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What Is the Exchange Rate for Terrorist/Innocent Exchanges?

Amos Guiora and Martha Minow have this interesting post raising the provocative question of what is the proper exchange rate when a country like Israel negotiates with terrorists. They make this telling observation:

What parent wouldn't want the government to do anything—and everything--to recover a missing soldier-daughter or son? If a parent is in the drivers' seat, no price is too high, no measure to risky if there is a chance of recovering the child alive, and even recovering the remains of the cherished family member. Moreover, combat soldiers in recent days have expressed their support the exchange, and noted it is important for them to know that should they fall into captivity the state will do anything to release them.

But what is the obligation of the state when it sends soldier to combat? Does the state owe that individual "everything" should something happen? What are the limits of state obligation? What does "everything" mean? Turn over 1,000 members of Hamas for Gilad Shalit? Or East Jerusalem?

Perhaps the logical conclusion from Guiora and Minow's provocative question is that no negotiations should ever be undertaken with terrorist organizations.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. What Is the Exchange Rate for Terrorist/Innocent Exchanges?
  2. Why Doesn't Israel Have the Death Penalty for Murder by Terrorists?:
Deoxy (mail):
By bargaining for captive soldiers or soldiers' remains, Israel makes them valuable to Hamas.

That is, buying back something that the enemy can simply take again will encourage them to continue taking.

Blasting the ever-loving crap out of them until there are none of them left or they give back to you what is already yours gives them the incentive to STOP taking.

Of course, since everything Israel does (short of killing itself) is evil (in the view of the almighty "international community"), I don't know why they bother restraining themselves anymore. I doubt any other country in the world would... and that thought makes me a little uncomforable.
7.25.2008 11:34am
Jim Ison (mail):
I am new to this blog and indeed, new to blogging, and so am surprised by Deoxy's sweeping comment about the international community, and his conclusion, that he is "uncomfortable." I thought that members of the International community whose opinions mattered were rightly concerned about the occupation by Israeli citizens of Palistinian lands, and the seeking of a solution fair to all. From this distance it's hard to sympathise with people who simply move in and take over, if that's a fair description of that occupation. If it's not fair, what is fair, or what approaches objectivity here? On what information am I to make a decision that satisfies my need to be fair to both sides?
7.25.2008 12:14pm
Gregory Conen (mail):
The "do not negotiate with terrorists" dogma arises from the points Deoxy mentions, not because no single rational deal can be made with terrorists.

After all, if Hamas (somehow) captured a hundred soldiers, or perhaps more realistically managed to kidnap a hundred civilians, and asked for only one terrorist in exchange, then that might seem like a good deal.

Note further that exchanging live prisoners for corpses is a triplet of bad ideas. Not only Israel make an objectively bad trade (a potentially effective terrorist for no militarily or economically advantage), the incentives are doubly bad. They encourage more attacks, just like live hostage exchanges, and they also encourage Hamas to kill their hostages, as a corpse still allows them the release of prisoners.
7.25.2008 12:14pm
krs:
I don't know what it's like to be a parent, but I'm dubious of the idea that "If a parent is in the drivers' seat, no price is too high, no measure to risky if there is a chance of recovering the child alive, and even recovering the remains of the cherished family member."

If the child is dead, I'm sure that many parents might appreciate the closure that comes with knowing for certain that the child is dead and being able to bury the remains. But just intuitively, I don't think that the average parent would be so delirious with parental instinct as to be willing to risk the lives of others to recover a corpse.
7.25.2008 12:28pm
tarheel:
I might broaden the question. The US reportedly sent 900 soldiers and presumably spent tens of millions to get back three non-military hostages (just recently freed) in Colombia.

Given the dramatic outcome, seems like money well spent, but that is a helluva lot for three private citizens who surely knew the risks of working in Colombia (and may have gone there for the monetary rewards that kind of risk brings).
7.25.2008 12:34pm
ASlyJD (mail):
In our culture, you are probably correct. But as I understand Judaism, one requires an intact body for the eventual resurrection and afterlife. Thus, to a religious Jew having the corpse properly buried is not just a matter of closure but also a religious imperative. With this as a cultural backdrop, I imagine even non-religious Jews have a far stronger desire than what we might expect to have the body properly buried.
7.25.2008 12:38pm
Hoosier:
Gregory Conen: You've hit the Big Issue: What incentive is there now even to keep your hostage(s) alive?

Jim Ison: "I thought that members of the International community whose opinions mattered were rightly concerned about the occupation by Israeli citizens of Palistinian lands, and the seeking of a solution fair to all."

What do you mean by "whose opinions mattered"? The Syrian leadership's opionions matter in this case. But they certainly are not "concerned about the occupation by Israeli citizens of Palistinian lands," in the sense in which I suspect you are concerned. And "the seeking of a solution fair to all" doesn't have anything to do with their plans.

(As just one example.)

Welcome to the blogosphere, by the way!
7.25.2008 12:38pm
Happyshooter:
Or we (civilized nations) should go to option B.

They take a hostage, and we take 100 from their home village or mosque, and execute one each hour until the hostages are released.

They kill good people, and we go to their home village or mosque, take everyone there, and execute them.

The Romans only had to kill 6,000 at the end of the third slave revolt, and they never had another.
7.25.2008 12:53pm
Lior:
If we are willing to send combat troops to the front, where they may be killed, we should also accept that they may be captured. I have always believed the price we (Israel) have been willing to pay for the release of our people when held by the various Arab organizations way too high.

In the present case we should have exchanged bodies of their men with the bodies of ours. If our men were alive we should have exchanged live Hizballah prisoners for them, as is common following wars. In any case we should have refused to deal with them until they allowed the International Red Cross access to our men (which we allow, for example).

Since we are at war with Lebanon, exchanging captured combatants makes sense (even if, on their side, the combatants are members of a militia rather than government troops). On the other hand, unless the PA wishes to be considered at war with us, we should refuse to make any cocessions for the release Gilad Shalit. It is the PA's responsibility to ensure his release. In any case we should not negotiate with Hamas until they allow the Red Cross to visit him on a regular basis.

The Israeli government's inability to live with the (real) anguish of the families of captured and missing soldiers has been very costly. Unfortunately, this is not likely to change.
7.25.2008 1:05pm
PatHMV (mail) (www):
tarheel... it's not the amount spent that's terribly relevant, it's the amount received by the other side that makes this negotiation with evil so repugnant. If Israel had expended 200 soldiers and $100 million in order to recover by force the remains of its dead, that would be ok by me, even while paying $10 million to the terrorists would not. In the first scenario, the terrorists gain nothing, despite the costs paid by Israel. In the second, though the costs paid are nominally far lower, the long-term consequences that the payment has (providing perverse incentives to the terrorists to continue their activity) are far too large.
7.25.2008 1:06pm
Joel Rosenberg (mail) (www):
The more and more I think about it, the better policy I think Pournelle's suggestion around the Lebanon kidnappings was: just grab a thousand or ten thousand handy Arabs, and offer to trade them.
7.25.2008 1:14pm
Ed Unneland (mail):
Does the fact that we are talking about conscripts in captivity (as opposed to volunteers) change anything? Simply a question, not an expression of my opinion (which is uncertain).
7.25.2008 1:17pm
tarheel:
PatHMV: No doubt. Actually paying the other side is a different moral (loosely used) equation. I was just adding another angle to the discussion -- how much is a hostage worth generally to a country?
7.25.2008 1:19pm
Malvolio:
OK, there are three questions:

First, how much effort and money should we expend extricating people (or their remains) from danger? The answer doesn't change too much whether you're launching an Entebbe-like raid or search a forest for lost hikers. I don't know the answer but it doesn't change much.

Second, how much should you be willing to reward criminals and terrorists and such for returning hostages and prisoners? Easy (correct) answer: not a cent. Nada, niente, zilch. It's simply not worth it, because you aren't paying the terrorist to release the hostage -- you are paying him to release one hostage and capture another. The benefit to the first hostage is entirely vitiated by the cost to the next.

Third, how low should we sink in fighting terrorism and crime? Again, an easy, correct answer: not very low at all. It doesn't help us to swap terrorists in keffiyahs for better-armed and better-funded terrorists in IDF and SOCOM uniforms. Yes, it's a tough job being the good guy, but someone has to do it.

"Be careful when you fight the monsters, lest you become one."
-- Friedrich Nietzsche
7.25.2008 1:49pm
PLR:
Perhaps the logical conclusion from Guiora and Minow's provocative question is that no negotiations should ever be undertaken with terrorist organizations.

Does that "logical conclusion" supersede notions of parties acting in their rational self-interest using whatever relative bargaining powers are at their disposal?
7.25.2008 1:58pm
Aultimer:

tarheel:
Given the dramatic outcome, seems like money well spent, but that is a helluva lot for three private citizens who surely knew the risks of working in Colombia .

It's cheap compared to costs of dealing with the outcome of an apparent policy that permits the taking of Americans as hostages. If Israel didn't raid Entebbe, how many more hostages would been taken or harbored over the years?
7.25.2008 2:00pm
Ben P (mail):

If Israel had expended 200 soldiers and $100 million in order to recover by force the remains of its dead, that would be ok by me, even while paying $10 million to the terrorists would not. In the first scenario, the terrorists gain nothing, despite the costs paid by Israel. In the second, though the costs paid are nominally far lower, the long-term consequences that the payment has (providing perverse incentives to the terrorists to continue their activity) are far too large.


Has it occurred to you that you're misunderstanding the terrorists strategy and that the former scenario may be exactly what the terrorists were seeking?

You're not properly considering all of the externalities.

In your hypothetical scenario A, Israel Invades Lebanon to get the dead bodies of 2 soldiers. They spend 2000 lives and $100 million dollars in this effort and in exchange they have the remains of 2 soldiers, and they've killed a number of Hezbollah fighters and probably destroyed infrastucture.

Even presuming that Israel could successfully accomplish the likely difficult objective of finding two easily hidden bodies in enemy custody. This has At Least 2 consequences

1. Such an endeavor necessarily involves a great deal of suffering upon the people of Lebanon, and will only serve to reinforce the Hezbollah party line that Israel is in fact a dangerous aggressive nation, and that Hezbollah should retain power in Lebanon to protect the people from this threat.

2. It leaves Israel presumably in temporary possession of some amount of Lebanese Territory that it clearly cannot occupy for the long term. It would at some point in the relatively near future be forced to withdraw again and give Hezbollah the opportunity to claim the propaganda victory that they've driven the "evil israelis" out of their home country .


Whereas, even with this grossly unequal prisoner swap, the Israelis have handed Hezbollah only a minor propaganda victory, (IMO lesser than the victory that 2 would be above) and an individual or two that in the greater scheme of things are pretty small.

Given that actually implementing a "you capture 1 we kill 100" solution is well beyond unreasonable and uncivilized, I think this was the lesser of two evils for Israel.
7.25.2008 2:14pm
Sigivald (mail):
Perhaps the logical conclusion from Guiora and Minow's provocative question is that no negotiations should ever be undertaken with terrorist organizations.

That sounds about right, as long as "negotiations" is understood as "negotiations over the return of hostages".

No ransom, no negotiation, no deals.

Any of the above simply create an incentive structure that guarantees more kidnappings by rewarding them rather than punishing them.

A policy of military raids to either recover the hostages or at least kill their holders (if the hostages are killed by the hostage-takers) would reduce the incidence of hostage-taking to zero very rapidly, for the same reason.

As the economists say, "incentives matter".
7.25.2008 2:19pm
Brian Mac:

Or we (civilized nations) should go to option B.

They take a hostage, and we take 100 from their home village or mosque, and execute one each hour until the hostages are released.

They kill good people, and we go to their home village or mosque, take everyone there, and execute them.

I'd like to think that the irony was intentional.
7.25.2008 2:32pm
Careless:
If they had captured then killed my daughter (or killed and dragged off her corpse) I would volunteer to shoot the prisoner they wanted in exchange for her corpse.
7.25.2008 2:32pm
Sarcastro (www):
Brian Mac: Nope! Because we're civilized and we know it, we can do anything we want when dealing with savages!

It's tradition!
7.25.2008 2:55pm
unhyphenatedconservative (mail):
"Third, how low should we sink in fighting terrorism and crime? Again, an easy, correct answer: not very low at all."

Why is that? It seems to me that playing with our hands tied will only prolong the struggle and cost more innocent lives. The West has been successful when we engage on a strategy of obliterating the enemy. See the Civil War and World War II.
7.25.2008 2:57pm
Sarcastro (www):
unhyphenatedconservative does have a point; both those wars were awesome.

The best part of this will thought out "obliterate the enemy" plan is how obvious the enemy's identity is.
7.25.2008 3:00pm
Benjamin Davis (mail):
The calculations always seem outlandish when you are not the parent who does not know what happened to their child. The more complicated issue is why the state would do this? One reason - consistent with military ethos - which is to never leave someone on the battlefield.
Best,
Ben
7.25.2008 3:04pm
CheckEnclosed (mail):
Will the reception given to Kuntar in Lebanon affect the way the world views civilian casualties collateral to Israeli attacks on Hezbollah?

Previously, one might have thought that the Lebanese people were between a rock and a hard place -- afflicted by Hezbollah and Syrian interference on the one hand, and in the crossfire between Israel and Hezbollah on the other.

By celebrating Kuntar both officially and in the streets, have the Lebanese people (or a good chink of them) shown their true colors, as supporters of terrorists and murderers to such an extent that it will be harder to look on them as innocent bystanders next time a stray missle hits their neighborhoods?

If so (even if it is only so for members of oppositions parties in the Knesset), maybe that's not such a bad trade from the Israeli government's point of view.
7.25.2008 3:05pm
luagha:
The taking of hostages (as opposed to prisoners) is a declaration of war. War should be declared in response, and fought as such. The declaration of war and the reasons for the declaration of war should be made as public as possible.

The Geneva Conventions make various (somewhat disputed) statements about what constitutes a legitimate target in a time of war, how prisoners should be dealt with, what sort of uniforms should be worn, and so forth. Within those rules, Israel can go about destroying legitimate infrastructure and military targets at will.

The Arabs can whine, like they always do. And the government can claim that they are not aligned with the terrorists who are using their state. If the supposedly legitimate government claims that the terrorists are using their state, the answer is simple; they can negotiate a surrender to Israel. When the government has surrendered, the only people left fighting will therefore be terrorists.
7.25.2008 3:08pm
PLR:
unhyphenatedconservative does have a point; both those wars were awesome.

But the Iraq War was shocking and awesome.

It's a damn shame it ended so quickly.
7.25.2008 3:17pm
Ben P (mail):

The Arabs can whine, like they always do. And the government can claim that they are not aligned with the terrorists who are using their state. If the supposedly legitimate government claims that the terrorists are using their state, the answer is simple; they can negotiate a surrender to Israel. When the government has surrendered, the only people left fighting will therefore be terrorists.


I think this misunderstands the relatively complicated nature of terrorist organizations in the Middle East, particularly in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.

The former is easier to describe than the latter because the Palestinian territories are just a mess and may as well have no government at all.

But in Lebanon there is a central government. When that government was formed the country was about 1/3'd Maronite christian, 1/3'd Sunni Muslim, and 1/3d Shia Muslim, and they built the government around those three ethnic groups sharing power between them. We've allowed the Iraqi's to set up a government that's not quite the same, but is not dissimilar.

To many of the Shia, Hezbollah is their political party of choice. It also provides social services for them, and it also maintains a military wing, from which largely it's terrorist elements come.


The Lebanese certainly owe some of their allegiance to their faction within Lebanon, but they also do have a distinct national consciousness and pride, and they also are quite capable of determining what's best for them. The Cedar Revolution showed that the other two groups are certainly capable of standing up to Hezbollah and their Syrian and Iranian backers, but also that they cannot eliminate Hezbollah's basis of power within the country short of another long and probably unsuccessful civil war.

If the central government were to surrender to Israel and allow Israeli troops free reign over the country to hunt down Hezbollah terrorists, a lot of the Lebanese People (just like they did during the last invasion) would start swining toward the support of Hezbollah because they see Hezbollah as the group that can protect them while the Weak Central government cannot. So they'd likely only strengthen Hezbollah support by doing such a thing even if it allowed the Israelis to put significant pressure on them as an organization.
7.25.2008 3:24pm
htom (mail):
Negotiating with evil doers is, well, evil. It may be necessary to do so, but there is probably little good that can come from it. Saving the life of the victim at the cost of the future attacks to gain more victims to barter ....

R.A.Heinlein was very, very close to being right. "Men are not potatoes."
7.25.2008 3:30pm
Malvolio:
"Third, how low should we sink in fighting terrorism and crime? Again, an easy, correct answer: not very low at all."

Why is that? It seems to me that playing with our hands tied will only prolong the struggle and cost more innocent lives. The West has been successful when we engage on a strategy of obliterating the enemy.
The practical benefits to being evil are often overstated. Take a specific case: bombing German cities.

Attacking civilian populations had always been considered a war-crime, but the Allies justified it (to themselves) as a means to reduce German production of war materiel.

But did it? We certainly managed to kill hundreds of thousands of civilians, but it doesn't look to me as if we made a serious dent in production. And 1000-plane raids aren't cheap; suppose we had used the money on R&D to develop better bombsights, better surveillance, and so forth, and used pin-point bombing to blow up munitions depots, troop concentrations, and C3I facilities, as opposed to cathedrals and housing complexes.

More generally, the relative non-evilness of the western Allies produced a willingness of German troops and civilians to surrender, while conversely they would fight Soviet forces (with their fondness for rape and looting) to the death.

Completely abstractly, it's difficult to remain "a little evil". Each step in the wrong direction makes the next a little easier; each atrocity makes a worse atrocity a little more thinkable.
7.25.2008 3:30pm
bigchris1313 (mail):


Or we (civilized nations) should go to option B.

They take a hostage, and we take 100 from their home village or mosque, and execute one each hour until the hostages are released.

They kill good people, and we go to their home village or mosque, take everyone there, and execute them.

I'd like to think that the irony was intentional.

I'm certain it was. Obvious troll is obvious.
7.25.2008 3:31pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
I wouldn't negotiate with terrorists.

But I do find it quite unseemly to see the American right-- which claims to love Israel-- bashing on Israeli anti-terrorism policies.

Isn't it Israel's business when it decides to negotiate? Indeed, isn't that what the right wing is always telling us when the shoe is on the other foot and there are proposals to press Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians?
7.25.2008 3:32pm
Deoxy (mail):
I thought that members of the International community whose opinions mattered were rightly concerned about the occupation by Israeli citizens of Palistinian lands, and the seeking of a solution fair to all.


Then that's an awfully short list, or you aren't paying attention.

There is a conflict going on in the Middle East where one portion of one side wants a bit more land than is probably rightfully theirs (I won't get into the legalities at the moment, but it's complicated, either way) and the majority of the other side wants to commit genocide.

If you follow the UN at all, or any other form of international group behaviour, you'll see that the side that wants to commit gencide (and publicly proclaims it on a regular basis, and intentionally targets civilians, etc) is the one that gets all the sympathy and support.

So, not to be rude, but what planet are you from? If there was any siginificant international support for "a solution fair to all", things in the Middle East would be radically different.
7.25.2008 3:34pm
SG:

unhyphenatedconservative does have a point; both those wars were awesome.


The point is that those wars were won. Slavery ended and the south re-entered the union. Germany and Japan were defeated and disarmed.

Which is worse, 4 or 5 years of utter brutality or (as in Israel) 60 years and counting of near-continuous low level violence punctuated by even more intense flareups?

Not having suffered through (obviously) the War Between the States or WWII, I can't have an informed opinion, but being blessed to live after those wars, I'm glad the people at the time made the sacrifices they did and that I don't live with slavery or Nazis.
7.25.2008 3:34pm
Sarcastro (www):
SG Wow! Victory is an even better thought out strategy than unhyphenatedconservative's "obliterate the enemy" idea!
7.25.2008 3:38pm
Oren:
Not having suffered through (obviously) the War Between the States or WWII, I can't have an informed opinion, but being blessed to live after those wars, I'm glad the people at the time made the sacrifices they did and that I don't live with slavery or Nazis.
Somehow I get the impression that most colored folk living in Jim Crow's South would have preferred the North stay for a long and drawn-out low-level occupation.
7.25.2008 3:39pm
luagha:
I'm familiar with the Lebanon situation, Ben P, and you put it very well.

The additional problem is that Israel cannot team up with the non-Hezbollah portion of Lebanon against Hezbollah one, because they are Israel, and two, because all such communications would be so infiltrated that no joint maneuvers would be possible - no information sharing would be available. That is why a forced surrender such as I describe is the only choice of many bad ones.

But, to destroy my own argument, you can't win a war against someone with infinite resupply. Iran and Syria would have to be otherwise occupied first.
7.25.2008 3:42pm
Milhouse (www):
1800 years ago the rabbis of the Mishnah ruled "one may not ransom captives for more than their value". This was a time when pirates and bandits would make a living by kidnapping people and selling them as slaves. Some of these captives would be Jews, and naturally other Jews would want to buy and release them, and would be willing to pay whatever they could afford to do so. But the rabbis were afraid that if it were established that Jews fetched a significantly higher price than gentiles, then this would create an incentive for the bandits to target Jews for capture. So they forbade paying more than the market price; that much the bandits would get anyway, so paying it created no perverse incentives.

Nowadays when there's no market in slaves, kidnapping people is useless unless you know someone will pay for them; it therefore seems to me that paying any ransom at all, or at least anything higher than the kidnappers' costs (thus providing them with a net profit), violates this law.
7.25.2008 3:45pm
Sarcastro (www):
Oren I wish I'd thought of that!
7.25.2008 3:46pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Malvolio.
See Neillands, "The Bomber War". The Allies tried to do as you say, but with the technology of the time--and, no, you can't just "put money" into nowhere and come up with a fluffy bunny solution--they could only do what they could do.

Instead of spending money on ransom, spend it on retrieval.
Either complicated op like the FARC scoop, or Entebbe. In the first case, they probably got some additional intel, as well as making various field commanders suspicious of messages from higher. In the second case, they killed a lot of bad guys and put kidnappers on notice.

Kidnapping for ransom is rare in the US because, starting at least with Lindbergh, the feds put a LOT of effort into it. There's no chance of payoff, so there is very little attempt.

Seems simple to me: Pay them to take prisoners, and they'll take prisoners. What's hard about that? Calling it ransom to get them back does not change the fact that you're telling the folks in advance that there's big money in capturing your people. Hell, if the Israeli ransom were not forthcoming, you could probably get a lawyer considerably less nuts than Ramsey Clark to sue for breach of implied contract. Might win, too. I mean, look at all the trouble the terrs went to in the good faith expectation that they'd be paid for it.

In the long run, before we are all dead, spending soldiers to get back hostages who were already dead, or got killed in the attempt, will reduce the benefit to the hostage takers. Net savings of life.

Not to decide is to decide.
7.25.2008 4:00pm
SG:

Somehow I get the impression that most colored folk living in Jim Crow's South would have preferred the North stay for a long and drawn-out low-level occupation.


Probably. What's your point?
7.25.2008 4:13pm
Smokey:
Welcome, Jim Ison.

If I may, in response I would like to introduce some facts regarding a non-racially separate, geographically nebulous, self-labeled special interest group within parts of the local indigenous populations of Lebanon, Israel, Syria, etc., who refer to themselves Palestinians, in the same way some folks here call themselves Clevelanders, or 49ers fans.

"Palestinians" remind me of plenty of some Hawaiian locals. You can actually find self-proclaimed "indigenous Hawaiians" who look like they just walked off the gangplank off the SS Norway. They'll tell you with a straight face all about how much Hawaiian blood they have. Usually it's about 90% but, you know, sometimes the genes from the other 10% show up, so you can get blond haired and blue-eyed almost purebred "Hawaiians." So let's play the game:

When has there ever been a State of Palestine? Or a country of Palestine? Name a single King of Palestine, or any "Palestinian lands" ever conquered by any Emperor of Palestine, but which are now "occupied" by Israel.

BZ-Z-Z-Z-ZT! Time's up.

In fact, Palestine is purely an an invention, constructed mainly by Yasser Arafat beginning in the 1960's. Almost anyone can be a "Palestinian." All it requires is to blame Israel for "occupying Palestinian lands." Hatred of jews is at the top of the list, of course. Not that it's absolutely required, but you can't look like the Swedish Royal Princess and get away with being a Palestinian unless you demonize Israel. OTOH, if you look like the average Arab, then you can be a Palestinian and even be fond of Israel -- but you'd best keep it to yourself.

For a more complete explanation of the Clevelanders Palestinians, see here [by an Arabic writer].
7.25.2008 4:22pm
Toby:


Not having suffered through (obviously) the War Between the States or WWII, I can't have an informed opinion, but being blessed to live after those wars, I'm glad the people at the time made the sacrifices they did and that I don't live with slavery or Nazis.

Somehow I get the impression that most colored folk living in Jim Crow's South would have preferred the North stay for a long and drawn-out low-level occupation.

And yet there were forces even then that wanted to pull out, to leave the contentious and expenmsiv reconciliation behind. During the occupation, there were numerous elections in which former slaves made it to the legislature. After the pull-out, not so much.
7.25.2008 4:25pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Smokey.

You did it. You spent time and effort to discredit what Isom did in two words. You're right, but it's an imbalance. Eventually, the liars win by exhausting people like you.
7.25.2008 4:27pm
EIDE_Interface (mail):
Sarcastro is a troll and should be banned. It has nothing useful to say.
7.25.2008 4:46pm
ronnie dobbs (mail):

I wouldn't negotiate with terrorists.

But I do find it quite unseemly to see the American right-- which claims to love Israel-- bashing on Israeli anti-terrorism policies.

Isn't it Israel's business when it decides to negotiate? Indeed, isn't that what the right wing is always telling us when the shoe is on the other foot and there are proposals to press Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians?


To paraphrase the leftists, it's not that I'm anti-Israel, it's just that I disagree with this particular policy. (Come to think of it, that's probably the first time that phrase has ever been uttered by someone who actually meant it.)
7.25.2008 5:33pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
ronnie.
Of course it's Israel's business. So what?
We're allowed to comment.
Right?
7.25.2008 5:38pm
FantasiaWHT:

The point is that those wars were won. Slavery ended and the south re-entered the union. Germany and Japan were defeated and disarmed.


Even more to the point is that the postludes were peaceful, the countries became our allies, and have two of the largest economies in the world with limited space and relatively small populations.
7.25.2008 5:39pm
Kent G. Budge (www):
Exchanging a thousand terrorists for a rotting corpse implies that a thousand terrorists are comparable in value to a rotting corpse.

That sounds about right, in a twisted kind of way.
7.25.2008 5:46pm
Sarcastro (www):
FantasiaWHT Sweet! What are we waiting for? Let's nuke Palestine already!
7.25.2008 5:46pm
PLR:
Almost anyone can be a "Palestinian." All it requires is to blame Israel for "occupying Palestinian lands."

So when those members of the Knesset are talking about the occupied territories, to what are they referring? A logjam in the men's room (no pun intended)? An ongoing game of Risk?
7.25.2008 7:03pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
ronnie. Of course it's Israel's business. So what? We're allowed to comment. Right?

Of course you are allowed to comment. But let's have a single standard here. If conservative attempts to get Israel to take a tougher line on terrorism are not anti-Israel or anti-Semitic, then liberal attempts to get Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians aren't either.
7.25.2008 7:35pm
Milhouse (www):
PLR, which Members of Knesset would those be? The ones who are openly affiliated with Israel's enemies? They use terms like "occupied territories" because they are part of the propaganda campaign against Israel. Their leftist fellow-travelers and collaborators are tired of fighting and want peace on any terms at all (plus some who are in the pay of the European Union) use those terms for similar reasons. Other Members of Knesset don't use that term, because it's not legally or in any other way accurate. In general speech, Israelis just say "the territories", without going into their exact legal status; it's just a geographic shorthand.

But the fact is there was no country with legal sovereignty over the territories before Israel took control of them. The fact is that Israel had every legal right to annex them, but has so far chosen not to (except the eastern half of Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, and a bit of land at Latrun). Legally, they're not part of any country, so they can't be "occupied". And there's no particular reason why they ought to constitute a new Arab country, never before heard of, to be called "Palestine".

It's also a fact that under Israeli rule the rights of Arab land owners have been fully protected. No Arab has had his land confiscated except under the normal conditions of eminent domain, for public use (roads, army bases, etc.), and with full compensation. So I don't know what Jim Ison means by "people who simply move in and take over".
7.25.2008 7:59pm
hattio1:
Milhouse says;

It's also a fact that under Israeli rule the rights of Arab land owners have been fully protected. No Arab has had his land confiscated except under the normal conditions of eminent domain, for public use (roads, army bases, etc.), and with full compensation. So I don't know what Jim Ison means by "people who simply move in and take over".



If you haven't heard of illegal settlements, you haven't been paying attention.
7.25.2008 8:07pm
Smokey:
hattio1:
"If you haven't heard of illegal settlements, you haven't been paying attention."
Um-m-m, who is it that's not paying attention here? From the link above:

The Arabs have built 261 settlements in the West Bank since 1967. We don't hear much about those settlements. We hear instead about the number of Jewish settlements that have been created. We hear how destabilizing they are -- how provocative they are. Yet, by comparison, only 144 Jewish settlements have been built since 1967 -- including those surrounding Jerusalem, in the West Bank and in Gaza.
7.25.2008 9:43pm
Yankev (mail):

But as I understand Judaism, one requires an intact body for the eventual resurrection and afterlife.
According to Maimonidies (or the Rambam as we call him), this is a misconception. Proper burial is a matter of respect for the dead, and respect for G-d in Whose image we are created. Verification of death is a different matter, and is necessary both for closure (as you noted) and also to permit the widows to eventually remarry.
7.27.2008 12:30pm