threatening, it was the murderous violence that was the threat to Palestinians, and that violence occurred nearly everywhere. And by the time of Deir Yassin, many Palestinians had already fled the Haganah, Palmach, and Irgun violence. To blame the flight of the Palestinians on one incident at Deir Yassin (and Begin’s mouth), is, to use a recently overworked word here, simplistic. The ethnic cleansing was so much more than that one incident.

      • anonymouscomments
        anonymouscomments on January 10, 2012, 3:36 am

        I think the rebels created more refugees and perhaps more deaths than Qaddafi would have; but this is an uncertain thought experiment. Alternative news sources had been reporting a flight of “black” Libyans, a mix of migrant labor and/or black Libyan nationals. Further, we have to note that MI6 and CIA were in there (in the east) at the very beginning… when unconfirmed and suspect news of “indiscriminate murder” first started being pumped. I find it very likely that without Western fingers, there would have been no armed resistance, and it would have been put down like it was in Bahrain (with even less brutality or deaths- as the violence may have only existed due to outsider meddling).

      • anonymouscomments
        anonymouscomments on January 10, 2012, 3:41 am

        Received this link today, from a trusted boston based activist…. Might put the current state of Libya in context, as there has been a media blackout on it from the beginning, except for highly filtered coverage when there was a revolution going on… I found even AJE was oddly biased in covering Libya.

        I do not trust the video as he may be a propagandist… But everything I’ve heard on Libya has been suspect. I am unsure what is up or down or what the population in the major cities really thinks/thought. The lack of coverage now, even from outlets like AJE and RT, is def… odd.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        Jeffrey Blankfort on January 10, 2012, 1:24 pm

        Agreed, Phil, except it wasn’t Begin’s big mouth but the guns and knives of his “freedom fighters” that did the trick and the word of that massacre quickly spread among the Palestinian Arab population, particularly when, in a singular sign of his inherent humanity, he had survivors of Deir Yassin dragged through the streets of nearby Jerusalem as a warning to the Palestinians of what was yet to come. Could anyone question the need for a Jewish state after that performance? Would anyone dare?

        I don’t think there was any question about Qaddafi’s ruthlessness after he had at least 1200 political prisoners murdered in Tripoli’s main prison in 1996, an event that was largely ignored by his backers on the Left who automatically defend anyone seen to be in Washington’s cross hairs. They also ignored the fact that Qaddafi had been collaborating with the CIA in the “war on terror” since 9-11 including do his part in the rendition program.

      • Walid
        Walid on January 11, 2012, 11:40 am

        “… and the US, as their NATO ally, was obliged to contribute despite the reluctance of War Secretary Gates and Obama who, politically, did not need another US war at that moment.”

        Reluctance? Jeffrey, the voice we kept hearing asking for Gaddafi’s death was Clinton’s. 25 millions on arms for the insurgents as well as on the 112 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a million each is a lot spent by the US. I was against the framing of Gaddafi by the French Zionists, the West and the Gulf Arabs eventhough I never liked the guy, his looks, his odd costumes or his incoherent talk.

        As to Syria, the militarized protest was never legitimate as Western involvement with it that financed it, armed it, provided it with satellite cell phones to phone in videos to the Gulf Arab TV network started on day 1 of the uprising.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        Jeffrey Blankfort on January 11, 2012, 10:26 pm

        Walid, Hillary is the most bloodthirsty of the lot and had she been president it is not unlikely that, Thatcher-like, she would have given the go-ahead for an attack on Iran.

        One of the reasons for some of the virulence against Qaddafi stems from the fact that Clinton, like Zarkosy, Blair and Berluconi, had become very cozy with the colonel and believed they needed to show the appropriate level of hostility in order to make people forget how chummy their relationship had become.

        Sorry, the initial protest was legitimate as is any uprising against a dictatorship of 42 years in which the attempt to exercise the rights we take for granted in the West, such as free speech and the right to publish and politically organize resulted in torture, imprisonment, and death.

        It should not be forgotten that the protests against Qaddafi were launched by the families of some of the 1200 prisoners he had murdered in 1996 at Tripoli’s Abu Salim prison when they were demanding better conditions. Photographs of the prison, after it has been liberated, make Guantanamo look like a Boy Scout camp in comparison.

        The colonel also willingly became Bush’s, then Obama’s ally in the “war on terror,” collaborating with the CIA and its rendition operations up until the time of the first protests. May he not rest in peace.

  3. Koshiro
    Koshiro on January 9, 2012, 11:47 am

    I would have thought that my actual position would have been clear by now: all wars, including those initiated by the US, must be judged by the moral principles embodied in just war moral philosophy.

    Principles usually don’t do the judging themselves. People do that. So who gets to judge? The President? Congress? The UN? You? Me? Not anybody in the countries about to be attacked, I guess?

    The issue is not which political party makes the decision, but a proper evaluation of the validity of the decision, on the merits and irrespective of partisan politics.

    Oh, a “proper” evaluation, I see. Who gets to evaluate that?

    • Jerome Slater
      Jerome Slater on January 9, 2012, 1:46 pm

      “Oh, a “proper” evaluation, I see. Who gets to evaluate that?”

      Can the efforts at sarcasm. The answer to your question is: Everyone–though of course it’s better when done in a sophisticated and honest manner. Your argument contains a common fallacy: the principle is ok, but who says it will be done honestly and in a sophisticated manner? Won’t it be abused? What about people, or politicians, who can’t be trusted to act on the principle, but who distort or lie about it because they have an axe to grind?

      If you want to see where this train of thought leads you, consider the principle of self-defense. I take it that just about everyone considers self-defense–when GENUINELY a matter of self-defense–to be a just cause to use force. Slight qualification–other than true and entirely consistent pacifists, who hold to their positions in every possible case, no matter what the consequences.

      But the “self defense” argument can also be disingenuous and abused–in fact, it routinely is. What follows: jettison the principle? Have no constraints at all on war, to make sure the constraints won’t be abused?

      So, the bottom line answer to your question is that the just war argument is exactly that–an argument. One is either convinced by it, or not. In my case, I’m convinced by the just war argument as applied to Libya, but not as applied to Iraq.

      Actually, I understate the case for just war principles. Many of them are embodied in international law, so that, in theory at least, the international court gets to evaluate arguments over the law, though not necessarily arguments over the moral issues.

      • Koshiro
        Koshiro on January 9, 2012, 2:33 pm

        Everyone–though of course it’s better when done in a sophisticated and honest manner.

        Really? Everyone? If the majority of the people on this planet thought that a prospective war was unjust, the US would go along with that? When has that ever happened?
        You’re trying to establish self-defense as an analogy. So when somebody shoots another person and says it was self-defense, do we just take his word for it? No, we don’t. So why should we do so in cases of aggressive war?

        Just FYI: My question were not sarcastic at all, they were very serious. And obviously “everyone” is not the answer. Who should in your opinion have the real power to declare a war “just” and therefor intervene in foreign conflicts, internal or international?

        So, the bottom line answer to your question is that the just war argument is exactly that–an argument. One is either convinced by it, or not. In my case, I’m convinced by the just war argument as applied to Libya, but not as applied to Iraq.

        If all your considerations of just war are merely intellectual exercises to be applied ex post facto, but don’t have any real consequences anyway, then I don’t see the point. And I don’t see why one would be opposed to starting any wars at all. That you, now, declare the Iraq war “unjust” does not make any Iraqis less dead.

        I don’t see how you musing about how a war was just or unjust in retrospective is supposed to translate into any concrete political consequences. Would you or would you not grant the American government the right to start wars at will? And if you’re saying “only if they are ‘just'”, then who is going to decide if they are ‘just’?

      • CloakAndDagger
        CloakAndDagger on January 9, 2012, 5:50 pm

        @ Jerome Slater

        Is it your position then, that International Law is orthogonal to the determination of the justness of war and is therefore trumped by it?

        The question remains as to who becomes the arbiter of justness.

        International Law serves as a dictate for doing exactly that and is the embodiment by the nations of the world of the consensus of when a war is just.

        It is like autonomously stating that I don’t like how a certain law constrains me, so I am going to ignore it. That only works if you are the world’s only super power, but you can’t assert that it is right.

      • Jerome Slater
        Jerome Slater on January 9, 2012, 8:24 pm

        CloakAndDagger : Most of just war morality has been incorporated into international law. I am not an expert on international law, but to my knowledge there are few if any cases in which international law and just war morality have been in conflict with each other.

        If I’m wrong on the facts, I imagine a true expert will correct me.

      • CloakAndDagger
        CloakAndDagger on January 9, 2012, 9:15 pm

        @ Jerome Slater


        there are few if any cases in which international law and just war morality have been in conflict with each other

        If you concede the above, then there is no philosophical conflict and we merely need to refer to the relevant International laws to satisfy the dispute of whether a war is just or not. This takes the debate out of the realm of emotional disputes and into the realm of jurisprudence.

        Most, but not all of the International laws regarding wars were codified post-Nuremberg. By those laws, neither the war in Afghanistan nor the one in Iraq were legal, and hence not just. The one in Libya is also not legal by the same token. Going back, it is hard to find a single war since WW2 that we have engaged in that could be defined as legal. Vietnam was contrived using the Gulf of Tonkin, so legality can be circumvented by mendacity. These days, we don’t even attempt to lie – we just ignore the law and charge right in – much like NDAA ignores the supreme law of our land, the constitution.

        Most importantly, the war being contemplated on Iran is neither just nor legal. But that probably won’t stop us.

      • Hostage
        Hostage on January 10, 2012, 2:06 am

        there are few if any cases in which international law and just war morality have been in conflict with each other.

        The act of making war itself is considered a crime against peace. So the long term goal of the institutions like the UN, the ICC, and the International Law Commission is to eventually outlaw the practice. See for example the Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind and the recent consensus amendments to the Rome Statute (which include a definition of the crime of aggression and a regime establishing how the Court will begin to exercise its jurisdiction over the crime).
        *http://untreaty.un.org/ilc/texts/instruments/english/draft%20articles/7_4_1996.pdf
        *http://www.icc-cpi.int/iccdocs/asp_docs/Resolutions/RC-Res.6-ENG.pdf

        The UN Charter contains many of the conflicts between international law and jus ad bellum. It includes a treaty obligation for all of its members to settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered. Wars of choice are no longer permitted and the individual or collective right of self-defense can only be exercised after an armed attack has actually occurred. The Charter prohibits the members from employing the threat or use of force in their international relations or against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

        Regional arrangements or agencies for dealing with matters relating to the maintenance of international peace and security in the North Atlantic are obviously inapplicable to addressing international armed conflicts in Afghanistan.

        Aside from effective collective measures which can be authorized by the Organization in line with international law norms, like the Responsibility to Protect, the resort to war and just war theory is ordinarily prohibited.

        Even the members of UN peacekeeping missions can violate principles of jus in bello, so the trend has been toward the application of jus post bellum rules to investigate and prosecute violations in a permanent international criminal tribunal.

        The economic and political benefits to small states from opting-in to protection against aggression make membership in the ICC an acceptable proposition. The Court has a legislative body, the Assembly of State Parties, which can incorporate new rules of law into the Court’s Statute and none of the member states has a veto.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        Jeffrey Blankfort on January 9, 2012, 10:03 pm

        I am curious, Slater how do you view Israel’s wars, whether they were just or unjust and on what basis? 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1978, 1982, and 2006. I do not include Cast Lead because that was not a war, it was a massacre.

      • Hostage
        Hostage on January 10, 2012, 4:45 pm

        Who gets to evaluate that?” . . . The answer to your question is: Everyone–though of course it’s better when done in a sophisticated and honest manner.

        Not exactly. The United States and Israel were instrumental in establishing the principle of universal jurisdiction in the aftermath of WWII. In the cases of Demjanjuk, Eichmann, and others, Israel undertook to punish Nazi criminals for crimes committed before the state existed, outside of its territory, and in which neither the victims nor the perpetrators were its own citizens. See Yoav Peled, The American Political Science Review, Vol. 86, No. 2 (Jun., 1992), pp. 441

        Notwithstanding precedents, like the Nuremberg and Eichmann trials, both States have strenuously objected to attempts by other States to apply the concept of international criminal responsibility to US and Israeli officials.

        There are 120 State Parties of the Rome Statute of the ICC. They have explicitly granted a Prosecutor the necessary jurisdiction to initiate investigations and prosecutions on his own initiative in cases involving serious crimes committed within their own territories. The United States and Israel have objected to even that limited exercise of jurisdiction. Both States have invoked political and philosophical excuses (infringement upon sovereignty and jus ad bellum) that their own prosecutors and jurists have disallowed in cases involving others accused of crimes. For example, the Israeli Court ruled that, Eichmann being an individual, could not raise the issue of state sovereignty. See Eichmann (1961) 36 ILR 5.

        When Israel voted against the adoption of the Rome Statute the head of its delegation to the UN Diplomatic Conference, Judge Eli Nathan made a rather unsophisticated and dishonest speech. Article 85 of the First Additional Protocol of 1977 codified the prohibition against colonialism in international law. It established that the transfer by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory, in violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Convention constitutes a grave breach and a war crime. http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/WebART/470-750111?OpenDocument

        Judge Nathan played the Holocaust victim card and attempted to excuse Israel’s on-going military occupation and forced eviction of the Palestinians, demolition of their homes and villages, and establishment of Jewish-only colonies in their place by claiming that these criminal acts (associated with its illegal population transfer regime) shouldn’t be of serious concern to the international community and that they aren’t as bad (yet) as what happened during the Holocaust. http://www.iccnow.org/documents/IsraelatPrepCom17July1998.pdf

  4. Walid
    Walid on January 9, 2012, 11:48 am

    “Obama went to war in Libya for legitimate reasons. ”

    Other than for the bogus reasons propagated by the Western and Arab press, what were those legitimate reasons? From the anti-war blog:

    The Lies That Sold Our Fraudulent ‘Humanitarian Intervention’ In Libya

    http://nomorewarplease.wordpress.com/2011/08/20/the-lies-that-sold-our-fraudulent-humanitarian-intervention-in-libya/

  5. seanmcbride
    seanmcbride on January 9, 2012, 12:03 pm

    Just war theory more often than not is a branch of war propaganda and psychological operations. It specializes in pushing the masses into wars on behalf of financial elites while providing the masses with rationales to feel good about themselves. Feeling self-righteous about one’s cause improves morale and performance in the battlefield.

    In other words, just war theory much of the time is basically a con — a manipulative intellectual game played by elite sociopaths.

    The Ludwig von Mises Institute, closely associated with Murray Rothbard and Ron Paul, published some interesting comments on Michael Walzer’s manipulation of just war theory regarding the Iraq War:

    http://mises.org/misesreview_detail.aspx?control=266

    BEGIN QUOTE

    Now comes the good part. Even with his lax understanding of just war principles, Walzer has concluded that the Iraq war is unjust. What then follows? You might think that Walzer would demand that the invasion cease. If so, you have a surprise in store. Even though Walzer opposed the war, he favors its continuation, given that it is a fait accompli. “But now [March 2003] that we are fighting it [war with Iraq], I hope that we win it and that the Iraqi regime collapses quickly. I will not march to stop the war while Saddam is still standing, for that would strengthen his tyranny at home and make him, once again, a threat to all his neighbors” (p. 161).

    What happened to his point that the overthrow of Saddam was not an adequate justification for war? Once war has begun, Walzer’s commitment to just war principles, so far as resort to war is concerned, exits the scene. Walzer mocked overly rigid just-war thinkers: if one makes the standards for resort to war too demanding, those in power will not listen. Walzer contrasted his own views, wise to the ways of the world, with these Utopians. But the upshot of Walzer’s slippery standards is that policymakers will pay him no heed either. If they start a war, they can be confident that, whatever Walzer’s professed principles, he will support them if it now strikes him as suitable to do so. Walzer’s ostensible support for just war principles thus dissolves into nothing. He might better have entitled his account of the principles that govern resort to war, “Ideas Have No Consequences.”

    END QUOTE

    • homingpigeon
      homingpigeon on January 9, 2012, 10:42 pm

      Well said! A very strong argument against “just war” is the fact that Walzer could write a whole book about the concept and then shill for Israel’s wars as just.

      • Jerome Slater
        Jerome Slater on January 10, 2012, 8:32 am

        That is not correct. You certainly can argue that Walzer’s positions on Israel are inconsistent with his philosophical principles, but that tells you nothing whatever about the validity of those principles. In any case, Walzer’s work on just war philosophy is built on, as I’ve said before, two thousand years of religious and philosophical thought–meaning, it’s hardly merely Walzer’s thinking that guides just war analysis. Moreover, as I stated above, most of the just war principles, in one form or another, either have been directly incorporated or underlie the international law that governs the use of force.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride on January 10, 2012, 11:03 am

        Jerome Slater,

        Michael Walzer exposes the intellectual shiftiness that is at the heart of all just war theory. Just war theories are clever rationalizations for pursuing one’s self-interest.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride on January 10, 2012, 11:04 am

        Jerome Slater,

        When is the last time that Britain entered a war that it didn’t believe served its best interests? Ditto for China? Russia? Japan? France? Israel? Egypt?

        Did the North or the South enter the Civil War because of a humanitarian crusade?

        When we say “best interests” with regard to wars, we are always talking about best material interests — territory, resources, trade routes, profit opportunities for arms dealers, etc.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride on January 10, 2012, 11:13 am

        Jerome Slater,

        Which wars fought in the Bible were just wars? Any of them?

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride on January 10, 2012, 11:33 am

        Jerome Slater,

        I’m a big fan of international law, by the way, which is much more pragmatic and less blowsily pretentious than most just war theory, but as we can see from experience, powerful international players regularly blow through international legal stop signs without a glance. Most of the time they don’t get tickets, and if they do they can pay them out of pocket change.

      • eee
        eee on January 10, 2012, 12:12 pm

        What self interest does Jerome Slater have in Libya?
        Are you arguing by the way that no war intervention ever is justified?
        If you are against all arguments that try to decided if a war is just or not, what are you for exactly? Only going to war if one is attacked?

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976 on January 10, 2012, 1:01 pm

        The battle against Sennacherib, (II Kings 19) which Byron made even more famous, would seem, as presented, to be just, in that Sennacherib acts aggressively, Hezekiah is a legitimate ruler with a right to command resistance for the purpose of self-defence (at least after formal procedures in the Temple that he duly enacts and reasonable attempts to negotiate that he has made), there is some chance of success and there is no violence against Assyrian civilians. There are no adverse consequences in the immediate aftermath. The only unusual feature is the fighting is in the end done directly only by the Angel of the Lord. But if the defenders of Jerusalem had loosed off a few arrows we would think that this was just war.
        At least I think that that would be the judgement of common sense – and in these cases the traditional Just War theory gives a fairly articulate form to common sense. The danger with common sense – and thus with theories close to common sense – is that it is prone to overconfidence about our side and our cause. I would say that even in cases rather like IIK 19 we should always pause and pause again to ask what the set of consequences really is likely to be. It’s not always that easy to identify or to evaluate them, even much later. Are all the consequences of the decision for war in 1914 fully recognised, even now, let alone the consequences of the Iraq invasion? Even IIK 20 refers to unintended consequences in that Hezekiah’s policy encourages the Babylonians rather too much.
        The first battle of the Bible, in Genesis 14, shows us some of the ambiguities that surround the idea of ‘defence’ and ‘alliance’. Abram intervenes to rescue his kinsman Lot, and this was a world that valued kinship – but he had parted from Lot not quite on the best of terms and without promising to defend him. His action is approved by Melchizedek, the highest available religious authority and so the UN of his time, but only in retrospect – is that enough?
        The conclusion I would draw is that the decision for war should always be attended by doubt and never (not even WW2) regarded as obviously right, with no room for doubt, in present or in past.
        I think there should be more weight on reasonably predictable rather than simply on intended consequences.

      • Hostage
        Hostage on January 11, 2012, 1:59 am

        If you are against all arguments that try to decided if a war is just or not, what are you for exactly? Only going to war if one is attacked?

        Of course, that is a treaty obligation that all of the members of the United Nations, including the United States and Israel have undertaken. The President and the Senate ratified that multilateral agreement and it is part of the supreme law of the land. The Charter does permit collective action, when properly authorized by the UN organization, for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression.

        There is the new international law norm regarding the Responsibility to Protect, but that doesn’t depend upon self-help efforts from the victims. So the case in Libya is an unlikely example. The UN Security Council mandate literally prohibited humanitarian intervention there by ground forces to prevent civilian casualties. As a result, Libya was simply an example of the Organization taking sides in a civil war that was waged on the territory of one of its member states in order to assist the insurgent forces, i.e. collective action to remove a threat to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on January 11, 2012, 8:00 am

        If you are against all arguments that try to decided if a war is just or not, what are you for exactly? Only going to war if one is attacked?

        Of course, that is a treaty obligation that all of the members of the United Nations, including the United States and Israel have undertaken. The President and the Senate ratified that multilateral agreement and it is part of the supreme law of the land.

        But it is just a treaty and, as such, cannot alter the powers set out in the Constitution. Since there is no limitation in the Constitution limiting Congress’s power to declare war or the President’s powers as Commander in Chief, no treaty can limit those powers. The Congress and the President can choose to follow the treaty, but as a matter of law, they cannot limit the power granted by the Constitution.

      • richb
        richb on January 11, 2012, 10:41 am

        I can only think of one. Hezekiah’s defense of Jerusalem from Sennacharib’s invasion. As I stated in a previous comment archeological evidence has shown that only the rich were taken into exile. There was evidence of invasion and destruction only in the rich quarter. The poor were also leaving on their own starting a century previous to the Babylonian attack. The evidence also marked a guilded age with extreme inequality. This gives context of the prophets who blamed exile on how the poor were treated by the rich and as it turns out only the rich went into exile. For example note this from Ezekiel:

        As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, your sister Sodom and her daughters never did what you and your daughters have done.

        “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen. Samaria did not commit half the sins you did. You have done more detestable things than they, and have made your sisters seem righteous by all these things you have done. Bear your disgrace, for you have furnished some justification for your sisters. Because your sins were more vile than theirs, they appear more righteous than you. So then, be ashamed and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous.

        “‘However, I will restore the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters and of Samaria and her daughters, and your fortunes along with them, so that you may bear your disgrace and be ashamed of all you have done in giving them comfort. And your sisters, Sodom with her daughters and Samaria with her daughters, will return to what they were before; and you and your daughters will return to what you were before.

      • dahoit
        dahoit on January 11, 2012, 12:03 pm

        He hated Khaddafi because ColK backed the Palestinians(then at least)and had a history of anti Israel behavior.Problem solved.(plus he had lot of dough to send to Israeli self made enemies.)
        But you know that,right?

      • dahoit
        dahoit on January 11, 2012, 12:12 pm

        That’s right,every one of these treaties which take away American sovereignty are unConstitutional,from Nafta,to Cafta,to NATO,to the WTO,to just about any one of these criminal corporate enrichment schemes at our expense.
        And notice how we are doing after all these criminal deals?We meaning the common American people,not the corporates,who are doing just fine,thank you very much.

      • Hostage
        Hostage on January 11, 2012, 2:20 pm

        But it is just a treaty and, as such, cannot alter the powers set out in the Constitution.

        That proposition contains three fallacies a) The people cannot, and did not, make a textual delegation of power in the Constitution for their representatives or officials to commit high crimes and misdemeanors or offenses against the law of nations; b) The UN Charter is not merely a treaty; c) there is a recognized right of belligerents to prosecute individuals, including government officials, who wage wars in violation of international treaties. See for example Articles 227-228 of the Treaty of Versailles and Article 6(a) of the Charter of the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal
        *http://wwi.lib.byu.edu/index.php/Articles_227_-_230
        *http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/imtconst.asp#art6

        Treaties are only binding on the contracting States. The UN Charter, represented a codification of jus gentium, i.e. the law of nations, and it contains a commitment in Article 2(6) to enforce those rules on non-member States. See also Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

        Unlike conventional international law, the rules of customary international law dealing specifically with the underlying principles of right and justice among nations have always been part of the common law of the United States. Violations are recognized as causes of action in both the Article II and Article III US Courts (military tribunals, courts of impeachment, and the federal courts) . See for example Sosa V. Alvarez-Machain (03-339) 542 U.S. 692 (2004) http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/03-339.ZS.html

        Waging aggressive war, or filibustering, has been illegal since 1794 when the Congress of the United States adopted the first Neutrality Act. It defined the setting on foot of a military expedition from American territory against a friendly or neutral country as an offense against the law of nations. Cases like Little v. Barreme, 6 U.S. 2 Cranch 170 170 (1804), established beyond any doubt that neither the President nor the military were exempt from the rule of law and that obeying unlawful orders issued by a superior officer is no defense. When Vice President Burr subsequently attempted to maneuver the nation into war, impeachment proceedings were undertaken.

      • Hostage
        Hostage on January 11, 2012, 2:46 pm

        That’s right,every one of these treaties which take away American sovereignty are unConstitutional

        Article 4, clause 2 indicates otherwise: This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.

        The Congress has the power to both define offenses against the law of nations and to prescribe the punishment for those offenses. It has done that using both statutes and treaties. By the late 19th century there were conscious efforts to use treaties to codify the pre-existing laws and customs of war which were considered binding on all nations. In some cases, like the Conference on UN Organization in San Francisco, members of Congress not only adopted joint resolutions expressing the sense of both bodies, they attended and participated in the committees that drafted the provisions against the threat or use of force that were contained in the Charter of the new Organization.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on January 11, 2012, 3:24 pm

        “That proposition contains three fallacies ”

        No, it doesn’t.

        First, the UN Charter is simply a treaty, in that it cannot limit the powers deligated under the Constitution by its terms. Whether it attempts to be other things is irrelevant to the point I am making.

        As for the remainder of your argument, they are subsumed in the expression: “the powers set out in the Constitution.” The power to do illegal things are, clearly, not among “the powers set out in the Constituion.”

        Finally, I would note that there is a difference between opposing the “waging agressive war” and “only going to war if one is attacked.”

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976 on January 11, 2012, 3:54 pm

        Is the United States forbidden to make promises that other countries can trust?

      • LanceThruster
        LanceThruster on January 11, 2012, 3:58 pm

        @seanmcbride – January 10, 2012 at 11:33 am

        Excellent observations, as with the handwringing over a nuclear free ME while totally ignoring the reality of Israel’s non-acknowledged nukes.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on January 11, 2012, 4:03 pm

        “Is the United States forbidden to make promises that other countries can trust?”

        No, it is simply forbidden to make promises that go against the Constitution.

      • Hostage
        Hostage on January 11, 2012, 10:54 pm

        First, the UN Charter is simply a treaty in that it cannot limit the powers deligated under the Constitution by its terms.

        I didn’t say that it did. I said that it reflected the laws of nations, which are specifically cited in the textual delegation contained in the Constitution itself.

        You haven’t provided any references to support the idea that the prohibitions on the threat or use of force contained in the UN Charter, the Kellogg-Briand pact, or the Hague and Geneva Conventions contradict the terms of the U.S. Constitution in any way. It is axiomatic that the Constitution didn’t contain any delegation of power to commit high crimes and misdemeanors or offenses against the law of nations – including the offense of waging wars in violation of international treaty agreements. The Executive and Legislative branches have authorized, funded, and staffed Article II military courts, like the US Nuremberg Military Tribunals (NMT), to prosecute that particular offense under the provisions of the old Articles of War and the newer provisions of the UCMJ.

        In Reid v Covert the Supreme Court struck down a status of forces agreement between the US and UK and ruled that treaties, like statutes, have to comply with the terms of the Constitution. So, a treaty can’t be a little unconstitutional. The Court has never ruled that the UN Charter, the Hague & the Geneva Conventions, & etc are unconstitutional.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on January 12, 2012, 11:09 am

        “I didn’t say that it did. I said that it reflected the laws of nations, which are specifically cited in the textual delegation contained in the Constitution itself.”

        By what your statement, which you made in response to mine, is irrelevant to the point I was actually making.

        “You haven’t provided any references to support the idea that the prohibitions on the threat or use of force contained in the UN Charter, the Kellogg-Briand pact, or the Hague and Geneva Conventions contradict the terms of the U.S. Constitution in any way.”

        I didn’t say that they contradict the terms of the US Constitution. All I was saying is that no treaty which purported to do so would be constitutional. If there were, say, a treaty which suggested that the Congress could not declare war without first getting a UN resolution, even if the US agreed to that treaty, the Congress is not bound by that provision. It could still exercise its prerogatives under the Constitution, even if the treaty purports to limit the exercise of those prerogatives.

      • Hostage
        Hostage on January 13, 2012, 9:30 am

        If there were, say, a treaty which suggested that the Congress could not declare war without first getting a UN resolution, even if the US agreed to that treaty, the Congress is not bound by that provision. It could still exercise its prerogatives under the Constitution, even if the treaty purports to limit the exercise of those prerogatives.

        The Congress has never “declared war” since it ratified the UN Charter. Obviously if the Congress thinks it has the prerogative to wage wars in violation of that international treaty and customary norms something else must still be greatly limiting their decision making powers.

  6. Exiled At Home
    Exiled At Home on January 9, 2012, 12:43 pm

    For someone railing about the “simplicity” of non-interventionalism, Jerome Slater’s understanding of the motivating factors for intervention of Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, etc. is astoundingly simplistic. That he accepts the fairy-tale that is “humanitarian intervention,” is illustrative of just how simple, just how niave and infantile his mind truly is. Someone give this man a bottle.

    • on January 9, 2012, 1:19 pm

      I truly agree with your opinion , Exiled at Home..
      He thinks that we should think the way he thinks, as he thinks that his way is not-simplistic.
      Yeah, it is not simplistic. It is ultra-simplistic, painfully simplistic, shamefully simplistic, surprisingly simplistic, disappointedly simplistic, dangerously simplistic, propaganda simplistic , etc.

      • peeesss
        peeesss on January 9, 2012, 11:31 pm

        Slater and others of his ilk are truly the “simplistic”.one’s. Justifying war led by the the US , NATO, ie. the former colonial powers , would seem to me to be, truly, simpleminded. That anyone believes that the US and NATO have “humanitarian” concerns and worries about civilian casualties when they intervene in situations throughout the world surely negates any pretense of intellectual honesty. Just as dishonest is the pretense that the US and its NATO allies intervene to bring “Democracy” to the unenlightened. Please.

  7. NorthOfFortyNine
    NorthOfFortyNine on January 9, 2012, 12:46 pm

    This isn’t a bad essay and I am glad to see Slater back. But why does he go and say things like this:

    First, I believe that most of Ron Paul’s domestic positions are indeed simpleminded, and much worse, disastrous on both moral and consequential grounds. That makes him a fool.

    I might be wrong, but my guess that Slater has simply not read any of the supporting material that underpins Paul’s domestic positions. Austrian theory may be many things — and I have said elsewhere that I do not subscribe to the entire program — but simple it is not, nor are its followers simple minded.

    Why can’t Slater be honest and say: “I don’t know much about the rationale for Ron Paul domestic positions. I have not read the material. On the surface, however, they strike me as excessively “red in tooth and claw” and that goes against my nature. I have no real interest in exploring these ideas further.”

    Instead Slater childishly insults a good many people on this site and a good many people across the land. Uncalled for. -N49.

  8. seafoid
    seafoid on January 9, 2012, 1:07 pm

    “the moral principles embodied in just war moral philosophy”

    These are the words , the words that make good murder

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Va0w5pxFkAM

    http://www.musikiwi.com/paroles/pj-harvey-the,words-that-maketh,murder,1019417.html

    I’ve seen and done things I want to forget;
    I’ve seen soldiers fall like lumps of meat,
    Blown and shot out beyond belief.
    Arms and legs were in the trees.

    I’ve seen and done things I want to forget;
    coming from an unearthly place,
    Longing to see a woman’s face,
    Instead of the words that gather pace,
    The words that maketh murder.

    These, these, these are the words-
    The words that maketh murder.
    These, these, these are the words-
    The words that maketh murder.
    These, these, these are the words-
    Murder…

    These, these, these are the words-
    The words that maketh murder.

    I’ve seen and done things I want to forget;
    I’ve seen a corporal whose nerves were shot
    Climbing behind the fierce, gone sun,
    I’ve seen flies swarming everyone,
    Soldiers fell like lumps of meat.

    These are the words, the words are these.
    death lingering, stunk,
    Flies swarming everyone,
    Over the whole summit peak,
    Flesh quivering in the heat.
    This was something else again.
    I fear it cannot be explained.
    The words that make, the words that make
    Murder.

    What if I take my problem to the United Nations?

  9. Mooser
    Mooser on January 9, 2012, 1:08 pm

    Apparently, I must bid goodbye to all my Mondoweiss friends, and enter an institution for feeble-minded ungulates. Let’s look at the facts, and face them:
    I woke up this morning, and checked in on Jerome Slater’s article on Ron Paul. I looked for new comments, and there was Slater, telling us he was through with Mondoweiss, the commenters were dolts, and he wouldn’t waste his time with us.
    I guess that was just a hallucination, cause here he is again!
    So long folks, it’s been nice, but when your mind goes, you might as well admit it and get out of the way.

    • Jerome Slater
      Jerome Slater on January 9, 2012, 2:19 pm

      Phil, and others, urged me not to leave Mondoweiss. And he was kind enough to suggest that I first publish my general reply on my own blog, which he would then pick up, so as to spare me the obvious jokes about my saying I quit, then not quitting. However, I didn’t think that would be appropriate–or fool anyone–so I decided to grit my teeth and take my lumps.
      So yes, I’ve been inconsistent; then again, as they say, “consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Moreover, I did say, several times, that I will stick around to play out this string, and that’s what I’m doing, both here and in the January 6th post. But to exchange insults with the Moosers et al of this world is a total waste of time and energy, so once this thread has disappeared into its black hole, I will distinguish between letting Phil post those of my blogs that he wishes to–which I may or may not do–and responding to the stupid or nasty comments.

      Hear Me, Oh Lord! Give me the strength to resist temptation, or strike me down if I fail!

      • on January 9, 2012, 2:28 pm

        How about: “Oh Lord, Be merciful to me, a fool!”?

      • optimistCitizen
        optimistCitizen on January 9, 2012, 3:08 pm

        But to exchange insults with the Moosers et al of this world is a total waste of time and energy
        At least he’s not killing you, he is only insulting you for being a sympathizer of rape and murder. Shouldn’t you be grateful that you are not a Libyan or Iraqi or Afghan whose family had just been killed by a foreign army and that you didn’t have to read some liberal hypocrite justifying the murder and pillage?

        Do you have an ounce of honesty and integrity in you that you justify the bombing of Libya by the dictatorships of countries like Qatar and a host of countries that support the brutal murder of unarmed protesters in all the dictatorships from Egypt to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to Yemen? I’m sure there were Nazi Germans who justified what their leaders were doing. How do you think you are any different from them? Is napalm more humane than gas chambers or what?

      • dahoit
        dahoit on January 11, 2012, 12:19 pm

        Aint it a hoot?These hypocrisy wallowers?
        And remember AJ turned out to be just as evil as our own MSM,in their coverage in Bahrain and Libya etc.Rich potentates of exclusivity and pride of place,and just as low as our own media clowns.Screw them.

      • homingpigeon
        homingpigeon on January 9, 2012, 10:45 pm

        I would be honored and amused if Mooser considered me worthy enough to ridicule.

  10. Mooser
    Mooser on January 9, 2012, 1:10 pm

    Jerome, thanks for making it all so clear with that picture of Ghaddafi! What country wouldn’t go to war with a man who is so badly groomed and dresses so funny?

  11. Dan Crowther
    Dan Crowther on January 9, 2012, 1:27 pm

    “Obama went to war in Libya for legitimate reasons.”

    — This explains why we have bi-partisan consensus on the imperial presidency.

    That’s the thing about the rule of law, sometimes it allows for outcomes “we” don’t want. If you are willing to give a president this kind of power arbitrarily, the president will use it arbitrarily. That’s kind of the whole Effing point.

    • Shingo
      Shingo on January 9, 2012, 4:21 pm

      Obama went to war in Libya for legitimate reasons.

      The main reason being is that it is an oil producing country.

  12. on January 9, 2012, 1:41 pm

    I think mr Slater thinks that to defend ,so called “PEACE” sometimes everything and everbody has to be sacrificed.
    Even the whole globe if there is such a need.
    A Joke from radio Erewan:
    “We will defend peace with such Might and Power that no stone on earth will be left unturned”.

    • optimistCitizen
      optimistCitizen on January 9, 2012, 3:13 pm

      Slater: “Bush started a war with Iraq for a number of bad reasons”

      Jerome is sad that the 1 million Iraqis were killed for bad reasons, he’s glad that thousands of Libyans have been (are being) killed for good reasons. Those Iraqi, Libyan and Afghan towns had to be destroyed in order to save them. The only thing that concerns Jerome Slater is whether the reason for destruction was good or bad.

      Were the 3000 innocent Americans killed on a certain September day killed for a good reason or a bad reason? Who judges whether it was a good reason or a bad reason?

      Who gives Jerome the right to say that it’s a good reason to murder a couple of thousand folks in a desert but not in a high-rise building?

  13. DaveS
    DaveS on January 9, 2012, 1:43 pm

    Jerry, I did say: “Slater’s perspective clearly assumes the awful premise of American exceptionalism, that the US is entitled to take actions that would be forbidden to other nations” but not that that your view is “that the US is morally entitled to do anything it wishes” as you paraphrase. There’s a big difference. I think that countries should be bound by the same set of rules dictated by international law, and in addition the President should be bound by the Constitution and statutory law, and not by individual interpretations of just war theory. For years, Emanuel Constant and Luis Posada Carriles were running around free in the US, even though they were wanted by Haiti, Venezuela and Cuba for mass murder; did those countries have the right to invade the US to capture or kill these men? The fact that they did not have the power to do so is irrelevant.

    You yourself may find Obama’s foreign policy decisions to be more palatable than Bush’s – not to mention the fact that he can explain them in full sentences – but I see their contempt for law and arrogant assumption of special policing powers to be indistinguishable. And even if you trust him personally, which I do not, Obama’s signing into law the NDAA bill that authorizes indefinite detention for anybody anywhere in the world will surely mean that Republican presidents will wield that authority as well.

    I also think that your criticism of Paul, a Presidential candidate, for failing to rise to the standards of a philosophy professor, and for sticking to a more easily digestable philosophy of adherence to the Constitution and avoidance of foreign military entanglements, is a bit unreasonable.

    • RoHa
      RoHa on January 10, 2012, 12:17 am

      “I also think that your criticism of Paul, a Presidential candidate, for failing to rise to the standards of a philosophy professor, and for sticking to a more easily digestable philosophy of adherence to the Constitution and avoidance of foreign military entanglements, is a bit unreasonable.”

      But it does point out the folly of allowing anyone but philosophy professors to have a hand in ruling a country.

      • dahoit
        dahoit on January 11, 2012, 12:22 pm

        Which philosophy would you allow?There seem to be quite a few today,same as it ever was.

      • RoHa
        RoHa on January 11, 2012, 6:44 pm

        It isn’t a matter of a particular set of ideas, but of having trained thinkers like me using rationality to run the country. (So I suppose that excludes post-modernism.)

    • seanmcbride
      seanmcbride on January 11, 2012, 12:46 pm

      David Samel,

      I wish there were a way to “like” comments with this software.

      Bingo:

      “You yourself may find Obama’s foreign policy decisions to be more palatable than Bush’s – not to mention the fact that he can explain them in full sentences – but I see their contempt for law and arrogant assumption of special policing powers to be indistinguishable. And even if you trust him personally, which I do not, Obama’s signing into law the NDAA bill that authorizes indefinite detention for anybody anywhere in the world will surely mean that Republican presidents will wield that authority as well.”

  14. eee
    eee on January 9, 2012, 2:43 pm

    The stench of desperation is overwhelming Mondoweiss. Initially I was very surprised to so many people would support a right wing radical like Ron Paul, but the more comments I read, the clearer it became that most of you are just desperate and clutching at straws. That is why you are willing to even think that Ron Paul is an answer to anything.

    And desperate you should be if you can’t even dialog with and understand the position of Jerome Slater. What are you chances of convincing the vast majority of people? About zero.

    The Just War Theory is imperfect for many reasons, but it is a good start for discussion. Its problems lie in in a completely different area than those described here and are related to the fact that humans view wars over ideas as justified. If you try to analyze the American War of Independence using the just war theory, you would see that it is not justified from either side. The average American was not oppressed by the British and in fact Americans were richer on average than British citizens. But still Americans thought it worthwhile to go to war over ideas.

    Also, it is hard to see how the just war theory justifies the American Civil War. Without the war also slavery would have been abolished. But most Americans believe that 600,000 military dead and countless civilians was a worthwhile price to pay to end slavery (that the war was not about slavery initially is another matter).

    There are also many people (including me) that believe that dying for your country is a great honor. The Greeks and Romans believed this also. Not that you should commit suicide for your country, but that dying while risking your life for your country is a good death and one of the most unselfish things you can do. Everyone dies anyway. So this whole view of death being always bad is incorrect also.

    • dahoit
      dahoit on January 11, 2012, 12:31 pm

      Dying for you country is an honor?(possibly family members might believe that in solace)I’m sure all the dead would like to be less honorable.
      Oh,yeah,all those dead Civil War guys preferred to die so some chickenhawk non server in the 21st. century could say it was worth it.Talk about banality.
      Go join up man,Nirvana awaits the warrior.But watch out for all those antiSemites in Valhalla.

    • Chu
      Chu on January 11, 2012, 1:35 pm

      As we clutch at straws and become more desperate…
      Coming from an Israeli that is laughable, brother.
      You worry about re-electing Netanyahu, and we
      can focus on choosing what’s best for us, like cutting aid
      and ties to a false democratic ally that offers little return
      for the alliance. We may as well support Pakistani
      expansionary land growth while we’re supporting Israel.

      You and your your tin foil hat defenders of Israel
      (Homphi, Witty, Werdine, LLI) are the biggest jokers
      around. How about some rational analysis for a change.
      But, I forgot that’s what the liberal zionists like Slater
      are here for.

    • Duscany
      Duscany on January 12, 2012, 12:34 am

      Why, eee, do I get the feeling that if Ron Paul had come out in favor of bombing Iran for Israel you’d be calling him a statesman and a prophet?

  15. on January 9, 2012, 3:41 pm

    “dying while risking your life for your country is a good death and one of the most unselfish things you can do. Everyone dies anyway.”

    If “everyone dies anyway” ,why shouldn’t we commit a big, collective harakiri since we “all be dead anway”?
    You don’t see a difference in dying while defending your country, which was unjustly attacked , and in dying while defending private business of those who are in Power??

    • eee
      eee on January 9, 2012, 3:54 pm

      The point is that there are some ideas and goals worth dying for. Would you have been willing to die to stop the genocide in Rwanda? Would you be willing to die to stop fascism in the US? In Europe? I hope so, otherwise what you write on this blog is pure hypocrisy.

      I am willing to die in order to maintain a Jewish state in Israel. I believe it is an idea worth sacrificing your life for. Naturally, you would disagree, and that is why wars happen also, because humans are willing to give their lives for ideas.

      • on January 9, 2012, 4:19 pm

        Let me decide for what I want to die for.
        It seems easy for you to gamble with somebodys’ life , isn’t it?
        If you want to die for the state of Israel, it is your choice.
        If you think that protecting the country that is a predator is worth your sacrifice, then it’s your call.
        Many Germans died during WWII for their idea of Lebensraum.
        Many were forced into it, many were brainwashed into it, some did it out of their own ,free will.
        If you choose, out of your own, conscious ,free will to defend, protect an oppressor, then you willingly cooperate with Evil Forces ,and you may badly pay for it “on the other side of the river”.
        But…that’s not for me to judge. Lucky for you.

      • eee
        eee on January 9, 2012, 4:54 pm

        Isn’t it great than I am an atheist? I don’t need to worry about the “other side of the river”.

        In short, you are not willing to make any sacrifice. But that does not stop you from criticizing others that try making the world a better place.

      • on January 9, 2012, 5:37 pm

        You mean your faithful , indefinite support of Eretz Israel is, in your book,
        a noble idea of “making the world a better place”???
        How ironic. Then I think I would prefer for you to be less “noble”.

        The fact that you are an atheist is not going to save you.
        Don’t count on that.

      • MLE
        MLE on January 9, 2012, 5:45 pm

        Wait, the atheist is telling people who can and cannot be Jews??

      • kalithea
        kalithea on January 10, 2012, 12:58 am

        You’re an ATHEIST???

        “I am willing to die in order to maintain a Jewish state in Israel. I believe it is an idea worth sacrificing your life for. ”

        So as an atheist you would die to maintain an ethnocracy that is oppressing millions of people? That’s pretty stupid. And you believe sacrificing your life for an “idea” that starts with murder and the cleansing of 700,000+ human beings is worth dying for? That’s abominable.

      • pjdude
        pjdude on January 10, 2012, 12:41 pm

        more of a religiocracy than ethnocracy

      • LeaNder
        LeaNder on January 10, 2012, 12:51 pm

        In short, you are not willing to make any sacrifice. But that does not stop you from criticizing others that try making the world a better place.

        How can “sacrifice” be supported outside the religious frame, eee? Would you consider the people that died in the Holocaust as necessary sacrifices too?

      • eljay
        eljay on January 10, 2012, 1:08 pm

        >> So as an atheist you would die to maintain an ethnocracy that is oppressing millions of people?

        He would do that not as an atheist but as an immoral Zio-supremacist.

      • richb
        richb on January 9, 2012, 4:48 pm

        Let’s put the real criteria on the table and see if Israel meets it:

        1. The damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain.

        Since Israel was the aggressor this doesn’t even apply at all. Just war pre-supposes that the country is the victim. An aggressive war, particularly a war of conquest, is prima facie unjust.

        2. All other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective.

        Since the ethnic cleansing started before the 1948 war not only was all other means not tried, but NO other means was tried.

        3. There must be serious prospects of success.

        Only one of the four you get a checkmark. On the other hand the Iraq War fails here.

        4. The use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power as well as the precision of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.

        Massive fail. Ethnic cleansing. Violations of the Geneva Convention. Phosphorous bombs. Cluster bombs. Massive civilian casualties. Massive casualties of women and children. Price tags. Deliberate economic privation. Collective punishment. Illegal settlements. Military occupation. Restricting free movement. Eliminating self-determination. Religious and political persecution. Illegal incarceration. Theft of natural resources. Complete razing of villages. Torture.

        Note, eee, the willingness to die is nowhere to be found here. The Crusaders were willing to die for their cause but it didn’t make it just.

      • eljay
        eljay on January 9, 2012, 5:34 pm

        >> I am willing to die in order to maintain a Jewish state in Israel.

        An immoral Zio-supremacist thug says he is willing to die not for justice, equality or human rights, but to preserve Israel as a religion-supremacist “Jewish state”. What a surprise.

      • Shingo
        Shingo on January 9, 2012, 7:26 pm

        I am willing to die in order to maintain a Jewish state in Israel.

        Millions of Germans willingly dies for the Nazi movement too eee.

      • eee
        eee on January 9, 2012, 7:50 pm

        Only in your dreams Israel is a supremacist state. When you are willing to actually implement justice and equality in the world let me know. You had plenty of chances since the Holocaust but still horrific episodes in Cambodia and Rwanda and other places occurred. So tell me, why should I trust someone like you who only talks? In this world, if you don’t take care of yourself, you are in big trouble. At least this lesson most Jews have learned. And your support of Ron Paul only compounds this. If the US would have joined WWII earlier, many Jews would have been saved. If the US would have developed nuclear weapons earlier, many Jews would have been saved. But with idiots like Ron Paul, the opposite would have happened, and that is what you want for the future. How can you be trusted at all?

      • Shingo
        Shingo on January 9, 2012, 8:45 pm

        Only in your dreams Israel is a supremacist state.

        No eee, those are you your dreams entirely, as you have explained in great detail about your vision for the future of Israel and the Jewery in the world.

        So tell me, why should I trust someone like you who only talks?

        Very good question. but you’re the one insisting that the only way to resolve the conflict is by by negotaitions.

        If the US would have joined WWII earlier, many Jews would have been saved.

        Not necessarily, seeing as it was the Russians that liberated the death camps. If the Zionist Conference had accepted the Peel Commission recommendations of 1939, many Jews would have been saved.

        If the US would have developed nuclear weapons earlier, many Jews would have been saved.

        Nuclear weaposn were not used to deter the Germans, so false.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        Jeffrey Blankfort on January 9, 2012, 10:06 pm

        60 million people died in WW2, eee, 20 million of them Russians. Do you think their lives were of any less value than the Jews who perished? Why do you think we never hear about them?

      • RoHa
        RoHa on January 9, 2012, 11:08 pm

        “If the US had joined WWII earlier, many Jews would have been saved.”

        “If the US had developed nuclear weapons earlier, many Jews would have been saved.”

        Why is this so hard to learn?

      • RoHa
        RoHa on January 9, 2012, 11:11 pm

        “If the US would have joined WWII earlier, many Jews would have been saved.”

        So the job of the US is to save foreign Jews, even at the expense of the lives of its own citizens?

        “If the US would have developed nuclear weapons earlier, many Jews would have been saved.”

        So millions are to be killed by nuclear weapons so that Jews can be saved? You really do think that Jews are more important than other people.

      • eee
        eee on January 9, 2012, 11:58 pm

        “So the job of the US is to save foreign Jews, even at the expense of the lives of its own citizens?”

        So you want to have it both ways I see. Who’s job is it then if you also deny the Jews a country? You either accept the notion that the leading countries of the world need to protect minorities from genocide or you accept the notion that minorities need to have a way to protect themselves by having countries and armies. It is time you got your story straight.

      • eee
        eee on January 10, 2012, 12:42 am

        “60 million people died in WW2, eee, 20 million of them Russians. Do you think their lives were of any less value than the Jews who perished? Why do you think we never hear about them?”

        I never understood this point of yours. Do you not go to your relative’s graves because you believe you should go to all people’s graves? Why is it strange to mourn people close to you and not strangers? That is just normal human behavior. I feel closer to the Jews that perished. That doesn’t make the Jews more or less important than the Russians. On what day exactly do you (Blankfort) commemorate the Vietnamese that died in the Vietnam war? Are they less important than the American dead? Are you trying to build a memorial for them in the US?

      • Hostage
        Hostage on January 10, 2012, 3:17 am

        So the job of the US is to save foreign Jews, even at the expense of the lives of its own citizens?

        I’ve mentioned elsewhere that thousands of Allied POWs in the Asian theater died during WWII while they were waiting to be rescued. In the meantime, the remaining Jews in the European concentration camps were being saved. I don’t think it should offend anyone to admit that they were sacrificed to save the lives of others.

      • Jerome Slater
        Jerome Slater on January 10, 2012, 8:44 am

        “So the job of the US is to save foreign Jews, even at the expense of the lives of its own citizens?” So you want to have it both ways I see. Who’s job is it then if you also deny the Jews a country? You either accept the notion that the leading countries of the world need to protect minorities from genocide or you accept the notion that minorities need to have a way to protect themselves by having countries and armies.”

        I find these exchanges between eee and his opponents to be very interesting. On the one hand, I suspect eee and I are quite far apart in our judgment of Israeli policies towards the Palestinians–he can correct me if I’m wrong, but I really doubt that he agrees with me that those policies are criminal, not to mention completely irrational to the goal of preserving Israel, whether as a Jewish state, or a state of all its citizens.

        On the other hand, eee consistently makes better arguments–here and in many other past exchanges–than his opp0nents. The one I’ve quoted is one of them, but by no means the only one. If one is to be taken seriously, these arguments must be answered; venting outrage that you know will be immediately praised as “brilliant” or “superb” by most regulars will hardly do.

      • eljay
        eljay on January 10, 2012, 9:33 am

        >> … eee consistently makes better arguments–here and in many other past exchanges–than his opp0nents.

        Consistently – that’s an impressive track record. I wonder if it includes his arguments on Israeli policies toward the Palestinians.

        >> If one is to be taken seriously, these arguments must be answered …

        Since eee’s consistently “better arguments” could only be answered with necessarily lesser arguments (else his arguments wouldn’t actually be “better”, they’d just be regular), one could not be taken seriously for answering them.

      • jayn0t
        jayn0t on January 10, 2012, 9:39 am

        Jerome Slater and ‘eee’ say it’s illogical to complain about Americans dying for Israel and at the same time denying the right to a Jewish state. OK, here’s the deal. The US stops supporting Israel, and makes it a criminal offense to send arms or money to apartheid from any Western country. But it leaves the Jews to their own devices in Palestine. This is not as strongly anti-apartheid as the USA was re. South Africa, but it’s a great step forward from the current subservient position.

      • Jerome Slater
        Jerome Slater on January 10, 2012, 10:49 am

        Eee: Ok, so let’s issue a challenge to eee–he likes challenges, so I’m sure he will respond. What, exactly, is your position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in general, and on the occupation, Cast Lead, Netanyahu, and what would be a fair settlement of the conflict, in particular? You don’t have to write a book–a paragraph, or even a few sentences, for each question will suffice

      • eee
        eee on January 10, 2012, 11:36 am

        Jerome,
        “Eee: Ok, so let’s issue a challenge to eee–he likes challenges, so I’m sure he will respond. What, exactly, is your position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in general, and on the occupation, Cast Lead, Netanyahu, and what would be a fair settlement of the conflict, in particular?”

        I am on record supporting any solution based on the Clinton Parameters. For example, I like the Geneva Initiative.
        As for Cast Lead I think it was justified. The Kassams were strangling the south of Israel economically. Imagine that in NY city one Kassam would fall once a day somewhere in Manhattan, occasionally injuring someone and rarely killing someone. What would happen to tourism to NY city? What would happen to commerce? Would firms leave the city? Would people want to work for companies with offices in NY? People do not understand the effects of terror. Physically the Kassams did relatively little, but their psychological effect was crippling the economy of Sderot and the whole region.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on January 10, 2012, 12:01 pm

        “For example, I like the Geneva Initiative.”
        I think we should stick the Jews in a demilitarized state and let them exist at the mercy of their opponents. That would be fair, right?

        “As for Cast Lead I think it was justified. The Kassams were strangling the south of Israel economically.”
        Then you must agree that an assault on Israel which is as deadly and murderous would be likewise “justified” because the Israeli occupation and the blockade of Gaza are strangling the Palestinians economically more than the Palestinians could ever hope to achieve. So they should be justified in slaughtering more of you people, right?

      • eljay
        eljay on January 10, 2012, 12:22 pm

        >> eee @ January 10, 2012 at 11:36 am

        So:
        – Relatively little physical damage from rockets in southern Israel justifies massive amounts of destruction and carnage in Gaza.
        – Terrorized Israelis are permitted to engage in “belligerent reprisals”, but terrorized Palestinians in Gaza are not.
        – A completely worthless NYC analogy.

        This is a “better argument”?!

        At the very least, a “better argument” would propose that Israel:
        – halt its 60+ years, ON-GOING occupation, something it has the power to do unilaterally, immediately and completely; and
        – enter into sincere negotiations for a just and mutually-beneficial peace, something Israel refuses to do (a refusal which doesn’t appear to bother pizza-gobblers like eee).

        These moves would have nothing but positive effects on relations between Israel and Palestinians (in Gaza and the West Bank).

      • Donald
        Donald on January 10, 2012, 12:24 pm

        “On the other hand, eee consistently makes better arguments–here and in many other past exchanges–than his opp0nents. ”

        You are overreaching. eee made a good argument here–if others won’t try to save a minority group from genocide, then members of that minority group will have to try and save itself, possibly by forming a country. It’s a good point. There’s a couple of others that he makes that are valid–Israel does have some pretty smart scientists and engineers. And he might be right that Israel’s prosperity doesn’t depend on exploiting the Palestinians, except in the sense that Israel wouldn’t exist at all without having taken the land by force. So that last one is complicated.

        Most of his posts, though, strike me as fairly uninteresting hasbara. Have you seen his “better” argument where he justifies Israel by pointing to the treatment of the Native Americans in the US, where he says that if we want to be consistent all whites should leave the country? Or when some of us admit the injustices and point out that nonetheless, Native Americans can now live in any part of the US, he just repeats the claim that we should all leave? That’s a fairly typical example of his logic. In passing I’d note that this argument (look at what the US did to the Native Americans–that justifies us) became very popular with Israel defenders online beginning several years ago. I’m still amazed by it, since I’d long read exactly that analogy used by Finkelstein, Chomsky and others to condemn Israel’s behavior and link it with other examples of Westerners who thought they had the right to take land from their cultural inferiors. Now it’s used as a justification for Israel. I first saw Benny Morris using this in an interview around 2004. It’s a favorite with eee.

        Anyway, that’s why it’s a little grating to see you praising eee’s arguments Some of us know them better than you.

      • pjdude
        pjdude on January 10, 2012, 12:42 pm

        so you admit you mourn and feel close to that you have no material relationship with.

      • eee
        eee on January 10, 2012, 12:51 pm

        Donald,

        “Have you seen his “better” argument where he justifies Israel by pointing to the treatment of the Native Americans in the US, where he says that if we want to be consistent all whites should leave the country?”

        I use this argument to justify one thing only, why I am against the right of return. Just as no one expects the US to return the plain states to the Sioux, Crow, Comanche etc., it is unreasonable to expect Israel to return the land Tel-Aviv University is build upon. Yes, in 1924 after centuries of prosecution, the US allowed Native Americans to live anywhere and vote. Did it move any non-native Americans off their land? No. Did it allow Native Americans to sue for their lands in court? No. Also, by 1924 Native Americans were a small minority in the US. They were not the same number as other Americans as in the case of the Palestinians and Israelis. So really, you are not comparing apples to apples. If the number of Palestinians was 10,000 instead of 7 million, there would be no issue, and that is what happened (in proportion) in the US.

      • eee
        eee on January 10, 2012, 12:58 pm

        “I think we should stick the Jews in a demilitarized state and let them exist at the mercy of their opponents. That would be fair, right?”

        We need something workable. If a peace treaty quickly deteriorates to war, what is the use of have a peace treaty? Just as in the case of Lebanon, it would be easy for Iran or other entities to fund radical groups that would smuggle weapons into Palestine and target Israel.

        “Then you must agree that an assault on Israel which is as deadly and murderous would be likewise “justified” because the Israeli occupation and the blockade of Gaza are strangling the Palestinians economically more than the Palestinians could ever hope to achieve. So they should be justified in slaughtering more of you people, right?”

        What do you mean? Israel and Gaza are at war, albeit a low intensity one. I guess either side think they are justified. Clearly the Palestinians aren’t justified in using violence against Israel because violence has been proven to be a losing strategy for them.

      • on January 10, 2012, 1:27 pm

        “if others won’t try to save a minority group from genocide, then members of that minority group will have to try and save itself”

        here’s what’s confusing about that argument —

        who was threatening a “minority group” (I assume you’re talking about European Jews) with genocide in 1890? In 1906 – 1913, when Ruppin was building a “Hebrew culture in Palestine” and building TelAviv to mimic European cities and, by the way, displacing native Palestinians and take over their trade, ports, and rents?

        Between 1880-1920, 2.2 million Russian Jews immigrated to the US. They were not threatened with genocide — they were unwelcome by earlier German Jews as well as ‘nativized’ WASPs, but they were not threatened with genocide.

        The legs of the genocide claim get cut off at the knees when the facts of history are revealed.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on January 10, 2012, 1:39 pm

        “We need something workable.”

        How is it not workable? If you view sticking the Palestinians in an undefended enclave, at the mercy of their enemies, why is that any different from sticking the Jews in an undefended enclave, at the mercy of their enemies?

        “Clearly the Palestinians aren’t justified in using violence against Israel because violence has been proven to be a losing strategy for them.”

        So, in other words, only Jews are allowed to defend themselves.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        Jeffrey Blankfort on January 10, 2012, 1:40 pm

        eee, I don’t go to my relatives graves since both of my parents elected to be cremated but that question is irrelevant. What I am saying is that the only victims from WW2 that are studied in the schools of the United States of America just happen to be the Jews and that there is as much space devoted to the Jewish holocaust in many of the textbooks as there are to the entire war in Europe.

        In California schools every 7th grader reads Anne Frank but gets to know next to nothing about the massacres of native Americans that quite likely took place on or near to the very grounds where their schools sit. Teaching about the holocaust is mandatory; teaching about the far greater genocide of native Americans isn’t. (Curiously, the word “genocide” did not exist before WW2, as if mass exterminations of people had never previously occurred.)

        As someone who opposed and protested against the Vietnam war from the very beginning I do honor the Vietnamese dead and they are hardly less important than the misguided Americans who died attempting to kill a people who had never attacked them or their country. That’s the history of war.

        I say this having been a high school history teacher

      • NorthOfFortyNine
        NorthOfFortyNine on January 10, 2012, 1:40 pm

        @ eee: Just as no one expects the US to return the plain states to the Sioux, Crow, Comanche etc., it is unreasonable to expect Israel to return the land Tel-Aviv University is build upon.

        That is just not true. I can only speak for Canada, but here native land was returned to natives. And where no treaties have been signed (BC), the courts interpret native rights very broadly.

        You keep thinking somehow the PA or some other body can trade away a person’s property rights. It can’t, for these rights are not theirs to trade away. If you want to solve the refugee problem, grab a clipboard and head to the camps. You’ve got some work to do.

        But please stop the native american – I/P analogies unless you are prepared to accept the remedies N.A. has taken should be likewise applied in Israel. -N49.

      • Robert Werdine
        Robert Werdine on January 10, 2012, 1:55 pm

        “As for Cast Lead I think it was justified.”

        I agree. Hamas’ culpability in provoking the war is total. It was a just war.

      • eee
        eee on January 10, 2012, 2:15 pm

        Jeffery,

        What is the point of your argument? That because you think American history books are biased I should care more about non-Jews than Jews? What American kids study is not relevant to the question what I should care about more, the Russian dead in WW2 or the Jewish dead.

      • LeaNder
        LeaNder on January 10, 2012, 2:19 pm

        If the US would have developed nuclear weapons earlier, many Jews would have been saved.

        I don’t have the time to give this topic the attention it deserves, but still it feels neither you nor Jerome contemplate the meaning of the arguments we were confronted with in the last decade, including a strategy that felt ingenious in bringing about what was supposedly feared. It’s indeed important to notice that there is much space left to the right of the just war theory, and it’s own distinct history of a wedding between power and ethics.

        “Just War Theory” vs. American Self-Defense

        The Islamic Totalitarian movement, which enjoys widespread and growing support throughout the Arab–Islamic world, encompasses those who believe that all must live in total subjugation to the dogmas of Islam and who conclude that jihad (“holy war”) must be waged against those who refuse to do so. Islamic Totalitarians regard the freedom, prosperity, and pursuit of worldly happiness animating the West (and especially America and Israel) as the height of depravity. They seek to eradicate Western Culture, first in the Middle East and then in the West itself, with the ultimate aim of bringing about the worldwide triumph of Islam. This goal is achievable, adherents of the movement believe, because the West is a “paper tiger” that can be brought to its knees by sufficiently devoted Islamic warriors.

        And yes, the ultimate solution to nuke the “Arab world” into surrender. What I am missing is the scenario that is usually brought into this context. The ultimate evil that has to be defeated from Milosevic to Saddam and beyond …

        What a wonderful way to confront the Nazis in ever changing
        surfaces and contexts.

      • eee
        eee on January 10, 2012, 2:22 pm

        “who was threatening a “minority group” (I assume you’re talking about European Jews) with genocide in 1890? In 1906-1913?”

        And if someone was not threatening the Jews at that time how is that any evidence or proof that they would not be threatened in the future as in fact was the case? Things change, you know.

        But in fact Jews were threatened. In Russia 2,000 Jews were killed between 1903-1906:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Jewish_pogroms_in_the_Russian_Empire

      • eee
        eee on January 10, 2012, 2:33 pm

        N49,

        Native Americans are less than 4% of Canada’s citizens. The Palestinian refugees as defined by the UN roughly equal ALL (100%) of Israel’s Jewish population. The problems are completely different.

        Furthermore, 90% of the land in Canada is owned by the Canadian federal and provincial governments meaning that at least 90% of the land of the Native Canadians was taken from them:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_ownership_in_Canada

        So how exactly is Canada a role model?

      • American
        American on January 10, 2012, 2:39 pm

        Who’s job is it then if you also deny the Jews a country? You either accept the notion that the leading countries of the world need to protect minorities from genocide or you accept the notion that minorities need to have a way to protect themselves by having countries and armies.”…eee

        That is as usual….. not the question or the point.

        The point is….we have one world minority, Israel, slo mo genociding another world minority, Palestines.
        Ipso facto….. the agressive minority, Israel,needs to be stopped.

        Shouldn’t be that hard to grasp.

      • Jerome Slater
        Jerome Slater on January 10, 2012, 2:46 pm

        Donald: I agree, some of you know all of his arguments and positions better than I do, which is exactly why I asked him to elaborate. Now that he has, it’s obvious that we have fundamental disagreements. As I’m sure you know, I am on record–not merely on this and my own blog, but in articles and, indeed, in the Weiss-Ratner edited book on the Goldstone Report–as a bitter critic of Cast Lead and all other Israeli crimes against morality and international law.

        Incidentally, at present I am working on a long article for a professional journal, in which I set out all the just war criteria, and argue that in Cast Lead Israel violated every one of them, making it a perfectly unjust war.

        All that said, being wrong on some issues, no matter how important, does not make you wrong on all of them. The really depressing thing is that it is obvious that eee is quite intelligent, so that if even he can’t see through the Israeli lies and mythology, it’s hard to have much hope for Israel’s–and the Palestinians’–future.

      • eljay
        eljay on January 10, 2012, 2:54 pm

        >> Now that he has, it’s obvious that we have fundamental disagreements.

        Does this mean he no longer “consistently makes better arguments”? ;-)

        >> The really depressing thing is that it is obvious that eee is quite intelligent …

        It is far from obvious.

      • eee
        eee on January 10, 2012, 2:56 pm

        Jerome,

        Perhaps you can give an example of some myth or lie I accept, and we can discuss it. I accept all of Benny Morris’ history so I have no illusions regarding Israel’s founding. So I am just curious, where am I deceiving myself?

        I think in the end you will see that what we disagree about is the probability of different scenarios in the future and the interpretation of events especially regarding the intent of the people involved. And these are things reasonable people can disagree about.

      • Jerome Slater
        Jerome Slater on January 10, 2012, 3:02 pm

        eee: “What do you mean? Israel and Gaza are at war, albeit a low intensity one. I guess either side think they are justified. Clearly the Palestinians aren’t justified in using violence against Israel because violence has been proven to be a losing strategy for them.”

        Very bad, eee. Israel and Gaza are not “at war,” Israel is waging a war of aggression against the Gazans, who not only can barely fight back, but have effectively stopped doing so since Cast Lead.

        Secondly, since the Palestinians are the victims of Israeli aggression and colonialism, they have every RIGHT to fight back, so long as they don’t deliberately strike at civilians. Yes, because of their powerlessness against Israel, and Israel’s cruelty, brutality, and heartlessness in crushing even non-violent resistance, let alone armed resistance, violence has been shown to be a losing STRATEGY. What you have a right to do is entirely separate from whether it is feasible to act on that right.

        Israel is in the very opposite position. It has not a single right to use violence against the Palestinians, even in so-called defense against rockets, since the reason an occasional and futile rocket is fired against it is precisely because it occupies and represses the Palestinians. On the other hand, I guess one has to admit that so far the Israeli strategy is working–the Palestinians are losing. Similarly, Stalin’s strategy in Russia also worked–he killed or starved to death millions of people, and otherwise effectively terrorized all opposition, and it worked.

        Wake up, eee. You have the brain power–start using it.

      • eee
        eee on January 10, 2012, 3:24 pm

        Jerome,

        I do not know how to define a situation in which from time to time each side lobs rockets at the other except to call it low intensity war. Are Israel’s weapons more effective than the Palestinian ones? Sure. But how is this applicable to the point? No rocket is futile. It harms the communities that are shot at even when no one gets hurt.

        I don’t see Israel’s war on Gaza as a war of aggression. I just don’t see a way to stop rockets coming from Gaza without waging this war. I don’t believe that even if Israel would have unilaterally withdrawn to the 67 lines the rockets would have stopped. It would be merely interpreted as a sign of weakness by Hamas and they would continue firing rockets. Maybe if you could propose a realistic way to get Hamas to stop shooting rockets, I would change my mind.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on January 10, 2012, 3:51 pm

        “I agree.”

        And absolutely no one is surprised.

      • NorthOfFortyNine
        NorthOfFortyNine on January 10, 2012, 3:56 pm

        @ eee: “Furthermore, 90% of the land in Canada is owned by the Canadian federal and provincial governments meaning that at least 90% of the land of the Native Canadians was taken from them:

        Actually, eee, to the extent that Natives don’t have title to all of canada they signed treaties with the government. In certain jurisdiction where treaties have not been signed (eg. BC), courts interpret their rights broadly (too generously, in my view.) You follow that? There was a negotiation with the parties involved.

        “So how exactly is Canada a role model?

        You are dodging the question. It is you who feels that a comparison is apt, not me. It is you who continues to bring up the analogy.

        Then I (and others) call you on it and you duck and weave and dodge and duck.

        Stop using treatment of N.A. natives as a smokescreen for Israel’s treatment of its “subject peoples.” “Our”natives have the vote. They have their land. They receive full rights under Canadian law. Whereas you treat your natives like cattle.

        Own the shame, eee, own the shame. -N49.

      • Richard Witty
        Richard Witty on January 10, 2012, 4:21 pm

        “Israel is in the very opposite position. It has not a single right to use violence against the Palestinians, even in so-called defense against rockets, since the reason an occasional and futile rocket is fired against it is precisely because it occupies and represses the Palestinians.”

        This is an irrational, cruel and unrealistic argument.

        The IDF has an obligation to defend Israeli civilians from attack over its borders (and an obligation to defend its soldiers as well, but by different reasoning), regardless of what precipitated that attack.

        You can’t apply a reasoning that puts the civilian citizens of Sderot and neighboring towns in harms way just because there is a politically based judgment of criticism of preceeding policy.

        There are reasonable theories that define most of Israel’s policy decisions relative to Gaza, none of which are loved by anyone, but reasonable nevertheless.

        Certainly the border closures are their discretion. (The pressure to close the Egyptian border is a different question, but previously Hamas had infuriated Egypt’s government to the extent that they independently closed their border with Gaza.)

        Even the blockade has some precedent and substantiation.

        I believe that the majority of the relationship between Israel and Gaza is circular aggression.

        There is no question that the extent of Cast Lead was excessive, but the obligation to defend Israeli civilians cannot be so callously dismissed. They are civilians. Regardless of the politics of the parties, they deserve protection as civilians.

      • marc b.
        marc b. on January 10, 2012, 4:21 pm

        On the other hand, eee consistently makes better arguments–here and in many other past exchanges–than his opp0nents.

        this is just preposterous. eee’s arguments begin and end with his defense of israel as a theocracy. even his own identity of the ‘observant atheist jew’ is tortured beyond logic. just a sampling of eee’s arguments from this thread, in no particular order:

        1. homage to larry summers, i.e. ‘the world’s a shitty place’ justification for israeli conduct.

        Only in your dreams Israel is a supremacist state. When you are willing to actually implement justice and equality in the world let me know. You had plenty of chances since the Holocaust but still horrific episodes in Cambodia and Rwanda and other places occurred.

        israel, which has preferential treatment for its jewish citizens, is not a ‘supremacist’ state, but, in any event, worse things have gone on in the world, which you didn’t stop, so mind your own business and let israel conduct its bloody affairs. or, the ‘we’re a great power and are entitled to our own little genocide, thank you very much’ argument.

        2. ‘the dershowitz’, i.e. the non sequitor

        “60 million people died in WW2, eee, 20 million of them Russians. Do you think their lives were of any less value than the Jews who perished? Why do you think we never hear about them?”

        I never understood this point of yours. Do you not go to your relative’s graves because you believe you should go to all people’s graves? Why is it strange to mourn people close to you and not strangers? That is just normal human behavior. I feel closer to the Jews that perished. That doesn’t make the Jews more or less important than the Russians.

        here, eee takes a commenter’s criticism of the relative treatment of victims in history books, e.g. histories of jewish suffering at nazi hands vs. histories of the treatment of roma, and reduces what is supposed to be an objective inquiry (history) to a question of personal preference.

        3. the ‘supreme’ sacrifice, i.e. when we die for our cause, we’re heroes, when you die, you’re pathologicial.

        The point is that there are some ideas and goals worth dying for.

        need i ask? is the suicide bomber a righteous man/woman?

        4.a .the false analogy.

        As for Cast Lead I think it was justified. The Kassams were strangling the south of Israel economically. Imagine that in NY city one Kassam would fall once a day somewhere in Manhattan, occasionally injuring someone and rarely killing someone. What would happen to tourism to NY city? What would happen to commerce?

        it would be a more useful exercise to ‘imagine’ kassams falling on NYC, say, being fired from Long Island, after/during NYC’s assault on LI. which leads to

        4.b. the absent facts.

        see above

        eee’s vivid ‘imagination’ apparently has no room for the period of relative peace enjoyed by gaza and s. israel, as clearly documented by israeli governmental sources, a circumstance much more conducive to economic stability than the prosecution of cast lead and the simmering war since then.

        5. another false analogy or the ahistorical analogy.

        Donald,

        “Have you seen his “better” argument where he justifies Israel by pointing to the treatment of the Native Americans in the US, where he says that if we want to be consistent all whites should leave the country?”

        I use this argument to justify one thing only, why I am against the right of return. Just as no one expects the US to return the plain states to the Sioux, Crow, Comanche etc., it is unreasonable to expect Israel to return the land Tel-Aviv University is build upon.

        this is more of eee’s faulty reasoning. here he justifies active, ongoing dispossession of palestinians on the basis of a past crime. see also his embrace of the geneva initiative, which, not so curiously, plops the israeli capitol in the middle of the west bank.

        6. contradicting meeeself. or see point 3 above.

        What do you mean? Israel and Gaza are at war, albeit a low intensity one. I guess either side think they are justified. Clearly the Palestinians aren’t justified in using violence against Israel because violence has been proven to be a losing strategy for them.

        so, in 3. some ideals are worth giving your life for, but apparently only if such sacrifice is part of a ‘winnning strategy’.

        7. dr. strangestrauss, or how i learned to love hobbes.

        And if someone was not threatening the Jews at that time how is that any evidence or proof that they would not be threatened in the future as in fact was the case? Things change, you know.

        this is one of eee’s repeated themes, in which he inverts fears and threats. eee and his ilk basically erect a system of defenses, and then go out looking for the puzzle pieces of a threat to bang into place in their pre-constructed system of defenses.

        ya basta.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        Jeffrey Blankfort on January 10, 2012, 4:30 pm

        Slater, you continue to expose yourself by comments such as these. Even up to the beginning of WW2, the majority of Jews, including those in Germany, did not support the establishment of a Jewish state. So your argument is without foundation. One of the most frequently stated reasons was that it would put into question the loyalty of Jews wherever they lived and reinforce already existing prejudices that Jews were “cosmopolitan,” which was a code word for being loyal only to their own.

        Along came the Zionists who reinforced this notion in spades, who made a point about saying it openly, not only to Jews but to Gentiles, that the only place for Jews was in a Jewish state and in Nazi Germany, leading Zionists used such terms as “blut und bloden,” blood and soil, to give the appearance that Zionism was to Jews as Nazism was to the Germans.

        I have been called an antisemite by both you and your new ally, Werdine, for writing that the Zionists’ propaganda was a contributing factor to the Nazi crackdown on its Jewish population since it fed into the Nazi propaganda and already existing anti-Jewish prejudices of the German population which was additionally heightened by the relative prosperity of its Jewish minority compared to that of its non-Jewish majority.

        I know you don’t want to hear about that since it doesn’t fit into your vision of Jewish victimhood which places Jewish history outside of human history unless that outside history impacts on Jewish history and your only response is to smear me with your antisemitic brush.

        Now, if I have understood you correctly, you believe the US should have militarily intervened to save the Jews of Europe and of Germany before that. At the time there was a large minority in this country the skin of whose members happened to be black that were living in an apartheid situation in whatever city or town they happened to be, both North and South, and in the latter (and occasionally the former) were routinely being lynched and murdered by cops, the KKK, or just some good ol’ boys who wanted to have some fun.

        These descendants of African slaves were not being murdered in large numbers or threatened with genocide but would not their liberation have been a legitimate goal of some country whose moral values were higher than ours, considering they had been suffering under this system not for less than a decade but for several centuries?

        Do you think that racist America which I have described here, upon hearing of Hitler’s Nuremberg Laws, should have immediately mobilized its citizenry, white and black, ordered its auto manufacturers to start making tanks, its aircraft industry to start making fighters and bombers (as it would later do), and sent its young men over to Germany to fight and die in order to save the Jews of Europe?

        Or is that not what you meant? Not so simple is it?

      • Shingo
        Shingo on January 10, 2012, 4:54 pm

        > I agree. Hamas’ culpability in provoking the war is total. It was a just war.

        Completely false.

        Israel bears the overwhelming burden of responsibility for the war crime of Cast Lead.

        1. Israel broke the ceasefire on November 4th
        2. Hamas held to the ceasefire – even the Israeli MFA stated Hamas was very careful to observe and enforce it
        3. Hamas proposed a return to th ceasefire in mid December, but Israel rejecte the offer

        Thus Cast Lead was a war of choice and a war crime.

        Furthermore, Wikileqks revealed that the reason for Ainitiating Cast Lead had nothing to do with rockets, but fear that the ceasefire was benefitting Hamas politically. The military option was decided as the means to cut off Hamas at the knees politically.

        Israel were entirely to blame.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        Jeffrey Blankfort on January 10, 2012, 5:05 pm

        eee, since you are a confirmed Jewish tribalist I do not expect you to care for anyone who is not an MOT. I suppose it’s important when we set limits. Too bad you aren’t either capable or willing to set your bar a bit higher.

      • Shingo
        Shingo on January 10, 2012, 5:33 pm

        As for Cast Lead I think it was justified.

        Do you think that the breach of the ceasfier by Israel on November 4th was justified, seeiong as no Kassams were landing in Israel at the time?

        So you think it was justified given that Hamas proposed a resumption of the ceasfire in mid Decemeber, which Israel rejected? After all, a return to a ceasefier at that point would have ended 3 more weeks of rocket attacks.

      • Shingo
        Shingo on January 10, 2012, 5:49 pm

        Then you must agree that an assault on Israel which is as deadly and murderous would be likewise “justified” because the Israeli occupation and the blockade of Gaza are strangling the Palestinians economically more than the Palestinians could ever hope to achieve. So they should be justified in slaughtering more of you people, right?

        Nicely put Woody

      • Shingo
        Shingo on January 10, 2012, 5:52 pm

        Clearly the Palestinians aren’t justified in using violence against Israel because violence has been proven to be a losing strategy for them.

        So what you’re sayig is that they would be if they had better weapons and could wreak more harm on Israel?

      • eljay
        eljay on January 10, 2012, 6:19 pm

        >> I believe that the majority of the relationship between Israel and Gaza is circular aggression.

        RW also believes that there is a relationship of circular aggression between the rapist and his victim. He beats and rapes her , she punches and slaps him and, well, that means he’s entitled to beat and rape her that much more.

        Israel – and the rapist – have the power to halt the aggression, but they choose not to. Immoral “humanists” like RW work very hard to distract people from this very straightforward fact. You want to break the circle of aggression, start with the aggressor, not the victim.

        >> There is no question that the extent of Cast Lead was excessive, but the obligation to defend Israeli civilians cannot be so callously dismissed. They are civilians. Regardless of the politics of the parties, they deserve protection as civilians.

        In other words: Civilians of Israel are civilians – they deserve protection. Civilians of Gaza are Palestinians – f*ck ’em.

      • Robert Werdine
        Robert Werdine on January 10, 2012, 6:34 pm

        “Do you think that the breach of the ceasefire by Israel on November 4th was justified, seeing as no Kassams were landing in Israel at the time?”

        For the record, the six month cease-fire established in June 2008 was disrupted on November 4, 2008 when Israeli troops crossed into the Gaza Strip near the town of Deir al-Balah and targeted a tunnel that Hamas was planning to use to capture Israeli soldiers positioned on the border fence 250m away from the border and directly adjacent to an IDF border outpost, not unlike the one they used to snatch Shalit. Four Israeli soldiers were injured in the operation, two moderately and two lightly. One Hamas gunman was killed and they then launched a volley of mortars at Israel. An Israeli air strike then killed five more Hamas fighters. In response, Hamas launched 35 rockets into southern Israel, one reaching the city of Ashkelon.

        The Nov.4 incursion was a necessary and completely justifiable action of self-defense. “This was a pinpoint operation intended to prevent an immediate threat,” the Israeli military said in a statement. “There is no intention to disrupt the cease-fire, rather the purpose of the operation was to remove an immediate and dangerous threat posted by the Hamas terror organization.”

        According to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center report: “Hamas and the Terrorist Threat from the Gaza Strip: The Main Findings of the Goldstone Report Versus the Factual Findings” published in March 2010:

        “November 5 marked the beginning of the second period of the lull’s deterioration. It began with an abduction attempt prevented on November 4, which was supposed to be carried out through a tunnel near the border fence (in the vicinity of Kissufim). The preventive action conducted by the IDF was based on intelligence which began accumulating towards late October 2008, about a tunnel built by Hamas for an abduction in the region near the Kissufim outpost.

        The planned Hamas operation included the specific training of operatives for an offensive mission, and the nature of the training and the equipment indicated that Hamas was preparing for an abduction. At the same time, it was learned that the excavation of the tunnel was about to end and that Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operatives were conducting unusual activities. Reliable information in early November indicated the intention to activate the tunnel. As a result, Israel made the decision to launch a preemptive operation
        in the Gaza Strip to prevent the abduction attempt.

        Based on intelligence, on the night of November 4 an IDF force operated about 300 meters inside the Gaza Strip to prevent the abduction. As the IDF attacked the tunnel, it became clear that Hamas had taken the possibility into consideration and booby-trapped both the house at the end of the tunnel and the tunnel entrance. IDF forces blew up the house and left the Gaza Strip following the operation. Six IDF soldiers were injured, two of them
        seriously; seven Hamas operatives were killed and several were injured.”

        http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/pdf/g_report_e1.pdf

        “So you think it was justified given that Hamas proposed a resumption of the ceasefire in mid December, which Israel rejected? After all, a return to a ceasefire at that point would have ended 3 more weeks of rocket attacks.”

        Please. The tunnel skirmish was then met by the launching of some 193 rockets and mortars in November, and some 290 between December 1 and December 24, every one of them a war crime.

        On November 8, Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades spokesman Abu Obeida said to Al-Jazeera TV: “the lull is coming to an end and we will not renew that lull.” Khaled Mashaal, chief of the Hamas political bureau, said to Al Quds TV on December 14: “The lull was set for six months and it is ending on December 19. After December 19, the lull will come to an end and will not be renewed.”

        Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said to Al-Aqsa TV on December 17: “The lull will end on December 18, and I believe that it should not be renewed between the Palestinian factions and the Zionist occupation. And in light of this assessment of the lull and our consultations with the Palestinian factions, all of the Palestinians, both our people in the West Bank and Gaza, do not wish to extend this lull, which the Zionist occupier has converted to his benefit.” This was echoed by Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades spokesman Abu Obeida on the same day, who also announced on the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades website that the lull would not be renewed.

        http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/Hebrew/heb_n/video/evgr_a_1_8.htm

        As a reward for this terrorist aggression, the Hamas regime now demanded the following terms for a renewal of the lull/cease-fire, which lapsed on December 18: a complete opening of all border crossings, an opening of the Rafah border with Egypt, and a ban on all IDF activity in Gaza. Hamas was thus now demanding a removal of all the restrictive measures and “IDF activity” that the terrorist actions they had previously committed, and were currently committing, had made absolutely necessary. On December 24 Hamas launched “Operation Oil Stain” to the accompaniment of a 60 rocket and mortar volley. On December 25 Prime Minister Olmert said: “I am telling them now, it may be the last minute. I’m telling them stop it. We are stronger.” This was met with an attack of 5 rocket and 14 mortar attacks, and the next day there were 12 more. All efforts to constrain or contain the attacks being ineffective, on December 27 Israel commenced Operation Cast Lead, a three-week sustained military strike on Hamas’s terror infrastructure and rocket launching sites in an effort to thwart future attacks.

        According to the ITIC report:

        “Hamas’ unilateral decision to the end lull and the escalation it initiated played a major role in the events which ultimately led to Operation Cast Lead. On September 18, the Hamas leadership met to discuss whether or not to extend it. Opinions in the Gaza Strip leadership of Hamas were divided, while the Damascus leadership, headed by Khaled Mashaal, chief of the political bureau in Damascus, decided to bring it to an end in an attempt to achieve a new lull with better conditions for Hamas. The decision was made
        knowing that it would lead to an escalation. The leadership, however, assumed Hamas would be able to control and contain it. Hamas was joined it its decision to end the lull by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the other Palestinian terrorist organizations.

        The Palestinian Authority opposed the escalation initiated by Hamas. Prior to Hamas’ announcing the end of the lull, Palestinian Authority leaders, including Mahmoud Abbas, said that they supported its extension, and that firing rockets was useless because all it did was provide Israel with a pretext to attack Hamas. Accordingly, the Palestinian Authority attempted to make Hamas reconsider, claiming that such a step would lead to a blockade of the Gaza Strip and worsen the Gazans’ situation, and that it could lead to an Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip in the future.

        Mahmoud Abbas’ referred to his attempts to persuade Hamas to extend the lull in a speech he gave at the opening ceremony of the Fatah Revolutionary Council meeting (October 2009). He said that one week or ten days prior to the launch of Operation Cast Lead (i.e., December 17, 2008), he had called two Hamas activists, Ghazi Hamad and Ahmed Youssef, informing them of the coming Israeli attack. He added that all they had to do to avoid it was to extend the lull. When they did not respond, he said, he ordered Sa’eb Erekat to contact the Hamas leadership in Damascus. After they, too, did not agree, Mahmoud Abbas contacted the president of Syria and asked him to convince the Hamas leadership to extend the lull (Palestinian TV, October 16, 2009), to no avail.”

        It cannot be denied: Hamas wanted war, provoked war, and got war. Hamas’ total culpability for the Gaza War, their abrogation of the lull, and their refusal to renew it for their lunatic view that their continued terrorist aggression would somehow yield them better terms (spelled out by them before the Nov. 4 incident), is thus beyond serious dispute. Like Hezbollah in 2006, they greivously miscalculated Israel’s response.

      • Shingo
        Shingo on January 10, 2012, 8:03 pm

        I don’t see Israel’s war on Gaza as a war of aggression.

        Come in eee, even Israeli leaders see it as a war of agression, though thry justify it on the grounds that it is their right.

        I just don’t see a way to stop rockets coming from Gaza without waging this war.

        That’s only because either you are not willing to consider the alternatives or you are blind to them. In 2008, there was a6 month period where the rockets stopped using peaceful means. Israel then violated the ceasefire to incite a response and then used that response to justify the war.

        I don’t believe that even if Israel would have unilaterally withdrawn to the 67 lines the rockets would have stopped.

        But eee, the rockets did stop without Israel withdrawn to the 67 lines. In fact, the rockets stopped even without Israel lifting the siege.

        It would be merely interpreted as a sign of weakness by Hamas and they would continue firing rockets

        Rubbish. During the ceasefire, not only did Hamas stop firing rockets, but thy arrested and killed those who did not honor the ceasefire.

        I would be astounded, if after reading your BS eee, that Jerome would continue to insist you had any intelligence, because you are eithervincredibky stupid, or simply a bad liar.

      • Richard Witty
        Richard Witty on January 10, 2012, 8:15 pm

        Hard to know what was justified by who.

        Hard to know what occurred in fact.

        Israel also made overtures about continuing the cease-fire, which Hamas also “rejected”.

        You look at a circle and declare, “it starts here”.

        Israel clearly wanted only an end to aggression on its civilians, with no implied reciprocation.

        Hamas wanted the end to the blockade but also wanted to prepare for future aggression on Israeli civilians.

        I’m not sure what you call that complex. I don’t call it oppression, more confusion and miscommunication, same as most wars.

        There is no background, “I regard you as human beings deserving of respect and safety”, both ways, so that miscommunication will happen frequently.

      • Robert Werdine
        Robert Werdine on January 10, 2012, 8:19 pm

        Hostage,

        Said you:

        “I’ve mentioned elsewhere that thousands of Allied POWs in the Asian theater died during WWII while they were waiting to be rescued. In the meantime, the remaining Jews in the European concentration camps were being saved. I don’t think it should offend anyone to admit that they were sacrificed to save the lives of others.”

        Is it really your belief that Allied POW’s in the Asian theater were “sacrificed” so that the Jews of Europe could be saved? Isn’t this a bit extreme?

        What evidence is there to support this? While there is no question the Allies gave the defeat of Germany priority over Japan, this was not because the Allies were concerned to liberate Europe’s Jews, but because they rightly considered Germany to be the greater, more immediate threat.

        That said, it’s not really clear to me how the Pacific campaign could have been won any sooner than it was regardless of the European war. Even if there was no European war, it would still have taken about the same time–and much longer, with more POW’s killed, if the A-bombs had not been dropped.

      • Shingo
        Shingo on January 10, 2012, 8:35 pm

        This is an irrational, cruel and unrealistic argument.

        The only cruelty and rrationality was Israel’s conduct leading up to and in executing the Cast Lead massacre.

        It is true the IDF has an obligation to defend Israeli civilians from attack over its borders, and that includes avoiding circumstances which lead to Iraeli civlians being endangered. Israel vilated every opportunity to resolve the matter peacefully:

        1. Israel could have observed the ceasefire that was in place and agreed to an extension of that ceasefire
        2. After having violated the ceasefire with an unprovoked attack on Gaza, Israel could have agreed to a return to a ceasefire, as proposed by Hamas in Mid December.

        Instead of fulfilling it’s obligations to defend Israeli civilians from attack, Israeli leaders atatcked Gaza to insite a response, then sat on their hands for a month and allowed Israeli civlians to continue being subjected to attacks.

        You can’t apply a reasoning that puts the civilian citizens of Sderot and neighboring towns in harms way just because there is a politically based judgment of criticism of preceeding policy.

        It wasn’t just a policy, it was preceeding actions, such as the unprovoked and unilaterial violation of the ceasefire.

        There are reasonable theories that define most of Israel’s policy decisions relative to Gaza, none of which are loved by anyone, but reasonable nevertheless.

        No there are not, not even according to Israel’s own admission.

        Certainly the border closures are their discretion.

        It’s not a broder closure, it’s a siege.

        The pressure to close the Egyptian border is a different question, but previously Hamas had infuriated Egypt’s government to the extent that they independently closed their border with Gaza.

        Absolely false. The descision by the Egyptian government to close the border was entirely becasue of Washington’s orders.

        Even the blockade has some precedent and substantiation.

        No, it’s an act of war. But if the blockade has some substantiation, then surely so does BDS?

        I believe that the majority of the relationship between Israel and Gaza is circular aggression.

        You might believe that, but you’d be wrong, just like assuming that rape is circular aggression.

        You’re lies and flawed arguments have been comperehensible debunked too many times to count Witty. Have you no shame?

      • yourstruly
        yourstruly on January 10, 2012, 9:14 pm

        seems that with the exception of germany no nation will admit that it committed genocide*: the u.s. won’t re: the native-american genocide; turkey won’t’ re: the armenian genocide; japan won’t re: the genocide at nanking, and israel won’t re: the ongoing slow motion genocide of palestinians in gaza. whether or not the death of millions of vietnamese in the war against the u.s. invaders qualifies as partial genocide is debatable, but the u.s. not only won’t admit its role in this slaughter, it refuses to make good on reparations agreed upon in the paris peace accord. why the refusal of these nations to fess up? perhaps it’s the cognitive dissonance that ensues from simultaneously holding contradictory beliefs such as my country is moral and just, yet my country commits genocide.

        *defined as the deliberate and systemic destruction in whole or in part of an ethnic, religious or national group.

      • philweiss
        philweiss on January 10, 2012, 10:59 pm

        what about Jewish bolshevism, was that a factor in Nazi crackdown? What about the fact that long before the Nazis, Franz Kafka, in his diaries and letters, was fearful about anti-Semitism in central Europe and was sympathetic to Zionism on that score? Aren’t you being reductive in a reflexively anti-Zionist manner?

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        Jeffrey Blankfort on January 11, 2012, 12:33 am

        Phil, I don’t know who that message about Jewish bolshevism is addressed to but it may as well be me. While it was true that the first target of the Nazis were the communists and that many of the communists were Jewish, it would appear that this was just further proof for him how alien Jews were from the Aryan race.

        The facts of the matter are that both the Nazis and Zionists came to similar conclusions about the both the ability and the desirability of Jews to assimilate with non-Jews and had they not spoken by Jews, many of the pronouncements of the early Zionists, including those in Germany, would be labeled as antisemitic had they been uttered by non-Jews.

        After all, Herzl, very early in his diaries, blamed antisemitism on the inability of Jewish capitalists to learn how to live with non-Jews after the “emancipation” and that it would have been better, he wrote, had the emancipation process been slowed down in order for them to acclimate themselves to world of the gentiles.

      • American
        American on January 11, 2012, 1:42 am

        Give up Jeffery, he won’t answer that because this is Slater’s mind set:

        Slater sees himself as moral by his disapproval of Israel’s actions—

        “I must admit I have been a “liberal Zionist,” a supporter of the right and possible need for the Jewish people to have their own state. Just not this one. Can we start again?”…JS

        Slater sees gentiles who don’t feel crippling guilt and eternal responsibility for the Jew’s tragedy, even though they might not be anti semites, as not moral (enough) and therefore not capable of making the important and necessary distinctions between the Jews welfare as opposed to others……

        “few Western gentiles of good will–by whom I mean those who are not merely non-antisemitic but who deplore and deeply feel that Christianity bears a heavy responsibility for historic antisemitism are prepared to go that far, (deny the necessity of Israel) whatever their criticisms of Israel today”.
        “….JS

        I know I don’t have to further explain to you the futility of trying to communicate with those in this particular condition.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        Jeffrey Blankfort on January 11, 2012, 2:26 am

        Werdine, you’re a puzzlement. It is not just that we disagree about almost every point discussed on this site but you seem so obsessed with proving that Israel’s criminal behavior is unimpeachable that you apparently spend an excessive amount of time delving for supporting data that you believe no one can challenge.

        Sorry to say, it comes out as if you were engaged in “a blending scheme where you mix kerosene with diesel fuel, charge the customers the fuel tax, but do not report or remit the taxes on the kerosene.” Others on this thread may not understand the connection but you do get what I’m driving at, don’t you?

      • American
        American on January 11, 2012, 2:37 am

        “what about Jewish bolshevism, was that a factor in Nazi crackdown?”..Phil

        I got interested in how Bolshevism and the Jews part influenced Hitler when reading Solzhenitsyn’s 200 Year Together..can’t give you a link the translation is no longer on line.

        From what I have found since from various sources Hitler was influenced in his view of Jews by what he wrote of as Judo-Bolshevism in Russia. Russia was his first choice for expansion of Germany for ‘space”. Also Churchill in England and some others were denouncing Jews, at least in private and dipolmatic and government circles, as having been the main instigators of Bolshevism in Russia.
        So yes, there probably was enough combined focus, rumors, etc. on the Jews and Bolshevism in Russia to have raised anti semitism and fears of anti semitism that could have given the zionist some advantages in pushing zionism.

        “But by 1920 he (Hitler) was arguing that ‘an alliance between Russia and Germany can come about only when Jewry is removed’, and, by 1924, when he came to write Mein Kampf, he had concluded that Russia would be the target for Germany’s drive to acquire Lebensraum. So how did this change of approach come about?

        Hitler’s views on Russia during these early years were strongly influenced by Alfred Rosenberg, who had joined the Nazi party in 1920 and became the editor of its newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter. Rosenberg was a Baltic German who was studying in Moscow when the Russian Revolution broke out in 1917, and left Russia for Germany in November 1918.

        Thus he had experienced the Bolshevik revolution at first hand and became convinced that it was the work of the Jews. Hitler considered Rosenberg an expert on Russia and became equally persuaded of the link between Bolshevism and the Jews….”

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwtwo/hitler_lebensraum_01.shtml

        Read the entire piece for further details.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on January 11, 2012, 8:39 am

        Werdine,

        Your conclusion, that the POWs in the Pacific cannot be said to have been sacrificed to save the Jews of Europe, is correct, but your reasoning is faulty.

        You state, “the Allies gave the defeat of Germany priority over Japan, this was not because the Allies were concerned to liberate Europe’s Jews, but because they rightly considered Germany to be the greater, more immediate threat.” This is nonsensical, because it treats the four major Alllied powers, considering both theaters (US, UK, USSR, and China) as having the same goals, and nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, only two of them were involved in both theaters at the same time, and some in the US believed that Japan was the more immediate threat to the US, although FDR did not.

        The Chinese clearly saw the Japanese as the greater threat, indeed, they’d been fighting them since the early 1930s. The Russians weren’t going to join in the war against Japan unless Japan attacked them or until Germany was defeated. Not because Germany was “the greater, more immediate threat” but because they were at war with Germany and were not at war with Japan. But Japan only capitulated because of the Russian declaration of war (not because of the atomic bombs), because they reached a point where they believed that continuing the war (and inviting, for example, Russian occupation or a Japanese Communist revolt) would be more harmful than surrendering to the US and UK.

        The war in the Pacific could have ended sooner, even with the European War, had the Americans not insisted on unconditional surrender. Had they made it known that surrender could be done while still preserving the kokutai, Japan would have jumped at the chance to end the war much earlier. (Whether the US would have agreed to that condition, or whether they would have insisted on a constitutional monarchy, occupation, etc., etc., is another story.)

        And if there had been no European War, and assuming that the war starts against the US and UK in 12/41, the Russians probably would have attacked the Japanese much earlier. But, in fact, the Japanese may have decided to move North instead of South and take on the USSR rather than the US and UK. They had already fought border skirmishes prior to that date. (Which reminds me of a story in one of, I believe, Ambrose’s books about the Americans at Normandy capturing East Asian soldiers in German uniforms manning beach defenses. The story goes that they were Koreans conscripted by the Japanese and posted with the Kwantung Army and captured by the USSR in one of the border conflicts in northern Manchuria. The Russians took them, put them in Red Army uniform and made them fight again the Germans. The Germans, in turn, captured them and transferred them to fight on the Atlantic Wall. It is an interesting story, if a bit apocryphal sounding.) So who knows, maybe the war would have simply been the second Russo-Japanese War. If that happened, who knows what would have happend. The USSR was in a tough spot, logistically, as it had to rely on, basically, one railroad to supply that portion of the country.

        Had the USSR fought earlier with the US and UK, the war probably would have ended with the Japanese losing its position in Manturia and Korea, the loss of Southern Sakhalin and the Kurils. If it ended in a joint occupation with the US, the USSR would have occupied, at a minimum, Hokkaido. (Of course, if the USSR fought and been the primary victor (which is possible, given the fact that it was geographically in a much more advantageous position to attack the Home Islands, it could have been the US and UK getting a token occupation area, maybe just Kyushu.)

      • Donald
        Donald on January 11, 2012, 9:17 am

        “Israel clearly wanted only an end to aggression on its civilians, with no implied reciprocation.

        Hamas wanted the end to the blockade but also wanted to prepare for future aggression on Israeli civilians.”

        Has Hamas been guilty of aggression against Israeli civilians? Of course. But it goes both ways.

        So, Richard, if you ever start using the phrase “Israeli aggression against Palestinian civilians” on a regular basis and mean it, it would be a gigantic step forward for you.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride on January 11, 2012, 10:31 am

        Phil,

        According to Arno Mayer, wasn’t “Judeobolshevism” one of the key factors in motivating Nazi anti-Semitism? Mayer makes that case by citing a mountain of documents straight from the source — from Nazi writings themselves.

        The question of to what degree Zionism may have contributed to Nazi anti-Semitism can be answered easily by applying state-of-the-art text mining and content analytic methods to the entire Nazi corpus.

      • philweiss
        philweiss on January 11, 2012, 10:33 am

        well you surely know more about this than i do. my point was more to bridle at the reductivism that blankfort was bringing here. i dont like zionism. i wish it would go away. it’s 19th century in its outlook, etc. but there are surely some ills of the 20th century that can’t be blamed on zionists.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride on January 11, 2012, 11:36 am

        Phil,

        I don’t frame the problem in terms of Zionism — I frame it in terms of ethnic nationalism. Zionism is only one of many ethnic nationalist movements over the last two centuries that have wrought havoc on the world.

        And of course ethnic nationalism itself is only one of a number of ideological types that are responsible for much of the world’s ills.

        I certainly agree with you that one can overfocus on Zionism as a cause of the world’s problems, and many people do. And some of that obsession has its roots in classical anti-Semitism. As for the deepest causes of classical anti-Semitism — that is rather a mysterious domain which no one (in my opinion) has yet figured out.

        What interests me is this: can we (humanity) avoid getting trapped in mechanistic ideological boxes of any kind and try to discover a reasonable way to manage our affairs and live together prosperously and creatively? (Such a dreamer I am. :))

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        Jeffrey Blankfort on January 11, 2012, 3:51 pm

        Phil, I am not trying to blame all the ills of the 20th century on the Zionists but to dismiss as irrelevant with regard to the holocaust what they were saying and writing starting with Herzl and what they were putting out in their publications in Germany that pre-dated Hitler is to put your head in the sand and that’s not like you.

        This is in no way to blame them for what was later to happen to those Jews who considered themselves to be German and had no interest in a Jewish state but it should be quite clear that what the Zionists were saying and writing met with Hitler’s approval . Otherwise, he would not have allowed only their organizations and their publications to continue functioning when all the other Jewish institutions had been shut down. Calling that statement “reductive” is absurd.

      • Robert Werdine
        Robert Werdine on January 11, 2012, 4:10 pm

        Shingo,

        Said you:

        “Furthermore, Wikileqks revealed that the reason for initiating Cast Lead had nothing to do with rockets, but fear that the ceasefire was benefitting Hamas politically. The military option was decided as the means to cut off Hamas at the knees politically. Israel were entirely to blame.”

        I address the rest of your assertions upthread, but here is what the Wikileaks memo of August 2008 says in full:

        “Regarding the Tahdiya, Hacham (MOD Arab Affairs Adviser David Hacham) said Barak stressed that while it was not permanent, for the time being it was holding. There have been a number of violations of the ceasefire on the Gaza side, but Palestinian factions other than Hamas were responsible. Hacham said the Israelis assess that Hamas is making a serious effort to convince the other factions not to launch rockets or mortars. Israel remains concerned by Hamas’ ongoing efforts to use the Tahdiya to increase their strength, and at some point, military action will have to be put back on the table. The Israelis reluctantly admit that the Tahdiya has served to further consolidate Hamas’ grip on Gaza, but it has brought a large measure of peace and quiet to Israeli communities near Gaza.”

        The memo, read honestly, makes nonsense of your assertion that Cast Lead had “nothing to do with rocket attacks but fear that the ceasefire was benefitting Hamas politically.” It had everything to do with rocket and mortar attacks (some 601 between Nov. 4 and Dec. 27 alone) and your Wikileaks memo, in fact, reveals no such thing. It simply states that Israel was “concerned by Hamas’ ongoing efforts to use the Tahdiya to increase their strength, and at some point, military action will have to be put back on the table.” Your citation of this memo to support your assertion, in other words, is yet another example of your false advertising of sources that do not support your assertions.

        Let us not forget: Hamas had fired some 2473 rockets and mortars into Israel between January and the June 2008 cease-fire. Barak was simply speaking in general terms about what everyone knew was inevitable, and expressing his concerns about the use that Hamas was putting the cease-fire to build up their arsenal. You act as if these were not legitimate concerns. In any event, there is not a shred of evidence here in the memo that he (or Israel) were plotting to sabotage the cease-fire and it most certainly indicates no planned, premeditated intention to do so in the November 4 incident. The same cannot be said about Hamas.

      • LanceThruster
        LanceThruster on January 11, 2012, 5:12 pm

        Thank you for these observations, Jeffrey. I find it bordering on criminal the way we can treat war casualties and the like as only having any relevance if it is our own (or “other” favored group), while fully ignoring the other victims.

        I would have loved to have been one of your history class students. I was at least fortunate to have other educators who were willing to look at the whole of the history of our nation. I think the blindness of many in the US is epitomized by Mitt Romney in his victory speech from last night;

        I will never apologize for the greatest nation in the history of the Earth.

        I cringed.

        So much for a “warts and all” appraisal.

      • LanceThruster
        LanceThruster on January 11, 2012, 5:29 pm

        @Jeffrey Blankfort – January 11, 2012 at 3:51 pm

        I think much of that became clear to me when I learned how with regards to notions of racial superiority and bloodlines; it was more a case of the Jews in competition with the Nazis, as opposed to them being viewed strictly in the sense of inferior or sub-human.

      • Shingo
        Shingo on January 11, 2012, 8:07 pm

        The memo, read honestly, makes nonsense of your assertion that Cast Lead had “nothing to do with rocket attacks but fear that the ceasefire was benefitting Hamas politically.” It had everything to do with rocket and mortar attacks (some 601 between Nov. 4 and Dec. 27 alone) and your Wikileaks memo, in fact, reveals no such thing.

        Typical rubbish from your Hasbra bunker. If read through anythign other than a Hasbra encoder, the memo is self evident. Hacham does not say that Hamas was using the Tahdiya to plan an attack or wage war on Israel, but to become stronger. As Daniel Luban explains so succintly,

        The memo does not say that the Israelis believe “military action will have to be put back on the table” because at some point Hamas will break the ceasefire, but rather because Hamas would like to maintain the ceasefire to strengthen its position. Thus if the memo accurately reflects the Israeli government’s thinking, it would appear that the Israelis were, from relatively early on, contemplating breaking the ceasefire in order to cut Hamas off at the knees. While the memo simply confirms what many had already suspected, it provides yet another reason to be highly skeptical of the decision to initiate Cast Lead.

        I know how you Zionists wish timelines could be as lalelable as your regard for the facts, but seeing as the memo was dated August 29th of 2008, your reference to mortar attacks between Nov. 4 and Dec. 27 is irrelevant.

        It simply states that Israel was “concerned by Hamas’ ongoing efforts to use the Tahdiya to increase their strength, and at some point, military action will have to be put back on the table.

        That simply states that Israel had decided that an attack on Gaza, Hamas in particular, was on the cards, even though Hamas were sitcking to the ceasefire and enforcing it. In other words, the plans were put in place regardless of whether rockets attacks were tanking place or not.

        Let us not forget: Hamas had fired some 2473 rockets and mortars into Israel between January and the June 2008 cease-fire.

        There’s no reason to forget and no reason to consider it either. Israel agreed to a ceasefire in June, meaning that there is no basis to the argument that the atatcks prior to June were a factor in ISrale’s descision to unleash Cast Lead.

        Barak was simply speaking in general terms about what everyone knew was inevitable..

        What was inevitable was that:

        1. Hamas was benefitting from the ceasefire poltically, so had nothig to gain from breaking it. As Noam Chomsy put it best, the Israelis had no means to deal with the Hamas peace offensive.

        2. The ceasefire was about to expire. Israel did nto want the ceasefire to be renewed, but couldnt be seen rejecting the renewal, so they needed a justification for rejecting it

        3. Kadima was lagging badly in the polls and needed a kick to regain any home ot remaining in power – as it turns out, Cast Lead lifted them in the polls, though not enough.

        There is no meention in the memo of Hamas using the cease-fire to build up any arsenal. If that were the case, it would have been explicitly mentioned.

        In any event, there is not a shred of evidence here in the memo that he (or Israel) were plotting to sabotage the cease-fire and it most certainly indicates no planned, premeditated intention to do so in the November 4 incident.

        Of course there is. The memo is very clear that Israel were contemplating breaking the ceasefire in order to derail Hamas securin g any legitimacy in the eyes of the world.

        The incoherent and contrdictory messages being put out by Mark Regev only serves to strengthen the argument.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        Jeffrey Blankfort on January 11, 2012, 10:47 pm

        In 1937, Alfred Rosenberg, in his book, “The Trail of the Jews in the Changing Ages,” expressed his support for settling Jews in Palestine, writing, “Zionism must be vigorously supported so that a certain number of German Jews is transported annually to Palestine or at least made to leave the country.” (p. 153) It helped, of course, that the Zionists were themselves anti-communist as well as against the anti-Nazi boycott.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        Jeffrey Blankfort on January 11, 2012, 11:15 pm

        What both ideologies had in common was the belief in their own inherent superiority although I have seen no report that the largely secular Zionists considered the Germans to be sub-human as the Nazis did the Jews.

      • Jerome Slater
        Jerome Slater on January 12, 2012, 12:00 pm

        Your interpretation of the goals and even the actions of Hamas is quite wrong, and the evidence that it is prepared to accept the same two-state solution as Fatah and the PA is overwhelming. You need to broaden your reading.

      • Jerome Slater
        Jerome Slater on January 12, 2012, 12:25 pm

        eee: I just got around to answering your query, which sounds genuine to me. Even to learn only about Israel’s past, Benny Morris is a good place to start, but you have to go much further. And, as I imagine know, Morris has recently become an extreme rightwinger. He doesn’t repudiate what his factual research demonstrated about what happened in 1947-48; in fact he can’t, because the facts are irrefutable and have been repeatedly verified by other Israeli historians. So, what he says now is that, yes, we massacred thousands of Palestinians and ruthlessly drove out hundreds of thousands, but the problem is that we weren’t ruthless enough, it left too many Arabs within Israel. You think I’m exaggerating: read what he says today.

        And drop this comparison with what America did to its native population. Unlike the Israelis, hardly anyone today disputes the facts, or denies it was shameful.

        As I’m sure you know, Israel is already a pariah state in the world, and is in rapid descent to even worse. And don’t try to blame it on anti-Semitism, because an increasing number of Jews around the world, and even in this country, regard what Israel has become as a betrayal of all that was valuable in Jewish tradition, culture, and values.

        As for post-1967 through today, the reading you should be doing is immense. However, if you wanted to read just one book that represents the Israeli liberal Zionist view, the one that I subscribe to, I would recommend Chaim Gans, A Just Zionism. Beyond that, just subscribe and read Haaretz daily–in a couple of weeks, your eyes will open.

        You are much too smart to be continued to be taken in with the standard Israeli narrative, which is factually, morally, and intellectually disreputable–it is increasingly recognized as such by the best Israelis, who regularly refute it in writing, and you don’t have to go to non-Israeli writers and analysts to learn the moral and factual truth.

        I’d like to learn a little more about you and, if you like, exchange email comments. If you’re interested, send an email message to Phil Weiss and ask him for my address.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride on January 12, 2012, 12:29 pm

        Jerome Slater,

        Awesome post — seriously. Pitch perfect.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride on January 12, 2012, 12:37 pm

        Jerome Slater,

        I think it is possible for Israel — with a great deal of help and *muscle* from the US and Europe — to dig itself out of this deep hole and to come out looking and sitting pretty. But it will require some bold and radical moves immediately — over the next year — and especially by the Israel lobby. Influential leaders of the Israel lobby need to rethink their basic premises about the world from the ground up and give the US and Europe a green light to take the bull by the horns.

        I rate the possibility of this occurring at no better than 20% — probably less. But I am hoping for the best. Hope springs eternal.

      • Richard Witty
        Richard Witty on January 12, 2012, 12:53 pm

        Its too much of a generalization to describe “the standard Israeli narrative” as fundamentally in error.

        I guess that’s a good way to encourage people to not just see what is convenient, a starting point.

        But, there are material elements of “the standard Israeli narrative” that are accurate, factually and in interpretation.

        To see clearly does not mean to only reject. Even though there are morally troublesome events associated with every aspect of Israeli history, you describe yourself as remaining a Zionist, a good thing to my mind.

        Can you please be so kind as to address the Morris point of “one cannot create an omelette without cracking eggs”?

        Meaning, that if it required, or even was estimated, or even was just opportunistic, to fight a war in 47/48 facing expulsion by Palestinians and the Arab League, following the holocaust, and then expel a majority of resident Palestinians in Israel, how can you remain a Zionist?

        I use the geometry of being on a plane with a line dividing point A and point B, and you have to get from point A to point B, would you proceed or turn away?

        “Making an omelette without breaking eggs?”

        What is “too far” for you? I am more than aware that it is long long past, and an academic hypothetical exercise, one that has been asked of me, and then misrepresented and used to repetitively abuse. A litmus test.

        Are you really sure about Bennie Morris? Are you sure that you are not misinterpreting his comments like Phil misinterpreted Peter Beinart’s?

        Where is your dividing line between a true liberal Zionist and a faux one, like you infer about me?

        Is it in the presence of conspicuous criticism and characterization of Israeli policies as evil?

        Is it in the advocacy for genuinely viable self-governing two states?

        Or, some other criteria?

      • LanceThruster
        LanceThruster on January 12, 2012, 12:55 pm

        @Jeffrey Blankfort – January 11, 2012 at 11:15 pm

        Interesting point I had not considered. I know that religious Jews deal with notions of gentiles being like cattle and the concepts of a Jewish life having more value than a non-Jewish one, but if a secular Zionist elevates the value of the tribal association to the extent that it does, to what level does it endorse the religious tenets of its tribal affiliation despite coming from a secular stance itself?

        Do secular Zionist Jews consider themselves a superior strain of human being, and wouldn’t that mean that everyone else is inferior? I think that would be as relevant to the discussion (grades of humans) as quantifying the breakdown of human/less than human would be.

      • James North
        James North on January 12, 2012, 1:32 pm

        Richard Witty said, ‘Another futile effort by me to provoke Professor Jerry Slater into a one-on-one dialogue. As though Professor Slater has the time to answer my silly questions.
        ‘As a first step, I could take enough care with my posts to write them in English. After 11,000 plus comments, I still haven’t learned the difference between “its” and “it’s.” Professor Slater surely knows that sloppy writing means sloppy thinking.
        ‘Second, take a look at this question I pose to him:

        Are you really sure about Bennie Morris? Are you sure that you are not misinterpreting his comments like Phil misinterpreted Peter Beinart’s?

        ‘If I paused for half a second before I posted, I would realize that I’m grossly insulting Professor Slater. I’m suggesting that he and Phil Weiss — established, articulate thinkers and writers — are not as good at reading comprehension as I, Richard Witty, am.’

      • Richard Witty
        Richard Witty on January 12, 2012, 1:53 pm

        They are good important questions.

        If he is interested in reasoned discussion, I hope that he will attempt to answer them honestly and kindly.

        Phil’s reading comprehension is periodically not as astute as you ascribe.

        I’ve seen recent presentations by Morris, in which he continues to advocate for a two-state solution, with a viable Palestine, unlike the way his views have been described here, including by Prof Slater.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        Jeffrey Blankfort on January 12, 2012, 3:51 pm

        Lance T,

        The notion of being superior is not limited to the ultraorthodox or orthodox, but seems to be a general tenet of secular Zionists who view Jews as a people apart from the religion which happens to be Judaism and tend to defend their right to the land of Palestine on the basis that it was Jewish land 2000 years ago, applying a retroactive property law that applies only to them. It is one of the perks that goes along with being superior.

      • Robert Werdine
        Robert Werdine on January 12, 2012, 7:34 pm

        Woody Tanaka,

        Said you:

        “This is nonsensical, because it treats the four major Alllied powers, considering both theaters (US, UK, USSR, and China) as having the same goals, and nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, only two of them were involved in both theaters at the same time, and some in the US believed that Japan was the more immediate threat to the US, although FDR did not.”

        I wouldn’t disagree with this. I should have clarified: I was speaking of the Western Allies (i.e., Roosevelt and Churchill), who had given the defeat of Germany priority over Japan. Obviously, Russia and China both considered the defeats of Germany and Japan, respectively, to take priority for their own reasons.

        “The Chinese clearly saw the Japanese as the greater threat, indeed, they’d been fighting them since the early 1930s. The Russians weren’t going to join in the war against Japan unless Japan attacked them or until Germany was defeated. Not because Germany was “the greater, more immediate threat” but because they were at war with Germany and were not at war with Japan.”

        I agree.

        Said you:

        “But Japan only capitulated because of the Russian declaration of war (not because of the atomic bombs), because they reached a point where they believed that continuing the war (and inviting, for example, Russian occupation or a Japanese Communist revolt) would be more harmful than surrendering to the US and UK.

        The war in the Pacific could have ended sooner, even with the European War, had the Americans not insisted on unconditional surrender. Had they made it known that surrender could be done while still preserving the kokutai, Japan would have jumped at the chance to end the war much earlier.”

        I would dispute both of these assertions. While there is of course evidence that the Japanese were troubled by the declaration of war by the Soviet Union (whom their diplomats had lately been delusionally courting to mediate peace terms between them and the Allies), and that this certainly reinforced the hopelessness of their situation, attributing this, rather than both atomic bombs to the Japanese surrender is problematic for two reasons. First, it overlooks the fundamental irrationality and divorce from reality that was at the heart of all Japanese war direction, especially in the last year of the war. The Japanese war leaders who ran the country and the war were, almost to a man, die-hard fanatics whom no disaster, however catastrophic, would impel them to ever consider surrender as a viable option.

        As Gerhard Weinberg has found, American intelligence was monitoring Japanese diplomatic correspondence between Tokyo and their diplomats in Moscow and other capitols in the months prior to dropping the bomb, and Tokyo was adamant in its replies to its diplomats abroad that “the Japanese government would not accept the concept of unconditional surrender even if the institution of the imperial house were preserved.” These intercepted communications, along with watching the Japanese literally fight to the last man at battles like Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and plaster countless American ships with thousands of Kamikazes, communicated to American policy makers the fanatical intractability of the Japanese determination to fight to the bitter end, no matter the hopelessness of their situation. (See Gerhard Weinberg, “A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II,” 1994, pp. 882-890).

        Secondly, the evidence is clear that even the dropping of the first atomic bomb and the Soviet declaration of war had absolutely no influence on the Japanese to consider surrender. The Japanese Minister of War, General Korechika Anami, on the day the Soviets declared war, even went out his way to deny that an A-Bomb had in fact been dropped on Hiroshima on August 6. The government announced that the dropping of the bomb was “contrary to international law”—having brutally and brazenly violated every conceivable tenet of international law for the last decade and a half, the Japanese now demanded its protection.

        When the second bomb dropped on Nagasaki on August 9, the Imperial Council convened to meet that night and even then, incredibly, still resisted the option of surrender. While acknowledging that the Americans had as many 100 A-bombs left (they actually had none), Anami nonetheless urged that Japan fight on, and that the if the Japanese people “went into the decisive battle in the homeland determined to display the full measure of patriotism . . . Japan would be able to avert the crisis facing her.” He was seconded on this by the chief of the army general staff, Yoshijiro Umezu, who was fully confident of the military’s “ability to deal a smashing blow to the enemy,” and that “it would be inexcusable to surrender unconditionally.” Admiral Soemu Toyoda, chief of the navy’s general staff, also spoke confidently of unleashing the reserves of air power (read: Kamikazes) that they had accumulated on the home islands, and asserted confidently that that “we do not believe that we will be possibly defeated.”

        And keep in mind: these were the sentiments expressed by Japan’s leaders AFTER the Soviet Declaration of war and the dropping of both A-bombs.

        It was at this point that the emperor intervened, and he made clear Japan’s acceptance of the Allied terms with the condition that emperor be retained on August 14. Yet even this encountered fierce resistance from the fanatics in the military clique, and they resolved on the reversal of the emperor’s decision by way of a coup d’état. It might have succeeded had Anami lent his support to the coup, but he would not defy the emperor and the plot failed. Unwilling either to surrender or defy the emperor, he resolved his dilemma by suicide. But for Anami’s action, Japan would undoubtedly have fought to a far bloodier end for all concerned.

        Some indication of both the fanatical resistance to surrender and the extent to which the Soviet declaration, the two A-bombs, and the emperor’s decision to surrender had not dented the Japanese will to fight can be gauged from an August 15 message to Tokyo from General Yasuji Okamura, the commander of the army in China:

        “I am firmly convinced that it is time to exert all our efforts to fight to the end, determined that the whole army should die an honorable death without being distracted by the enemy’s peace offensive… Such a disgrace as the surrender of several million troops without fighting is not paralleled in the world’s military history, and it is absolutely impossible to submit to the unconditional surrender of a million picked troops in perfectly healthy shape. . . .”

        Field Marshal Terauchi, commander of the Southern Army, had this to say on the Allies’ agreement to grant surrender terms in reply to Hirohito,

        “Under no circumstances can the Southern Army accept the enemy’s reply.”

        The Emperor considered the bomb the decisive factor in his decision to intervene and lead the initiative to surrender. Said Hirohito: “We must put an end to the war as speedily as possible so that this tragedy will not be repeated.” Premier Suzuki said that Japan’s “war aim had been lost by the enemy’s use of the new-type bomb.” Hirohito, in his August 14 speech to the nation said,

        “The enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is indeed incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, it would not only result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but it would also lead to the total extinction of human civilization. Such being the case, how are we to save the millions of our subjects. . . This is the reason why we have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the Joint Declaration of the Powers.”

        (The source for all of the above is Robert J.C. Butow, “Japan’s Decision to Surrender,” 1954, pp.166-188).

        ***

        The evidence is thus compelling that the Japanese leadership was a) adamant that there would be no surrender even if the kokutai had been retained, b) that not even the Soviet declaration of war combined with the dropping of both A-bombs was sufficient to persuade Japan’s military leaders of the necessity of surrender, just the opposite; they were even more determined than ever to fight on however hopeless the situation.

        And while the importance of the Soviet declaration of war toward reinforcing the hopelessness of Japan’s situation should not be overlooked, it is clear that the emperor’s intervention was decisive in accepting the surrender terms, and that the bomb was decisive in forcing his intervention. Had he not intervened, there would have likely been a full scale invasion of the home islands causing hundreds of thousands of fatalities.

        From all of this, I draw the conclusion that the dropping of the A-bombs was not only right, but necessary to save further bloodshed.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        Jeffrey Blankfort on January 12, 2012, 9:03 pm

        I am curious, Werdine, if you have ever served in the military or have seen bodies blown to bits? I ask that because, sitting comfortably behind a desk as I imagine, you seem to have no qualms about the taking of the lives of innocent civilians, like the neocon chicken hawks in Washington and NY who are ready to sacrifice the lives of others on the altars of their ideology but whose sphincter muscles would no doubt quiver beyond their control if they were deposited in an actual battlefield.

        By coincidence, I was just reading a tattered copy of the August 16th, 1945 edition of the Daily Express of Christchurch, New Zealand, the other day which my brother-in-law who is from Christchurch had preserved and brought with him to the US and found within the paper’s extraordinary reporting on the war the very statement that you quoted above from Hirohito:

        “The enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is indeed incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, it would not only result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but it would also lead to the total extinction of human civilization.”

        While there was no doubt a widespread belief that the Japanese would not surrender, based on cable intercepts, etc., that did not necessarily apply to all the troops in the field. That was the way the US military approached them in the aftermath of the surrender, however, as a story told me years ago by a friend of mine who flew fighters for the Navy in the Pacific, exemplifies.

        He and and several other pilots were in their planes over one of the Pacific Islands after Japan’s surrender and were surprised to see the Japanese soldiers who were stationed on the island rush out to the beach with their arms raised in surrender.My friend Bill’s commanding officer told him and his fellow pilots over the wireless, “You can’t trust those Japs, go in and get them,” and so they did and soon the beach was littered with the dead bodies of Japanese soldiers who had tried to surrender. Bill broke into tears as he told that story.

      • Jerome Slater
        Jerome Slater on January 12, 2012, 10:18 pm

        “From all of this, I draw the conclusion that the dropping of the A-bombs was not only right, but necessary to save further bloodshed.”

        Perhaps, but only because of the insistence on unconditional surrender. Why even insist on any surrender at all? Did anyone even consider a different course, that would have averted the awful choice of destroying cities or invading the Japanese home islands? Japan’s capacity for aggression was non-existent by the summer of 1945. Why not just unilaterally stop the war, so long as Japanese troops were withdrawn from the rest of Asia? Japan could then have been told that they were free to do whatever they wanted within Japan, under any government they wanted–but that if they sought to rebuild their military forces capable of resuming expansion, those forces would immediately be destroyed.

        The purpose of the war, as I see it, should have been limited to reversing Japanese expansionism and making sure it couldn’t be resumed–easily accomplished by the summer of 1945, requiring NEITHER the invasion of Japan or the dropping of the A-bombs.

        Werdine and Tanaka know a lot more about this period than I do: were such options even considered?

        Incidentally, I think the insistence on German unconditional surrender was right–Nazism was in a different category, it did have to be totally destroyed and Germany occupied.

      • Hostage
        Hostage on January 13, 2012, 9:16 am

        Werdine and Woody,

        During and after WWII a person was only considered a refugee if they qualified under the Arrangements of 12 May 1926 and 30 June 1928 or under the Conventions of 28 October 1933 and 10 February 1938, the Protocol of 14 September 1939 or the Constitution of the International Refugee Organization. What all of these people had in common, without exception, was that they were victims of events in Europe. See Article 1 of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention http://www.unhcr.org/3b66c2aa10.pdf

        So when the President established a War Refugee Board by Executive Order 9417 it had nothing to do with civilians interned in Japanese concentration camps in Asia and the Pacific. http://www.uhuh.com/laws/donncoll/eo/1944/EO9417.TXT

        The Board wasn’t tasked with waging a war in either theater of operations. You can read all about its activities in the report on the Interest of the United States Government in the Relief and Rescue of Jews and the Security Detainees in Germany and German Occupied Territory
        http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/FRUS/FRUS-idx?type=goto&id=FRUS.FRUS1945v02&isize=M&submit=Go+to+page&page=1119

        The Board made relief supplies available, authorized Jewish groups to transfer enormous sums to the enemy in order to negotiate the release of Jews from extermination camps, and offered free transport of Jews to Palestine by the US government. There never was any comparable effort to free the POWs or civilian internees in the Japanese camps in Asia and the Pacific.

      • Robert Werdine
        Robert Werdine on January 13, 2012, 3:49 pm

        Jeffrey,

        FYI, I did not serve in the military. If I had, it is not likely that I would find occasion to revise my opinion that the dropping of the A-bomb was correct. Facts and logic dictate to me that the dropping of the bombs prevented much more bloodshed for Americans and Japanese alike; you may feel differently.

        The anecdote you relate strikes me as authentic. The Japanese rarely surrendered, and often feigned surrender to lure American troops into the open and kill them. Consequently, Navy and Marine commanders would often sanction the shooting of those attempting to surrender, rather than risk lives taking them prisoner. This was especially true among small unit commanders in the bitter island engagements at Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. In October 1943 George Marshall cabled commanders in the Pacific to discourage the practice among soldiers in making necklaces from the teeth of dead Japanese, and Life Magazine published a photo of an Arizona woman looking at the skull of a dead Japanese soldier sent to her from her boyfriend, which bore the inscription: “This is a good Jap—a dead one picked up on the New Guinea beach.”

        Also, German Admiral Doenitz relates in his memoirs how Admiral Nimitz sent an affidavit to his defense lawyer at Nuremberg, testifying that American submarines would often refuse to take on survivors of sunken Japanese ships for fear that it would put submarine crewmen at risk taking them aboard.

        However, those Japanese who were taken prisoner received decent treatment. The same cannot be said of Allied prisoners in Japanese custody, of whom some 27% died in captivity—compared to 4% in German captivity. Testimony taken at the Tokyo Tribunal relates that Japanese commanders and soldiers routinely shot and tortured Allied prisoners on the slightest of pretexts, conducted sadistic medical experiments on them, and even committed acts of cannibalism on them when food was scarce.

        So, I think it is fair to say that the Pacific war was a brutal war, and that both sides committed atrocities and acts of savagery, but the Japanese in China, SE Asia, and the Pacific, did so on a far, far greater scale that dwarfs the worst outrages committed by the Allies.

      • Robert Werdine
        Robert Werdine on January 14, 2012, 12:55 pm

        Jerome,

        I agree with you that Japan’s capacity for offensive action was nil by 1945, but they were still well entrenched in China and SE Asia with some several million troops who could still fight and sustain themselves without much assistance from the home islands. Also they were palnning a series of offensive actions despite their plight. They had been training an outfit called the Yamoaka Parachute Brigade of some 300 Kamikaze soldiers who would be landed by submarine on the coast of California to shoot their way to aircraft factories in Los Angeles. They planned a similar attack on the Marianas islands involving some 2000 suicided soldiers. The former operation never got rolling because of the end of the war and the latter was only thwarted when Admiral Halsey recieved intel on the attack and targeted the 400 planes being readied on August 4, 1945. The Japanese were indeed beaten, but they still had plenty of fight–and bite left among them.

        Clearing the Asian mainland of the Japanese would, I think, probably have taken years and possibly a million troops. All of the evidence shows that American policy makers never seem to have considered anything short of surrender, and that the Japanese would probably not have been amenable to any arrangement that smacked of surrender or the yielding of conquered territory, as communications from their commanders in China and SE Asia as late as mid-August 1945 indicate.

        It’s just speculation on my part, but I am guessing that any arrangement that allowed the lunatic military regime to stay in power would only unwittingly abet them in their highest priority—rearming and re-conquering, regardless of what this meant for the Japanese people. It also seems to me that the Japanese militarists—like the German militarists after WW I—would regard any conclusion of the war that stopped short of surrender as an opportunity to scapegoat their defeat on civilians and as a spur to rearm for a future return engagement

        Any type of peace arrangement short of surrender would ultimately founder on the Japanese refusal to countenance defeat of any sort, conditional or unconditional.

        That said, and though I do think that the strategy of striking at the Japanese by securing key Pacific island locations while bypassing others to bring them within striking distance of the home islands was the correct course of action, there is one costly campaign that could have been avoided: the Philippines campaign, in which some 14,000 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Philippinos were killed, and Manila devastated. The campaign was a sop to MacArthur from Roosevelt so that MacArthur could “return.” It did nothing to bring Japan’s defeat closer.

        If you’re interested, there are some excellent books on American and Allied decision-making in the Pacific war by British naval historian H.P. Wilmott:

        –“Empires in the Balance: Japanese and Allied Pacific Strategies to April 1942,” (Naval Institute Press, 1982)

        –“Barrier and the Javelin: Japanese and Allied Strategies February to June 1942,” (Naval Institute Press, 1983)

        –“The War With Japan: May 1942 to October 1943,” (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1985)

        Also informative are D. Clayton James “The Years of MacArthur, Vol. II: 1941-1945,” (1975), and Forrest Pogue’s “George Marshall: Ordeal and Hope 1939-1942,” (1965), and “Organizer of Victory: 1943-1945,” (1973).

      • Robert Werdine
        Robert Werdine on January 14, 2012, 3:15 pm

        Jerome,

        I forgot to add something. If there is one single book that surveys the entire Asia-Pacific theater and all of the command issues (as well as an excellent account of the campaigns) comprehensively it is Max Hastings’ “Nemesis: The Battle For Japan 1944-1945,” (Harper Press, 2007).

        It’s also an excellent read. I highly reccomend it, if you can get it.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on January 19, 2012, 10:53 pm

        Jerry,

        “Why even insist on any surrender at all?”

        The Allies insisted on unconditional surrender at the end of the war, essentially as revenge for Pearl Harbor and the Japanese atrocities.

        “Did anyone even consider a different course, that would have averted the awful choice of destroying cities or invading the Japanese home islands?”

        Yes. There were Americans (Stimson, Forrestal, Grew, etc.) who were in favor of explicitly saying to the Japanese that they could keep the Emperor. Truman, Byrnes and the like refused.

        “Japan’s capacity for aggression was non-existent by the summer of 1945. Why not just unilaterally stop the war, so long as Japanese troops were withdrawn from the rest of Asia?”

        Because they would not have withdrawn without the end of the war. We’re not talking about some small force. The Russians took 600,000 POWs in Manchuria.

        “Japan could then have been told that they were free to do whatever they wanted within Japan, under any government they wanted–but that if they sought to rebuild their military forces capable of resuming expansion, those forces would immediately be destroyed.”

        That would not have changed the Japanese thinking. The occupation was necessary to change the whole system.

        “The purpose of the war, as I see it, should have been limited to reversing Japanese expansionism and making sure it couldn’t be resumed–easily accomplished by the summer of 1945, requiring NEITHER the invasion of Japan or the dropping of the A-bombs.”

        The problem was that the expansionism was a symptom, not the disease. The disease was the governmental system. That had to change.

        “Werdine and Tanaka know a lot more about this period than I do: were such options even considered?”

        There were, as I said, proposals were made to clarify that there could retain the Emperor after surrender. They were rejected by Truman and Byrnes. Some people say that they did so, specifically in order to drop the bomb. I don’t believe that to be the case; I think that the inertia of the thing is to blame and the US would do anything to get the war over. I’ve never looked to see if anyone ever considered just stopping, as you’ve suggested, but I very much doubt it.

        “Incidentally, I think the insistence on German unconditional surrender was right–Nazism was in a different category, it did have to be totally destroyed and Germany occupied.”

        Well, it was only in a different category because it was a different system and the specific demands for each were different. But the system the Japanese had had to be fundamentally changed.

      • RoHa
        RoHa on January 9, 2012, 5:58 pm

        “I am willing to die in order to maintain a Jewish state in Israel.”

        Go ahead, then. But don’t make anyone else die for it.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on January 9, 2012, 6:21 pm

        “I am willing to die in order to maintain a Jewish state in Israel. I believe it is an idea worth sacrificing your life for.”

        And what do you know, you haven’t done it, have you? You still remain alive, in spite of a million chances to give your life fior Israel! You don’t care how many people have died in your place, as long as “eee” is alive and free to spout his BS.
        You could sacrifice your life for Israel any time you wanted to, but you don’t. Because you are a coward. And a hypocrite.

      • eee
        eee on January 9, 2012, 7:13 pm

        Mooser,

        I was 10 years in the IDF and like most soldiers, risked my life while performing my duties. Where have you served, coward? Did you ever even visit the West Bank or Gaza? Thought not.

      • RoHa
        RoHa on January 9, 2012, 7:16 pm

        “You still remain alive,”

        I’m not so sure. Sometimes eee seems a bit ghostly.

      • American
        American on January 9, 2012, 7:30 pm

        I think eee is probably some young punk who knows not what he is talking about and has never smelled blood or had the slightest scrape with death much less looked it in the face. People who have don’t talk that way.
        But from eee’s comments here he could be capable of shooting an unarmed person in the head from the comfort of a armored vehicle.

      • eljay
        eljay on January 9, 2012, 9:23 pm

        >> But from eee’s comments here he could be capable of shooting an unarmed person in the head from the comfort of a armored vehicle.

        eee is the immoral Zio-supremacist thug who would do the dirty work that an immoral Zio-supremacist “humanist” like RW would “hold his nose” and avoid doing…but support and justify nevertheless. eee is RW without the thin veneer of civility.

        Among other things, both of them:
        – have described Zionist terrorism and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine as “necessary” (eee called it a “necessary” evil; RW called it a “necessary” wrong”);
        – believe that Israel is entitled to retain all that it has stolen outside of Partition borders;
        – downplay or dismiss the notion of accountability for crimes committed by Israel; and
        – continue to advocate for Israel as a religion-supremacist “Jewish state” rather than a secular, egalitarian and democratic state for all Israelis.

      • Shingo
        Shingo on January 9, 2012, 10:43 pm

        I was 10 years in the IDF and like most soldiers, risked my life while performing my duties.

        Yeah sure. I bet you even broke a fingernail or two, and suffered the odd bout of heat stroke.

      • on January 9, 2012, 11:45 pm

        “I was 10 years in the IDF and like most soldiers, risked my life while performing my duties.”

        I was 10 years in the IDF, and like most soldiers, I put lives of other, innocent people at risk ,while I performed my duties.

      • dimadok
        dimadok on January 9, 2012, 11:50 pm

        Not he is not, neither me.We both served our country – proudly and still willing to serve. A will to serve a cause is always stronger and cannot be explained by some “indoctrination”. Jews can not rely on anyone for their security except for themselves. And please do not bring the usual crap about US aid etc. The same aid goes to Saudis, Egyptians or anyone else who is within US interest. We have learned our history lessons- the question is will our opponents learn as well.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on January 10, 2012, 2:23 pm

        “I was 10 years in the IDF”

        Yes, being so close to all those hunky IDF men must have been thrilling for you. I hope it resulted in a permanent relationship for you.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        Jeffrey Blankfort on January 10, 2012, 5:11 pm

        Risked your life. eee? How so, occupying someone else’s land? Humiliating an old man twice your age? Arresting a kid for throwing stones? The very thought of going up against Hezbollah, someone who can actually fight back, makes your bowels quiver. I saw your ilk in Lebanon in 1983; they were a bunch of sadistic cowards who eventually were taught a lesson and forced to retreat with their tails between their legs.

      • dimadok
        dimadok on January 10, 2012, 8:32 pm

        That is so low that there is no point to go deeper. Well done Mooser, you smart and sharp man you!

      • yourstruly
        yourstruly on January 10, 2012, 9:36 pm

        since no nation except israel, the u.s. and its european allies threatens the saudis or egypt, u.s. aid to these countries isn’t for defense, it’s to purchase their acquiescence/participation in empire’s aggression in the me.

      • LanceThruster
        LanceThruster on January 11, 2012, 5:59 pm

        @dumvitaestspesest – January 9, 2012 at 11:45 pm

        xD

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on January 9, 2012, 6:59 pm

        “I am willing to die in order to maintain a Jewish state in Israel.”

        And I am so very sorry that you haven’t had the honor.

      • Jerome Slater
        Jerome Slater on January 10, 2012, 8:50 am

        Woody Tanaka: “And I am so very sorry that you haven’t had the honor.”

        Not good, Woody. Not up to your usual standards.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on January 10, 2012, 11:47 am

        “Not good, Woody. Not up to your usual standards.”

        Oh, I don’t know about that. I often let my passions get the best of me. A cold jest/insult is certain within the norm for me.

        But let us consider this for a second. eee has repeatedly demonstrates that he operates by a moral code that says that a universal morality is, at best, foolish, and that one’s concern should be for oneself and one’s people or tribe or clan.

        So why should I wish for him long life and prosperity when he would simply use that to further the oppression of an innocent people at the hands of the Israeli state (even if only by voting for parties who refuse to retreat fully to the 1967 lines)? I certainly do not wish that he die in pain, but if he, and enough of those who vote like him, were to simply blink out of existence, with the remainder free to then withdraw the Israeli forces and people to within the 1967 lines, ending the occupation and freeing the Palestinians, why should I not apply his own logic and favor that? If he does not care for the “other,” why should I, when he is the “other” to me?

      • eee
        eee on January 10, 2012, 1:30 pm

        “But let us consider this for a second.”

        Yes, let’s consider this.
        The problems with your argument Woody are their extremism. Since you are wishing for miracles anyway, why not just wish that we have a change of heart instead of dying painlessly? Or that we are moved miraculously to some wasteland and are confined there? Taking care of your own, does not mean wishing the worst on the other.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on January 10, 2012, 2:02 pm

        “Not up to your usual standards.”

        Yeah, Jerome, that’s what I hoped I would think about your article. And then you wrote a second one. Oh well, at least you’re consistent.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on January 10, 2012, 2:11 pm

        “The problems with your argument Woody are their extremism.”

        There is nothing extreme in my position. I call for full human rights for all people. You want them for yourself and your fellow Jews and wish to deny them to others. It is you who is the extremist.

        “Since you are wishing for miracles anyway, why not just wish that we have a change of heart instead of dying painlessly?”

        Oh, I’m not wishing for miracles, as it a word that denotes a thing that does not actually exist. You were the one who brought up dying, which led to my statement. I wish every day that you people would have a change of heart.

        “Taking care of your own, does not mean wishing the worst on the other.”

        And yet your state acts in ways which suggests it not only means wishin the worst on the other, but inflicting it. All with your explicit support and approval.

      • Jerome Slater
        Jerome Slater on January 10, 2012, 3:10 pm

        “You want them for yourself and your fellow Jews.” Please Woody, on this site, with all its baggage, it’s better to say “fellow Israelis.” Yes, Jews is just as accurate–you could even say more accurate, since not all Israelis are Jews–but just the same, a little euphemism here is warranted.

      • eee
        eee on January 10, 2012, 3:12 pm

        “There is nothing extreme in my position. I call for full human rights for all people. You want them for yourself and your fellow Jews and wish to deny them to others. It is you who is the extremist.”

        My honest assessment is that the right of return will lead to a civil war and the complete trashing of Israel. It will severely impact the quality of life of Israelis. Therefore, when you insist on it, I find your position extreme.

        It is a fact that Hamas can easily end Gaza’a isolation by accepting the conditions of the Quartet. These are very reasonable conditions in my opinion. You think Hamas should not accept them. Therefore, I find your position extreme. The Palestinians would not be accepting anything the PLO has not already accepted and the situation in Gaza would improve significantly.

        And I can give you more examples.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on January 10, 2012, 3:49 pm

        “Please Woody, on this site, with all its baggage, it’s better to say ‘fellow Israelis.’ Yes, Jews is just as accurate–you could even say more accurate, since not all Israelis are Jews–but just the same, a little euphemism here is warranted.”

        Jerry, I think that eee has made it quite clear that his views on this subject are not limited to the members of his state, but to members of his ethnicity. For example, I do not believe that eee would say that he would be neutral or disinterested if a state were to, say, strip the right to own property from its Jewish citizens. In fact, from his statements, I believe that he would condemn it in the strongest terms and say that this would be a case where the Israeli state would be compelled to intercede on behalf of those Jews. (And if the same thing were to occur to a different ethnicity, I don’t believe eee would offer more than a token note of disapproval, if that, and certainly would not suggest Israel act to affect the situation to protect those minorities.)

        So, while there are some situations were “Israelis” is more appropriate than “Jews,” I believe that, in this case, “Jews” is accurate and properly reflects eee’s attude, while “Israelis” would not.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on January 10, 2012, 5:11 pm

        “Therefore, when you insist on it, I find your position extreme.”

        I’ve never insisted on it. In fact, I’ve repeatedly said that I don’t care whether it is a one-state, two-state, ten-state solution, it doesn’t matter to me. All that matters is justice. If Israeli wants to pony up a couple of trillion to compensate all of the refugees, then the refugees should accept it and the right of return should be no more.

        But the Israelis would never pay what is just. They’d make up yet another in the long string of excuses and bad-faith assertions…

        “It is a fact that Hamas can easily end Gaza’a isolation by accepting the conditions of the Quartet.”

        No, it is a claim of a conditional future event. As such, it is not, by definition, a fact.

        “These are very reasonable conditions in my opinion.”

        Then you would have no problem with Israel being bound to them, as well?

        “You think Hamas should not accept them.”

        No, I don’t. I think Hamas should accept them. I’m not foolish enough to believe it will make a difference. Israel would just come up with some other excuse to keep torturing the Gazans. But it would show the world that the Israeli word is meaningless.

        “And I can give you more examples.”

        I’m still waiting for the first…

      • Shingo
        Shingo on January 10, 2012, 7:56 pm

        It is a fact that Hamas can easily end Gaza’a isolation by accepting the conditions of the Quartet.

        How is that a factvwhen Israel itself has either violated it’s own commitments as laid out by the Quartet (ie. The Road Map) or rejected the conditions of the Quartet altogether.

        http://worldbulletin.net/index.php?aType=haber&ArticleID=62520

        If these are very reasonable conditions, why does Israel not accept them and implement them.

        You apparently have no problem with this behavior by Israel, so it is your position that is extreme.

        Besides, Israel have demonstrated that they do not honor agreements, or ceasefires, so there is no reason to expect thy would lift the siege even if they promised to do so.

      • dahoit
        dahoit on January 11, 2012, 12:36 pm

        So,why did you build that bunker to hide in from the bottle rockets?
        We don’t want any wars,we want problems solved by talking and negotiation,civilized behavior eschewed by such paragons of advanced thinking as you.

  16. MarkF
    MarkF on January 9, 2012, 3:53 pm

    Is it really “simple-minded” to realize that we aren’t smart enough to play G-d, to decide who shall live and who shall die beyond our shores outside the scope of the laws of our land?

    As far as WWII, many arugue that the causes for that war are a result of WWI, another war that we were involved in, and one where the outcome set the stage for the rise of Nazi Germany.

    I’ll pose a more “simple-minded” test for just war. Are you willing to send your precious sons or daughters to fight the “just war”? If you are not, it’s not just. Put your chips (kids) in the pot. No need to send others on missions you’re unwilling to do with your babies or yourself.

    • eee
      eee on January 9, 2012, 4:09 pm

      “I’ll pose a more “simple-minded” test for just war. Are you willing to send your precious sons or daughters to fight the “just war”? If you are not, it’s not just.”

      So apparently most of you here do not think that the Palestinian fight against Israel is just because you are not willing to send your kids to fight it. Or maybe I am wrong, and you will send your kids to fight besides the Palestinians in the next intifada?

      The fact is that a war can be just even if people are selfish and do not want to send their kids to fight it. A war to stop the genocide in Rwanda for example would have been worthwhile but unpopular in the US. It is ok to say: The war is just but I don’t care enough about that cause to sacrifice my life or my kids’ life.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on January 9, 2012, 6:23 pm

        “The war is just but I don’t care enough about that cause to sacrifice my life or my kids’ life.”

        Yup that’s what I said, you want to sacrifice lives, and long as it’s not your own. Go ahead, you big ridiculous macher, prove me wrong.

      • eee
        eee on January 9, 2012, 7:17 pm

        Mooser,

        How can anyone prove that you are wrong? You don’t ever pronounce an opinion. I haven’t read ONE constructive from you. All you are good at are ad hominem attacks. You fart in the wind and think you are singing.

      • Jerome Slater
        Jerome Slater on January 10, 2012, 8:58 am

        Like I said above, note this exchange between eee and Mooser. Eee makes an undeniable point, disposing of the “argument”–if one can even call it that–that a war must be unjust if you don’t want to send your children to fight it. Whereupon, Mooser, a local hero on this site, regarded as a great wit, either can’t comprehend the argument or, because he knows he has no answer to it, resorts to a non-sequitur, followed by an insult.

      • Cliff
        Cliff on January 10, 2012, 9:30 am

        Jerome Slater,

        You’ve become a fan of the racist, imbecile, eee. Eee has previously defined for us who is and is not a Jew (Zionist or not).

        And his ‘debates’ with Shmuel are amusing because of how utterly incompetent and hypocritical his reasoning is.

        I wonder, since you admire the guy, if you also support a statement he made following the Itamar murders:

        Hey Phil and Annie and the rest of you guys,

        Can you please ask your Palestinian friends that the next time they murder only the parents? Could you please explain to them that killing three kids including a 3 year old and an infant does not help their cause?

        Who murders random kids sleeping in their beds just because they are Jews? Only very sumud and sensitive people. Please prepare your excuse why Hamas will not condemn this crime and then try explaining how Israelis should really look forward towards living in a one state. I am looking forward to Avi’s explanation why the perpetrators are really heroes. Mooser, do you have any jokes about this you would like to share with us?

        As to whether or not people address ‘eee’ and his arguments. Yes, they do. However, after a certain point – he became a joke.

        It’s telling you can’t see that!

        Said eee:

        So you want to have it both ways I see. Who’s job is it then if you also deny the Jews a country? You either accept the notion that the leading countries of the world need to protect minorities from genocide or you accept the notion that minorities need to have a way to protect themselves by having countries and armies.

        Countries do not have morals. They only have interests. There are people suffering all over the world but you don’t see the US sending them billions of dollars. Or launching wars. Or providing diplomatic support. In fact, the US has supported countries that carry out horrible crimes. The US itself has killed millions of people.

        Secondly, no one is denying ‘the Jews’ a country. Read that Jerome Slater. The opposition to Zionism is Zionism in it’s only relevant form – in practice. Who cares about a hypothetical Zionism that did not result in the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous majority? Or a Zionism that is not constantly colonizing this indigenous population’s land? Or a Zionism that is not constantly at war.

        Zionism is a destabilizing logic. Not surprising and not shocking. You want to create and perpetuate a Jewish State in a region that is not predominantly Jewish? Expect war.

        This is why the Israelis are against the Arab spring. The dictatorships served their interests. Egypt was a good ally under Mubarek. Jordan as well. If the Arab people were truly free to decide what to do w/ their relations to Israel, then there would likely be more wars. Israel might be a great military strength according to who you talk to (Pat Lang describes the IDF as undisciplined and unfitting/unworthy of being compared to US troops) – the point is that an Arab world which belongs to the various populaces and not to the US and it’s puppet regimes is not good for Israel.

        Do you or eee consider that in your construct of anti-Zionism? Do you sincerely think anyone gives a shit about Zionism in and of itself? (Answer: you do, because of how self-centered you are.)

        Mooser has been posting on MW for a long time and his style is his own. You’re making a superficial assessment without that context. Mooser makes these kinds of satirical comments all the time, regardless of who he replies too.

        You probably should take your break from MW, Slater. Looks like you’re just a more coherent Richard Witty.

        Lastly, aside from eee slandering all of Palestinian society as ‘murderous’ and lecturing people on who is and is not Jewish, he has also lectured Palestinian/Arab posters here that if THEY (they!) stop the rockets, then everything will be sunshine and marshmallows.

        Eee has also said Palestinians LOVE the Israeli economy! Just love it! Palestinians apparently PREFER WORKING in Israel!

        These SUPERFICIAL and idiotic arguments are wholly based on Wikipedia articles or his own conjecture and always without context.

        Eee had nothing to say in response to me, maybe it was last year, when I brought up Sara Roy’s book on the DE-DEVELOPMENT of the Gazan economy under Israeli occupation.

        You could guess the KIND of reply eee would make to that book:

        ‘Oh well, why would you expect Israel to strengthen their enemies’ economic freedom?’

        You can’t have it both ways but eee will sing Israel’s praises and then in the same vein, will whitewash the context.

        This is deep-seated intellectual dishonesty.

        It’s just like when hophmi tried to tell us all that the SNAKE that StandWithUs drew as a visual metaphor for Palestinian nationalism was not really said metaphor.

        And both of these clowns claim BDS is against ‘the Jews’.

        You are in good company, Slater.

      • marc b.
        marc b. on January 10, 2012, 9:49 am

        please read this regarding germany’s role in the war in afghanistan. how does this affect ‘just war’ analysis? presumably unrest in libya, given libya’s gas and water resources was/is of economic concern to the french, italians, etc.

        German President Horst Köhler announced his resignation on Monday in response to fierce criticism of comments he made about Germany’s military mission in Afghanistan.

        “I declare my resignation from the office of president — with immediate effect,” Köhler, with tears in his eyes and speaking in a faltering voice, said in a statement, flanked by his wife Eva-Luise.

        The president is the head of state and his duties are largely ceremonial. But the resignation is the latest in a string of setbacks for Chancellor Angela Merkel since her re-election last September. The German federal assembly — made up of parliamentary MPs and delegates appointed by the country’s 16 federal states — will have to vote for a successor to Köhler within 30 days, according to the federal constitution.

        The president had become the target of intense criticism following remarks he made during a surprise visit to soldiers of the Bundeswehr German army in Afghanistan on May 22. In an interview with a German radio reporter who accompanied him on the trip, he seemed to justify his country’s military missions abroad with the need to protect economic interests.

        “A country of our size, with its focus on exports and thus reliance on foreign trade, must be aware that … military deployments are necessary in an emergency to protect our interests — for example when it comes to trade routes, for example when it comes to preventing regional instabilities that could negatively influence our trade, jobs and incomes,” Köhler said.

        It sounded as though Köhler was justifying wars for the sake of economic interests, in the context of the Afghan mission which is highly controversial in Germany and throughout Europe.

        http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,697785,00.html

      • Danaa
        Danaa on January 10, 2012, 10:17 am

        Slater, do you ever get tired on insulting posters on this site? I have taken my lumps from Mooser but he has a way of getting to the essence of things, whereas you do the intellectual genuflecting we have all come to recognize and not so cherish. On top of it, you actually side with eee, one of the least deep thinking, least incisive posters here, kept on as a token of appreciation for the valiant efforts of hasbara central.

        And not only do I agree with Mooser on the point he makes (without absolution on any other points), but I also happen to think that people who do not contribute their flesh and blood to the American military, and have no family who do, should not be the ones lecturing to Americans about the finer talmudic-like details of “Just War” theories. If you fought in one of America’s wars, I might listen. If you fought for America’s veterans at least, I might care to read through the thinly-veiled excuses for blood shed you put forth in several threads now. But if you haven’t, then all the theoretizing about the hidden humane qualities war and “liberation” from the shackles of “tirany” (usually to help usher a new, improved tirany, more friendly to the “liberators”) sound like justification of imperial hubris. Much such as the Romans did when sending off their centurions on their punitive campaigns.

        If you make the arguments you do, calling anyone who disagrees with you “stupid”, dense or worse (but eee, our shining intellectual light is OK because he agrees, like the good little boy that he is), then I want to know your credentials in the war fighting department, not in the war philosophizing one. At least Ron paul, who you, the exceptional labelist, from your haughty perch, called “simpleminded”, served his country honorably, right on the front line. This gives him the right to discuss the righteousness of war and imperial hubris, and the right to call others chicken hawks. Dissing the principled positions Paul takes by those who have not had experience with what war actually is – personally – is self-righteous at best.

        Feel free to correct me on your or family’s service record in the US armed forces. Anything after WWII will do. I’ll even take homefront intelligence service. maybe I am totally wrong on this score and your family sent scores to Korea or Vietnam, or Lebanon or Iraq. or maybe just a few. maybe you had family flying the planes that bombed Serbia or Kosovo, or just serviced those planes when they returned. maybe you have illustrious graduates of our military academies whatever it is they went to do afterwards. I really do stand to be corrected on this score, and if I am, will consider your arguments on merits, even if I have to tie myself to the screen to do so.

        It’s just that I can’t shake off the impression that entire edifice of “Just War” has the look and feel of two 16th century rabbis arguing whether or not it is OK to slaughter a chicken on Saturday if a life depends on it. They were good at that sort of thing, I hear.

      • marc b.
        marc b. on January 10, 2012, 11:11 am

        ope. left out the article on carving up libyan resources. is this how the conduct of just wars are rewarded?

        Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) — Libya’s new leaders will remember who provided the most help in overthrowing Muammar Qaddafi, when it comes to new oil concessions. Italy, the biggest investor in the country, may find itself at a disadvantage.

        Libya has the world’s ninth-largest proven reserves of oil, estimated at more than 46 billion barrels, according to the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook. Much of the oil is prized for being low-sulfur.

        France and the U.S. haven’t come across as “someone who is basically grabbing” and are “playing it right,” former Libyan Oil Minister Ali Tarhouni, who quit shortly after the capture and death of Qaddafi, said in an interview yesterday in Washington. Italy “will take time to figure it out.”

        At stake is Italy’s position as the top energy investor in Libya, where its closest rivals are Total SA of France, which was the first country to recognize the Libyan opposition, and Russia’s Gazprom OAO. The U.S. and the U.K. joined France in leading efforts to win United Nations approval for air strikes against Qaddafi’s forces.

        “We are indebted to the French, and I cannot find the right words to say it,” Tarhouni said, listing Libya’s “friends” in the following order: France, the U.S., Britain and Italy. “If everything else is the same, of course we will remember our friends.”

      • Jerome Slater
        Jerome Slater on January 10, 2012, 11:21 am

        Cliff, on eee and me: “You are in good company, Slater.”

        Oh, it is just so HARD to make distinctions, especially the real tough ones, like between the arguments you agree with and the arguments you disagree with. I don’t know what eee’s position is on the key issues–elsewhere I’ve asked him to state them–but I sure do know an intelligent argument from a bad one, and in everyone of them on this thread he thoroughly outclasses his opponents.

        I have to admit one thing I’m worried about. Eee is obviously very bright: suppose he clarifies his position, and it is the standard rightwing Israeli one. Will I then be struck with a severe case of cognitive dissonance?

        No, my worries are groundless–whew. In that circumstance I will wonder how some one so intelligent can believe in the preposterous Israeli mythology and can fail to recognize its criminal behavior and stupidity? But then it will remain necessary to distinguish between good arguments and bad ones, even if they are coming from the same person.

        Distinctions, distinctions, distinctions–the hell with them, why get a headache?

      • Mooser
        Mooser on January 10, 2012, 2:36 pm

        Here is the e-mail I received from Phil Weiss:

        mooser i think we’re being too hard on prof. i want prof around. i dont like the atmosphere we’ve created here

        I don’t need that crap. I never thought he would sink to that, e-mailing me to try and minipulate the comment section from behind the scenes. And it sure shows me how much respect Weiss has for me. Gosh, I wonder if he ever asked Slater not to insult me? I sure doubt it.
        Maybe he thinks that’s the way to go, but I want no part of it. Any other e-mails from Phil will be returned, marked “Return to Sender”. Which is odd, because his name is Weiss, but that’s how it’s done, as far as I know.

      • Antidote
        Antidote on January 10, 2012, 2:40 pm

        EEE doesn’t make “an undeniable point”. The point he makes is idiotic. How many parents of various nationalities enthusiastically committed their kids to fight in WW I and II and kill each other? Were they all supporting a just war, be they Brits, Russians, Germans or French etc? What a nonsense. I know several Americans who NEVER forgave their parents for urging them to kill and (possibly) die in a ‘just’ and ‘necessary’ war. That was the Vietnam war.

      • Antidote
        Antidote on January 10, 2012, 2:49 pm

        marc b – It’s not only controversial, but outright unconstitutional in Germany to fight wars for any other reason than self-defense. That’s why Köhler caused an uproar. That’s why Fischer had to campaign along the lines of preventing another Holocaust in 1999 to get Germany back into the war business. An Afghan friend explained the same thing to me the other day: countries who do not support US/Nato wars will not get any lucrative contracts in the business of waging war or rebuilding the countries destroyed by war. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Belgrade or Baghdad. That’s how it works

      • Mooser
        Mooser on January 10, 2012, 3:02 pm

        “Eee is obviously very bright”

        Ah, the IQ according to Slater: “eee” agrees with me, he is obviously very bright, and good, a real mensch. Mooser is sharp with me, and treats me without the deference due me. Obviously a moron, and probably evil, too!

        Slater, I am going to make sure every word of these articles and the comments reaches State University of New York at Buffalo. They should know what they are paying for.

      • Shingo
        Shingo on January 10, 2012, 5:19 pm

        In that circumstance I will wonder how some one so intelligent can believe in the preposterous Israeli mythology and can fail to recognize its criminal behavior and stupidity? But then it will remain necessary to distinguish between good arguments and bad ones, even if they are coming from the same person.

        Without implying any insult here Professor, I have asked myself the same questions about you. I often wonder how some one so intelligent, and so cognisant of preposterous Israeli mythology, and who recognizes its criminal behavior and stupidity, still defends the state unreservedly.

        How can such a person continue to insist that the creation of the state, which was carried out by criminal behavior, was justified?

        How can such a person continue to insist on teh merits of a state that is based on apartheid, and himself endorse a permanent state of ethnic supremacy?

      • marc b.
        marc b. on January 10, 2012, 9:04 pm

        Here is the e-mail I received from Phil Weiss:

        “mooser i think we’re being too hard on prof. i want prof around. i dont like the atmosphere we’ve created here”

        your bad, mooser. you never should have agreed to the interview. no he thinks you owe him. like in prison, where you’re given a cigarette, and next thing you know . . . weiss is a passive, aggressive type.

      • yourstruly
        yourstruly on January 10, 2012, 10:11 pm

        as stated many times on mw, most of the u.s casualties in iraq/afghanistan are men and women who come from either inner city or small town/rural america*. for whatever reason very few are from the upper middle/upper classes. one can verify this by checking out the defense department’s weekly killed serving their country list.

        *many if not most sign up for economic reasons after being sold a bill of goods by recruitment officers.

      • marc b.
        marc b. on January 11, 2012, 11:30 am

        marc b – It’s not only controversial, but outright unconstitutional in Germany to fight wars for any other reason than self-defense.

        thanks, antidote. i had forgotten. just goes to show what a malleable concept ‘self-defense’ is in certain hands.

      • MarkF
        MarkF on January 10, 2012, 10:58 am

        “So apparently most of you here do not think that the Palestinian fight against Israel is just because you are not willing to send your kids to fight it.”

        I speak for myself, AND I speak about just wars decided and fought by MY country, NOT by Israel, Palestine, etc.

        You obviously feel the wars YOUR country fights are just, and YOU are willing to be in the IDF and are willing to live in a country where your children WILL serve and fight. My test is for MY country and MY children. Again, my opinion, if I am mot willing to send MY child to fight and die, it’s unjust to ME.

        And to call us SELFISH? You got some nerve buddy. Selfish people don’t contribute to YOUR welfare state so you can have free universal health care, unlimited weapons and political cover.

        When’s the last time you Israelis fought a “just war” to save Libyans, Ruwandans, etc. Answer – NEVER.

        At least Mr. Slater is an AMERICAN arguing about intervention by HIS OWN country. YOU argue about just/unjust wars based on an OTHER COUNTRY fighting that war.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        Jeffrey Blankfort on January 10, 2012, 5:20 pm

        eee, I spent two years in the US infantry between the Korean and Vietnam wars where I twice won an expert rifleman badge. When I was in Lebanon in 1983, when one of your fellow Israeli sadists fired a bullet that creased my hair while I was taking photos, had some group, even before that, asked me to join the armed resistance against Israeli occupation I would have done so.

      • Cliff
        Cliff on January 10, 2012, 8:41 pm

        I remember reading a caption of yours Jeffrey, or maybe it was you in the picture with a pair of Lebanese children who had lost their legs in the first war.

        Was heart breaking. I think it was either you or another veteran anti-Zionist activist who was also Jewish. I believe his name began w/ Arthur I think.

        In any case, you’re a good guy, Jeffrey.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        Jeffrey Blankfort on January 11, 2012, 12:15 am

        Thanks, Cliff. That was a photograph I took at a hospital in the hills overlooking Jerusalem in November, 1983, on the afternoon of the morning I had spent visiting Yad Vashem.

  17. marc b.
    marc b. on January 9, 2012, 3:59 pm

    there is so much wrong with this analysis, it’s hard to know where to begin. just a few quick points:

    First, I believe that most of Ron Paul’s domestic positions are indeed simpleminded, and much worse, disastrous on both moral and consequential grounds. That makes him a fool.

    how does paul’s ‘simpleminded’ positions distinguish him from santorum’s lunacy, or romney’s vacillation, or gingrich’s disengenuous petulance? i don’t support paul, but i don’t find his platform any more, or any less, ‘simpleminded’ than that of his competition.

    Bosnia, Kosovo, and Libya are close calls, with substantial arguments on both sides. However you come out on whether those military interventions were justified, if you don’t recognize the complexity of the cases and explain how you meet the legitimate counterarguments, you are simplistic, and your opinions are of no interest—and in a politician, especially a candidate for the presidency, potentially dangerous.

    bosnia and kosovo. this is an odd example. there is ample evidence to suggest that pre-unification germany had a hand in destabilizing yugoslavia through its recognition of slovenia and croatia, which many western observers have described as premature and leading to the disintegraton of yugoslavia, although most such observers have claimed that germany’s actions were mistaken rather than cynical. so in this case, a member of NATO played a significant role in undermining the sovereignty of a nation that it later came to the ‘aid’ of.

    as for libya, how anyone could conclude that intervention was the ‘right thing’, close call or otherwise, when there is no clear sense of what is coming next. will further intervention be justified if the muslim brotherhoood comes to power and establishses sharia law by popular mandate? will the intervention be judged successful if libya fractures into tribal statelets, ‘governed’ by war lords?

    In several of the cases under discussion here–the US interventions in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Libya—the interventions were far from unilateral. On the contrary, they were not only supported by most western states, a number of them actively participated, and in the case of Libya, provided the main military forces.

    this is a simplistic, disengenuous description of events. the tandem of the US/NATO ultimately establishes the standards for the justification for intervention, and then patch together a coalition to provide the appearance of broad support for their decision. and, curiously, you don’t seem to mention the lack of popular support for these interventions even in countries which pledge support.

    I don’t “acknowledge” that all wars cause civilian casualties—that’s like acknowledging that the sun rises in the morning. What I argue—rather, what just war moral philosophy argues—is that the existence of civilian casualties, by itself, does not necessarily demonstrate that no wars are justified. Indeed, Samel picks the very worse case, given his position, to make his own argument: World War II. Why? Because even Samel acknowledges, though in as backhanded a way as he can, that WWII was justified. Yet, WWII without a doubt caused far more civilian casualties than any war since.

    whether you acknowledge the rising of the sun or not is a bit of semantics. since the dawn and civilian casualties are a given, i’m not sure what your point is. regardless, a ‘just’ war may still be conducted ‘unjustly’. the defeat of german fascists doesn’t justify dresden. similarly, the removal of gaddafi or hussein may be justified in an international system that responds to the democratic will of nation states, a system that doesn’t exist in practice. even if you argue that such a system does exist, though it functions imperfectly, this hardly explains the long-term support of these these dictators long after their tendencies are exposed, or the need to prosecute a war inevitably leading to civilian casualties to remove them. safe passage to luxemburg and a feathered nest could have likely lead to the departure of any number of thugs from their home country. but that’s not the goal then, is it?

    and who did choose the charles manson as sgt. pepper photo of gadaffi?

    • on January 9, 2012, 5:34 pm

      How about THIS song, instead of “sgt pepper” photo of Gadaffi??

    • Jerome Slater
      Jerome Slater on January 9, 2012, 6:57 pm

      and who did choose the charles manson as sgt. pepper photo of gadaffi?

      Not me

      • yourstruly
        yourstruly on January 10, 2012, 10:48 pm

        more than once the deposed “demon” is shown in severely compromised and/or unflattering ways: Bernard Coard (deputy prime minister during the 4 year revolutionary government of grenada) photographed after the 1983 u.s. invastion while in his underpants); during the 1989 u.s. invasion of panama, widely distributed photos of an alleged cache of cocaine* supposedly found in president manuel noriega’s home; and the latest being the horrific pictures of the corpse of libya’s muammar gaddafi after his brutal assassination. coincidence or deliberate by psyops, these public displays of empire’s designated “demons”? and if deliberate, for what reason? to shame and discredit them in the minds of the people they previously ruled?

        *later it was revealed the white powder allegedly found was not cocaine

  18. on January 9, 2012, 5:09 pm

    In Poland, in the meantime, the situation gets more and more creepy.
    There are a lot of unsolved “mysteries” regarding the plane catastrophe near Smolensk, Russia, from April 2010, in which Polish president Kaczynski died along with majority of his government.
    Today, there was a news conference reg. this plane catastrophy, held by a Polish military prosecutor Mikolaj Przybyl , who shoot himself during a break, ( he is alive, he supposedly missed, was it a cry for help??).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqiDVjTqbV0

    There were already a few “strange deaths” of people whose opinions mattered in this suspicious “accident”.

  19. ToivoS
    ToivoS on January 9, 2012, 6:13 pm

    Someone please tell what was this military intervention in Bosnia. These are the events as I remember them.

    1991 – 1995. Terrible civil war, no outside military intervention.
    1995. Dayton accords where Serb, Muslim and Croatians forces agree to a cease fire. They also agree to the placement of Nato forces as peacekeepers.
    1995 – present. Those forces, besides being invited in, haven’t fired a shot.

    Now how is that called military intervention in the same paragraph that mentions Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo? I call it the successful application of diplomacy.

  20. Robert Werdine
    Robert Werdine on January 9, 2012, 6:50 pm

    Professor Slater,

    You have given here one of the most robust, well-reasoned defenses of liberal-humanitarian just war theory that I have ever read.

    The example of the Allied liberation of France in the light of the frightful civilian casualties it caused, is an excellent case in point to support your argument. Both Churchill and Eisenhower both agonized over the likely civilian casualties in the weeks prior to Overlord. Anthony Beevor, in his “D-Day: The Battle for Normandy,” relates how Eisenhower and Alanbrooke agonized over the decision to bomb Caen, a crucial strategic stronghold whose capture was crucial to the securing of the east Normandy beachhead. If the German 12 SS Panzer was allowed to reinforce and concentrate there, they might well have driven back the invasion. The Allies therefore had to bomb the German positions both in and around the city of Caen, a city of some 70,000 people, if they were to prevent reinforcements arriving, drive the Germans back, and secure the city. All told, some 1,150 civilians were killed in the bombing, some 350 killed while seeking refuge in shelters; a horrific tragedy, to be sure. Now, the Allies could have forfeited the bombing to spare the civilians, but only at the cost of losing the beachhead—a moral catastrophe for not only the people of Caen, but France, Europe, and the rest of the world.

    Wars involve killing and they always will. Wars will not be abolished, and for us to signal to the world that we will no longer wage war will not render it a kinder, gentler world; just the opposite. The weakness we would be signaling would be dangerously provocative to wolf-like regimes like North Korea, Iran, China, and Russia, who would only be emboldened to expand their own spheres of influence for purposes other than making the world safe for democracy, to say the least.

    Our interventions in Kuwait in 1991, Bosnia in 1995 and Kosovo were all necessary and morally justifiable interventions. It is difficult to understand the reasoning of those who objected to them. Afghanistan in 2001 was a no-brainer; the need to expel the Taliban, root out Al-Queda sanctuaries, and stabilize the country and prevent it from being a terrorist stronghold were absolutely essential. Our mistakes there over the past decade are to numerous to recount here, but if we are successful in building on the successes we have had in securing Kandahar, Kabul and elsewhere, we will be in a good position to hand over control to the Afghan police and army in the next few years, both of whom have made great strides in proficiency. This can only be to the good of all concerned, and it cannot be argued that our designs there are imperialistic.

    Iraq is a different case; though I supported the war for reasons other than wmd and still do, I understand and respect the arguments of those who do not. It is something that people of good faith can honestly disagree on. The US, in my view, cannot escape responsibility for the breathtaking incompetence of its post-war administration and lack of foresight, and our failure to protect the Iraqi people from both the chaos that ensued following the military operation, and the murderous depredations of Al-Zarqawi and his like. Nor should we. But there is a moral distinction between trying and failing to protect, and deliberately planning and executing acts of indiscriminate mass-murder in the tens of thousands, and the attempts, aided and abetted by Iran, Syria and Al-Qaeda, to openly and unabashedly foment wholesale sectarian civil war and an even greater orgy of mass slaughter. The worst follies of the Americans and the coalition simply have nothing to compare with the nakedness of these acts of deliberate and nihilistic evil.

    I did support the Libya war but I did not support Obama’s feckless and indecisive conduct of it. There ought to have been a show of overwhelming force when Gaddafi was on the skids, or nothing at all. The President’s tardy, half-hearted involvement in the conflict, and his tepid, scattershot application of force, coupled with his neglect of arming the rebels (and forming a strong relationship that could be helpful in a future state), guaranteed that military action could never be concentrated overwhelmingly at the decisive points at the time of maximum enemy vulnerability.

    Meaning, of course, that Gaddafi had ample time to regroup his forces, the rebels would lost their momentum, and stalemate ensued, which meant more bloodshed and more destruction over a longer period. The war ended favorably to be sure, but the unnecessary extension of the conflict was the President’s making, entirely.

    For myself, I can only say this: I wish the world were not a dangerous place. But it is. And what is worse, we live in a world where so called “progressives” and “human rights” groups regularly and gleefully confer legitimacy and even victim status on terrorist entities and totalitarian regimes where racial persecution, religious intolerance, and suppression of free speech are rife, and where the citizen is a dispensable, disposable, and soulless fraction of the state.

    I believe in the primacy and beneficence of American power in this dangerous world, and would shudder to contemplate its absence. The UN ultimately fails in its stead because nations do not sacrifice their core interests for a collective foreign policy, do not sacrifice for others’ interests, and often misbehave in pursuing them. The best that can be got is that nations who share similar values and objectives can combine together for their common purposes: America and Britian to defend and preserve law, freedom, and stability, the Russians and the Chinese to thwart them. American leadership is now more crucial than ever, and it cannot be said that we have presently got it.

    In any event, your article provided a much needed countering to Paul’s childish, mindless pacifism and those who endorse it. There will always be debate and disagreement about what and what does not constitute just and unjust wars, and you sir, in a well reasoned and morally serious argument, have done justice to the terrible complexity of the reality that continues to burden this grave and unavoidable discussion.

    I should like to say that I always enjoy your contributions here, and, even when I disagree with you, I always find your writings illuminating and thought provoking. Your contribution here is valuable, and I hope it will continue.

    Btw, I particularly wanted to commend you for your takedown of Jeffrey Blankfort’s offensive attempts to implicate Zionists in provoking Nazi persecution and the Holocaust—a risible, repellent argument rife with anti-semitic implications. Nor is this an isolated instance for our friend Mr. Blankfort. A few days ago, he attempted to argue that the Balfour Declaration was a reward to the Jews from the British because Zionists got America into the war by way of giving the British the Zimmerman telegram. How about that?! Here is a link to my response:

    http://mondoweiss.net/2012/01/arendt-born-in-conflict-israel-will-degenerate-into-sparta-and-american-jews-will-need-to-back-away.html#comment-411948

    • on January 9, 2012, 8:27 pm

      “The weakness we would be signaling would be dangerously provocative to wolf-like regimes like North Korea, Iran, China, and Russia, who would only be emboldened to expand their own spheres of influence for purposes other than making the world safe for democracy, to say the least. ”

      You mean democracy American style??
      The one that involves unconditional support for Israel, and its apartheid, bombing, killing innocent people and destroying multiple countries using phony , made-up pretexts , defending shady/wicked businesses of those, who are now in Power ,
      and using worn-out/manipulated slogans and propaganda that all of it is a “just, humanitarian war”?
      You are seriously deluded.

    • Shingo
      Shingo on January 9, 2012, 9:48 pm

      You have given here one of the most robust, well-reasoned defenses of liberal-humanitarian just war theory that I have ever read.

      Wow, talk about the kiss of death to Jerome’s thesis. I can’t think of a more discrediting and damaging endorsement had it come from John Bolton or Richard Perle.

      The case for WWII is not one of a just war in the sense of the war being optional. WWII was the pnly true just war becasue it was a war of defense. France was not the first country Germany had invaded, and it was abundatly clear that Hitler’s plans would not stop there.

      Wars will not be abolished, and for us to signal to the world that we will no longer wage war will not render it a kinder, gentler world; just the opposite.

      Actually, the US has not delared war since 1990.

      The weakness we would be signaling would be dangerously provocative to wolf-like regimes like North Korea, Iran, China, and Russia, who would only be emboldened to expand their own spheres of influence for purposes other than making the world safe for democracy, to say the least.

      What diabologcal garbage. Where does one begin to tear apart this simplistic and pea brained simplementon argument?

      Not waging war is provocative but litering the world with over 1000 bases, and parking aircraft carriers off the coasts of other states and building missile facilities on Russia’s doorstep is not? I seriosly struggole to fathom the depths of Werdine’s stupidity. As it turns out, Russia’s perceived acts of agression have only been in reposnse to US provocation. It was the US, not Russia, that vilated the Start and Missile Defense treaties with Russia. It was the US that vilated the gentlemenas agreement made by Bush Snr, that NATO would not expand Easterward. Instead, NATO has grown by incorportaing anotehr 8 countries since that agreement.

      The very fact that NATO still exists is a prime example of US imperialism and provocation.

      Our interventions in Kuwait in 1991, Bosnia in 1995 and Kosovo were all necessary and morally justifiable interventions.

      Simply false and not at all difficult to understand why.

      In Kuwait, Saddam was given the green light by April Glasby to invade Kuwait. In fact, not only did Saddam suggest negotiating Iraq’s withdrawl, but the US Congress was only tricked into passing a resolutuon in favor of intervening after the daughter fo the Kuwaiti Ambassador was prepped to pose as a Kuwaiti nurse and deliver her false claim about babies being removed from incubators and left to die by Iraqi solidiers.

      This bears as stiking resembalence to the recent claimt hat Gadddafi had provided his troops with Viagra in order to compel them to rape the women of Lybia.

      Even the Saudi’s were reticent to support Desert Storm until Dick Cheney produced doctored satellite images which showed Iraqi tank battelions amassed alond the Iraq/Saudi border.

      Without all these lies, there would have been no intervention.

      in 2001 was a no-brainer; the need to expel the Taliban, root out Al-Queda sanctuaries, and stabilize the country and prevent it from being a terrorist stronghold were absolutely essential

      This too is simply rubbish.

      As I have explained, the Afghanistan war was a complete farse. There was no need to expel the Taliban. Indeed, the Bush Administration didn’t even suggest this was a goal until much later into the conflict. As Werdine and Jerome have omotted, the Bush Administration demanded that the Taliban hand over Bin-Laden or face the consequence. The Taliban agreed to do so in exchane for evidence proving Bin Laden’s complicity in the 911 attacks. The US refused and attacked Aghanistan.

      As for being a terrorist stronghold, Saudi Arabia would certianly qualify as a higher priority of this was indeed a motive.

      There have been no to speak of as far as Kandahar and Kabul are concerned. The Taliban operate in both regionsw with impunity. The US is already cutting it’s losses and withdawing it’s forces.

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/us-troops-to-begin-leaving-kandahar/2011/10/27/gIQAJjkjPM_story.html
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/29/kabul-suicide-bomb-deaths

      There is no wany anyone can still claim to support the Iraq war and claim any moral legitimacy. The only dead enders still standing by that disasterous move as he likes of Rick Santorum. The US didn’t failt to protect the Iraqi people from the chaos and the military operation. The US went into Iraq to kill Iraqis. When they were met with resistance from both the Shiites and the Sunnis, the took sides and backed the Shiite Death Squads. When the violence was getting seriously out of hand, the US finally accepted in 2006 the treaty the Sunnis had made in 2004 and branded it the surge.

      Al-Zarqawi exemplifies the depth of the cunicism and depravity of the US agenda. Prior to the Iraq war, Bush was given multiple opporutnities to strike Al-Zarqawi’s camp in Northern Iraq, but chose not to. The thinking being that Al-Zarqawi would be more usedul to the propaganda war alive than dead. His presence in Northern Iraq (which Saddam did not control) was used to tie Saddam to support for terrorist groups and Al Qaeda (even though Al-Zarqawi did not become a member of AQ till years later).

      But there is a moral distinction between trying and failing to protect, and deliberately planning and executing acts of indiscriminate mass-murder in the tens of thousands, and the attempts, aided and abetted by Iran, Syria and Al-Qaeda, to openly and unabashedly foment wholesale sectarian civil war and an even greater orgy of mass slaughter.

      Very true, there is. The fact is that there was never any desire to protect. The plan all along was to take over Iraq, install another puppet dictator and hope to turn Iraq into another Hashemite Kingdom. Remember, that in spite of claims to bring democracy to the region, the Bush Administration as adamantly against free and open elections being held in Iaq.

      When those plans went awry, the US opted for the age old tactic of divide and conquer. First they backed the Badr and Wolf Brigades who became famous for drilling holes into the skulls of their victims, then when it looked like the US was losing complete control of the situation, they accepted the rapprochement by the Sunnis and rebranded it the “Surge”.

      And what does the US have to show for it? 1 million dead, 4-5 million displaced. What could be more nihilistically evil? Is it any wonder therefore, why those supporting the Iraq war are still defending it and still coming up with reasons (read lies) to justify it?

      As anyone with a brain realizes, as with Iraq, there would have been no interest in Lybia had it not been for their oil resources. The so called Lybian Rebels ruined out to be Al Qaeda thugs.
      Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/8407047/Libyan-rebel-commander-admits-his-fighters-have-al-Qaeda-links.html
      Top Libyan Rebel Leader Has Deep Al Qaeda Ties
      http://www.worldcrunch.com/top-libyan-rebel-leader-has-deep-al-qaeda-ties/3661
      Flying proudly over the birthplace of Libya’s revolution, the flag of Al Qaeda
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2055630/Flying-proudly-birthplace-Libyas-revolution-flag-Al-Qaeda.html

      So much for Werdine’s theory that the Afghanistan attack was necessary to remove a safe haven for Al Qaeda – NATO and Washington have created an even safer one for them in Lybia.

      In order to win Saudi backing for the attacks on Lybia, the US did a deal with the devil and agreed to turn a blind eye to Saudi crushing of the uprising in Bahrain.

      The reason Obama appeared indecisive with regard to Lybia is because the subsequent US and NATO action in Lybia was a gross violation of the UNSC Resolution which limited their activity to creating no fly zones.

      And what is worse, we live in a world where so called “progressives” and “human rights” groups regularly and gleefully confer legitimacy and even victim status on terrorist entities and totalitarian regimes where racial persecution, religious intolerance, and suppression of free speech are rife, and where the citizen is a dispensable, disposable, and soulless fraction of the state.

      Indeed, but the US has proven time and time again to be the supreme enabler with it’s unconditional support for the worst of these perpetrators, from Israel, though to the Saudi Tyrrany, to the Warlords of Afghanistan.
      http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=49056
      http://www.atlanticfreepress.com/news/1/11207-us-supported-afghan-government-warlords-control-world-heroin-trade.html

      I believe in the primacy and beneficence of American power in this dangerous world, and would shudder to contemplate its absence.

      As a recognized cheers leader for empire and white racial supremacy, this comes as no surprise.

      The best that can be got is that nations who share similar values and objectives can combine together for their common purposes: America and Britian to defend and preserve law, freedom, and stability, the Russians and the Chinese to thwart them.

      It’s obvious that that the preservation of law, freedom, and stability is not the common purpose that America and Britian share. Their common purpose is power, and the never-ending pursuit of full spectrum dominance.

      American leadership is now more irrelevant and impotent than ever. As someone once said, when it comes to the realities of the world, Washington insiders are always the last to know.

      • Robert Werdine
        Robert Werdine on January 10, 2012, 2:37 pm

        Wisdom from the asylum:

        “In Kuwait, Saddam was given the green light by April Glasby to invade Kuwait.”

        “The US didn’t failt to protect the Iraqi people from the chaos and the military operation. The US went into Iraq to kill Iraqis. When they were met with resistance from both the Shiites and the Sunnis, the took sides and backed the Shiite Death Squads. When the violence was getting seriously out of hand, the US finally accepted in 2006 the treaty the Sunnis had made in 2004 and branded it the surge.”

        “Prior to the Iraq war, Bush was given multiple opporutnities to strike Al-Zarqawi’s camp in Northern Iraq, but chose not to. The thinking being that Al-Zarqawi would be more usedul to the propaganda war alive than dead.”

        To attempt to argue rationally against such delusional, unhinged paranoia, is vain.

      • Shingo
        Shingo on January 10, 2012, 10:52 pm

        BTW Werdine,

        I thought you might benefit from a few basic truths.

        1. US ‘allowed Zarqawi to escape’

        http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/us-allowed-zarqawi-to-escape/2006/04/30/1146335608444.html

        2. Iraq backed Shiite Death Squads in Iraq
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgDosgsGIB8
        http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2005/01/10/americas-death-squads/

    • Jeffrey Blankfort
      Jeffrey Blankfort on January 9, 2012, 10:52 pm

      Werdine, you are hardly one to judge what is or isn’t moral or who is honest or dishonest.
      I wrote that Balfour was a reward from the Brits to the Zionists for what the Brits perceived as the Zionists’ efforts to achieve their victory in World War One and provided, as evidence, the words of the British Secretary of State to his cabinet in 1923, explaining why, after the Zionists had come to the aid of Britain and had been suitably rewarded (with Palestine), Britain could not, in the postwar period, when it was now safe and secure, renege on the deal.

      We know, from the words of at least one American Zionist who participated in the months of negotiations about the exact wording of the Balfour Resolution (it hadn’t gone as far as the Zionists had wanted) about the lobbying of the Wilson administration by his friends, the leading Zionists, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis and Bernard Baruch.

      There were real questions that remain unanswered about the Zimmerman telegram that been sent to Mexico without the authorization of the Kaiser or the German high command, calling on Mexico to go to war against the US with Germany as its ally that was sent at a time when German policy was to keep the US out of the war. Here, in what our Zionist apologist Werdine claims to the “virulently anti-Israel” Washington Rept. on the Middle East is one compilation of what happened. http://www.scribd.com/doc/14860226/The-Hidden-History-of-the-Balfour-Declaration-Zimmerman-Telegram-by-John-Cornelius-Washington-Report-November-2005

      Whatever one thinks of that article, however, it is clear from the Earl of Cavendish’s remarks to his cabinet, that the British believed that the Zionists had greatly assisted in the war effort and thus earned for themselves Palestine, posted here on the discussion of Hannah Arendt and Werdine, predictably does not mention it. http://mondoweiss.net/2012/01/arendt-born-in-conflict-israel-will-degenerate-into-sparta-and-american-jews-will-need-to-back-away.html#comment-411172

      As for his claim that my statement that Zionist propaganda designed to “out” assimilated Jews contributed to the anti-Jewish sentiments in Germany that were already being inflamed by the Nazis is somehow evidence of antisemitism on my part is pure hogwash. It is only antisemitic if the truth is antisemitic and it seems for both Slater and Werdine, as for most Zionist apologists, it is.

      • NorthOfFortyNine
        NorthOfFortyNine on January 10, 2012, 12:39 am

        Speaking of conspiracy theories and getting caught issuing fake but damning communications (a la Zimmerman Telegram), it appears that someone close to the the Huntsman campaign created the racist “Huntsman’s Values” video and made it appear as though it came from the Ron Paul campaign.

        http://images.politico.com/global/2012/01/cando_com_analysis.html

        Us craaaazy conspiracy theorists!!! What craaaazy shit will we think up next? -N49.

      • Hostage
        Hostage on January 10, 2012, 4:04 am

        We know, from the words of at least one American Zionist who participated in the months of negotiations about the exact wording of the Balfour Resolution (it hadn’t gone as far as the Zionists had wanted) about the lobbying of the Wilson administration by his friends, the leading Zionists, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis and Bernard Baruch.

        I’ve always found it very interesting that these foreign policy negotiations were kept secret from the US Secretary of State and the State Department:

        The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain [Telegram] Washington, December 15, 1917, 3 p. m.
        6041. Investigate discreetly and report fully and promptly to
        Department reasons for Balfour’s recent statement relative Jewish state in Palestine. – Lansing

        Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, 1917, Supplement 2, The World War, Part I: The continuation of the war–participation of the United States
        http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/FRUS/FRUS-idx?type=goto&id=FRUS.FRUS1917Supp02v01&isize=M&submit=Go+to+page&page=473

        As for just war theory, the declassified documents in US archives reveal that the Secretary had long-since been informed that the purpose for the continuation of the war against Asiatic Turkey was their desire to pursue territorial aggrandizement and the subjugation of other peoples. The Allies put off making any overtures of peace in November of 1917 in view of their own plans and the promises made to the Zionists regarding Palestine, i.e. http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/FRUS/FRUS-idx?type=goto&id=FRUS.FRUS1917Supp02v01&isize=M&submit=Go+to+page&page=317

        In August of 1917 the The Charge’ in the Netherlands had cabled the Secretary advising him about Balfour’s plans:

        England was to have Mesopotamia; rest Asia Minor divided into English and French zones of interest; Palestine internationalized; all other territory inhabited by Turks and Arabs including Arabia and Mohammedan holy sites to form separate federation under English sovereignty. French negotiations opened when Italy entered war and demanded share booty, details will be published later. In view such plans readily understood why Balfour stated recently detailed statement war aims inadvisable.

        See Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, 1917, Supplement 2, The World War, Part I: The continuation of the war–participation of the United States, page 170, http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/FRUS/FRUS-idx?type=goto&id=FRUS.FRUS1917Supp02v01&isize=M&submit=Go+to+page&page=170

    • jayn0t
      jayn0t on January 10, 2012, 2:26 am

      If criticizing the Zionists for collaborating with the Nazis is anti-semitic, is criticizing the Nazis for collaborating with the Zionists anti-German? Just a thought.

    • Jeffrey Blankfort
      Jeffrey Blankfort on January 10, 2012, 3:30 pm

      I just read Werdine’s entire screed having only focused on what he wrote about me the first time around. I suspect that Slater doesn’t exactly appreciate having the likes of Werdine beating the war drums on his behalf. But the three W’s–Werdine, Woody and Witty–are the most he’s likely go get here.

  21. Danaa
    Danaa on January 9, 2012, 8:03 pm

    OT:

    Since the other thread is closed, just wanted to say to:

    C. Seauton: “I think you mean Bernard-Henri Levy, don’t you?”

    Totally. My bad.

    Knew something didn’t look right, but was in a hurry and there was a little cross-talk in brain wires.

    Gosh, I hate interference. But thanks for the correction.

    Interruption over, I’ll be sauntering off now.

    • Mooser
      Mooser on January 10, 2012, 2:41 pm

      “Interruption over, I’ll be sauntering off now.”

      I’m all in favor of sauntering, or even strutting, but I walk more softly when I consider that America’s favorite pants were invented by a Frenchman.

      • Danaa
        Danaa on January 10, 2012, 5:06 pm

        Trying to make up with me, Mooser? might as well now that we are back on the same side, striding in tandem (no strutting please, though trotting is fine). Besides, I love making things up (not to worry, the time for locking horns shall come again – maybe by Spring?).

        Agree with you about Slater. I see no reason we need to be any nicer than we have been – literally bending over backwards in the niceness department. Anyways, I strained my back with all the backward bending and now I can only dish it out straight.

  22. Shingo
    Shingo on January 9, 2012, 8:16 pm

    Jerome,

    While I am glad to see you back at, it appears that even now that tempers  have subsided, your thesis  has continued from where you left off and is no more solid or convincing.

    As David has observed, the concept of a just war is essentially a marketing gimick for wars of choice. The very idea of a just wars is luxury that only states that enjoy military superiority can even consider.  Even if it was true you are not assuming the premise of American exceptionalism, you are ignoring that they cannot be just if only possible for  states with  military superiority.

    First, I believe that most of Ron Paul’s domestic positions are indeed simpleminded, and much worse, disastrous on both moral and consequential grounds.

    As seanmcbride has pointed out, the Austrian School of economics is anything but simple minded.  Call them radical, non mainstream if you will, but simple minded they are not. Explanations within the confines of a public debate or a cable network news interview have to be  limited to sound bites, and in such venues, they are all simple minded. Of course, that also goes for Obama.

    I would not characterize anyone’s opposition to the post-9/11 military action in Afghanistan, the first Gulf War, Bosnia and Kosovo, and Libya as  necessarily “simpleminded,” though it very well might be, depending on how it is argued.  

     The way you have characterized the war in Afghanistan has certainly been simple minded.  In fact, you haven’t even attempted to address the arguments on both sides, at least not until now. In your previous post, you stated that the war was against the Taliban, but now you are arguing that the war should have ended once al-Qaeda was defeated.

    Let’s look at the facts.

     Before going into Afghanistan, the US demanded that the Taliban hand over Bin Laden.  They hadn’t accused the Taliban of any involvement in 911, nor designated the Taliban as an enemy at this stage.  The Taliban asked for evidence of Bin Laden’s complicity to be produced as a condition for handing Ben Laden over. The US refused and chose war.

    Oh, and save us the BS about harboring terrorist and providing them shelter and support, because Saudi Arabia would certainly have been equal on the list in that regard.

    There is absolutely no way one can possilby suggest that the war in Afghanistan was just.  It was a war of choice.

    When Bush went into Afghanistan, it was not to attack Afghanistan.  It was to get Bin Laden.  The war soon morphed into a war against the Taliban.

     You can get away with refering to the wars in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Libya as “close calls”, becasue the one thing they all have in common is that they were wars of choice.  None had any implications for US security.

    In several of the cases under discussion here–the US interventions in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Libya—the interventions were far from unilateral.

    Who are you trying to kid here Jerome?  For all intents and purposes, it was unilateral.  Like the so called “Coalition fo the Willing”, these alliances are nothing more than window dressing.  The US has relied on Britain to gain legitimacy for it’s interventions for decades. None could have taken place without US involvement.

    Is there any serious doubt that the Libyan people enthusiastically welcomed the overthrow of Gaddafi?

    The same argument was used by the neocons with respect to Iraq. If this is your argument, then why did you oppose the war in Iraq? Saddam was arguably more brutal and vicious than Gaddafi, so the desire of the Iraqis to see their ruler overthrown should certainly have warranted your support for the war. So why did you oppose it?

    Secondly, does the welcoming of the overthrow of Gaddafi mean Lybians were prepared to pay the price they did and continue to do so?

    Or that the price of nonintervention would have been far greater Libyan deaths and the continuation of Gaddafi’s tyranny?

    Another example of broad assumptions based on false information.

    In fact, this was also an argument used by the neocons to justify the Iraq invasion – that the consequences of not attacking Iraq would have been far worse.

    Of  course, as with Iraq, there is no evidence to back any of these claims. After the initial demonstrations, most Lybians gave up and that would have been then end of it. Only a small band of rebels (ie. jihadist Al Qaeda types) took on Gaddafi and would have been swiftly defeated had it not been for NATO.

     The same strategy is being played out in Syria,but unfortunately for NATO (aka Washington), those darned Syrians not only keep turning out en masse in support of Assad, but the so called freedom fighters (who are being recycled from Lybia) are now turning to suicide bombing.

    Bush started a war with Iraq for a number of bad reasons, lied about his true reasons (none of which could pass the just cause test), and despite the fact that his administration knew that the argument that Saddam was still seeking nuclear weapons was probably false.  Obama went to war in Libya for legitimate reasons.  

    A truly mind boggling display of ignorance and naïveté.

    First of all, Obama is making the very same accusations against Iran ( even though he must surely know there is no evidence Iran is making nukes) and is driving the US and Iran towards war with every move he makes.

    How Is that any different than Bush?

    Secondly, your understanding of the reasons Obama went to war in Lybia is simply based  on explanations he has given to the public.  We know Obama’s intentions are  bullshit because he is repeating them with respect to Syria, even though they are false.

    And even though I think Obama should have gotten out of Afghanistan and Iraq a lot sooner, his failure to do so does not demonstrate “imperialist” motivations.

    Incredible ignorance.  Obama didn’t fail to pull the troops out of Iraq, he failed to keep them there.  Until a few months before announcing the withdrawal from Iraq, he was making a case to remain.  The only reason the US is withdrawing from Iraq is because the Iraqis have told them to leave.

    http://www.politicaljack.com/forums/showthread.php?5141-SO-Obama-wanted-to-keep-troops-in-Iraq-the-War-O-was-against
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44998833/ns/world_news-mideast_n_africa/#.TwuI0fFhiSM
    http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/10/15/345011/u-s-abondons-plans-to-keep-troops-in-iraq-past-year-end/

    So yes, it is more complicated than simply taking Obama at his word.  Even worse than “simpleminded.”, accepting what politicians say at face value is simply stupid.

    • American
      American on January 9, 2012, 11:05 pm

      “The very idea of a just wars is luxury that only states that enjoy military superiority can even consider. Even if it was true you are not assuming the premise of American exceptionalism, you are ignoring that they cannot be just if only possible for states with military superiority.”

      Totally true Shingo.
      Jerry when he finally answered my question though, doesn’t seem to find any hypocrisy in the fact that we attack some countries on moral grounds but not others….like Russia or China for their massacres. And no hypocrisy in not intervening in I/P as we did Bosnia.
      Even simple minded me who does favor some interventions on the basis of doing what you can where you can, still sees the ultimate hypocrisy of it all.
      I don’t even know that Just War theory has the slightest meaning as countries chose their interventions based primilary on politics.

      • Shingo
        Shingo on January 9, 2012, 11:40 pm

        Jerry when he finally answered my question though, doesn’t seem to find any hypocrisy in the fact that we attack some countries on moral grounds but not others….like Russia or China for their massacres.

        Agreed, and then to top it all off, he offers no argument to support his belief. We’re simply supposed to accept that it’s not hypocritical because…well…just because he says so.

        And no hypocrisy in not intervening in I/P as we did Bosnia.

        Again, no reason given. Just because he says so. Seems a little, how should I put this…simple minded.

      • Jerome Slater
        Jerome Slater on January 10, 2012, 11:39 am

        Shingo: “he offers no argument to support his belief.”

        I’ve often been chastised here for answering some posts, but not others. Here are three possible explanations:

        1. I answer only those comments or criticisms that are both intelligent and civil in tone. If the question is unintelligent, I know the answer won’t be understood.

        2. Even in this thread, my last after it plays itself out, my time and energy are limited, so I have to pick and choose, and sometimes, unfortunately, I may not respond even to the good comments and questions.

        3. Or, sometimes I find that the criticism is so powerful, so unanswerable, that I am struck dumb and can only retreat into stunned silence.

        Everyone gets to choose which explanation is applicable in their case.

        2.

      • Shingo
        Shingo on January 10, 2012, 5:22 pm

        Jerry,

        Everyone gets to choose which explanation is applicable in their case.

        I agree, and I respect the fact that you cannot address every question put to you.

        Having said that, when you state that there are many reasons for why military intervantion against Israel during Cast Lead was not justified, but fail to produce a single one, that suggests you are being evasive and dishonest.

      • eee
        eee on January 10, 2012, 12:23 am

        “The very idea of a just wars is luxury that only states that enjoy military superiority can even consider. Even if it was true you are not assuming the premise of American exceptionalism, you are ignoring that they cannot be just if only possible for states with military superiority.”

        Total BS. One of the criteria of a just war is that you have a good chance of winning it. Otherwise, the war is not just. So naturally, only stronger countries can wage just wars. And that is also why a war against Russia or China would not be just. It can’t be won. That is why developing a strong military is a very moral thing to do if you can do it. It allows you to help in cases of genocide for example. You also need to have the will to do it.

        It is so easy to ignore this moral dimension by purposely not building a force that can be sent overseas. But basically by not having such capabilities, one is deciding to do nothing if a genocide happens (except talk of course). What does “Never Again (for everybody)” mean if no one is prepared to enforce this?

      • Jerome Slater
        Jerome Slater on January 10, 2012, 9:20 am

        eee: “One of the criteria of a just war is that you have a good chance of winning it. Otherwise, the war is not just.”

        Once again, eee’s point is absolutely correct. In fact, that is built directly into just war philosophy, though I neglected to mention it in my discussion of it: even if a war meets all other moral criteria, it cannot be just unless the prospects for success, at a proportional cost to both sides, is high. That principle alone is sufficient to prevent most wars designed to protect human rights in other countries. It also explains why, in most cases, only states or groups (the U.S,, NATO) will dominate most wars of humanitarian intervention.

        In other words–and please note the distinction–whether or not a U.S. intervention can be considered just must be evaluated on its merits, and cannot be defeated by arguments such as, how come only the U.S. gets to do it, as if it were benefit rather than an unpleasant duty. Or by charges that every use of force by the U.S. can only be explained by “imperialism,” “American exceptionalism,” and the like.

        And there is still more, though until now I’ve forgotten to mention it. International law is increasingly incorporating the principle that humanitarian military intervention is not only a right, but actually a DUTY of those who have the military capabilities, when the facts of the case warrant it. This principle is called the Responsibility to Protect, and is now so widely understood and discussed that it has even acquired a shortcut: R2P. In other words, the international legal consensus no longer is that only individual or collective self-defense justifies the use of force; depending on a whole series of circumstances and judgments, in some cases–note, SOME–the principle of R2P also justifies going to war.

      • Koshiro
        Koshiro on January 10, 2012, 10:12 am

        And there is still more, though until now I’ve forgotten to mention it. International law is increasingly incorporating the principle that humanitarian military intervention is not only a right, but actually a DUTY of those who have the military capabilities, when the facts of the case warrant it.

        International law is actually pretty clear, isn’t it?
        UN Charter Article 2(4) prohibits the use of force or threats against other states. Exceptions are Article 51 (self-defense versus an armed attack against a state) and when authorized by the UNSC.
        There is precious little wiggle room for both the Kosovo war and the Iraq war not being blatantly illegal wars of aggression by these standards. And no, the “Right to protect” didn’t enter into it, a) because it was not invented at the time and b) because it does not include ignoring the authority of the UN.

        Not that a war would necessarily be just merely because it is authorized by the UNSC. The Iraq sanctions post-Gulf War I, which ruined the Iraqi economy and resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths at the very least, were patently unjust, yet authorized by the UN (by means of trickery, granted.) By the way: To leave them out of the picture and claim that the first George Bush “did the right thing” is either a remarkable oversight or downright callous. In retrospective, toppling Saddam back then would have been preferable, not because I agree with it in principle, but because the Iraqi people would at least have been spared a decade of being slowly starved.

      • Danaa
        Danaa on January 10, 2012, 10:26 am

        I’d like to point out, yet again, that here we have the eminent professor agreeing with our village hasbara wit. Surely eee has goose bumps crawling all over his cyber brain, for want of, and deep craving for just approval, finally bestowed by no less than the modern equivalent of Cicero.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride on January 10, 2012, 10:38 am

        Jerome Slater,

        You do understand that all your theorizing about just wars is a form of mental masturbation, right? Nations go to war to pursue what they perceive to be their best interests. They devise sophisticated rationales to try to put a pretty face on these endeavors. These kinds of psychological and propaganda operations were on full display for analysis during the Iraq War era, with Michael Walzer providing some especially interesting insights into the process of making this kind sausage.

        Now, do some people really believe their own posturing on just war theory? Possibly so. But they are not serious people.

        Name the last time that Israel entered a war that it didn’t believe was in its best interest (even if mistakenly so).

        Neoconservatives and neoliberals, like Paul Wolfowitz and Madeleine Albright, have been exceptionally transparent in manipulating the language of humanitarian concern to promote utterly savage and inhumane wars in pursuit of their narrow self-interest.

      • eee
        eee on January 10, 2012, 12:22 pm

        seanmcbride,

        Are you claiming that an interventionist war can never be just? What are you trying to say?

        Furthermore, if nations go to war only to purse their interests, how can you deny that the Jews need to be able to protect themselves against a genocide? What if it is the likely case and it is not in any country’s interest to help us or it takes forever to get them to act? You are articulating a strong argument for why a Jewish state is required.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride on January 10, 2012, 12:41 pm

        eee,

        Jews have to decide for themselves if Zionism and a Jewish ethnic nationalist state are good for themselves.

        Americans have to decide for themselves if Israeli policies are good for Americans.

        We are all pursuing our respective self-interest on the basis of our (attempted) rational calculations.

        My calculation is that most Jews will eventually decide that ethnic nationalism is bad for the Jews. I am quite certain of this. Jews thrive best in modern pluralistic Western democracies that respect Enlightenment values. I would argue that the latter half of the 2oth century in America was a golden age for Jews — an opportunity to express their talent and genius without constraints and to reap the commensurate rewards.

      • Donald
        Donald on January 10, 2012, 1:20 pm

        “nternational law is increasingly incorporating the principle that humanitarian military intervention is not only a right, but actually a DUTY of those who have the military capabilities, when the facts of the case warrant it. This principle is called the Responsibility to Protect, and is now so widely understood and discussed that it has even acquired a shortcut: R2P In other words, the international legal consensus no longer is that only individual or collective self-defense justifies the use of force; depending on a whole series of circumstances and judgments, in some cases–note, SOME–the principle of R2P also justifies going to war.”

        Well, international law, or so I understand it, also requires countries to enforce the law when broken by their own citizens, so if a democracy is led by war criminals, those war criminals should be impeached, tried, convicted, and sent to prison. All of this could be done with no collateral damage whatsoever, unlike a just war, and yet it never happens, except maybe to comparatively low-ranking scapegoats.

        This is my problem with liberal hawks and yes, it’s the hypocrisy charge, but no, it’s not something that I think you should just dismiss as naive. It’s fundamental. Go ahead and defend the Libyan intervention–I was a fencesitter on that because it was always murky to me, but maybe it was justified. But it is inexcusable that supposedly democratic countries can’t enforce the law on their own powerful citizens when they launch unjust wars, inflict torture, throw innocent people into prison for years on end, and supply weapons to murderous regimes knowing full well what those weapons will be used for. How is it that so many liberal intellectuals are willing to spend so much time talking about when it is justifiable to engage in war, knowing that war is at its best or most just a morally ambiguous enterprise when there is this obvious injustice staring them right in the face and they just shrug and talk about the politics? Shouldn’t it be our top priority to change opinions on this, if one sincerely believes in the “right to protect” and international law?

        Samantha Power is a good example of the hypocrisy problem with her book “A Problem from Hell”. She has whole chapters on cases where the US should have intervened and didn’t. She’s got three sentences, maybe less (I recall looking, but don’t recall exactly) on East Timor, a case where other people have written entire books (I’ve read several of them). She was friends with the late Richard Holbrooke, who was largely responsible for President Carter’s disgraceful policy on East Timor when the death rate was at its peak.
        We intervened in East Timor–by supplying weapons and diplomatic support under five successive Presidents to the genocidal invaders.

        It’s obvious that “responsibility to protect” is going to be invoked when it is in the interests of the US to intervene–it won’t be invoked when the US or one of its allies is the villain that innocent people need to be protected from. I agree that the US shouldn’t have intervened militarily against Israel in Gaza–for one thing, Israel has 200 nukes. And I don’t think other countries should be launching air strikes at American officials if we don’t call them to account. But this is where just war theorizing (which I agree with for the most part, including the part where you only intervene if you have a good chance of making the situation better) in practice conveniently works out to favor the interests of the powerful to intervene when they wish, and inflict injustice when they wish. It’s infuriating and outrageous and that’s why people are arguing against you.

        And this is why your sarcasm isn’t helpful, not in the slightest. I’ve stood up for you when you’ve been unfairly mobbed, but if you think that others aren’t making their case in a logical manner, whether you are right or not, as someone genuinely interested in moving the conversation forward isn’t it your intellectual duty to interpret their argument charitably, extract the best underlying meaning you can from what they say, understand what might be motivating their point, and respond to that? The hypocrisy point isn’t some triviality–even from the viewpoint of someone who favors American intervention in some cases our obvious hypocrisy undercuts our position, increases hatred and cynicism, and makes it more difficult to intervene when maybe we should. Plus it encourages terrorist attacks against us.

      • NorthOfFortyNine
        NorthOfFortyNine on January 10, 2012, 1:27 pm

        “International law is increasingly incorporating the principle that humanitarian military intervention is not only a right, but actually a DUTY of those who have the military capabilities, when the facts of the case warrant it.

        There goes your west bank pogroms, eee.

        But seriously, talking about in the finer points of Just War theory in the contect of I/P and American interventionism is a little like discussing the finer points of marriage while doing shots in a whore house. -N49.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on January 10, 2012, 2:47 pm

        eee says “One of the criteria of a just war is that you have a good chance of winning it. Otherwise, the war is not just.”

        And Slater co-signs! Yes sir, there’s nothing like finding the Prof Emeritus in agreement with an Israeli settler! Two chick-peas in a pod, those two.
        And BTW, both of you, thanks for reminding us that had Hitler won, the extermination of the Jews would have been declared “just”. I’m sure neo-Nazis will be encouraged to try again and “win”.

      • Shingo
        Shingo on January 10, 2012, 4:39 pm

        In other words–and please note the distinction–whether or not a U.S. intervention can be considered just must be evaluated on its merits, and cannot be defeated by arguments such as, how come only the U.S. gets to do it, as if it were benefit rather than an unpleasant duty. Or by charges that every use of force by the U.S. can only be explained by “imperialism,” “American exceptionalism,” and the like.

        It.s a disctinctions without a difference.

        If just war is the exclusive domain of empires, then it also an instrument of empire. The fact that the US is so selective in it’s application of the just war option proves this very point.

        If there was any justification to just war ideology, then the wouldn’t be so many hypocritical exceptions to the rule.

      • Shingo
        Shingo on January 10, 2012, 5:30 pm

        One of the criteria of a just war is that you have a good chance of winning it. Otherwise, the war is not just.

        Be that as it may, those with the largest military capacity will always have that option, whereas those with weaker armies never do. That makes Just War little more than an instument of tyrrany.

        So naturally, only stronger countries can wage just wars.

        My point excactly. This clearly makes them anything but just, unless you believe that having a big military aparatus makes one just or more deserving. In which case, what tyou are advocating is social Darwinism, not justice.

        And that is also why a war against Russia or China would not be just. It can’t be won.

        Which also proves that a Just war has nothign to do with justice or morality. In fact, teh terms Just War should be corectly rephrased to read Just a War .

        That is why developing a strong military is a very moral thing to do if you can do it.

        That’s like saing being rich is a moral thing to do if you can do it, and anyone who fails to do so is less deserving.

        It allows you to help in cases of genocide for example. You also need to have the will to do it.

        I also allows yoiu to impose your will, be it good or bad.

        It is so easy to ignore this moral dimension by purposely not building a force that can be sent overseas.

        That’s like saying having a gun is moral practice, regardless of whether the owner is a mass murder.

        If Russia had sided with Nazy Germany and sent it’s forces to defend Germany, would that too have been an act of morality on their part?

      • on January 10, 2012, 5:44 pm

        Russia did sided with Germany. Poland was attacked on sept 1st 39 by
        Germany from the west and on sept 17 39 by Russia on the east.
        Later the two “friends” had disagreement and jumped at each other throats. But they were good buddy buddies for a couple years.
        In politics there is no “real friends” anyway.
        Most of them are gang hoodlums dressed in a nice suits, with an occasional exception.

      • yourstruly
        yourstruly on January 11, 2012, 12:58 am

        a genocide was taking place in ruanda. the u.s. could have intervened militarily. it didn’t. why not? no will to intervene for humanitarian concerns? or only when there’s a geopolitical reason such as in libya & iraq?

      • Hostage
        Hostage on January 11, 2012, 3:23 am

        Not that a war would necessarily be just merely because it is authorized by the UNSC. The Iraq sanctions post-Gulf War I, which ruined the Iraqi economy and resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths at the very least

        Sanctions aren’t necessarily legal, just because they have been adopted by the Security Council. It’s a political organ and its actions should be subjected to judicial review in such cases.

        For example, in the Bosnia genocide case Judge Elihu Lauterpacht affirmed a preliminary objection (paras 98-107 on Pages 64-71) which held that the Security Council arms embargo was illegal because it had, in effect, required the member states to assist in Serbia’s genocidal activities, while denying the Bosnians the ability to exercise an inherent right to self-defense.

      • MRW
        MRW on January 11, 2012, 4:36 am

        eee says “One of the criteria of a just war is that you have a good chance of winning it. Otherwise, the war is not just.”

        Because the sense (and understanding) of justice of those waging it (ie, those determining its justness) is inconsequential. 1 + 2 = 12.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride on January 11, 2012, 11:17 am

        eee,

        What will happen if most Diaspora Jews come to the conclusion that the actions of the Israeli government are severely damaging their interests in the Diaspora? Will they continue to support Israel? And can Israel continue to survive without their support?

      • dahoit
        dahoit on January 11, 2012, 1:25 pm

        Well,did the Arabs in 48 believe they were in a just war?did they win it?How about 67,73?How about the French invoking war against Germany in 39?Did they think it was a just war?Did they win(at the time)?How about Poland in 39?
        Just about every war waged since time began both or all participants I imagine thought they were in a just war,or it wouldn’t have started.
        And our stupid just war,have we won?Pulling out of countries with our tail between our legs,leaving the same government (Afghan) or a similar if different religiously dictatorship(Maliki),seems to bring back memories of Star Trek and Trulaines exclamation,”but I was winning”.
        Is there an account of all the lies issued by our MSM since 9-11?
        It would be very revelatory neh?

    • anonymouscomments
      anonymouscomments on January 9, 2012, 11:08 pm

      Shingo,

      I wholly agree with your sentiments. Sadly, when you point out facts that fundamentally contradict the underpinnings of some of Mr. Slater’s main statements, he generally *ignores* that comment, and does not reply. *If* he by chance graces it with his time, he often gives some condescending rhetorical dismissal, or focuses on some *selected* phrase/assertion (inadequately addressing the main argument, or the most important facts).

      I find this to be intellectually dishonest, though I think it may not even be conscious on Mr. Slater’s part. When waging intellectual warfare, we all have our less than objective (or “fair”) tactics, and we often do not even realize our abuse of them. Some of us would even disagree with ourselves, venomously and stridently, if we simply engaged with “ourself” on a different day, or from a year past, or after being armed with different facts or rationales.

      I will see if Jerome can prove me wrong. I do hope he does.

  23. American
    American on January 9, 2012, 8:58 pm

    I want Jerry to answer a question.
    But first I want to tamp down his accusations of simplemindness on the part of some objectors here so I will state my position on interventions.

    I personally am for humanitarian interventions using military means when situations are dire or on going, and all other options have been totally exhausted. I think each case has to be judged separately to the best of all experts abilities in terms of the good outweighing the bad results. I also firmly believe as some here also do, that whether it is the US or any other power involved, there are more times than not opportunist on board to profit from any upheaval and individuals or groups who have appeared to cooperate so as to acquire political power that frequently end up being as undesirable as the regime deposed.

    However–‘if’ a country says it believes in humanitarian cause and rights and it proclaims those rights as part of it’s national beliefs..i.e…democracy and etc..
    then it has to take some action when those human rights are threatened or be known as the hypocrite it is. Which btw is how the US is now seen on the I/P issue..as a hypocrite on human rights and international law. I further believe that some powers in the world being dedicated to humanitarian interventions in extreme case can be a deterrant to murderous rulers…but it can also encourage an oppressed poeple to revolt and lose when countries are hypocritical about where and what they choose to intervene on and don’t support the people.

    IOW –almost every outsider intervention is a crap shoot that the success or results of can’t be known immediately and most times not for years because of different forces both within and without a country that vie for advantageous positions when any change gives them an opening. “IF’ all interventions were free of political corruption, egos and any special interest surrounding the country in question then we would get better results with less carnage, but they aren’t. That’s a fact that is not simple minded at all and deserves the harshest questioning of all motives of everyone and everything involved.

    I also believe Obama handled Libya in the best way available…..by seeking consensus, operating thru NATO and keeping US boots off the ground. We provided what the rebels ask for and no more than that. If I had been in the position of having to guess if Gaddafi would massacre numbers of his people or not after putting down the revolution I would likely have guessed that given his past it wasn’t worth taking a chance and he should be removed to ensure that didn’t happen.

    Here is the question for Jerry to determine if “his positon” on Just War and interventions, which isn’t that different from mine, is his full “moral” and intellectual position…or not.

    You said Jerry:…..’Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s: a closer case, and strategically irrelevant. Still, I’m hardly alone in believing that it was a moral imperative–not to mention a general success–in saving the Muslims of Bosnia and Kosovo.”

    You also said:..The Gulf War against Saddam Hussein in the early 1990s, after he attacked Kuwait and there was every reason to believe Saudi Arabia, at the least, was next. The first George Bush did exactly the right thing: stopped the aggression, and ended the war when that had been accomplished”.

    You cited those examples to uphold the Just War and military intervention theory that is based on humanitarian grounds and the ‘rightfulness’ of stopping destructive ” aggression” by a state, ruler or group.

    Now..We all watched the rentless Israeli assault on Gaza, condemned by every country and all governments in the universe except the US congress.
    We all watched the attack on Lebanon, the pointless collective punishment destruction of civilian infrastructure, the deliberate environmental damage, the dropping of over a million cluster bombs to later kill and maim unsuspecting civilians, mostly children…while every country called for a halt except the US congress.
    We all recongize –the entire world recongizes—it is universal majority opinion, except for the US congress –that Israeli agression and collective punishment and numerous violations of other international law have been on going for decades.

    So….Do you believe the US should have ‘militarily intervened’ to stop Israel in these cases of clear collective punishment and unproportional warfare?

    Simple yes or no.

    • optimistCitizen
      optimistCitizen on January 9, 2012, 9:29 pm

      American,
      You hit it right on the nail regarding the hypocrisy of liberal hawks when it comes to Israeli massacres (let’s not call the bombing by a modern military of a civilian population with zero tanks, zero airplanes a “war”) but I don’t agree with you on Libya (that Obama handled it in the best way possible).

      Those same countries that support Bahraini apartheid, Saudi, Yemeni, Jordanian dictators and Egyptian military dictators, how can they be justified in their bombing of Libya? The lies against Gaddafi have been exposed (viagara, black mercenaries). Why not “liberate” Egypt, Saudia et al from their dictatorships? Ooops, we are the ones supporting those dictatorships. In fact, our liberal VP Joe Biden said he knows Hosni Mubarak very well and he isn’t really a dictator and shouldn’t step down. Those golden words were said while Mubarak’s goons were continuing to torture civilians and sniping at the civilian protesters from rooftops.

      • American
        American on January 10, 2012, 12:01 pm

        “but I don’t agree with you on Libya (that Obama handled it in the best way possible). “…..optimistcitzen

        I can see why you wouldn’t. Too mnay unknows, but there always are.
        And as I also said Libya is one of the hypocrisies and why Just War and all the rest of it is just a pseudo intellectual play toy for self appointed very serious people. ‘Just’ War is whatever those in favor of a certain war or intervention decide it is…….as the US attitude toward some ME states keeps illustrating to us.
        And as we’ve seen on this thread ‘theorist’ keep redefining and adding to and qualifying it.
        Just means Just.
        So Jerry and others who want to distinguish one intervention or war from another should re label it Practical Wars You Can Win for People You Want to War For.
        My feeling on humanitarian interventions are just that ..’feelings’…and I recognize it as that and don’t pretend it’s some intellectual benchmark or moral enlightenment or well defined universal principle. I guess I am just for the underdogs or the defenseless and if a intervention can save more people than it hurts I’ll go along with it even though I know it’s not simeon pure…..and never will be as long as humans and not dogs are in charge. LOL

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride on January 11, 2012, 11:58 am

        American,

        I’ve found myself in agreement with all your comments on just war theory in this conversation, and especially this remark:

        “My feeling on humanitarian interventions are just that ..’feelings’…and I recognize it as that and don’t pretend it’s some intellectual benchmark or moral enlightenment or well defined universal principle. I guess I am just for the underdogs or the defenseless and if a intervention can save more people than it hurts I’ll go along with it even though I know it’s not simeon pure…..and never will be as long as humans and not dogs are in charge.”

        Thank God much of humanity has spontaneous and natural “feelings” about helping underdogs or people in distress. But let’s not pretend that we can mold these feelings into an ironclad ideological system.

        We can, however, try to articulate these feelings in the creation of international law — even while understanding that nations on a regular basis will manipulate or ignore international law in the brutal pursuit of their self-interest.

        Michael Walzer, probably the foremost authority on just war theory in our time, provides a splendid example of how easy it is to rationalize wars that explicitly violate his own theories. There’s human nature for you.

      • American
        American on January 11, 2012, 12:27 pm

        “There’s human nature for you.”…seanmac

        Yep….that’s it in a nutshell…..the flaw and the virtue….as always.

    • eee
      eee on January 10, 2012, 12:30 am

      “Do you believe the US should have ‘militarily intervened’ to stop Israel in these cases of clear collective punishment and unproportional warfare?”

      Since even your criteria include asking whether every other option was tried before war was initiated, then clearly this was not the case in Gaza. Did the US threaten sanctions on Israel as an attempt to stop it? No. Therefore, a US intervention in Gaza would not have been just. So you should rephrase your question to Jerry perhaps and ask if the US should have threatened sanctions on Israel. I am sure he would answer yes.

      Furthermore, since you believe Israel is a nuclear power, initiating a war would be too dangerous since both countries could turn out losers. Therefore war on Israel is not just.

      • Jerome Slater
        Jerome Slater on January 10, 2012, 9:35 am

        eee: “rephrase your question to Jerry perhaps and ask if the US should have threatened sanctions on Israel. I am sure he would answer yes.”

        Right again on, on all points.

        One suggestion: only in Israel is it necessary to resort to cute wording in discussing Israel’s nuclear weapons. Since everyone knows it has them, you can just say “since Israel is a nuclear power.” Unless you are a government official, in which case I suppose you are bound by the official language–I take it you are not such an official.

      • American
        American on January 10, 2012, 1:13 pm

        “ask if the US should have threatened sanctions on Israel. I am sure he would answer yes.
        Furthermore, since you believe Israel is a nuclear power, initiating a war would be too dangerous since both countries could turn out losers. Therefore war on Israel is not just.”…eee

        As I said before eee, zionist have a mental and moral firewall in their brain that makes them convolute any logic and theory to justify or excuse anything concerning Israel…and that’s what on display here with you and Jerry.

        Sanctions aren’t a ‘ prerequisite’ to intervention–it’s enough to “warn” a country on their actions. And in Israels case it’s had 40 years of warnings.
        Further, as in my comment to Shingo, using Just War to qualify one Just from another is …well, it’s nothing really…. just the usual biased argument from and for or against one interest or another.

        The most common definitions of Just;..
        Consistent with what is morally right; righteous
        just is proper, lawful punishment for a crime.

        All the qualifiers you add to or subtract from the Just War theory changes the definition of Just. As I said, call it Practical Wars.

        What we have going on in this discussion is a zionist act, eee vr and in cooperation with a liberal zionist act,Jerry. It illustrates what we here have criticized about zionism and about liberal zionism.

        The liberal zionist, Jerry wants to use some principle but with qualifiers or exception….the example of nonsense like sanctions have to be applied first to make any interventions Just.

        The uber zionist, eee, on the other hand wants to project power and no win in the idea of the US intervening in Israel because Israel has nukes therefore Just being only winnable especially in Israel’s case.

        Trying to show either of you the faults in your thinking will just send you deeper into your firewalls to shovel out more convoluted reasoning, more qualifying of Just, more defining of practical, more saying only winnable is Just, blah,blah,blah, on and on.

        All the discussion on all of this Just War vr Ron Paul has done is once again show us that those of us looking at Just War and applying it to Israel and applying it to the Pro Israel pseudo intellectual arguments and even applying it to anything or any war period……are the ones who are objective and honest about the theory and objective and honest about how it applies to Israel…and we know our opinions are “opinions”. We also know your opinions 99% of the time aren’t objective, you relate everything to your zionism or to Israel.

        Jerry can’t be totally honest because his mentality is clouded by ‘murderous anti semtism” and never again on everything; war peace, politics, everything.
        eee’ s is clouded just because he is a jumped up pissant who thinks or wants to pretend Israel is so powerful not even the US could take it down.

        This is why many of us have said a thousand times no one can talk sense or even theory with your typical zionist ..on hardly anything….because their positions, intellectual or moral, are like a kaleidoscope, turn it one way it says this, turn it toward Israel it says something else. Now those like Jerry will say ..’yeah but nothing is consistent, consistency is a little mind.”
        Well no, that isn’t exactly how it works…..discerning, distinguishing is different from dishonesty. And we could bore down and bore down and bore down and the dishonestly would keep on getting more apparent.

        But it’s too time consuming. It’s enough to say we recongize what you do in subjects and matters like this and we know why you do it.

      • Shingo
        Shingo on January 10, 2012, 5:59 pm

        This is why many of us have said a thousand times no one can talk sense or even theory with your typical zionist ..on hardly anything….because their positions, intellectual or moral, are like a kaleidoscope, turn it one way it says this, turn it toward Israel it says something else.

        Brilliant post American and superb analogies. Kaleidoscope and firewall are very apt descriptions.

        What eee belives to be moral is actually a text book case of of a psychopathy – a personality disorder characterized primarily by a lack of empathy and remorse, shallow emotions, egocentricity, and deception. Psychopaths are highly prone to antisocial behavior and abusive treatment of others, and are disproportionately responsible for violent crime when in a violent emotional state or situation. Though lacking empathy and emotional depth, they often manage to pass themselves off as average individuals by feigning emotions and lying about the

      • richb
        richb on January 10, 2012, 10:09 am

        “Furthermore, since you believe Israel is a nuclear power, initiating a war would be too dangerous since both countries could turn out losers.”

        It’s more than that. Given the Samson Option (referring to the verse in Judges that Samson took out more enemies in his death than his life) we need to take into consideration that Israel is a nuclear power and a crazed, terrorist state to boot. Attacking them militarily would not only be wrong but foolish to boot. It is in the best interests of all the World, however, to make sure that their military is as weak as possible to keep them from harming others. What Just War theory tells us is there are many things short of war that can be done and so far we’ve done nothing save operating as their enabler. Stopping that is where we should start.

      • yourstruly
        yourstruly on January 11, 2012, 1:31 am

        iran has warned the u.s. that it will retaliate if the u.s. tries to prevent it from selling oil. the u.s. government has warned iran not to do so. if the u.s. were to sanction israel because of, say, its siege of gaza, and israel then threatens to retaliate, would the u.s. be justified in telling israel that there’d be dire consequences if it did so? if not, why not?

      • dahoit
        dahoit on January 11, 2012, 1:38 pm

        Convoluted apples and oranges.

    • Danaa
      Danaa on January 10, 2012, 10:35 am

      American, right on. It’s the Gaza slaughter American military should have stopped. By all means necessary. If ever there was a just cause, the liberation of gaza from their tormentors is it. So where were the Just Drones? after all, if only, say, 100 israelis perished in the process but 1000 gazan lives saved Plus gaza was freed from both conquerors and hamas, why, that would have been worth it, by the Slater calculus.

      Oh yes, I forgot. Great Jewish thinkers made common cause with neocons and were silent, at best. Yet, in Israel, the beloved refuge-of-last-resort, the printing presses were busy producing tractates of Lawfare, proclaiming the Gaza turkey shoot as “Just war”. Some of those israelis I hear are great professors.

      • Walid
        Walid on January 11, 2012, 3:44 am

        “Oh yes, I forgot. Great Jewish thinkers made common cause with neocons and were silent, at best. Yet, in Israel, the beloved refuge-of-last-resort, the printing presses were busy producing tractates of Lawfare, proclaiming the Gaza turkey shoot as “Just war”. Some of those israelis I hear are great professors.”

        Danaa, in the wide and lustful domain of Zionist “just” actions, give a some credit to Martin Kramer and his concept of what he’d “justifably” do to Gazan kids to prevent them from growing up to become Jew-killing terrorists and to Madeleine Albright for what she “justifiably” did to the 500,000 Iraqi children .

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        Jeffrey Blankfort on January 11, 2012, 11:00 pm

        In 1982, Israel launched an unprovoked war on Lebanon which was far more deadly and devastating than was Cast Lead with 18,000 mostly civilian casualties in the first few weeks. If there was a case for “humanitarian intervention” that was it but, as most of us know, there is really no such thing, that the term is as empty of meaning as the word, democracy, and is merely used as a cover for imperial aggression with future profits in mind.

  24. Kris
    Kris on January 9, 2012, 9:39 pm

    Noam Chomsky points out, in “Recognizing the ‘Unpeople,'” http://www.truth-out.org/recognizing-unpeople/1325894936, that the widely-supported
    call for measures to protect civilians in Libya, was rapidly followed by attacks on Libya by the U.S., France, and Britain that were NOT widely supported. Prof. Chomsky goes on to explain that Africans, like Palestinians, are “non-people” as far as the dominant world powers are concerned.

    “It should be recalled that there were two interventions. The first, under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, adopted on March 17, called for a no-fly zone, a cease-fire and measures to protect civilians. After a few moments, that intervention was cast aside as the imperial triumvirate (U.S., France, UK) joined the rebel army, serving as its air force.

    “At the outset of the bombing, the A.U. (African Union) called for efforts at diplomacy and negotiations to try to head off a likely humanitarian catastrophe in Libya. Within the month, the A.U. was joined by the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and others, including the major regional NATO power Turkey.

    “In fact, the triumvirate was quite isolated in its attacks – undertaken to eliminate the mercurial tyrant whom they had supported when it was advantageous. The hope was for a regime likelier to be amenable to Western demands for control over Libya’s rich resources and, perhaps, to offer an African base for the U.S. Africa command AFRICOM, so far confined to Stuttgart.

    “No one can know whether the relatively peaceful efforts called for in U.N. Resolution 1973, and backed by most of the world, might have succeeded in averting the terrible loss of life and the destruction that followed in Libya. …”

    No one cares when the “unpeople” are slaughtered, so maybe that’s why J. Slater seems to accept the idea of only two choices: (1) do nothing or (2) start killing people. You can talk about “just war,” and you can pretend that you have only two choices, and you can ignore the fortunes that our financial and political elites make from war, and the resources they will steal as a result of war, but, underneath all the “educated” rationale, there is only evil. It’s as if I were to whip up a batch of delicious cherry frosting and spread it on a dead rat: it might look good for a minute, but it would still be disgusting.

  25. Jerome Slater
    Jerome Slater on January 9, 2012, 10:20 pm

    Simply: Yes and No. Cast Lead was a totally unjustified war, as I have repeatedly argued–you hardly need to make that argument to me, of all people. You seem to think you have caught me in an inconsistency–or “‘hypocrisy”– if I don’t agree that the U.S. should have intervened militarily to stop it. No, I don’t agree there should have been such an intervention–it would have been unthinkable for any number of obvious reasons.

    Humanitarian intervention can only be extremely rare, for what should be obvious reasons. Millions of Russians and Chinese people were killed by Stalin and Mao–orders of magnitude greater than Libyans killed by Quaddafi, or Muslims killed by the Serbs–but it would not have even occurred to anyone that there was an inconsistency or “hypocrisy” because we didn’t go to war against Russia and China.

    • Shingo
      Shingo on January 9, 2012, 10:41 pm

      You seem to think you have caught me in an inconsistency–or “‘hypocrisy”– if I don’t agree that the U.S. should have intervened militarily to stop it.

      I think he has caught you in an inconsistency/hypocrisy, because you haven’t bothered to explain why.

      No, I don’t agree there should have been such an intervention–it would have been unthinkable for any number of obvious reasons.

      So what are those reason Professor?

      You explained that not going to war against Russia and China should not contradict the humanitarian intervention in Lybia. That does not explain why you are opposed to an intervention in Israel/Palestine.

      BTW. The reason for not going to war with ussia and China is pretty obvious. Just wars are only an option when the odds are overhwlmingly in your favor.

    • American
      American on January 9, 2012, 10:46 pm

      Explain Jerry why it would be any more unthinkable than our intervention in Libya or Bosina. In all cases we have oppression of people, killing of some, and disproportional use of force and collective punishment.
      In fact I would say that intervention is even more important when it is one powerful or weaponized army against a lesser country or outside group of people, more so than internal, particulary when it is has a long history, gets worse and is on going.

      We didn’t intervene in Russia or China because they are our size…we don’t pick on those as big as we are..for obvious reasons,….it wouldn’t be an intervention then it would be a real war. Which not to pick on the Just War morality theory again..does point up the fact that some morality is considered to expensive to pursue.

      • eee
        eee on January 10, 2012, 12:51 am

        “Which not to pick on the Just War morality theory again..does point up the fact that some morality is considered to expensive to pursue.”

        Again, the Just War Theory states that to be just a war must a priori be deemed winnable. Otherwise it is not only immoral to fight the war but also quite stupid. You would be wasting people’s lives for nothing.

        Your logic is the following I guess: If you cannot or will not intervene when China perpetuates a genocide that means you should never intervene when a genocide is happening. I find it quite faulty.

      • Shingo
        Shingo on January 10, 2012, 5:47 am

        Again, the Just War Theory states that to be just a war must a priori be deemed winnable.

        Which sounds exactly like the credo of organized crime gangs. Pick on the guys who can’t fight back, and stay out fo the way of those who can kick your ass.

        Your logic is the following I guess: If you cannot or will not intervene when China perpetuates a genocide that means you should never intervene when a genocide is happening.

        Your logic is the following I guess: If you you’re going to plan a genocide, make sure you’re armed well enough to ward off any dogooders, or at least make sure your benfactor can do it for you.

      • Jerome Slater
        Jerome Slater on January 10, 2012, 9:39 am

        “Your logic is the following I guess: If you you’re going to plan a genocide, make sure you’re armed well enough to ward off any dogooders.”

        In a contest to determine the dumbest argument ever to appear on Mondoweiss–and the competition for the honor is fierce–this may be the winner.

      • American
        American on January 10, 2012, 1:42 pm

        What it means eee is that “Just” War is a “misnamed” theory.

        If you and Jerry think we here are simple minded you can’t even guess how simple minded intelligent people see you in your tortured effort to first use Just War against Paul and then redefine it to use it as some kind of out for Israel.

        Really I don’t want to start the insults again but you are truly sooo dumb eee you can’t even grasp what I am saying. You are so dumb I bet you think I didn’t notice that you said I said something that I didn’t say. LOL
        Run along eee this is all the attention you are getting for today.

      • American
        American on January 10, 2012, 2:08 pm

        “In a contest to determine the dumbest argument ever to appear on Mondoweiss–and the competition for the honor is fierce–this may be the winner.”..Slater.

        On the contrary it is completely true.

        You are contradicting yourself again Jerry because you explicitly stated that Just War has to be winnable and Russia and China were the example of if well enough armed and big enough you can carry it out without worry of US intervention.

        And this….”Your logic is the following I guess: If you cannot or will not intervene when China perpetuates a genocide that means you should never intervene when a genocide is happening.”…was said by eee with his typical dishonesty of attributing something never said or even implied to someone else.

        Look, I don’t know if you are having age related mental and behavioral problems some people suffer from, or you really are stupid or just acting stupid to start a fight. So unless you want someone to verbally disembowel you or publicly rip that corn cob out of your a**, in so far as our monitor will allow here, or might be allowed elsewhere, I suggest you not veer into insulting people’s intelligence and childish sarcasm again.

      • tree
        tree on January 10, 2012, 2:09 pm

        In a contest to determine the dumbest argument ever to appear on Mondoweiss–and the competition for the honor is fierce–this may be the winner.

        Since you are a contestant in the competition (and a strong contender I might add) you are ineligible (and probably unqualified as well) to make such a determination.

        I might suggest, though, that simply calling the majority of people who disagree with you “dumb” shows an extreme intellectual laziness on your part. Better to stick to rational argument instead of juvenile name calling if you want to be believed as a scholar.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on January 10, 2012, 3:10 pm

        “In a contest to determine the dumbest argument ever to appear on Mondoweiss–and the competition for the honor is fierce–this may be the winner.”

        And who asked you for that judgement, Slater. Look Slater, why don’t you just give Phil a list of the commenter’s you judge as not worthy, and threaten to leave unless they are banned? That’s about your speed.
        Of course, it’s not in me to dislike a man who has made of his life (as Somerset Maugham said) “a whole, rounded thing” and I must admit, you combine execrable reasoning, servile politics, and personal unpleasantness in such a seamless way, it’s a wonder to behold.

      • Shingo
        Shingo on January 10, 2012, 4:35 pm

        In a contest to determine the dumbest argument ever to appear on Mondoweiss–and the competition for the honor is fierce–this may be the winner.

        Call it what you will, but it also happens to be a statement if the obvious. Those who commit war crimes do so on the assumption that they will not be held accountable.

        I the case of the US, they do so safe in the knowledge that no one has the power to do so. I the case of Israel, they do so safe in knowledge there is no international will to do so.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976 on January 10, 2012, 4:44 pm

        Shingo – It seems like common sense, not only among criminals, to fight the battles you can win and avoid those you expect to lose.
        Still, if it’s true that resistance must, if it is to be justified morally, have some prospect of success it follows that overwhelming power and might cannot be resisted with moral justification. This in turn implies that to possess overwhelming might is to possess not just the ability to get what you want but the actual right to be obeyed, since anyone resisting you would be doing wrong. It’s often been remarked that these theories have come out of the great imperial civilisations and you’re correct to say that the right of the powerful is not cancelled, on this theory, by the fact that the powerful may be planning outrages and atrocities.
        Hobbes uses these considerations, with some scriptural justification, to argue that there can be no moral justification for resisting or resenting God, who has all power. He is then able to add the idea that no mortal power can claim that its might gives it absolute right because all powers are responsible to God. Not everyone would want to build this theological clause into the system, of course.
        I agree that the clause ‘you must have some chance of success’ does, particularly with the theological element removed from the apparatus, have some very disturbing implications. But as I mentioned it hardly seems to be right to call on people to get themselves killed or tormented in hopeless causes. These are very difficult problems, I think. No easy or obvious solutions.

      • American
        American on January 10, 2012, 10:35 pm

        I hate to have to point this out again, but MHughes has knowingly or unknowingly just illustrated why theology and philosophy are totally irrelevant to discussions of war.
        It’s all just catnip for academics with time on their hands.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976 on January 11, 2012, 6:07 am

        How to answer Slater’s bad and illogical arguments except with better philosophy? Maybe I can’t provide that. But I always thought that there was quite a lot of philosophy in what you say, and good stuff too.
        I don’t think that there’s any getting away from philosophy so long as people either really act or pretend to act for idealistic reasons in war or peace. And there aren’t always easy answers, not even over WW2.

      • American
        American on January 11, 2012, 9:25 am

        I wasn’t dissing you or your comment MHughes…..if it sounded like that I apologize…..I was (out of frustration) saying again that a having a “Just War” theory is basically silly because (practically) who decides and are there any interventions that are done just on the “Just” part?
        Although I have said I am for interventions in some cases I am lerry of any kind of official or universal ‘theory’ on wars. But no, no harm in discussing it —if we can live without any real answer.

    • optimistCitizen
      optimistCitizen on January 9, 2012, 10:52 pm

      Humanitarian intervention can only be extremely rare, for what should be obvious reasons. Millions of Russians and Chinese people were killed by Stalin and Mao–orders of magnitude greater than Libyans killed by Quaddafi, or Muslims killed by the Serbs–but it would not have even occurred to anyone that there was an inconsistency or “hypocrisy” because we didn’t go to war against Russia and China.

      So if the criteria is that if the perpetrators are weak enough they must be attacked. Why was there no call for intervention in, say, Rwanda then? Because they didn’t have enough oil? Now the more African countries have found oil in their backyard, more “liberation” is needed and the white man must stand up to save them Africans, again!

      Does deliberate bombing of TV stations qualify for the “humanitarian” tag because the stations constitute “ministry of lies” according to those who want to bomb them? Would you apply the same rules to FoxCNNMSNBC tv stations?
      Nato defends TV bombing
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/326653.stm

    • ToivoS
      ToivoS on January 9, 2012, 11:38 pm

      There you go Slater worrying about Muslims killed by the Serbs

      Actually there was a terrible civil war that happened in the former Yugoslavia. Many thousands of people died. In the final analysis there was some major ethnic cleansings operations. These include 150,000 serbs driven out of Krajina (a province in Croatia), a few 10 of thousands serbs removed from rural areas around Vukojina now Croatia as well as another few tens of thousands of Serbs in what is today Kosovo. In terms of ethnic cleansings in the former Yugoslavia the major victims were the Serbs.

      This was the outcome of US and Nato intervention and you hold this as an example of just war. At one point I thought you were an honorable person but it is clear from this that once the Palestinians are purged from the WB and other areas of Palestine, I can imagine that you will be back defending the outcome as another just war.

      Samel has been defending you, but the more you write, the less respect I have for your views. Actually, I have been extremely skeptical of the whole notion of “progressive Zionism”. Your arguments make me even more skeptical.

    • dahoit
      dahoit on January 11, 2012, 1:50 pm

      Of course it is hypocrisy.We couldn’t war on China or the SU because they had, have ,nuclear weapons,which of course hasn’t gone unnoticed by certain other countries around the world.Do you think if Pakistan didn’t we wouldn’t be much more aggressive towards them?They allegedly harbored the alleged perpetrator of the day that changed everything,the most under investigated event in American history,which of course begs the question,why is it the most under investigated event in American history?
      Mr.Slater and Mr.Werdine:Are you not at least a little perturbed by this outpouring of anti Israel anger building in America?And don’t you think,instead of working on US,that maybe you should be applying pressure to the Israeli government instead,to avert the catastrophe of American estrangement from
      Israel?

  26. on January 9, 2012, 10:46 pm

    There was NO war in Gaza. There was a massacre.

    “It would have been unthinkable for any number of obvious reasons.”
    If there were so “obvious”, can you list them all?

    If USA did not go to war against Russia and China, even though they commited much bigger atrocities than Ghadaffi or Serbs, why they decided so quickly ( along with NATO) to attack Libya and Serbs??
    They did it out of the goodness of their hearts, or maybe there were some other,much more shady/wicked reasons???
    Another thing worth mentioning. This was not a war, it was a “peaceful, humanitarian intervention” that left tens of thousands dead, many more wounded, cities destroyed, and one big mess that is still going on.
    But according to mr Slater ,Libya was “a just humanitarian intervention” .
    Just for whom?? For those, who started the whole mess??

  27. PeaceThroughJustice
    PeaceThroughJustice on January 9, 2012, 10:53 pm

    “No, I don’t agree there should have been such an intervention–it would have been unthinkable for any number of obvious reasons.”

    Jerome, could you spell out those reasons for us simpletons? Because I can’t see why it would have been so different from those interventions that you applaud–Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Libya.

  28. jayn0t
    jayn0t on January 9, 2012, 10:59 pm

    Slater’s back! Thank God. I was so upset we might have scared him off. Well done, Phil.

    He backs down from his argument that murder is OK if a large number of people vote for it: “I’ll repeat the point I’ve made a number of times: the notion that you can decide on whether a war is justified or not by asking the families of those killed takes you nowhere”. Maybe. He has also made the opposite point a number of times, choosing which principle to support on the basis of which better supports his conclusions.

    “Most of the French people who weren’t collaborating with Hitler” is a bit of a step back from his original ‘the overwhelming majority of French people’, but Slater can rely on the word ‘Hitler’ to head off any challenge to his logic. How about “most of the Latvian people who weren’t collaborating with Stalin”? Oh no. Let’s not go there.

    • richb
      richb on January 10, 2012, 8:34 am

      It’s amazing how an emeritus poly sci prof doesn’t get it but his Zionism blinds him. All the evils he rightly condemns stem from Zionism itself. The insistence by liberal Zionists that Israel be a Jewish nation is what drives the ethnic cleansing and war crimes etc. Israel should seek to become more like the U.S. as a secular country because that is what truly protects the rights of all religious minorities. Instead it’s the other way around and because of it the rights that Jews here enjoy are being eroded.

      The rights we enjoy now is because in the past persecuted Christians decided to eschew power in order to protect the rights of everyone. They knew they needed to take advantage of being in the majority in order to protect their rights once they were no longer a majority. The Jews in Israel need to do the same and have a written constitution with a strong independent judiciary that protects not just Jews but everyone. Unlike Europe Palestine has a long history of the religions getting along but Zionism broke that. Liberal Zionists can — if they so choose — unilaterally restore Palestine to its former glory. That more than anything else will protect their fellow Jews which they rightly seek.

  29. homingpigeon
    homingpigeon on January 9, 2012, 11:06 pm

    Ok, Habibis, I have a thought exercise. Let’s all travel in our imagination to Germany in 1930 something. We have befriended a young seventeen year old physically fit German fellow who is trying to decide what to do with his life. I and several other commentators will do our best to persuade him not to join the German army. I will offer to help him find a way to escape the draft. I will conjure every argument I know against war and service in any nation’s death machine. Others when in conversation with this fellow will talk about the virtue of just war and the theories thereof. Others will talk about humanitarian intervention and the merits of protecting the oppressed Finns from the aggressive Soviet invasion. Others will talk of the virtues of this war or that war and what a great honor it is to die for one’s country.

    Now who would we hope would win the battle for this fellow’s soul? I especially ask those who believe World War II was the goodest war of all to contemplate this.

    My point is that all efforts at just war, humanitarian intervention, “self defense” of the state, or whatever other arguments we contrive to validate military service, are ultimately building blocks in the edifice of our own incineration chamber.

    • eee
      eee on January 10, 2012, 12:35 am

      The informative thought experiment you should do is the following. It is 1935 and the Nazis are firmly in power. It is clear Germany is building its military power. Is a preemptive war just and smart? My answer is yes and yes. What is yours? Let’s wait till the Germans take Poland?

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on January 10, 2012, 2:59 pm

        “The informative thought experiment you should do is the following. It is 1935 and the Nazis are firmly in power. It is clear Germany is building its military power. Is a preemptive war just and smart? My answer is yes and yes. What is yours? Let’s wait till the Germans take Poland?”

        That’s nonsense. You answer the way you do because you have the advantage of the hindsight of history.

      • jayn0t
        jayn0t on January 10, 2012, 8:19 pm

        The problem with Woody’s answer to ‘eee’ is he gives the impression that, with the hindsight of history, it’s reasonable to say that British hostilities were justified. These hostilities led to fifty million deaths, several semi-holocausts, and Soviet rule, whose victims were just as dead as those who died under German rule (or American bombs). What would it have had to be like to enable one to say that, with the benefit of hindsight, the British declaration of war was UNJUSTIFIED?

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on January 11, 2012, 7:57 am

        jaynot,

        You misread my statement. My point was merely that even if, with the hindsight of history, one could say that a preemptive war in 1935 which would have prevented the “fifty million deaths, several semi-holocausts, and Soviet rule,” etc. (not a unreasonable proposition), eee’s statement is nonsense because those acting in 1935 did not have the hindsight of history. In other words, based on what was known in 1935, there was no justification for a preemptive war in 1935, even if we could, with the advantage of time, retrospectively say that such a war would have been justified.

      • jayn0t
        jayn0t on January 11, 2012, 10:53 am

        No, Woody, I didn’t misread you. You think, with the benefit of hindsight, it would have been ‘reasonable’ for Britain to attack Germany in 1935, rather than waiting ’til 1939. What is ‘known now’ that makes an unprovoked attack on a country reasonable then? That Hitler was a bad guy? Stalin was just as bad – why not an attack on Russia? And Roosevelt was obviously a warmonger, even then, and was strongly opposed by pacifists, anti-war conservatives and most of the American population.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on January 11, 2012, 11:46 am

        “You think, with the benefit of hindsight, it would have been ‘reasonable’ for Britain to attack Germany in 1935, rather than waiting ’til 1939.”

        No, I think that it is not unreasonable for someone to think that it would have been reasonable for Britain to do so if Britain could somehow know that it wsa preventing WWII by doing so.

        “What is ‘known now’ that makes an unprovoked attack on a country reasonable then? That Hitler was a bad guy?”

        What is known now is that by waiting until 1939, the Germans military strength grew to the point where it could start a war which would cost the lives of 50 million people. If an Anglo-German war of 1935 would kill only 500,000 people, rather than 50 million, then a preemptive war at that point would save 49,500,000 lives who are otherwise going to die. That is a pretty good justification.

        The problem is that there is no way that someone in 1935 could know that they were saving 49.5 million people by fighting that war. For all they knew, the alternative to war in 1935 was that no one, at all, would die.

        That’s the fallacy of hindsight.

      • Chaos4700
        Chaos4700 on January 10, 2012, 11:04 pm

        Gee, no, let’s wait until the Germans take the West Bank instead.

      • yourstruly
        yourstruly on January 11, 2012, 2:25 am

        in 1935 it would have been too late. had the transfer agreement between zionists and the nazis not broken the boycott of german goods, hitler might have been forced to back down on his murderous plans for jews. although the boycott was in its infancy, it was growing enough to capture the nazis’ attention. seems it was more important to german zionists that wealthy german jews (who, in exchange for a ten thousand dollar purchase of german goods*) be allowed to emigrate to palestine, than for these zionists to join an international crusade in hurting nazi germany’s economy. zionists seeking ways to get jews to palestine uber jews going elsewhere and deterring international efforts to prevent the imminent genocide, a familiar tale** throughout the twelve year reign of the thousand year third reich.

        *”which made hitler the chief economic sponsor of the state of israel”

        **to palestine and nowhere else, see “50 Documents: Zionist Collaberation with the Nazis”, Lenni Brenner (available on line); also,
        “The Transfer Agreement”, Edwin Black

  30. anonymouscomments
    anonymouscomments on January 10, 2012, 12:04 am

    Jerome Slater,

    I do not seek an ad hominem attack, or simplistic dismissal of my previous comment up thread (I did criticize what I consider your MO lately, so I am sure you disagree, so feel free to dispute it). However, what I would sincerely like, is for you to prove me wrong through actions, by not just dismissing (or ignoring) this post.

    I want to discuss the facts and major assumptions which buttress some of your major “points”. Specifically your statements about Libya and the 1st Gulf War. However, to limit the scope, I think the 1st Gulf War alone is the proper one to (hopefully) address. For the record, I do agree with you that “all wars, including those initiated by the US, must be judged by the moral principles embodied in just war moral philosophy”. I am not a pacifist, and some interventions and wars I agree with.

    I consider the following statements demonstrably false. I do not assume this is intentional, and I think you are entirely sincere, but basing your analysis on an incomplete and/or faulty set of facts, and even a faulty and unsupported larger ‘context’.

    On Libya I take issue with this, but it is a murky area given the lack of trusted information, and because the dust is still far from settled (BTW I am not a supporter of Gaddafi; I know the first international photographer who got into Bengazi right at the beginning, and my friend from Cairo worked in Libya for a year, leaving only months before the “revolution”):
    “Is there any serious doubt that the Libyan people enthusiastically welcomed the overthrow of Gaddafi? Or that the price of nonintervention would have been far greater Libyan deaths and the continuation of Gaddafi’s tyranny?”

    More importantly, I take issue with this:
    “The Gulf War against Saddam Hussein in the early 1990s, after he attacked Kuwait and there was every reason to believe Saudi Arabia, at the least, was next. The first George Bush did exactly the right thing: stopped the aggression, and ended the war when that had been accomplished. As a matter of fact, he stopped too soon, not because he didn’t send troops into Baghdad and overthrow Saddam–that was the right decision–but by allowing Saddam to use his helicopters and his thugs to brutally crush the Iraqi resistance in the south that we had actively encouraged.”

    I’ll follow with my points of contention tomorrow (and supported with references, as this is not a topic where bald assertions should be made, or one liners suffice). On some levels it is a matter of fact, on other levels it is a matter of argumentation and *somewhat* subjective. But I think the preponderance of evidence indicates that even on this subjective level, your position does not hold up.

    I am not intransigent here, I want substantive discussion, supported by facts. Perhaps with more of your facts/logic/context I will disagree with your position, but find it valid (“agree to disagree”).

    • Jerome Slater
      Jerome Slater on January 10, 2012, 9:47 am

      Anonymous: I appreciate the spirit of your comments and questions. But I have to pick and choose which ones to respond to–surely you understand that–and yours would require a great deal of time. I’ve made a judgment about the morality and intentions of the US in the Gulf War and Libya; you disagree. I’d have to write two new articles to explain my position; sorry, can’t do it.

      • anonymouscomments
        anonymouscomments on January 11, 2012, 1:50 am

        Really? I thought you *stated* your position. I have not even given a single point of contention yet. Did you miss that? Perhaps I’ll make them bite-sized. Something you can chew on, if you are able stomach the full truth in the face of your (perhaps ignorant) BS. I don’t care if you are unable or unwilling to respond, but you have not even heard a single fact/argument yet.

        Tomorrow though… you have already annoyed me due to that fact that you have wasted pages of hot air on petty BS with dozens of posts. Your focus in the comments section reveals some seriously odd priorities for an ‘intellectual’ who wants to further debate and defend his position (and an avoidance of debate, when you should be addressing substantive comments, and follow through with real sincerity).

  31. W.Jones
    W.Jones on January 10, 2012, 1:17 am

    Dear Jeremy Slater,

    Thanks for your response on January 9th at 5:53 PM to my last message on http://mondoweiss.net/2012/01/ron-pauls-antiwar-position-is-simpleminded.html

    Your core belief about the Israeli State appears to be as you say that it is necessary to maintain an official Jewish State for the people’s protection. This is so important that you propose a number of Palestinians living in it must be relocated if relocation is necessary to maintain the state’s national identity. However, you also strongly oppose harm or force that goes beyond what you see as necessary to maintain the State and its identity. I assume from your humanitarian views that you would qualify assassinations, executions, torture, and genocide as unnecessary for maintaining the State.

    I would like to encourage you, Jeremy- how should I address you?- to write an article for Mondoweiss on this core belief of yours. After all, you are a major contributor, Mondoweiss is dedicated to Jewish views on the Mideast, and your view includes a humanitarian aspect, shared by others on M.W.

    So I wish to ask you to write an article addressing:
    A. Why you believe a Nation-State is necessary to protect the people.
    Please address possible counterarguments- you were right when you said that a good article addresses them. For example:
    i. Could a single-Nation-State placed on a mutually-shared homeland actually create more risks for the people than before?
    ii. Would a Nation-State be able and willing to risk itself to protect people persecuted abroad?
    iii. Are there better alternatives? For example, would spreading the people across many nations be safer than concentrating them in one small place? Or would a multicultural country like America that tolerates and protects minorities be as good or better protection for the people than a Nation-State?

    B. What inconveniences to the Palestinians would be allowable or needed to maintain the State and its identity?
    For example:
    i. Should the borders of the Israeli State be “gerrymanded” like U.S. Congressional Districts based on where Jews and Palestinians lived before 1947, so that Palestinians could live on their families’ proper land, which would allow for both the Palestinians’ Right of Return and for a Jewish majority within the Israeli State?
    ii. Or did the geographic and demographic layout of where Jews and Palestinians lived make a “viable” Jewish State so impossible that mandatory relocation of Palestinians was necessary?

    C. Why you believe the people’s security outweighs those inconveniences to the Palestinians.
    For example, what is the chance you see of what level of persecution, and how many Palestinians should be inconvenienced and to what extent?

    If it helps, I can tell you how I would answer these questions. But I wish to ask you to address them in an article. As I said, you are a major contributor, and this regards the core of your belief about the conflict. Plus, I admire the Jewish people, their security is important, and deep progressive thinkers have taken different positions on whether a Nation State is necessary for them.

    Peace – Shalom – Salaam

    • Jerome Slater
      Jerome Slater on January 10, 2012, 9:52 am

      W. Jones: Excellent questions. There are answers to all of them. Some of them I’ve dealt with on my own blog (jeromeslater.com), in one form or another. However, I doubt that I will be writing a new article–especially since it would to be a long one–that directly address your questions.

      But I do appreciate the invitation and the spirit behind it.

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones on January 10, 2012, 2:53 pm

        Jerome, or do you prefer Dr. Slater,

        As you said, on your blog you dealt with some questions, which I quoted in my last comment on your previous article on Ron Paul’s Foreign Policy. You are right that an article dealing with all those questions would be a long one.

        Since the people’s security is the core of your strong support for the Nation State, and you have studied the issue for decades, I believe this is one of the most important topics on which you can provide information for us and for Mondoweiss. Since you are right that an article covering all the questions would be very long, I wish to encourage you to write on just one topic:

        A. Why you believe a Nation-State is necessary to protect the people.
        As part of this:
        i. Would a Nation-State also be able and willing to risk itself to protect the people persecuted abroad?
        ii. Could a single-Nation-State placed on a mutually-shared homeland actually create more risks for the people than before?
        iii. Are there better alternatives? For example, would spreading the people across many nations be safer than concentrating them in one small place? Or would a multicultural country like America that tolerates and protects minorities be as good or better protection for the people than a Nation-State?

  32. Danaa
    Danaa on January 10, 2012, 2:19 am

    By Slater’s reasoning, the US – with the help of Nato, should immediately start bombing Israel. For one, they are pretty much an ethnocracy with theocratic overtones ruled by extremely right wing group of thugs, elected under the fig leaf of “democracy”. For another, they are one of the worst violators of human rights currently in the world. Far worse in some ways than Libya was, or Syria is now, or Somalia or yemen. maybe they are on par with sadaam though the jury is out on that still. They have established an internment camp in Gaza, upon whose people they committed massacre in 2008/9 without a shed of remorse. Most significantly, they have one of the most extensive WMD arsenals, with nuclear warheads pointing at any number of countries, including European ones. And let there be no doubt – there is sizeable minority among the Judeans of Israel who could care less if 1 Million had to die, as long as they get to feel less threatened.

    By the great “Just war” theory, by the “liberation” theology so well advanced here, there should be an immediate bombing campaign against a country that is threatening to bring down the world and “wipe Iranians off the map”. If, say 20,000 people get killed in the process, that should not be a problem, right? no different than Libya.

    So, if we are to have “Just wars” let’s have one – againsta truly horrible and grievous violator of human rights in the world. If Slater can agree with this – why, I think we got a deal – I’ll take a serious look at his arguments (which have so far escaped me for some strange reason).

  33. Koshiro
    Koshiro on January 10, 2012, 4:53 am

    How anybody, in the year 2012, can still regard the Kosovo war as justified is beyond me. We know that it was based on lies and fabrications. NATO openly broke international law with its intervention, intentionally attacked civilian targets, blocked all meaningful attempts at a diplomatic solution and in the end broke its own promises to respect Serbian territorial integrity.
    On top of all that, far from preventing ethnic cleansing, NATO made it possible. It didn’t lift a finger to prevent the rampage of murder and looting against the Serbian minority, the burning of Christian churches and the creation of a hundred thousand refugees.

  34. MRW
    MRW on January 10, 2012, 6:07 am

    OT for those who know Jack Ross. His National Press Club talk about his book Rabbi Outcast with Jon Utley, Allan Brownfeld, Ambassador Andy Kilgore, Josh Ruebner, and of course Jack Ross. These men think like I do. I miss Jack around here.
    http://www.youtube.com/rabbioutcast

  35. Richard Witty
    Richard Witty on January 10, 2012, 8:05 am

    “Now to your important point, in your last sentence. Here, in a nutshell is my position: I accept the description–which on this site is considered a grievous moral crime–that I tend to be a liberal Zionist. What that means, certainly in my case and I believe in most others who accept that description, is that I (or we) reject all the traditional Zionist arguments for the right of the Jews to have a state in Palestine, save one: existential necessity. So it seems to me to have been overwhelmingly obvious that the Holocaust demonstrated the need of the Jews to have an armed nation state for protection. Yet, at the same time, the only good argument for that need to be fulfilled in Palestine was that there was no other practical place to put it.”

    I am assertively a liberal Zionist, but I disagree with Jerome’s statement that the ONLY valid argument for the right of Jews to have a state in Palestine is existential necessity.

    He used the term “the Jews”. I’m not sure if that has significance or not.

    My view is that the traditional Zionist view that Jews were and are a people (linked historically primarily by the religion of duty to God through Torah), and that the persecutions were a stimulus (not the sole validity) for the affirmation of self-determination after a hundred generations in diaspora, with their nation-hood, people-hood, constructed by a social association (credo and familial linked nation), rather than by a landed geographic defined polity.

    The ethnic and social formulation of nationhood is of much longer duration than the modern nation-state defined by geography and firmed into some features of international law this century.

    We got to this point. We didn’t get to 1890 or 1933-45 or 1948 except by determination to remain a people.

    And, the question of whether Zionism is justified by necessity or by the urge for national self-determination as a people are both related to anti-semitism. The question for a people is whether they are self-governed or other-governed.

    Where other-governance is liveable, then assimilation is liveable. Where other-governance is unliveable, then assimilation is not liveable.

    The question of self-governance versus other-governance is related to necessity (Jerome’s term summarized as the “only” valid basis of Zionism – historical and current), but it is also related to the “idea” of liberty, of freedom (an alternative traditional view or Zionism that is not exceptionalist).

    The irony is that Israeli self-governance hasn’t worked out as rosily as it is cracked up to be. Still, the basis of Jewish association and self-governance of that association is a relevant and just concept.

    Now that it exists, the onus of change from that is revolutionary, violent if only in social order.

    Israeli policies of expansion are unacceptable other-governance for Palestinians. Israeli policies of reformed, enough and humane Israel should be acceptable, liveable.

    So, that should be the work, to make Israel more just and mutually thriving, rather than not exist, even not exist as Israel.

    • john h
      john h on January 10, 2012, 6:50 pm

      The question for a people is whether they are self-governed or other-governed.

      No, the question is what that question means and has resulted in for the Jews. You have yourself given the answers.

      First, the Jews as a people, what is the basis of their peoplehood?

      Jews were and are a people (linked historically primarily by the religion of duty to God through Torah)…people-hood, constructed by a social association (credo and familial linked nation), rather than by a landed geographic defined polity.

      That is, the same as Muslims, the same as Christians. Jew-Judah-Judaism

      Second, what has that basis meant for them in their history?

      Two things in particular, the ability to survive and the inability to self-govern.

      the persecutions were a stimulus (not the sole validity) for the affirmation of self-determination after a hundred generations in diaspora…We got to this point. We didn’t get to 1890 or 1933-45 or 1948 except by determination to remain a people.

      You have here defined what “self-determination” is in the Jewish or religious context, “to remain a people”.

      That is what it is for each religion. All three religions named suffer and have endured persecution, but continue to survive and flourish, showing they did not and do not need a landed geographic defined polity.

      The irony is that Israeli self-governance hasn’t worked out as rosily as it is cracked up to be.

      And we don’t need to look just at Zionist Israel. The Tanach is replete with how often and consistently it was a disaster. In your heart of hearts I think you know why.

      And the same can be said when we look at the history of when Christians or Muslims had autocratic control. Religion is not intended to be in self-governance over its own people, but to be governed by the one worshipped, something that can take place anywhere.

      You may not accept Jesus of Nazareth, but what he said on this is exactly right:

      The hour is coming, when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father…the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.

      Israeli policies of expansion are unacceptable other-governance for Palestinians.

      Israeli expansion into self-governance has never been acceptable because it was expansion that inevitably and unavoidably meant other-governance for Palestinians.

      • Richard Witty
        Richard Witty on January 11, 2012, 6:49 am

        The Jewish identity is probably similar in many ways to the religious. Certainly the peoplehood of Jews was a comprehensive social glue, that included customs, credo, language(s), and religion.

        It is probably more similar to Islam than Christianity in that light.

        It is distinct in that in a hundred venues, it retained its identity as a minority in all locales (except Israel), in spite of persecution at some point in virtually all venues that Jews lived collectively.

        The question of what constitutes anti-semitism is an important one, beyond just the definition that those that rationalize ‘I don’t have an anti-semitic bone in my body’ articulate. The form of not being anti-semitic that holds ‘I don’t care if people were born Jewish through no fault of their own’, is not far enough.

        There is a form of anti-semitism, which accepts those that were born Jewish but are for all purposes assimilated, and those that ARE Jewish currently, in identity, in future identity (educating their children to be Jewish), is association whether conspicuous (kipas, tzitzis, even fur hats) or not.

        When you see a man in religious garb, is your first reaction, ‘there goes a superstitious ideolog’, or ‘there goes a committed spiritualist doing good in the ways that he/she understands’, or just open?

        Most here bear an anti-semitism towards those that are ‘superstitious’ enough to remain Jewish in association, future association, and conspicuous religious practice.

        Does that mean that they are anti-semitic, as in exposed to a name-call, possibly if it got to that. Should they be name-called, or should they be encouraged to be accepting people in the way that it is up, here? They should be encouraged to learn to appreciate the other, to respect the other, not be called names.

        As, for those that regard my views as somehow racist, should encourage me (and be able to encourage my by knowledge of the other) to respect the other, rather than urged to hate myself.

        In summary, you disserve humanity by limiting the birth of nation to anti-colonial movement, rather than through multiple paths. There are other unlanded people’s that are coherent peoples on the planet currently, that need either a path to migrate, or land in the future.

        As the planet is thoroughly populated, any formation of settling coherently in a land, will displace someone else, as is now proposed by those that seek the Israeli Jews to leave, rather than accept that they be content with “enough”.

        New people’s will emerge as new associations around movements or events occur.

        The Bedouin are a people, formerly migrant. The Palestinians, now majority living in diaspora, are now a people (even beyond the land).

      • Richard Witty
        Richard Witty on January 11, 2012, 6:53 am

        I’m again disappointed that Jerome Slater has not addressed any points to his ‘right’.

        I hope that relative to the question of prejudicial attitudes towards religious, that he is also not prejudiced in his attitudes.

        I was, but after long and close communication with ultra-orthodox from a few sects, I know that the people are not one-dimensional, and that they areas that they may be described as superstitious are comparable to the areas that non-religious are superstitious in some blind faiths, even fundamental ones.

        Humility of one’s views are most important to the process of learning, even at ‘advanced age’.

      • john h
        john h on January 12, 2012, 11:59 pm

        Richard, there is a Jewish identity and there is a Zionist identity.

        The Jewish identity began from one man, an Iraqi, and the god he recognized and followed. The Jewish identity is religious.

        The Zionist identity began from those who created the Zionist ideology and used the name “Israel”. It accepted some Jewish identity but rejected its key beginning premise. That is, it latched onto the land and the lineage and the name but refused their meaning and the one who had brought them into being. The Zionist identity is secular.

        The attempt to conflate these two identities is as doomed to failure as is the attempt to make Israel both Jewish and democratic.

        Each identity, in its essence, is a challenge to, and a contradiction of, the other. To try to engraft one onto the other, or to “marry” them, is nothing less than a fool’s errand.

      • Richard Witty
        Richard Witty on January 13, 2012, 4:26 pm

        History changed Jewish identity. Severe enough suffering to collectively stiffin backbones.

        To exclude the holocaust from formative universal Jewish identity would be an exercise in enormous deception and self-deception.

        To exagerate the holocaust from universal Jewish identity would be a moderate exercise in self-deception.

        Balance is the best approach. Any exposure to potential mass suicide is not in the cards.

      • john h
        john h on January 13, 2012, 5:25 pm

        Jewish identity, just like any other identity, has a short formative and long actual period.

        Nothing, not even a holocaust, changes the identity.

        The concept of “collectively stiffin backbones” is part of the Zionist identity, and is typified in “The Iron Wall” morality stated in 1923.

        It is one of the many that challenges and contradicts the Jewish identity.
        Jewish identity collectively stiffins the godbone.

        Potential mass suicide would be just that, initiated by Zionist Israel nuclear weapons.

  36. Midwesterner
    Midwesterner on January 10, 2012, 9:47 am

    Saddam and Gaddafy were in their late 60s. Anything to be said for being a little bit patient?

  37. eljay
    eljay on January 10, 2012, 10:22 am

    >> Israeli policies of reformed, enough and humane Israel should be acceptable, liveable.

    Until such time as non-Jewish Israelis whose demographic theaten the permanent-majority status of Jewish Israelis find themselves excised from their own country and rendered non-Israeli:
    >> RW: I personally don’t see a conflict with intentionally adjusting boundaries if the demographics change considerably to create a smaller Israel that is Jewish majority.

    As long as Israel remains a religion-supremacist “Jewish state” – rather than a secular, egalitarian and democratic state of and for all Israelis – it will not be reformed or humane enough.

  38. on January 10, 2012, 10:24 am

    Mr Slater is , in my humble opinion, a “soft version” of a WAR monger.
    “Soft ” because he uses double talk and new-speech that call a war , oh, a “humanitarian intervention” , people killed and wounded “, a collateral damage” etc.
    He tries to justify very freely, which war is just ,which is not ,based on criteria which are known (probably) only for him.
    He accuses everybody ,who does not agree with his version, as being simplictic or simpleminded .
    He is like a new and improved version of a 21 century hippie , holding a peace sign IN one hand ,AND a loaded machine gun in the other, and a sign above his head :
    ” Either peace on MY fu..en terms …or else?”

  39. Koshiro
    Koshiro on January 10, 2012, 4:06 pm

    Would you or would you not grant the American government the right to start wars at will? And if you’re saying “only if they are ‘just’”, then who is going to decide if they are ‘just’?

    I wonder if I’m ever going to get answers to those questions.

  40. Shingo
    Shingo on January 10, 2012, 4:42 pm

    Am I missing something here, is has Jerome failed to provide the exlanation as to why he does not believe military intvantion was necessary during Cast Lead in the dozen comments since he was asked this questions?

    It begs the questions as to whether Jerry simply doesn’t have an answer he can illucidate, or that he simply to ashamed to provide it.

    • Danaa
      Danaa on January 10, 2012, 5:15 pm

      Shingo, I’ll try to explain, if I may. He does not answer because the entire just war business is gobbly-gook – a nice intellectual spinning exercise for the emulators of 12th century rabbis (sorry had to take it back a few centuries, after careful consideration ) and 14th century angels-on-a-pin theologians.

      The problem starts with the “just” part and ends with the “war”. There has been, if you note, no attention paid to justice by our professor, perhaps because he makes common cause with a group (tribe?) for whom Justice means whatever they want it to mean, especially when it comes to Israel and their apologist brigades in the US and elsewhere.

      As for the “war” part, said it above already, but will try again – those who have, or had no skin in the game should not be the ones to talk about it, because one might, just might conclude they know not what they be talking about. Or just check what Mooser said.

      • Shingo
        Shingo on January 10, 2012, 8:38 pm

        Of course Damaa, there is no need to explain. We’re both on the same page.

        Like I said, the term “Just war” should really be “just a war”. What Slater and eee have confirmed is that the ideology of Just War is nothing more that pimped up Darwinism and collective sociopathy.

    • Donald
      Donald on January 10, 2012, 6:09 pm

      “has Jerome failed to provide the exlanation as to why he does not believe military intvantion was necessary during Cast Lead in the dozen comments since he was asked this questions?”

      Well, he’s written a tremendous amount criticizing Israel’s behavior in Cast Lead at his blog.

      What I haven’t seen, though in this long thread I might have missed it, is any sort of adequate answer to what I call the hypocrisy question. Quite a few of us have raised it in slightly different forms. Basically, what gives the US the right to do its real or alleged humanitarian interventions in some cases when our government is actually guilty of war crimes or of supporting war crimes in anothers? Even Jerry, who defends Obama, agrees that Bush was guilty of an unjust invasion of Iraq, and presumably condemns the torture and some other aspects of Bush’s “war on terror”, and then there are also Israel’s war crimes, which the Obama Administration denies were crimes.

      If there is a legal responsibility for US to intervene in some cases, a debatable point, but perhaps true, there is surely a much stronger and not debatable at all point that we have the obligation to investigate and punish our own war crimes and not support others who are committing them. Yet the liberal humanitarian interventionists don’t seem to think this issue is of any urgency, though our own unjust war in Iraq caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

      • Donald
        Donald on January 11, 2012, 8:28 am

        “has Jerome failed to provide the exlanation as to why he does not believe military intvantion was necessary during Cast Lead in the dozen comments since he was asked this questions?”–Shingo

        Well, he’s written a tremendous amount criticizing Israel’s behavior in Cast Lead at his blog.–Me

        Oh, I misread your point. I’d been struck by how critical he has been of Israel, and how much easier he has been on Obama’s violence, so I read that as, given his softness on Obama, why he was critical of Israel. But you were asking why Israel’s violence doesn’t merit intervention from the outside. So you were talking about the hypocrisy, which is what most of us have zeroed in on.

        In the case of Israel, they have nukes, and so one answer he could give would be “They have nukes”. Practicality comes into it.

        But the fundamental reason (because we wouldn’t intervene if they didn’t have nukes) is hypocrisy. We don’t intervene militarily when one of our allies is murdering civilians. And we don’t prosecute our own war criminals.

        I don’t have anything against Just War theory and I think most of the people criticizing it here are actually using the same logic as Just War theory. The problem is the hypocrisy. You can usually count on a bully claiming “self defense” for everything he does.

  41. Keith
    Keith on January 10, 2012, 8:19 pm

    JEROME SLATER- “Is there any serious doubt that the Libyan people enthusiastically welcomed the overthrow of Gaddafi?”

    Upon what do you base this outrageous statement? What is this but rank propaganda? The overthrow of Gaddafi was a US/NATO instigated regime change performed for geo-strategic reasons: the oil, the water, the proposed African currency, Gaddafi’s attempt to resist US imperial hegemony, the US denying China access to Africa’s resources. Also, perhaps you are unaware of Libya’s relatively high standard of living under Gaddafi, the highest development index in Africa, free medical, free education, relatively high women’s rights, all of which are now gone.

    The Libyan resistance to US/NATO aggression held out for an astonishing 7 months against an opponent backed by awesome NATO firepower, over 20,000 air sorties, many thousands of bombs and missiles destroying much of the Libyan infrastructure. Under these circumstances, had the Libyan people truly “enthusiastically welcomed” the rebellion, Gaddafi would have been defeated rapidly. As it was, it wasn’t nearly enough to merely arm the rebels, NATO had to do most of the fighting, including US, British and French special operations forces and mercenaries from Qatar. Before NATO’s assault on Libya, hundreds of people had been killed. Following the assault, tens of thousands have died, the country is in ruins, and indications that sectarian fighting will break out. And, as usual, the “humanitarian” US/NATO doesn’t even bother to keep track of civilian casualties. Professor Slater, it has come to my attention that Uncle Sam is a serial mass murderer who should never be allowed to militarily intervene anywhere anytime. And you, sir, are an apologist for imperial wars of aggression. “Just War” theory is nothing more than a variant of “White Man’s Burden.”

    All of this is part of US plans to crush any opposition to US hegemonic ambitions. Here is a quote from Wesley Clark discussing several nations designated for regime change that have been or are now under attack and/or destabilization. Obviously, the planned time horizon was overly optimistic.

    “…in the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan…. (Wesley Clark, Winning Modern Wars, p. 130).
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=23605

  42. philweiss
    philweiss on January 10, 2012, 10:28 pm

    Yesterday I was so upset by the rancor that was flowing through the comment thread on David Samel’s post responding to Jerry Slater that I jumped in toward the end of the day to defend Slater, whose liberal Zionism and argument for military intervention were being widely mocked. In doing so I overlooked the folks on my side of the substantive debate who were also getting pummeled—for instance, a devoted worker on this site, Annie Robbins, who was getting smeared in ugly terms. I’m sorry to Annie for this and hope she’ll forgive my haste. She is an incredibly valued member of our team on this site.

    The thing I like the most about this site is that we can talk about heretical ideas openly, and that by doing so we can move the mainstream debate. Yes, I bend over backwards to try and include more mainstream voices, often from the Jewish community. I want them to be engaged here. I feel we’re irrelevant if mainstream visitors can’t recognize the language. But that desire doesn’t excuse forgetting about people who have been the heart and soul of this site. I know we can push the debate but I’m not going to succeed by forgetting about friends. I do urge all participants to make this conversation more civil, and I’ll try and be a fairer and more thoughtful social media person going forward… Phil

    • Chaos4700
      Chaos4700 on January 10, 2012, 10:57 pm

      You’ve been upset since yesterday? I’ve been avoiding this place for DAYS. I’ve had to put a moratorium on myself not to check Mondoweiss when I’m at work because the awful exchange where eee and hophmi were bragging about Palestinians being economically inferior and forever dependent on Israel. Checking Mondoweiss gets me way too angry and sad about how much overt racism there is in the world, and how much power it has even here.

      As if Slater was the worst thing by far you tolerate here, Phil. Go read some of the latest gems by dimadok.

    • iamuglow
      iamuglow on January 10, 2012, 11:02 pm

      I missed that exchange you refering, but I do want to say I hope you keep doing what you’re doing.

      “The thing I like the most about this site is that we can talk about heretical ideas openly”

      That is what I like most about this site too. I also like that you don’t limit the articles to one opinion and you bring in the other side of the argument for example with RP, OWS or the IL. It makes for more interesting reading and it allows the issues to get sussed out better. I feel I get closer to the ‘truth’ then just reading an articles from 1 perspective.

      This is also a good reason…
      “I feel we’re irrelevant if mainstream visitors can’t recognize the language.”

      Am also loving the now regular rotation of different writers. Its really is becoming a forum that will “push the debate” fwd.

      Much thanks as always to you,

    • john h
      john h on January 10, 2012, 11:17 pm

      Phil, thanks for your honesty and for being real.

      Your description of Annie as “incredibly valued” is one most here would surely echo.

      An apparent offshoot of Annie’s promotion is that it feels like you are now posting comments much more often than in the recent past, and I for one appreciate that.

    • jayn0t
      jayn0t on January 11, 2012, 1:16 am

      The word ‘debate’ occurs three times in Phil’s comment (above). “Move the mainstream debate”. ‘Ethnic cleansing – discuss’. ‘Dropping phosphorus on children – pros and cons’. “I’ll try and be a fairer and more thoughtful social media person going forward…” Jay.

    • Danaa
      Danaa on January 11, 2012, 1:20 am

      Thank you, Phil. Well-said.

      This RSP (Really Short Post) should prove my appreciation – –

    • libra
      libra on January 11, 2012, 9:20 am

      PW: “Yesterday I was so upset by the rancor that was flowing through the comment thread on David Samel’s post responding to Jerry Slater that I jumped in toward the end of the day to defend Slater, whose liberal Zionism and argument for military intervention were being widely mocked.”

      Phil, in all the excitement of the last few days things seem to have become a little confused here. I don’t think you are referring to the comments on David Samel’s post. Irrespective of whether one agreed with his arguments, Samel set a courteous tone which seemed to be largely continued in the published comments.

      Instead, I think you are referring to Professor Slater’s original post on Just War and Ron Paul. Here I think you still fail to understand a key issue. Setting aside the condescending tone and insulting language ridiculing Paul and implicitly (though no doubt deliberately) anyone who supported Paul to any degree, one is left the fundamental and glaring problem with Slater’s original post. That is he used Just War theory as a means to attack only Paul out of all the presidential candidates. And he did this even though he admitted Paul’s position on not attacking Iran was ”excellent” and thus, by inference, all the other candidates are essentially wrong on probably the most significant foreign policy issue of the moment.

      In my mind this is intellectual dishonesty of the first order and a clear indication of an ulterior motive. If you did not notice this and realise, in the wake of Lizzy Ratner’s post, just how inflammatory this would be then perhaps you should question your own editorial judgment.

      For myself, I managed to politely ask Slater to explain why he had chosen only to attack Paul. When he failed to answer I considered him to be a “liberal Zionist” more like Richard Witty than Jerry Haber and treated him accordingly. That things got out of hand no doubt reflects poorly on some of us, including myself. But I thought Annie handled herself very well. The Ron Paul discussions are definitely polarising and have changed the way I regard many of the regular commenters at Mondoweiss. In this incident my respect for Annie only increased.

      But in conclusion, I think this whole episode has highlighted one key issue. That is any (potentially) mass protest movement needs to embrace people who agree on the main goal whatever their overall political position rather than set “purity” tests to exclude. We can thank Ron Paul and the coverage of him here at Mondoweiss for at least showing us that. In that spirit, I am glad Professor Slater is back with another post and I hope he chooses to continue to contribute here.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride on January 11, 2012, 10:59 am

        Libra,

        Here is the nub of it, nicely said by you:

        “Setting aside the condescending tone and insulting language ridiculing Paul and implicitly (though no doubt deliberately) anyone who supported Paul to any degree, one is left the fundamental and glaring problem with Slater’s original post. That is he used Just War theory as a means to attack only Paul out of all the presidential candidates. And he did this even though he admitted Paul’s position on not attacking Iran was ”excellent” and thus, by inference, all the other candidates are essentially wrong on probably the most significant foreign policy issue of the moment.”

        Very little of what Jerome Slater has posted here during the last week has made any sense to me on strictly logical grounds and he has gone out of his way to abuse and insult anyone who disagrees with him.

        He still hasn’t even made a small effort to rebut the points raised by me and others which question the basic assumptions about humanity on which just war theorists construct their pretty sand castles.

        Someone else here said it best: just war theory is an instrument of imperial power.

      • American
        American on January 11, 2012, 11:08 am

        RE: Slater flap

        I don’t see the actual arguments against Slater’s position as having started the flame war.
        They were no more forceful or argumentative than the usual conflicts in opinions on other subjects.
        It was Slater’s “attitude” toward everyone that didn’t agree with him.
        He came here expecting deference to his superior reasoning and morality from what considers his inferiors–when he didn’t get it he resorted to personal insults about others lack of intelligence.
        Jerry apparently doesn’t realize/ care that the majority here are not incoming blank slate students …they have thought in depth about most subjects that appear here.

    • annie
      annie on January 11, 2012, 1:59 pm

      thanks so much phil, just saw this. heart you.

      • LanceThruster
        LanceThruster on January 13, 2012, 6:47 pm

        Annie – Phil’s compliments to you were, if anything, quite reserved. You are a treasure, both in your knowledge, tenacity, and willingness to share, but also in your attitude, openess, and warm and caring heart.

        My sincere thanks and gratitude to you (and my own apologies for holding back and posting in such a “reserved” manner myself).

        Keep on truckin’, girl! You rock!

    • Cliff
      Cliff on January 12, 2012, 2:42 am

      I agree with Chaos. I’m very upset by the unchecked racism and pure idiocy of people like eee or hophmi. People like them get away with abusing the Palestinians everyday and it’s symbolic of the corruptness of American political culture and of course, Zionism.

      That being said, this site is as amazing as it is because of you Phil. You’re a sincere guy and are transparent with us. I disagree w/ some of you comment moderation (while acknowledging that I myself am almost authoritarian in how I converse w/ people I disagree with) – it’s water under the bridge.

      • LanceThruster
        LanceThruster on January 13, 2012, 6:48 pm

        X2, Cliff. Well said.

  43. john h
    john h on January 10, 2012, 11:10 pm
    • philweiss
      philweiss on January 10, 2012, 11:13 pm

      what i meant by that is is a determination to make arguments that are seize-on-able by newcomers who are imbued in the mainstream narrative. it’s an issue of messaging, and to some degree, definitions of community. when jack ross described revolutionary movements that eat their young, the other day, or when people talk about the narcissism of small differences– this is the kind of energy i mean to avoid in my own work

      • Chaos4700
        Chaos4700 on January 10, 2012, 11:48 pm

        Do yourself a favor, scroll up this thread and see which screen names are most prominent in standing shoulder to shoulder with you in defending Slater’s position.

        Seriously, how morally colorblind are you and Slater?

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976 on January 11, 2012, 6:22 am

        Moral colourblindness is an interesting idea. My eye has developed a skill of skipping over some contributions here – but the sheer awfulness is somehow conveyed if you catch even a few words.
        If there has been some rancor I think Professor Slater himself has to take some of the responsibility. He calls a discussion which is perfectly sane, morally serious and well informed ‘hysterical’. He calls ‘dumbest among the dumb’ (paraphrase) an argument which may have been hotly stated but is quite defensible.

      • Donald
        Donald on January 11, 2012, 8:57 am

        “when jack ross described revolutionary movements that eat their young, the other day, or when people talk about the narcissism of small differences– this is the kind of energy i mean to avoid in my own work”

        Yep.

        There’s also another problem that pops up when one person is outnumbered and is the target of a mixture of fair and unfair criticisms. That person concentrates mainly on the unfair attacks and mostly ignores the fair ones. It’s natural, it’s how people respond, I’ve done it in similar situations, but it’s wrong. And I think it happened here.

        Jerry has not responded in any adequate way to a lot of people making a basic point–giving the US the right and even the duty to intervene without holding us to account for getting it right means we will get bad, hypocritical policies.
        We will support killers when it suits us, conduct unjust wars, and oh, yes, maybe some of our interventions will be justified. What about all the ones which are not? Who intervenes with the interveners?

      • Chaos4700
        Chaos4700 on January 12, 2012, 7:40 pm

        For the record, “morally colorblind” is a phrase I borrowed from Agatha Christie. Specifically from Murder at the Vicarage, if I remember correctly. (It was used to describe the actions of a young woman who was willing to tamper with evidence because she “knew” the suspect was guilty, and very nearly managed to conceal the actual facts of the murder and the suspect’s real guilt in the process.)

      • LanceThruster
        LanceThruster on January 13, 2012, 6:51 pm

        Donald – excellent welcomed points. Brings the discussion right back on track. and

  44. American
    American on January 10, 2012, 11:56 pm

    Is this thread done yet?

    I keep coming back to see if Jerry will explain why he said the US intervening in the Israeli Gaza assault or I/P would be unthinkable as he said:

    ” No, I don’t agree there should have been such an intervention–it would have been unthinkable for any number of obvious reasons.”

    I am guessing he said or thinks that because it would be Jews we were attacking. I can’t think of any other reason he would think that in light of the fact Israel is doing what we have both sanctioned and attacked other countries for.
    But if it’s ‘unthinkable’ for some other reason I want him to explain it.

    • on January 11, 2012, 3:13 pm

      “I am guessing he said or thinks that because it would be Jews we were attacking. I can’t think of any other reason he would think that in light of the fact Israel is doing what we have both sanctioned and attacked other countries for.
      But if it’s ‘unthinkable’ for some other reason I want him to explain it.”

      right behind you, American, particularly in view of the facts that:

      -Israel is approaching a civil war, Jew vs Jew, situation, with settlers stepping up their “normalized” attacks on mosques in the West Bank by also attacking mosques where Bedouin IDF members live. That is, settler Jews are attacking the Israeli state.

      FACT: Israeli settlers have been attacking Israeli institutions and even IDF, inflicting injury, Jew on Jew

      FACT:
      Israeli settlers routinely deface mosques in the West Bank and in Occupied Territory.
      Jewish Terrorism Gaining Steam

      FACT:
      Major American Jewish groups are becoming concerned with this pattern of settler behavior; it has been labelled “Jewish terrorism” in Israeli newspapers.

      QUERY:
      Is violence endemic to zionism? Is Goldhagen’s thesis universal or German-specific?

      QUERY:
      Does Israel systemically
      promote violence?

      FACT:

      “An unprecedented number” of US military personnel have been deployed to Israel.

      Pursuant to these joint US-Israel games, there are indications that the US is also planning to increase the number of American troops stationed in Israel.
      Moreover, these military exercises planned for next Spring are accompanied by a fundamental shift in US-NATO-Israel command structures.
      What is now unfolding at Washington’s behest is an integration of US-Israel military command structures.
      . . . Moreover, since mid-2005, following the signing of a protocol between NATO and Tel Aviv, Israel has become a de-facto member of the Atlantic Alliance. . . .
      In the context of the Spring 2012 military drills, the United States military will establish Command Posts in Israel. In turn, Israel’s IDF will establish Command Posts at United States European Command headquarters (EUCOM), in Stuttgart, Germany.

      QUERY: In addition to their inclusion in US plans to control Africa via AfriCom, have US soldiers been sent to Israel to intervene in a Jew vs Jew civil war? Whether or not that was the intent, will US troops become embroiled in a Jew vs Jew civil war in Israel? Will US soldiers operate in Israel in a Just War context? What happens when an American soldier is called upon to kill an Israeli Jew?

  45. MRW
    MRW on January 11, 2012, 4:41 am

    Qaddafi has that je-ne-sais-quoi Michael Jackson look, doesn’t he?

  46. American
    American on January 11, 2012, 10:39 am

    News……Israel and/or the MEK (probably) just assassinated another Iranian professor or scientist, one or the other, by some kind of bomb on a bike. 1-11-2011

    Justified or not?
    I say not –unless others also have ‘the right’ to assasinate any troublesome Israelis.

    • MHughes976
      MHughes976 on January 11, 2012, 1:01 pm

      I’d say it was – if words are to be used in normal ways – a terrorist act, the killers not being recognised members of a recognised military force. If it was promoted by another country it was an act of international terrorism and of war, intended to call forth reprisals that would be called ‘terrorist’ in a big international campaign of rhetoric and then of worse.

      • American
        American on January 11, 2012, 3:23 pm

        So MH are saying it was justified or not ,if it was done by an outside country or group? Sounds like you are saying not.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976 on January 11, 2012, 3:50 pm

        By calling it terrorism I meant to convey that it was unjustified and very dangerous.
        I accept that some people want to stop all the talk about the justification of this and the morality of that and the legality of the other thing, which they regard as insincere or deluded cant, and say ‘All’s fair in love and war: and I mean all’. I’m not myself happy with this approach but of course there are reasons for it. However it would, as you very rightly noted, cut both ways and would ruin the massive structure of rhetoric about ‘terrorism vs. civilisation’ that has been used to discredit and crush the Palestinian cause.

      • Hostage
        Hostage on January 12, 2012, 4:00 am

        I’d say it was – if words are to be used in normal ways – a terrorist act

        Yes. The systematic use of violence against civilians to effect the policy of a government is terrorism. In this case it is – more than likely – state sponsored terrorism.

  47. LeaNder
    LeaNder on January 11, 2012, 12:16 pm

    If, I may?

    unless you think, for example, that we should have asked the families of German civilians killed in WWII, including the families of the Nazis and the SS, if they thought the Allied war to liberate Europe and destroy Nazism war was justified–and then ended the war if they voted no.

    not that it matters:some German families lost members from 1939 on, I hope you don’t suspect me of moving all the way to the poor Germans suffering in Dresden with this statement, and yes these “necessary sacrifices” were not not a new experience for Germans post Bismarck, under Prussian Emperor Wilhelm or his semi-self-appointed successors, all that means: there may in fact have been some that surely supported a war against Hitler.

    *************************************

    You singled out one of my spiritual Mondoweiss friends, although I didn’t manage to figure out if you consider him a devil a simpleton. Maybe I will have to go back all the way to check your initial exchanges, on the other hand I don’t think he deserves your bile.

    What I am wondering about is why you choose Mooser, or Annie as figureheads of a –well let’s say it–outspoken antisemitic majority here on Mondoweiss? That is pretty much Richard’s position and I think he is wrong.

    I question your wisdom to use the Just War theory in connection with Ron Paul, since I vaguely remember discussions on First Things on the subject, and isn’t the Iraq war something one shouldn’t look at as post-war only?

    Here the voice of another Internet friend, he picks the story of the “city on the hill” and it’s similarity to the “light unto the nations! It has been on my mind much: Michael Posluns

    The racial basis for elimination can readily be found in the earliest founders of the United States. I have suggested earlier in this exchange that the U.S. Government was more stop-and-start and used wars against Native tribes as “make work projects” as, for instance, after the Civil War, rather than the concentrated effort made to eliminate Jews by the Third Reich.

    Richard Drinnon, whose work I recommended earlier has extensive quotations from the earliest settlers in New England, then called “New Canaan.” The settlers, especially the Pilgrims saw themselves as “the New Israel” and the tribes as the Canaanites, hence giving them a licence to rape and pillage. These fine folk are only slightly further down their intellectual lineage tree from Martin Luther who argued that the Protestant clergy were the proper inheritors of the Hebrew language and the Jews mere transmitters who could, he argued, be eliminated now
    that the Holy Tongue had reached its rightful owners. He recommended gathering all copies of the Talmud and their owners in synagogues and setting them on fire.

    His spiritual descendants then pick up the same line and proclaim themselves the “new Israel” and proceed to eliminate those who held the land until they arrived. To me the argument made is really much the same; and, the desire to eliminate the entire population is much the same. The vigour with which one pursues a murderous intent is historically important but it is morally and legally irrelevant.

    This is one reason for saying that not all genocides need look like the Shoa. Intermittent mass murder does not win conviction for a lesser offence than mass murder on a sustained and maximal effort.

  48. Jerome Slater
    Jerome Slater on January 11, 2012, 1:59 pm

    As I have said, I would make one final comment on Mondoweiss, and this is it. I regret that I have been drawn into a flame war with many of you, but neither am I going to be dishonest: I don’t start out by making condescending remarks, but that doesn’t prevent insults from raining down; only then, however unwisely, have I been drawn into the war. But this I can promise you: Never Again.

    That aside, my real purpose is to respond in a serious way to a number of comments around the “hypocrisy” issue, especially as raised by Donald. Here it is:

    Donald:

    You wrote: “international law, or so I understand it, also requires countries to enforce the law when broken by their own citizens, so if a democracy is led by war criminals, those war criminals should be impeached, tried, convicted, and sent to prison. All of this could be done with no collateral damage whatsoever, unlike a just war, and yet it never happens, except maybe to comparatively low-ranking scapegoats. This is my problem with liberal hawks and yes, it’s the hypocrisy charge, but no, it’s not something that I think you should just dismiss as naive. It’s fundamental. Go ahead and defend the Libyan intervention–I was a fencesitter on that because it was always murky to me, but maybe it was justified. But it is inexcusable that supposedly democratic countries can’t enforce the law on their own powerful citizens when they launch unjust wars, inflict torture, throw innocent people into prison for years on end, and supply weapons to murderous regimes knowing full well what those weapons will be used for. How is it that so many liberal intellectuals are willing to spend so much time talking about when it is justifiable to engage in war, knowing that war is at its best or most just a morally ambiguous enterprise when there is this obvious injustice staring them right in the face and they just shrug and talk about the politics? Shouldn’t it be our top priority to change opinions on this, if one sincerely believes in the “right to protect” and international law? It’s obvious that “responsibility to protect” is going to be invoked when it is in the interests of the US to intervene–it won’t be invoked when the US or one of its allies is the villain that innocent people need to be protected from. I agree that the US shouldn’t have intervened militarily against Israel in Gaza–for one thing, Israel has 200 nukes. And I don’t think other countries should be launching air strikes at American officials if we don’t call them to account. But this is where just war theorizing (which I agree with for the most part, including the part where you only intervene if you have a good chance of making the situation better) in practice conveniently works out to favor the interests of the powerful to intervene when they wish, and inflict injustice when they wish. It’s infuriating and outrageous and that’s why people are arguing against you…..What I haven’t seen, though in this long thread I might have missed it, is any sort of adequate answer to what I call the hypocrisy question. Quite a few of us have raised it in slightly different forms. Basically, what gives the US the right to do its real or alleged humanitarian interventions in some cases when our government is actually guilty of war crimes or of supporting war crimes in anothers? Even Jerry, who defends Obama, agrees that Bush was guilty of an unjust invasion of Iraq, and presumably condemns the torture and some other aspects of Bush’s “war on terror”, and then there are also Israel’s war crimes, which the Obama Administration denies were crimes. If there is a legal responsibility for US to intervene in some cases, a debatable point, but perhaps true, there is surely a much stronger and not debatable at all point that we have the obligation to investigate and punish our own war crimes and not support others who are committing them. Yet the liberal humanitarian interventionists don’t seem to think this issue is of any urgency, though our own unjust war in Iraq caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.”

    I want to address these issues, particularly the “hypocrisy” one, raised by you and many others, in the context of whether the U.S. has the right or even the duty to engage in humanitarian military interventions, where the purpose of the intervention is genuinely to save lives and protect basic human rights, as oppose to seizing oil, extending the American “Empire,” making money for US businesses, or to serve any other narrow U.S. “interest,” as opposed to the interest of the international community. In my view, the interventions in the Balkans in the 1990s and in Libya last year fit that description.

    Now, if you are others don’t accept that description of U.S. motivations, nothing after this will be relevant. But let’s say you do accept the description, if only for the sake of argument. That allows us to move into the discussion of the applicability of just war thinking to the cases, and whether states with unclean hands have the right to use military action on behalf of human rights. Let’s limit the discussion here to the single case of Libya. I made the argument that the best way– examined, tested, commented on by some of the world’s best minds for thousands of years–is just war moral theory. Just war theory starts from the premise that wars are inevitable, human nature being what it is, and the absence of a global government to prevent war. It then tries to limit and constrain wars as much as possible, by setting up a series of criteria–which are actually hurdles–which wars must comply with if they are to be regarded as moral and, increasingly, legal under the Geneva conventions and other forms of international law.

    The first objection to this is: who gets to decide what is or isn’t a just war? Well, international law and courts to enforce it would be the ideal answer, but we (we, the human race) are very far from having developed the institutions and habits to act in that manner, other than in a handful of individual cases where a few political leaders have been tried, convicted, and sentenced to prison for having committed war crimes. Pending, essentially, world government, the answer to who decides can only be: Everyone. That is, countries going to war always try to justify it as either crucial to the national interest or morally justified on humanitarian grounds. We, the people–including writers, philosophers, political scientists, historians, religious leaders, etc.–then decide whether we are convinced by those arguments. If not, we argue against that policy and do whatever we can to stop it–which is usually, but not always, not much. In my case, I was thoroughly unconvinced by the argument when it pertained to Vietnam and the 2003-2012 Iraq war, but was convinced by it in the Balkans and Libya.

    But won’t nations going to war always claim they are just? Of course, but what follows? You can’t just jettison relevant and morally persuasive principles because some will inevitably abuse them, because the alternative is to lift all constraints on war. After that, you have the law of the jungle. The best way to illustrate this is the self-defense principle. Everyone agrees that if you genuinely attacked in a war of aggression, you have the right to use violence to defend yourself, individually and collectively. But then why not make the same argument against self-defense as is made on the broader principles of just war moral philosophy? Every nation using force will try to justify it as self-defense, and in most cases it will be a lie, or at the least, unpersuasive. What then? Abandon the principle that you are allowed to use force only in self-defense (or, more recently, for genuinely humanitarian interventions), and you are back to the law of the jungle. The only thing left to do is to try to expose the lie and actively protest against it.

    Next objection: Why is it that the United States is the only state that gets to claim the right or necessity for military interventions? There are two answers. The first is that the premise is simplistic if not downright wrong: both in the Balkans and in Libya, the interventions were supported by many other western states, which also had genuine moral concerns, and some of them even actively participated in the wars. Then the objection becomes that the U.S. dominated it. That is essentially right in the Balkans, although many NATO nations did something, but basically wrong in Libya, where our participation may have been necessary, but in which the brunt of the actual fighting was by Britain and France, with symbolic contributions from others.
    The second answer is that it is a fact of life, maybe an unfortunate fact but a fact nonetheless, that the United States is the only country with both the military capability, and sometimes just the will, to use force–even in cases where the use of force is justified. This is not as it should be: there should be a global authority in which most military power is centralized, and in which the decision to use force to stop aggression or genocide is a genuinely collective one, and in which the armed forces available to this global authority–effectively, a world government–are also genuinely international. But we’re not there yet, and probably will never be. So in the actual world in which we live, the choice is a second-best system to stop genocide or to fail to stop it at all.

    Next Objection: Aren’t humanitarian interventions always highly selective, and therefore hypocritical? Why the Balkans, but not Rwanda? Where was U.S. military intervention against Israel in its unjust wars against Lebanon and Gaza? What about Russia, or China? Indeed, what about the United States itself? Hasn’t it committed war crimes? Why was there no military intervention against the United States in Vietnam, for example, where (in my opinion) the war was a criminal one, both in its true cause (preventing an internal revolution from succeeding, because it was ideologically unacceptable to us) and its methods, indiscriminate civilian destruction, were also criminal. Shouldn’t the architects of that war, from the president on down, been tried as war criminals, either in the U.S. or the International Court. Yes, they should have been. Please explain how.

    Just war theory is not naive about these issues, and contains within it efforts to deal with the practicality issues, especially in its principle that a war can be considered just only if it has a high probability of success at costs that are proportionate to the goal being sought. Among other things, that means that the use of force, even when genuinely intended to save lives, is prohibited if the intervention itself is going to cause far greater loss of lives, including on the part of the people being “rescued.” An understanding of that obvious principle, if for no other reasons, means that humanitarian interventions can only be carried out against small and relatively weak nations, and immediately rules out intervention against Russia, China, Israel, and the United States.

    And even then, small and weak states sometimes get away with, literally, murder. The Rwandan genocide was not stopped, even though it was worse than what was happening in Bosnia at the same time. It should have been, and even Bill Clinton says that his failure to have intervened was the worst mistake of his presidency. Other examples can probably be found, where it may have been practicable to stop mass murder or genocide, but nobody did.
    Every serious student of this issue recognizes the problem, which is precisely why the Responsibility to Protect principle is becoming widely accepted as a rightful principle, and gradually being incorporated into international law.

    Meanwhile, isn’t it better to stop some grievous human rights abuses, even though most others can’t or won’t be?

    Finally, the dirty hands problem, that you particularly raise. Is it hypocritical for the United States, itself guilty of war crimes that for a variety of reasons can’t or won’t be prosecuted, to take the lead in humanitarian interventions? It may or may not be? For example, Obama is not guilty for the crimes of Vietnam or the torturing that took place under Bush, so it was not hypocritical of him to push for the Libyan intervention. I’m aware of the rejoinder: but Obama is guilty of the various crimes supposedly being committed in Afghanistan and Iraq under his watch, such as the drone attacks.

    I am not convinced, at least on the evidence currently before us, that accurate drone attacks against true terrorists who can eventually threaten the U.S. itself, should be considered wrongful, let alone criminal. Nonetheless, for the sake of arguing the principle, let’s assume these really are war crimes. Does that mean there is no moral case for the U.S. to stop other war crimes? No, it does not mean that. The best thinking on this problem, the dirty hands problem, has been provided in a famous article with something like that title, by Michael Walzer. Yes, the very same Michael Walzer who has supported Israel–though a lot less in the last couple of years. I not only agree that he has failed to apply his own moral analysis to Israel, but he and I have had some very strongly worded published disagreements about his position on Israel. Nonetheless, his thinking on this and related just war issues is widely (not unanimously) and in my opinion justifiably regarded as the most authoritative and persuasive account of modern just war principles and the issues that they raise. If you want to learn more, I suggest you read his dirty hands article.

    I hope this answers the questions you and others raised.

    • Keith
      Keith on January 11, 2012, 3:52 pm

      JEROME SLATER- “It then tries to limit and constrain wars as much as possible, by setting up a series of criteria–which are actually hurdles–which wars must comply with if they are to be regarded as moral and, increasingly, legal under the Geneva conventions and other forms of international law.”

      In those thousands of years when some of the world’s best minds, including you, have been pontificating about how morally righteous some wars are, and erecting these intellectual hurdles, exactly how many wars has just war theory prevented? The sad truth, Professor, is that you and your ilk are part of the doctrinal system which justifies imperial warmongering. And yes, as long as you and your fellow “just war” theorists are around to lend support, wars probably are inevitable. How fortunate you are not to have to worry about being on the receiving end of one of your “humanitarian” interventions.

    • Koshiro
      Koshiro on January 11, 2012, 4:13 pm

      It really baffles me how one can make such arguments in a world where the UN exists. Prof. Slater simply ignores this entirely. There is only the faintest allusion of an international court, and only to set up an argument which amounts to a fatalist fallacy – because international institutions are ineffective in enforcing international law, so the argument goes, they should be ignored.

      I, for one, do not think that Ron Paul’s foreign policy is ideal. I do not even agree with its basic premise – which incidentally is exactly the same basic premise Prof. Slater applies: That nations are completely autonomous actors and there really is no such thing as international law.

      But if I have to decide between two different worlds where the “law of the wild” is to continue, I’d rather have the US be a hippopotamus than a pack of hyenas.

    • seanmcbride
      seanmcbride on January 11, 2012, 5:48 pm

      Jerome Slater,

      I just want to mention that I appreciate the effort you made in this post — it’s well thought out, well-written and quite persuasive up to a point — that point not being sufficient to persuade me that, with very few exceptions, nations don’t act in what they consider to be their best self-interest, not from humanitarian idealism or altruism.

      Most military aggressors are skilled in fabricating eloquent rationalizations and justifications for their aggression. Just war theorists are perhaps the cream of the crop in this craft and branch of psychological operations.

      I am trying to figure out why I feel a great deal of tension with you, even though we share identical positions on many policy issues. I think this is the deal: I am barely ethnocentric at all and you strike me as being quite ethnocentric, emotionally ethnocentric, in a conspicuous way.

      All my mental associations with emotional ethnic nationalists are by now decidedly negative. The instant I see any signs of that kind of thing I react badly. And I don’t feel very apologetic about it — an allergic reaction to obsessive ethnocentrism seems to me a sign of good instincts and good sense on my part.

  49. American
    American on January 11, 2012, 3:17 pm

    Pretty decent effort Slater.

    Except for one glaring mistake:

    “An understanding of that obvious principle, if for no other reasons, means that humanitarian interventions can only be carried out against small and relatively weak nations, and immediately rules out intervention against Russia, China, Israel, and the United States.”

    Do you really believe that Israel is too strong for the US to attack? Or was this a round about answer to our asking why you said a US intervention on Israel was unthinkable?

    Putting Israel on par with Russia and China and the US?
    So astounding I hardly know what to say. Except that this delusion of power is so extreme and irrational it is probably going to get all the Jews in Israel killed eventually.

  50. Jerome Slater
    Jerome Slater on January 11, 2012, 5:09 pm

    “Do you really believe that Israel is too strong for the US to attack? Or was this a round about answer to our asking why you said a US intervention on Israel was unthinkable?”

    I thought it was obvious why a US military intervention against Israel was unthinkable. Others have also asked me to spell out the reasons. Very well:
    1. It is a political impossibility. There are no imaginable circumstances in which the American people, Congress, or the president would mount a military attack on Israel.
    I, for one, am overwhelmingly delighted at this political impossibility. The fact it is impossible tell us something wonderful about America, for all its faults. Military attacks, we’re talking about. BDS and sanctions I support, military attacks not.
    I somehow get the feeling that there are others who regret this political impossibility. Bad as Israel has become, the level of hatred that would countenance a war between US and Israel is so extreme, so out of all proportion, that it would be legitimate to suspect that what lay behind it was not anti-“Zionism,” but a hatred that would legitimately be suspected as being, at root, anti-Semitic.

    2. The second reason is that Israel is indeed so powerful that the casualties on all sides would be horrendous–even if we leave aside the possibility that an Israel on the verge of defeat would use nuclear weapons–which would be more likely to occur than not. Just war principles, not to mention common sense, rule out such a war–period–regardless of any other considerations.

    So, we are once again back at the central issue, which seems to be one of “unfairness.” If 90% of the world’s victims of massive human rights deprivation, including the right to life, either cannot or will not be saved–REGARDLESS OF THE REASONS–does it follow that the other 10% shouldn’t be saved? To whom is this unfair–the hundreds of thousands of innocent people whose lives were probably saved in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Libya?

    • Koshiro
      Koshiro on January 11, 2012, 5:24 pm

      I somehow get the feeling that there are others who regret this political impossibility. Bad as Israel has become, the level of hatred that would countenance a war between US and Israel is so extreme, so out of all proportion,

      Ah yes. So what does that tell us about previous (and future) US inventions? How “extreme” was the level of hatred in these cases? I do have a fairly clear picture of the level of racist hatred that accompanied the “intervention” against Japan which you cited as an example of a just war (I’d still like to know how you suppose it fits the criteria for one, by the way.) However, I’m not quite clear on how “out of proportion” you consider the level of Islamophobia evidenced by US actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Could you clarify that?

      P.S.: You would really do your credibility a favor if you dropped Kosovo from your list. In addition to what I already mentioned you should know that NATO intentionally a sabotaged a political solution in favor of a military one.

    • Scott
      Scott on January 11, 2012, 5:28 pm

      Well, the war could be very limited. Zbig Brzezinski raised the possibility of a “Liberty in reverse”–shooting down some Israeli planes that were on their way to bomb somewhere. It would send a huge message at the cost of very few lives. I don’t see this as at all likely, but not completely beyond the realm of possibility in a decade or so, if current trends continue.

      • Koshiro
        Koshiro on January 11, 2012, 5:52 pm

        To be fair, the US generally doesn’t do “limited”. Another critical failure of US (and generally Western) policy is that apparently it doesn’t know how to conclude wars by anything else than “surrender”.

    • seanmcbride
      seanmcbride on January 11, 2012, 5:50 pm

      Jerome Slater,

      How precisely would Israel use nuclear weapons against the United States?

      • libra
        libra on January 11, 2012, 7:30 pm

        “How precisely would Israel use nuclear weapons against the United States?”

        Sean, this is irrelevant. Israel has most of the Middle East and Europe in range of its nuclear weapons. You don’t trade half the chess board for a pawn. And what if it attacked Moscow? How would Russia respond?

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride on January 11, 2012, 8:03 pm

        Scenario: what if Israel has already planted nuclear weapons in the top ten or twenty American and European cities in preparation for the possible exercise of the Samson Option? What if it possesses biological weapons that could wipe out much of humanity?

        Sounds crazy, I know. But how many times have we heard Israelis or pro-Israel militants issue bloodcurdling and apocalyptic threats to the world at large about being crossed?

    • libra
      libra on January 11, 2012, 6:02 pm

      JS: “The second reason is that Israel is indeed so powerful that the casualties on all sides would be horrendous–even if we leave aside the possibility that an Israel on the verge of defeat would use nuclear weapons–which would be more likely to occur than not.”

      Without nuclear weapons for blackmail, Israel could be bottled up like Gaza and brought to it’s knees within a few months with hardly a shot fired. Absent a compliant superpower to act as bodyguard and its nuclear weapons, Israel has a horrific strategic position against a competent naval power. Hence its folly in acting as the regional bully-boy and its paranoia over Iran’s nuclear programme.

      That said, I agree with you totally that war is not the answer. But Israel is a very dangerous country indeed as its strategic overreach could easily, even inadvertently, go wrong and result in a barely imaginable number of deaths.

    • Shingo
      Shingo on January 11, 2012, 8:43 pm

      I thought it was obvious why a US military intervention against Israel was unthinkable. Others have also asked me to spell out the reasons.

      Your reposnses and non evasiveness is very interesting, to say the least, Professor.

      1. Arguing that US military intervention against Israel is a political impossibility is not an explanation for why you oppose it – it’s a reason for why it would be highly unlikely. Arguing that there are no imaginable circumstances in which the American people, Congress, or the president would mount a military attack on Israel is also dissignenous. Considering how many wars have been triggered by small incidents (WW1) or falsely reported ones (Gulf of Tonkien), it’s hardly a stretch to imagine how the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty could have been exploited to drum up support for a military response.

      I, for one, am overwhelmingly delighted at this political impossibility.

      A curious and statement considering the sobriety of the subject matter. You are overwhelmingly delighted that one state/ethnicity will remain forever immune from any military intervention (regardless of it’s actions), but don’t share that view with regards to the rest of humanity. I must say that this sentiment, combined with your taunt that others regret the unlikelihood of this scenario strikes me as a little macabre.

      2. I suspect that when you refer to the level of casulaties of such a war, you are thinking of Israeli casualties. Without the war turning nuclear, US casualties would be minimal. Israel has no means of attacking the US mainland and could not sustain any prolonged conflict, against it’s greatest enabler. Seriously, who would come to ISrael’s rescue?

      If 90% of the world’s victims of massive human rights deprivation, including the right to life, either cannot or will not be saved–REGARDLESS OF THE REASONS–does it follow that the other 10% shouldn’t be saved?

      If one were to eliminate victims of massive human rights deprivation at the hands of US puppet dicators and US friendly regimes, one might find the number to be significantly smaller. It must be said that when talking about the US intervention, this includes the UK, France, etc. An inventory of the human right abusing regions (Middle East, Asia, Africa) will likely reveal that the greates human rights abuses lergely coincide with resource iterests and the interference from one of these countries.

      • Donald
        Donald on January 12, 2012, 1:08 pm

        “Bad as Israel has become, the level of hatred that would countenance a war between US and Israel is so extreme, so out of all proportion, that it would be legitimate to suspect that what lay behind it was not anti-”Zionism,” but a hatred that would legitimately be suspected as being, at root, anti-Semitic”

        I agree that US military action against Israel would be a disaster for various reasons. Israeli nuclear weapons tops the list. Politically it’s inconceivable, so this whole argument is academic anyway, but supposing it weren’t, it would cause enormous, probably incurable paranoia among the Israelis, or so I would guess, even if the military action was limited as Scott suggests. Declaring a “no fly zone” for Israeli planes on the way to bomb Gaza would be the sort of thing we’ve done in other cases, and it seems morally defensible for me, if it weren’t for the fact that I think the Israelis would go nuts. Or as the policy mavens like to say, the consequences would be incalculable. And a full scale war would be completely insane.

        If Israel didn’t have nukes, I’d still oppose military intervention, though a no-fly zone doesn’t seem like such a bad idea, except again that I think it would probably drive the Israelis nuts and make an ultimately peaceful solution harder to reach. Nonviolent coercion is the way to go. But I lean against military intervention except in the most extreme cases (ongoing mass slaughter as in Rwanda) anyway.

        However, people’s motives for making this argument shouldn’t be assumed to be the worst possible. (Not that in some cases you might not be right.) It’s not that much different from someone imagining an alternate universe where the US was prevented from attacking Iraq with military means. It wasn’t a possibility, but a person suggesting such a thing isn’t necessarily motivated by hatred of Americans as a people. Also, sometimes people are just blowing off steam or making the hypocrisy argument in the most dramatic way. And speaking of that, I mean to reply to your long just war comment at some point, though maybe not today. (I can’t even find the darn thing. I think Phil should put it up as a front page post, as I suspect a lot of us would like to take a whack at it.)

  51. seanmcbride
    seanmcbride on January 11, 2012, 6:38 pm

    I just want to say that I’ve got a great deal of respect for Phil Weiss, Annie Robbins and Jeffrey Blankfort and that I hope that this out of control chain reaction of hurt and bad feelings triggered by Jerome Slater will soon die down.

  52. W.Jones
    W.Jones on January 11, 2012, 6:51 pm

    To All:

    I would like to suggest that someone write an article for Mondoweiss on the topic of whether a Nation State is necessary to protect the people. The idea that the people need a Nation State for security is the core of Professor Slater’s belief about the State, the I/P conflict, and even his relationship with others on M.W. Slater’s last two articles have generated the most discussion of any articles on Mondoweiss (431 and 328 posts respectively).

    The idea that the people need a state is for me one of the strongest justifications for maintaining it. But on the other hand, the counterarguments seem to me comparably strong to this justification. Deep progressive thinkers have also taken opposite positions on the security issue.

    I would suggest an article that addresses the following topics. If an article would be too long, then I would suggest just addressing the first of the three topics here (A.):

    A. Why you believe a Nation-State is/ is not necessary to protect the people.
    i. Would a Nation-State be able and willing to risk itself to protect people persecuted abroad?
    ii. Could a single-Nation-State placed on a mutually-shared homeland actually create more risks for the people than before?
    iii. Are there better alternatives? For example, would spreading the people across many nations be safer than concentrating them in one small place? Or would a multicultural country like America that tolerates and protects minorities be as good or better protection for the people than a Nation-State?

    B. What inconveniences to the Palestinians would be allowable or needed to maintain the State and its identity?
    For example:
    i. Should the borders of the Israeli State be “gerrymanded” like U.S. Congressional Districts based on where Jews and Palestinians lived before 1947, so that Palestinians could live on their families’ proper land, which would allow for both the Palestinians’ Right of Return and for a Jewish majority within the Israeli State?
    ii. Or did the geographic and demographic layout of where Jews and Palestinians lived make a “viable” Jewish State so impossible that mandatory relocation of Palestinians was necessary?

    C. Why you believe the people’s security outweighs / doesn’t outweigh those inconveniences to the Palestinians.
    For example, what is the chance you see of what level of persecution, and how many Palestinians should be inconvenienced and to what extent?

    • Jerome Slater
      Jerome Slater on January 11, 2012, 9:29 pm

      W. Jones: “I would like to suggest that someone write an article for Mondoweiss on the topic of whether a Nation State is necessary to protect the people. The idea that the people need a Nation State for security is the core of Professor Slater’s belief about the State, the I/P conflict, and even his relationship with others on M.W.”

      Since you asked earlier, I would be perfectly happy to be addressed as Jerry Slater, or just Jerry. I don’t need any titles, and even though–old fuddy-duddy that I am–in more formal settings I usually use my given name, Jerome, I am now prepared to drop it. After all if recent presidents can be named “Jimmy” or “Bill” (as undignified as I find that), I guess I should get rid of Jerome (now, now Mooser, resist the impulse)

      Ok, that out of the way, here’s my answer to your question: In an anarchic world (remember Hobbes: life in a State of Nature is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”), SOMETHING has to provide security. For hundreds of years, and probably for hundreds of years to come, all we’ve got is the armed national state. The very existence of wars demonstrates how flawed and shaky the nation-state system is, but the alternative, world government, is nowhere near in sight. For this reason, the burden of proof–to put it very gently–is on those who argue that the state is an anachronism and that mankind would be better off without it. In a world government, probably; in a state of nature–anarchy–not hardly.

      More particularly, I’ve not hidden my view that for historical reasons, the Jews have had one of the best arguments of any people that their security requires a state of their own. Whether or not it should have been in Palestine–an issue I’ve addressed at some length elsewhere–is another matter, but it is now an irrelevant matter. Does this mean that the Palestinians also have the right of a viable and independent state of their own, for security and, like Israel, for a lot of other reasons as well? Of course, it means precisely that. Which is why the two-state solution makes the most sense on the merits and for practical reasons remains the only game in town, bleak as the current prospects are.

      • NorthOfFortyNine
        NorthOfFortyNine on January 11, 2012, 11:35 pm

        In an anarchic world … SOMETHING has to provide security. For hundreds of years, and probably for hundreds of years to come, all we’ve got is the armed national state. … “the Jews have had one of the best arguments of any people that their security requires a state of their own.”

        This is not accurate. People derive security from a variety of sources. Yes, some security is derived from the “armed national state”, but most of the security I see in my parts is drawn from the local cop shop. Apart from this, in many parts of the world people will hire private security companies to look after them. And in almost all cases individuals draw on themselves for their own security. This is not just speaking to those who have guns — people seek and attain security through a series of life choices: what neighbourhood you live in, who you hang out with, making sure your dog does not crap in the next door rose garden, etc.

        It does not at all follow that individuals need an armed national state to be secure. It therefore does not at all follow that individual jews need a national jewish state to be secure. -N49.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        Jeffrey Blankfort on January 12, 2012, 3:24 pm

        eee, Why do you separate Jewish history from the general history of humankind? One would think from what you and those like you write that Jews are the only ones who have been singled out for repression and expulsion when the history of the rest of the planet is replete with the record of peoples whose existence has been totally eliminated with few traces left behind.

        As for your question, I don’t know what you mean by “a simple Jew” but my mother’s parents emigrated from early 20th century Russia as did many of their Jewish neighbors and became American citizens. Should they have waited for a Jewish state to arise instead?

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        Jeffrey Blankfort on January 12, 2012, 5:44 pm

        Actually, eee, it was being forced into the diaspora that may have saved Jews from the same fate. Now, with Israel moving ever rightward and facing increasing international criticism and isolation, the future of your state does not look bright. Should its version of the Tea Party launch a war against Iran this year, assured of support from both US political parties it will be even dimmer.

        No doubt, had a Jewish state had been established in a location that did not require the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population its history would have been different. However, if one viewed the Arab Middle East as an organism, the violent injection of a European implant was bound to be one that the organism would reject regardless of the religion or ideology of that implant. Note: the Crusaders weren’t Jewish.

        Quite apart from that, is it not curious that, as Boas Evron wrote more than 20 years ago, the overwhelming majority of the world’s Jews outside of Israel who have the means to do so have not elected to live there or claim its citizenship and most have not even visited there, preferring the fleshpots of Paris, London, and Berlin etc to those in Israel when choosing their vacations?

      • Shingo
        Shingo on January 12, 2012, 6:15 pm

        eee,

        you do realizew that most Jews refuse to live in Israel? You do realize that over a million Israeli Jews live outside Israel? You do realize that half the Jewish Israelis polled said they would leave Israel is they could secure the same standard of livign elsewhere?

        You do realize this means that only a miniroty fo Jews will eventualyl end up in Israel don’t you?

      • Chaos4700
        Chaos4700 on January 12, 2012, 7:34 pm

        Which isn’t surprising, given the atrocious poverty rates in Israel. All that “Holocaust reparation” money from Germany ain’t going to any actual Holocaust survivors!

      • MRW
        MRW on January 12, 2012, 8:14 pm

        eee, your assertions are even stranger.

        (1) Haaretz wrote in an article entitled “Sharp surge in Israeli applicants seeking German citizenship”:

        Germany is home to the fastest growing Jewish community in Europe, thanks in part to a policy that allows Jewish citizens from the former Soviet Union to apply for German citizenship.

        (2) Another Haaretz article: “45% of former USSR immigrant students do not see future in Israel. Only 65% would define themselves as Israeli; 30% said Israelis could teach them nothing.”

        Some 45 percent of high school students who immigrated from the former Soviet Union do not believe they have a future in Israel, according to the preliminary results of a new study due to be published in a few months.

        (3) Avraham Burg let hundreds of thousands of non-Jewish Russians emigrate to Israel (they needed the scientific and technological superiority) during the 90s. Most were forced into converting.
        http://www.israelinsider.com/channels/politics/articles/pol_0110.htm

        (4) Someone disagrees with you, eee. “Professor Paul Eidelberg – July 2002”

        Only 72% of Israel’s present population is Jewish, and the Arab birthrate is twice that of Jews. Of every 100 immigrants, 75% is openly non-Jewish and many prefer to be registered as Christians. 30% of Russian Jewish immigrants marry non-Jewish Russian immigrants. At this rate, there won’t be a Jewish state in 20 years. Hence we must deal with the Arab demographic issue, which the Foundation of Constitutional Democracy has done in a separate policy paper.

      • Shingo
        Shingo on January 12, 2012, 9:38 pm

        Israel’s anxiety as Jews prefer Germany
        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/com

        Yes, Jews are welcome in Germany. And many, many other places in the world, which are safe places where Jews can live in peace.

        The really unsafe place for Jews? Israel. And they’re leaving
        http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/07/05/the_million_missing_israelis

        http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2011/07/07/is-israel-the-national-home-of-the-jewish-people/

      • john h
        john h on January 13, 2012, 4:13 pm

        Soon most of the Jews in the world will be living in Israel. In a generation a large majority of Jews in the world will be living in Israel.

        You keep telling yourself that fantasy, eee, but you’re the only one who’s listening. That being the case, listen more carefully:

        The percentage of Jews in Israel is exactly the same as in 2002. The facts on the ground are simple and prove you wrong.

        the picture you are trying to paint just doesn’t pass the muster of objective data.

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones on January 13, 2012, 11:19 am

        Jerry Slater,

        Thank you for your response. I think your answer and the responses show that this is an important topic it would be worth writing a fuller article about, because they begin to reach the basis given for the Nation-State.

        Here, the idea about how a nation state provides security in an anarchic world is a justification that is worth fleshing out. For example, is the Hobbesian view the main explanation for the “necessity”? And once someone accepts the idea of a Hobbesian worldview, how exactly does a nation state provide the best security?

        I don’t have a strong position one way or the other on whether the state provides strong security. However, I have some doubts about this, and think it should be discussed as such an important claim. Based on the saying “don’t keep all your eggs in one baskets”, I think the best, if not one of the best, measures is actually the people being scattered among many nations. If one country has persecution, or the nation state fails, then they will still have other places where they survived and continued.

        From a perspective about the wolrd as a primitive brutal anarchic place, I am doubtful that making a small nation state is safer than being in a larger pluralistic democratic one. Imagine a pluralistic, tolerant tribe in prehistoric Australia, where there are large predators like huge lizards or tigers. If a few people in the tribe have historically been persecuted by many other tribes, should they find it safer to leave the pluralistc tribe and start their own when there is no persecution on the horizon?

        Well, a few people by themselves can make fire and weapons and fight off some predators and larger tribes. But it seems they are much safer when they are part of a larger tribe if that tribe is tolerant and protects its members. Even if that small tribe has a huge weapon (like a nuclear bomb), it is still dangerous for them in such an anarchic world to be off alone by themselves. Maybe eventually the other tribes will have protection from the large weapon. And maybe there are natural dangers that are not deterred by big weapons (like a tsunami).

        Once the tiny persecuted group has found a larger multicultural roup that will tolerate and include them as full members, my natural feeling is that this is safer than being out alone in the wild. It’s true that Germany went from a tolerant country, the Weimar Republic, to an intolerant one. But in neither case was Germany particularly multicultural. It had some slavic and gypsy minorities, but the pluralism of its society was not nearly as strong as in America or the USSR, which remained dedicated to multiculturalism and tolerance.

        In any case, I would like to strongly encourage you write more of this.

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones on January 13, 2012, 11:32 am

        So, I would like to encourage you to write a full write a full article on why you believe a Nation State is necessary for the people’s protection.

  53. The Hasbara Buster
    The Hasbara Buster on January 11, 2012, 6:53 pm

    When Israel carried out its operation in Jenin 10 years ago (I don’t remember the sadistic name for that op), hasbarists claimed that the fact that 23 Israeli soldiers had died was indicative of the IDF’s high morality. Instead of bombing from the air, the argument went, Israel had carried out house-to-house searches, losing soldiers but protecting innocent lives. Because Israel had a genuine concern for civilian casualties.

    Four years later, in the second Lebanon war, Israel began to bomb from the air, and lo and behold, the hasbara troupe suddenly discovered that the practice wasn’t bad after all, because the unarmed Lebanese weren’t really civilians! And when the strategy was perfected in Cast Lead (when no search was carried out without prior intensive bombing that blew up most of the buildings in the area), the hasbarists all agreed that the morality test was passed if leaflets were dropped before the bombs, or if the Palestinians got text-message warnings that they would be massively destroyed.

    Nothing had changed from 2002 to 2006 to 2009 on the Palestinian side — if anything, in 2002 they had been far more dangerous than afterwards. But on the Hasbara side, the arguments had changed to accomodate the new Israeli behavior. Which is the constant in the Zionist discourse.

  54. American
    American on January 11, 2012, 10:29 pm

    Jerry,Jerry,Jerry…….

    There is no such thing as a political impossibility. For a zionist, whose beliefs were formed by the Jewish holocaust, you of all people should know that.

  55. Duscany
    Duscany on January 12, 2012, 12:47 am

    There are already more Jews in this country than in Israel. So I say we might as well invite the rest of them over here right now. That way they’d all be safe and we wouldn’t have to listen to any more insane demands that we bomb Iran for Israel.

    • john h
      john h on January 13, 2012, 4:37 pm

      Duscany, there are more Jews living in Israel than in the US, although the gap does seem to be narrowing.

  56. RoHa
    RoHa on January 12, 2012, 1:02 am

    “There are already more Jews in this country than in Israel.”

    Which country is “this” country?

  57. ErsatzYisrael
    ErsatzYisrael on January 12, 2012, 4:12 am

    Just War? Jewish Democracy? Liberal Zionist? Holistic Torture? Kindly Apartheid? Carbon Neutral Genocide? What a steaming crock.

  58. seanmcbride
    seanmcbride on January 12, 2012, 10:44 am

    Just war theory appeals to military aggressors, mass murderers and elite sociopaths who want to feel self-righteous and morally superior about committing war crimes.

  59. seanmcbride
    seanmcbride on January 12, 2012, 11:23 am

    Jerome Slater is missing the really big story concerning Zionist politics at this phase of its history. I am referring to literally many *thousands* of attacks by pro-Israel activists and militants on a very long list of prominent Americans and Europeans.

    A current example:

    “Rep, Brad Sherman condemns honor for Robinson”

    http://www.jta.org/news/article/2012/01/12/3091150/us-congressman-brad-sherman-condemns-uc-berkeleys-2012-public-health-hero

    BEGIN QUOTE

    Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) urged the University of California Berkeley to rescind the “2012 Public Health Hero” award bestowed on Mary Robinson, citing her virulent anti-Israel bias.

    Robinson, the former president of Ireland and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, presided over “an unprecedented international campaign delegitimizing Israel,” Sherman wrote earlier this month in a letter to UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau.

    Sherman also said that Robinson blamed Israel for Palestinian violence during the second intifada, issued skewed reports on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and betrayed responsibilities expected of her as a High Commissioner.

    “As a Representative from California, I believe that the University of California, Berkeley, a public institution with a global reputation of excellence and quality, should be upholding that reputation by honoring someone untainted by such a record of bias and animus against Israel. I urge you to reconsider the decision to give Mary Robinson your ‘Public Health Hero’ award,” Sherman concluded.

    END QUOTE

    There is no end to this torrent of attacks, and they keep escalating from month to month, year to year.

    This is the main trend in Israeli politics that Jerome Slater should be worried about. Pro-Israel activists are turning most of the enlightened world against Israel. Where does Slater think this is going? What will be the final act of this play?

    • philweiss
      philweiss on January 12, 2012, 12:34 pm

      But Jerry Slater I’m sure would applaud Mary Robinson’s work. His chapter in our Goldstone book was all about international law and Gaza.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride on January 12, 2012, 12:45 pm

        Phil,

        I appreciate and applaud Jerry Slater’s progressive politics. As I mentioned before, he and I are on the same page on most issues.

        My main point here is that Israel’s relations with the enlightened West are rapidly deteriorating, in large part because of a torrent of vicious invective being directed at many influential Americans and Europeans by many pro-Israel activists and militants.

        The situation is rapidly spiraling out of control: this is no longer about substantive issues — it’s about damaged egos, hurt feelings, personal resentments and a whole host of irrational factors. People are being polarized into emotional camps and defending their “honor.” A really major disaster is in the making. Most people do not tend to forget or forgive personal attacks.

      • Jerome Slater
        Jerome Slater on January 12, 2012, 1:18 pm

        Thanks Phil, in fact Mary Robinson is one my heroes.

  60. seanmcbride
    seanmcbride on January 12, 2012, 11:57 am

    Appoint me Moshiach for a year, and I can solve Israel’s problems almost immediately and establish Israel’s permanent security as a prosperous and vibrant Jewish state.

    Do I jest? Only about the Moshiach part. A successful way forward is easy to see. All that is required is to get the Israel lobby fully behind it. This is doable.

    The main issue in play: can the Zionist establishment gather the strength of will to rein in its extremists? If not, this play (and this phase of Jewish history) is going to end badly indeed.

  61. Jerome Slater
    Jerome Slater on January 12, 2012, 1:20 pm

    eee: If you are still on this thread, you might want to see my belated reply to your post of Jan. 10, 2:56pm. Unfortunately somehow my response didn’t end up immediately following yours–you’ll have to scroll down 37-38 comments to get to it.

  62. Midwesterner
    Midwesterner on January 13, 2012, 6:02 pm

    “I thought it was obvious why a U.S. military intervention was impossible. Others have asked me to spell out the reasons. Very well…

    “The second reason is that Israel is indeed so powerful that the casualties on all sides would be horrendous–even if we leave aside the possibility that an Israel on the verge of defeat would use nuclear weapons–which would be more likely to occur than not.”

    Question. Does the second reason apply to other countries as well? Would they like them for the same reason?

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