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Never Again

Israeli journalist Ben Caspit, who writes commentary for the daily newspaper Ma'ariv (and who, in early 2006, was criticized by some as an apologist for Ariel Sharon's plans to withdraw from most of the West Bank/Judea/Samaria) has penned a speech which he thinks that Israel's Prime Minister should give:

Ladies and gentlemen, leaders of the world. I, the Prime Minister of Israel, am speaking to you from Jerusalem in the face of the terrible pictures from Kfar Kana. Any human heart, wherever it is, must sicken and recoil at the sight of such pictures....Still, I am looking you straight in the eye and telling you that the State of Israel will continue its military campaign in Lebanon....

We will not hesitate, we will not apologize and we will not back off. If they continue to launch missiles into Israel from Kfar Kana, we will continue to bomb Kfar Kana. Today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. Here, there and everywhere. The children of Kfar Kana could now be sleeping peacefully in their homes, unmolested, had the agents of the devil not taken over their land and turned the lives of our children into hell.

Ladies and gentlemen, it's time you understood: the Jewish state will no longer be trampled upon. We will no longer allow anyone to exploit population centers in order to bomb our citizens. No one will be able to hide anymore behind women and children in order to kill our women and children....

Today I am serving as the voice of six million bombarded Israeli citizens who serve as the voice of six million murdered Jews....In both cases, those responsible for these evil acts were, and are, barbarians devoid of all humanity, who set themselves one simple goal: to wipe the Jewish race off the face of the earth, as Adolph Hitler said, or to wipe the State of Israel off the map, as Mahmoud Ahmedinjad proclaims.

And you - just as you did not take those words seriously then, you are ignoring them again now. And that, ladies and gentlemen, leaders of the world, will not happen again....Never again will we wait for salvation that never arrives. Now we have our own air force. The Jewish people are now capable of standing up to those who seek their destruction - those people will no longer be able to hide behind women and children. They will no longer be able to evade their responsibility.

Every place from which a Katyusha is fired into the State of Israel will be a legitimate target for us to attack. This must be stated clearly and publicly, once and for all. You are welcome to judge us, to ostracize us, to boycott us and to vilify us. But to kill us? Absolutely not.

Four months ago I was elected by hundreds of thousands of citizens to the office of Prime Minister of the government of Israel, on the basis of my plan for unilaterally withdrawing from 90 percent of the areas of Judea and Samaria...

The Prime Minister who preceded me, Ariel Sharon, made a full withdrawal from the Gaza Strip...The Prime Minister who preceded him, Ehud Barak, ended the lengthy Israeli presence in Lebanon....

What did the State of Israel get in exchange for all of this?...Ehud Barak's peace initiative at Camp David let loose on us a wave of suicide bombers who smashed and blew to pieces over 1,000 citizens, men, women and children. I don't remember you being so enraged then....

We do not dance on the roofs at the sight of the bodies of our enemy's children - we express genuine sorrow and regret. That is the monstrous behavior of our enemies....

And Ariel Sharon's withdrawal from Gaza. What did it get us? A barrage of Kassem missiles fired at peaceful settlements and the kidnapping of soldiers. Then too, I don't recall you reacting with such alarm....

In a loud clear voice, looking you straight in the eye, I stand before you openly and I will not apologize. I will not capitulate. I will not whine. This is a battle for our freedom. For our humanity. For the right to lead normal lives within our recognized, legitimate borders. It is also your battle. I pray and I believe that now you will understand that. Because if you don't, you may regret it later, when it's too late.

Donald Kahn (mail):
Brilliant: says it all.
8.5.2006 3:19am
douglas (mail):
Bingo. I hope he does give it. At the UN.

"This is a battle for our freedom. For our humanity. For the right to lead normal lives within our recognized, legitimate borders. It is also your battle. I pray and I believe that now you will understand that. Because if you don't, you may regret it later, when it's too late."

You bet. If Israel is wiped out, the attention will turn the the Andalus and south Eastern Europe as far as Vienna. Why you ask? Because those were once Islamic lands, and if they have their way, shall be again. Support Israel, your life depends on it.
8.5.2006 3:57am
guy in the veal calf office (mail) (www):
Seems a little maudlin or overwrought
8.5.2006 5:00am
Twirlip of the Mists (mail):
I chuckle when Israel-haters use the Holocaust against it "How could the people who suffered so much, inflict cruelty" and other such touchy-feely nonsense.

In the same vein, I don't particualry applaud when the Holocaust is invoked in its defense.
8.5.2006 5:04am
Steve:
I have to think that those who are not already friends of Israel may have a hard time accepting the notion of Israel as the victim, or as the underdog fighting for its survival.
8.5.2006 5:13am
davod (mail):
Steve:


You make a valid point. The only reason it is valid is because the media and through them the world has had a love affair with the Palestinans for over 30 years.

The Palestinians and now Hezzbolah, Iran, Syria, and even Lebanon are given a pass from complicity. Only Israel is to blame for the horrors of war.

When most of the world wants to stop you protecting yourself and leave the status quo in place then Israel is the underdog.
8.5.2006 5:47am
A. Zarkov (mail):
The president of the US should give a modified version of that speech.
Like it or not the US is currently the world's cop. As such it must be willing make war and war ultimately means killing people including civilians. If the US should decide it doesn't like the role of world cop, it can withdraw and turn inward, in which case another power will emerge to take its place. Nature abhors a vacuum. We can expect that power to be either Russia or China. Who else? Neither Russia nor China has any qualms about killing people as their history amply demonstrates. We haven't done too well over the last 50 years when it comes to war. Korea was a stalemate that left a festering problem. Vietnam was a humiliating defeat. Gulf I was a tactical success, but failed to stabilize the Middle East. Gulf II is on its way to becoming another defeat. In WWII we were willing to make total war and that meant killing civilians. We were willing to kill enemy civilians to save American lives. Do we still hold to this value? I don't know.
8.5.2006 5:48am
jhg h (mail):
I hope you die you zionist piece of shit, I hope Iran gets nukes and kills the lot of you. From Jew to Naqzi, it didn't take you lot to turn from one to the other. Hitler was a bad man, but at least he killed 6 million of you.
8.5.2006 7:55am
Frank Drackmann (mail):
This is why an immediate nuclear sneak attack against Iran and Syrias 50 largest population centers and military complexes is required. Airbursts over the cities, ground bursts at the bases, fighter attack follow up to take care of stragglers. The Iranians, like the Japanese and Germans will thank us in 20 years. An unpleasant thought perhaps, but neverless preferrable to an Iranian nuclear attack that otherwhise is coming.
8.5.2006 8:09am
Frank Drackmann (mail):
Oh, the speach? a little corny. Less is better, as Tuko said in "The Good the Bad and the Ugly" "When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk".
8.5.2006 8:11am
PersonFromPorlock:
Clear and unequivocal. Too much so, in fact, to pass an actual politician's lips.
8.5.2006 8:46am
Speaking the Obvious:
For those in the real world, you might find the results of the latest Human Rights Watch analysis of interest. 51 pages of detailed documentation of Israeli war crimes (that is, crimes by international law even if Israel was in the right to invade Lebanon.)

http://hrw.org/reports/2006/lebanon0806/
8.5.2006 9:25am
dw (mail):
We are now watching a militia with the capability to send bombs and missiles 50 miles or more into Israel. Although the damage so far has not been critical, it does demonstrate a capability far in excess of most predictions. I don't doubt that Israel will be able to withstand the present assault, seriously reduce if not deplete the Hezbollah stock, and do damage to local command and control structure, but the present overwhelming balance in Israels favor is presumably a temporary one. A pre-emptive massive attack by Israel on any of the larger sponsor-states in the region, especially if it involves nuclear resources, would lead to international condemnation and isolation far and above the present isolation. And such a strike would be even less like ly to create a region of democratic, Israel-friendly, neighboring states. Add to this the dramatic demographic conditions in the region, and serious long-term concerns for resources -- water, energy, arrable land. Does anyone really have a reasonable picture of Israel's defense envirome in 10 to 20 years time that includes peaceful relations with all neighing states? And what costs -- direct and indirect -- will continued US support entail?

I believe that the US has a moral obligation to the democratic Israeli state, but I am not certain that the US has either a moral obligation or a long-term national interest in an Israeli state on that particular piece of geography. I cannot reconcile an argument for that piece of geography on a theological basis with basic American non-sectarian principles. I suspect that the only long-term option for a secure Israel will be a refounding on another piece of land, but I cannot now imagine where that may be.
8.5.2006 10:03am
Brian B:
War crimes? There is no such thing as a war crime when you are a terrorist. My view of war is as follows: when shot at, shoot back twice as long. If a missle is shot at you from a house, destroy the house and everyone in it. The deaths of innocent civilians are regretable and to be avoided, but if the terroritst hide behind innocents, they must be killed to take away the shield. Terrorists should be slaughtered whenever they pop up like a virulent disease.

It is for these very reasons the U.S. will never defeat terrorism. We are too "civilized" and afraid of international opinion. The Israelis are deemed murderers no matter what they do so they can act without concern for the lefties in this country and beyond.
8.5.2006 10:07am
Benjamin E, S, (mail):
This is what always confuses me. The speech makes some good points, and makes some strong declaration. Yet the tactics of Israel and the US (and most western forces) remain the same, kill / subdue the peons. I don't think I will ever understand the refusal to go after the power-brokers, presidents, mullahs and Imams that are the driving force behind the aggression. It may simply be because I am too Jacksonian, but if our soldiers and citizens are targeted (Be it the US or western world in general), why can we not take out the people who are doing the targeting?

I don't see any way to win the conflict when civilization refuses to destroy the infrastructure supporting these movements.

B.E.S.
8.5.2006 10:28am
DK:
The last thing the Middle East needs is more rhetoric about one's enemy being "the agents of the devil." It may be true, but it isn't helpful.

B.E.S. you are quite right. I don't really get why Israel decided on a bombing campaign with heavy civilian casualties instead of assassinating Ahminejad and Assad or otherwise punishing the people who design, manufacture, and ship the rockets into Lebanon.
8.5.2006 10:42am
rarango (mail):
I am always a bit skeptical of any "Human Rights Watch" report--they are right up there with Hezbollah and Hamas press releases, IMHO. But if thats the source you want to use...go for it; just dont ask me to accept it as fact.

I rather agree with DK and BES (and to some extent with Frank Drackmann)--unfortunately, Israel seems to have foreclosed the obvious requirement: destroy the states that are supplying the non-state actors--not being a student of the law of war, why would NOT Israel have a right to go after Iran? or Syria? International law/the law of war/the Geneva conventions seem to be the discovery d'jour among the chattering classes.
8.5.2006 11:05am
Speaking the Obvious:
Of course, rarango, no reason to believe HRW, or Amnesty International, of B'Tselem, the Israeli human rights group, all of whom generally agree on the issue of Israeli atrocities. No need to read the detailed eye-witness professional analysis suppled...merely stating your belief is sufficient.

The development of Just War theory, with the writings of Hugo Grotius and Samuel Pufendorf, led to the view that one may not do ANYTHING ONE LIKES in defense of even legitimate interests. Israel may not, for example, drop nuclear bombs on every Arab country in the world because they each might harbor terrorists. So the question of what Israel is legitimately allowed to do is a proper question. The writings on this site are superficial and simplistic. They act as if simply deciding Israel is in the right ends the discussion. Yet that is the beginning of the discussion if one wants to be serious about applying moral theory and judgment.

It seems just war theory, along with truth, is another casualty of our age of total war, the theory of "you're either with us or against us."
8.5.2006 11:28am
goldsmith (mail):
So where are the reports on all the atrocities committed by the agents of militant Islam, STO? Oh, right...
8.5.2006 11:43am
spider:
The comments at 6:55am and 7:09am were equally psychotic... I can't believe those thoughts are mixed in among the otherwise intelligent dialogue here.

More substantively: What are the critiques against HRW? When HRW was documenting Saddam's crimes, conservatives loved it, but when they're documenting Israel's bad behavior, suddenly they're "right up there with Hezbollah and Hamas".
8.5.2006 11:51am
rarango (mail):
Stating the Obvious: And why do you assume I havent read the reports? In fact, I have—perhaps you make that assumption because you are convinced you are correct and those disagreeing with you are wrong—as to some concerns with HRW: two come to mind: the Jenin "massacre," and the alleged Israeli attack on palistinian citizens on the beach—HRW verdict depended on its alleged "crater analysis expert," (who wasnt) and palistinian "eye witness" reports.

Re Grotius and just war theory—firmly rooted in the 16th century—but even then I think the law of war distinguises between reprisals (where proportionality is an issue) and war for survival where proportionality is not nearly as salient—

Finally, STO: of course the comments here tend to be "superficial and simplistic." Does that have anything to do with the fact this is a blog and not an academic journal? Or perhaps you regard them as superficial because you dont agree with them—Your blinders are just as firmly in place as are mine.
8.5.2006 12:33pm
Elliot123 (mail):
I would disagree about the speech. I don't think it should be delivered. Instead, Israel should take the type of action the speech describes. Let their actions speak for them. That would be much more effective. Too many academics, diplomats, and commenters think the job of a nation is to "send a message." Forget the messsage and just get on with the task at hand. Everyone will then understand.
8.5.2006 12:37pm
Erasmussimo:
It's interesting to assess this discussion as a whole. I was amused by the juxtaposition of the two comments praising Hitler and urging nuclear attack on Iran -- there seems to be balance in this world.

One group of commentators are consumed with hate: kill, kill, kill the bad guys and everybody nearby. Their bloodlust will never be sated. Hate is an emotion, not a policy. Hate makes it impossible to solve problems. If we wish to cope with these problems, we must first expunge all traces of hate from our thinking. Those who hate always make matters worse, not better.

There are some interesting and well-reasoned arguments presented here. Many of them are in some manner opposed to the current Israeli policy. Is it truly the case that the supporters of Israeli policy can offer so few calm, reasoned arguments clean of hate? Is logic more characteristic of the left than the right?
8.5.2006 1:05pm
Justin (mail):
I'm sorry, I stopped reading at the word apologist. Talk about assuming facts not in evidence - you've already decided that Ariel Sharon's pullout needed not defending but apologizing for, because the idea of Israel as a liberal democracay is too hard for you to apparently take - they must be conquerers as well?


[DK: I think you're over-reading. The people in Israel who were criticizing Caspit were saying that Sharon's plan was a bad idea. I wasn't taking any position on the Sharon plan, one way or the other. My purpose of providing the background was to show that Caspit was not an all-out hard-liner -- that the person who wrote this speech calling for strong and unapologetic military action was, a leading journalistic mouthpiece for unilateral withdrawal.]

As for the rest of it, I think one only needs to look up the definition of "Truthiness" to understand why the speech is wrong.
8.5.2006 1:28pm
SG:
Erasmussimo:

The supporters of Israeli policy are pointedly not arguing from a position of hate. Read that speech again. They're arguing from a position of fear.

Now, perhaps their fear is unreasonable and overstated, but if you truly believed that you, your family, your entire people where on the verge of being annhilated...Well, I doubt I would be calm and reasoned either.

If you want to have calm, reasoned discussion, you need to acknowledge and address that fear.
8.5.2006 1:42pm
lpdbw:
Justin: Please look up "apologist" in the dictionary.
8.5.2006 1:52pm
Erasmussimo:
SG, I agree that the speech itself is untainted by hate; I was referring to the discussion here.

As to your justification of fear, let me point out that a crisis is the time when you most need to be calm and logical. You don't need to be especially rational when deciding between vanilla and chocolate ice cream cones. But when the situation is critical, and people all around you are losing their heads, and the lives of people are hanging in the balance, that is the time when you most need to be calm, clear, and logical. That is the time to set emotion aside and proceed with maximum rationalism. Yes, fear is real -- but if you allow it to intrude into the decision-making process, then you will surely produce flawed decisions.
8.5.2006 1:56pm
Joel B. (mail):
I think that speech would be excellent to hear, it is too bad that the likelihood of hearing it or something so like it is exceedingly slim.

It is not hate to make a forewarning that you hold those who hide among civilians responsible for civilian casualties. It is a prudent warning. It lets everyone know that you will not be corralled into inaction because evil men hide among children. Unfortunately, it is those evil men who put children in harms way. Not the Israeli army.

Just war...I do not like the phrase "just war" or its doctrine or theory, the United States for one could hardly be said to generally abide by it, do I particularly care? No, 'tis far better to win harshly then lose "justly." Even more, just war often seems like pacifism dressed up to not seem insane. If you want to fight a war that ends justly you must break the agressor's will, penny ante "reciprocity" will not break anyone's will and the war will drag on with far more casualties. If the US responded to Pearl Harbor by bombing the Japanese Navy we'd probably still have the war ongoing.

Just war itself seems fairly relegated to Catholic traditions anyway, Evangelicals and Fundamentalists have moved away from it recognizing the sheer amount of force used in the Old Testament, while jewish authorities, have some calls to just war through tradition, there is little in the Law or the Prophets that suggests that this "just war" has it's hand tied so firmly that they should not be able to respond firmly and strongly. Where the morality of this "just war" comes from and hangs on to...I'm not so sure as a result.
8.5.2006 2:10pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Donald Kahn:

Brilliant: says it all.

No, not all.

A. Zarkov

Korea was a stalemate that left a festering problem.

Yes, a festering problem, but most certainly not a stalemate. We achieved our strategic objective, which was to restore the 38th paralell. This was a victory. The problem is one of objective. As we have seen in Korea, Iraq - post Desert Storm, and Israel, It is necessary to totally annilate, humiliate and demoralize your enemy.

Frank Drackmann:

This is why an immediate nuclear sneak attack against Iran and Syrias 50 largest population centers and military complexes is required.

No, not a sneak attack. That would loose Israel what little support it has in the world, as well as here in the US. No, what first will be required is a statement from Berak along the lines of the Kennedy Doctrine:
8.5.2006 2:18pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Oops, posted too soon. Ehud Barak's statement should be as such:

Over the past few weeks, it has become clear to the world community that attacks on Israel by terrorist organizations in Gaza and Lebanon constitute a proxy war, being managed and supplied by the governments of Syria and Iran. It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any further missiles launched from these regions into Israel as a direct attack on our nation by Syria and Iran, requiring the most horrific of retaliatory responses.

Of course, I'm sure that Frank, and others, will scoff at giving warning. But that is the "civilized" thing to do. Further, it is the opinion of most military analysts that the antiquated forces of Syria and Iran, led by conies and staffed by conscripts, would pose little resistance to a full Israeli attack.
8.5.2006 2:42pm
Michael B (mail):
"But when the situation is critical, and people all around you are losing their heads, and the lives of people are hanging in the balance, that is the time when you most need to be calm, clear, and logical. That is the time to set emotion aside and proceed with maximum rationalism." Erasmussimo

Well, Hezbollah, launching rockets and mortars from civilian centers in southern Lebanon into civilian centers in Israel, does in fact adhere to a certain logic. Premeditated, deliberate - and calm, clear and logical.

Israeli policy and decision makers certainly need to possess a certain qualitative poise, a poise which renders them acutely aware of all the challenges, existential threats, etc., while also rendering them supremely capable in their decision making capacities. However, if "logic" and "rationalism" are used as little or nothing more than code words to effect an anesthetized lack of such awareness, then that is most assuredly not the type of "logic" they need to apply. A qualitative poise, a perspicacious and acute awareness, are the qualities the Israelis need to bring to this war which Hezbollah, proxy of Syria and Iran, initiated, and initiated with a certain logic in mind. Poise, an acute awareness, reflective of real character and decision making capabilities, also capable of executing those decisions with a commanding presence, that's the type of logic which needs to inform Israel's decision making processes.

What is striking about Caspit's suggested speech is the perforce obviousness of it; if it weren't for the fog of the propaganda/PR/media aspect of the war his argument wouldn't need to be made in the first place. One doesn't apologize for, one doesn't need to argue the case for defending one's home and family. If he bothers to do so it's a sure indication of basic confusion or some type of anesthetized, lack of awareness, lack of common sense and certainly lack of any commanding presence.
8.5.2006 2:50pm
Erasmussimo:
Michael B, are you attempting to discredit logic by suggesting that Hezbollah is rational? That strikes me as a pretty wild argument. Is that really what you mean to say?

Next, your distinction between poise and logic seems artificial to me. Indeed, your middle paragraph is vague, mushy. You reject a kind of logic that you define in illogical terms. Then you recommend some vague notion you call 'poise'. So I ask you to clarify your comments: are you saying that logic is inappropriate in an international crisis? Contrariwise, are you saying that it is acceptable to have one's emotions intrude into the decision-making process in an international crisis?
8.5.2006 3:05pm
Enoch:
a crisis is the time when you most need to be calm and logical. You don't need to be especially rational when deciding between vanilla and chocolate ice cream cones. But when the situation is critical, and people all around you are losing their heads, and the lives of people are hanging in the balance, that is the time when you most need to be calm, clear, and logical. That is the time to set emotion aside and proceed with maximum rationalism.

Not necessarily. War is not a calm, rational and unemotional phenomenon. Sometimes, in order to win a war, the most "logical" thing for the leadership to do is to play on fear and stir up hate so the population will be willing to sustain the necessary sacrifices. After all, why die fighting an enemy you don't fear and hate?
8.5.2006 3:14pm
SG:
It's somewhat tangential, but when did it become accepted wisdom that a non-combatant should be able to continue going about their life risk-free while in an active war zone?

It seems to be an unstated assumption that this should be so, yet it's clearly one of those ideas that's so stupid that only someone educated could believe it.
8.5.2006 3:17pm
Michael B (mail):
Erasmussimo,

I said literally nothing in the vein you're suggesting. Read, and apply some depth, some comprehension skills as well. Your counter serves a certain superficial contrariness, or perhaps it's merely a complete lack of depth, or both. It certainly bores.
8.5.2006 3:19pm
Res Ipsa (mail):
"I don't think I will ever understand the refusal to go after the power-brokers, presidents, mullahs and Imams that are the driving force behind the aggression. It may simply be because I am too Jacksonian, but if our soldiers and citizens are targeted (Be it the US or western world in general), why can we not take out the people who are doing the targeting?"

Because then there would be a whole bunch of dead Western politicians in retaliation. For example, it is trivially easy to assassinate members of the US Congress -- you know where they work, where they live, they frequently make public appearances announced in advance, and except when they are actually in the US Capitol building and its associated offices, they normally don't have any sort of security detail with them. They aren't targeted for assassination by Syrian, Iranian, etc. agents because the US isn't attempting to kill the leaders of those countries.
8.5.2006 3:39pm
Erasmussimo:
Enoch, you suggest that the leadership in a war should whip up public frenzy so that they'll fight the war enthusiastically. Let's put aside the fact that this is a cynical abuse of the Jeffersonian concepts written into our Constitution. Let's instead focus on the distinction between the decision-making process of the leadership and the decision-making process of the populace. Your suggestion is compatible with the basic point I am making: that the people making the policy should do so rationally, not emotionally. The policy you describe would be rationally decided upon.

Michael B, I apologize for my failure to understand your point. Would you please answer the simple-minded questions I asked:

So I ask you to clarify your comments: are you saying that logic is inappropriate in an international crisis? Contrariwise, are you saying that it is acceptable to have one's emotions intrude into the decision-making process in an international crisis?
8.5.2006 3:43pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Garbage In - Garbage Out. Irrefutable logic is worthless when it is applied to invalid assumptions and observations. As those are subject to the individual's underlying psyche, that comes into question as well.
8.5.2006 4:25pm
Justin (mail):
An apologist has a particular type of connotation - regardless of its dictionary defintion, it is used only for bad causes. One is an apologist for genocide, for Vietnam, for the WMD rationale - one is not an apologist for good things - only someone who was a radical liberterian would describe someone as an "apologist for Universal Health Care" for instance.
8.5.2006 4:36pm
Joel B. (mail):
Justin-

That's an awfully poor distinction you have there, why not phrase it "an apologist for massive increases in government Bureaucracy," you can always make something sound worse. You stunt the question when you assume that you get to define the terms of the debate. Conversely "the WMD rational" could be "only a peacenik hippie would describe someone as an apologist for disarming unstable terrorists with WMDs."
8.5.2006 4:54pm
Waldensian (mail):

It's somewhat tangential, but when did it become accepted wisdom that a non-combatant should be able to continue going about their life risk-free while in an active war zone?

I've wondered this myself.

As another example of this process, consider the extreme outrage of the Chinese when their embassy in Belgrade was bombed during the Kosovo conflict.

The fact that we now have more accurate weapons than those used in WWII is, ironically, being used against us for propaganda purposes. It's hard to imagine the Swiss getting all bent out of shape if their embassy in Berlin had caught a gravity bomb dropped on the city in 1945.

(This is just a hypothetical. I don't actually know that the Swiss had an embassy in Berlin in 1945. If they did, I'm glad I wasn't there.)
8.5.2006 4:56pm
Michael B (mail):
Erasmussimo, it wasn't intended personally, it was intended to sharply redress the notion that a too formal, too narrow or otherwise misaligned or misconceived logic is applicable as some type of standard. Logic needs to be contextually applied (cf. here). It makes no more sense to apply a too formal and too narrow logic (e.g., mathematical, purely deductive reasoning) to social/political affairs than it would to apply that same type of narrow logic when looking into the eyes of a woman, one who commands the longing and love of your very being. Different contexts require a different type of logic. Too, you shouldn't apologize for your honestly held positions, not to me, not to anyone.

Good day.
8.5.2006 5:14pm
Erasmussimo:
Michael B, I agree that logical formalisms are not appropriate for geopolitical calculations. However, I have been talking about the dichotomy between emotional reactions and rational reactions. I maintain that the kinds of decisions that the Israeli body politic face are best handled through rational analysis, not gut feeling. The specifics of rational analysis are not in question here -- the intrusion of emotion into that determination is what I object to. Specifically, I recommend against permitting hate or fear to enter into the deliberative process, as these emotions almost always have a detrimental effect on policy decisions.
8.5.2006 5:45pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
The preemptive Nuclear Strike on Syria and Iran, while regrettable for those in the targeted cities, is preferable to the alternative which is..Iran detonates a primitive nuclear device in Israel, killing several million Israelis and Arabs. Israel retaliates not with a proportional attack of 1,2 or even 50, but more like 150 hydrogen bombs, killing 40-50 million Arabs.
8.5.2006 6:13pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
Oh, and from experience, Arabs and Persians don't respond to fancy words very well..the Israeli ambassador should slap the Iraninan ambassador on world wide TV with a soiled Jewish flip flop,,that they would understand.
8.5.2006 6:15pm
Erasmussimo:
Frank, the Israelis do not possess thermonuclear devices. Their inventory consists entirely of fission devices, as far as is known. It is unlikely that they would be able to build fusion devices without testing.

You describe two doomsday scenarios, but you do not address the many other scenarios in which nobody uses any nuclear weapons. I take it you consider such scenarios infeasible?

Do you believe that Arabs and Persians would react to an attack as stunning as the 9/11 attack in a way basically different from the reaction of Americans to 9/11?
8.5.2006 6:29pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"We achieved our strategic objective, which was to restore the 38th paralell (sic). This was a victory."

The Korean War ended with a cease-fire, neither side could claim victory in the sense of extending the control over Korean territory. Sure sounds like a stalemate to me. Now if you want to define "victory" as simply re-establishing the prior boundary then yes it was a victory. However if we probe deeper, we see Korea was only superficially a stalemate, in reality it was a loss for the US.

Thanks to the release of classified documents in Russia after the breakup of the Soviet Union, we are now in a better position to accurately access the Korean War. The war was essentially a war with China. Kim went to Stalin and asked permission to invade the south. Stalin refused. Kim then went to Mao, and Mao went to Stalin to get permission to make war on the US through Korea. After Mao agreed to supply troops and bear the manpower costs of the war, Stalin gave permission. Stalin, Mao and Kim each had an agenda. Kim wanted to rule SK. Mao wanted Stalin to give him nuclear technology, and war production resources. That is he wanted more than the immediate tools of war, he wanted the capability of producing those tools in China. Stalin wanted to test the resolve of the US and hoped to tie it up in a land war so he could invade parts of Europe. Mao also wanted to get rid of the nationalist troops he captured when he took over China.

The Korean War was a victory for Mao. He got Soviet weapons, factories and nuclear technology. He also got the US to kill hundreds of thousands of Nationalist troops, saving him the trouble. Kim was the loser. He got no new territory and had his country devastated. Stalin was another winner, but died too soon. Overall the US was a loser in the sense that we came out weaker than we went in and got nothing for it. Stalin remarks to Chou in their meeting on August 20, 1952 are particularly telling. He said to Chou: "They [the US] want to subjugate the world, an yet they cannot subjugate little Korea. No, Americans don't know how to fight. Americans are not capable of waging large-scale war at all, especially after the Korean War." Since Korea we have done nothing but support that impression. The US has to do more than simply beat back an aggressor to restore the original status quo. The aggressor needs to lose something, like land or power, or else he will try again. Israel and the US must learn this lesson.
8.5.2006 6:43pm
Charles Chapman (mail) (www):
If they continue to launch missiles into Israel from Kfar Kana, we will continue to bomb Kfar Kana. Today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. Here, there and everywhere. The children of Kfar Kana could now be sleeping peacefully in their homes, unmolested, had the agents of the devil not taken over their land and turned the lives of our children into hell.
Obviously, this does not go nearly far enough. What really needs to said is this:
If they continue to launch missiles into Israel from Lebanon, we will continue to bomb Lebanon. Today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. Here, there and everywhere. The children of Lebanon could now be sleeping peacefully in their homes, unmolested, had the agents of the devil not taken over their land and turned the lives of our children into hell.
Obviously, Israel's security is not only the primary value, but the only relevant value. If a single missle is launched from Lebananon into Israel, then, obviously, every man, woman and child in Lebanon should and must, if necessary, be killed.
Every place from which a Katyusha is fired into the State of Israel will be a legitimate target for us to attack.
Ah, this is better... only as long as the word "place" is defined broadly enough. Obviously, in the current situation, "place" == Lebanon.
8.5.2006 6:47pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
You say Fission I say Fusion, either way its a a shit load of TNT in flyin carpet land. I believe Arabs and Persians are fundamentally cowards and would react to a devastating attack as they always have, whimpering like a slapped dog and going back to molesting their sheep herds.
8.5.2006 6:51pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Erasmussimo:

"Frank, the Israelis do not possess thermonuclear devices. Their inventory consists entirely of fission devices, as far as is known."

You cannot possibly know that. Israel has no thermonuclear devices; their entire program is super secret. What you might not realize is adding fusion is no big deal. Everybody knows the basic technology of two-stage nuclear weapons. The hard part is getting the fissile material for the primary. If you can fission bombs, you can make a fusion bombs. If you knew anything about the nuclear weapons business, you would not make such statements. You have eroded if not destroyed your credibility.
8.5.2006 6:53pm
Mark F. (mail):
The preemptive Nuclear Strike on Syria and Iran, while regrettable for those in the targeted cities...

Yes, mass murder on a scale never before seen is "regrettable," but we're gonna do it anyway...nice people on this board, I must say.
8.5.2006 6:54pm
Charles Chapman (mail) (www):
If they continue to launch missiles into Israel from Kfar Kana, we will continue to bomb Kfar Kana. Today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. Here, there and everywhere. The children of Kfar Kana could now be sleeping peacefully in their homes, unmolested, had the agents of the devil not taken over their land and turned the lives of our children into hell.
Oh, just another comment to reinforce and support the reasoning of the proposed speech.

Obviouly, the "children of Kfar Kana" are morally responsible for the fact that "agents of the devil" "[took] over their land." Obviously, when Hezbollah sets up a rocket launcher next to their hospital or child-care center, the children should evict them.
8.5.2006 6:58pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
On the contrary, while estimates vary widely (as Israel is rightfully quite secretive), is is generally accepted, and has been for at least a decade, that Israel has low yield (hundreds of kilotons) thermonucler weapons.

However, logic would dictate that they would have had to pursue more advanced miniturized warheads, comptable with the Harpoon and Popeye Turbo cruise missiles.
8.5.2006 7:01pm
Mark F. (mail):
Here are Ilana Mercer's comments from her blog. Mercer is a Zionist and pro-Israeli libertarian.

It is impossible to finesse Israel's wrongs. The Israeli Air Force's shock-and-awe has been barbaric. Instead of starting with precision, "deep-penetration" operations, Israel began with brute force, turning Lebanon into a parking lot and its inhabitants into homeless people.

I repeat what I said two weeks back, "Hezbollah (and Hamas) target civilians and hide among them. Although necessary, this fact, however, is not sufficient to exempt Israel from responsibility for its direct actions. For those, Israel can't shirk accountability. It can't claim it didn't intend to take out civilians when Israeli generals can both see and foresee the devastating results of their bombardments."

Any principled human being devoted to justice and freedom has to be repulsed by what Israel has done and is busy doing.
8.5.2006 7:02pm
Charles Chapman (mail) (www):
I believe Arabs and Persians are fundamentally cowards
Obviously, that is not a racist statement, and betrays no prejudice. Just ask Israel's returning soldiers. Good thing for them that all of the cowardly Arabs fled when Israel entered Lebanon. Jeesh, otherwise Hezbollah might still be firing rockets into Israel three weeks after the invasion....
8.5.2006 7:05pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
A. Zarkov

You have eroded if not destroyed your credibility.

I think he/she accomplished that long ago.
8.5.2006 7:07pm
Erasmussimo:
A.Zarkov, the jump from fission to fusion is not at all as straightforward as you suggest -- it took the USA eight years to make the jump (the Soviets took much less time, but they were working with stolen US data). Yes, everybody knows the basic technology of the fission-fusion-fission design, but the killer problem is getting the right neutron fluxes. (Actually, that's just one of the killer problems.) The timing of the detonation is also very tricky to manage. And if the initial fission detonation is too powerful, you blast apart the fertile material so fast that the neutron flux emerging from the fusion reactions will be lowered too far in its expansion for efficient transmutation from the fertile U238 to fissile species.

With fission devices, your biggest problem is getting the reaction to take place quickly enough to get a significant number of nuclei to undergo fission. But with a fusion device, you've got four separate reactions going on at once (fission, fusion, transmutation, and fission), and the reaction rates must all be balanced against each other. If any one of the first two reactions proceeds too quickly or too slowly, it can ruin the third or fourth reactions.

I hope I have restored some of my credibility with you.
8.5.2006 7:09pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Charles Chapman

Good thing for them that all of the cowardly Arabs fled when Israel entered Lebanon.

No they are not cowards; they are zealots, led by cowards, safe in Damascus and Tehran.
8.5.2006 7:13pm
Charles Chapman (mail) (www):
Reading the original post and all of the comments, I've finally distilled the only possible moral principle. As long as one Israeli is threatened, no amount of... um, ah, "unintentional," albeit reasonably forseeable, and indeed actually forseen, collateral damage and civilian deaths are relevant.
8.5.2006 7:13pm
limes (mail) (www):
I believe I'm a principled human being devoted to justice and freedom, and I'm stunned by the timidness of the IDF.

As long as restraint is exercised when an enemy hides among civilians, the enemy will continue to do so.

When true civilians have to pay a price (a heavy one) when they allow the wolf to work among them, they won't allow it.

The real question is that if these civilians are, in fact, enablers, are they legitimate targets?

If Israel wants to be around in two decades, the answer needs to be yes. Notice needs to be given to avoid an ethics issue. Once that notice is given, the Country needs to be defended.
8.5.2006 7:17pm
Charles Chapman (mail) (www):
This is in response to a comment by Kevin L. Connors, above. Just to get the attribution clear (and I should have done this earlier), I was quoting from a post by Frank Drackmann where he stated: "I believe Arabs and Persians are fundamentally cowards and would react to a devastating attack as they always have, whimpering like a slapped dog and going back to molesting their sheep herds."
8.5.2006 7:20pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Charles Chapman

As long as one Israeli is threatened...

Like I said, "Garbage in, Garbage Out."
8.5.2006 7:21pm
Waldensian (mail):

And if the initial fission detonation is too powerful, you blast apart the fertile material so fast that the neutron flux emerging from the fusion reactions will be lowered too far in its expansion for efficient transmutation from the fertile U238 to fissile species.

I was just about to say that.
8.5.2006 7:37pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Erasmussimo:

A.Zarkov, the jump from fission to fusion is not at all as straightforward as you suggest -- it took the USA eight years to make the jump (the Soviets took much less time, but they were working with stolen US data).

It really didn't take eight years-- it took one. The Teller-Ulam design was worked out in 1951, and the first thermonuclear test was the "Ivy-Mike" shot in 1952. Ulam came up with the idea for a two-stage device, except he got the energy transfer from the primary to the secondary wrong; it's radiation, not the shock wave. It was Teller who realized it was radiation. Once you get over the original conceptual hurdles, it's clear sailing as the rapid development of the "Mike" design suggests. Most of that eights years was getting the physics right. As for the Soviets they wanted to do a test as soon as possible so they duplicated the US fission design. It didn't take long for Sakharov to come up with the "Third Idea." Moreover it's important to realize that the basic science of nuclear weapons completely matured circa 1958! The basic designs we use today are about the same as 1958.

Israel didn't have to start from scratch. With modern computers and electronics those "tricky" details you present are easily overcome. Israel isn't a third world country. I believe Israel is the second only to the US in holding patents. How could you not believe all those smart motivated Jews couldn't work out a thermonuclear weapon in more than 50 years after the Teller-Ulam design? The cat has been out of the bag ever since laser fusion articles began to appear. Since this is a legal blog I'll provide some references in the legal literature. Howard Morland, Born Secret, 26 Cardozo L. Rev. 1401 (2005). Ray E. Kidder, Weapons of Mass Destruction and a Free Press, 26 Cardozo L. Rev. 1389 (2005). These two articles review the principles of nuclear weapons design with minimum technical background required. Note Kidder is a physicist who worked on evaluating nuclear weapons designs and a key expert witness in the Progressive Case.

We now know that the implosion design for the "Fat Man" bomb was over specified. It took Von Neumann to do those calculations, but the task is considerably easier than we thought back in the Manhattan Project Days. This is the scary part. Irans nuclear capability is around the corner. Even the they can do it.
8.5.2006 8:12pm
Charles Chapman (mail) (www):
limes said:When
When true civilians have to pay a price (a heavy one) when they allow the wolf to work among them, they won't allow it.

The real question is that if these civilians are, in fact, enablers, are they legitimate targets?
Yes, of course.

And the fact that Hezbollah "are as well-equipped as any standing unit in the Syrian or Iranian armies" is completely irrelevant. The "true civilians" should not allows such "well-equipped... standing unit[s]" work among them. They should, obviously, use their training in farming and vast stores of picks and shovels to cast out the well-equiped army.

And the fact that Israeli army, the strongest army in the Middle East, armed with Merkva tanks, artillary, and air superiority, decribed the fighting as "hell," well, shouldn't deter the "true civilians."

Damned "enablers."
8.5.2006 8:22pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
The problem is that, particularly in southern Lebanon, Hezbollah enjoys strong support among the general population, a population which enjoied virtually no political power prior to their coming on the scene.

I would like to refer you to this Michael Young interview with Walid Jumblatt, leader of the Lebanese Druze. He rides a very fine line in attempting to keep Hezbollah in check, without getting assassinated. Jumblatt is obviously a very canny and experienced politician. And it seems that he has managed to keep missiles out of their community - but not witout great struggle.
8.5.2006 8:56pm
Katje (mail) (www):
It's a good speech (with a few modifications, it might do for the US if someone had the cojones to stand up, state it boldly and suffer no whinging or flak about it), but as Elliot123 writes, it shouldn't be made; Israel should let her actions speak for her.

Civilian casualties and deaths have ALWAYS been a deplorable side effect of war (as a matter of fact, only in the 20th century has the concept of the "civilian" or "non-combatant" been recognized and acknowledged - before that you were either unfortunate or a fool to be caught in the war zone), so to believe civilian casualties are easily avoidable (even if the enemy isn't hiding behind women and children) is nothing short of the grossest stupidity, especially when the country is Lebanon, where the terrorists have been given free scope to permeate the population and government infrastructure. Despite this, the Israeli forces continue to give warnings well in advance of their bombings. I can't think of any other military I've ever known of that did this. But the Arab "hate-Israel" response is so deeply ingrained that they can't even bring themselves to act in their own interest. How do you deal with people, some of whom would sacrifice their own children just to score another propaganda point against Israel? Or those who don't give a damn about anyone's children when trying to kill Israelis or hide from their wrath?

Sometimes, I fancy I can hear the faint scratching of a horsehair bow drawn across the strings of a fiddle while the ghost of a scent of smoke teases my nose. I keep thinking of Rome, but who's the fiddler?
8.5.2006 8:59pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Here are Ilana Mercer's comments from her blog. Mercer is a Zionist and pro-Israeli libertarian."

You should really provide a link when you quote a blog.

I've seen this kind of commentary every time Israel gets into a war. First present your pro-Israel bona fides and then pounce. I don't know of any country that follows the moral imperatives that Israel's critics demand of it. My standing offer, to which I never get a response, is to name me one country that fights wars the way you think Israel should fight its wars. Does any country value the enemy's civilians more than it values its own soldiers? The US killed civilians at a hundred thousand a crack when it fired bombed Japanese cities. It did this to destroy Japan's war making capability. It nuked Japan to avoid the need to invade it and lose 500,000 Americans. How about the Iran-Iraq war? Do you think those guys played nice? They sent ten-year olds into battle.

Besides, war in the real world has little to do with what's moral or just or right. It just doesn't work that way. You don't play by the rules when your opponent refuses to play by any rules.
8.5.2006 9:07pm
Erasmussimo:
A.Zarkov, my reference to 'eight years' was to the time from the first fission bomb to the first fusion bomb -- which I miscalculated -- you're right, it was seven years. Yes, once the physics was worked out, the engineering details were easy -- but getting the physics worked out was the problem. It's not just a matter of crunching some numbers; a great deal of experimental data must go into the design. Much of that experimental data can come from conventional nuclear reactors and particle accelerators, but there remain some numbers that simply can't be done without experimental data obtained only by actually shooting off a weapon. It's not a matter of being smart or having a big enough computer, it's a matter of getting the raw data. The Israelis did get a lot of data from the French and that data might have been sufficient for the task -- but that was well before the French thermonuclear efforts.

I'll point out that there are some experts who believe that the Israelis have both neutron weapons (which represent the first two stages of a thermonuclear device) and full-blown thermonuclear devices. I do not rule out the possibility of an Israeli H-bomb. However, their weapons program is centered on plutonium, so they don't have a lot of waste U-238 laying around waiting to be used in a thermonuclear device.

In any case, I think we are dragging out the technical details here beyond the interest of our readers. The Israelis have lots of bombs -- that's what matters here. Whether they use them is of far greater concern to all of us.
8.5.2006 9:16pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
Erasmussimo:

I'm not sure that logic has been shown to be as great a problem on the right as you seem to think. -- BTW you should note that Israel was founded by secular socialists.

There have been loads of logical arguments for Israel. The 1851 Ottoman Turk census, land puchases, League of Nations resolution, UN resolution -- surely you can' attack the sainted UN? Soviet and US support.

Fighting back against attacks is quite a logical response.

HRW being a mere NGO - an officious intermeddler - can also be held (logically) to have nothing to say about treaties which are a matter only for the signatories. I know that a lot of people would like to fight above their weight by trying to impose private international law on soverign entities but they lack he agreement or the guns to do so. Walter was big on guns and actual agreements as being significant in international law, wasn't he?

Also a soverign can always withdraw if treaty becomes too onerous. It's also 'logical' that Arab armies, the EU and the UN can't do diddlly squat about it since they lack the military capabilities.
8.5.2006 9:47pm
Erasmussimo:
Duncan, you misunderstand my point. I argue that rationalism is the best basis on which to determine policy. I argue against the intrusion of emotion into policymaking. I am not arguing against any of the points you make. My concern is with people who get so worked up into a frenzy of hate (on both sides) that they simply can't solve their problems.
8.5.2006 10:01pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
A. Zarkov

Moreover it's important to realize that the basic science of nuclear weapons completely matured circa 1958! The basic designs we use today are about the same as 1958.

I know it's another theater of conflict, but people of Erasmussimo's stripe scoff at me, when I say that, with their leadership in high-energy physics, and industrial capacity, Japan could be a thermonuclear military power within a year. It only takes time for relatively poor and backward nations, such as Iran.
8.5.2006 10:03pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Katje:

...as a matter of fact, only in the 20th century has the concept of the "civilian" or "non-combatant" been recognized and acknowledged...

Not exactly true. I am something of a student of the American Revolutionary, Civil, and Napoleonic wars. And I can state that substantial civilian trains accompanied, and provided support for, those armies. (This was likely true in earlier times as well, but contemporaneous reporting was not so good then.)

Civilian causalities were widely reported, but hardly so much fuss was made over them.
8.5.2006 10:24pm
Erasmussimo:
Kevin, you write, people of Erasmussimo's stripe scoff at me,, when I say that, with their leadership in high-energy physics, and industrial capacity, Japan could be a thermonuclear military power within a year.

By "people of Erasmussimo's stripe", do you mean people who are familiar with the science and technology of nuclear weaponry?
8.5.2006 10:56pm
Barry:
Who do you think a speech like this would convince? The Leftists are bloodthirsty extremists very much support the genocide of every Jewish Israeli. Need I remind you that during the 1940s every single Leftist in the world supported Adolph Hitler. Every single Leftist in the world supported Stalin. (some American leftists turned against Hitler after the civil war among socialists - the break-up between hitler and stalin - but for the most part Kennedy and the other biggies supported Hitler unconditionally until the end).

Also needless to mention is the support by leftists for the genocide of American Jews. For example, the most important leading Seattle liberal activist (winner of the U.S. Institute of Peace prize) Mr. Naveed Haq, was also a genocidal maniac. There is zero morality on the left, they are heart-less killer who universally bloodthirsty genocide-supporting fanatics. Yes, every single leftist. I will pay you $1,000,000.00 if you find me one anti-jihad rally which contained a leftist. You can't because there are no leftists who oppose jihad.
8.5.2006 10:59pm
Erasmussimo:
Barry, I believe that your history is a bit garbled. In the Spanish Civil War, leftists from America fought against Franco, who was supported by Hitler. Hitler was very much a right-winger who murdered leftists in Germany. Just use this simple formula: Hitler = right wing extremist; Stalin = left wing extremist.

And while your comments might apply to the most extreme fringes of the left, they certainly don't apply to the great majority of leftists, just as the bloodthirsty designs of some of the people here cannot be attributed to the majority of right-wingers.
8.5.2006 11:19pm
Barry:
"fringes"! Fringes?!!!

Is Michael Moore a fringe? Is Hugo Chavez a fringe?

Is Naveed Haq - the leading, most important, guy-in-charge - of Seattle's Liberal Activist community fringe?

Is the left-wing theocrat Al Sharpton a fringe?

Is Howard Dean who called Hamas heros fighting a great war and who expressed unconditional support for Jihad a fringe?

Are the 1.5 billion genocidal left-wing Moslems a fringe?

Is Dailykos a fringe?

Is the director of Loose Change who laughed when leaving flight 93 a fringe?

Stop the bullshit - the mainstream of the left unconditionally supports jihad. The mainstream of the left unconditionally supports the genocide of every Jew in Israel.

And what propoganda have you exposed to that you believe that Adolph Hilter, the leader of the German SOCIALIST party was right wing?
8.5.2006 11:27pm
Waldensian (mail):

You can't because there are no leftists who oppose jihad.

Well, I oppose jihad. And I do not support the "genocide of every Jewish Israeli" (which may be just almost doubly redundant as a sentence).

So that's half the battle. Now, what's your definition of a "leftist"? Does being an ACLU member count? How about if I voted for Dukakis AND Mondale!? If I think Jane Fonda doesn't deserve instant death?

I mean jeez, I can dash out and join one of those "anti-jihad rallies" that apparently serve as your litmus test. After all, I can use your $1,000,000.00 to pay for free subscriptions to the American Worker.

(I like how you took it out to the cents level).

Commentary like this just demonstrates the uselessness of terms like "leftist."
8.5.2006 11:30pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Erasmussimo:

By "people of Erasmussimo's stripe", do you mean people who are familiar with the science and technology of nuclear weaponry?

No, I mean people able to type on their computers with their heads up their asses.

That you are one of these is further evidenced by your insistence that plutonium is useless for a thermonuclear device. When, in fact, it is quite commonly used as the first stage.
8.5.2006 11:30pm
Barry:
Its not redundant to describe the left-wing fantasy of killing every Israeli Jew. (see e.g., Chavez with 'nijad last week). Those on the left do not support the killing of Mohammed-worshippers who live in Israel. For example, last week when Hezbolla hit Nazareth and killed two Mohammed-worshippers, Hezbolla apologized and said it was not intention, they only meant to kill Israeli Jews. (I treat whatever Hezbolla says as what the Democratic Party would like to say.)
8.5.2006 11:35pm
Waldensian (mail):
It just occurred to me that Barry's commentary is so wildly over the top that it may be brilliantly sarcastic. If so, touche, you got me. If not, well.... Yikes.
8.5.2006 11:36pm
Barry:
By the way, "I oppose Jihad". You do, do you? What anti-jihad rallies have you participated in? What politicians have you supported that supported the publishing of cartoons which mocked the Islamic Pedophile?

You cannot vote for Clinton (a man who said Americans should act like Dhimmis and not publish cartoons of the Islamic Pedophile) and claim you are against Jihad.
8.5.2006 11:37pm
Waldensian (mail):
So do I get the $1,000,000.00 or not?!?!? Geez!!
8.5.2006 11:38pm
Waldensian (mail):
Ha - I got you! I NEVER SAID I VOTED FOR CLINTON!!!

Don't tell me Dukakis disqualifies me. Too late for that. You had your shot.

I just now staged an anti-jihad rally in my front yard. I'll send you my address for the $1,000,000.00. And, no, I won't take a check from you.
8.5.2006 11:41pm
Barry:
As I commented: " I will pay you $1,000,000.00 if you find me one anti-jihad rally which contained a leftist. "

Okay, there were hundreds of anti-Bush and anti-War and anti-Christian and anti-Israel and anti-capitalist and anti-family and anti-human rallies over the past few years.

Find me the left-winger who participated in an anti-jihad rally.
8.5.2006 11:41pm
Waldensian (mail):

Find me the left-winger who participated in an anti-jihad rally.

Apparently it's me!

Following your logic:

I oppose jihad because I didn't vote for Clinton (I think I've got your rules straight on that), and I'm a leftist (just like Hitler) because I voted for Dukakis (we're agreed on THAT, I hope), and the anti-jihad rally in my front yard really went over great.

Don't try and weasel on me, a deal is a deal. Pay up, or else I'll call you a deadbeat in front of all these VC people.
8.5.2006 11:48pm
Erasmussimo:
Dear, dear, the temperature is rising in here, and in the rush to sling mud, facts are getting trampled. I'll comment on two of the most egregious points:

Barry writes, And what propoganda have you exposed to that you believe that Adolph Hilter, the leader of the German SOCIALIST party was right wing?

All I can say, Barry, is that you might want to read up on the Nazis. They were most definitely not socialists. Politicians love to sprinkle hot-selling terms into their titles. After all, the official title of the East German Government was Deutsches Demokratische Republik -- The German Democratic Republic. Does that prove that this government was either democratic or a republic?

The next item comes from Kevin, who writes, ...your insistence that plutonium is useless for a thermonuclear device. When, in fact, it is quite commonly used as the first stage.

Here's the original quote to which he refers:

their weapons program is centered on plutonium, so they don't have a lot of waste U-238 laying around waiting to be used in a thermonuclear device.

There's a difference, Kevin, between U238 and P239. You put the 3% enriched mix of U235 and U238 into a reactor and the U235 keeps the reactions going, generating heat and neutrons. Half the neutrons are needed to keep the reaction going; the other half are used for elemental transmutation. If a neutron hits a U238 nuclei, it converts it to U239, which is unstable and quickly decays to P239.

The point here is that your plutonium comes from your U238. If you want to maximize P239 production, then you don't want to be pulling U238 out for a fusion device; you want to keep it in the reactor, transforming it into P239. If you have a limited amount of yellowcake, you can get the highest bang out of it by making P239, not keeping it as U238.

I am concerned that the discussion is turning nasty, so I'll be backing away unless it cools off.
8.6.2006 12:29am
Humble Law Student (mail):
Time for my productive contribution . . . "You're all nuts."
8.6.2006 12:38am
A. Zarkov (mail):
"A.Zarkov, my reference to 'eight years' was to the time from the first fission bomb to the first fusion bomb -- which I miscalculated -- you're right, it was seven years."

The first test of a fission bomb was the Trinity Test, which was July 1945. The first test of a thermonuclear bomb was the Ivy Mike shot in Oct. 1952 that's seven years. But the Trinity test is the wrong time to start the clock. Once Teller and Ulam came out with the right design it took only one year to do the design and field a successful test. That test provided important data. But note the design worked right away. By 1979 no one had to put in the six years of conceptual work anymore. While it's not official Israel did test a bomb with South Africa. It was an underwater test. The US put out a cock and bull story that the flash on satellite sensors was a hit by a micro meteor. But no one with any sense believes that story. I asked an expert: "Could we have missed the debris from that shot." The answer was "yes."

"I'll point out that there are some experts who believe that the Israelis have both neutron weapons (which represent the first two stages of a thermonuclear device) and full-blown thermonuclear devices."

This statement confuses me. A thermonuclear device has only two stages. A neutron bomb is simply a two-stage design with a different case, so a big burst of neutrons gets emitted. The neutron bomb is a tactical device designed to repel a tank invasion-- it was never deployed. Actually there was one US experiment that had an extra stage for a super large yield.

"I do not rule out the possibility of an Israeli H-bomb."


Ok finally you have come around. Case closed.
8.6.2006 12:46am
A. Zarkov (mail):
Gentlemen:

Easy does it. Let's keep this discourse civil. It's ok to disagree, but let's not get personal. We learn and refine our arguments by engaging in spirted debate. Only a crackpot wants to preach to the choir. Let's not act like those left wing blogs that scream "troll" whenever some won't conform to the common dogma. Our enemy is dogma, not debate.
8.6.2006 12:57am
Erasmussimo:
A.Zarkov, a neutron bomb is a conventional fission device with a lot of deuterium, tritium, or even lithium in the core. The heat of the fission triggers thermonuclear reactions in the light elements, which release lots of neutrons. So there are two stages in a neutron bomb: 1)fission reactions leading to 2)fusion reactions.

In a full-blown thermonuclear device, the first two reactions take place, but then 3)the neutrons from the second stage transmute the U238 into P239, and then 4)additional neutrons induce the P239 to fission. What happens in that core is extremely complex, because a lot of species other than P239 appear, and those in turn are releasing alphas, betas, and neutrons at different energies -- it's a mess. The secondary and tertiary products cover just about the entire range of radionuclides. Most of the energy, though, is coming directly from the P239 fission.

While I cheerfully concede the plausibility of an Israeli thermonuclear device, I continue to consider it unlikely. In terms of the engineering, it makes little sense to do so. It's not because the Israelis lack the expertise, it's because such a device is very expensive and, when viewed in terms of the overall nuclear fuel cycle, somewhat wasteful. It's a great way to get a really big bang, if that's what you need. But if you're not out to vaporize entire mountains or destroy missiles in silos, it's a waste of expensive uranium. You're better off using your yellowcake to build lots more conventional warheads.
8.6.2006 1:26am
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Erasmussimo,

You are fricking daft. If your intention is to make a simple nuclear device, then yes, you want all the plutonium you can get. But, for thermonuclear devices, you only need a little plutonium to excite your fusionable mass.

You might also want a good deal more U238 to add to the fusion reaction. Oh, but that's a three-stage thermonuclear device. And, per your claim, they only have two.

What a fricking space-case!

But all this is a digression. Do you, or do you not, believe Japan can have thermonuclear weapons within a year? Or, more importantly, just what are your qualifications to support your rather maverick opinion that Israel has no thermonuclear devices?

I can create an entire bibliography's worth of recognized experts in the field to support my opinion that they do.

Again, I've had enough of you. You problem is that your logic is from the bottom-up. And you are willing to pull anything out of your ass to support your preconceived conclusions. What's more, I believe you are not just trying to deceive your counterpart, I believe you are deluding yourself, particularly with all pseudo-noblesse nonsense about constructive conversation.
8.6.2006 2:21am
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Oh, and anyone interested in Israel's nuclear capacity, supply of yellowcake, thermonuclear warheads, etc., might check this paper from Warner D. Farr, LTC, U.S. Army, at the USAF Counterproliferation Center - and follow the footnotes. It is quite authoritative.
8.6.2006 2:39am
Justin Kee (mail):
"HIstory is written by the winners."
8.6.2006 2:51am
A. Zarkov (mail):
Erasmussimo:

See the Wikipedia articles on the "neutron bomb" and "Nuclear Weapon Design." I think you have jumbled up some concepts so the blog readers are better served by going to Wikipedia and other web sources so they can judge for themselves.

Keven L. Conners:

Thanks very much for reference to the Farr article. I read it through quickly and it seems to be generally correct with a few exceptions. I was unaware that two Israeli scientists, Isaiah Nebenzahl and Menacehm Levin, developed laser isotope separation in1972. I was under the impression that US invented this process at about that time. It was finally commercialized by DOE and sold to USEC who eventually abandoned it because it's no longer economically viable. I can check this out with people who are experts on this subject.

In any case it seems clear to me that Israel has multi-stage nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them over short and long ranges. I was also under the impression that the Soviet Union directly threatened Israel by telling them they were targeted. Farr says the Soviets kept this a secret. So Israel would need a high yield long range capability to deter them.

As for Japan, I have little doubt they could develop their own nuclear capability very rapidly if they wanted. This whole business has become quite chilling with the impending nuclear capability of Iran coming. The people who think this (mainly liberals and the CIA) are in a state of denial.
8.6.2006 4:09am
Frank Drackmann (mail):
1: Kosher Hotdogs
2: Winonna Ryder
3: Jesus
4: Sandy Koufax
5: Albert Einstein
6: "Seinfeld"
7: the Beastie Boys
8: Rodney Dangerfield
9: the 3 Stooges
10: Lyle Alzado
what have the Arabs produced? the "0"?? fitting.


8:
8.6.2006 9:56am
Frank Drackmann (mail):
Left out,Ron Jeremy, Bob Marley, Slash, Lenny Kravitz, and Rod Serling. And I'd take a infantry unit made up of the mentioned individuals against the best of towel head land any day of the week, even saturday.
8.6.2006 11:03am
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Well, there was the great philosopher, Ibn Rushd, but that was in the twelfth century.

It the case of the Jews, you also forgot what may be their most important contribution to modern society: the Rothschilds, and the birth of international banking.

Oh, and history scholars now attribute the invention of "0" to India.
8.6.2006 12:12pm
Erasmussimo:
Gentlemen, this has become a pissing match, so I happily leave the (somewhat sodden) field to you.

Best wishes.
8.6.2006 12:38pm
Ken Arromdee:
And the fact that Hezbollah "are as well-equipped as any standing unit in the Syrian or Iranian armies" is completely irrelevant. The "true civilians" should not allows such "well-equipped... standing unit[s]" work among them. They should, obviously, use their training in farming and vast stores of picks and shovels to cast out the well-equiped army.

By this reasoning it's also immoral to kill conscripts. After all, it's ludicrous to expect conscripts to overthrow the units forcing them to fight, right?

If the army forces civilians to be human shields, and the civilians can't use their picks and shovels to throw the army out, then the civilians are conscripts, just as if the army was forcing them into a soldiering position instead of a human shield position. Conscripts are legitimate targets for the opposing army.
8.6.2006 12:43pm
Time to Get Serious:
Thanks to Frank Drackmann for mentioning Ron Jeremy among the pantheon of outstanding (so to speak) Jewish contributions to society. Granted, some Arab might point out his contribution would have been even greater were it not for circumcision...
8.6.2006 12:46pm
bart (mail):
you know, i like to read the posts here from time to time and marvel at the stupidity and ugliness on display.

this site should close comments permanently.
8.6.2006 1:53pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
Don't let the door hit your arsch on the way out, bart.
8.6.2006 2:11pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
A. Zarkov, you might want to check further into that. I know there's several different techniques of laser isotope seperation, but that's about the limit of my knowledge.
8.7.2006 12:31am