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Still waiting

for Glenn Greenwald to tell us what would be a "proportionate" Israeli response to the launching of hundreds of missiles at its civilian population from Hamas-controlled Gaza, as opposed to what he calls Israel's current "massively disproportionate response."

In other Greenwald news, just to keep track of who is engaging in what Greenwald calls "juvenile and emotionally manipulative means of argumentation," Greenwald implicitly acknowledges, as I noted yesterday, that he blogs far more about Israel than I do. But according to Greenwald, when he blogs constantly about Israel, it's because he's a clear-eyed realist about the implications of Israeli actions for American foreign policy; when I do it less often, it's because I'm an "Israel-obsessive." Glad that's cleared up. (UPDATE: To clarify, I don't think that Greenwald is an "Israel-obsessive," but do find it odd that he called me one, based on his own frequent posting on Israel-related matters, and his admission in the comments that he rarely reads my blog posts.)

Meanwhile, I actually agree with Greenwald on one point: "none of these intractable disputes between Israel and its various neighbors should be a focal point of American policy."

UPDATE: You can read Greenwald's response, and my response to his response, in the comments below. To save you the suspense, he STILL doesn't tell us what he thinks a proportionate response by Israel to the launching of hundreds of missiles at its civilian population from Hamas-controlled Gaza would be, nor does he admit the obvious, that he simply believes that since Israel has brought the Gaza situation on itself through its bad actions, Israel has no right to defend itself from the missiles.

UPDATE 2: Greenwald purports to answer:

I've answered this repeatedly. Do you know of anyone who actually believes that at the end of this Israeli attack, there will be no more Hamas, or no more rockets?

The only military solution to the rocket attacks is total annihilation of the residents of Gaza and a complete flattening of their cities. If Israel were to do that, what possible objections would those here be able to make who are arguing that "proportionality" has no role to play in restricting the means used to fight justifiable wars?

Terrorism ends when the causes of it are addressed, typically via diplomatic means. That's what history proves. I know that's not as spectacular or exciting or blood-pumping as watching people you hate and their children get incinerated by bombs dropped from on high, but it's still how it is.

According to Hamas itself, the "cause" of Hamas's terrorism is the very existence of Israel. Hamas spokesmen will occasionally raise the possibility of a long-term "hudna," but then they are usually contradicted by others in Hamas, and in any event they acknowledge that the hudna would only be a temporary step toward the ultimate "liberation of all of Palestine." So, there is really only one pure "diplomatic" solution to the problem of Hamas terrorism, and that is for Israel to capitulate. So if you were wondering why Israelis from across the political spectrum, from Meretz to Yisrael Beitanu, aren't exactly flocking to take Greenwald's advice, there you have it. And military action, done right, is hardly completely useless--how many terrorist atrocities have emanated from Jenin or Bethlehem lately?

MatrixArchitect:
I don't know if this point has been brought up here before, but I'll take a shot at it now. Israel and the US have been largely criticized for allowing democratic elections in Gaza, knowing that there was a really good possibility Hamas would win and a terrorist organization would be "legitimized". Now it strikes me as possibly a genius tactic in that, with a terrorist org. now as "the government" it can be efficiently attacked whereas before it had the advantage of hiding amongst the people and much harder to target.
12.30.2008 9:20am
Steven White (mail):
The law and use on 'proportionality' goes back to Aquinas and has a strong tradition in civil law. Various attempts have been made to apply it to international conflict, though a review of Clausewitz on war would suggest that proportionality was not in his vocabulary.

But proportionality goes out the window when dealing with terrorists, who, after all, seek to inflict the maximum harm possible on you and yours. The goal of Hamas, according to their charter, is nothing less than the destruction of Israel, and there is virtually nothing in seeking that goal that is out of bounds for them. That Hamas may also act as a social and charitable organization does not earn them points to offset the many, many terrorist acts they've committed in seeking their goal.

So with regard to proportionality, Hamas has already demonstrated that they have no bounds -- ergo, no 'proportion' to respect. Israel is justified in virtually any response under the law of proportionality because Hamas has already been as disproportionate as they can be. Indeed, a more ruthless application of the time-honored rules of war (e.g., Saladin, Genghis Khan, etc) would suggest that the Israelis have been (I'll use the vernacular here) wussies in dealing with Hamas. Or said alternately, Israel has been remarkably restrained and considerate towards the civilians in Gaza.

Proportionality is indeed important in civil law and conflicts on a scale lesser than war, and Prof Bernstein and the rest of the Volokh conspiracy can educate us all on that. It may be useful in certain aspects of war between nation-states. But it has no foundation at all in dealing with terrorists or a terror-founded state such as Hamas-controlled Gaza. Hamas is the disproportionate party.
12.30.2008 9:24am
hawkins:
You both seem "Israel-obsessive" to me
12.30.2008 9:26am
Matt Tievsky (mail):
Steven White: "But proportionality goes out the window when dealing with terrorists, who, after all, seek to inflict the maximum harm possible on you and yours."

Proprortionality vis-a-vis Hamas itself, perhaps. But the complaint of proportionality we're hearing today regards the Palestinians as a whole. For all the pooh-poohing of proportionality, how many people seriously think that massacring the entire population of the Gaza Strip is morally justifiable? If you can't stomach that, then you implicitly acknowledge a proportionality requirement.
12.30.2008 9:30am
Redlands (mail):
I wonder how proportionate our response would be if, for instance, terrorists in Mexico or Canada started lobbing rockets across the border. When it comes to living in a reality of actual and threatened death it's hard for me to be judgmental and draw fine lines to create proportionality.
12.30.2008 9:45am
Pragmaticist:
Israel has the right to respond in such a way as to minimize the threat of future attacks.

Disproportionality is a non-issue as this is not a game of tit for tat; Israel's duty is nothing less than to prevent attacks on its people.
12.30.2008 9:54am
PubliusFL:
Pragmaticist: Disproportionality is ALWAYS an issue when you use military force. As Matt Tievsky pointed out above, massacring the entire population of Gaza would certainly stop the attacks, but would obviously be unjustifiable. Israel has a right to respond to the attacks, but its response must always be proportionate. Which does seem to be the case so far, from what I have seen.
12.30.2008 10:03am
swg:
Glad to hear about a bit of agreement.

Also, while I think you win this argument with Greenwald, it does seem to me you're Israel-obsessive (you post primarily about Israel on a legal blog), and you do argue a bit childishly (you're sarcastic, condescending, generally pretty annoying). I suppose it says something about the strength of your logic if I find you more persuasive despite your style.
12.30.2008 10:05am
Al Maviva:
what would be a "proportionate" Israeli response to the launching of hundreds of missiles at its civilian population

An ad hominem [counter]attack, of course. It works for Glenn, why shouldn't it work for the Israelis?

I'm always impressed with how trenchant and brilliant Glenn's insights are - he always seems to know so much more about how "the man in the ring" should respond to everything than the man in the ring. Maybe Glenn will honor us some day by serving in our armed forces, or accepting a position of great responsibility in the executive branch. I'm sure nobody would second guess him in moralizing, apocalyptic tones, because he'd always be right...
12.30.2008 10:07am
Pragmaticist:
My mistake as I should have communicated more clearly:

Israel has the right to respond in the least harmful way that minimizes the threat of future attacks.

But, disproportionality is indeed a non-issue, because the extent of Israel's response is permitted to be just as much as it takes for Israel to ensure its own safety. In short, Israel's response is to be circumscribed not by "proportionality", but by what is minimally sufficient for Israel's protection.
12.30.2008 10:08am
Pete Freans (mail):
It’s fascinating that the constant barrage of missiles attacks from Hamas barely makes a dent in media coverage - I was aware of this guerilla tactic, I had no idea the frequency that these attacks have been taking place - yet Israel’s response prompts a media blitz, complete with U.N. humanitarian announcements (aka, condemnation). This is a media double-standard that we conservatives know all too well.
12.30.2008 10:08am
wb (mail):
"none of these intractable disputes between Israel and its various neighbors should be a focal point of American policy."


Get real, wishing cannot make it so. The US is engaged in war on two fronts connected with this issue.
12.30.2008 10:12am
JohnCK (mail):
The only reason that civilians are taking such a hit (assuming they are and I have yet to see any reliable casualty figures for civilians versus legitimate military targets) is because Hamas is hiding among the population. It is high time people stop blaming Israel for defending itself and start blaming Hamas for using the Palistinian people as human shields and their suffering for propeganda purposes.

Hamas is laying down the blueprint for 21st century war; completely disregard the safety of your citizens, use them as human shields and suicide bombers forcing your enemy to harm your civilians to defend himself, and then use your civilians' suffering as a propaganda tool to break your enemy's will to fight and erode his international support. It is a thoroughly barbaric way of making war and one that people like Greenwald are doing their best to reward with success.
12.30.2008 10:13am
josh:
I think you're missing the point of the "Israel obsessed" comment. It's not a measure of how often you blog about Israel. It's an observation of the fact that, when you do blog about Israel, you only write favorably about Israel's actions (unless bashing Israeli liberals, of course). Or you write to criticize critics of Israel's actions.

Perhaps "Israel sycophant" would be more appropriate. And I say that as someone who (1) agrees that the current violence is not "disproportionate" and (2) is just damn thankful your posts haven't descended to their usual theme of blaming the media reporting the fact that, yes, innocent civilians have been killed (although I do miss Green Helmet Guy!).

Finally, what I think would be nice (and this seems a common failure of your and Lindgren's posts) is for YOU to answer the question about proportionality. I'm all for criticism, but how about some actual thoughtful discussion of merits? Why not set forth your true feelings about what are the parameters of "proportionality" for Israel? Would it be "proportionate" (or morally justified) for Israel to drop a small nuke in response to Hamas' cross-border bombings? Would the same response be justified in response to the suicide bombings that are soon to come?

Let's start setting forth a spectrum of propriety. Go on the record. I think the "Israel obsessed" label is only accurate to the extent your posts about Israel are nothing but reactionary. Israel acts. You approve and criticize those critical of Israel. I think you can reach the same end while setting out your opinion ex ante rather than ex post.
12.30.2008 10:30am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Greenwald reminds me a lot of Raimondo, and not just because of his obsession with Israel, but stylistically, as well. Posts filled with random links which don't actually support his arguments, seized on triumphantly as though they do and then harped on repeatedly. Look at the post that DB links to here: Greenwald finds a poll from July which says that Americans don't think the U.S. should take Israel's side.

Set aside that a single poll is never a very good basis to rest an argument on. Set aside that the wording of the question is rather ambiguous: "In the Israel-Palestinian conflict, do you think [Country] should take Israel's side, take the Palestinians’ side, or not take either side?" What does "take Israel's side" mean? I don't think the U.S. should send troops to Gaza; does that mean I don't think the U.S. should take Israel's side? How did respondents interpret the question?

But the poll was asked in July, not now. That people didn't think the U.S. should "take Israel's side" in general doesn't mean that people don't think the U.S. should "take Israel's side" in this current military confrontation, given what Hamas has been doing.
12.30.2008 10:31am
David M. Nieporent (www):
I think you're missing the point of the "Israel obsessed" comment. It's not a measure of how often you blog about Israel. It's an observation of the fact that, when you do blog about Israel, you only write favorably about Israel's actions (unless bashing Israeli liberals, of course). Or you write to criticize critics of Israel's actions.
I think it is a measure of how often he blogs about Israel. That's what the words mean. What you're describing is Israel-biased or something, not Israel-obsessed.
12.30.2008 10:34am
DavidBernstein (mail):
I think you're missing the point of the "Israel obsessed" comment. It's not a measure of how often you blog about Israel. It's an observation of the fact that, when you do blog about Israel, you only write favorably about Israel's actions (unless bashing Israeli liberals, of course). Or you write to criticize critics of Israel's actions.
I'm sorry, Josh, but that's really dumb, as what you have essentially argued is that someone (like me) who posts on Israel and is generally supportive of Israel is properly deemed "obsessive", while someone, like Greenwald, who posts about Israel and is generally critical of Israel is not. Besides which, I'd in fact wager that I've been critical of Israel more frequently than Greenwald has been favorable to Israel. So unless you'd agree that Greenwald "obsessively bashes Israel", I don't think you're looking at this remotely objectively.
12.30.2008 10:35am
JohnCK (mail):
"Finally, what I think would be nice (and this seems a common failure of your and Lindgren's posts) is for YOU to answer the question about proportionality"

What question is that? Since the Israelis do not owe the Palistinians a rocket for rocket response and are free to use whatever force is available, I don't see how "proportionality" is a question unless you are like Greenwald and think it is Israeli's duty to die for the peace process.

Hamas refuses to make peace and continues to attack Israelis. The only sollution then is for the Israelis to destroy Hamas. As far as the Palistinian people go, at some point don't they bear some responsibility for supporting Hamas and its genocidal ideology? No one would have argued that the allies owed Nazi Germany a "proportional response" to its agression for the sake of the poor German people. The German people were bombed, conquered and occupied as a price for their support of a genocidal ideology. The Palistinians support a similiar ideology, aggressively attack and murder their neighbors and refuse to make peace, yet are somehow considered the victims in all this.
12.30.2008 10:37am
soldier of fortune:
Since the whole Gazan population provides support to the Hamas regime, there realy are no civiliams in Gaza. Israel is fully justified in conducting a scorched earth policy in Gaza. Israel's response has been overly restrained, and this policy has produced the current threat. It needs to create a since of overwhelming fear in its enemies, that they would do anything to defend itself. What is called for is the disporpotionate response; either drive Hamas into Egypt or into the sea.
12.30.2008 10:37am
hymie (mail):
The point of war isn't to get style points, it's to achieve your goals. If being "barbaric" (as if other methods of fighting wars are "civilized") gets you there, then that's what you do. Whether it's about Iraq or Israel or Afghanistan, people really have to get over this unpleasant tendency to whine that the enemy is refusing to stand there and be killed.
12.30.2008 10:39am
DavidBernstein (mail):
FWIW, Greenwald acknowledged that "Israel-obsessed" is a measure of how often one blogs about Israel, but denies that HE is obsessed because his posts are just a reflection of his enlightenment.
12.30.2008 10:41am
PubliusFL:
Pragmaticist: In short, Israel's response is to be circumscribed not by "proportionality", but by what is minimally sufficient for Israel's protection.

As I see it, that IS proportionality. Proportionality means using force sufficient to protect yourself or eliminate the threat, but not going so far beyond that amount of force as to cause an unreasonable amount of collateral damage considering the importance of the military objective.
12.30.2008 10:45am
JohnCK (mail):
"The point of war isn't to get style points, it's to achieve your goals. If being "barbaric" (as if other methods of fighting wars are "civilized") gets you there, then that's what you do. Whether it's about Iraq or Israel or Afghanistan, people really have to get over this unpleasant tendency to whine that the enemy is refusing to stand there and be killed."

Fair enough. But if that is true for Hamas than it is true for Israel. If Hamas is right in its use of its civilian population, then Israel is right in its extermination of that population. Ultimately, that is what Hamas is going to cause to have happen. Eventually, the Israelis will tire of war and see exterminating the Palistinians as their only way to survival. Further, through their use of suicide bombing and indesriminate killing of civilians, the Palistinians have managed to de-humanize themselves in the eyes of the world. Few people outside self hating western liberals like Greenwald are going to care when the end finally comes for the Palistinians. The whole thing is a terrible tragedy. If Greenwald had any sense and actually cared about the Palistinian people, and its pretty clear he has no sense doesn't care about anyone or anything beyond his own emotional fantasies, he would want Hamas destroyed and the Palistinian people to come to their senses before it is too late.
12.30.2008 10:46am
Pragmaticist:
PubliusFL:

We're disagreeing about the way the word "proportionality" is used. The charge that Israel's response is "disproportional" is in reference to a comparison between Israel's response and the attacks that Hamas has levied against Israel. To the best of my knowledge, the charge that Israel's acts are "disproportional" is not based on the notion that Israel's response is more harsh than is needed to eliminate Hamas's attacks. Indeed, Hamas's attacks continue, so it's factually the case that Israel hasn't done what it needs to do to eliminate the attacks. Since the people who charge Israel with disproportionality are aware that the attacks are continuing, their charge cannot be base on your use of the term.
12.30.2008 10:53am
U.Va. Grad:
Eventually, the Israelis will tire of war and see exterminating the Palistinians as their only way to survival. . . . Few people outside self hating western liberals like Greenwald are going to care when the end finally comes for the Palistinians.

I'll let the enormity of that statement stand on its own. But I do think you're wrong--there are people in the Middle East who will care enough about the Palestinians to get very upset if the Israelis commit wholesale genocide of the entire Palestinian population. And those people will probably buy a nuke or three from Pakistan and turn Tel Aviv into glass if Israel ever goes down that road. Which, of course, is why Israel won't do it.

(Or, at least, it's one of the reasons Israel won't do it. I'm sure the Israeli government has other perfectly good reasons for not wanting to wipe out an entire ethnic group.)
12.30.2008 11:06am
Preferred Customer:
The whole concept of "disproportionality" doesn't quite fit here. I think what people are responding to, viscerally, is not so much disproportionality as asymmetricality. No one, I think, seriously believed that the "disproportionate" force that the coalition forces used in the first Gulf War was immoral--sending, e.g., 12 armored divisions to take out your opponents 2 armored divisions may be "disproportionate," in some sense, but as Colin Powell noted its also the only sane way to fight a war. Indeed, in the end it is the most humane way, because it ultimately shortens the conflict.

The reason that people are disturbed by the Israeli actions, I think, is the sense that Israel isn't using 12 divisions to fight 2 divisions--it's using military force to fight an enemy that isn't really a military force at all, at least in the conventional, Western sense of that term. That leads to a perception of improper disproportionality.

I should say that I do not myself subscribe to the view that asymmetry = disproportionality. I do not believe that the Israeli action is disproportionate (though it is asymmetric, which I think is a morally neutral term in this context). I think Israel has the right to defend itself, and if the best tool they have for that job is their military, then their military is what they should (and must) use. I am a bit concerned, though, that using the military to do this job is a bit like using a machine gun to kill ants--it might look impressive, and you might kill a few ants, but at the end of the day you're worse off than when you started, because what you're left with is a house full of bullet holes. And ants.
12.30.2008 11:09am
JohnCK (mail):
UVA Grad,

I hope that I am wrong. But at the same time, the Palistinians have got to stop terroizing the Israelis. If they do not, they will leave the Israelis no other choice but to put an end to it in a very violent way. As far as the Arab world intervening, the Isrealis have nukes of their own. Further, Arabs love to talk a good game about the poor Palistinians but they have never lifted a finger to help them and won't allow them to immigrate to their countries. Given that fact, I find it difficult to believe they would be willing to go to nuclear war and mutually assured destruction with Israel in order to save a small and ultimately unliked group of people, no matter how useful they are for propeganda purposes.
12.30.2008 11:16am
Awesome-O:
And those people will probably buy a nuke or three from Pakistan and turn Tel Aviv into glass if Israel ever goes down that road. Which, of course, is why Israel won't do it.

For decades Israel did not face the threat of nuclear attack from any of its Arab/Muslim enemies, and Israel still managed not to wipe out all the Palestinians, nuke Mecca, etc.

I don't claim to have anything more than a passing familiarity with the details of the conflicts between Israel and its neighbors, but there is one thing that I'm sure of: if Israel was half as murderous, genocidal, and evil as its critics assure us it is, there would be no Palestinians left, and Iran and Syria would be gone.
12.30.2008 11:18am
Michael B (mail):
"Proprortionality vis-a-vis Hamas itself, perhaps. But the complaint of proportionality we're hearing today regards the Palestinians as a whole. For all the pooh-poohing of proportionality, how many people seriously think that massacring the entire population of the Gaza Strip is morally justifiable? If you can't stomach that, then you implicitly acknowledge a proportionality requirement."

No one is seriously "pooh poohing" proportionality per se. Proportionality is a fully justified criterion, much as discrimination (i.e. discriminating between military vs. civilian targeting) is a fully justified and roundly recognized jus in bello criterion. The issue pertains to particularly mendacious actors such as Greenwald who - with telling irony - advance their own disproportionate commentaries.

In a brief four minute video, here's Dore Gold discussing proportionality within the scope of the current conflict.

As to specific examples of proportionality within the present operation, another brief video: Israeli Air Force destroys tunnels, launch sites and weapons depot. By contrast, Hamas, since 2001, has targeted civilian population centers - and has additionally positioned their own militant forces within their own population centers (e.g., the Hamas run Islamic University of Gaza).

Corresponding to jus in bello criteria of discrimination and proportionality, another brief video: 12/28/08, Israel sends humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Jus in bello criteria and arguments have a long tradition and it has been Israel, not proxies of Iran such as Hamas and Hezbollah, that has attempted painstakingly and conscientiously to apply that criteria. By contrast, Glenn Greenwald is a malignancy, a pustule - that is what is being rejected, not any more valid jus in bello criterion.

Israel is acting well within jus in bello and jus ad bello criteria, likewise they are acting within international law dictates as well (small pdf). It is Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, et al. who have long failed to act within those dictates.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, explained that international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute of the ICC "permit belligerents to carry out proportionate attacks against military objectives, even when it is known that some civilian deaths or injuries will occur." The attack becomes a war crime when it is directed against civilians (which is precisely what Hamas does). (Also, see here.)
12.30.2008 11:19am
Just Dropping By (mail):
I was aware of this guerilla tactic, I had no idea the frequency that these attacks have been taking place - yet Israel’s response prompts a media blitz, complete with U.N. humanitarian announcements (aka, condemnation).

These rocket attacks receive little press coverage because literally 99%+ of them cause no injuries or fatalities. Since it appears only 4 Israelis have been killed this year in rocket attacks, it is no exaggeration to say that the average Israeli is roughly 100 times more likely to die in a traffic accident.

http://thefrumnews.blogspot.com/2008/09/ israel-traffic-fatalities-for-month-of.html (Noting 307 traffic fatalities through August 2008)
12.30.2008 11:22am
JohnCK (mail):
"These rocket attacks receive little press coverage because literally 99%+ of them cause no injuries or fatalities. Since it appears only 4 Israelis have been killed this year in rocket attacks, it is no exaggeration to say that the average Israeli is roughly 100 times more likely to die in a traffic accident."


That doesn't tell the entire story. Having lived in a place that was frequently rocketed, I can tell you it instills fear. It is an insane way to live. Yes, your individual chances of getting killed are very small, but that is cold confort. You can't have a civilization under those circumstances. Just imagine if someone droped a rocket on your town every day and once every few weeks killed someone. I doubt you would be so blythe about it happening.
12.30.2008 11:25am
Glenn Greenwald (mail):
David Bernstein's willingness to spew facts without any basis is quite extreme and rapidly expanding:

(1) I specifically said that I found most of what he wrote to be too frivolous to merit any attention. Therefore, to claim that I've "implicitly acknowledged" points he made merely by virtue of the fact that I ignored them (e.g.: his assertion that I blog about Israel more than he does) is intellectual dishonesty in its purest form.

(2) The claim that I write about Israel frequently, let alone as frequently as David Bernstein does, is pure fiction. As anyone who reads my blog even casually knows, I devote at least 70-80% of my writing -- probably more -- to two topics: (a) the erosion of the rule of law and constitutional liberties over the last eight years and (b) establishment media failures.

I write every day. I'd be surprised if, over the last year before Saturday, there are even 10 posts I've written that one could fairly say were "about Israel," even with a broad definition of that term. That's 10 out of 365 -- at most.

Beyond that, I've written 3 books. Two of them made no mention of Israel whatsoever and the other discussed it for about 2 pages (in the context of why we attacked Iraq). No definition of the term "Israel-obsessive" -- no matter how flexible -- could possibly encompass that.

And when I have written "about Israel," it's almost always been about U.S. policy towards Israel (i.e., blind support) or the suffocating orthodoxies which restrict American debates over Israel -- not about Israel itself, its actions, or its various problems with its neighbors.

(3) As Bernstein's own commenters have pointed out, being "Israel-obsessed" is more a function of world-view than frequency of writing -- the extent to which one views world events and to which one forms political viewpoints through a prism of slavish devotion to that foreign country.

(4) Bernstein should explain what basis he has for his statement about my alleged lack of "ties" to Israel, or confess that he has no basis and retract his statement.
12.30.2008 11:27am
soldier of fortune:
. . . how many people seriously think that massacring the entire population of the Gaza Strip is morally justifiable?

I do. Their continuing assaults and desire to annialate Israel is justification enough. What is telling is the lack of support for Gaza in the Arab world. Egypt has closed its border; Hizbullah hasn't opened a second front in the north; Syria and Jordan are quiet. They want Israel to solve the problem once and for all. No tactic or weapon should be off the table for Israel to use.
12.30.2008 11:28am
JohnCK (mail):
"And when I have written "about Israel," it's almost always been about U.S. policy towards Israel (i.e., blind support) or the suffocating orthodoxies which restrict American debates over Israel -- not about Israel itself, its actions, or its various problems with its neighbors."

How could your support of Hamas be described as anything other than blind? Has Israel ever taken an act of self defense that you didn't object? Ultimately, it seems that you expect the Israelis to stand peacefully and die at Hamas' hands for the cause of peace. Since you condem them for every act of self defense and see every act of Hamas, no matter how barbaric, as justified, you don't leave the Israelis any alternative besides dying for peace. It is not blind support of Israel to understand that Israelis want to protect their population.
12.30.2008 11:32am
anomie:
The entire population of the Gaza Strip is not assaulting Israel, nor does that entire population desire the annihilation of Israel.
12.30.2008 11:34am
cvt:

as I noted yesterday, that [Greenwald] blogs far more about Israel than I do
That's a ridiculous claim. Bernstein blogs about Israel more often than Greenwald.
12.30.2008 11:34am
Glenn Greenwald (mail):

How could your support of Hamas be described as anything other than blind? Has Israel ever taken an act of self defense that you didn't object? Ultimately, it seems that you expect the Israelis to stand peacefully and die at Hamas' hands for the cause of peace. Since you condem them for every act of self defense and see every act of Hamas, no matter how barbaric, as justified,


It makes perfect sense that you're a David Bernstein reader. Try to reconcile what you just said with what I wrote today:


Anyone minimally objective and well-intentioned finds Hamas rocket attacks on random Israeli civilians to be highly objectionable and wrong. . . .


The day before I said that Hamas rocket attacks are a violation of the Geneva Conventions -- war crimes.

Do people here just spout whatever enters their minds without the slightest regard to whether it's true -- aside from David Bernstein, I mean?
12.30.2008 11:36am
Snaphappy:
Those who saw the capital of the free world seize up when two snipers randomly shot a few people at gas stations, and saw that same city freeze because some idiot drove a tractor--a tractor!--into the reflecting pool, know that random rockets falling in one's city is no way to have a civilization. The rocket attacks would justify reoccupying Gaza, if that weren't such a pain in the ass in itself. Short of that, whatever Israel does that's reasonably geared toward stopping the rocket attacks, including disabling any part of Hamas that it can disable, is sufficiently "proportionate."
12.30.2008 11:40am
JohnCK (mail):
"Anyone minimally objective and well-intentioned finds Hamas rocket attacks on random Israeli civilians to be highly objectionable and wrong. . ."

That is awfully generous of you to admit that rocketing civilians is wrong. Of course, you still condem Israel for defending itself. What exactly do you expect Israel to do? Send Hamas a nasty note? Protest to the UN? In the end, since you refuse to support any military action against Hamas, your condemnation rings pretty hollow.
12.30.2008 11:41am
PubliusFL:
Pragmaticist:

You're right. We're using different definitions of "proportionality." My point, I guess, is that Israel's critics are using the wrong definition in criticizing the current strikes on Gaza, and that my definition is the correct one, as it is well-established in the law of war. The best response to such criticisms is not that proportionality is irrelevant to Israel's actions, but that the critics are using an inappropriate definition of proportionality, in that it improperly implies a violation of the law of war in this context. A better term for what they mean is "asymmetricality," as Preferred Customer suggests.
12.30.2008 11:45am
Steve H:

FWIW, Greenwald acknowledged that "Israel-obsessed" is a measure of how often one blogs about Israel, but denies that HE is obsessed because his posts are just a reflection of his enlightenment.


Where did Greenwald acknowledge that? For that matter, where did he implicitly acknowledge that he blogs more about Israel than you do?

Prof. Bernstein, I can't see any benefit to your denying that you are Israel-obsessive, because it's just not credible. Greenwald may or may not be obsessed with Israel (though many of his Israel-related posts are really about American policy and politics). But it seems to this observer that a very large percentage of your posts are about Israel, and almost invariably uncritically pro-Israel. I have to say that when I saw your first post yesterday, my response was along the lines of "Oh, that's right, something happened in Israel yesterday, so Prof. Bernstein is posting about it and supporting whatever Israel is doing."

Anyway, to some of the posters above, when a four-year-old cries for Mommy to wake up, and Mommy doesn't wake up because her head has been blown off, why does the fact that Mommy and the four-year-old are Palestinian make it okay?
12.30.2008 11:48am
Snaphappy:
By the way, there were 555 google hits for Bernstein's link to the search for "site:www.salon.com/greenwald israel". A similar search (site:volokh.com bernstein israel) results in 1270 hits.
12.30.2008 11:48am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
DB:

With all due respect, I think you are Israel-obsessed. I see you spend a lot of time defending military actions by Israel largely unconditionally, while I have yet to see you address any more substantive points, such as the resumption of settlement expansion under Kadima, the unwillingness of Israel to undertake the sorts of nation-building we have done in Iraq, and the efforts to ban the major Arab MK's from re-election.
12.30.2008 11:48am
DavidBernstein (mail):
(1) I specifically said that I found most of what he wrote to be too frivolous to merit any attention. Therefore, to claim that I've "implicitly acknowledged" points he made merely by virtue of the fact that I ignored them (e.g.: his assertion that I blog about Israel more than he does) is intellectual dishonesty in its purest form.
Saying so doesn't make it true. And I still await Greenwald's either telling us what would be "proportionate", or admitting that proportionality is not the issue, rather he does not believe that Israel has the right to defend itself at all in these circumstances.

(2) The claim that I write about Israel frequently, let alone as frequently as David Bernstein does, is pure fiction. As anyone who reads my blog even casually knows, I devote at least 70-80% of my writing -- probably more -- to two topics: (a) the erosion of the rule of law and constitutional liberties over the last eight years and (b) establishment media failures.


I admit that I don't read Greenwald even casually, but anyone can google site:www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald israel and see that Greenwald blogs about Israel much more than I do, often raising Israel when its at best tangential to the issue.

I write every day. I'd be surprised if, over the last year before Saturday, there are even 10 posts I've written that one could fairly say were "about Israel," even with a broad definition of that term. That's 10 out of 365 -- at most. Beyond that, I've written 3 books. Two of them made no mention of Israel whatsoever and the other discussed it for about 2 pages (in the context of why we attacked Iraq). No definition of the term "Israel-obsessive" -- no matter how flexible -- could possibly encompass that.
Guess what Glenn? I've written two books, co-authored another, co-edited another, and have two more in progress, not to mention several dozen law review articles I've written. None of them have anything to do with Israel, and I don't think Israel is even mentioned in them. That didn't stop you from calling me "Israel-obsessed."

And when I have written "about Israel," it's almost always been about U.S. policy towards Israel (i.e., blind support) or the suffocating orthodoxies which restrict American debates over Israel -- not about Israel itself, its actions, or its various problems with its neighbors.
Should I modify it to "Greenwald is an 'American policy toward Israel-obsessive?'"

(3) As Bernstein's own commenters have pointed out, being "Israel-obsessed" is more a function of world-view than frequency of writing -- the extent to which one views world events and to which one forms political viewpoints through a prism of slavish devotion to that foreign country.

(4) Bernstein should explain what basis he has for his statement about my alleged lack of "ties" to Israel, or confess that he has no basis and retract his statement.
12.30.2008 11:51am
Steve H:
(For what it's worth, my prior post was written before I saw that Mr. Greenwald had personally entered the fray.)
12.30.2008 11:52am
Yankev (mail):

there are people in the Middle East who will care enough about the Palestinians to get very upset if the Israelis commit wholesale genocide of the entire Palestinian population. And those people will probably buy a nuke or three from Pakistan and turn Tel Aviv into glass if Israel ever goes down that road. Which, of course, is why Israel won't do it.
Wrong on several points, UVaGRad. First, the Muslim world will talk a good case, but care very little about the Palestinians; Israel has done more for the welfare of the Palestinians than any Arab or Muslim nation ever has. This was true before and after the Intifadas, although Israel's measures in response to constant terrorist attacks have of course taken an inevitable toll.

Second, the media, the press and the educational system in the Arab and Muslim world have done such a hatchet job on Israel that Israel is already viewed as though it had killed out all the Palestinians. Those who want to nuke Israel want to -- and will continue to want to -- based at least as much on their own pathology as on anything Israel does or does not do. In their minds, Israel's mere existence is sufficient cause for its obliteration.

Third, and most important, Israel has shown time and again -- including during Operation Defensive Shield -- that it will risk its own troops in order to reduce the risk to enemy civilians. Respect for life, and not fear of being nuked by its enemies, is what restrains Israel. Respect for life, unfortuntately, sometimes requires waging war. If the Arabs wanted peace, they would have it. Israel is the only nation in the world that has had to beg for peace after winning a defensive war.
12.30.2008 11:52am
Blue:
So, Glenn, you readily acknowledge that HAMAS is committing a war crime--the indiscriminate rocket barraging of civilian positions. That is a FAR WORSE war crime than the directed air strikes that Israel is undertaking.

Israel has a right to respond in the manner it is doing so. Period.
12.30.2008 11:53am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
An analogy to Israel's last 40 years of policy regarding the Territories....

Imagine if we invaded Iraq, toppled Saddam, decided to run it with our military on the ground but not engage in real nation building, take land (and large amounts of water) for Americans to live in, etc.

We would have been absolutely FOOLISH if we had done the sorts of things in Iraq which Israel has done in the Territories. If we did this, I GUARANTEE you that Iraq would have become worse than Afghanistan was in terms of a center of terrorist activities directed at US domestic targets.

Maybe these airstrikes are necessary, but in the absence of more important actions, they will make things worse rather than better.
12.30.2008 11:54am
M. Gross (mail):
Actually, let me show up and pooh pooh Proportionality.

It's essentially a doctrine made up out of the whole cloth and never accepted in any important international setting. That the most frequently cited support for it, the Caroline Case of 1837, in which the letter citing proportionality ends up being... well, rejected, and the matter settled on an entirely different basis speaks worlds about the shaky foundation it stands upon.

It is enshrined in the Rome Statute, which has been rejected by just about every major player in the arena of international wars, including both parties here.

Short of a direct vote in the UN council, I'm not sure how much thoroughly the world could possibly repudiate a requirement for Proportionality in world conflicts.

It seems to follow the regrettable pattern that, regardless of how much of the world rejects it, a doctrine can still become a "norm" and thus "customary international law."
12.30.2008 11:55am
Bob from Ohio (mail):
Heh, the great man commented himself. Used his own name too!

Though its only 351 words. I find it doubtful that GG wrote it himself. He needs 400 words to clear his throat.

Wait, he used the dual loyalty canard ("prism of slavish devotion to that foreign country"). It must be GG after all.
12.30.2008 11:57am
DavidBernstein (mail):
(3) As Bernstein's own commenters have pointed out, being "Israel-obsessed" is more a function of world-view than frequency of writing -- the extent to which one views world events and to which one forms political viewpoints through a prism of slavish devotion to that foreign country.
Give me an example of how my political viewpoints have been formed "through a prism of slavish devotion to" Israel, or shut up. And, of course, your and the commentators definition of obsessed is not exactly the dictionary definition, so please provide me with the Greenwald guide to English language so I'll know what you mean for the future.

(4) Bernstein should explain what basis he has for his statement about my alleged lack of "ties" to Israel, or confess that he has no basis and retract his statement.
I said that you don't have similar ties to me (wife, travel there twice a year). If you do, I'd be happy to retract it. Is your Brazilian partner a Brazilian-Israeli? Do you find the time to travel to Israel twice a year while commuting between Rio and NYC? Do you have other such ties that reasonable people would consider similar, say a brother and sister who live in Israel who you visit once a year? I can't find any public indication of such ties, but if you have them, I'll retract. If you don't, I'm not going to retract something that's correct.
12.30.2008 11:57am
DavidBernstein (mail):
By the way, there were 555 google hits for Bernstein's link to the search for site:www.salon.com/greenwald israel". A similar search (site:volokh.com bernstein israel) results in 1270 hits.
I've been blogging at Volokh far, far longer than Greenwald has been blogging at Salon, and your search terms will get you posts by my cobloggers as well, whereas my search terms are limited to Greenwald.
12.30.2008 11:59am
Lawman (mail):
Oh boo hoo, disproportionality, justifiable? Please. This is war - armed conflict. This is not some community dispute because your neighbor's dog won't stop barking. What did the Palis think when they voted a governemnt in office whose ideology is the destruction of its neighbor? That somehow they were going to be THE ONES to irradicate Israel? Get over it. Hamas shouldn't have brought a knife to a gun fight (for lack of a better analogy). Oh poor poor Gaza ... makes me sick.
12.30.2008 12:00pm
Yankev (mail):
Here is an excellent discussion of what a proportionate response might be.

Israel's Response Is Disproportionate


By Jonathan Mark


JewishWorldReview.com | I condemn Israel's disproportionate attack on Hamas because, so far, it has only lasted four days and I would like to see a proportionate response that terrifies Hamas for seven years, the years that have filled Sderot and neighboring towns with nightmares, death, amputations and trauma coming from rockets and mortars fired from Gaza.



Perhaps a proportionate response would have Gaza's leaders fearful of being killed every day for the next two years, as Gilad Shalit has been terrified of torture and death every day for the last two years in his solitary Gaza dungeon.


A proportionate response would have Hamas mothers and fathers as fearful for their children's lives as Shalit's mother and father have been fearful for Gilad's life.


A proportionate response would have Gaza's children crying for their mommies and daddies, the way at a Hamas pageant earlier in December a Palestinian actor dressed as Shalit got down on his knees, mock-begging in Hebrew for his Ima and Abba while the Gaza crowds laughed.


A proportionate response would so intimidate Hamas that they will grovel and, as a "gesture," send cocoa and jam into Sderot, the way Israel has groveled in response to rockets from Hamas, sending cocoa and jam into Gaza. Imagine Churchill sending cocoa and jam into Berlin as a humanitarian gesture after - during - the bombing of London.


A proportionate response would be one that will convince Hamas there is no military solution, no solution but surrender. They can then call surrender a "peace process," if they like, just as the mostly unanswered attacks on Jews have convinced some Jews that there is no military solution but surrender to any and all demands. They suggest a euthanasia by the euphemism of "peace process," that Israel become what some are already planning to call "Canaan," a non-Jewish state of all its citizens.


A proportionate response will convince Palestinians that if they insist that the starting point to peace negotiations is that no Jew be allowed to live on the West Bank, the proportionate response will be that Israel's starting point in negotiations is that no Arab be allowed to live in Tel Aviv. Horrible to contemplate? Fine, let there be a proportionate negotiation.


A proportionate response to Hamas, one might gather from the European scolds, would be as if the United States, after Pearl Harbor, would bomb just a few Japanese fishing boats and call it a day, believing the war would have ended with that.


A proportionate response will begin to remind Jews that there is no peace process like victory, just as Israel's decade of disproportionate restraint and self-doubt has convinced young Palestinians that their victory is inevitable, like Aryan youth in 1933 singing "Tomorrow Belongs To Me."


Let it be said to Israelis and Jews everywhere, in the words of Churchill: "You have enemies? Good. It means you've stood up for something." But remember: A war (and Hamas has repeatedly said this is war) is never won if you are disproportionately kind to someone who wants to destroy you and, failing in that, demands with indignation that you not destroy him.


When meeting that enemy, be proportionate.
12.30.2008 12:02pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):

I'll let the enormity of that statement stand on its own. But I do think you're wrong--there are people in the Middle East who will care enough about the Palestinians to get very upset if the Israelis commit wholesale genocide of the entire Palestinian population. And those people will probably buy a nuke or three from Pakistan and turn Tel Aviv into glass if Israel ever goes down that road. Which, of course, is why Israel won't do it.


I don't think threat of nuclear attack is what prevents this, nor do I see nuclear attack as likely.

However, there are a LOT of Muslim immigrants in Europe, as well as a LOT of secularists there who would put immense pressure on European countries to boycott Israel (as happened during Operation Defensive Shield).

Also I think enough Americans would be horrified by genocide done with our weapons that American foreign aid might even be put at risk.

The question is how long Israel could survive without American foreign aid or European imports?
12.30.2008 12:04pm
asdf (mail):
This post proves that Mr. Bernstein is not obsessed with the topic.
12.30.2008 12:04pm
JB:
Moral justification aside, Israel cannot allow itself to lose sight of the long-term goal: a future in which Israel, whatever territory it occupies, is not being bombarded with rockets AND is not bombing anyone.

Anyone who has lived through middle school knows what it is like to be right but to have no one believe you. That's an unfortunate but inevitable thing to happen to a kid, but a terrible blunder for a country. Israel has to get international opinion back on its side, through whatever means necessary--only then can it take steps toward long-term security.
12.30.2008 12:06pm
S. Pareme:
Do people here just spout whatever enters their minds without the slightest regard to whether it's true -- aside from David Bernstein, I mean?

Man, what a brilliant takedown of the commenters on this blog; such amazingly trenchant criticism. The unanimity of viewpoint expressed in this blog and its comments sections is a truly frightening example of groupthink and conformity. It's about time somebody who has studied the constitution and practiced law for a little while at a big law firm, who has written books - all qualifications that the bloggers and commenters here stand in complete and utter awe of - should come along and set us straight.

Thanks Glenn. It's not entirely clear where we'd be without you.
12.30.2008 12:08pm
ck:

As far as the Palistinian people go, at some point don't they bear some responsibility for supporting Hamas and its genocidal ideology?


Little Eichmanns, I suppose you could call them.

This, of course, is exactly the same justification that Palestinians themselves offer for terrorism against Israeli civilians: "As far as the Israeli people go, at some point don't they bear some responsibility for supporting their government and its genocidal ideology?"

As with all people at all times, it's ok when We do it, not ok when They do it.
12.30.2008 12:09pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
DB:

Give me an example of how my political viewpoints have been formed "through a prism of slavish devotion to" Israel, or shut up.


Defending the dropping of a 1t bomb on an apartment building in order to kill 1 terrorist (and 15 others). Your argument is that such criticism prevented Israel from using similar tactics against higher-value targets. But wouldn't that have to be discussed separately as the circumstances (and proportions of collateral damage to valid targets) would be different?

You are not exhibiting slavish devotion to Israel as a state, you are exhibiting slavish devotion to Israeli military operations.

Would you support the US doing in Iraq what Israel has done over the last 40 years in the West Bank and Gaza? Would this make us more or less secure?
12.30.2008 12:09pm
trad and anon (mail):
Bernstein doesn't blog constantly about Israel? That's sure news to me.
12.30.2008 12:10pm
Steve P. (mail):
I'm normally pretty critical of Prof Bernstein's posts for a number of reasons. However, when one side in an argument uses the pejoratives "childish" and "juvenile", that usually says more about the speaker than the target.
12.30.2008 12:10pm
Steve H:

Give me an example of how my political viewpoints have been formed "through a prism of slavish devotion to" Israel, or shut up.


I hate to say this, but based on my own reading of the VC over the past years, it seems like a reasonable inference from a series of posts that seem to uniformly either (a) support something Israel has done, or (b) attack someone who has attacked something Israel has done. And the tone of your Israel-related posts over these years is almost uniformly uncritical towards Israel -- that an Israeli action may be morally or legally dubious does not seem to even be a consideration, and anyone who suggests otherwise is dismissed as an idiot, or worse.
12.30.2008 12:11pm
Rick Ellensburg:
As an objective observer who has absolutely no connection to Glenn Greenwald, I just have to say that this post from Glenn Greenwald, who authored a NY Times best-selling book, has of the most-read blogs after only nine months of blogging, has his blog posts read at Senate committee hearings, went to one of the top five law schools, and worked for the most prestigious law firm in the country, is brilliant.
12.30.2008 12:12pm
trad and anon (mail):
What did the Palis think when they voted a governemnt in office whose ideology is the destruction of its neighbor? That somehow they were going to be THE ONES to irradicate Israel?
44% of voters voted for Hamas. This doctrine of collective guilt—that all of "the Palis" are to be condemned because a minority of them voted the wrong way—is nothing short of evil. People are responsible for their own actions, not those of others, even if they share the same skin color.
12.30.2008 12:18pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):

These rocket attacks receive little press coverage because literally 99%+ of them cause no injuries or fatalities. Since it appears only 4 Israelis have been killed this year in rocket attacks, it is no exaggeration to say that the average Israeli is roughly 100 times more likely to die in a traffic accident.


During the height of the Second Intifada, there was only one month when auto accident deaths in Israel were topped by terrorism-related deaths. Iirc, that was April 2002, but I could be wrong.
12.30.2008 12:19pm
Guest for now:
Pretty weak of Greenwald to come on here and say "of course lobbing rockets is objectionable" and then fail to say what response would be appropriate. If it's objectionable, then a remedy is demanded (otherwise, what's the point?). Why is he running from that question? I think there is a legitimate debate to be had, but saying that Israel has crossed the line means little unless you can tell us where the line is. And on that point, the silence from Greenwald is deafening.
12.30.2008 12:19pm
Lighten up Kansas:
I think what is happening here is that DB's Israel-related posts draw WAY more attention, focus, comments, flames, feuds, etc, than his other topics. I can't say that I see an Israel-related post from him more than other topics.
12.30.2008 12:22pm
Javert:
Since 2001, there have been over 10,000 rockets launched into Israel. What on earth would be a "proportional" response to that?
12.30.2008 12:23pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Defending the dropping of a 1t bomb on an apartment building in order to kill 1 terrorist (and 15 others). Your argument is that such criticism prevented Israel from using similar tactics against higher-value targets. But wouldn't that have to be discussed separately as the circumstances (and proportions of collateral damage to valid targets) would be different?
It wasn't just "one terrorist," it was an important leader of Hamas. Not only is attacking enemy commanders who are hiding in civilian areas completely justified legally, as a moral matter more civilians (on both sides) are ultimately killed when Israel refrains from taking such actions. In the case referenced, what Israel did was take the risk that the civilians would be killed; it thought they wouldn't be. The idea that under these circumstances one should hold fire is charming but suicidal. And the moral blame goes to Hamas for hiding behind civilians, not Israel. Once again this is pacifism masquerading as humanitarianism. If the enemy has esconced itself in the civilian population, in violation of all norms of decency, and you are required to refrain from attacking for fear of injuring civilians, that means you have adopted a pacifist policy.

I'll acknowledge that a reasonable person could disagree with all or part of my analysis. But to state that this analysis is based on slavish devotion yada yada is ridiculous. The same exact position would hold true for any other power faced with the same circumstances.
12.30.2008 12:23pm
eddie (mail):
All talk about "proportionality" is simply bad faith.

The real argument goes like this:

Hamas does not want Israel to exist.

Therefore, the destruction of Hamas is justified.

It is a particularized version of the argument:

All terrorists want to destroy their targets. Therefore, the annihilation of all terrorists is justified.

The only problem with such logical arguments is that implementation in the real world is logically impossible. Or do all of the "serious" and "moral" legal pundits commenting here really think you can simply "eradicate" the problem. Better keep plenty of ammo ready for eternity because you must kill not only the actual terrorist, but his/her family and friends and all of their respective ancestors and issue.

I guess genocide is practical.
12.30.2008 12:23pm
Glenn Greenwald (mail):

If it's objectionable, then a remedy is demanded (otherwise, what's the point?). Why is he running from that question?


I've answered this repeatedly. Do you know of anyone who actually believes that at the end of this Israeli attack, there will be no more Hamas, or no more rockets?

The only military solution to the rocket attacks is total annihilation of the residents of Gaza and a complete flattening of their cities. If Israel were to do that, what possible objections would those here be able to make who are arguing that "proportionality" has no role to play in restricting the means used to fight justifiable wars?

Terrorism ends when the causes of it are addressed, typically via diplomatic means. That's what history proves. I know that's not as spectacular or exciting or blood-pumping as watching people you hate and their children get incinerated by bombs dropped from on high, but it's still how it is.
12.30.2008 12:24pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
(to clarify the above, as I recall the civilians in question weren't in the building that was bombed, they were in neighboring structures that Israel thought, incorrectly, would not be collapsed by the bomb).
12.30.2008 12:25pm
trad and anon (mail):
I hate to say this, but based on my own reading of the VC over the past years, it seems like a reasonable inference from a series of posts that seem to uniformly either (a) support something Israel has done, or (b) attack someone who has attacked something Israel has done.
You forgot (c) attack someone who has reported accurately regarding civilians the Israli government has maimed and/or killed.
12.30.2008 12:25pm
Lawman (mail):
This doctrine of collective guilt—that all of "the Palis" are to be condemned because a minority of them voted the wrong way—is nothing short of evil.

Well, then by your definition - evil I am.
12.30.2008 12:25pm
asdf (mail):
Speaking of "Israel-Obsessive" does anyone know how many posts Greenwald made about the guy in the green helmet?
12.30.2008 12:27pm
Glenn Greenwald (mail):
David - I'm going to leave it to your own commenters -- who, thankfully, subject themselves to your writing far more than I do -- to address your points. They seem to find your claim that you're not obsessed with Israel to be not only preposterous, but guffaw-inducing. And they're doing more than an adequate job of documenting your Israel-obsession.

The only time I've read your posts is when others who I do read have linked to you, and I honestly can't recall a single time when it was about anything other than Israel, and when it contained anything other than the trite, neoconservative, Israel-is-always-in-the-right cliches.

Finally, your Google "methodology" is painfully, self-evidently dumb. It brings up not just every post of mine that even mentions "Israel," but also every comment to any post that does. My posts typically have between 200-300 comments. It's not a surprise that -- even as infrequently as I write about the topic -- your Google search is yielding 500 hits. The only surprise is that it doesn't yield more.

But, again, your own commenters -- who are subjected to your work regularly -- know how often you write about Israel. You ought to listen to them.
12.30.2008 12:28pm
Guest for now:
Another factor that must be considered in any proportionality response is deterrence. It may very well be the case that the response to an attack is more deadly and all encompassing than the attack itself. Then again, establishing a reputation that a country will use overwhelming force to respond to an attack serves as a deterrent to future attacks. If that serves as an effective deterrent against such attacks, the absence of those future attacks must be included in the proportionality analysis.

Whether the force actually serves a deterrent purpose is a matter on which we can all debate, though I suspect the debate is likely to be colored by subjective views on whether the use of force was appropriate in the first place (those inclined to support the use of force against the rocket launchers will say that it is a deterrent, those against the use of force will say it isn't a deterrent). I suspect neither side will have any sort of empirical data to support their claim and will draw selectively on historical examples to support their argument. But to be intellectually honest, this is a debate that must be had, as prevening future attacks should be included in any debate about whether such attacks are "unnecessary."
12.30.2008 12:30pm
Thomas Ellers:
Terrorism ends when the causes of it are addressed, typically via diplomatic means.

Anyone who knows me or my buddy Wilson knows that we hate to disagree with Glenn Greenwald, but he's daft if he thinks that diplomacy and military force are mutually exclusive. They work in synergy, which you'd know if you had paid any attention to Iraq during the past two years.

Yes, a long-term solution to Palestinian terror will have a diplomatic component. But a military response is the proper solution to these attacks. Stop this wave of attacks, then negotiate.
12.30.2008 12:30pm
Awesome-O:
Greenwald wrote:

It brings up not just every post of mine that even mentions "Israel," but also every comment to any post that does.

Does that include posts by Thomas Ellers and Rick Ellensburg?
12.30.2008 12:32pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Yankev:

As much as we disagree about many points in this matter, I think that one of the things which needs to be acknowledged is that there are those who advocate genocide of the Palestinians. Unfortunately a radical few of those are Israeli.

Of the Israelis I have met and discussed politics with, the vast majority want peace and are willing to give up the illegal settlements to get peace. The fact that this hasn't happened is a failure of the Israeli political system. Most Israelis I have met have been good, kind, caring people.

But then I met this one Kahanist. She praised Baruch Goldstein's actions, and felt that expulsion of the Israeli Arabs and the Palestinians was the best way forward.

If we want to talk about disproportionate elements, a group which seems to represent no more than 5% of the Israeli population ideologically has been given WAY too much political power. This is the same group which last year sought to ban all current Arab MK's from seeking re-election. This group also wants to drive Palestinians out of the Occupied (or as they call them the "Administered") Territories and annex this land as part of Greater Israel. Unfortunately, many people in Labor have engaged in similar schemes (notably Barak's offer to give the PA the Israeli Beduin communities of Israeli citizens in exchange for settlements).

These airstrikes are inconsequential as far as I am concerned. The real question is whether Israel has the courage and will to do what is necessary in helping to build a viable and fully independent Palestinian state. Unfortunately, this probably means asking other countries for help, since the IDF itself has very little credibility in these territories since the First Intifada. If not, then no amount of force will bring security.
12.30.2008 12:33pm
ruralcounsel (mail):

Anyone minimally objective and well-intentioned finds Hamas rocket attacks on random Israeli civilians to be highly objectionable and wrong. . . .


"[H]ighly objectionable and wrong"? Seems a little understated.

Should I chose to fire an occasional 50 caliber round through my neighbor's home, even though the odds of actually hitting someone might be small due to my poor aim or insufficient lethality of the bullet, I hardly think this phrase captures the immorality and evil of the act.

If Greenwald chose to live within the range of Hamas' rockets, his credibility might be a little higher.

Seems like the Palastinians have the key to solving the problem in their grasp. Stop Hamas from attacking Israel. Once you protect them, shield them, feed them, supply them, elect them, you've chosen to place yourself on the battlefield.
12.30.2008 12:34pm
asdf (mail):


So with regard to proportionality, Hamas has already demonstrated that they have no bounds -- ergo, no 'proportion' to respect. Israel is justified in virtually any response under the law of proportionality because Hamas has already been as disproportionate as they can be.

So you would agree that Israel would be justified in using nuclear weapons against Hamas in Gaza (assuming, of course, that the took steps to evacuate nearby innocent Israelis so they would not be harmed by fallout)?
12.30.2008 12:34pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Glenn, all I'm asking is that you describe, in general, what "proportionate" actions you think that Israel is entitled to take to try to stop the rocket fire from Hamas, or admit that you think that no military action by Israel is justified.

As for my commenters, we all know how to ensure we get more favorable comments, right?
12.30.2008 12:35pm
trad and anon (mail):
(to clarify the above, as I recall the civilians in question weren't in the building that was bombed, they were in neighboring structures that Israel thought, incorrectly, would not be collapsed by the bomb).
Claims to have thought. All we can know about what the Israeli government "thought" is what they claim to have thought. Governments lie all the time, more so in war. I see no reason to think the Israeli government is any different. Perhaps they're telling the truth, but how would we ever know?
12.30.2008 12:36pm
Cardozo'd (www):
I think that it is very difficult for us to really understand what "proportionate" is in this situation. I am willing to bet that while we do not see Israel's response as being proportionate to what Hamas did here, once this ceasefire ended, Israel views their current action as being proportionate in response to the decades of battle that they have waged, and have been waged against them. This may easily be seen as a mere continuation of an epic battle, and therefore their response is proportionate. I am not supporting Israel's decision here to be in it for the long haul, just as I am not willing to take the carte blanche pro-Israel/anti-Hamas stance that the current administration is. Both sides have been committing acts of war against each other for the duration of their history.
12.30.2008 12:37pm
Guest for now:
Glenn,

Thanks for your response. So your position is (a) military solutions short of annihlation are futile and therefore shouldn't be used; and (b) that the type of force that would work is unacceptable and therefor cannot be justified morally.

The problem with your position, and one you don't seem willing to tackle, is that it encourages attacks by the party that is unwilling to abide by your moral paradigm (guess which party falls in that camp). If diplomacy fails, that party has no reason not to exert leverage through violence.

I don't, however, necessarily disagree with your overall conclusion about whether the amount of force being used is beneficial over the long run(not saying I agree with it either, just that it's an incredibly difficult problem). I do, though, think the notion of a diplomatic solution is a bit naive (not all disputes can be resolved via negotiation where the objectives are mutually exclusive). And I don't think you've come to terms with the fact that if two parties have mutually exclusive objectives, it may very well be the case that a military solution is inevitable, even if it involves a scale that makes you uncomfortable.
12.30.2008 12:39pm
trad and anon (mail):
DavidB:
As for my commenters, we all know how to ensure we get more favorable comments, right?
We sure know that you do.
12.30.2008 12:39pm
Michael B (mail):
"The day before I said that Hamas rocket attacks are a violation of the Geneva Conventions -- war crimes." Glenn Greenwald

"I wish to assure you that there can never be any return to the state of armed conflict which existed before our commitment to peace and the democratic process of election under the Lancaster House agreement." Robert Mugabe

I.e. Isolated statements don't mean a thing when one fails to support them with additional, coherent, supportive arguments. Indeed, they can serve nothing more than CYA forms of rank duplicity.

Hence, for example, you continue to fail to explain what a "proportionate" Israeli response to the launching of hundreds of missiles at its civilian population would be, in contrast to what you've labeled Israel's current "massively disproportionate response."

To this point you've arrogated to yourself a great deal, you've sneered derisively and have forwarded an insubstantial, anemic piece of commentary about Hamas and a morally and intellectually incomprehensible notion of proportionality.
12.30.2008 12:39pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Oh, and as for the Google methodology, I did sort through the first 25 or so, and every one of them references Israel in a Greewald post. I'm sure some fraction of them are just from commenters, but I never stated to the contrary, just that the Google link shows that Greenwald talks about Israel more "obsessively" than I do.
12.30.2008 12:39pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
DB:

But to state that this analysis is based on slavish devotion yada yada is ridiculous. The same exact position would hold true for any other power faced with the same circumstances.


Ok. I will accept your admission that reasonable people can disagree with you on the 1-ton-bomb issue.

However, please read again your response and tell me if I took your tone wrong.
12.30.2008 12:39pm
asdf (mail):
CNN this morning reported that 5 Israelis had been killed in the recent rocket attacks? Is this true? Is the number that low.

While, of course, the loss of a single life is a tragedy, is all of this triggered by about the same number of deaths that would result from a bad car accident?
12.30.2008 12:40pm
Steve H:

But, again, your own commenters -- who are subjected to your work regularly -- know how often you write about Israel. You ought to listen to them.


Mr. Greenwald, as someone who bought your first book, and as someone who has occasionally taken your "side" around here, let me respectfully suggest that there is no need to be a dick about this. No one here is "subjected to" anything.
12.30.2008 12:40pm
asdf (mail):

just that the Google link shows that Greenwald talks about Israel more "obsessively" than I do.

If it were true, you would only have to say it once.
12.30.2008 12:41pm
Davebo (mail):
I just love a good blog spat.

But it seems to me that Bernstein may well be more obsessed with Glenn than Israel.

And I'm amazed, AMAZED! it tell ya that he didn't take Bernstein up on his mature and well reasoned vacation offer.
12.30.2008 12:43pm
asdf (mail):

I.e. Isolated statements don't mean a thing when one fails to support them with additional, coherent, supportive arguments.

I see, so saying that someone is committing war crimes without adding several paragraphs in which you detail all of your reasons for saying this and proving that you really *care* means that you actually believe the exact opposite?

Is that your argument?
12.30.2008 12:44pm
autolykos:

Terrorism ends when the causes of it are addressed, typically via diplomatic means. That's what history proves. I know that's not as spectacular or exciting or blood-pumping as watching people you hate and their children get incinerated by bombs dropped from on high, but it's still how it is.


Oh, diplomacy, that's it! Why didn't anybody else think of that?

By the way, let me go on record as saying the Bernstein-Greenwald finger-pointing about who is more Israel-obsessed is perhaps the most boring and pointless pissing match in the history of the internet. No, I don't think that is hyperbole.
12.30.2008 12:46pm
Dan28 (mail):
I'm enjoying this showdown, but you both have to admit that the conversation about who is more Israel-obsessed, or whether residents of Sderot should be in charge of determining proportionality, or which one of the two of you is responsible for defining the difference between a proportional and a disproportional response, is all spectacle. Any chance the two of you might be able to get together and have an actual substantive discussion of the issue?
12.30.2008 12:48pm
Mark Buehner (mail):
I cant think of anything more like to cause maximum bloodshed than meeting force with equivalent force. The entire art of war is dedicated to bringing overwhelming force to bear on the weakest part of the enemy possible. Sure, Israel could fire primitive rockets back on a one-for-one basis. That might even save lives for now, but what happens in 10 years when Iran supplies Hamas with multiple launch rocket launchers and advanced missiles (god forbid a nuke), knowing full well Israel won't attack them in fear of 'disproportional response'? There will be a far bloodier war killing thousands.

History shows that overwhelming force that breaks the enemy's will to fight wins wars. _That's_ when diplomacy comes into play. How exactly do you negotiate with an entity who's stated goal is your destruction?
12.30.2008 12:48pm
asdf (mail):

The entire art of war is dedicated to bringing overwhelming force to bear on the weakest part of the enemy possible.

Should Israel nuke Gaza - assuming, of course, that Israel takes steps to evacuate nearby Israelis so they are not affected by fallout?
12.30.2008 12:51pm
Nunzio:
I think Hamas should be worried because GG says they have violated the Geneva Convention. That is strong condemnation.

GG isn't Israeli obsessed. He is W. obsessed. He seems to think W. expanded presidential powers in an unprecedented way and that the last eight years have been some sort of hell in the U.S.

Apparently GG never heard of FDR or Lincoln. His views are pretty typical of educated New Yorkers. Dull and predictable as a football interview.
12.30.2008 12:51pm
Mark Buehner (mail):

While, of course, the loss of a single life is a tragedy, is all of this triggered by about the same number of deaths that would result from a bad car accident?


If your child's school was the one being narrowly missed day after day, would you be so blase?

Any one of those rockets could hit a building full of civilians at any moment. Would you allow your government to wait until that happened before acting? I doubt it. Israel is wise to try to deal with this now before Hamas obtains more accurate and deadly weapons. The idea that waiting until your enemy is strong enough to kill a bunch of your people before you stand up to him seems odd to me.
12.30.2008 12:51pm
Al (mail):
Of the Israelis I have met and discussed politics with, the vast majority want peace and are willing to give up the illegal settlements to get peace.

einhverfr, do you honestly believe that Israel would get peace if they gave up "the illegal settlements"?
12.30.2008 12:52pm
Guest for now:
Mark Buehner,

It would be interesting to see what Greenwald says about negotiating with a party whose objective is your destruction. I suspect he'll either say (1) that really isn't the motive of "the people" supporting Hamas (we will not, however, be told who these "people" are or how many of them there are); or (2) (more likely) he'll say nothing at all.

This is the problem that those such as Greenwald continually ignore. They constantly demonize the use of force and tout the benefits of diplomacy but never suggest what diplomatic solution would work. Clearly withdrawing from Gaza didn't do it. So diplomatically, what could Israel do that would end the violence and not result in them giving up their sovereignty?
12.30.2008 12:53pm
trad and anon (mail):
Should Israel nuke Gaza - assuming, of course, that Israel takes steps to evacuate nearby Israelis so they are not affected by fallout?
I think we should do it for them, but why stop with Gaza? Kill them all and let God sort it out, I say.
12.30.2008 12:54pm
Mark Buehner (mail):

Should Israel nuke Gaza - assuming, of course, that Israel takes steps to evacuate nearby Israelis so they are not affected by fallout?


If their only goal was to stop the missiles, then yes. If there are more important goals that this would interrupt, such as not being rightly condemned by the entire world and subjected to war crimes prosecutions, then no. Pyrrhic victory by definition.

Its an interesting question though. If Iran were to eventually slip a nuclear weapon to Hamas, what do you think the response would be? Should we wait around to find out?
12.30.2008 12:56pm
asdf (mail):

If your child's school was the one being narrowly missed day after day, would you be so blase?

I was just wondering if the CNN number was accurate?

If so, then the guy who dressed up like Santa Claus and then opened fire on his ex-wife's family has killed more people recently than Hamas missiles.

I am just trying to get a sense of the magnitude of the problem here.
12.30.2008 12:56pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Ok. I will accept your admission that reasonable people can disagree with you on the 1-ton-bomb issue.

However, please read again your response and tell me if I took your tone wrong.
It so happens that because of the criticism Israel got re the prior bomb, it used to small a bomb to kill the Hamas leadership when it had the chance. That latter decision was done for "humane" reasons, to avoid civilian casualties (and the resulting criticism) and wound up causing many, many more additional deaths. The simple point is that refraining from using force can be deadlier in the long run, including to "enemy" civlians, than using the necessary force when it's opportune. I have yet to see a single "human right campaigner" acknowledge that by piling on Israel when it accidentally killed 15civilians, they ultimately enabled the Hamas takeover of Gaza, with its attendant invetiable human toll.
12.30.2008 12:58pm
soldier of fortune:
. . . (Greenwald) STILL doesn't tell us what he thinks a proportionate response by Israel to the launching of hundreds of missiles at its civilian population from Hamas-controlled Gaza would be . . .

DB is equally guilty; he doesn't tell us why Israel should be limited to a proportional response and why it shouldn't it be disproportional.

It took years (decades, really) for the US to get over its Vietnam Syndrome. Israel has a similar cultural barrier to the use of force, the Holocaust Syndrome, which prevents Israel from using the overwhelming force needed to defend itself. The fear of condemnation by the international community, and comparisons with the Nazi regime, are symptoms of this Syndrome. The Syndrome prevents Israel from inflicting large enough enemy casualties to deter agression; enemy dead should be uncountable, not in the hundreds or thousands. Israel needs to get over this Syndrome and inflict unimaginable punishment on Gaza.
12.30.2008 1:00pm
Guest for now:
If there were an army of coordinated guys dressed up like Santa bent on killing people, I'd be very concerned about that threat. When you have an army of people who have killed only a few based mostly on their lack of skill and not a lack of intent, I'd be a little more concerned. Their skill will improve over time.

If I had a burglar who kept trying to break in and was foiled by my alarm system, his lack of success wouldn't make me feel safe if he keeps trying every day.
12.30.2008 1:00pm
Steve H:

If so, then the guy who dressed up like Santa Claus and then opened fire on his ex-wife's family has killed more people recently than Hamas missiles.


I believe rocket attacks from Gaza or Lebanon usually kill 2-3 Israelis per year. Evil Santa killed 9.
12.30.2008 1:01pm
trad and anon (mail):
I was just wondering if the CNN number was accurate?

If so, then the guy who dressed up like Santa Claus and then opened fire on his ex-wife's family has killed more people recently than Hamas missiles.

I am just trying to get a sense of the magnitude of the problem here.
I have yet to see any defenders of the Israeli government's actions question that number, so there seems to be no dispute about its accuracy.
12.30.2008 1:01pm
asdf (mail):

The simple point is that refraining from using force can be deadlier in the long run, including to "enemy" civlians, than using the necessary force when it's opportune.

A poster above has suggested that it's only a matter of time until Iran supplies Hamas with more powerful missiles, including, possibly, nuclear missiles.

Given this, would you say that it's opportune now for Israel to use it's nuclear weapons on Hamas?
12.30.2008 1:02pm
soldier of fortune:
Should Israel nuke Gaza - assuming, of course, that Israel takes steps to evacuate nearby Israelis so they are not affected by fallout?

No, since fallout would cross international boundaries into Arab states. But I wouldn't be averse to chemical weapons.
12.30.2008 1:04pm
asdf (mail):

Its an interesting question though. If Iran were to eventually slip a nuclear weapon to Hamas, what do you think the response would be? Should we wait around to find out?

Beats me. I have the feeling that people motivated by bizarre and silly religious beliefs are going to continue slaughtering one another in perpetuity.

If Israel were to nuke Gaza and its other pesky neighbors one good thing that might come of it is that there wouldn't be continued droning coverage on CNN and it could return to more pressing questions like "Where's Caylee?"
12.30.2008 1:06pm
first history:
DB is equally guilty; he doesn't tell us why Israel should be limited to a proportional response and why it shouldn't it be disproportional.

Prof. Bernstein:

Why shouldn't Israel's response be disproportional?
12.30.2008 1:06pm
Mark Buehner (mail):

I believe rocket attacks from Gaza or Lebanon usually kill 2-3 Israelis per year. Evil Santa killed 9.


There has been a 'truce' for the last 6 months while Hamas built up their rocket supply, meaning 'only' a few rockets and mortars were fired.

And i think you need to say only X number of Israelis have been killed so far. Is anyone arguing that Hamas wont acquire more advanced weapons as time goes by? If Evil Santas were busy target practicing and picking up explosives, would you be concerned? Maybe do something now rather than later?
12.30.2008 1:08pm
trad and anon (mail):
Why shouldn't Israel's response be disproportional?
Because it would kill a lot of innocent people?
12.30.2008 1:09pm
asdf (mail):

If Evil Santas were busy target practicing and picking up explosives, would you be concerned? Maybe do something now rather than later?

There appear to be sleep cells of Evil Santas operating in this country. They operate covertly most of the year and then resurface in malls around the country around December of each year.

Can we really afford to just "wait and see" if there are more Evil Santa Massacres in the offing? Shouldn't we do something _now_?
12.30.2008 1:11pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
In this instance, I think there is merit to David and Glenn Greenwald's views. David is right that Israel certainly had the right and necessity of taking some military action to stop the rocket bombardments of its population. Glenn is right that, ultimately, the only lasting solution will be achieved through diplomacy. For every Hamas fighter that Israel kills with its military attack, two more Arabs will be recruited to take his place. The horrors of the "collateral damage" of this action, shown continuously by the Arab news media, ensures that there will be no shortage of such recruits. That is the nub of the problem.
12.30.2008 1:14pm
Mark Buehner (mail):

There appear to be sleep cells of Evil Santas operating in this country.


Of course this is where the analogy breaks down. Outside of excellent B-movies, there DONT appear to be sleeper cells of evil santas ready to kill.

Of course in Israel there are rockets and mortars falling daily, no need to imagine or prove the existence of people trying disparately to kill Israelis, and civilians preferably.

If we are still playing the moral equivalence game, how much wait do you afford the side trying hard to avoid civilian casualties (demonstrably, we've established Israel COULD decimate Gaza if they wanted to) or the side trying desperately to kill civilians as their preferred form of war? And these are the people we need to give time to arm themselves more accurately before taking serious military action?
12.30.2008 1:16pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Glenn is right that, ultimately, the only lasting solution will be achieved through diplomacy.
I don't disagree with that. I think the Israelis recognize that. I think Abbas recognizes that. They have closed the gap tremendously, but not entirely. I don't think Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran recognize that yet, and may not until they are dealt a thorough military blow, as Fatah was in 02-03.
12.30.2008 1:19pm
Ex-Fed (mail) (www):
Terrorism ends when the causes of it are addressed, typically via diplomatic means. That's what history proves.



Am I incorrect in thinking that this is a diplomatic way of saying "end terrorism by agreeing to at least some of the terrorists' demands?"

That may indeed terrorism by a particular group of terrorists.

But in the long term . . .
12.30.2008 1:20pm
Mark Buehner (mail):

For every Hamas fighter that Israel kills with its military attack, two more Arabs will be recruited to take his place.

Of course we've all heard that before, but is it really true? And if so, how does any war get settled, ever?

The truth is there are a certain amount of people willing to kill and die for their beliefs. There are a certain amount of others not so eager to die, and also eager to get on with their lives. The trick is to kill off enough of the former so that the latter can gain control and force a peace. The problem with that is it takes a lot more of the peaceful to overcome the warlike, for exactly the reasons stated.
12.30.2008 1:20pm
soldier of fortune:
Why shouldn't Israel's response be disproportional?
Because it would kill a lot of innocent people?


There are no innocent people in Gaza--they installed and support the Hamas regime, so they are collaborators in its terrorism, making them legitimate targets.
12.30.2008 1:25pm
srg:
einhverfr,

Even the NYT, a frequent critic of Israel, reports that fewer than 20% of the Palestinians killed in Gaza have been civilians.
12.30.2008 1:26pm
asdf (mail):

Of course this is where the analogy breaks down. Outside of excellent B-movies, there DONT appear to be sleeper cells of evil santas ready to kill.

Ha just one evil Santa has already killed far more people recently than all of Hamas' rockets.

Can we, as a country, really afford to take a chance and just wait and see?

Think about it, malls crowded with hundred of little blond-haired children . . .
12.30.2008 1:28pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
Matt Tievsky,

The answer is not "no", but "not yet". This will change.
"For all the pooh-poohing of proportionality, how many people seriously think that massacring the entire population of the Gaza Strip is morally justifiable?"

Lee Harris put it this way:
"… For the bitter truth is that if the Palestinian people were indeed a genuine state fighting a genuine war, they would have long since been annihilated root and branch - or else they would have been forced to make a realistic accommodation with the state of Israel, based on a just assessment of the latter's immense superiority of resources, both military and political. And the reason for this superiority, by a paradox typical of history, is not American aid or funding, but the fact that the state of Israel has been forced to struggle for every moment of its existence from the very day of its birth - and it is this struggle that has made them into what no assembly of nations can ever bestow - a viable state. And unless the Palestinians as a people can set aside their fantasies of pushing a vastly superior enemy into the sea, instead of seeking out a realistic modus vivendi with him, they may demand a state, and even be "recognized" as a state. But it will exist as a viable entity only by virtue of the liberal conscience - and seemingly inexhaustible forbearance - of the Israeli people.

But in this the Palestinians are not alone. It is a common feature of much of the Arab world to entertain the illusion of viability. In a world that had abandoned the liberal system, they would have long been extirpated, or else - a far happier and more probable outcome - they would have rapidly shed their delusions for a more realistic manner of proceeding.

This gives a sense of Greek tragedy, with its dialectic of hubris and nemesis, to what has been unfolding in the Islamic world. If they continue to use terror against the West, their very success will destroy them. If they succeed in terrorizing the West, they will discover that they have in fact only ended by brutalizing it. And if subjected to enough stress, the liberal system will be set aside and the Hobbesian world will return - and with its return, the Islamic world will be crushed.

12.30.2008 1:28pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
srg:

Even the NYT, a frequent critic of Israel, reports that fewer than 20% of the Palestinians killed in Gaza have been civilians.


Re-read my posts. I have said there are plenty of reasons to be critical of Israel's handling of Arab and Palestinian-related issues, but that these air strikes have not yet crossed that line.
12.30.2008 1:29pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Soldier of Fortune wrote:

There are no innocent people in Gaza--they installed and support the Hamas regime, so they are collaborators in its terrorism, making them legitimate targets.


By that measure, Al Qaeda argues that since the US is a democracy, that the voters are responsible for US foreign policy and there are no innocent Americans.

Why would a massacre in Gaza be any better than one in Manhattan?
12.30.2008 1:31pm
Lawyer (mail):

Glenn Greenwald:

"The only military solution to the rocket attacks is total annihilation of...Gaza..."



Mr. Greenwald,

Your claim is analogous to saying that the only military solution to al Qaeda is annihilation of Afghanistan.

Why is total annihilation the only military solution? What if we can only annihilate those wishing to fire rockets? Or the means used to fire rockets? Or, perhaps, annihilate half the population, incentivizing the other half to refrain from sending rockets. (The alternatives to total annihilation are limitless.)

Perhaps this military misunderstading is provoking your constant aversion to Israeli military operations.
12.30.2008 1:33pm
Steve H:

There has been a 'truce' for the last 6 months while Hamas built up their rocket supply, meaning 'only' a few rockets and mortars were fired.

And i think you need to say only X number of Israelis have been killed so far. Is anyone arguing that Hamas wont acquire more advanced weapons as time goes by? If Evil Santas were busy target practicing and picking up explosives, would you be concerned? Maybe do something now rather than later?


But as I understand it, Palestinians have been launching rocket attacks for years, from both Gaza and Lebanon. Is that incorrect?

Regarding future casaulties, I do agree that they should be taken into account in assessing the morality of Israel's recent attacks. But if one justifies the killing of sixty Palestinian civilians because otherwise a bunch of Israelis will be killed in the future, then I think one must be able to show that killing those civilians now really does reduce the likelihood of future attacks, instead of increasing it.
12.30.2008 1:33pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Ex-Fed:

Am I incorrect in thinking that this is a diplomatic way of saying "end terrorism by agreeing to at least some of the terrorists' demands?"


Sure. For example, bin Ladin says "The US must remove their troops from Saudi Arabia." So that is exactly what Bush did.....
12.30.2008 1:33pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
Glenn Greenwald,

Terrorism ends when the causes of it are addressed, typically via diplomatic means. That's what history proves. I know that's not as spectacular or exciting or blood-pumping as watching people you hate and their children get incinerated by bombs dropped from on high, but it's still how it is.

Asking — really, truly — not as snark, but out of a desire to hear the answer: Which instances of terrorism do you mean, and how were the "causes" "typically" addressed "via diplomatic means"? I'm asking because while I can think of terrorist campaigns that have stopped or fizzled out, I can't think of many that were ended by diplomacy. The relative calm in Northern Ireland is the only one that comes to my mind, so obviously I'm missing something.
12.30.2008 1:33pm
Skeptic911 (mail):
Israel's attack on non-military targets including private homes, government buildings, and school buildings is both illegal and disproportionate.

Israel's siege of Gaza is an act of war. Gazan shelling of Israel is illegal, but not particularly effective. It is reasonable to ask, driven Israel's refusal to lift the siege and avowed goal of destroying the Palestinians' elected government, what the Palestinians' military options are. The rocket attacks inflict far less damage than the Israeli siege which prompts them.

Hamas has a long record of attacking Israeli military targets, and being willing to engage in long and careful planning in order to do so. The siege has left Hamas with few tools to pressure Israel.

Hamas also violates the law in hiding in the civilian population, but, again, they have few options. Israeli forces prior to the British withdrawl did exactly the same thing. So did anti-Nazi partisans. If you are fighting a much stronger enemy, you have little choice but the hide, and if you don't live in the jungle, urban environments are the only place to hide.

A proportional response by Israel could include accepting Hamas' offer of an end to rocket fire in exchange for an end to the blockade. Or, if they want to continue the war, they could strike at the rocket-launchers and their infrastructure with targeting the entire government, killing traffic cops, police cadets, and bombing targets with no military infrastructure to "pressure" (i.e., to terrorize and attempt to intimidate) Hamas and the Palestinians.

If Israel can't locate Hamas' military assets from the air, they should send in ground forces as opposed to trying to pressure the other side with broad airstrikes on non-military targets. This is terrorism, just as using suicide bombs against civilians to pressure Israel is terrorism.
12.30.2008 1:35pm
srg:
einhverfr,

I may have misread you; however, I am less optimistic than you about the possibility of nation-building by the Jewish State being acceptable to the Palestinians.
12.30.2008 1:36pm
Raționalitate (www):
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is bigger than Israel, bigger than Palestine, and bigger than the United States (at least, bigger than the US' foreign policy). It was started as part of a Cold War strategy on the part of the USSR to drive a wedge between the Arab world and the United States, which would subsequently be expanded across the third world. The USSR built up the PLO (just ask Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest ranking defector from an intelligence service in the Soviet Bloc). And I'd be seriously surprised if the current Russian Federation – who has much more of a stake in destabilizing the Middle East, due to Putin's political dependence on high energy prices – didn't take up the task of funneling aid to Hamas through its proxy Iran. (Which is itself another cog in the Russian energy machine – it's important that the West isn't able to use Iran as conduit of energy from the Caspian Sea region...similar to the reason why Russia provoked the war with Georgia in August...to scare Western investors away from the last possible pro-Western country able to transport oil and gas from the Caspian Sea to Europe without going through Russian territory.)

There are only two possible solutions to this. The first is to somehow do away with the Russian leadership, which is a ridiculous proposition – ain't gonna happen. The second is for the US and other industrialized countries to stop subsidizing fossil fuel use through their nationalization of transportation networks (i.e., building roads and enforcing density rules that assure that people will use roads and cars as opposed to the privately-owned mass transit networks more popular before WWI and WWII), depriving Putin from using energy as a weapon. The first is appealing to hawks but is utterly unrealistic. The second seems too far removed from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to dawn on anyone with any sort of power.

Long story short, we're screwed.
12.30.2008 1:37pm
Yankev (mail):

The real question is whether Israel has the courage and will to do what is necessary in helping to build a viable and fully independent Palestinian state.
Let's see. Since 1993, Israel has offered economic aid to develop industry, (rejected, at the very beginning of Oslo and ever since), dismantled several settlements, put the PA in charge of 97% of the land outside the Green Line, engaged in numerous talks, allowed an armed PA police force (which quickly dropped all pretense of being anything more than a band of corrup terrorist thugs), fostered elections, turned all of Gaza over to the PA (who had the chance to effect an orderly take over but chose not to in hopes of embarrassing Israel), allowed huge numbers of terrorists into the area. This after drastically improving Arab life expectancy, medical care and facilities, literacy and educational levels and schools far beyond what they had been when Israel was forced to take the territories in 1967. In return, starting right after the Oslo accords were signed, Israel was repaid with levels of terrorism unprecedented in the history of Israel, until Israel was forced to build checkpoints and ultimately the security fence.

It seems to me that the real question is whether the "Palestinians" have the courage and will to do what is necessary in helping to build a viable and fully independent Palestinian state. So far, they have proven themselves much more interested in destroying Israel's state than in building one of their own.

The rest of your post conflates territory exchanges (which were contemplated by UNSC Resolution 242), the presence of Jews where Arabs don't want them (and on land that they purchased in violation of Jordanian and PA law under which selling land to a Jew is a capital crime), and Kach's wish to expel Arabs (which I do not support, but which you have grossly mis-stated and exaggerated, not to mention your failure to recognize that Kach is banned by the Israeli government, in contrast to Hamas which IS the elected government of Gaza and the PA) with one another and with genocide. Your confusions so pervades your message that all I can say is that you appear to be profoundly and fundamentally confused.
12.30.2008 1:39pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Steve H:

But if one justifies the killing of sixty Palestinian civilians because otherwise a bunch of Israelis will be killed in the future, then I think one must be able to show that killing those civilians now really does reduce the likelihood of future attacks, instead of increasing it.


The case would be made that the civilian casualties have been minimal given the military objectives (taking out the rocket launch sites). This case is one which seems strong to my mind in terms of military justification.

However..... The fact is that while one might agree that given the realities, the military side is ok, no amount of military intervention will succeed in providing Israeli security unless it is followed up with diplomatic efforts.
12.30.2008 1:40pm
soldier of fortune:
Al Qaeda argues that since the US is a democracy, that the voters are responsible for US foreign policy and there are no innocent Americans.

I agree that is Al Qaeda's view, and why we should show no mercy to them. Israel and the US are democracies fighting exestenial threats to their existence, and should use any means necessary to do so. It may be dirty, but the (civilized) world would be grateful for the permanent removal of Hamas and Al Qaeda.
12.30.2008 1:40pm
trad and anon (mail):
There are no innocent people in Gaza--they installed and support the Hamas regime, so they are collaborators in its terrorism, making them legitimate targets.
Perhaps you might say they're little Eichmanns. Including the children. And the 41% of voters who voted for Fatah. And the ones who oppose what Hamas is doing. And the ones whose "support" of Hamas's terrorism is limited to thought crimes. In your mind, all are condemned.
12.30.2008 1:42pm
Steve H:

The case would be made that the civilian casualties have been minimal given the military objectives (taking out the rocket launch sites). This case is one which seems strong to my mind in terms of military justification.


I think I'm with you on this. So far, it does not appear to me that civilian casualties have been excessive.

So far.
12.30.2008 1:42pm
soldier of fortune:
trad and anon:

War is a messy business.
12.30.2008 1:44pm
Yankev (mail):

Ha just one evil Santa has already killed far more people recently than all of Hamas' rockets.
This would be a less disgusting analogy if donning a Santa suit were any predictor of violent intent. This fact would not need to be pointed out to any morally sane individual.
12.30.2008 1:45pm
Mark Buehner (mail):

But as I understand it, Palestinians have been launching rocket attacks for years, from both Gaza and Lebanon. Is that incorrect?

That is correct. However, circumstances have changed. Hamas and Hezbollah have already acquired more advanced weapons capable of striking further into Israel and hence endangering more people. Secondly Gaza itself was relinquished, and within HOURS was being used as a closer launching pad capable of striking more civilians. Israel is simply in more danger today than they were 6 months or a year ago, and that will only get worse.



But if one justifies the killing of sixty Palestinian civilians because otherwise a bunch of Israelis will be killed in the future, then I think one must be able to show that killing those civilians now really does reduce the likelihood of future attacks, instead of increasing it.


Is there any reason to believe there won't be future attacks? They will certainly be more advanced, i don't see any way around that. It seems to me that since there have been attacks for decades, the idea that future attacks are merely speculative is pretty hard to swallow. The fact that Israel met the main Palestinian demand of quitting Gaza led to more attacks is particularly troublesome.

What can Israel do, even in theory to limit future attacks from Hamas? Isn't that the bottom line question we are all dancing around?
12.30.2008 1:45pm
trad and anon (mail):
Even the NYT, a frequent critic of Israel, reports that fewer than 20% of the Palestinians killed in Gaza have been civilians.
Link? I keep hearing conflicting claims about what's going on.
12.30.2008 1:47pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Yankev: Kach is banned because of their terrorist activities, but that has not prevented their ideological supporters (Eitam, for example) from holding high offices. The ideology which Kach represents IS represented in the Israeli political sphere and has been given far too much power.

I think one Ha'aretz editor called Mr Eitam's appointment to the Sharon cabinet the equivalent of putting a pyromaniac in charge of a propane gas depot.

As to nation building.... It takes more than economic aid to build a nation. Infrastructure, training of police forces, training of an army to repel foreign invaders, and the like are all required. See the sorts of efforts the US has put in place in Iraq. You know, maybe Turkey would be willing to help with these things and even supply some peacekeepers on the ground?

These things, including the army btw, are all necessary for a viable state. If these are not acceptable, then what is the real goal? Perpetual occupation?
12.30.2008 1:48pm
asdf (mail):

This would be a less disgusting analogy if donning a Santa suit were any predictor of violent intent. This fact would not need to be pointed out to any morally sane individual.

But so far just a single evil Santa has killed far more people than the recent Hamas rocket attacks.

Can we, as a nation, afford to wait until the next holiday season to see what happens? Think of all of the little blond-haired children in the malls. Do you want to be the one to explain to the grieving parents at the Orange Julius why you just stood idly by and did nothing?
12.30.2008 1:50pm
Dan28 (mail):

Why is total annihilation the only military solution? What if we can only annihilate those wishing to fire rockets? Or the means used to fire rockets? Or, perhaps, annihilate half the population, incentivizing the other half to refrain from sending rockets.

Because human nature being what it is, when you annihilate half the population, the other half gets really pissed off, and rather than cowering in fear, they become even more dedicated to killing you.

Take the 500 or so people who have been killed in Gaza thus far. Let's assume that, on average, each person killed in Gaza violence has 5 immediate family members (sibling, parent or child) - a conservative estimate in the Arab world. That means there are now 2,500 people in Gaza who have had immediate family members killed by Israel. Of those 2,500 people, and given everything you know about Arab culture, how many do you think will be deterred into submission by the Israeli violence, versus how many will be more likely to engage in terrorism in the future? Its pretty obvious to me that the latter number will be far greater than the former. So where has this campaign gotten Israel? It's faced with more, not less, terrorists who want to kill Israelis. And that's been pretty much the story for the past 60 years.

When Glenn says that the only military solution is total annihilation of Gaza, he's referring to this problem - that the more people you kill in Gaza, the more people you *have* to kill, creating an endless cycle that can only be resolved by (a) killing everybody; or (b) coming up with some diplomatic solution. Bernstein pretends in his second update that "diplomatic means" means negotiating directly with Hamas, which is a straw man - diplomatic means could mean trying to bypass Hamas by empowering Abbas, or by addressing the humanitarian situation in Gaza, or by actually thinking creatively and strategically about what is going to produce a diplomatic outcome. But the idea that the conflict in the area is going to end simply by killing enough bad guys so that eventually the good guys win is ridiculous.
12.30.2008 1:51pm
Yankev (mail):
A few more thoughts about proportion.
From NRO contributor James S. Robbins

Regarding Israel’s excessive use of force (which Gen. Sec. Ban Ki-moon, and others, have alleged), one might ask for a definition of "excessive." If the definition is "more than necessary to be effective," then Israel has actually used insufficient force, since Hamas is still launching rockets (though nowhere near the “thousands” they threatened).


One gathers that these critics are relying on the principle of proportionality. While this is an established principle in just-war circles, it is a bit suspect. If all uses of force were proportional, how could one side gain a decisive advantage? Would not such conflicts drag on indefinitely, compounding the needless death and destruction? If a country is able to prevail in a conflict quickly, doesn’t that country owe it to its own people to do so? Besides, what is a proportional response to Hamas’s policy of firing rockets and mortars into populated areas? Should Israel respond in kind, killing civilians purposefully and gaining no military benefit? Those who object to Israel’s target list should be required to suggest which Hamas installations should be left standing — and why.


Also, even if proportionality is the standard, there is proportionality in objectives: Hamas seeks to destroy Israel, and Israel’s current offensive (as explained by several of the country's leading officials) is designed to destroy Hamas. If the war is back on, it makes sense for Israel to fight to win. The Hamas leadership should have considered that possibility before deciding not to renew the ceasefire.

As an aside, I am not moved that only 44% of the population voted for Hamas. What percentage of the US electorate voted for any given candidate? Also, given that Hamas' base is in Gaza and that PLO supporters were arrested, killed or fled in large numbers after the election, it seems reasonable to assume that much more than 44% of those currently in Gaza supported Hamas.

From Victor David Hanson:
Some Moderate Proposals [Victor Davis Hanson]

1) Request that 50% of Israel's air-to-ground missiles be duds to ensure greater proportionality.


2) Allow Hamas another 1,000 free rocket launches to see if they can catch up with the body count.


3) Have Israeli soldiers congregate in border barracks so that Hamas's random rockets have a better chance of killing military personnel, to ensure it can claim at least a few military targets.


4) Redefine "holocaust" to refer to deaths of terrorists in numbers under 400 to give greater credence to Hamas's current claims.


5) In the interest of fairness, allow Hamas to establish both the date that war is supposed to begin and the date when it must end.


6) Send Israeli military advisers to Hamas to improve the accuracy of their missiles.


7) Take down the barriers to return to Hamas a fair chance of getting suicide bombers back inside Israel.
12.30.2008 1:52pm
asdf (mail):

Also, even if proportionality is the standard, there is proportionality in objectives: Hamas seeks to destroy Israel, and Israel’s current offensive (as explained by several of the country's leading officials) is designed to destroy Hamas. If the war is back on, it makes sense for Israel to fight to win.

Should Israel use Nukes?
12.30.2008 1:53pm
trad and anon (mail):
trad and anon:

War is a messy business.
You are changing the subject. You asserted the evil doctrine of collective guilt by claiming that there are no innocent Gazans. I refuted it.
12.30.2008 1:55pm
Yankev (mail):

Can we, as a nation, afford to wait until the next holiday season to see what happens? Think of all of the little blond-haired children in the malls. Do you want to be the one to explain to the grieving parents at the Orange Julius why you just stood idly by and did nothing?
A morally warped analogy, one which has been aptly and repeatedly refuted well before I address it, and which deserves no serious response. Period.
12.30.2008 1:55pm
Steve H:

Is there any reason to believe there won't be future attacks? They will certainly be more advanced, i don't see any way around that. It seems to me that since there have been attacks for decades, the idea that future attacks are merely speculative is pretty hard to swallow. The fact that Israel met the main Palestinian demand of quitting Gaza led to more attacks is particularly troublesome.

What can Israel do, even in theory to limit future attacks from Hamas? Isn't that the bottom line question we are all dancing around?



I think future rocket (or similar) attacks on Israel are a certainty, especially if Israel continues to respond by causing death and destruction in Palestinian areas.

What can Israel do to stop (or reduce) the attacks? I see two options. Kill every Palestinian, or change the dynamic so that Palestinians no longer want to kill Israelis.

I for one am not surprised at public opinion polls showing that 83% (or whatever) of Gazans favor attacks on Israel. If you were a Palestinian living in Gaza, wouldn't you?
12.30.2008 1:56pm
Mark Buehner (mail):

Because human nature being what it is, when you annihilate half the population, the other half gets really pissed off, and rather than cowering in fear, they become even more dedicated to killing you.


That's why i never take my eyes off a German.
12.30.2008 1:57pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):

Bernstein pretends in his second update that "diplomatic means" means negotiating directly with Hamas, which is a straw man - diplomatic means could mean trying to bypass Hamas by empowering Abbas, or by addressing the humanitarian situation in Gaza, or by actually thinking creatively and strategically about what is going to produce a diplomatic outcome.


No it's not, but negotiations really should include Hamas as long as they have strong voter support.

Excluding Hamas shows Palestinians that Israelis want to occupy them using the ballot box and have no respect for Palestinian democracy.

Including Hamas provides Hamas with a choice to actually participate in the elections or disobey the wishes of their voter base.

Let me ask: Given that Likud has passed a resolution saying that there can be NO Palestinian state west of the Jordan, can there be negotiations with Likud?
12.30.2008 1:57pm
asdf (mail):

A morally warped analogy, one which has been aptly and repeatedly refuted well before I address it, and which deserves no serious response. Period.

So you think that it is acceptable to let Evil Santas kill 8 or 10 people at X-mas and not do anything about it?

Since it is okay to kill civilians because 41% of them voted for Hamas, shouldn't we just kill everyone in the Evil Santa union?

And what about the elves, sir? What about the elves?
12.30.2008 1:58pm
Mark Buehner (mail):

Kill every Palestinian, or change the dynamic so that Palestinians no longer want to kill Israelis.


Why hasn't anybody thought of that? Snark aside- how do you make Palestinians not want to kill Israelis. Start today, no-more attacks on Gaza. If you run Israel, how do you implement that plan. Do Palestinians only want to kill Israelis because Israelis attack them? Why didn't Hamas extend the ceasefire then, and start shooting rockets?
12.30.2008 1:59pm
Bartemis:
This reminds me of that original Star Trek episode where the Enterprise visits a planet where war has been relegated to the computers. No battles actually take place, but computer generated lists of victims are regularly produced and the unfortunately chosen casualties are herded into chambers to be put to death in an orderly fashion. Not surprisingly, the "war" has been going on for years beyond count.

"Proportionality" is a recipe for endless conflict. This is not a tee-ball game where we want all the children to be winners so as not to harm their fragile self-esteem. This is life and death. Somebody has to win, and somebody has to lose, or at least, their paradigm for victory has to be completely annihilated.
12.30.2008 2:01pm
asdf (mail):

"Proportionality" is a recipe for endless conflict. This is not a tee-ball game where we want all the children to be winners so as not to harm their fragile self-esteem. This is life and death. Somebody has to win, and somebody has to lose, or at least, their paradigm for victory has to be completely annihilated.

So it's acceptable to nuke Gaza?
12.30.2008 2:03pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Yankev and David Bernstein:

Reading both of your posts carefully, I see that you seem to concur with me that, to date, these air strikes are probably both justified and proportional. Neither of you have called for the total annihilation or forcible transfer of Palestinians.

However, are either of you bothered by those here who call for genocide against the Palestinians? Does it bother you that there are supporters of Israel who seem to support such a thing? Does it bother you more that these folks don't even seem to be Israeli?
12.30.2008 2:04pm
Lawyer (mail):

"When Glenn says that the only military solution is total annihilation of Gaza, he's referring to this problem - that the more people you kill in Gaza, the more people you *have* to kill."


Who says military solutions only involve *death*? Firing rockets *at least* require two things: (1) rockets, and (2) proximity.

Military action can take-out either of these without just killing everyone in the region.
12.30.2008 2:04pm
dan:
Bernstein and all you supposed "libertarians":

The whole point of Greenwald's article is that the U.S. should not take sides in this conflict. I would think that that point would be one that libertarians would tend to agree with, so I'm surprised to see so much disagreement on this site.

For libertarians and Bernstein: Do you support ending U.S. military and other aid to Israel? If not, why not? How does your answer comport with your libertarian philosophy?

I see people on this site continually arguing that the U.S. should not spend taxpayer money on things such as schools for our own children, or healthcare for our own citizens. If you hold such views, then do you also agree that the U.S. should not spend taxpayer money on bombs for Israel? If not, why are bombs for killing Gazans a justifiable use of taxpayer funds, while healthcare for Americans is not?
12.30.2008 2:05pm
trad and anon (mail):
Is there any reason to believe there won't be future attacks? They will certainly be more advanced, i don't see any way around that. It seems to me that since there have been attacks for decades, the idea that future attacks are merely speculative is pretty hard to swallow.
Agreed. I am rather unconvinced that this bombing campaign will do anything to stop them though. Despite Israel's overwhelming military superiority, they haven't even succeeded in stopping the current attacks.

I don't have the foggiest idea what Israel could do that would actually work. The prospects for diplomacy are crappy. They could kill all the Gazans, but in addition to being immoral it would throw them into a state of total war with the rest of the region and might provoke invasion by the European powers as well.
12.30.2008 2:06pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
asdf:

Since it is okay to kill civilians because 41% of them voted for Hamas, shouldn't we just kill everyone in the Evil Santa union?


To defend Yankev, he has not defended causing mass casualties or suffering for Palestinians. I think your post is better directed at those here who HAVE called for genocide.
12.30.2008 2:06pm
asdf (mail):

To defend Yankev, he has not defended causing mass casualties or suffering for Palestinians. I think your post is better directed at those here who HAVE called for genocide.

What about the elves?
12.30.2008 2:08pm
Mark Buehner (mail):

Military action can take-out either of these without just killing everyone in the region.

I think its pretty clear that if Israel intended to kill everyone in the region they could, yet they haven't.

Its impossible to destroy all the rockets in Hamas possession without a full scale ground invasion, which would end up killing many thousands more Palestinians since they would resist.

If it was a simple matter to remove the rockets from the equation, of course Israel would do so. They spent weeks trying that in Lebanon and failed miserably.

Of course rockets have to come from somewhere, perhaps if the rest of the world stopped hand-wringing Israel and started preventing weapons from reaching Hamas, a peace could indeed be reached. Let me know how that goes.
12.30.2008 2:09pm
Left_Wing_Lock:
A proportionate Israeli response would be to let the rockets/mortars hit you and die. Anything stronger than that response would be deemed "disproportionate" by the likes of Mr. Greenwald. OK, maybe, every 3 months, Israel could write a strongly-worded letter to the UN Human Rights Commission.
12.30.2008 2:11pm
Blue:
If Greenwald really wants to understand something about how wars end, may I suggest he begin by reading Geoffrey Blainey's The Causes of War. Then he would understand why his view of "proportionality" is the exact opposite prescription required to end an armed conflict.
12.30.2008 2:19pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
I wonder when Prof. Bernstein will react to articles like this instead of focusing so much time on Greenwald.....
12.30.2008 2:21pm
asdf (mail):

If Greenwald really wants to understand something about how wars end, may I suggest he begin by reading Geoffrey Blainey's The Causes of War. Then he would understand why his view of "proportionality" is the exact opposite prescription required to end an armed conflict.

So the use of nukes against Gaza is acceptable?
12.30.2008 2:23pm
Lawyer (mail):

"Its impossible to destroy all the rockets in Hamas possession without a full scale ground invasion."


Ok, now we're getting somewhere. In analyzing the requirements to end the rocket-launching, we've retreated from "total annihilation" to "full scale ground invasion."

And, IMHO, given the cumulative actions of the Palestinian terrorists over the last few years, and their stated objectives, I find a ground invasion to be totally...what's that word...oh yeah, "proportional".
12.30.2008 2:23pm
Mark Buehner (mail):

In analyzing the requirements to end the rocket-launching, we've retreated from "total annihilation" to "full scale ground invasion."


Retreated? They seem about equivalent to me. Does anyone really believe you can destroy thousands of hidden caches of rockets with airpower? Aside from the Israeli AF generals anyway?

What are Israel's options?
12.30.2008 2:26pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"So it's acceptable to nuke Gaza?"

Nuclear weapons are only necessary for their deterrence value. Thermobaric weapons would be a much better route. These weapons have no radiation problem and could be used incrementally. They are extremely effective in oxygen deficient environments such as tunnels, caves or underground bunkers. Israel has to show Hamas that hiding among the civilian population is not going to work anymore. They made the choice to use civilians as shields, and it's Hamas not Israel that will be responsible for their deaths. While such a policy might seem overly harsh, in the long run fewer people will die. Had the US not used nuclear weapons against Japan, more Japanese would have died in a massive invasion.
12.30.2008 2:27pm
luagha:
I seem to recall that in other wars, one side when beaten surrenders. And it seems to happen far far before the entire country/province/city is razed to the ground where no stone stands upon a stone. Why doesn't that happen?

A few reasons I can think of and I'm sure that more will be given. One is that Israel foolishly stops before an actual surrender, allowing the heroic Muslim/Arab myth of tweaking the nose and getting away and the hudna cycle to continue. Another is that Hamas/Hezbollah/Fatah/etc receive infinite resupply from sources that cannot be attacked without widening the war (Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia, etc) and there is no incentive to surrender when one is receiving infinite resupply.
12.30.2008 2:27pm
Guest for now:
So, it appears that the position of Glenn, Trad &Annon and others amounts to: (1) we don't have the foggiest clue what would lead to peace but (2) Israel shouldn't use force in responding to these attacks because that will just piss off more Palestinians.

The only long-run effects that seem to concern you are the ones that involve hurt feelings of Palestinians. You seem to ignore the long-term effects of a relationship in which one party is permitted to use force with no serious threat of repurcussion while the other is supposed to engage in restraint.

And still, no one wants to address the root of the problem, which is that there isn't a diplomatic solution that will give both paries the objective they seek (sovereignty for Israel versus its destruction). It's kind of hard to bridge that gap. It takes an unprecedented level of hubris to believe that there are some "creative" means that could be used to resolve this impasse diplomatically, as if generations of people haven't thought of that before. Maybe, though, they just weren't as smart as Glenn and Dan28. If only they had your wisdom . . . .
12.30.2008 2:29pm
asdf (mail):

Israel has to show Hamas that hiding among the civilian population is not going to work anymore.

And what better way to do that other than vaporizing the civilian population (and intermingled Hamas folks) with thermobaric weapons?
12.30.2008 2:31pm
Man on the Street (mail):
Greenwald still hasn't answered what he thinks a "proportionate" response would be to Hamas lobbing missiles at Israeli civilians. The reason is, he can't.

It's a lot easier to say the words "proportionate" and "disproportionate" than it is to define them. The minute he defines them he runs a rather large risk of having to acknowledge that Israel's actions thus far have in fact been proportionate to Hamas'.
12.30.2008 2:35pm
Floridan:
I find the collective guilt attitude of many commenters to this post particularly interesting as this blog espouses a libertarian philosophy.
12.30.2008 2:37pm
Jacob M:
The people who are comparing the numbers of deaths of Israeli and Palestinian civilians are missing an important point: Israel takes civil defense measures, ranging from the elaborate (radar systems for warning of missile launches) to the simple or merely common-sensical: staying indoors whenever possible, going into a safe space (which can be as simple as a basement) whenever explosions are heard, leaving the area of a missile strike until security forces check that there is no unexploded ordnance and so on and so on. And it's the simple measures that save the most lives.

In contrast, Palestinians don't make it a priority (putting it very mildly) to shield their civilians from harm. Admittedly they don't have access to the more elaborate measures like radars, but simply staying off the streets once an attack starts and creating some safe spaces (again, simple stuff like basements or rooms lined with sandbags) would reduce civilian casualties to something very close to zero.

Instead, we see "car swarms" in which crowds descend on the remains of some terrorist whom Israel just blew up in his car to dip their hands in the warm blood and pass around charred pieces of flesh -- even though there could be a secondary explosion or another missile on the way.

We also see crowds of children running around just-bombed buildings, where they could get killed by another bomb or unexploded ordnance or maybe a falling concrete block.

After the attack on Saturday, I saw reports that the strikes happened "just as the children were getting out of school", and there was footage of children running past bombed-out buildings and mugging for the cameras. The thing is, school doesn't end at 11:25; it ends at 13:30 (for the lowest grades) or later on Saturday, which is a regular school day in Gaza. The children were let out of school immediately after the Israeli attack started. Having them go to the basement or, if even that is lacking, having them sit away from the windows, would have been a much better idea for anyone concerned about their safety.

You can't compare civilian casualties when one side is taking great efforts to minimize them, and another doesn't care at best or puts civilians in harm's way at worst.
12.30.2008 2:40pm
asdf (mail):

The minute he defines them he runs a rather large risk of having to acknowledge that Israel's actions thus far have in fact been proportionate to Hamas'.

5 Israeli civilians killed is proportionate to 60 or 80 civilians in Gaza (or whatever the actual number is, the estimate I see most often is that 300 plus people dead in Gaza and about 80% of them were "militants.")

Maybe YOU should define YOUR terms.
12.30.2008 2:42pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):

What are Israel's options?


Finish the air war and begin open negotiations with Hamas regarding a lasting cease-fire. Then begin with small steps to build confidence and law enforcement power in the PA (including areas where Hamas is the dominant party), followed eventually with joint military training exercises.

The brilliance of bringing Hamas into the negotiations is that their constituents want the negotiations. If they don't negotiate towards a final status, then you give Fatah and others good political ammo against them which might otherwise be spent by Hamas against Israel. If they do give up the rhetoric about destroying the Israeli state, then the political system is bolstered. Either way, both Israel and the common Palestinians win and the extremists lose.

But then Hamas wants a ground war.
12.30.2008 2:43pm
dan:
Floridan:

I agree - this comment thread should put to rest forever the myth that those who frequent this blog are libertarian. They claim to be libertarian when arguing against funding for U.S. schools or healthcare, but then enthusiastically support as much U.S. funding as possible to support a foreign country's military.
12.30.2008 2:43pm
asdf (mail):

Instead, we see "car swarms" in which crowds descend on the remains of some terrorist whom Israel just blew up in his car to dip their hands in the warm blood and pass around charred pieces of flesh -- even though there could be a secondary explosion or another missile on the way.

We also see crowds of children running around just-bombed buildings, where they could get killed by another bomb or unexploded ordnance or maybe a falling concrete block.

So it's the fault of the stoopid civilians?
12.30.2008 2:43pm
Dan28 (mail):

It takes an unprecedented level of hubris to believe that there are some "creative" means that could be used to resolve this impasse diplomatically, as if generations of people haven't thought of that before. Maybe, though, they just weren't as smart as Glenn and Dan28. If only they had your wisdom . . . .

Seems to me like there have been generations of people have been trying to resolve this impasse militarily to no avail. But that's one of the basic problems with peacemaking: people will use violence for generation upon generation, and support military actions such as this one where even supporters have a hard time describing how this action is going to produce anything but more war, but if peaceful means don't immediately solve everybody's problems completely, they are quickly abandoned and their supporters are called naive.

And the problem isn't a lack of intelligence. The problem is a lack of willingness on people on both sides of this (and almost every other) conflict to internalize and fully appreciate the experience of the other. Bernstein wants us all to share in the experience of the residents of Sderot, and to come up with our view of proportionality with them in mind. Where, though, is his willingness to share in the perspective and experience of the residents of Gaza? It's blocked by his emotional identification with the Jewish story.
12.30.2008 2:44pm
Mark Buehner (mail):

5 Israeli civilians killed is proportionate to 60 or 80 civilians in Gaza


Would you be happier if Israeli snipers picked off one random civilian for every Israeli that died? Would that be more likely to stop the fighting, in the long run or the short?
12.30.2008 2:44pm
asdf (mail):

Would you be happier if Israeli snipers picked off one random civilian for every Israeli that died? Would that be more likely to stop the fighting, in the long run or the short?

That may or may not be a good policy, but it would demonstrate that they, unlike you and the poster above, knew the meaning of the word "proportionate."
12.30.2008 2:46pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Man On The Street:

It's a lot easier to say the words "proportionate" and "disproportionate" than it is to define them. The minute he defines them he runs a rather large risk of having to acknowledge that Israel's actions thus far have in fact been proportionate to Hamas'.


No they haven't but that is not the point.

Israel's actions have been proportional to the military value of the targets. That is the only real question as to these actions. Furthermore they have been extremely good at filling their obligations to minimize collateral damage.

The second, bigger question is what follows these air strikes?
12.30.2008 2:48pm
Mark Buehner (mail):

That may or may not be a good policy, but it would demonstrate that they, unlike you and the poster above, knew the meaning of the word "proportionate."

Dont lump me in, friend. I've said all along that proportion is the won thing you don't want in a conflict, its a recipe for escalation and maximizing casualties. Contrary to what you have been saying, there is a medium between proportionality and genocide. Ultimate that medium is called _effectiveness_, whatever your goals may be. Very rarely is a nuclear explosion the most effective response for the totality of your goals as a nation.
12.30.2008 2:49pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
A Zarkov:

Had the US not used nuclear weapons against Japan, more Japanese would have died in a massive invasion.


I try to avoid playing "if history." There were a number of factors that went into Japan's surrender, not the least of which was the Russian communication that they would break their non-aggression treaty and join the invasion without the required notice.

Japan was more or less beaten after the Battle of Leyte Gulf, which cut Japan off from oil supplies and more or less grounded the Japanese navy as well as making the days of their air force numbered. After that point, it was a question not of if Japan would surrender but when and how.
12.30.2008 2:53pm
asdf (mail):

Contrary to what you have been saying, there is a medium between proportionality and genocide.

Umm, no. I haven't been saying that. To those who say that "proportinality" is a silly metric and that Israel is justified in doing anything it wants in response to Hamas, I have asked whether it is acceptable for them to use nukes. Notice the lack of response to this question. Why is that? If it's okay to do anything they want, why not just nuke Gaza and be done with it?

Well, to be fair, one poster did say that some nice thermobaric weapons would be sufficient vaporize the matrix of civilians that contains the Hamas militant nuggets, so I guesss that is a response.

I personally, don't think there is any solution to this problem as long as people continue to believe silly religious nonsense.
12.30.2008 2:55pm
asdf (mail):

After that point, it was a question not of if Japan would surrender but when and how.

In all seriousness, I have never understood this argument. If the nuclear strike was unnecessary, why did it take _two_ nuclear strikes days apart to get Japan to surrender?
12.30.2008 2:59pm
Guest for now:
Dan,

Bring all the "willingness" you want. If one side wants the other's extinction, and the other side doesn't (and who would), you can internalize the other's side all you want, it won't make a difference. That leaves you with only one position, which is that the Palestinians, Hamas, and other influences in the region don't really want Israel's extinction. And you're entitled to that view. It is, however, hard to blame Israel for not adhering to it given the express pronouncements of their opponents.
12.30.2008 3:00pm
Jacob M:


Instead, we see "car swarms" in which crowds descend on the remains of some terrorist whom Israel just blew up in his car to dip their hands in the warm blood and pass around charred pieces of flesh -- even though there could be a secondary explosion or another missile on the way.

We also see crowds of children running around just-bombed buildings, where they could get killed by another bomb or unexploded ordnance or maybe a falling concrete block.



So it's the fault of the stoopid civilians?


Yes, partially. Have you seen a picture of one of these car swarms? They often show up on the news wires with a bizarre title like "Palestinians gather around a vehicle struck by Israel", even though they are not "gathering" but waving bloody hands and body parts around. This is absolutely revolting and, yes, stupid.

The other part is that the authorities (defined very broadly, this should include school teachers and civil officials) have a responsibility to disperse crowds and tell them to stay indoors; or at least call for this. If the Hamas starts doing this instead of the usual "now gather 'round, kids" routine, my opinion of them will go up by a small notch.
12.30.2008 3:02pm
asdf (mail):
Jacob M - one solution might be the use of thermobaric weapons as suggested by Zarkov - they would vaporize the civilians nicely so that they would be swarming on anything.
12.30.2008 3:04pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
asdf:

I am as horrified by the calls for genocide as you. It does occur to me that I have only heard such calls once from an Israel, and the rest of the time, they have come from non-Israelis who somehow feel that this is "support" for Israel.

And we wonder why Yair courted Nazi assistance.....
12.30.2008 3:04pm
Mark Buehner (mail):

Notice the lack of response to this question. Why is that? If it's okay to do anything they want, why not just nuke Gaza and be done with it?


Actually i believe you got your answer, you just don't like it because it ruins your game. To restate it, just so we're clear, using a nuclear weapon would be counterproductive to the overall interests of Israel, it would also be horrifically immoral- one needs to strive to minimize civilian casualties (something Hamas doesnt subscribe to obviously). But the counterproductive part is answer enough. Its enough to say the Israelis wont do that because it wouldn't be useful.
12.30.2008 3:05pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
I suspect that calls for genocide also come almost entirely from non-Jews. Jews, by and large, know better.
12.30.2008 3:07pm
Hello:
It seems as though many agree that destroying (by whatever means - nuclear, thermobaric, conventional) the entire Gaza strip and its entire population would solve the problems of rockets and insurgents and terrorists.

That's certainly true.

Question: Would this act of extreme violence lead other nations (Egypt, Arabia, Russia, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Indonesia, etc.) to declare war on Israel? Wouldn't a widened war be a much worse situation for Israel?
12.30.2008 3:09pm
asdf (mail):

Actually i believe you got your answer, you just don't like it because it ruins your game. To restate it, just so we're clear, using a nuclear weapon would be counterproductive to the overall interests of Israel, it would also be horrifically immoral- one needs to strive to minimize civilian casualties (something Hamas doesnt subscribe to obviously). But the counterproductive part is answer enough. Its enough to say the Israelis wont do that because it wouldn't be useful.

All you are saying is that a nuclear strike would be bad P.R., that doesn't really answer the question about whether a nuclear strike is among the acceptable options given the argument that Israel can do "anything" it wants in response to the attacks.

But one of your posters seems to believe that thermobaric weapons are acceptable, so it would seem that even your rather tepid P.R. concerns are not universally shared.
12.30.2008 3:09pm
Michael B (mail):
I.e. Isolated statements don't mean a thing when one fails to support them with additional, coherent, supportive arguments.
"I see, so saying that someone is committing war crimes without adding several paragraphs in which you detail all of your reasons for saying this and proving that you really *care* means that you actually believe the exact opposite? Is that your argument?" asdf
Since I immediately followed the excerpted comment with:

... [Greenwald continues] to fail to explain what a "proportionate" Israeli response to the launching of hundreds of missiles at its civilian population would be, in contrast to what you've labeled Israel's current "massively disproportionate response."

... what I meant is readily apparent.

Glenn Greenwald - as with yourself and so many others in this and related thread - is harrumphing and little or nothing more. Hence the shallow indignation, the belabored harrumphing - in lieu of anything more coherent.

You're holding onto Greenwald's apron strings while he's gesticulating and running around in circles, admiring himself while expressing virtually nothing that lends itself to a more coherent give-and-take.
12.30.2008 3:10pm
asdf (mail):

You're holding onto Greenwald's apron strings while he's gesticulating and running around in circles, admiring himself while expressing virtually nothing that lends itself to a more coherent give-and-take.

Well, I see that sentence but until you support it with additional, coherent, supportive argument, it don't mean a thing.
12.30.2008 3:17pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
That may or may not be a good policy, but it would demonstrate that they, unlike you and the poster above, knew the meaning of the word "proportionate."
No, it wouldn't; it would show that one didn't understand it at all (and hadn't read the many posts which explained it). What you're confused about is that "proportionate" in war is not a comparison between casualties on the two sides. It is a comparison between means and ends.

There is not, and has never been, a principle of war or international law which says that one is only supposed to inflict as many casualties on the enemy as he has inflicted on you.
12.30.2008 3:17pm
D.R.M.:

Because human nature being what it is, when you annihilate half the population, the other half gets really pissed off, and rather than cowering in fear, they become even more dedicated to killing you.

Which is why Japanese suicide bombers blew themselves up at Disneyland just last week, and the Germans keep terrorizing London.

The problem is not that Israel is killing too many Gazans; it is that it is killing too few. You kill and destroy until the other side abjectly surrenders. Even the most fanatic surrender before total annihilation (see WW2 Japan). Then you have peace afterward.

And no, you do not negotiate peace, you impose unconditional surrender, always. Compromise peaces are simply pauses for the next round. Unconditional surrender is the only moral end to war; anything else is simply a way of making sure the next generation has to fight all over again.

Proportionality in war is inherently immoral, because it does not achieve unconditional surrender, and thus guarantees another war.
12.30.2008 3:19pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
dan:

I agree - this comment thread should put to rest forever the myth that those who frequent this blog are libertarian. They claim to be libertarian when arguing against funding for U.S. schools or healthcare, but then enthusiastically support as much U.S. funding as possible to support a foreign country's military.

I agree. Why, look at all the posts above endorsing U.S. funding for Israel's military! There's , and , and of course .
12.30.2008 3:20pm
asdf (mail):

No, it wouldn't; it would show that one didn't understand it at all (and hadn't read the many posts which explained it). What you're confused about is that "proportionate" in war is not a comparison between casualties on the two sides. It is a comparison between means and ends.

If your "end" is to "achieve victory" and your chosen "means" are nuclear weapons, is that proportional?

Sorry, I am just trying to interject a little reality into your lighter than air sillinesss.
12.30.2008 3:23pm
asdf (mail):

There is not, and has never been, a principle of war or international law which says that one is only supposed to inflict as many casualties on the enemy as he has inflicted on you.

And, notice that Mr. Niporent apparently believes that civilians living in Gaza are "the enemy."

Is it any wonder that people continue to slaughter one another when such primitive thinking exists?
12.30.2008 3:25pm
Mark Buehner (mail):
All you are saying is that a nuclear strike would be bad P.R., that doesn't really answer the question about whether a nuclear strike is among the acceptable options given the argument that Israel can do "anything" it wants in response to the attacks.


No, it would not be an acceptable option because it would create a massacre of human life while not solving Israel's security problem. 'Just a PR problem' is hardly a serious answer.

Do we really have to keep parroting what a couple of trolls have said about wiping out Gaza, however its done? How is that productive? Nobody answers for trolls, its pointless.
12.30.2008 3:25pm
D.R.M.:

Seems to me like there have been generations of people have been trying to resolve this impasse militarily to no avail.

No, they haven't. And that's the problem. If you stop before you have received an unconditional surrender, you haven't tried to resolve anything with military force, you've just been kicking the can down the road.
12.30.2008 3:26pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
The brilliance of bringing Hamas into the negotiations is that their constituents want the negotiations. If they don't negotiate towards a final status, then you give Fatah and others good political ammo against them which might otherwise be spent by Hamas against Israel. If they do give up the rhetoric about destroying the Israeli state, then the political system is bolstered. Either way, both Israel and the common Palestinians win and the extremists lose.
That's only "brilliant" if your stated premise -- that Hamas's constituents want negotiations, and will punish Hamas if it doesn't provide them -- is valid. I don't think there's much basis for that assumption.

But worse, it also confuses two very different concepts in a way liberals often get confused: negotiations and settlement. If the two sides have irreconcilable differences, then "negotiations" do not lead to peace. "Negotiations" are not an end in themselves. Hamas could give its constituents "negotiations," but if its constituents demand something Israel can't or won't give, or reject something that Israel insists on, then the "negotiations" won't result in a "win" for "Israel and the common Palestinians."
12.30.2008 3:27pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
D. R. M:

No, they haven't. And that's the problem. If you stop before you have received an unconditional surrender, you haven't tried to resolve anything with military force, you've just been kicking the can down the road.


Who, exactly, would surrender in this case? How? And what would that mean?
12.30.2008 3:29pm
asdf (mail):

No, it would not be an acceptable option because it would create a massacre of human life while not solving Israel's security problem. 'Just a PR problem' is hardly a serious answer.

What? If Israel were to nuke Gaza and kill every living thing there, that would solve the problem of Hamas launching rockets from Gaza, wouldn't it?


Do we really have to keep parroting what a couple of trolls have said about wiping out Gaza, however its done? How is that productive? Nobody answers for trolls, its pointless.

Multiple posters, some of whom I have seen around VC for quite some time, have stated that Israel has the right to do "anything" it wants in response to the Hamas rocket attacks. You can call them trolls if you want.
12.30.2008 3:30pm
sonicfrog (mail) (www):
The only military solution to the rocket attacks is total annihilation of the residents of Gaza and a complete flattening of their cities.


Worked pretty well for the Romans as they haven't been attacked by the Carthaginians in a while.

Terrorism ends when the causes of it are addressed, typically via diplomatic means. That's what history proves.


History shows that terrorism is usually ended when one side or the other is crushed, and / or no longer has the will or resources to resist or fight. Even the Northern Ireland peace process, in which no side would be considered defeated, was the result of each group coming to the conclusion that the fighting was going nowhere and peace could be had - before the negotiations could successful.

Lets compare the two Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas. Isreal now finds that it can work with Fatah, which would have been unthinkable a few years ago. Why? because the main force behind Fatah, Yasser Arafat, is dead. Once freed from his grip, Fatah weakened its resolve to keep fighting, and the leaders decided to work with Isreal. The current state of cooperation only exists because Fatah, became weak and was threated to be absorbed or eradicated by Hamas. Fatah had to evolved into its current state before the negotiations could succeed. And those in the Fatah movement who didn't want peace with Israel defected to Hamas. Also note that Fatah was more secular, whereas Hamas is fueled by radical Shiite underpinnings.

Now, that said, would someone please show me that, in the here and now, Hamas has ANY incentive to want to come to the table to negotiate on good terms, rather than use it as a delay tactic to buy time and get more weapons.
12.30.2008 3:31pm
asdf (mail):

History shows that terrorism is usually ended when one side or the other is crushed, and / or no longer has the will or resources to resist or fight.

Careful there, Buehner might call you a troll.
12.30.2008 3:33pm
Michael B (mail):
From TNR, Very Disproportionate, Indeed, excerpt:

"From January 1 until December 21, Hamas and its allies had launched exactly 1,250 rockets [and 1,290+ mortars] across the border between Gaza and Israel. Then the escalation really started: on Wednesday 70 projectile missiles landed in the Negev and its populated areas. On Thursday, more of the same. On Friday, two Palestinian girls, cousins of 5 and 12 years, were killed by a rocket that was launched in the Strip and landed in the Strip. But these unfortunates were not the targets of fire. It was just another day of blast offs into the Jewish state."

There is also the fact, extensively documented, that Hamas has purposely used their own civilian population in Gaza as human shields, excerpted summary:

Deliberate Use of Civilians as Human Shields

In its fight to defend itself against Hamas attacks against its civilians, Israel is faced with moral challenges unprecedented in their complexity. Hamas, as a basic element of its strategy, exploits the Palestinian population as shields for its terrorist operations and infrastructure. This cynical strategy include the following tactics:

- The deliberate launching of rocket from populated areas

- The deliberate use of civilian homes to shield Hamas arms and explosives manufacturing facilities

- The deliberate use of civilians as human shields against anticipated airstrikes
12.30.2008 3:34pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
David Nieropont:

But worse, it also confuses two very different concepts in a way liberals often get confused: negotiations and settlement. If the two sides have irreconcilable differences, then "negotiations" do not lead to peace. "Negotiations" are not an end in themselves. Hamas could give its constituents "negotiations," but if its constituents demand something Israel can't or won't give, or reject something that Israel insists on, then the "negotiations" won't result in a "win" for "Israel and the common Palestinians."


I am not sure I follow on that last point, as you seem to be suggesting that negotiations should be a means for Israel to unilaterally impose a settlement. Negotiations require compromise from both sides, and they require painful concessions from both sides. They therefore are subject to failure if:

1) Concessions are demanded on an unequal basis.
2) The concessions offered are the wrong ones.
3) The cost of the concessions is higher than the cost of the conflict.

The second and third issues were a big problem during the Clinton/Barak years (Barak managed to scuttle EVERY major peace initiative begun by either of his two most recent predecessors. I suspect this was intentional).

Negotiations aren't the only factor. But they need to be A factor. Otherwise this will never end until Israel is wiped off the map (lets be honest about this-- Israel cannot survive forever under the status quo and without peace, they will eventually be destroyed).
12.30.2008 3:35pm
Mark Buehner (mail):
What? If Israel were to nuke Gaza and kill every living thing there, that would solve the problem of Hamas launching rockets from Gaza, wouldn't it?

It would solve the rocket problem and create the 'attacked by every nation in the middle east, and abandoned by the rest of the world' problem, which is much more dangerous to Israel's security.


Multiple posters, some of whom I have seen around VC for quite some time, have stated that Israel has the right to do "anything" it wants in response to the Hamas rocket attacks. You can call them trolls if you want.


Then they are trolls. No serious person who isn't a psychopath advocates genocide as a solution to this problem. I'm sure there are plenty of trolls out there advocating a new holocaust against the jews to solve the problem as well, unfortunately a lot of them are actually making the decisions in Hamas instead of bloviating anonymously.
12.30.2008 3:39pm
Steve H:

Why hasn't anybody thought of that? Snark aside- how do you make Palestinians not want to kill Israelis. Start today, no-more attacks on Gaza. If you run Israel, how do you implement that plan. Do Palestinians only want to kill Israelis because Israelis attack them? Why didn't Hamas extend the ceasefire then, and start shooting rockets?


I don't know the precise answer (big surprise there), but once thing is for certain: The Israeli strategy over the past 40 years is not working.

I think Israel needs to end the occupation and allow Palestinian independence and sovereignty. Lift the blockades. Allow Palestinians to control their own airspace and ports. Deal with the elected representatives of the Palestinian people, instead of treating their election as a war crime in itself.

Sure, if Israel does this, Israel may have to deal with an enemy country on its borders. But most countries have had to deal with this throughout most of history. Shit, the US and the USSR aimed nuclear missiles at each other for fifty years.

And sure, there will be short-term risks to Israel and its people. But as plenty of people here have pointed out, it's only a matter of time before the Palestinians get better weapons, so the short-term risks of peace are probably worth it compared to the long-term risks of the status quo. So instead of dancing to the hard-core Palestinians' tune and stopping the peace process whenever the hardcores detonate a bomb, stick with the peace process even in the face of attacks.

As Yitzhak Rabin himself said, you don't make peace with your friends, you make peace with your enemies.

As for this nonsense that Israel can't negotiate with Hamas because Hamas's stated goal is to destroy Israel, bullshit. That's the whole point of negotiation and compromise, both sides move from their stated goals to something in the middle.

Otherwise, my plan would be for the US to simply annex the entire area, admit Israel and Palestine as states, and send the troops in to ensure that everyone gets to live under the Bill of Rights. But I don't think anyone there would go for it.
12.30.2008 3:39pm
Hello:


No, it would not be an acceptable option because it would create a massacre of human life while not solving Israel's security problem. 'Just a PR problem' is hardly a serious answer.


What? If Israel were to nuke Gaza and kill every living thing there, that would solve the problem of Hamas launching rockets from Gaza, wouldn't it?


I already addressed that. Of course it would solve the rocket problem.

But wouldn't it likely lead to new and almost definitely greater security problems? For example, Israel vaporizes 1.5 million people. Then Pakistan (or any of a number of nations) declares war on Israel. How is that not a "security problem"?
12.30.2008 3:41pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):

Even the most fanatic surrender before total annihilation (see WW2 Japan). Then you have peace afterward.


The senior leadership of Japan knew they were defeated in the war pretty much immediately after the Battle of Leyte Gulf, which destroyed Japan's capacity to wage war. At that point, the only question became when and under what terms the surrender would take place.

Then you add the nuclear bombs, and surrender looks really attractive under any price. Then you add Soviet threats of a land invasion in violation of non-aggression treaties and it looks absolutely necessary.

However, absent genocide, I don't see how you can destroy Hamas's capacity to fight. This means negotiations are necessary and that progress should be expected to be gradual, and not happen all at once.
12.30.2008 3:41pm
D.R.M.:
einhverfr —

As a first approximation, Hamas informs Israel they've surrendered, Hamas orders everybody in the Gaza Strip to make no further resistance, all Hamas fighters are taken into Israeli custody, all Hamas arms are handed over to Israel, and Hamas formally directly hands over day-to-day control over the Gaza Strip to Israel, recognizing it as the sole legitimate authority in the Gaza Strip.
12.30.2008 3:41pm
PLR:
I read the exchanges. Greenwald wins, Gazans lose.

U.S. media shrink, Heath Ledger gets the Oscar. Raise a glass.
12.30.2008 3:42pm
Mark Buehner (mail):

I think Israel needs to end the occupation and allow Palestinian independence and sovereignty. Lift the blockades. Allow Palestinians to control their own airspace and ports. Deal with the elected representatives of the Palestinian people, instead of treating their election as a war crime in itself.


Actually I absolutely agree with this. The problem thus far is that every time the Israelis have made actual concessions in that direction has resulted in more attacks from closer to Israeli population centers.

I still think this is the solution, but Israel must have a plan for the day the Palestinians have an independent state completely free of Israeli control... and a rocket flies over the border. Until Israel has a plan for that day that the rest of the world understands, they have a problem.
12.30.2008 3:44pm
PLR:
Actually I absolutely agree with this. The problem thus far is that every time the Israelis have made actual concessions in that direction has resulted in more attacks from closer to Israeli population centers.

Link?
12.30.2008 3:47pm
wb (mail):
"That's why i never take my eyes off a German."

Another bigot shows his true colors.
12.30.2008 3:49pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Mark:

I still think this is the solution, but Israel must have a plan for the day the Palestinians have an independent state completely free of Israeli control... and a rocket flies over the border. Until Israel has a plan for that day that the rest of the world understands, they have a problem.


I think it will take a lot of baby steps to get to that point. I also wonder if breaking the West Bank and Gaza into separate countries might not be a good idea as well.

However, I also think that it will take Israel helping the PA build their police and armed forces so that they can stand on their own feet. If you keep bombing the police stations, can you ever expect effective law enforcement?
12.30.2008 3:50pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
DRM:

As a first approximation, Hamas informs Israel they've surrendered, Hamas orders everybody in the Gaza Strip to make no further resistance, all Hamas fighters are taken into Israeli custody, all Hamas arms are handed over to Israel, and Hamas formally directly hands over day-to-day control over the Gaza Strip to Israel, recognizing it as the sole legitimate authority in the Gaza Strip.


So, what of Islamic Jihad?
12.30.2008 3:51pm
Mikeyes (mail):
Rather than argue about "proportionality" why not look at the goals and methods of this little war and see where it is going? One of my favorite military bloggers, retired COL Pat Lang, asks the question of "What next?" He points out that: "The question hanging over the Israeli operation is how it can halt rocket fire. Israel has never found a military solution to the barrage of missiles militants have fired into southern Israel."

In addition: "Beyond delivering Hamas a deep blow and protecting border communities, the assault's broader objectives remained cloudy. Israeli President Shimon Peres acknowledged the challenge, saying 'the operation was unavoidable but more difficult than many people anticipated.'"

Read the analysis regarding the military moves made by the IDF. It's not so much an issue of proprotional war as whether this is going to be another Lebanon 2. Can the IDF fight the kind of assymetrical war that they are facing now and win with political leadership that seems to not have thought this thing through? (Now that sounds familiar.)
12.30.2008 3:51pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
wb cannot appreciate sarcasm and is advised to look at the last name of posters......
12.30.2008 3:52pm
Mark Buehner (mail):

Link?

Are you serious? How about RIGHT NOW. Israel left Gaza to its own devices and before you know it Hamas is running the show and rockets are flying from platforms that literally used to be Israeli bases.
12.30.2008 3:53pm
Steve H:

I still think this is the solution, but Israel must have a plan for the day the Palestinians have an independent state completely free of Israeli control... and a rocket flies over the border. Until Israel has a plan for that day that the rest of the world understands, they have a problem.


Oh, there will certainly be rockets, because there will always be hardliners and others who truly will never accept Israel's existence. So I think Israel will have to deal with it, because, once again, the long-term risks of continuous occupation and destruction are more dangerous to Israel than a few rocket attacks.

And if there is a truly independent sovereign state firing rockets across the border into Israel, then military action to take out the launch sites becomes a lot more acceptable.

Anyway, I think the real danger from an independent sovereign Gaza is not a few rockets, but rather more significant weaponry.
12.30.2008 3:54pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
dan28,
You are projecting your opinions onto others. This is error. Other cultures are not like ours. This is particularly true of Arab culture. They have a history of being mighty impressed by, and far better behaved and respectful after, really spectacular acts of violence directed at them.

This was noted during the Algerian war of independence when a unit of French paratroopers killed an entire village, including the women and children, with knives to avenge similar killings of French "colons" aka non-Arab colonials. That whole area underwent a really major change of opinion and behavior, from supporting the guerrillas to supporting the French government.
"Why is total annihilation the only military solution? What if we can only annihilate those wishing to fire rockets? Or the means used to fire rockets? Or, perhaps, annihilate half the population, incentivizing the other half to refrain from sending rockets.

"Because human nature being what it is, when you annihilate half the population, the other half gets really pissed off, and rather than cowering in fear, they become even more dedicated to killing you."

You might not like the fact that such tactics work on Arabs, but reality doesn't care what you like or dislike.

And, before you respond, consider whether you are engaged in magical thinking.
12.30.2008 3:58pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Steve H:

Otherwise, my plan would be for the US to simply annex the entire area, admit Israel and Palestine as states, and send the troops in to ensure that everyone gets to live under the Bill of Rights. But I don't think anyone there would go for it.


Funny.... I have heard that proposal before. Ordinarily I would go for it, but there is one problem that nobody wants to address and that is the image that it would project of the US as an imperial power.

A better approach would be for the US to send in a few brigades of troops (with the permission of the PA) for nation building exercises. Help them build a police force and an army. Help them build domestic security and a force which can let them stand at least somewhat on their own. Bring Israel and Turkey into the process too and help diffuse the hostility and fear.
12.30.2008 3:59pm
Steve H:
Oh, annexing the area would be awful from the empire-appearance perspective. But I think sending troops would be even worse.

With annexation and statehood, the citizens would be actual participants in the United States government. Palestine would have roughly 6 or 7 representatives in Congress (if the population is around 4 million, that would put them 27th among states), and Israel would have about 10 (it would be 13th, between Virginia and Washington). Federal courts, federal marshals, the whole nine yards.

But religious zealots on both sides would not be too happy with allowing everyone else the freedom to practice their own religion.
12.30.2008 4:09pm
darrenm:

Would you support the US doing in Iraq what Israel has done over the last 40 years in the West Bank and Gaza? Would this make us more or less secure?

Complete irrelevant. The two situations are nowhere near comparable. Look at a map sometime.
12.30.2008 4:09pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Thomas_Holsinger:

The problem is that you are actively recommending actions (genocide) which are crimes against humanity and such.

How would this be different if I recommend that somebody blow your head off as a way of getting rid of genocidal maniacs?
12.30.2008 4:10pm
Guest for now:
Steve H,

You're one funny dude. On the one hand, you say it's BS to believe that negotiations will be futile given that the point of negotiation is to move people away from the positions they take and on the other acknowledge that with respect to Israel, there will always be "hardliners" (no mention of how many) who will still launch attacks. Apparently, this is the reality Israel must accept in return for its right to exist.

What you seem to be ignoring -- intentionally or otherwise -- is the fact that the problem in Israel isn't just that land has been taken away. That's been going on for centuries and it doesn't lead to the same sort of suicidal violence we've seen. The problem is the party which is occupying that land. That is why the negotiations won't work, notwithstanding your compelling claim to the contrary ("BS").

This isn't a situation where one party wants the other's possessions and can be satisfied sharing a portion of them. They'd be happy to share the land, just not with the people who are occupying it. When you have that type of cultural view of a group, and other supporters who also aim for that group's elimination, all the internalizing and negotiating in the world isn't going to do anything other than kick the can a little further down the road, so that we can continue having the same debate in 2080 that we had in 1980.
12.30.2008 4:12pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Darrenm:

Complete irrelevant. The two situations are nowhere near comparable. Look at a map sometime.


So now a country has to be near another one to be a credible threat? Is Iraq closer to us than Afghanistan is? Or the other way around?

The question is: If today we bombed all the Iraqi army and police buildings and left, would we be creating a serious security problem for our country? Yes or no?

Would doing that to Mexico be worse security-wise? Probably. Does a stable state on our borders enhance our security? Definitely.
12.30.2008 4:17pm
wooga:
Supporting Thomas_Holsinger's 3:58 post re: Arabs actually behaving in response to shows of overwhelming brutality:
This is plainly acknowledged as true by Osama Bin Laden, in his "strong horse / weak horse" philosophy.

This happens to be a common, and admitted, trait among the Arab culture. It's part and parcel of any tribal culture without any common thread of nationalism. It also explains how Islam was able to spread so unbelievably rapidly among the Arab population, and then it kind of stopped when it hit cultures that rejected such a philosophy. Cf., Persians.
12.30.2008 4:18pm
wfjag:

Terrorism ends when the causes of it are addressed, typically via diplomatic means. That's what history proves.

I'm not certain Sonicfrog, that I totally agree with your response to the statement by GG, but, I have to admit that since I first read GG's assertion I have not thought of a single historical example of diplomacy ending terrorism -- except when diplomacy was enforced by overwhelming military or police action.

Interesting that no one cited an example to counter yours (the Punic Wars -- although I note that it did take the Romans 3 tries to end problems with Carthage, and only then by tearing down the walls, plowing salt into the ground, killing all males of military age (about age 6 then as that was when training usually began), and sell the women and children into slavery). More recent (and less brutal) examples of ending terrorism was the way the U.S. handled the P.I. insurgency and the Allies handling of the Werewolf terrorists in Germany following WWII. (These likely aren't popular examples to cite to lawyers, since the answer to the question "What process was due?" was pretty summary.)

Anyone knowing of a historical example supporting GG's assertion, please cite it.
12.30.2008 4:19pm
Lazlo Hollyfled:
Can I really be the only one who is rooting for the Israelis and Arabs to continue killing each other? With American-supplied weapons no less!!!

And the irony of a poster named Soldier of Fortune pontificating on a legal blog about the desirability of "massacring the entire population of the Gaza Strip is morally justifiable."

And they said irony was dead.
12.30.2008 4:21pm
wooga:
Not that I am advocating overwhelming brutality. I just know that such a solution would be effective. The question is whether a similar result can be achieved without resorting to brutality.
12.30.2008 4:21pm
Lazlo Hollyfled:
It also explains how Islam was able to spread so unbelievably rapidly among the Arab population, and then it kind of stopped when it hit cultures that rejected such a philosophy. Cf., Persians.

Does Wooga even realize that Persians (along with large parts of the Indian sub-continent, China, and south-east Asia) are Muslim? Please finish middle school before posting again.
12.30.2008 4:26pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Guest for now:

You're one funny dude. On the one hand, you say it's BS to believe that negotiations will be futile given that the point of negotiation is to move people away from the positions they take and on the other acknowledge that with respect to Israel, there will always be "hardliners" (no mention of how many) who will still launch attacks. Apparently, this is the reality Israel must accept in return for its right to exist.


A lot of the problem is what people expect to get from negotiations. They think that when parties start talking, solutions can be hammered out and implemented quickly. In reality neither side trusts eachother, and we have to expect that negotiations will take a long time. However....

Suppose Hamas, Israel, the US, and Fatah can get together and simply outline a cease-fire. Nice place to start. Leaves all the problems unsolved.

Now suppose that one can get them all to sign a document which endorses the idea of a two-state solution with East Jerusalem as the capital of the PA and acknowledges that the refugee/right to return issues will be discussed later and that both sides will commit to a fair and just solution to the problem. Israel will dismantle all E Jerusalem settlements, and Hamas will recognize their right to exist as a state within the Green Line. What does this solve? Very little, but it is a nice building block.

Now suppose one can come up with a joint accord on police training and get Israelis to train Palestinian police forces. Suppose one can get an accord on intelligence sharing?

These are all very small steps. The gaps between the sides are immense. But each little step makes the next one more likely. In reality what is REALLY needed is a large number of very small steps. It might take a decade. It would certainly take a lot of work. But in the end, I think that the mutual fear and pain could be eventually lessened and real peace and stability would be possible.
12.30.2008 4:28pm
RPT (mail):
Another collateral benefit of the election: John Bolton now opines that this current conflict offers a good window of opportunity to drop nuclear bombs on Iran. What a tough guy!
12.30.2008 4:30pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Does anyone advocate proportionality of response for the police who protect us against criminals? We routinely use a dozen police to capture one criminal without any regard for root causes. Is this unfair? How do crooks fare in shoot outs with the cops? Unfair? Lack of proportionality?
12.30.2008 4:30pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
wfjag:

I'm not certain Sonicfrog, that I totally agree with your response to the statement by GG, but, I have to admit that since I first read GG's assertion I have not thought of a single historical example of diplomacy ending terrorism -- except when diplomacy was enforced by overwhelming military or police action.


I think that the key is that the cost of concessions necessary for peace needs to be less than the cost of continuing the conflict, probably on both sides. This is why police/military action is required.

I think that this generally seems to be the case for all negotiated ends to armed conflict. Wouldn't you agree?
12.30.2008 4:31pm
EIDE_Interface (mail):
200+ comments and nobody has changed their mind. What a waste of precious interwebs bandwidth!
12.30.2008 4:32pm
EIDE_Interface (mail):
Sorry, I meant intertubes. The intertubes are clogging up.
12.30.2008 4:33pm
Lazlo Hollyfled:
Elliot123,

I think the main flaw in your argument is that the police are operating in the domestic realm. What's happening in Gaza is taking place in the anarchic nature of international politics. In the domestic realm, the police have rules and regulations to follow and the suspects have avenues of redress. Not so for the Israelis and Gazans. That is the whole point of proportionality in that realm.
12.30.2008 4:35pm
Michael B (mail):
200+ comments as Glenn Greenwald has still avoided forwarding a coherent conception of "proportionality".

One subspecies of comments herein attributes wanton killing to Israel (entirely ignoring the fact that Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, et al. overtly express that very goal vis-a-vis Jews as individuals and Israel as a whole - details, details).

The irony is these same commentators never evidence the least amount of concern when internecine warfare, summary executions, brutal "interrogations" and torture, retributions that include pouring acid on perceived offenders, severing limbs, etc. are evidenced within the Sunni Arab culture aka Hamas, Fatah and the clans that serve as administrators of "justice" therein.

Amusing, how all this concern with human welfare simply vanishes when it's inconvenient to recognize it.

Hence Belmont Club recently, excerpt, with links reproduced:

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights reported that in one seven day period alone, between June 7 and 14, 2007 internecine fighting between Fatah and Hamas killed 161 Palestinians, including 7 children and 11 women. Nor has it stopped. In June of 2008, human rights groups reported that both Fatah and Hamas were engaged in kidnapping and torturing each other’s operatives. The hammer of violence and repression falls on everyone. Just this month, the Jerusalem Post quoted the London-based Arab daily Al Hayat as reporting that
the Hamas parliament in the Gaza Strip voted in favor of a law allowing courts to mete out sentences in the spirit of Islam … such punishments include whipping, severing hands, crucifixion and hanging.
At such points the Glenn Greenwalds of the world, along with their sock-puppets, willfully and contentedly become: blind, deaf and dumb. Same with MSM and most other media outlets.

Now is the time for war; Hamas has made it so. Hopefully Israel and those with the will to support her are able to come to terms with the realities before them that speak to that fact.
12.30.2008 4:37pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
Marc Buehner asked the right question:
"What can Israel do, even in theory to limit future attacks from Hamas? Isn't that the bottom line question we are all dancing around?"

Hamas has stated repeatedly that it will not accept anything less than the elimination of Israel before it will stop attacking Israel. It has repeatedly demonstrated the will and the means of attacking Israel for as long as it controls Gaza.

Lefties contend that Hamas does not mean what it says, and that if Hamas gets x, y and z instead, Hamas will cease attacking Israel. This, given events to date, is rather conclusive evidence concerning the weight and respect which should be given lefty opinions in this matter.

Israel has also shown repeatedly that it can soundly defeat all potential over military opponents in the area. This is conclusive evidence that no conceivable conventional military attack can eliminate Israel's existence.

So, in terms of the termination of Israel's existence, the alternatives are (a) nuclear destruction, (b) Israeli surrender without military defeat, and (c) the end of time.

Those less reality-impaired than lefties believe that (c) is more likely than (b), and that (a), while theoretically possible, will not ever be within the power of Palestinians in general, let alone Hamas.

I.e., whatever happens to Israel, the Palestinians and Hamas ain't gonna do it.

I think we should focus on Marc's question, which rightly asked what can be done to LIMIT, as opposed to TERMINATE, future attacks on Israel from Gaza.

That puts the current Israeli air attack program in the right perspective. It is intended to LIMIT the ability of Hamas to make rocket attacks into Israel, not to eliminate them. This is a feasible objective for air strikes alone.

The elimination of Hamas in Gaza would require a ground occupation. Limitation of Hamas's rocket attack capabilities, by contrast, does not.

The termination of rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel for a period of several years would certainly be a valid political objective, but it might not be feasible save at great political and economic cost to Israel. Whether such an objective is worth the cost is for the government of Israel to decide.

A related point to consider here is the extent of foreign financial support for Hamas. Right now its principal benefactors are Iran, the UN and the European Union (the latter two via nominal subsidies to the support of Palestinians in Gaza which in practice are hijacked by Hamas). My understanding is that EU support has largely tailed off. Arab oil states had been the principal benefactors before, but my understanding is also that those were cut off after Hamas allied itself with Iran.

And Iran has really major financial problems given the recent collapse of oil prices, so its subsidies to Hamas are probably tubing, particularly given that Iran's mullah regime considers support of Hezbollah in Lebanon to have higher priority.

I suspect a siginficant decrease, actual or projected, in Iranian subsidies for Hamas is playing a role in both Hamas renewing frequent rocket attacks on Israel, and in the Israeli bombing campaign. It will probably take a while to figure out why and how much, but IMO those are factors.

Conclusion: stop looking for larger and longer-term issues and outcomes here. This is both short-term and local.
12.30.2008 4:37pm
Guest for now:
ein:

That all sounds nice but is premised on the notion that a substantial portion of the groups opposing Israel don't have a cultural objection to Jewish co-existence. Put another way, I've seen about 30 posts talking about whether Israel should use nuclear force. Notice the word "should," because its ability to do so isn't really an issue (except in terms of ability to do so without collateral damage to its own population). If the forces opposing Israel had the same weapon and could assure that it would not involve contaimination or a reciprocal response, do you really believe that they'd be engaging in a debate about whether that weapon "should" be used?

Again, that's the crux of the problem. It isn't as if the hardliners are 2% of the population. And when that is a strongly held belief of the culture, what is the end to which your building blocks are being used? Is it the hope that after a decade or two, those feelings will subside? If it were just a geographic conflict, I wouldn't disagree. But when it's a cultural view that doesn't accept the other's right to exist, the whole enterprise seems pointless.
12.30.2008 4:39pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
BTW,

There is no "proportionality" in war without achievement of the objective. Half-measures in war merely increase the cost to everyone involved.
12.30.2008 4:40pm
PLR:
Are you serious? How about RIGHT NOW. Israel left Gaza to its own devices and before you know it Hamas is running the show and rockets are flying from platforms that literally used to be Israeli bases.
I am quite serious. Steve H said:
I think Israel needs (1) to end the occupation and allow Palestinian independence and sovereignty. (2) Lift the blockades. (3) Allow Palestinians to control their own airspace and ports. (4)Deal with the elected representatives of the Palestinian people, instead of treating their election as a war crime in itself.
Numbering added by me.

You then agreed, and asserted that Israel had made concessions in that direction. So, I would like to know in which of those four areas Israel made concessions, and in what group's favor those concessions were made (since last I checked, Israel does not talk to Hamas).

This is primarily a legal issues site. Please enter your evidence for the record.
12.30.2008 4:40pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
einhverfr,

What Greenwald said was

Terrorism ends when the causes of it are addressed, typically via diplomatic means. That's what history proves.

I am having difficulty coming up with examples of "history" proving any such thing. (So is wfjag, apparently.) The terrorist movements I know of that have utterly died out have done so either because all their people were locked up or killed, or because the cause came to be so completely futile that no one felt like blowing things up about it any more. What exactly was GG talking about? Do you know?
12.30.2008 4:44pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Guest for Now:

That all sounds nice but is premised on the notion that a substantial portion of the groups opposing Israel don't have a cultural objection to Jewish co-existence.

That is what polls show.


If the forces opposing Israel had the same weapon and could assure that it would not involve contaimination or a reciprocal response, do you really believe that they'd be engaging in a debate about whether that weapon "should" be used?


At the hight of the Second Intifada, the most popular resistance organization was Fatah's Tanzim, which largely restricted their operations to grenade and firearm attacks against IDF and settler activity. Many Palestinians did see the suicide bombings, particularly in the Green Line as beyond acceptable limit. Note that other branches of Fatah were not so well restrained.

So, although I don't think that Hamas would hesitate to use such a weapon, I do think that, given a chance, a substantial portion of Palestinians would likely oppose such weaponry.

It isn't as if the hardliners are 2% of the population.


No, they are probably closer to 30%. However, a substantial minority of Israelis still argue that they cannot co-exist with an Arab state west of the Jordan. The only way to get rid of the hardliners on both sides is to make enough tiny steps that they start to defect.
12.30.2008 4:46pm
Dan28 (mail):

I suspect a siginficant decrease, actual or projected, in Iranian subsidies for Hamas is playing a role in both Hamas renewing frequent rocket attacks on Israel, and in the Israeli bombing campaign. It will probably take a while to figure out why and how much, but IMO those are factors.

I suspect you don't know what you're talking about. Here's a view that makes far more sense:


The lack of international support since the 2006 elections, followed by this rebuff to Gaza's only Arab neighbor, Egypt, compounded the deterioration of Hamas's internal support. By November, the survey showed, only 16.6 percent of Palestinians supported Hamas, compared with nearly 40 percent favoring Fatah. The decline in support for Hamas has been steady: A year earlier, the same pollster showed that Hamas's support was at 19.7 percent; in August 2007, it was at 21.6 percent; in March 2007, it was at 25.2 percent; and in September 2006, backing for the Islamists stood at 29.7 percent.

That's why, as the six-month cease-fire with Israel came to an end, Hamas calculated — it seems correctly — that it had nothing to gain by continuing the truce; if it had, its credentials as a resistance movement would have been no different from those of Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah. Unable to secure an open border and an end to the Israeli siege, while refusing to share or give up power to Abbas, Hamas could have had no route to renewed public favor.

For different reasons, Hamas and Israel both gave up on the cease-fire, preferring instead to climb over corpses to reach their political goals. One side wants to resuscitate its public support by appearing to be a heroic resister, while the other, on the eve of elections, wants to show toughness to a public unhappy with the nuisance of the Qassam rockets.

The disproportionate and heavy-handed Israeli attacks on Gaza have been a bonanza for Hamas. The movement has renewed its standing in the Arab world, secured international favor further afield and succeeded in scuttling indirect Israeli-Syrian talks and direct Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. It has also greatly embarrassed Israel's strongest Arab neighbors, Egypt and Jordan.

While it is not apparent how this violent confrontation will end, it is abundantly clear that the Islamic Hamas movement has been brought back from near political defeat while moderate Arab leaders have been forced to back away from their support for any reconciliation with Israel.

Your straw men aside, there's no doubt that making Hamas less powerful is a worthy goal for the state of Israel. But whether Israel is able to actually produce that outcome has to do with whether they can successfully navigate the complexities of Arab opinion.
12.30.2008 4:48pm
asdf (mail):

I am having difficulty coming up with examples of "history" proving any such thing. (So is wfjag, apparently.) The terrorist movements I know of that have utterly died out have done so either because all their people were locked up or killed,

Northern Ireland?
12.30.2008 4:48pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Michelle:

I am having difficulty coming up with examples of "history" proving any such thing. (So is wfjag, apparently.) The terrorist movements I know of that have utterly died out have done so either because all their people were locked up or killed, or because the cause came to be so completely futile that no one felt like blowing things up about it any more. What exactly was GG talking about? Do you know?


Look to the social iniquities in Northern Ireland as a good place to start. The simple fact is that unless you reduce the popular support for terrorist methods as a response to just causes, the problem does not go away.

However, what Greenwald is missing is that terrorist organizations end up necessarily being closely tied to organized crime as a way of funding operations. Thus in addition to the collective causes of starting negotiations and thus making concessions, you also have:

1) Questions of what next (the PIRA has now become the "Rafia") and lost income for members.

2) New environment, new set of difficulties (Arafat was an able resistance orchestrator, but a lousy civic administrator)

3) Organizational inertia.

4) Will there be enough political support? nothing drums up membership like massive (and even lethal) opposition to your real cause.

This doesn't mean you can't have negotiations. It just means that diplomacy in the absence of police or military action will go nowhere until there are strong commitments to negotiated resolutions. However, I don't think that military force without negotiations will work either.
12.30.2008 4:53pm
Steph Houghton (mail):
Dan28, Glenn and all others advancing the cycle of violence theory, congratulations you just proved that the second world war never ended.

When you have a theory that fit’s the facts please check back with us.
12.30.2008 4:56pm
Guest for now:
Ein:

If your 30% number is accurate -- and it may be on the low side, that is a huge number in absolute terms. You can't have a number that large unless the other 70% -- who may not agree -- aren't keeping some sympathy with your view. Given that reality, Israel has little reason to believe that negotiations will ever lead to a lasting peace.
12.30.2008 4:57pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Guest for Now:

If your 30% number is accurate -- and it may be on the low side, that is a huge number in absolute terms. You can't have a number that large unless the other 70% -- who may not agree -- aren't keeping some sympathy with your view.

I suppose it depends on what you mean by heard liner.
Here is info on a 2004 poll. It shows nearly 80% support suicide bombings, but nearly 90% supported at least at that time a mutual cessation of hostilities.

So by that measure, we could be dealing with 14% hard-liners who want to wipe out Israel, or 77% who support bombing busses in Tel Aviv.

However, compare with this poll on the Hamas ceasefire. Palestinians were more supportive of continuing the ceasefire than Israelis were.... However here we see declining support for a political settlement as well.
12.30.2008 5:09pm
Steve H:
@Guest for now, 4:12 p.m.


Steve H,

You're one funny dude. On the one hand, you say it's BS to believe that negotiations will be futile given that the point of negotiation is to move people away from the positions they take and on the other acknowledge that with respect to Israel, there will always be "hardliners" (no mention of how many) who will still launch attacks. Apparently, this is the reality Israel must accept in return for its right to exist.




Thanks for the compliment.

I have to say that I was apparently a little unclear on my first point. It may be that negotiations will be futile. It may not be. The simple fact that Hamas says "We will never accept Israel," however, is not determinative.

Others here have said that Likud's platform rejects the idea of a Palestinian state west of the Jordan. Is that true? If so, is that a legitimate basis for the Palestinians to decide that war is their only option because Likud will never agree to independence?

Second, I don't think my position really is internally inconsistent, because I am not dealing with the Palestinians or the Gazans as monolithic entities. So I think it is possible to reach an agreement that establishes "peace" between Israel as an entity and Gaza/Palestine as an entity while still recognizing that such an agreement will not prevent every single Gazan or Palestinian from hating Israel.

But you may be right that the price of one tribe's existence as a state inserted into a land that was until recently populated almost exclusively by another tribe is the fact that some members of the tribe that was in the majority most recently may never accept the incursion.
12.30.2008 5:10pm
jr565 (mail):
Glenn wrote:

I've answered this repeatedly. Do you know of anyone who actually believes that at the end of this Israeli attack, there will be no more Hamas, or no more rockets?
The only military solution to the rocket attacks is total annihilation of the residents of Gaza and a complete flattening of their cities. If Israel were to do that, what possible objections would those here be able to make who are arguing that "proportionality" has no role to play in restricting the means used to fight justifiable wars?



Ah the whole war is futile argument. If the attack doesn’t completely obliterate the enemy or destroy his weaponry utterly then its pointless and doomed to fail. BUT if one were to commit to such an attack then one is guilty of genocide. Glenn, are you a grown man arguing this? One can carry out attacks and degrade Hamas’s ability to fight, can weaken it through attrition can make it more difficult for them to wage attacks than to agree to cessation of said attacks and to do so doesn’t require one attack that will forever more end violence in the world. You’ve already acknowledged that by its daily rocketing of Israel Hamas is commiting war crimes daily. And how do you address this and get them to stop? Maybe not forever but for today other than making it more costly for them to fire said rockets than not fire said rockets. If their weapons are degraded its harder for them to fire them. Not forever and not completely but for the short term. And that’s how battles are ultimately won. Glenn seems to have an extremely unrealistic impression of what options Israel actually has. If they did use a proportional response (ie Israel started firing daily rockets into Gaza) then Glenn would be arguing they were commiting war crimes.
Glenn doesn’t really have an answer to what Israel should do to get Hamas to stop commiting war crimes he just feels outraged at it all.
12.30.2008 5:13pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Bernstein wrote:

So if you were wondering why Israelis from across the political spectrum, from Meretz to Yisrael Beitanu, aren't exactly flocking to take Greenwald's advice, there you have it.


What about Hadash? Where do they stand?
12.30.2008 5:13pm
von Neumann (mail):
From a game theory point of view, I believe that the best position the incoming administration can take for pursuing peace is to advocate for the annihilation of people of Gaza. Israel is viewed by most in the Arab world as a creation of the United States. Israel is considered the "little Satan" to our more robust version of Hell. By advocating for the destruction of Gaza by the Israelis by the US president, the only option will look like death or diplomacy. The people themselves will kick Hamas out because they will have no choice. Then Israel will have a counterparty that really wants peace on the other side.

It is like issuing a shoot-to-kill order for looters in a blackout -- it takes the fun out of looting.

Of course such talk would be looked on harshly, no matter that it would bring about the result most would like to see.
12.30.2008 5:16pm
jr565 (mail):
Glenn also wrote:

Terrorism ends when the causes of it are addressed, typically via diplomatic means. That's what history proves. I know that's not as spectacular or exciting or blood-pumping as watching people you hate and their children get incinerated by bombs dropped from on high, but it's still how it is.


Is that really how it is Glenn? Ok Glenn, so when exactly has terrorism ended historically? And how do you address the causes through diplomatic means if one side would rather shoot rockets daily into the other country, or blowup citizens with homicde bombers in front of restaurants. And what if the cause is something that can’t be addressed diplomatically? Ie. If Hamas’s goal is the destruction of Israel I don’t know how Israel negotiates that, but more importantly don’t think the cause is a valid one. It may be valid to Hamas but Israel might have a few objections to it. And who are the Hamas peacemakers coming to the table to negotiate the terms? There aren’t any. For them, Kassam rockets fired indiscriminantly into Israel suffice because they are looking long term. They know that ANY reaction other than defeat will get people like Glenn to start arguing pablum like proportionality while ignoring daily war crimes. Yes Glenn says he just the other day spoke out against the bombings by Hamas and called them war crimes, but that is just talk. If Glenn thinks it should be resolved diplomatically and not through war I don’t see how you ever get to that point when one side is lobbing said bombs every day.

And I’ll ask Glenn “does he know of anyone who really believes at the end of his magical diplomacy, there will be no more Hamas, or no more rockets? When historically has that ever worked in Israel or in history for that matter? Yet it’s the same standard he places upon any and all military endeavors.
If Glenn wants even the beginning of a diplomatic solution one side needs to stop firing rockets. And Glenn needs to tell us, in the short term, how to get that side to stop firing rockets and sit down at the negotiation table when firing rockets seems to otherwise be so advantageous for hamas. They can fire rockets with impunity, and at most get Glenn to offer a limp wrested condemnation after the fact but otherwise can basically do it at their leisure. Even in if they do do it, apologists will always say they have some justification or excuse for why they can continue. And if Israel does respond then they can always play the victim card.
And If diplomacy is so all encompassing and great I figured once a ceasefire went into effect that we’d have peace on earth, such is the power of diplomacy. Yet we still have to deal with Hamas firing rockets. What’s glens solution if while trying to find a diplomatic solution one side continues to fire rockets. Why should Israel ever negotiate if it will not get rockets to actually stop? To Glenn though I guess they should just live with daily rocket attacks, though they are war crimes he admits.
12.30.2008 5:17pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
I had said to einhverfr:

"You are accusing the bearer of bad news of advocating the bad news. This is a perfect example of your reasoning ability."
He replied (my emphasis in his response):

"You have repeatedly advocated genocide as the only way out. You claim that this is inevitable."

Q.E.D.
12.30.2008 5:21pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
von Neumann:

By advocating for the destruction of Gaza by the Israelis by the US president, the only option will look like death or diplomacy.


What effect would this have on US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan?
12.30.2008 5:21pm
Man on the Street (mail):
asdf,

Then let me define my terms then. You lob missiles at my country; I lob missiles at yours. If I happen to have better aim, too bad for you.
12.30.2008 5:22pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Thomas_Holsinger:


You are projecting your opinions onto others. This is error. Other cultures are not like ours. This is particularly true of Arab culture. They have a history of being mighty impressed by, and far better behaved and respectful after, really spectacular acts of violence directed at them.

This was noted during the Algerian war of independence when a unit of French paratroopers killed an entire village, including the women and children, with knives to avenge similar killings of French "colons" aka non-Arab colonials. That whole area underwent a really major change of opinion and behavior, from supporting the guerrillas to supporting the French government.


Is the above, plus your repeated suggestion that genocide is the only way out an endorsement or not?

In other words, is your position that "Someday Israel will massacre the Palestinians and they will do a great wrong" or "Someday they will massacre the Palestinians and we will finally be free from this problem so they might as well do so at the earliest opportunity?"
12.30.2008 5:27pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
einhverfr, asdf,

When I first asked this question, way up-thread, I said that Northern Ireland was the only example that I could think of. Sorry not to have repeated that when I asked a second time. But is it plausible that GG's "history shows us this" means "Northern Ireland shows us this"? Can anyone think of a, hmm, second example, such that

Terrorism ends when the causes of it are addressed, typically via diplomatic means. That's what history proves

rests on a sample size greater than one?
12.30.2008 5:27pm
Man on the Street (mail):
einhverfr,

To the extent your comment to me meant that Israel's actions have been disproportionately more moderate than Hamas' in both intent and execution, both now and historically then I agree and stand corrected. Hamas makes no pretense whatsoever to avoid civilian casualties. Indeed, that is a large part of Hamas' purpose.

If there were a terrorist group in Mexico lobbing missiles into California, Arizona, New Mexico or Texas - Greenwald would probably be okay with that - but our national response would likely make Israel's look tame by comparison.
12.30.2008 5:31pm
Steve H:

einhverfr, asdf,

When I first asked this question, way up-thread, I said that Northern Ireland was the only example that I could think of. Sorry not to have repeated that when I asked a second time. But is it plausible that GG's "history shows us this" means "Northern Ireland shows us this"? Can anyone think of a, hmm, second example, such that

Terrorism ends when the causes of it are addressed, typically via diplomatic means. That's what history proves

rests on a sample size greater than one?


I don't think Greenwald presented the issue the right way, because the issue isn't really terrorism. Terrorism is a tactic, used by all kinds of people when other methods are either unavailable or don't suit them.

The Germans and Japanese used terrorism to take over neighboring countries and to exert control in WWII. The US used terrorism to end WW II (Hiroshima/Nagasaki may or may not have been legally or morally justified, but they were clearly terrorist attacks). So at this point, saying that someone is a "terrorist organization" is a little hollow.

The more pertinent question is what does it take to end violent resistance? In this day and age of portable explosives and religious fanaticism, will massive violence by one side stop violent resistance by another? Or will it take a combination of (a) giving the attacking side some of what it wants, plus (b) giving the other side incentives to refrain from violent resistance?
12.30.2008 5:38pm
Dan28 (mail):

Dan28, Glenn and all others advancing the cycle of violence theory, congratulations you just proved that the second world war never ended.

Responding to comments like this is just helping the conversation fly off the rails, but I suppose it's pretty much impossible to have a conversation about mideast policy on an unregulated message board that doesn't fly off the rails.

But anyway, the things that the Allies did at the end of the second world war would be exactly what I would recommend to Israel: respect the sovereignty of the conquered nations, make it clear they have no interest in territorial expansion (for the Israelis, that would mean desisting from their continued policy of territorial expansion), invest heavily in building new political institutions in the conquered territories, and give generous economic aid to deal with the humanitarian situation. That's what led to Japan going from avowed enemy to loyal ally in a generation. But the situations are very incongruous.
12.30.2008 5:41pm
wooga:
Lazlo Hollyfled

It also explains how Islam was able to spread so unbelievably rapidly among the Arab population, and then it kind of stopped when it hit cultures that rejected such a philosophy. Cf., Persians.
Does Wooga even realize that Persians (along with large parts of the Indian sub-continent, China, and south-east Asia) are Muslim? Please finish middle school before posting again.


Does Lazlo even realize what the term "Cf" means in the legal context? In other words, "compare and contrast" the way Islam spread among the Persians (nationalist) to the Arabs (tribal), as an illustration. Please finish grammar school before posting again.

Just to explain the point more slowly to Lazlo: do you understand the difference between the tribal cultures and nationalistic ones? Do you know of any muslim dominated culture, besides the Persians (which is why I called them out), that are more nationalistic than tribal?

I'd wager I know just a tinsy bit more about Persians than you, Lazlo, having a bunch of them in my family. Farsi yay cami baladam. Borghomsho.
12.30.2008 5:41pm
wfjag:

I think that the key is that the cost of concessions necessary for peace needs to be less than the cost of continuing the conflict, probably on both sides. This is why police/military action is required.

I think that this generally seems to be the case for all negotiated ends to armed conflict. Wouldn't you agree?


einhverfr: Actually, I don't agree. That's one reason for asking for historical examples (which no one has provided). I realize that the following is a bit wordy, but, please bear with me.

The way any war is ended is when one side overcomes the will of its enemy to resist. When all that has happened is a "negotiated end[] to [the] armed conflict", historically what you have is only an intervening time during which each side rebuilds and rearms. As I (in a somewhat snarky fashion) noted to Sonicfrog, there were 3 Punic Wars. Likewise, WWII in Europe can be looked on as an extension of WWI, and, at least as to the Eastern Front, WWI was an extension of the Balkan Wars. WWII in the Pacific can be looked on as the conclusion of the Russo-Japanese War. In the end, the Central Powers of Europe (Germany having annexed Austria) and Imperial Japan were completely crushed psychologically as well as materially. The Cold War was fought using proxies, in addition to economics (till the USSR collapsed and the PRC discovered capitalism under one-party communism).

Unlike most people, I favor nuclear weapons. The "nice thing" about nukes is that before starting a war with a nuclear armed nation, the leadership of the nation contemplating going to war has to contemplate that they and their children will also die. There are no more "Rich man's wars, but poor men's fights." (Historical example: Cuban Missle Crisis). National leaders use proxie wars to avoid nuclear confrontations.

Today, terrorist actions are used as proxie wars. Hamas is a proxie of Iran. Robert Kaplan in Balkan Ghosts traces modern terrorist organizations to the Internal Macedonian Resistance Organization founded in the early 20th century. The IMRO managed to survive the Austrians (WWI), the Serban Yugoslav monarchy (while managing to kill the Yugoslav king while he was visiting France in the 1930s), the Nazis and Ustachse (WWII), and the brief occupation by the Soviet Red Army following WWII. However, a couple of decades of Tito's "Unity and Brotherhood" finally stamped it out (Hint: Due Process in Tito's Yuglavia: A prison has 3 walls too many). (Caveat: I think Tito stamped the IMRO out. Macedonia isn't exactly Mr. Rogers Neighborhood even today. It just isn't bloody enough to be attracting constant attention).

A "negotiated" end to the conflict between Israel and Hamas will not occur. The Hamas Charter calls for the elimination of Israel. So, all that can be negotiated is a ceasefire, which will last until one or the other or both decide to resume.

Hamas, however, is a proxie. It can be eliminated either by overcoming the will of the people of Gaza to continue allowing Hamas to operate in Gaza, and/or by overcoming the will of those in Iran who support Hamas to continue that support.

I believe that Israel is sending out a number of messages: 1. Those who believe that Hezbollha defeated Israel in Lebanon better reconsider. Any defeat was strictly tactical and the IDF has learned from its mistakes. Iranian support is not sufficient; 2. To the incoming Obama Administration (which includes a lot of former Clinton Administration people), any trades of "land for peace" like the Clinton Administration pushed for will be rejected unless there really is peace. Any peace will require real security. That probably means as to Gaza putting military forces on the ground who will shoot to kill when they see "hostile intent" (that probably means NATO forces with clear authority from the contributing nations, and not a Charlie Foxtrot operation like the NATO forces in Afghanistan are engaging in). President-elect Obama is touting his new relationship with Europe as being able to get effective action. This will be a real test of whether his campaign rhetoric translates into reality (I'm personally not especially hopeful. But, I'd love to be proven wrong about the Pres. elect's ability to turn campaign rhetoric into reality); and 3. To Iran, that Israel has the will to use whatever level of force is necessary to protect its security. Israel is deploying the Jericho III ICBM, which can reach Iran. Israel took delivery of a version of the F-16 that has the range to reach targets in Iran (&return with in-air refueling during the return flight). I believe everyone believes that Israel has tactical nukes (estimates vary from 150 to 400), having yields of 150% to a couple of hundred percent of the bombs the US used on Japan. And, Israel has made it clear that it regards a nuclear armed Iran as a threat to its national survival. One of the big wild cards with Iran is that its government is composed of various groups, several of which are largely independent of any central authority, and those groups have different agendas. Some (publicly, at least) welcome "martyrdom". So, it isn't clear at what point their will to resist will be overcome.

So, I see no "negotiated" end that does not provide effective guarantees of Israel's security and survival, and no nuclear powers in the region other than Israel.

Unfortunately, the US has proven itself to be a fickle ally since Vietnam when any US blood is spilled. The US (or at least some of its leaders and the media) appears unwilling to bear any sacrifice. Anyone who thinks the UN will provide any meaningful security need only consider Srebnenica. And, the performance of NATO in Afghanistan brings relying on it into serious question. So, this leaves Israel to depend on itself for its own security and survival. Meanwhile, very few of the Muslim nations having any involvement in the conflict will even talk to Israel, even through intermediaries.

So, "No", I don't agree with your conclusion that some rational cost/benefit analysis works. It's a matter of overcoming the will. Psychology (especially group psychology) is seldom mainly a rational decision making process. That's why detailed study of historical examples is needed -- since the same group psychology of humans is reflected in the events, decisions and outcomes.
12.30.2008 5:43pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Man on the Street:

If there were a terrorist group in Mexico lobbing missiles into California, Arizona, New Mexico or Texas - Greenwald would probably be okay with that - but our national response would likely make Israel's look tame by comparison.


Suppose a drug trafficking cartel took over many residential buildings in Tijuana and started lobbing missiles over the border. Suppose the outgunned the Mexican government and also set up in buildings next to government buildings, hospitals, and the like. What would our response be?

I don't think our response would make Israel's look tame. I think it would probably be relatively similar. Now, if you were in Sderot, Gaza, Tijuana, or San Diego, that might affect whether YOU thought the operation was tame, but.....
12.30.2008 5:45pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
Getting back to the issue of "proportionality", it would help if people would at least identify what they mean by that, in a given post, as it is pretty clear that different definitions are being used.

The two most commonly used definitions seem to be:

(a) "proportionality" in terms of the amount of force actually used to achieve a given objective relative to the amount of force perceived (by the viewer/poster) as necessary to achieve that objective, and

(b) "proportionality" in terms of the amount of force used in relation to the degree/amount of harm incurred in not eliminating the threat of harm.

I.e., Israel nuking Gaza into radioactive glass to eliminate rocket attacks from Gaza would be viewed by mnay as "disproportionate" to the threat of such attacks to Israel but, if enough of Gaza's inhabitants are willing to become radioactive glass if that will kill even a small number of Jews, it might not be disporportionate to the amount of force objectively necessary to elminate rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel.

My point here is that the enemy has a vote in what is "proportionate" force.

And I note that the lefties will not even go near the question of, "When the only issue is who dies, will it be your people or the enemy's people?" Lefties deem it illegitimate to ask that question because it draws attention to the responsibility of the side that initiates a conflict.

They also avert their eyes from the historically demonstrated tendency of Arabs to stampede when faced with defeat. This tendency is not limited to Arabs though.

Ah kin them cries of "racist" now. Even though the French are not a race.
12.30.2008 5:46pm
JoeSixpack (mail):
Q: What do you call the total annihilation of the residents of Gaza and a complete flattening of their cities?

A: A good start.
12.30.2008 5:51pm
ronnie dobbs (mail):

Man on the Street:


If there were a terrorist group in Mexico lobbing missiles into California, Arizona, New Mexico or Texas - Greenwald would probably be okay with that - but our national response would likely make Israel's look tame by comparison.



Suppose a drug trafficking cartel took over many residential buildings in Tijuana and started lobbing missiles over the border. Suppose the outgunned the Mexican government and also set up in buildings next to government buildings, hospitals, and the like. What would our response be?

I don't think our response would make Israel's look tame. I think it would probably be relatively similar. Now, if you were in Sderot, Gaza, Tijuana, or San Diego, that might affect whether YOU thought the operation was tame, but.....


This is not an unreasonable point; however, to make the analogy more apt, replace the drug cartel with the Mexican government (since Hamas, is, after all, the ruling party in Gaza). There is no "outgunned" government in the actual situation--the rocket lobbers are the government. Now consider how ferocious our response would be if the Mexican government decided to fire rockets on San Diego.
12.30.2008 5:54pm
wooga:
einhvrfr,

I don't think our response would make Israel's look tame. I think it would probably be relatively similar. Now, if you were in Sderot, Gaza, Tijuana, or San Diego, that might affect whether YOU thought the operation was tame, but.....
Given the large number of military families in San Diego, there would be tremendous pressure to flatten TJ in such an event. This would probably happen in short order, if for no other reason than to cut down on the smell.
(btw, I can see Tijuana from my house!)
12.30.2008 5:58pm
wfjag:
einhverfr, asdf:
References discussing Northern Ireland in greater detail? What I know about what happened there leads me to question whether it supports the idea that diplomacy will end terrorism. However, I haven't studied Northern Ireland in great detail, and a lot of what I think I know about Northern Ireland came from Irish MPs and UK MPs who served along the border. According to them, the more radical IRA organizations that continued the attacks in Northern Ireland were Marxist and atheist in orientation, so that they were seen as a threat by the leadership and most citizens of the Republic of Ireland (who are Roman Catholic supporting), and the Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland. The only place the radical IRA organizations received much support was from the US. The more violent of the Orangemen organizations were seen as criminals and thugs by the UK government (and a lot of the Protestant population in Northern Ireland). Accordingly, my understanding of Northern Ireland is that the terrorism ended because the radical/violent organizations lost external support and did not have internal support. This allowed the UK police and military to hunt them down in Northern Ireland, and the Republic's police and military to hunt them down in the Republic, and the Irish and UK MPs were allowed to shoot them on sight when they tried to cross the border (in which ever direction) -- something the MPs were happy to do. To the extent that diplomatic efforts were successful, my understanding is that former Senator Mitchell's main accomplishment was to end support that was coming from the US.

However, as I indicated, my understanding is not based on a rigorous study and analysis -- my own or anyone else's. If you know of one, I'd be pleased to learn of it.
12.30.2008 6:14pm
m:
"How many terrorist atrocities have emanated from Jenin or Bethlehem lately?"
Exactly. And that's at a minimum.
12.30.2008 6:36pm
Yankev (mail):

I am not sure I follow on that last point
Okay, let me try to explain. I decide for whatever reason that I want you and everyone in your country dead, unconditionally, and that nothing else will satisfy me. You are willing to offer me self-determination, economic aid, trade rights and a certain amount of territory. I don't care about any of these things; I still want you and your countrymen dead and your country gone. My entire self-concept is bound up in that goal. I have said that I have no interest in negotiating, and that I will continue armed attacks, with pauses only when it suits my purpose, until my goal has been met, and in the past I have shown every sign of meaning it.

Negotiation under those circumstances is a waste of time and engergy.
12.30.2008 6:37pm
Tim McDonald Tennessee (mail):
Frankly, if I were an Israeli, I would favor the Roman response as proportional. Line the roads with occupied crosses. Repeat as necessary.

Or the famous "They made a desert and called it peace". That has the advantage of being sure to work, I am not sure even decimation by crucifixation would deter the Palestinians.
12.30.2008 6:39pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
einhverfr,

My opinion is that someday someone will massacre the Palestinians in Gaza, but the jury is still out as to just who. Egypt is hardly their friend, nor are any other Arab ethnicities/governments - Egypt is just closer, and used poison gas on a large scale in Yemen during the 1960's.

I do believe death is coming to Gaza on a massive scale, and that anyone there who can get out should do so ASAP to just about anywhere else.

My personal opinion on the current Israeli air campaign against Gaza is that it just kicks the can down the road for several years, and that the Israeli government knows this. Hamas will start another major rocket campaign against Israel relatively soon after it regains the means.

It is possible that somebody, which here definitely includes Egypt, will invade Gaza and replace Hamas with a less nutball, and more greedy &corrupt regime (Hamas is less greedy &corrupt than Fatah only by degree). IMO this won't happen, though, until Hamas' power in Gaza is significantly weakened, and I don't see air strikes alone ever doing that. OTOH, termination of Iranian financial support for Hamas, followed a year later by a major Israeli air campaign, might well weaken Hamas enough to make its forcible replacement feasible. IMO this is the most likely way Gaza could avoid megadeath.

Even that might not be enough, though. IMO it will take a whole lot of killing to convince enough Palestinians that living in peace with Israel is preferable to not living in peace with Israel. Which gets us back to Lee Harris:
"… For the bitter truth is that if the Palestinian people were indeed a genuine state fighting a genuine war, they would have long since been annihilated root and branch - or else they would have been forced to make a realistic accommodation with the state of Israel, based on a just assessment of the latter's immense superiority of resources, both military and political."
12.30.2008 6:40pm
LM (mail):
DavidBernstein,

I have yet to see a single "human right campaigner" acknowledge that by piling on Israel when it accidentally killed 15civilians, they ultimately enabled the Hamas takeover of Gaza, with its attendant invetiable human toll.

I agree with your general point that a useful measure of civilian casualties would account for lives consequentially saved by the action. But applying that to specific cases, as you did here, tends to assume facts not in evidence. There's no way of knowing how, if at all, the Hamas takeover of Gaza and the attendant death toll would have differed even if that bomb succeeded in wiping out every Hamas leader targeted. So while I again agree that many human rights organizations have a blatant anti-Israel bias, it hardly seems fair to criticize them for not acknowledging what can only be speculated.
12.30.2008 6:43pm
darrenm:

So now a country has to be near another one to be a credible threat? Is Iraq closer to us than Afghanistan is? Or the other way around?

You really should look at a map. Yes. If your enemy is on your borders, you are less secure that if it was half a world away. If you are a country smaller than New Jersey and your neighbors, which you have gone to war with a couple of times already, have over 10 times the population (and that's just Egypt), you have much less security than if you were a country of 300 million and your nearest enemy was 9000 miles away. If your technological edge, the only thing really protecting you, is destined to evaporate eventually, you have a problem. You don't have the option of going back home if things don't work out quite as you would like.

The question is: If today we bombed all the Iraqi army and police buildings and left, would we be creating a serious security problem for our country? Yes or no?

I'll take it for granted you realize how silly this question is, or will eventually. A "serious security problem"? That is rather vague, but then you get to retroactively define it any way you want. You are trying to make some point that I doubt even you understand and are having a terrible time coming up with any decent analogies. This thread is about Israel. I suppose you are trying to imply that Israel is bombing *all* the Palestinian army and police buildings and then leaving. Is this the case? If so, why not just say it? It might be a good idea in some cases and not in others. You also suggesting that the exact same calculus would apply in all situations regardless of the threat and other options that might exist. You could ask this same question about any combination of countries in the world and there would be different variables to consider. That would be over 10000 possibilities. Do you want an answer for each one? In most cases I would expect the answer to be 'yes' short-term, but in varying degrees and the long-term security impact may in fact be negligible. In fact, the short-term security impact may be different than long-term. That's if you were looking at it objectively without having a preset bias in favor of one response or another.


Would doing that to Mexico be worse security-wise? Probably. Does a stable state on our borders enhance our security? Definitely.

A stable *friendly* state. Stability in and of itself guarantees nothing. Belgium did not make out that well with a *stable* Germany on its borders.


Now you can answer my stupid question. How would our security (freedom fear of physical harm) situation be if everyone else in the entire world were annihilated?
12.30.2008 6:44pm
Steve H:

Okay, let me try to explain. I decide for whatever reason that I want you and everyone in your country dead, unconditionally, and that nothing else will satisfy me. You are willing to offer me self-determination, economic aid, trade rights and a certain amount of territory. I don't care about any of these things; I still want you and your countrymen dead and your country gone. My entire self-concept is bound up in that goal. I have said that I have no interest in negotiating, and that I will continue armed attacks, with pauses only when it suits my purpose, until my goal has been met, and in the past I have shown every sign of meaning it.


Maybe there's no point in negotiating with you in that situation. But there's probably a point in negotiating with some of your 4 million countrymen.

What is the basis for the assumption that a significant number of Palestinians will always want every Israeli dead? Even if a majority actually does harbor that desire now, that majority has been living under a degrading occupation for forty years. I don't see the basis for concluding as an absolute certainty that the view of the Palestinians would remain exactly the same if the occupation ceased.

Maybe some would still want every Israeli dead, due to religious hostility or resentment over the Jewish migration into and takeover of lands that were recently Arab (mostly).

But there is absolutely no reason to assume this to be the case.
12.30.2008 6:49pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
wfjag:

Many of your points are fair, but consider a few other cases such as Aceh, Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka, etc. I think there are some additional elements that you may be overlooking. But first, I want to address some of your other points. Most of my differences in some of these points are not great, though.

Unlike most people, I favor nuclear weapons. The "nice thing" about nukes is that before starting a war with a nuclear armed nation, the leadership of the nation contemplating going to war has to contemplate that they and their children will also die. There are no more "Rich man's wars, but poor men's fights." (Historical example: Cuban Missle Crisis). National leaders use proxie wars to avoid nuclear confrontations.


I am not sure nuclear weapons work that way. We have seen border conflicts between India and Pakistan since both sides obtained nuclear weapons. However, what we DO see is a necessity to back off from the sort of total warfare that has occurred in other cases. Hence the degree and scope of conflict is reduced. One problem is that a nuclear first strike is politically problematic, so this still allows for a limited amount of conventional warfare.

Now on to the negotiation issue.

One of the really big problems that Israel faces in the Occupied Territories is that there is an enormous resentment to Israeli forces there. I am not really sure what can be done to stop various parties from fighting absent some fairly large-scale negotiated solutions. IMO, there have been too many opportunities for negotiations and now the prospects aren't so good.

You properly point out the involvement in Palestinian politics by other powers in the region. This is why the Golan issue will probably need to be settled before a real Palestinian state can emerge. This still leaves Iran though even if peace could exist with Syria. But even Iran and Israel are often treated as proxies (by Russia and the US) so we really need wider negotiations still.

So, what needs to be done? Where can some leverage be gained to offer that security?

In my view, the most important rule for negotiations is: look at this as if it were an economic transaction. What can you do to meet the needs of the other party? What can you insist on in return? We have to be prepared to do this too as we are involved (as is the EU, Iran, Syria, Russia, etc). In many cases negotiations between countries like Egypt and Israel have born fruit, so we ought simply believe that such is impossible. Certainly Egypt isn't just re-arming in order to strike at Israel.

So lets look at a few cases where negotiations have lead to really big problems and see where things have gone wrong:

1) North Korea. Under Clinton, an end to PDRK nuclear fuel cycle activities in exchange for fuel, food, and assistance in building two nuclear power plants. The breeder reactor was to be discontinued and two light-water moderated replacements were to be built by the US. The idea was that the PDRK could generate electricity with these reactors and the resulting waste would be less of a proliferation problem than their current reactor.

The Senate refused to deliver on some of these provisions, particularly the nuclear reactor portions, and the PDRK went on to build nuclear weapons. This wasn't a failure of negotiations per se so much as a failure to create a solution which was deliverable.

2) Oslo/Camp David/Taba

In the interrim, we saw the idea that the Oslo process would become largely permanent with the IDF providing security for most of the PA land. We also saw expansion of settlements under Barak (but not Netenyahu). Talks collapsed.

On the other hand, talks in Northern Ireland have gone somewhere, and continue to progress without the wholesale defeat of the PIRA.

So what I think is required is:

1) A mutually beneficial solution that at least one party (Fatah, Hamas, etc) can sell as a campaign point

2) The solution must be deliverable.

3) The solution must be sustainable.

Now, I don't think you can arrive at all points of agreement at once in a conflict as complex as this one. Instead, I think one has to start with a joint agreement of settlement dismantlement and joint co-existance and go from there. However, this is not going to happen unless there is wider support in the Middle East for such a plan. This means that Iran must be brought in on the side of supporting it. This means determining what Iran really wants and using this to purchase support from them. For example:

"We know you want full fuel cycle technology for civilian nuclear power programs. Enrichment of nuclear fuel needs X number of cascading centrifuges, so we will let you have that many, but not enough to make weapons-grade U238. In exchange, you will submit to even more intrusive IAEA inspections, you will agree to recognize Israel, you will stop funding groups which seek to destroy the state of Israel and you will refuse to fund groups which attack civilian targets inside the Green Line of Israel. Deal?

I think that the key is to negotiate from a position of strength.

Now for the negative side..... As I have said before I think Olmert is incompetent. BTW, the defeat in Lebanon was not tactical at all. Tactically, Israel won. The defeat was strictly strategic (the erosion of Israeli deterrence). Furthermore, Olmert was elected in part based on Kadima's plans for peace negotiations. All of these severely weaken Israel's negotiating hand, and this is why Likud needs to win the next election if peace is important.

The best we can hope for IMO is a Likud victory in February followed by a resumption of Israel/Syria peace talks and the eventual conclusion of a peace deal involving the return of Golan to Syria. This is a necessary prerequisite because, as you say, many of the Palestinian groups are proxies, and furthermore, Syria openly sponsors Hizbullah.

The second phase which needs to happen is Israeli nation-building in the PA areas. One of the BIG problems is the lack of effective law enforcement, coupled with the strong emotional currents involving Israeli occupation. I don't think Israel can do this alone, and I don't think we can do a lot to help, but maybe it would be a good time to use this to help bring Egypt and Turkey into the process and build some more trust there.

After all, it is not as if they would be letting Egyptian tanks enter Gaza.... Here again one of the factors needs to be the extension of the rule of law to the PA territories which so far has been less than solid.
12.30.2008 6:51pm
sonicfrog (mail) (www):

I'm not certain Sonicfrog, that I totally agree with your response to the statement by GG, but, I have to admit that since I first read GG's assertion I have not thought of a single historical example of diplomacy ending terrorism -- except when diplomacy was enforced by overwhelming military or police action.


Yeah, as I mentioned before, Northern Ireland is the only one I could think of also, though there must be more. Even Al Sadr in Iraq saw that, as he was losing support of the populace, he would gain by joining the political process. My point is that as long as Hamas uses negotiations as a tactic to re-arm instead of serious reconciliation, diplomacy is just a game.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not opposed to diplomacy. Unlike some hard liners, I don't have a problem at all with Obama talking to Ahmadinejad or Castro, in whatever fashion he deems appropriate. It might not gain a thing, but at least you gave the effort. Just be realistic and recognize that, unless both parties are willing to compromise, nothing will come of it.

Plus, lets not forget that many diplomatic solutions lead to worse situations down the road. Hell, the Treaty of Versailles is part of the equation in the current Middle East mess.
12.30.2008 6:52pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Thomas_Holsinger:

Your Lee Harris quote illustrates why a Palestinian state is a requisite to Israeli security. It will then have to make a choice as an organized entity whether or not to accomodate Israel's existance. The alternative to such accomodation is a return to the stateless anarchy that pervades now.
12.30.2008 6:56pm
Steve H:
Instead of just Northern Ireland, what about the establishment of Ireland itself? Did terrorism continue unabated after Ireland was established?

Or does that fall into the category of kicking the can down the road (or even don't give in to terrorists because they will only want more)?
12.30.2008 6:58pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Just as a note on the Syria connection. Coexistance between Israel and Syria would take a lot of wind out of Hizbullah's sails, and I think this would cascade down to various Palestinian groups. It would also create an impression among hardliners of both sides that such coexistance might be possible.
12.30.2008 7:02pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
sonicfrog:

I think that diplomacy needs to be going on through a lot of the other measures.

The way normal wars work is that two states kick out diplimats and start attacking eachother's armies and such, eventually taking control over territory and taking over responsibility for security. This doesn't work in an environment like Gaza because Israel pretty much does NOT want to go back to using the IDF as a police force on the ground in places like this and because there isn't a real organized military force that can be easily rooted out.

So we are left with using the military to inflict sufficient pressure that negotiations can go the direction they need to.
12.30.2008 7:05pm
Yankev (mail):

But anyway, the things that the Allies did at the end of the second world war would be exactly what I would recommend to Israel: respect the sovereignty of the conquered nations, make it clear they have no interest in territorial expansion (for the Israelis, that would mean desisting from their continued policy of territorial expansion), invest heavily in building new political institutions in the conquered territories, and give generous economic aid to deal with the humanitarian situation. That's what led to Japan going from avowed enemy to loyal ally in a generation. But the situations are very incongruous.
No, Dan28. Not at the end of the war. After the end of the war. There's a huge difference between extending aid to an enemy that has unconditionally surrendered, given up both the goals and the means of waging further war against you, and aiding an enemy that is still actively seeking your destruction. In this case, actively seeking your destruction with every means at its disposal.

Gosh, think of all the lives the US could have saved if we had only started the Marshall Plan BEFORE D-Day; the Germans and Japanese would have been so impressed wthat they would have lain down their weapons.
12.30.2008 7:06pm
Yankev (mail):

Maybe there's no point in negotiating with you in that situation. But there's probably a point in negotiating with some of your 4 million countrymen.
Not if they elected me. And whether they did or not, not if they lack the power to deliver what you need.
12.30.2008 7:12pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Yankev:

I certainly hope Likud gets elected with people like Yehiel Zohar among its membership. Then maybe we can see real negotiations with Hamas begin.
12.30.2008 7:20pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
David Bernstein:

If those Sderot tickets are available, I would be happy for you to prove Mayor Yahiel Zohar (Likud) wrong to me. He has called the rocket casualties "people who don't follow instructions."
12.30.2008 7:22pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Mayor Zohar also seems to think that Israel's response is disproportionate... at least in terms of the financial price tag of the operation.

As I have ALWAYS said, Likud is a lot more sane and balanced, and peaceable than they let on. Just don't tell anyone.....
12.30.2008 7:25pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
einhverfr,

Lee Harris published that book in 2003. Much has happened since then.
"In 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip as part of the Disengagement Plan, which was seen as a move toward creating an independent Palestinian state."

Further steps in creation of an independent Palestinian state have been "stalled due to the civil war between Hamas and Fatah."

Do you contend that it is Israel's fault that the civil war between Hamas and Fatah has prevented the full creation of an independent Palestinian state?

If not, how long should Israel endure cross-border attacks from Palestinians before Israel can stop being Mr. Nice Guy?
12.30.2008 7:38pm
ginsocal (mail):
A few choice bits from William T. Sherman:

"War is the remedy that our enemies have chosen, and I say let us give them all they want."

"This war differs from other wars, in this particular. We are not fighting armies but a hostile people, and must make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war."

"Every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and disaster."
12.30.2008 7:45pm
Yankev (mail):

Mayor Zohar also seems to think that Israel's response is disproportionate... at least in terms of the financial price tag of the operation.
No, he said high tech missile defenses were unnecessary and not cost effective as compared to the siren/shelter systems now in use.
12.30.2008 7:57pm
Michael B (mail):
"... to make the analogy more apt, replace the drug cartel with the Mexican government (since Hamas, is, after all, the ruling party in Gaza)" ronnie dobbs

Given an abundance of facts on evidence a more apt analogy would be a theoretical Mexican govt. cum drug cartel (which is not far fetched).

It's a both/and, not an either/or - and that too reflects some of the tragic and problematic, underlying realities.

Likewise, the following considerations come into play.

Managine Gaza, excerpt, links kept intact:

"A true peace agreement with Hamas is not realistic. A quick scan of clips from Hamas’ al-Aqsa network or of statements by Hamas leaders from the Middle East Media Research Institute - particularly horrible are these scenes from Hamas produced children’s television - should disabuse all but the most useful idiots of any notions of a moderate Hamas."

Iran Activating Its Proxies, excerpt:

"Iran is smartly playing its cards, using its main Sunni and Shiite proxy to create havoc in the region and de facto making it stronger. At this point, Iran’s next step is uncertain. But it is quite possible that Hezbollah will decide to open a second front against Israel. Also the destabilization operations against the Sunni regimes in the region hostile to the Islamic Republic are likely to continue unabated. At this point when it comes to terror, all roads lead to Tehran."

[...]

"While Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder of the Palestinian Resistance Movement, also known as Hamas, was still alive, he refused to Iran's advances time and again. Yassin was adamant not to engage the Shiites. After his death, Hamas became much more open to Tehran's advances. Recently, Iran has become Hamas' main bankroller and as such wants to have a say in what Hamas should or should not do."
12.30.2008 8:01pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):
einhverfr: Are you getting a prize every time you comment? Because you are commenting every 5 minutes. Now you are commenting after your own comments, not even waiting for a response.

You make the same point again and again. We are get it.

Saying it 100 times still doesn't make it a good one.
12.30.2008 8:09pm
E. Nough (mail) (www):
einhverfr:

The problem is that you [Thomas_Holsinger} are actively recommending actions (genocide) which are crimes against humanity and such.


Leaving aside the empty phrase crimes against humanity™ I don't see anywhere that T_H recommends genocide. Even if Israel were to kill every Arab in Gaza, that's still not genocide, since Gazans are not a nation or a people. They are simply a city of Arabs, indistinguishable from their Egyptian and Jordanian neighbors.

Even if we were to grant that "Palestinians" are a people unto themselves (never mind their nonexistence prior to the 1960s), Gazans are a small fraction of "Palestinians," the vast majority of whom live in the West Bank and Jordan.

Bombing Gaza until there was no one left would be no more genocide than the Syrian bombing of Hama or the Russian bombing of Grozny, to say nothing of Dresden or Hiroshima.
12.30.2008 8:30pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
Egypt is a Player Here

A point which the lefties ignore is that the Egyptian government is involved here, and not on the side of Hamas. Sunni Arab governments which supported the PLO/Fatah are NOT supporting Hamas, and the reason is that Hamas allied itself with Iran. This was a major no-no for Sunni Arab governments, for reasons which aren't pertinent save to further note that lefties in the Western world are far more anti-Israel and anti-America than they are pro-Arab. Such divisions among Arabs and Muslims are issues which Western lefties would rather not go into.

Egypt's behavior in the current fighting has been rather anti-Hamas - it closed the border even for injured Palestinians seeking medical care, something Israel has not done. Among the many reasons for this are that the Israeli government wants to get along with the Palestinians peacefully, while the Egyptian government doesn't care for them one bit.

The situation here is far more complex than the lefties admit, because that spoils the ficticious story they'd rather tell. Their agenda does not include the truth.
12.30.2008 8:55pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
E. Nough,

Orders of magnitude make a difference. AFAIK the Gaza Strip has a population of about 1.4 million.

The Syrian regime is estimated to have killed 20,000 people when it suppressed the Muslim Brotherhood uprising in the Syrian city of Hamas. The Russians killed less than that in Grozny, while the fatalities in the bombings of Dresden and Hiroshima are estimated at 90,000 each. Even the latter is less than 10% of the population of Gaza.

The legal definition of genocide is killing a whole bunch of people (total numbers) who comprise a significant proportion of a particular ethnic group, nationality or religion. A million fatalities in the Gaza Strip would most certainly qualify as genocide.
12.30.2008 9:04pm
LM (mail):
E. Nough:

Even if we were to grant that "Palestinians" are a people unto themselves (never mind their nonexistence prior to the 1960s), Gazans are a small fraction of "Palestinians," the vast majority of whom live in the West Bank and Jordan.

The 1.5 million Gazans are 35-40% of the West Bank-Gaza total, and almost 10% of the Palestinian population worldwide, including Arab citizens of Israel.

Bombing Gaza until there was no one left would be no more genocide than the Syrian bombing of Hama or the Russian bombing of Grozny, to say nothing of Dresden or Hiroshima.

The population of Gaza is conservatively 50 times larger than Hama.
12.30.2008 9:07pm
E. Nough (mail) (www):
The 1.5 million Gazans are 35-40% of the West Bank-Gaza total, and almost 10% of the Palestinian population worldwide, including Arab citizens of Israel.


As I said, a small fraction. Killing "10% of the Palestinian population" isn't genocide, even if it's not very nice.

The population of Gaza is conservatively 50 times larger than Hama.


Thanks. I love trivia.
12.30.2008 9:15pm
Lazlo Hollyfeld:
Does Lazlo even realize what the term "Cf" means in the legal context? In other words, "compare and contrast" the way Islam spread among the Persians (nationalist) to the Arabs (tribal), as an illustration. Please finish grammar school before posting again.

Just to explain the point more slowly to Lazlo: do you understand the difference between the tribal cultures and nationalistic ones? Do you know of any muslim dominated culture, besides the Persians (which is why I called them out), that are more nationalistic than tribal?

I'd wager I know just a tinsy bit more about Persians than you, Lazlo, having a bunch of them in my family. Farsi yay cami baladam. Borghomsho.


Wooga,

Constructing logical and coherent arguments require more than the use of legal signals. The spread of Islam in Persia followed roughly the same path as that in other lands, that of conquest. Whether you are trying to distinguish the Safavid dynasty's use of Shia'ism for political reasons was not explicit, and more importantly, is not relevant to your argument.

As for your arguments about Islam and nationalism, they are as dated as they are trite. Egypt, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc. are as developed in terms of national consciousness as any post-colonial states in Africa and Asia. The famous canard that the states in the Middle East (sans Iran and Egypt) are nothing but tribes with flags, while true, is not really explained by Islam. This is readily apparent by comparing the post-Ottoman Middle East to post-Roman Europe. Though we view Europe countries as the paragons of nation-states, it is easy to forget how recent their existence really is. Set aside Germany and Italy, which were "tribal" until less than 150 years ago, even France and England needed hundreds of years, dozens of conflicts, and untold bloodshed to take place. Even today you can wander in parts of Brittany and meet elderly folks who would never see themselves as French. The Middle East never had that chance to flesh out and organize itself. France and Britain got their mandates and post-WWII international norms have marginalized good-old fashioned consolidation by use of conquest. That is why the situation in Israel and Palestine gives me no moral consternation. It is an old-fashioned contest by two groups to see who gets a tiny piece of land. Why should either side share? No one else in history really has.

Heyf-ke yekee yezareh Farsi balad-eh meetooneh enghad kheng bashe.
12.30.2008 9:41pm
LM (mail):
E. Nough, if you're trolling to discredit Zionists, well-done. If you really are pro-Zionist, what purpose do you think comments like that serve? Specifically, if someone open to persuasion were to read it, which direction is it likely to move them?
12.30.2008 9:55pm
E. Nough (mail) (www):
I guess I'm just tired of defining down words, to where basically a "war crime," "crime against humanity," "genocide," etc. is whatever Israel does, unless the U.S. does it.

Genocide is abhorrent for the very reason that it seeks to eliminate people based on nationality, with no legitimate cause. The word brings up images of the Holocaust, where a European nation sought to systematically wipe out people of unacceptable races for imagined offenses.

It is now being bandied about as a description for the destruction of a city, filled with a population that has enthusiastically supported suicide bombings and other atrocities in service of the real thing -- a destruction that may be necessary just to stop the deliberate repeated rocket attacks on civilians from that city.

Sorry for the snarky tone. I'm just sick of having to constantly fight back against calumnies against a besieged friendly nation, supported by terms redefined by Arab apologists and people with an astonishingly naive view of how the world actually works.

People can quote "international law" and meaningless UN resolutions to me until they turn blue. The destruction of Gaza is simply the sacking of a city. It is not "genocide," seeing how the genos in question is not in danger of being wiped out, nor are they targeted for their ethnic, tribal, or religious affiliation.

Meanwhile, the Arabs' repeated calls for, you know, actual genocide of Israeli Jews get barely a raised eyebrow.
12.30.2008 10:37pm
R7 (mail):
Amen E. Nough. For those dolts who don't get it, humans are just animals. We are subject to the same rules as lions and gazelles, we're just mammals. I believe in reciprocity. The allies in the last years of WWII understood it as well. Do to you as you do to me. Israel cannot negotiate with a predator that wants to eat it to death, just as a rhino cannot negotiate with a lion.
12.30.2008 10:44pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
bernstein:

Greenwald blogs about Israel much more than I do


That statement appears to be not just false, but the exact opposite of the truth. (There are lots of reasons why the google search you mentioned creates incorrect results. I won't bother describing them all. Here's one example: for some reason, the same Salon articles appear multiple times.)

I used a different methodology: I looked at the articles you wrote in 2008, and I looked at the articles he wrote. I think the following is a complete list of the articles Greenwald wrote about Israel in 2008: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here.

I think the following is a complete list of the articles you wrote about Israel in 2008: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here.

That ratio is 9:29. Not even close.

By the way, I did not include your articles which mentioned Israel only in passing, and/or articles that were obviously very casual and non-political. Like this one.

autolykos:

the Bernstein-Greenwald finger-pointing about who is more Israel-obsessed is perhaps the most boring and pointless pissing match in the history of the internet. No, I don't think that is hyperbole.


I'm inclined to agree. Nevertheless, I'm struck by the large discrepancy between reality and the claim that was made. In my opinion, this tends to create the impression that there could be similar problems with other factual claims that have been made (claims that are both more important and harder to verify).
12.30.2008 10:53pm
pst314 (mail):
"Terrorism ends when the causes of it are addressed, typically via diplomatic means. That's what history proves."

Two more counter-examples: Sri Lanka has made great strides toward defeating the Tamil Tigers, and the British defeated the Communist insurgents in Malaysia not through diplomacy but through COIN military strategy and tactics.
12.30.2008 10:56pm
pst314 (mail):
The outrageously foolish things that Glenn Greenwald says are a reminder of something George Orwell said during an earlier war:

"We have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men."
12.30.2008 11:00pm
Jimo (mail):
I read Greenwald's screed earlier. What shocked me was the deliberate distortion of linked historical polling (shocking because of the gaul a liar like Greenwald has to link directly to a source that undermines his claims).

Greenwald's claim is that Americans are even-handed with regard to "intractable" conflicts such as this - and by implication that the U.S. government is under the control of unrepresentative, pro-Israel forces.

His proof? Two polls where Americans show an unwillingness to "take sides" or feel neither side (read "Israel") can be considered free of any blame. The first, no doubt, a poorly constructed question taking advantage of most people's desire to "be fair" and not "take sides" in general. The second - that all parties have some liability for the present sorry state of affairs - is both unobjectionable and besides the point.

But what Greenwald purposely doesn't mention are the multiple poll questions that make it indisputable that Americans actually FAVOR Israel's position over that of Hamas (or likewise Hezbollah). For example, something like 83% of Americans say Israel's actions last year fighting Hezbollah in Lebanon was completely or mostly "justified."

Greenwald's not just wrong; he's a modestly inept liar.
12.30.2008 11:07pm
Joe Bingham (mail):
Just stopping in to point out that as off 1114pm EST, Greenwald still hasn't answered the important question: What would constitute a proportionate response?

Saying something like "ultimately there is no purely military solution" is not an answer to that question.
12.30.2008 11:16pm
pst314 (mail):
"because of the gaul a liar like Greenwald..."

That's "gall", unless you're trying to bring the French into this. :-D
12.30.2008 11:21pm
Eli Rabett (www):
More to the point, what would constitute an effective response. The rest is just posturing.
12.30.2008 11:22pm
pst314 (mail):
Seeing how Greenwald objects to Israel fighting back against a murderous enemy, seems to feel that Israel should be passive in the face of aggression, here is another relevant comment by George Orwell, responding to several particularly slimily dishonest pacifists in 1942: "Pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist." He goes on to write "I am not interested in pacifism as a ‘moral phenomenon’. If Mr Savage and others imagine that one can somehow ‘overcome’ the German army by lying on one’s back, let them go on imagining it, but let them also wonder occasionally whether this is not an illusion due to security, too much money and a simple ignorance of the way in which things actually happen.
...
Despotic governments can stand ‘moral force’ till the cows come home; what they fear is physical force. But though not much interested in the ‘theory’ of pacifism, I am interested in the psychological processes by which pacifists who have started out with an alleged horror of violence end up with a marked tendency to be fascinated by the success and power of Nazism. Even pacifists who wouldn’t own to any such fascination are beginning to claim that a Nazi victory is desirable in itself. In the letter you sent on to me, Mr Comfort considers that an artist in occupied territory ought to ‘protest against such evils as he sees’, but considers that this is best done by ‘temporarily accepting the status quo’ (like Déat or Bergery, for instance?). a few weeks back he was hoping for a Nazi victory because of the stimulating effect it would have upon the arts...I pass over the money-sheltered ignorance capable of believing that literary life is still going on in, for instance, Poland, and remark merely that statements like this justify me in saying that our English pacifists are tending towards active pro-Fascism. But I don’t particularly object to that. What I object to is the intellectual cowardice of people who are objectively and to some extent emotionally pro-Fascist, but who don’t care to say so and take refuge behind the formula ‘I am just as anti-fascist as anyone, but—’...."
12.30.2008 11:38pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
E.Nough,

If you don't like lawyers using legal definitions of terms like genocide on a legal board, maybe you shouldn't post on a legal board.

pst314,

I claim the honor of first bringing the French into this:
"They also avert their eyes from the historically demonstrated tendency of Arabs to stampede when faced with defeat. This tendency is not limited to Arabs though.

Ah kin [hear] them cries of "racist" now. Even though the French are not a race."
12.30.2008 11:43pm
E. Nough (mail) (www):
"Legal" definitions of genocide vary, even if we accept that "legal" includes the pretend "law" made up from treaties and conventions, enforced randomly and capriciously, and violated more often than a Saigon hooker.

I'm not interested in discussing the particulars of these definitions. Were Israel intent on wiping out all Palestinians, then its actions would be genocide. Merely destroying one of their cities in the course of stopping a deadly enemy that keeps sending suicide bombers and missiles into their cities and celebrating their "success" wouldn't qualify by any reasonable measure.
12.31.2008 12:07am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):


The only military solution to the rocket attacks is total annihilation of the residents of Gaza and a complete flattening of their cities.


Oh, don't be an ass. Did the Second World War end with the complete annihilation of Germany and Japan? No.

Did the pacification of the West Bank, sufficient that it's once again a tourist destination, come though the complete annihilation of the Palestinian population? No.

A military solution occurs when the opposing forces arrive at a point where there is no further will or capability to continue the fight. It is very rare for that to require complete annihilation.
12.31.2008 12:11am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

should disabuse all but the most useful idiot


A nice summary, although it may be the first time Greenwald has been called "useful."
12.31.2008 12:20am
billooooh (mail):
Will Bernstein have the balls to admit that he was wrong and that he is, in fact, more Israel Obsessed than Greenwald?
12.31.2008 12:30am
ginsocal (mail):
I'm just shocked that Greenwald hasn't unleashed his brooding hordes of sockpuppets yet.
12.31.2008 12:55am
randal (mail):
David Bernstein, you have a habit of taking Hamas's propaganda seriously in your arguments, which undercuts them severely.
12.31.2008 5:33am
neurodoc:
billooooh: Will Bernstein have the balls to admit that he was wrong and that he is, in fact, more Israel Obsessed than Greenwald?
Of what consequence is it whether David Bernstein or Glenn Greenwald is the "more Israel Obsessed," whatever the hell "Israel Obsessed" means? Do you think that someone like MJ Rosenberg now with the Israel Policy Forum, formerly of the opposite political polarity on Israel, is "more Israel Obsessed" that either Bernstein, Greenwald, or the two of them combined? So what. This "Israel Obsessed" business must be the stupidest discourse I have ever read on this board, and less relevant than the basest ad hominem.
12.31.2008 9:04am
neurodoc:
Glenn Greenwald: Terrorism ends when the causes of it are addressed, typically via diplomatic means. That's what history proves.
Really, that's what history proves? What a remarkable assertion, one that Greenwald ought to prove up. I think this is arrant nonsense.

Mention has been made of Northern Ireland, where arguably terrorism ended when its causes were addressed and there was "diplomatic" intervention. But the circumstances there were more singular than broadly representative of terrorism generally.

pst134 threw out as counter-examples to "terrorism ends...typically through diplomatic means" the story of the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka and the Communist insurgency in Malaysia. How about the Shining Path in Peru, the Tupac Amaru in Uruguay, or the Monteneros in Argentina, those groups were shut down "when the causes of it (were) addressed...by diplomatic means"? The Red Army Faction (Baader-Meinhoff)? The ETA still sets off the occasional bomb in Spain, doesn't it? Has diplomacy defanged Hezbollah? How about the Weather Underground and the Symbionese Liberation Army here in the US?

Those and more counter-examples, now where are the examples that support Greenwald's claim that diplomacy rather than force is the hope when dealing with terrorism? (Does he prescribe diplomacy as the answer to Al Qaeda and its clones?)

Too little attention has been given here to this "diplomatic" strut in Greenwald's case, too much to the nonsense of who is the "more Israel Obsessed."
12.31.2008 9:31am
Skeptic911 (mail):
According to Haaretz, by current estimates 170 of 390 Gazan dead are civilians (not including in that account traffic cops, police cadets, politicians or other persons affiliated with Hamas but not part of its military).

About 55% of the dead are connected to Hamas. Hardly the "overwhelming majority" of "Hamas fighters" which Bernstein claimed were being hit.
12.31.2008 10:01am
wfjag:
einhverfr:
You've cited as examples where diplomacy worked to end terrorism Aceh, Northern Ireland, and Sri Lanka. As I explained above, I question whether Northern Ireland really is an example of that, but I haven't seen any good studies on that. I do not trust relying on US press reports on the success of former Sen. Mitchell in negotiating a cease fire (the US press lets partisanship cloud its reporting far too much), and the men I've worked with from the Republic of Ireland and the UK who were involved in operations against organizations like the PIRA discounted the importance of former Sen. Mitchell's efforts (except as ending money and support that came from the US). However, these for the views of men who primarily were Soldiers, and I've found that it appears to be a worldwide truism that Soldiers don't tend to have much regard for diplomats. So, if you know of any studies on the Northern Ireland peace agreement, please cite them.

As for Sri Lanka, as someone else noted above, there have been continuing military efforts against the Tamil Tigers. The "peace agreements" for Sri Lanka appear to be fairly numerous and short lived. It looks more like another example of a "negotiated" settlement being only a period in which the parties rebuild and rearm, rather than a resolution of the conflict.

Finally, there is Aceh in Indonesia. The negotiated agreement was reached on August 15, 2005, after 29 years of fighting between Indonesian security forces and the Gerekan Aceh Merdeka (GAM or "Free Aceh Movement"). It is true that elections were held in 2006 in which ex-GAM members won and Aceh is being allowed to implement Sharia law and move away from the secularized Islam of Indonesia. Whether this is a long lasting change and a negotiated settlement that lasts remains to be seen. First, the settlement was reached only after the Dec. 26, 2004 tsunami. Aceh was the hardest hit region in Indonesia. The population of Aceh before the December, 2004 tsunami was 4,271,000. The population as of September 15, 2005, was 4,031,589. Estimates are that in Aceh roughly 230,000 people were killed and 500,000 were left homeless by the tsunami. Indonesia had to make major concessions to receive aide, both for Aceh and for the rest of Indonesia. Also, this occurred shortly after the events in East Timor. Among other things, this meant that there was international focus on Indonesia already (and, likely some expertise already developed on issues like cultures, history and other social factors), and also the Indonesian government and its security forces were already somewhat exhausted from the conflict in East Timor.

Still, Aceh may represent an example of when diplomacy worked to end terrorism. If so, the facts underlying the success are fairly unique. There was a prior conflict with the central government that had resulted in international military intervention to resolve (East Timor); a huge natural disaster to address, for which the central government needed massive foreign aide both for Aceh and the rest of the nation; the GAM leadership was not seeking independence or to over-throw the central government. Rather, they were seeking greater autonomy and an end to military forces from the central government being in the region; the GAM and its former members have shown themselves to be well disciplined; There appears to be little "score settling" since the agreement by the GAM or Indonesian government; The GAM disbanded, its members have participated in elections and are promoting economic development (including tourism) and education; The level of corruption appears to be fairly low; They are imposing Sharia law as a substitute for the more secularized law generally applicable in the rest of Indonesia; And, while Aceh represented something of a clash of cultures within Indonesia, it was a clash between Indonesian, Islamic subcultures, and not a clash between fundamentally different cultures (as is the case between Isreali and Palestinian cultures).

These facts are in no way comparable to the Isreali-Palestinian conflict generally or Isreali-Hamas conflict in particular (except the desire by one side to impose Sharia law in lieu of a secular legal system).

I do see a fundamental difference in our approaches to evaluating the situation. You look for a rational solution -- your reference to an economics type analysis. As I believe I made clear, I don't think that a cost/benefit analysis gives realistic guidance or will result in a true resolution. Such an analysis fails to account for the psychological factors (especially the group psychology). IF a rational analysis and rational-based solution worked, there would be no Israeli-Hamas conflict today. When Israel occupied Gaza, by every objective or material measure, the Palestinians were much better off and their standard of living was increasing. Further, there were still many of the older generation around who remembered conditions under Egyptian rule. However, the Palestinians eagarly sought eviction of the Israelis -- knowing full well the level of corruption of the Arafat's followers and the violence of Hamas. No rational-based or cost/benefit-type analysis can explain making that type of choice.

I do agree that no overall resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict appears possible right now. I agree that the election in February of a Likud government would increase chances for progress (on the "Only Nixon can go the China" type of assumption). And, there may be a possible that an agreement between Israel and Syria can be reached. A credible peacekeeping/tripwire force on the Golan Heights would be needed, provided by nations both Israel and Syria would find acceptable. Also, Syria wants to maintain its influence in Lebanon. It, along with Iran, has provided support for Hezbollah with this objective in mind. However, at fundamental levels, the Syrian Baathists and the Iranian Shia are enemies. So, a strong Iranian directed proxy in Lebanon (as Hezbollah appears to be becoming) is a threat to Syria -- and so it could seek to use an agreement with Israel to eliminate that threat.

But, I don't see much progress as possible beyond that, and no possiblity for an overall resolution in the foreseeable future. "The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity." That appears to stem from group psychological factors.
12.31.2008 10:53am
neurodoc:
Skeptic911: About 55% of the dead are connected to Hamas.
If we accept that estimate of "civilian" dead, then what are we to do with it?

I would guess that 99% of those killed and wounded on Israeli soil by attacks (rockets, suicide bombings, knifings, bulldozers, etc.) launched from the West Bank and Gaza have been civilians. Is that the Palestinian version of "proportionality"?
12.31.2008 10:54am
Yankev (mail):

"We have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men."

Which E_Nough has done by reminding us:

1) of the distinction between warfare and genocide;

2) that is is Hamas, and not Israel, that is intent on committing genocide, and Israel that is trying to prevent genocide;

3) that Hamas is accusing Israel of what Hamas itself is trying to do, and those who confuse genocide with warfare are helping Hamas in its efforts whether or not they mean to; and

4) that those who accuse Israel of genocide or of potential genocide are strangely silent when real genocide is committed or attempted.
12.31.2008 11:03am
Yankev (mail):

Were Israel intent on wiping out all Palestinians, then its actions would be genocide.
Agreed. Then too, were Israel intent on wiping out all Palestinians, then they would have been wiped out decades ago.

QED, not that we are likely to convince those who have fallen for the Jewish Israeli boogie man who goes around poisoning wells and killing gentile babies for their blood stealing Arab land and looking for excuses to kill Arab civilians (not that the Arabs and their supporters don't continue to spread the killing babis for their blood accusation).
12.31.2008 11:11am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
neurodoc:

Of what consequence is it whether David Bernstein or Glenn Greenwald is the "more Israel Obsessed," whatever the hell "Israel Obsessed" means?


In my comment here, I explained the relevance. Your comment alleging irrelevance would be more relevant if it attempted to address what I said about relevance.
12.31.2008 11:28am
anon522 (mail):
I don't know who Jukeboxgrad thinks he's fooling, but of the first three Bernstein posts he links to, post one is, in total, a quote of a newspaper story about Norman Finkelstein's visit to Lebanon, post 2 about a grammar error in the Jerusalem Post, and post 3 about Daniel Davies of Crooked Timber misrepresenting a much earlier post. Yet he claims to have eliminated "posts which mentioned Israel only in passing (posts 1 and 3), and/or articles that were obviously very casual and non-political (post 2). I didn't bother reading on, as he is obviously lying, or has a very idiosyncratic definition of "in passing" and "non-political."
12.31.2008 11:49am
Lyle (mail):
Greenwald is a moral idiot. Hopefully Israel goes the distance and utterly wipes out Hamas. Fatah needs to have Israel clear Gaza so they can take control of the place again and work out a real deal with Israel.

Europe and Canada should be ashamed of their idiotic position on what's going down. Shameful. What a pathetic, lunatic world they've created for themselves.
12.31.2008 11:50am
Benjamin Davis (mail):
This huffington post article indicates the following.

The total number of deaths from Hamas rockets this year: 19
The total number of deaths from the three day Israeli action: 364

364/19 = 18 to 1

If you take out the legitimate military targets (meaning the Hamas persons) the Gaza civilian death toll is: 62

Assuming all the persons hit by Hamas rockets this year were civilians then the calculation is 62/19 = 3 to 1

If those numbers look proportionate to you, I would draw your attention to the tendency to undervalue the lives of people of color in the West that has been noted in some scholarship. The most recent I believe was in the calculation of the UN IPCC on climate change.

We can see a similar calculus between the total number of persons killed in 9/11 - about 3 000 civilians.

Total number of coalition deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan - 5000

Total number of Iraqi and Afghanistan deaths - ? a whole lot more than 3 000 even discounting out an estimate of legitimate military targets.

We can add in to all of these the total number of persons injured - a number I do not have.

Best,
Ben
12.31.2008 12:31pm
bobfromfresno (mail):

Of what consequence is it whether David Bernstein or Glenn Greenwald is the "more Israel Obsessed," whatever the hell "Israel Obsessed" means?

Perhaps you should address that to Mr. Bernstein, since it seems to be a vitally important issue to him. He has posted about it multiple times (in the original post and in comments) in the past few days.

Indeed, Mr. Bernstein has posted considerably more about who is "Israel Obsessed" than he as about the dozens and dozens of innocent civilian dead.

But, in the unlikely event that Mr. Bernstein does step up and admit that he was wrong, no doubt many posters like you (and probably Mr. Bernstein himself) will immediately pivot and argue either 1) that this is an unimportant issue or 2) that Mr. B. should be and is proud of being obsessed with Israel.
12.31.2008 12:32pm
PLR:
Greenwald is a moral idiot.

Ironically leaving him preferable to the immoral idiots.
12.31.2008 12:37pm
Zbert (mail):
Yup, Jukeboxgrad has provided another great example of how to lie with statistics. For someone whose primary contribution to debates in these pages seems to be an ability to use Google and way (way, way) too much time om his hands, JBG really should have done better here. In addition to his failure to properly filter the posts, he should have considered the percentage of total postings of each contributor that concerned Israel. Maybe it supports his argument, maybe it doesn't - but at least do the analysis. He clearly has the time to do so.

I am also inclined to agree that this whole debate on who is more Israel obsessed is quite pointless. However, JBGs own words I think apply to his own comment: "Nevertheless, I'm struck by the large discrepancy between reality and the claim that was made b. In my opinion, this tends to create the impression that there could be similar problems with other factual claims that have been made (claims that are both more important and harder to verify)."
12.31.2008 12:45pm
Zbert (mail):
Yup, Jukeboxgrad has provided another great example of how to lie with statistics. For someone whose primary contribution to debates in these pages seems to be an ability to use Google and way (way, way) too much time om his hands, JBG really should have done better here. In addition to his failure to properly filter the posts, he should have considered the percentage of total postings of each contributor that concerned Israel. Maybe it supports his argument, maybe it doesn't - but at least do the analysis. He clearly has the time to do so.

I am also inclined to agree that this whole debate on who is more Israel obsessed is quite pointless. However, JBGs own words I think apply to his own comment: "Nevertheless, I'm struck by the large discrepancy between reality and the claim that was made b. In my opinion, this tends to create the impression that there could be similar problems with other factual claims that have been made (claims that are both more important and harder to verify)."
12.31.2008 12:45pm
Joel Rosenberg (mail) (www):
If Fatah attempts to retake Gaza (I'd put it at about 70-30 that they will; I think they're foolish enough, and with them acting as spotters for the IDF, it sure looks like they're intending to) Greenwald and similar nimrods will see an actual massacre in Gaza, and will, predictably, blame Israel for it.
12.31.2008 12:46pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
wfjag:

The peace agreements with Egypt under Begin may have been responsible for the First Intifada, and everything after this may be commentary.

However, regarding economic-type analysis, the goal ere would be simply to ensure that the wishes of the majority of Palestinains and Israelis for peaceful coexistance are made possible. My own thinking is that this will only happen when those who appear to be hardliners start talking (Likud and Hamas).

My points about Likud are motivated by looking at past experience and some corners of current rhetoric, where prominent Likud members NOW are advocating direct talks with Hamas. Likud might be seen as the "negotiation" party in the best of senses. They know how to approach negotiations and make credible progress, and with the exception of a few hardliners in Labor (Rabin, for example, who advocated brutal tactics in the First Intifada), they are the only competent negotiators out there in Israeli politics.

However, one of the things that makes this very difficult. The problems of Israel, Iran, and Palestine are as closely intertwined as those of Israel, Lebanon, and Syria. Right now all the problems are one huge tangle. Peace between Israel and Syria would help untangle at least some of these problems.

However, here is a piece of economic analysis for you about Iran's actions:

Iran is threatened by US forces in two countries on their border along with the possibility of US-assisted air strikes by Israel. Their subsidies of domestic oil consumption are unsustainable (at current trends, they will start IMPORTING oil within a decade), and they see nuclear power as a way of kicking the oil can down the road a bit. We can argue over the wisdom of these subsidies all day long, but the fact is that they are a real political and economic problem for Iran. Furthermore Iranian nuclear energy policy has not changed at all AFAICS since the days of the Shah. Their progress, however, has changed.

There are pain points beyond mere propaganda that thus make the Iran/Israel problem more complex, but these also provide leverage in creating a solution. However, they have to be leveraged in positive ways as much as negative. I also think that this will have to wait for some other problems to be solved first.
12.31.2008 12:55pm
Zbert (mail):
Benjamin Davis,

It is tough to address all your errors in your post. But to start with, your definition of proportionality is totally inaccurate. I would recommend that you read the extensive discussion on this in the various comment threads on this site over the past few days?

Second, as someone who is quite familiar with the IPCC and particularly AR4, I would be extremely surprised to see any reference to: "the tendency to undervalue the lives of people of color in the West." Perhaps you will provide a reference for this or alternatively cease to make unsubstantiated claims.
12.31.2008 12:56pm
Skeptic911 (mail):

If we accept that estimate of "civilian" dead, then what are we to do with it?


First, we just enjoy the fact that we have corrected a factual mistake in Mr. Bernstein's argument and improved our knowledge of the actual events taking place.

Like so many of Mr. Bernstein's inaccuracies, this one relies on appealing to the prejudices of his readers, many of whom are ready to believe anything good about Israel and anything bad about Palestinians.

It's important to get the facts right.


I would guess that 99% of those killed and wounded on Israeli soil by attacks (rockets, suicide bombings, knifings, bulldozers, etc.) launched from the West Bank and Gaza have been civilians.


You'd be wrong. The split is in this case is 25% military/ 75% civilian among the Israeli dead, so far. The 2006 numbers from Lebannon were similar, so were those from the Intifada.

You have illustrated my point that a lot of our "knowledge" about the conflict is propanganda which is superficially attractive because it confirms people's prejudices. That's true on both sides, but these pro-Israeli errors are striking examples of the phenomenon.


Is that the Palestinian version of "proportionality"?


When the state of Israel is comfortable being treated like Hamas -- legally defined as terrorists, boycotted, killed at will -- then they can use Hamas' conduct as a measure of their own behavior.
12.31.2008 1:03pm
Yankev (mail):

It is tough to address all your errors in your post. But to start with, your definition of proportionality is totally inaccurate. I would recommend that you read the extensive discussion on this in the various comment threads on this site over the past few days?
Let me address another. BD's emphasis on "people of color" overlooks the fact that the residents of Sderot include a fair percentage of Jews who came from Arab states, North Africa, Ethiopia or the former Ottoman Empire, all of whom are every bit as much "of color" as the Arabs are. The same is true for many of the other parts of Israel that are subjected to attack by the Hamas rockets. For that matter, doesn't that description cover about half of the Israeli non-Arab population? Let's also remember that the Hamas rocket and mortar attacks endanger Israeli Arabs as well as Jews.

I don't much care for the "Jews are all racists" bit when it came from the Nation of Islam, Cynthia McKinney or the Black Panther Party (old or new), and I don't care any more for it when it's recast as "Israelis are all racists."
12.31.2008 1:10pm
Skeptic911 (mail):
Second Intifada: Regarding the numbers of Israeli civilian versus combatant deaths, B'Tselem reports that through April 30, 2008 there were 719 Israeli civilians killed and 334 Israeli security force personnel killed.[1] In other words, 31.7% of those killed were Israeli security force personnel, while 68.3% were civilians (wikipedia).

2006 Lebannon War: Figures for the Israel Defense Forces troops killed range from 116[12] to 120. . . Hezbollah rockets killed 43 Israeli civilians during the conflict.

118/161= 73% military casualities, 27% civilian

NeuroD, before you follow our shared human impulse to justify what you said before or attack the significance of the difference between 99% civilian deaths and 68% (both too high) I'd just like to politely draw your attention to how confident you were in your estimate and how different the actual figures are.
12.31.2008 1:13pm
Yankev (mail):

Jukeboxgrad has provided another great example of how to lie with statistics.
The endless discussion of who is more obsessed with Israel is simply another ad hominem attack by Greenwald and adds nothing of value to the discussion. When we then start arguing over what posts should be included or excluded, we reduce ourselves to the level of Jukeboxgrad and Greenwald, arguing over how many pinheads can dance with angel.
12.31.2008 1:15pm
Anon522 (mail):
If you take out the legitimate military targets (meaning the Hamas persons) the Gaza civilian death toll is: 62

Assuming all the persons hit by Hamas rockets this year were civilians then the calculation is 62/19 = 3 to 1

If those numbers look proportionate to you, I would draw your attention to the tendency to undervalue the lives of people of color in the West that has been noted in some scholarship. The most recent I believe was in the calculation of the UN IPCC on climate change.
I've spent about one hundred times as much resources on my own family as on charity this year. Is that disproportionat? Do you seriously believe Israel is supposed to value lives on the other side as much as its own? And, fwiw, Arabs and Jews are approximately the same color and ethnic stock. The only "people of color" involved are the 150K or so Ethiopian Jews who live in Israel.
12.31.2008 1:20pm
bobfromfresno (mail):

In addition to his failure to properly filter the posts, he should have considered the percentage of total postings of each contributor that concerned Israel.

Ahh, a content free post. Just quibbles with JukeBox's 29:9 ratio but doesn't offer any evidence.

Oh, and did everyone notice the attempt to move the goalposts my arguing that the 29:9 ratio doesn't matter because you have to compare that ratio of the total posts made by each poster? That is a nice try but you fail since Mr. Bernstein's contention was this:

Greenwald implicitly acknowledges, as I noted yesterday, that he blogs far more about Israel than I do.

So, sorry, Mr. Bernstein made an uncharacteristically clear statement there and it can be refuted by proof.
12.31.2008 1:21pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Jukeboxgrad:

I don't understand why you devote so much effort to the question of who writes more about Israel as I think it's pretty tangential to the matter at hand. It seems to me that you're trying to play a "gotcha" game instead of adding informative and relevant facts to the discussion.

There are all sorts of ways to create metrics that would show one or the other is "more obsessed" with Israel. We could count unique articles, words, or fractions of total writing output devoted to Israel. If one simply writes a whole lot more about everything, then his Israel count could be high, so some kind or normalization is needed.

Suppose you win and show Bernstein is more obsessed. I think you would end up with a Pyrrhic victory in terms of what you get for your effort. I assume you must be retired or someone pays you to do this kind of thing. I certainly hope so.
12.31.2008 1:23pm
bobfromfresno (mail):

The endless discussion of who is more obsessed with Israel is simply another ad hominem attack by Greenwald and adds nothing of value to the discussion.

Actually,

Greenwald implicitly acknowledges, as I noted yesterday, that he blogs far more about Israel than I do
12.31.2008 1:23pm
bobfromfresno (mail):

I don't understand why you devote so much effort to the question of who writes more about Israel as I think it's pretty tangential to the matter at hand. It seems to me that you're trying to play a "gotcha" game instead of adding informative and relevant facts to the discussion.


Exactly as predicted, a commenter steps up and tries to argue that this is a silly topic.

Typical, argue, argue, argue then when proven wrong, say "Well that's not important anyway."
12.31.2008 1:24pm
bobfromfresno (mail):

Suppose you win and show Bernstein is more obsessed. I think you would end up with a Pyrrhic victory in terms of what you get for your effort. I assume you must be retired or someone pays you to do this kind of thing. I certainly hope so.

And are you retired or salaried to make the hundreds and hundreds of comments you make on this blog?

Hmmmm?
12.31.2008 1:25pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"If those numbers look proportionate to you, I would draw your attention to the tendency to undervalue the lives of people of color in the West that has been noted in some scholarship."

What do people of color in the West have to do with the war in the Mideast?
12.31.2008 1:29pm
Benjamin Davis (mail):
I am aware of the Sephardic and the Ashkenazi and the Israeli Palestinians.

I am awere of the principle of proportionality and the principle of distinction. I did not find the discussion of proportionality above particulary helpful.

On the IPCC, I do not have the time to go back and find the calculations done which valued the persons in the West at a substantially higher valuation than it did of persons in non-Western developing countries for purposes of their calculations. It was a subject of debate in the past two years. Please send me an e-mail at ben.davis@utoledo.edu and when I get to it I will send it to you.

As to all Israelis being racists, please. The question I am putting forward is much harder than that. Whether Israelis and Hamas are acting with the purest of motives or the most venal and racist of motives, I am focusing on the deaths.

A focus on perceived intent seems to me to be problematic when that focus excludes the effects of the conduct. At some point, you get into recklessness. On both sides in this conflict.

I am disappointed with the one-sided response of my government whom I am certain gave a "non-objection" signal to Israel or maybe even a "greenlight" to what is going on. I am looking for some strong statement at the Secretary of State or higher level that speaks to both sides. Not some communique of the "he good, you bad" kind that we see.

As to 9/11 deaths, coalition force military deaths, and the Iraq and Afghan war deaths - why can not we look at some of that conduct as being reckless even if we believe in the purest of motives on our part?

It all seems to be a terrible waste.

Best,
Ben
12.31.2008 1:35pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Benjamin Davis:

"If those numbers look proportionate to you, I would draw your attention to the tendency to undervalue the lives of people of color in the West that has been noted in some scholarship. The most recent I believe was in the calculation of the UN IPCC on climate change."

Hamas simply has to stop firing rockets at Israel and then it won't have any deaths at all. Israel should use as much force as is necessary to get them to stop. Naturally Israel is going to put a higher value on the lives of its own citizens, every country does that. It has nothing to do with "people of color." I'm not sure what that phrase even means in this context because pretty much all people in the Middle East belong to the same race.
12.31.2008 1:41pm
Zbert (mail):
bobfromfresno,

You are hardly in any position to complain abut someone else making a content free post. I told Mr. Davis that he was using the incorrect definition of proportionality and he would benefit by reading this discussion. Clearly, you would also benefit. If you don't have the inclination to read this entire thread, start here: http://volokh.com/posts/1230644849.shtml#509013 . The correct ratio is the number of combatants killed relative to civilians. The ratio he calculates, which considers casualties on the Israeli side, is just inaccurate. If 1,000 militants are trying to kill one person then, under the international law concept of proportionality, that person is entitled to kill all 1,000 militants. That person is not, however, permitted to kill 100,000 civilians in the process. Does that help you?
12.31.2008 1:44pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"And are you retired or salaried to make the hundreds and hundreds of comments you make on this blog?"

Not retired. Very efficient.
12.31.2008 1:44pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Typical, argue, argue, argue then when proven wrong, say "Well that's not important anyway."

I made only one comment on the issue of who is obsessed, and that was to call it a non-issue.
12.31.2008 1:49pm
Zbert (mail):
Benjamin Davis,


On the IPCC, I do not have the time to go back and find the calculations done which valued the persons in the West at a substantially higher valuation than it did of persons in non-Western developing countries for purposes of their calculations. It was a subject of debate in the past two years. Please send me an e-mail at ben.davis@utoledo.edu and when I get to it I will send it to you.


That's a cheap evasion. Let me make it clear to you - I have read AR4 cover to cover and those calculations do not appear. AR4 was also not an economic analysis - perhaps you are confusing it with the Stern Report or another non-IPCCC climate document. If, as you state, this has been the subject of debate over the past two years, why not provide a single link? Else, you should retract this claim.
12.31.2008 2:15pm
wooga:
Lazlo,

You are completely ignoring dates. Your reference to the Safavid dynasty may demonstrate a keen ability to use Wikipedia, but it does nothing to address the spread of Islam into Persia, which occurred some 800+ years earlier.

Your reference to Germany and Italy being 'tribal' until 150 years ago is also silly, unless you are going to use the term 'tribal' to mean 'lacking a unified central government.' I am not using it in that form, but instead to describe the loyalty/allegiance of a particular group of people. Sure, every group will have some local loyalties, but the Arab population has long lacked any sense of loyalty to a nation/people. The only bond between tribes is religion, not any sense of greater ethnic/cultural pride. People from the various provinces in Germany or Italy may not have seen themselves as such, but they certainly saw a common bond with their neighboring provinces as against the French or Slavic peoples - above and beyond the language issues. This of course is WAY off point, and will simply devolve into a pissing match about whether your obscure knowledge of 'x' beats my obscure knowledge of 'y'.

My post was about the spread of Islam, and how the tribalism of the Arab people - particularly when coupled with the strong/weak horse mentality - accelerated it. A broad, simple, but essentially valid point. In contrast, the Persian people maintained a distinct cultural identity. There was no abandonment of their own identity for the sake of joining with the stronger Arab people. Even today, well over 1000 years since Islam, Persians maintain a very distinct ethnic identity (despite Khomeini's best efforts to subordinate allegiance to 'Persia' to allegiance to 'Islam'). Just try calling a Persian an Arab, and see where it gets you. That is why Islam "kind of stopped" when it reached the Persians. If you include the various Persian derivative ethnicities in Afghanistan and modern Pakistan, this is absolutely correct. There was not much spread of Islam beyond that ethnic wall (you seem to want to ignore my 'kind of' qualifier - I never made an absolute statement).

Unless you are making some point about the modern spread of Islam in Egypt or Southeast Asia, any discussions of the 'post-colonial' mental issues throughout the Arab world are irrelevant. If you are talking about areas like Malaysia/Indonesia, you very well may have a point - my knowledge of their background is limited.

But it still wouldn't rebut my central point, which again was that the Arab people are abnormally prone to the strong/weak horse influence, and the exceptionally rapid spread of Islam among the Arab population is a prime example. Islam did not spread nearly as easily among any other group, because no other group was as susceptible as the Arabs to ditch their own weak horse for the Islamic strong horse.

[As I said, I only speak a little farsi, and I do not even recognize the term "yezareh" - so of course I only have a retarded level comprehension of your statement. My farsi was not meant to connote some unique insight on my part. It was simply a relevant but childish insult ("borogomsho"), because you insulted me. And I am not going to ask my wife to translate, as it would make me look even more stupid].
12.31.2008 2:40pm
Benjamin Davis (mail):
On proportionality, I would turn you to the discussion at pages 544-545 of Mary Ellen O'Connell's "International Law and Use of Force"

"One cannot easily assess the value of innocent human lives as opposed to capturing a particular military objective."

The questions which remain unresolved once one decides to apply the principle of proportionality include the following:

a) What are the relative values to be assigned to the military advantage gained and the injury to noncombatants and or the damage to civilian objects?

b) What do you include or exclude in totaling your sums?

c) What is the standard of measurement in time or space? and

d) To what extent is a military commander obligated to expose his own forces to danger in order to limit civilian casualties or damage to civilian objects?

The answers to these questions are not simple."

A suggestion made is an objective test of a "reasonable military commander".

Best,
Ben
12.31.2008 2:43pm
D.R.M.:
einhverfr —

I fully expect that, should Israel's action in the Gaza Strip be sufficient to spark the total surrender of Hamas I outlined, then there would not be significant other resistance in the Gaza Strip.

This could be wrong, of course. But the basic approach is simple enough; you then keep on hitting until Islamic Jihad surrenders . . . or is destroyed as Gazans figure out the only way to save their own lives is to give in to Israel's demands and they slaughter Islamic Jihad.
12.31.2008 2:54pm
Mike 'Ralph' Smith:

As for my commenters, we all know how to ensure we get more favorable comments, right?


Banning them like you did to the guy who disagreed with you on the last thread about Israel?
12.31.2008 4:06pm
Skeptic911 (mail):
The Economist (which can hardly be accused of left-wing sympathies), while condemning Hamas' rocket fire, effectively punctures the sort of jingoistic hysteria we're getting from Bernstein and effectively states the argument for disproportionality:


And yet Israel should not be surprised by the torrent of indignation it has aroused from around the world. This is not just because people seldom back the side with the F-16s. In general, a war must pass three tests to be justified. A country must first have exhausted all other means of defending itself. The attack should be proportionate to the objective. And it must stand a reasonable chance of achieving its goal. On all three of these tests Israel is on shakier ground than it cares to admit.

It is true that Israel has put up with the rockets from Gaza for a long time. But it may have been able to stop the rockets another way. For it is not quite true that Israel’s only demand in respect of Gaza has been for quiet along the border. Israel has also been trying to undermine Hamas by clamping an economic blockade on Gaza, while boosting the economy of the West Bank, where the Palestinians’ more pliant secular movement, Fatah, holds sway. Even during the now-lapsed truce, Israel prevented all but a trickle of humanitarian aid from entering the strip. So although Israel was provoked, Hamas can claim that it was provoked too. If Israel had ended the blockade, Hamas may have renewed the truce. Indeed, on one reading of its motives, Hamas resumed fire to force Israel into a new truce on terms that would include opening the border.

On proportionality, the numbers speak for themselves—up to a point. After the first three days, some 350 Palestinians had been killed and only four Israelis. Neither common sense nor the laws of war require Israel to deviate from the usual rule, which is to kill as many enemies as you can and avoid casualties on your own side. Hamas was foolish to pick this uneven fight. But of the Palestinian dead, several score were civilians, and many others were policemen rather than combatants. Although both Western armies and their foes have killed far more civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq, Israel’s interest should be to minimise the killing. The Palestinians it is bombing today will be its neighbours for ever.

This last point speaks to the test of effectiveness. Israel said at first that, much as it would like to topple Hamas, its present operation has the more limited aim of “changing reality” so that Hamas stops firing across the border. But as Israel learnt in Lebanon in 2006, this is far from easy. As with Hizbullah, Hamas’s “resistance” to Israel has made it popular and delivered it to power. It is most unlikely to bend the knee. Like Hizbullah, it will probably prefer to keep on firing no matter how hard it is hit, daring Israel to send its ground forces into a messy street fight in Gaza’s congested cities and refugee camps.
12.31.2008 4:13pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"The Economist (which can hardly be accused of left-wing sympathies),..."

The Economist editorial writers provide nothing new to the argument. They don't really provide a course of action beyond a vague "do it another way." Moreover on certain issues, the Economist is anything but conservative. They staunchly support gun control and are usually anti-Israel. Not only that, they don't hesitate to pepper their news articles with opinion.
12.31.2008 4:35pm
Zbert (mail):
Skeptic911,

The Economist (which can hardly be accused of left-wing sympathies)

You don't seem to follow this very closely. While the Economist is generally regarded as right of center (at least in the British media world), it has been well documented as a consistent and controversially strident critic of Israel for many years. Just google "Economist Tom Gross and Israel" for some of the background. As a long time subscriber of the Economist, I would expect nothing different that the piece you cite. (I actually canceled my subscription for one year because of frustration with their anti-Israel bias but the quality of their business writing lured me back).

This doesn't mean that the Economist is necessarily wrong, but please don't pretend that they don't have an ideological bias and they are a neutral source. Live up to your own name.
12.31.2008 4:42pm
LM (mail):
Benjamin Davis,

All war and all killing is waste, except to the extent it prevents greater war, killing and waste. The proportionality question also has to be considered in this context of the alternatives. If you shoot at me and miss, and I return fire and kill you, the 1 to 0 ratio surely exceeds all norms, but that doesn't mean I have to wait for you to hit me before shooting back.

That calculus doesn't change if you're shooting at me from inside a crowded market place. It would be wrong for me to stop you by carpet bombing the market, but as long as I'm reasonably trying to hit just you, the other casualties are your wrongdoing, not mine. And the reasonableness is determined by comparing the number of innocent casualties to the number of casualties of legitimate targets, not by comparing the number of your innocent casualties to mine. No number of innocents killed by one side gives the other side any greater right to kill innocents in return. That would obviously be contrary to all the principles behind the relevant GC provisions.

I'm skeptical that the Israeli operation can achieve its desired effect, but I don't see how you can hold anyone but Hamas responsible for the pain and misery it's creating.
12.31.2008 4:57pm
Benjamin Davis (mail):
Zbert,

Ok, on the IPCC the best I could do without a great deal of research is to point you here and on Funkhauser's work that served as a basis for Working Group 3 of IPCC here - the critique of the cost-benefit which values those in the developed/developing in a 15:1 ratio is there.

There was more on this someplace but I again do not have the time or inclination to go forward with that. Please do more googles if you want to find the full debate. I am sure there is one and I remember the IPCC recognizing that the assumptions were dubious in one of their meetings on the report. I do not have that either. Sorry.

Best,
Ben
12.31.2008 5:05pm
LM (mail):
I accidentally erased a key sentence. Here's the end of my second paragraph, with the missing sentence in bold:

No number of innocents killed by one side gives the other side any greater right to kill innocents in return. That would obviously be contrary to all the principles behind the relevant GC provisions. And by negative implication, Gaza's failure to be more successful in its persistent efforts to kill civilian Israelis has no bearing on how many civilian Palestinian casualties are acceptable in any reasonable Israeli attempt to eliminate the source of attacks on its civilians.
12.31.2008 5:10pm
neurodoc:
Skeptic911, I said, "I would guess that 99% of those killed and wounded on Israeli soil by attacks (rockets, suicide bombings, knifings, bulldozers, etc.) launched from the West Bank and Gaza have been civilians." Did that B'Tselem report you allude to count only "those killed and wounded on Israeli soil by attacks...launched from the West Bank and Gaza," or did it fold in combat deaths in Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza? I'll bet dollars to donuts that Hamas and other Palestinians did not target and kill Israeli military at anything approaching 1/3 the rate they did Israeli civilians with their rockets, suicide bombings, knifings, bulldozers, etc. They rarely go after soldiers and military targets, clearly preferring more vulnerable civilians on the street, in their homes, etc.

Skeptic911: The Economist (which can hardly be accused of left-wing sympathies)...
No, not left-wing sympathies, but it can fairly be accused of considerable anti-Israel bias over the course of time.

(BTW, does your choice of nom de plume indicate that you are a 9/11 Truther type?)
12.31.2008 5:13pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Yankev:

QED, not that we are likely to convince those who have fallen for the Jewish Israeli boogie man who goes around poisoning wells and killing gentile babies for their blood stealing Arab land and looking for excuses to kill Arab civilians (not that the Arabs and their supporters don't continue to spread the killing babis for their blood accusation).


You of all people should know it is not quite that simple. First, as you note there ARE Israeli terrorist organizations banned both by Israel and the US which advocate stealing Arab land and looking for excuses to kill Arab civilians (Baruch Goldstein for example). They represent a radical fringe that is not taken seriously inside Israel but they are there, and they are more highly visible than the vast majority of peace-loving Israelis. Furthermore their political proxies (NRP and its successors) do tend to wield disproportionate influence in Israeli politics.

Finally, it is undisputed that serious and senseless killings of Arabs during the 48-49 war by Irgun and LEHI in order to take land lends more credibility to this viewpoint even if it is not mainstream in Israel. When you add to this the calls by non-Jewish non-Israelis for genocide of Palestinians, you can see how a reasonable person might make such a mistake.

Once again, there was a time in Israeli history when killing Arabs to steal land was accepted, but that time has passed. Unfortunately extremist armchair supporters of both sides scream for blood and insist that nothing has ever changed. However, if nothing had ever changed, Shamir would have encouraged Israeli terrorists and pushed for a Jewish state ranging from the Nile to the Euphrates as was LEHI's original platform (Irgun had the more modest goal of all of British Palestine being part of the Israeli state, which really means eliminating Jordan). Yet, Shamir and Rabin ended up stepping back at least a bit from the settlements problem and pushing for peace.
12.31.2008 5:24pm
neurodoc:
Ben Davis, whether you intended it or not, I see your raising "race" here, where it is an irrelevancy, to itself be racist.
12.31.2008 5:26pm
Benjamin Davis (mail):
LM,



All war and all killing is waste, except to the extent it prevents greater war, killing and waste.


I agree that it is complicated. Add in the wars of choice or wars of self-defense and that captures more of that.


The proportionality question also has to be considered in this context of the alternatives. If you shoot at me and miss, and I return fire and kill you, the 1 to 0 ratio surely exceeds all norms, but that doesn't mean I have to wait for you to hit me before shooting back.


I agree - assuming we are in armed conflict and not on the streets of San Francisco - lawful combat is permitted


That calculus doesn't change if you're shooting at me from inside a crowded market place. It would be wrong for me to stop you by carpet bombing the market, but as long as I'm reasonably trying to hit just you, the other casualties are your wrongdoing, not mine. And the reasonableness is determined by comparing the number of innocent casualties to the number of casualties of legitimate targets, not by comparing the number of your innocent casualties to mine. No number of innocents killed by one side gives the other side any greater right to kill innocents in return. That would obviously be contrary to all the principles behind the relevant GC provisions.


You recognize the problem of carpet bombing the market - this suggests that you place a value on the number of civilians in that market place in that setting. The question raised is whether the value of the Bosnian civilian or other civilian that you make that makes such carpet bombing unreasonable is the valuation that is done by those deciding on whether to bomb and with what.

I recognize that each belligerent has responsibility for the civilian deaths that its state of belligerency may cause by the response of the other side, but I think we also recognize that each side is responsible for the calculus it uses in determining how to attack/respond during the armed conflict.


I'm skeptical that the Israeli operation can achieve its desired effect, but I don't see how you can hold anyone but Hamas responsible for the pain and misery it's creating


My problem - as may be for many people - is the relevant baseline. Hamas renounces its truce. But, before that I remember Israel sealing off Gaza, stopping humanitarian aid, etc. And before that, I am sure there is something else from Hamas. And before that, I am sure there is something else from Israel.

Israel is responsible as is Hamas for selecting the targets they resepectively did and for the deaths after that. In fact, there is a kind of concurrent responsibility between the person in the civilian space who puts civilians at risk (Hamas) and the person attacking/responding in a given manner in that civilian space (Israel) unless it is lawful combat.

Maybe the life valuation question for me comes to me in a weird way where I think about the deaths. The civilian deaths are in some way the measure of the value you place on those civilians in your calculus - as Hamas or Israel or both together. Not sure I am clear enough in expressing the idea.

Another way, if you give a higher valuation for each civilian you will be less likely to see the calculation of attack/response as leading to lawful combat which absolves one side of responsibility for civilian deaths. Hope that is clearer.

Best,
Ben
12.31.2008 5:28pm
neurodoc:
jukeboxgrad: In my comment here, I explained the relevance. Your comment alleging irrelevance would be more relevant if it attempted to address what I said about relevance.
Your comment about relevance, that we could infer something about Professor Bernstein's credibility in these matters from the "who is more Israel Obsessed" back and forth, is simply twaddle.
12.31.2008 5:33pm
Benjamin Davis (mail):
neurodoc

Ben Davis, whether you intended it or not, I see your raising "race" here, where it is an irrelevancy, to itself be racist.


I am sorry if my raising this is seen as an irrelevancy by you. I assure you that what I have raised about diminished valuations of people of color in the Western calculus is an inquiry of some concern to many. In WWII it was who gets chosen to be the cannon fodder.

And - sorry to bring this to your attention - racism does exist: anti-Muslim racism just like anti-Semitic racism does exist. I have seen and heard both in some of their most virulent forms - at least to me.

Best,
Ben
12.31.2008 5:37pm
wfjag:

However, regarding economic-type analysis, the goal ere would be simply to ensure that the wishes of the majority of Palestinains and Israelis for peaceful coexistance are made possible. My own thinking is that this will only happen when those who appear to be hardliners start talking (Likud and Hamas).

However, Hamas has never had majority support of the people living in Gaza. As I recall, it got 41% of the vote, and polling showed support for it at about 30%, more recently falling to 16%. Hamas' de facto rule of Gaza is based on it being the best organized, armed and funded organization, not on popular support.

This leads to it being a proxie for Iran, which provides the funding, much of the arms, and most of the training for Hamas. You are certainly correct about Iran's reliance on crude oil revenues as not being a viable long-term economic strategy (and with the drop in oil prices, Iran is in even worse shape, since the Mullahs who control the central government have used iol revenues to finance a lot of projects to buy-off dissent, so that the dropping oil revenues will force trade-offs and cut-backs once currency reserves are exhausted.

However, I still see no viable over-all resolution. The more that Iran feels pressure from internal dissent due to the lack of oil revenues to finance projects to buy-off dissent, the more the Mullahs will be forced to look to an external enemy to distract attention away from failed domestic policies. Although the US currently has forces in Iraq and Afqhanistan, Iran is better off getting those forces reduced or removed. It is in Iran's best interests to therefore facilitate the reduction of fighting in Iraq so that the US forces will leave there in the next couple of years. Iran likely has less influence with the Taliban and Al Quade fighters in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but, still should use the influence it has so that US forces are reduced in Afghanistan.

This leaves Israel as the external enemy and threat that Iranian leaders can point to. I believe it is likely that Iran will inform Hamas not to reach any settlement with Israel and to continue attacking.

Iran may try to force Hezbollah to also attack Israel. However, as I noted, Syria both has reasons to reach an agreement with Israel so that the Golan is returned to the economic control of Syria, and to reduce or eliminate an Iranian proxie (Hezbollah) in Lebanon, where Syria wants to maintain or increase its influence. Further, with Iran's dropping iol revenues, it will probably not be able to contine the aid it was giving to Syria, and this will be another reason for Syria to reach an agreement with Israel. If nothing else, Syria has to be concerned that Israel will conclude that Iran and its proxies represent a potential threat to the existence of Israel and Syria will not want to be in the way should Israel attack Iran's strategic resources.

While I agree that there are pain points, I don't agree that the rational economic or cost/benefit type analysis you -- as a Westerner -- engage in will identify the proper pain points for Iran, Hamas or others in the area. The Mullahs and leaders of Hamas are not WOGs. They do not think like or have the same values as Westerners. To find their pain points, you have to look at the world the way they do. From their point of view, hanging a teenage girl who was raped for her lack of chastity, beating or throwing acid into the face of a woman who leaves her face uncovered in public, and sending people off with bombs strapped around their waists to detonate those bombs in places filled with civilians (including women and children) are all acceptable actions. You have to overcome their will to resist (which, is another way of saying that you have to identify and hit hard to the breaking point their pain points).
12.31.2008 5:47pm
neurodoc:
trad and anon: 44% of voters voted for Hamas. This doctrine of collective guilt—that all of "the Palis" are to be condemned because a minority of them voted the wrong way—is nothing short of evil. People are responsible for their own actions, not those of others, even if they share the same skin color.
Fewer than 44% of Germans voted the Nazis into power. So do you fault the Allies for waging all-out war against all Germans, including the majority of them who did not freely chose the Nazis who led them into war? And "skin color" is a totally bogus issue here.

If someone is firing missiles off close by your house, you better try to stop them or get yourself far away from them quickly. Because no matter what you think of their political objectives and the means they are employing toward their ends, approving or disapproving of them, you are liable to become a casualty yourself, even if you hoist a white flag or profess to be a pacificist yourself.
12.31.2008 5:49pm
neurodoc:
Ben Davis, you intimate that racism is a factor in the Israeli response to Hamas's attacks upon its civilian population, but adduce no credible evidence in support of such a charge and chose to ignore counter-evidence, e.g., that the Sephardim who have been most affected by those attacks are "racially" similar to the Palestinians. (I use scare quotes because I am not buying the bogus "racial" in any of this.) It is not that you are making an irrelevant case, it is that you are making an unfounded one, and that in and of itself may be seen as racist, whether you intend it or not.
12.31.2008 6:02pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"All war and all killing is waste, except to the extent it prevents greater war, killing and waste."

Suppose country A says to country B: "surrender your sovereignty to us, and no one will be harmed." Let's further suppose that country B even believes they will come to no harm if they simply give in and agree to be ruled by A. Would their armed resistance to such a proposal be a "waste?" This kind of statement is often made by the modern multiculturalist who thinks nationhood is not worth fighting for. Others differ.
12.31.2008 6:13pm
pst314 (mail):
"This kind of statement is often made by the modern multiculturalist who thinks nationhood is not worth fighting for. Others differ."

Especially those of us who have noticed what tends to happen to non-Muslims who are conquered by Muslims.
12.31.2008 6:29pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"And - sorry to bring this to your attention - racism does exist: anti-Muslim racism just like anti-Semitic racism does exist. I have seen and heard both in some of their most virulent forms - at least to me."

OK. Racism exists, and you have seen its most virulent forms. What does it have to do with war in the Mideast?
12.31.2008 7:14pm
Tim McDonald Tennessee (mail):
Ben,

What you fail to understand is that the civilian deaths from the attacks that killed the Hamas leadership and fighters are also due to the actions of Hamas. You need to add the 62 deaths from the Israeli strikes to the HAMAS side of the equation. (both legally and morally)

If irregular fighters hide among the civilians, they become responsible for the civilian deaths. Check the Geneva conventions. (Hint: The Geneva conventions were signed onto by nation states, irregular fighters who follow the Geneva conventions die quick, those who don't have no rights...sweet deal! for nation states).
12.31.2008 7:15pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
anon522:

of the first three Bernstein posts he links to, post one is, in total, a quote of a newspaper story about Norman Finkelstein's visit to Lebanon, post 2 about a grammar error in the Jerusalem Post, and post 3 about Daniel Davies of Crooked Timber misrepresenting a much earlier post.


All those posts are about Israel. This is what bernstein said:

Greenwald blogs about Israel much more than I do


That statement is false (at least with regard to 2008). I proved it. Can you prove otherwise? So far, you haven't. What are you waiting for?

I listed 29 bernstein articles (from 2008) that I claim are "about Israel." Simple question: how many of those do you agree are truly "about Israel" (by whatever definition you are choosing to apply). Are you really claiming the answer is a number much smaller than 9? Because either you are claiming that, or you are conceding that bernstein's claim is false (because in 2008, Greenwald wrote only 9 posts about Israel).
12.31.2008 9:06pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
zbert:

his failure to properly filter the posts


Let us know about your "filter" which demonstrates that bernstein wrote about Israel much fewer than 9 times in 2008. Because in the absence of that filter, his statement is false.

he should have considered the percentage of total postings of each contributor that concerned Israel


Maybe you "should have considered" the possibility that I indeed considered the very thing that you are stupidly assuming I failed to consider.

In 2008, greenwald posted 417 times. bernstein posted 298 times. So about 2% of greenwald's posts were about Israel, and about 10% of bernstein's posts were about Israel. Feel better now?

Why didn't I mention this before (even though the data supports my argument)? Because bernstein did not frame his statement this way (as bobfromfresno pointed out).
12.31.2008 9:07pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
yankev:

The endless discussion of who is more obsessed with Israel is simply another ad hominem attack by Greenwald and adds nothing of value to the discussion.


If there is "nothing of value" in this point, then you should explain why bernstein has gone to the trouble of stating, several times, that "Greenwald blogs about Israel much more than I do." A statement that is obviously false.

When we then start arguing over what posts should be included or excluded


Even if you choose to adopt a one-sided and self-serving definition of "what posts should be included or excluded," you still cannot show that bernstein's statement is something other than a falsehood (at least with regard to 2008).

we reduce ourselves to the level of Jukeboxgrad and Greenwald


Your bias is painfully obvious. My interest in this question is no greater than bernstein's. You seem to have no problem with him making the statement he made, but you think there's something wrong with me showing proof that his statement is false. Interesting how that works.
12.31.2008 9:07pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
zarkov:

suppose you win and show Bernstein is more obsessed


I don't think it matters much whether or not someone is "obsessed" with Israel (although bernstein seems to think it matters, since he's made a number of comments regarding this point). However, I think it matters a great deal that someone is willing to emphatically and repeatedly state a falsehood, and then fail to take responsibility when the falsehood is pointed out.

I already explained this. I think you're being obtuse.

There are all sorts of ways to create metrics that would show one or the other is "more obsessed" with Israel.


Really? Prove it. I defy you to come up with any metric that turns bernstein's statement into something other than a falsehood.

I assume you must be retired or someone pays you to do this kind of thing.


It's hard to think of anything less material than the amount of time it takes me to produce what I produce. That's roughly as relevant as my age, gender or skin color.

When you resort to this kind of argument, you're merely demonstrating your inability to formulate a substantive objection.

By the way, I thought it's obvious by now that Soros has a whole crew of jukeboxgrads, working around the clock. You can't prove that's not true, right? And if it was, what difference would it make?

Not retired. Very efficient.


And how arrogant do you have to be to assume that I'm less "efficient" than you?

I made only one comment on the issue of who is obsessed, and that was to call it a non-issue.


What's germane is not how many comments you made "on the issue." What's germane is how many comments bernstein made "on the issue."
12.31.2008 9:07pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
neurodoc:

Your comment about relevance… is simply twaddle.


Here's a good example of something I would call "twaddle:"

Greenwald blogs about Israel much more than I do


An important difference between me and you is that when I claim something is "twaddle," I back that claim with proof.
12.31.2008 9:07pm
anon522 (mail):
anon522:

of the first three Bernstein posts he links to, post one is, in total, a quote of a newspaper story about Norman Finkelstein's visit to Lebanon, post 2 about a grammar error in the Jerusalem Post, and post 3 about Daniel Davies of Crooked Timber misrepresenting a much earlier post.
NONE of these posts are about Israel. In fact, the second post, in total, quotes the Jerusalem Post as referring to Bush's "historical visit to Israel," a grammatical error. That post is about a grammatical error, not "about Israel."

Lest there be any doubt about what you meant by "about Israel," you claimed to have eliminated all posts "posts which mentioned Israel only in passing, and/or articles that were obviously very casual and non-political." Are you going to argue that a post that pointed to a humorous grammatical error was not "very casual and non political"? Do you think we're all fools?
12.31.2008 9:17pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
zarkov:

I assume you must be retired or someone pays you to do this kind of thing.


A site search using your name returns 1110 results. Using my name: 362.

I assume you must be retired or someone pays you to do this kind of thing.
12.31.2008 9:18pm
anon522 (mail):
And just for the heck of it, Googling site:www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald israel brings up 14 separate Greenwald posts discussing Israel (including U.S.-Israel relations) on the first two pages, so your figure of 9 for Greenwald is pulled out of thin air, too.
12.31.2008 9:24pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
anon522:

Are you going to argue that a post that pointed to a humorous grammatical error was not "very casual and non political"?


I eliminated several posts (at least five) that were even more casual than that. And by the terms of the statement bernstein made, I was obliged to eliminate none.

Please notice the 'methodology' that bernstein suggested: a google search on the word "israel." Do you really want to know what the true result would be if the analysis was done that way? Hint: it doesn't turn bernstein's statement into something other than a falsehood. Because it indeed drags in a great number of his posts that are "very casual and non political," or not really about Israel, but nevertheless include that word.

NONE of these [three] posts are about Israel


You're obviously entitled to your opinion, but I notice you're ducking the question. Out of the 29 posts I cited, how many (in your opinion) are "about Israel?"

It's a simple question. Why is it so hard for you to come up with an answer?

Googling site:www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald israel brings up 14 separate Greenwald posts discussing Israel


Your relationship with the truth is a lot like bernstein's. That search does not bring up "14 separate Greenwald posts discussing Israel." It shows certain articles repeatedly. Your search is here. On that page, use your browser to find the string "george washington". It appears five separate times. Why? Because the same post is returned as five separate results.

You seem to be claiming that in 2008, there are "14 separate Greenwald posts discussing Israel." Really? Then just do the following simple thing: provide those 14 urls. Or at least provide the ones that are not included in the 9 I presented here.

So far you have presented this many examples of a greenwald post about Israel (in 2008) that I failed to notice and cite: zero.
12.31.2008 9:45pm
anon522 (mail):
You're obviously entitled to your opinion, but I notice you're ducking the question. Out of the 29 posts I cited, how many (in your opinion) are "about Israel?"

It's a simple question. Why is it so hard for you to come up with an answer?
Because once I see that you've misrepresented the first three posts and proven yourself a liar, I'm not going to waste my time reading the other 26.


Googling site:www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald israel brings up 14 separate Greenwald posts discussing Israel
Your relationship with the truth is a lot like bernstein's. That search does not bring up "14 separate Greenwald posts discussing Israel." It shows certain articles repeatedly. Your search is here. On that page, use your browser to find the string "george washington". It appears five separate times.
I noted the first two pages had 14 2008 posts about Israel. That's out of a larger total, I eliminated the duplicates. If you'll make it worth my while, I'll be happy to provide links, but I'm otherwise not going to waste my time further disproving a proven liar.
12.31.2008 10:14pm
anon522 (mail):
Correction, first three pages (ie, 14 out of 30).
12.31.2008 10:17pm
Barack Obama's voice of reason:

NONE of these posts are about Israel. In fact, the second post, in total, quotes the Jerusalem Post as referring to Bush's "historical visit to Israel," a grammatical error. That post is about a grammatical error, not "about Israel."

Lest there be any doubt about what you meant by "about Israel," you claimed to have eliminated all posts "posts which mentioned Israel only in passing, and/or articles that were obviously very casual and non-political." Are you going to argue that a post that pointed to a humorous grammatical error was not "very casual and non political"? Do you think we're all fools?

LOL! Jukeboxgrad is backpeddling now. Nice work anon522.

Notice how jukebox is changing the subject from his own methodology (which as you've shown, he fails to follow, leading to an inaccurate count) to Professor Bernstein's methodology (which he criticizes as wrong and thus declined to follow).

Apparently Professor Bernstein's methodology is relevant to his count of Israel's posts now, and should be followed to give the "true result" -- the same methodology he criticized earlier now apparently excuses his own sloppy failure to adhere to his own. Tu quoque much?

jukeboxgrad, less dishonesty please. Just admit that you were well and truly owned by anon522. And that your relationship to the truth no different from Bernstein's.

Go on, surprise us. But you won't. Because you never admit to being wrong. Yes, I know. When you've been criticized in the past for never wanting to admit you're wrong, you've self-consciously changed your posting style to include non-substantive pro forma 'admissions' in a false show of fallibilism -- so that you can later (conveniently) point to such instances as 'admissions' of fallibility, when in reality they were never important to the arguments you were trying to make to begin with. How predictable. No one is fooled. :)
12.31.2008 10:17pm
Barack Obama's voice of reason:

It seems to me that you're trying to play a "gotcha" game instead of adding informative and relevant facts to the discussion.

I agree. Jukebox seems to have some kind of obsession with Professor Bernstein, and gotcha posts of this sort are a good indicator of that. Even funnier that he impales himself on the same rod of methodological inaccuracy that he beats Bernstein with. The amount of sheer painstaking effort he puts into every post with hyperlinks to his own posts, which in turn link to his even older posts, is hilarious. I too hope he is retired, for his own sake. :)
12.31.2008 10:25pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
anon522:

I'm not going to waste my time reading the other 26.


I'm asking you to answer a very simple question: how many posts did bernstein write about Israel in 2008?

If you have an answer, you have no reason to not tell us. If you don't have an answer, then you're blowing pure smoke and are in no position to criticize the analysis I did.

You seem to be claiming the answer is a number less than nine. Really? Then tell us what they are. Doing so would take less time than the time you've now spent ducking this simple and fair question.

I eliminated the duplicates


Really? Prove it. I claim you did not.

If you'll make it worth my while, I'll be happy to provide links


It's not about making it "worth my while." It's about either putting up or shutting up. I provided a list of articles that greenwald wrote about Israel in 2008. I'm claiming this list is complete. You're claiming it's not. All you need to do to prove your claim is show us the articles you claim I've ignored. So far, you've refused to present a single example. Why?
12.31.2008 11:10pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
voice:

Jukeboxgrad is backpeddling


I have done no "backpeddling."

jukebox is changing the subject


I'm not "changing the subject." I'm pointing out that with any methodology you choose, bernstein's statement is still a falsehood.

For some strange reason, I notice you're ducking the same questions that anon522 is ducking. How many posts did bernstein write about Israel in 2008? Tell us what they are. You seem to be claiming it's a small number (less than nine), so that shouldn't be hard.

And I am still waiting for you to show a single example of a greenwald post that I missed (a post he wrote about Israel in 2008, which I failed to cite here).

These questions are fair and simple, and they go right to the heart of the matter. Why are you ducking them?

I said that bernstein wrote 29 posts (about Israel, in 2008), and greenwald wrote 9. (The correct count for bernstein is now 30, because of this.) You're claiming these numbers are wrong. Then you should tell us what the correct numbers are, and you should show your proof. Your posturing is not a substitute for proof.
12.31.2008 11:10pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
voice:

you never admit to being wrong


Really? I did exactly that, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Presumably you will now "admit to being wrong."
12.31.2008 11:21pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
voice:

Jukebox seems to have some kind of obsession with Professor Bernstein


I think there's more evidence that the reverse is true. He has threatened to ban me, twice.
12.31.2008 11:25pm
Barack Obama's voice of reason:
Truly funny. (Or sad, depending on your perspective.) I wrote:

Yes, I know. When you've been criticized in the past for never wanting to admit you're wrong, you've self-consciously changed your posting style to include non-substantive pro forma 'admissions' in a false show of fallibilism -- so that you can later (conveniently) point to such instances as 'admissions' of fallibility, when in reality they were never important to the arguments you were trying to make to begin with. How predictable.

And as predicted, jukeboxgrad trots out his pro forma "admissions," made in the wake of his sensitivity to such criticism in the past -- "admissions" made insincerely and for the (dishonest) purpose of heading off such criticism in the future.

Thanks for proving my point. I distinctly remember Eugene's HLR post as the first in a series of posts in which jukeboxgrad deliberately makes a big show of "admitting" his "mistakes" in relatively innocuous threads, on innocuous issues (such as his "not being clear") that are merely incidental to the argument he is having.

If anyone cares to follow the links, they'll see that all but one involves jukeboxgrad "admitting" his "mistake" for his lack of clarity -- all in the same pro forma tone ("wasn't clear;" "my mistake") -- or else for minor semantic omissions. Nothing of substance, as I described -- not once do we get an admission of his being mistaken on a matter of substance that is critical or fatal to his argument. And he wonders why we think that his "admissions" are insincere and manufactured when they follow the same playbook.

In short, he puts on a fraudulent show of contrition in non-substantive matters, exactly as I described, so that he can later link to himself and say "see? I do admit my mistakes!!! you're wrong!!!" in a pretense of fallibility. How dull and predictable. :)

Criticism here (note the date: 8/10)

Grand show of contrition, by someone stung by said criticism, conveniently starting here (note the date: 8/22). Notice how all his admissions curiously post-date 8/10? I find it interesting that he started collecting instances of his own "admissions" only after that date. It fits nicely with my observation that he is engaging in an elaborate deceit, and did so so that he could later (conveniently) point to such instances as 'admissions' of fallibility.

All very fascinating. The machinations of a small mind laid bare. It's also so transparent it's pitiful.

Note: this is my last reply to you, as it's clear that you have time to waste and that you are a waste of time. There is no need for further reply, as the exposure of your fraudulence is as obvious as it is complete. :)
1.1.2009 1:18am
LM (mail):
Ahh, but the strawberries that's... that's where I had them.
1.1.2009 1:58am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
voice:

not once do we get an admission of his being mistaken on a matter of substance that is critical or fatal to his argument


Not once have you shown an example of me "being mistaken on a matter of substance that is critical or fatal to his argument."

"admissions" made insincerely and for the (dishonest) purpose of heading off such criticism in the future


Please tell us about the mind-reading device you use to determine that those admissions were "made insincerely and for the (dishonest) purpose of heading off such criticism in the future."

But I guess it is quite diabolical of me: make mistakes deliberately, and then deliberately get caught, and then take responsibility for those mistakes, just so I can later make a fool out of you when you claim that I "never admit to being wrong." Makes perfect sense.

Notice how all his admissions curiously post-date 8/10?


You have an odd definition for "all." I cited 6, here. 5 of the 6 "post-date 8/10." But this one doesn't. Why did you say "all?"

You now have a nice chance to "admit to being wrong." Are you going to do so?

I showed recent examples because they are easier to find and more relevant (in my opinion). Now that I know you're especially interested in examples prior to 8/10/08, here are a few for you: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Are thirteen examples enough for now?

You now have another nice chance to "admit to being wrong." Are you going to do so?

this is my last reply to you


Promises, promises. I think you mean "this is my last reply to you" using this particular temporary handle ("Barack Obama's voice of reason"). Your overwrought writing style curiously resembles David M. Nieporent. Likewise for the inflated self-confidence, at the exact moment you are having great difficulty getting your facts straight. Likewise for the evasiveness and misdirection. Let us know when you're ready to show a single example of a greenwald post that I missed. Likewise, let us know when you're ready to provide your own answer to this simple question: how many posts did bernstein write about Israel in 2008?

Nice job trying to change the subject.
1.1.2009 4:01am
Fury:
Jukeboxgrad, posting five, seven, and ten posts in a row tends to turn the discussion into a monologue It's not like you weren't asked to refrain from doing this previously:

"...please do avoid having more than a couple of comments in a row -- my sense is that such floods of comments from one person (1) cause other commenters to stop reading and commenting, and (2) do the multiple commenter no good, because the comments after the first couple don't get read. These threads work best as conversations; they're not so good when they become dialogues; and they're least helpful and interesting when they become monologues."
1.1.2009 9:31am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
fury:

tends to turn the discussion into a monologue


"Monologue" might not be the best word to describe a thread that contains over 400 comments from over 100 separate commenters. And given that about 97% of those comments were posted by people other than me, I guess my efforts to dominate the thread have fallen short.

Since you have some time and energy available to count comments, hopefully you will also reserve some energy to make a substantive response to what those comments say. You do that sometimes, but I notice you're not doing that now. I suppose this indicates that you 'implicitly acknowledge' (to borrow a phrase from bernstein) that what I've said is correct.

It's not like you weren't asked to refrain from doing this


It's not like I haven't already pointed out to you that a complaint that was made once doesn't necessarily apply to the other situations you're making a fuss about.
1.1.2009 5:28pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Let us know about your "filter" which demonstrates that bernstein wrote about Israel much fewer than 9 times in 2008. Because in the absence of that filter, his statement is false.
Well, first you'd have to learn what "about" means; a mere mention of Israel does not make the post "about" Israel.

Second, of course, you'd have to realize that counting posts is dishonest. A multi-page screed from Greenwald, with multiple updates, is not the equivalent of a one sentence post from Bernstein in discussing who blogs "more" about a subject.

Third, you'd have to admit that you dishonestly moved the goalposts by pretending that you disproved Bernstein's statement when you only looked at 2008, which was not Bernstein's claim.
1.2.2009 12:40am
David M. Nieporent (www):
An important difference between me and you is that when I claim something is "twaddle," I back that claim with proof.
False. You back that claim with lots of hyperlinks that you haven't read and hope nobody else will. Like Greenwald, when one actually follows the links, one finds that they don't say what you claim they say.
1.2.2009 12:43am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
nieporent:

a mere mention of Israel does not make the post "about" Israel


I suggest that you and bernstein get together and decide which narrative you want to promote. Because he said this:

anyone can google site:www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald israel and see that Greenwald blogs about Israel much more than I do


So bernstein himself promoted the idea that "a mere mention of Israel" does indeed "make the post 'about' Israel."

By the way, I didn't apply that methodology. If I had, the results would have been much worse for bernstein.

There are obviously a bunch of different methodologies that can be used to address a question like this. And like all things created by humans, none of those methodologies are perfect. So it will always be possible to criticize the methodology. And that's what you're doing: taking potshots. But here's what you haven't done: present a methodology that's better. And here's something else you haven't done: present an analysis using any methodology you choose, which shows that bernstein's statement is something other than a falsehood.

counting posts is dishonest. A multi-page screed from Greenwald, with multiple updates, is not the equivalent of a one sentence post from Bernstein in discussing who blogs "more" about a subject.


You are suggesting that a proper analysis would do more than count posts. It would also take into account other variables, like number of pages, and number of updates. Really? Fine. Then do the analysis that way and show us the result you get.

Also, "counting posts," rather than words, is exactly what bernstein suggested. He said this:

… according to Greenwald, when he blogs constantly about Israel, it's because he's a clear-eyed realist about the implications of Israeli actions for American foreign policy; when I do it less often it's because I'm an "Israel-obsessive"


So bernstein didn't say he writes fewer words. He said he writes about Israel "less often." Whereas greenwald does it "constantly." Really? "Constantly?" I found 9 posts that greenwald wrote about Israel in 2008 (out of roughly 400 posts, overall). I'm still waiting for someone to show me one that I missed.

For a moment let's put aside the comparative claim that bernstein made ("Greenwald blogs about Israel much more than I do"), and just consider the claim about "constantly" ("he blogs constantly about Israel"). How is that statement anything other than a falsehood? 2% of the total is fairly described as "constantly?"

you only looked at 2008, which was not Bernstein's claim


Actually, it was "Bernstein's claim." bernstein said this:

Greenwald blogs about Israel much more than I do


Do you notice the use of present tense? bernstein did not say 'Greenwald blogged about Israel much more than I did, at some point in the past, prior to 2008.' On the contrary. bernstein made a claim about what is happening currently. Please explain how it makes sense to ignore 2008, given that bernstein made his claim using present tense.

Anyway, if you did the analysis for 2007, you would find that the numbers are even worse. For bernstein.

when one actually follows the links, one finds that they don't say what you claim they say


Really? Prove it. You're ducking the same simple questions that your pals are ducking. Show a single example of a greenwald post that I missed. I see only 9. And tell us if you're really claiming the proper count for bernstein is much less than nine. I have cited at least 9 bernstein posts from 2008 that are unquestionably, indisputably "about Israel."

As usual, your claims are nothing but pure wind.
1.2.2009 3:03am
Yankev (mail):

Suppose you win and show Bernstein is more obsessed. I think you would end up with a Pyrrhic victory in terms of what you get for your effort.
Zarkov, you are assuming that the goal of the "obasession counter" is to add to the substantive discussion. If the goal is to distract, whether by ad hominem argument or by diversion of resources, then the effort may indeed bear fruit.
1.2.2009 9:54am
Yankev (mail):

Hamas renounces its truce. But, before that I remember Israel sealing off Gaza, stopping humanitarian aid, etc. And before that, I am sure there is something else from Hamas. And before that, I am sure there is something else from Israel.
Do you remember hundreds of rocket and mortar attacks by Hamas DURING the "truce"? Do you remember the attemtped suicide bombers that Israel intercepted, and the Gazans killed while trying to plant bombs or infilitrate the border, all during the "truce"? The rearming and the preparation for imminent kidnapping of Israeli soldiers? The exchange of funds (and possibly know how) with the organization that committed the Mumbai terrorist attacks, all during the "truce"

No, I thought not.

And before that, I am sure there is something else from Israel.
Yes, one can always find something Israel did to "provoke" an attack, whether it is arresting or killing a terrorist in the midst of his committing a terror attack, or just a Jew taking a tour of the Temple Mount, even though he cleared it in advance with the PA as Sharon did in 2000, which was the causus belli for the Al Aksa intifada. Hamas' charter says that Israel's very existence is a causus belli. You don't beleive them? Perhaps that means you are an anti-Muslim racist.

In fact, there is a kind of concurrent responsibility between the person in the civilian space who puts civilians at risk (Hamas) and the person attacking/responding in a given manner in that civilian space (Israel) unless it is lawful combat.
1.2.2009 10:11am
Yankev (mail):

Hamas renounces its truce. But, before that I remember Israel sealing off Gaza, stopping humanitarian aid, etc. And before that, I am sure there is something else from Hamas. And before that, I am sure there is something else from Israel.
Do you remember hundreds of rocket and mortar attacks by Hamas DURING the "truce"? Do you remember the attemtped suicide bombers that Israel intercepted, and the Gazans killed while trying to plant bombs or infilitrate the border, all during the "truce"? The rearming and the preparation for imminent kidnapping of Israeli soldiers? The exchange of funds (and possibly know how) with the organization that committed the Mumbai terrorist attacks, all during the "truce"

No, I thought not.

And before that, I am sure there is something else from Israel.
Yes, one can always find something Israel did to "provoke" an attack, whether it is arresting or killing a terrorist in the midst of his committing a terror attack, or just a Jew taking a tour of the Temple Mount, even though he cleared it in advance with the PA as Sharon did in 2000, which was the causus belli for the Al Aksa intifada. Hamas' charter says that Israel's very existence is a causus belli. You don't beleive them? Perhaps that means you are an anti-Muslim racist.


In fact, there is a kind of concurrent responsibility between the person in the civilian space who puts civilians at risk (Hamas) and the person attacking/responding in a given manner in that civilian space (Israel) unless it is lawful combat.
And of course there is a legal principle that the author of Dry Bones identified more than 30 years ago -- Israel is not allowed to fight back. QED, no lawful combat.
1.2.2009 10:13am
Yankev (mail):

First, as you note there ARE Israeli terrorist organizations banned both by Israel and the US which advocate stealing Arab land and looking for excuses to kill Arab civilians
First, they ARE banned by Israel, in contrast with the terrorist groups that are funded and aided by the PA and by various Arab states. That seems to be a difference.

Second, Kach does not advocate stealing Arab land nor looking for excuses to kill Arabs. They are a terrorist group and I do not support them but you are distorting their platform. And compared even to the "moderate" Abbas, they are more tolerant than the Arab groups (and the US State Department), who demand that the Arabs be given a Judenrein Palestinian state. Even Kach advocates permitting non-Jews to live in Israel provided that they are loyal to the concept of a Jewish state. This is no more radical than saying those who are not willing to recognize the existence of a French state should not be permitted to be citizens of France, nor to be lawful residents.

(Baruch Goldstein for example).
Ah, the ever popular Goldstein, who is invoked precisely because there have (thank G-d) beens o few Jews who have murdered Arabs. Tell me, how many Arab murderers can you name? Very few (perhaps Sami Kuntar, who unlike Goldstein, has been made a hero by the "moderate" PA, as well as "moderate" Lebanon, for smashing the head of a 4 year Israeli girl after murdering her civilian father in front of her eyes), precisely because there have been so many. Who planted the bomb in the Dolphinarium? At the seder hall in Netanyah? What were the names of the Arabs who slit the throat of a 14 year old Israeli hiker? The names of the mob who tore two Israelis limb from limb for the crime of making a wrong turn on the road? I could go on, but I have made my point.

And Goldstein was not part of any organization. He was a physician who snapped after he got tired of treating and burying so many of his friends who were murdered for the crime of being Jews who lived where people did not want them. Despicably, he shot people at worship. But it is undisputed that many of his victims were members of an active terrorist clan who were plotting further attacks on civilians.

They represent a radical fringe that is not taken seriously inside Israel but they are there,
They are not just "not taken seriously." they are banned by law, and arrested when discovered. Come back to me when the PA takes similar action against its own terrorists rather than glorifying and aiding them.


Furthermore their political proxies (NRP and its successors) do tend to wield disproportionate influence in Israeli politics.
You are slandering the NRP. Period.



Finally, it is undisputed that serious and senseless killings of Arabs during the 48-49 war by Irgun and LEHI in order to take land
In your fantasies.


When you add to this the calls by non-Jewish non-Israelis for genocide of Palestinians, you can see how a reasonable person might make such a mistake.
I have seen calls for fighting back against Arabs. I have seen calls for banning Arabs from outside Israel because of security concerns. I have seen calls for annexing the West Bank and Gaza. You seem to equate these actions with genocide. As others on this thread have pointed out in more detail, you need to learn what that term means.

Once again, there was a time in Israeli history when killing Arabs to steal land was accepted.
WADR, blather!
1.2.2009 10:29am
David M. Nieporent (www):
I suggest that you and bernstein get together and decide which narrative you want to promote. Because he said this:
anyone can google site:www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald israel and see that Greenwald blogs about Israel much more than I do
So bernstein himself promoted the idea that "a mere mention of Israel" does indeed "make the post 'about' Israel."
He did no such thing. He did not say, "Anyone can google such-and-such and see, simply by counting the number of resulting hits, that Greenwald blogs about Israel much more than I do."

There are obviously a bunch of different methodologies that can be used to address a question like this. And like all things created by humans, none of those methodologies are perfect. So it will always be possible to criticize the methodology. And that's what you're doing: taking potshots. But here's what you haven't done: present a methodology that's better. And here's something else you haven't done: present an analysis using any methodology you choose, which shows that bernstein's statement is something other than a falsehood.
And here's something else I'm not going to do: any of the things you say. You have this repeated dishonest habit of proposing something flawed and then pretending that unless someone not only proposes but also implements something better, that you've "proved" something and "won" a discussion. Bogus methods do not become legitimate simply by handwaving. Hell, even if there weren't a "better" methodology, that wouldn't make a bogus methodology legitimate.

Also, "counting posts," rather than words, is exactly what bernstein suggested. He said this: [... Quote snipped ...]
So bernstein didn't say he writes fewer words. He said he writes about Israel "less often." Whereas greenwald does it "constantly." Really? "Constantly?" I found 9 posts that greenwald wrote about Israel in 2008 (out of roughly 400 posts, overall). I'm still waiting for someone to show me one that I missed.Keep waiting. Maybe the OCD Fairy will leave a list under your pillow.

As for your dishonest interpretations of what Bernstein said, (1) At no point in the quote you provided did he say (or "suggest") that one should merely and simplistically count posts, and (2) as for "constantly," contrary to your claim, it does not imply a specific number or percentage. Definition 3 of constant: "regularly recurrent; continual; persistent."

Actually, [2008] was "Bernstein's claim." bernstein said this: [...] Do you notice the use of present tense? bernstein did not say 'Greenwald blogged about Israel much more than I did, at some point in the past, prior to 2008.' On the contrary. bernstein made a claim about what is happening currently. Please explain how it makes sense to ignore 2008, given that bernstein made his claim using present tense.
Double dishonesty. First you misrepresent what he says, and then when I point out your misrepresentation, you dodge it and try to turn it around by misrepresenting what I say. I did not say that one should "ignore" 2008. I said that Bernstein's claim wasn't limited to 2008. Nothing in the word "blogs" in the present tense implies that one should go back exactly 11 months and 364 days, and no further. There's no reason why, on December 30, 2008, that a post in January 2008 is encompassed by "blogs" but a post in December 2007 is not.

Really? Prove it.
Go to the links and actually read them. I can't read them for you. Someone already pointed out how the first three links for Bernstein were false; so was the fifth. You're 1-for-5; a 20% accuracy rate makes you a waste of time. Just for kicks, I checked the next one; that wasn't about Israel either. Nor were the seventh or eighth links you posted; this is comical.

The ninth one was; it illustrates, however, why your methodology is so flawed that it isn't worth pursuing further. This is the sum total of that post: "Gaza, Collective Punishment and Newspeak: My colleague Michael Krauss explains why Israel is not violating international law when it declines to trade with Gaza." Your methodology would equate that one-sentence, 24-word post (including the header) to the doubly-updated, 2569-word post (using Word's word count feature) of Greenwald's that is linked at the top of this Bernstein post.

Even if we ignore that flaw, that's just two of nine that you correctly identified as being "about Israel." Extrapolating from that to the full complement of your alleged "30 posts," it's clear that Bernstein does not, in fact, blog more about Israel.
1.2.2009 10:53am
David M. Nieporent (www):
In my previous post, I wrote (with a minor formatting screwup corrected here):
I found 9 posts that greenwald wrote about Israel in 2008 (out of roughly 400 posts, overall). I'm still waiting for someone to show me one that I missed.
Keep waiting. Maybe the OCD Fairy will leave a list under your pillow.
Hell, I'm a masochist, and things are slow at the office on a pseudo-long-weekend, so here. You managed to miss one that even had Israel in the URL!

I'm sure you'll call it an innocent oversight, because for some reason you think that your false statements should be treated charitably whereas anyone else's error is somehow evidence of dishonesty. But it doesn't matter; the bottom line is that whereas you've proved nothing about Bernstein or Greenwald, I've proved that you're a waste of time. You provide links you haven't read and claim knowledge you don't have, both of which are "dishonest" by your previously-expressed standards.
1.2.2009 11:00am
Elliot123 (mail):
"OCD Fairy?"

It's just the second day of the year and I think we have a winner for best shot of 2009.
1.2.2009 11:25am
Yankev (mail):
Even if we ignore that flaw, that's just two of nine that you correctly identified as being "about Israel." Extrapolating from that to the full complement of your alleged "30 posts," it's clear that Bernstein does not, in fact, blog more about Israel.
David, why bother? If the issue is who offers more posts with intelligent discussion about Israel, I think the answer is Prof. Bernstein. If the issue is who offers more knee jerk criticism, Monday morning quarterbacking, double standards, advocacy of suicidal action or inaction, false dichotomies, irresponsible charges and echoes of anti-Israel trope, then my sense is that it's Greenwald. Does the sheer volume of posting real prove anything?
1.2.2009 11:30am
David M. Nieporent (www):
David, why bother?
Because (a) I'm a masochist, and (b) JBG is a bully, and I don't like bullies.
1.2.2009 11:49am
pst314 (mail):
"Does the sheer volume of posting real prove anything?"

No, but it's a convenient diversion from Glenn Greenwald's dishonesty.
1.2.2009 1:04pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
yankev:

you are assuming that the goal of the "obasession counter" is to add to the substantive discussion


Oddly enough, I think that paying attention to the difference between a true statement and a false statement is "substantive." I realize you have a different perspective.

If the issue is who offers more posts with intelligent discussion about Israel, I think the answer is Prof. Bernstein.


The issue is not about how much someone posts about Israel, or anything else. The issue is whether someone should be expected to take responsibility for making a false statement.

even though he cleared it in advance with the PA as Sharon did in 2000


Do you have any proof for that claim, outside of statements by the Israeli government that are undocumented and uncorroborated?

it is undisputed that many of his victims were members of an active terrorist clan who were plotting further attacks on civilians


Proof?

========================
nieporent:

He did not say, "Anyone can google such-and-such and see, simply by counting the number of resulting hits, that Greenwald blogs about Israel much more than I do."


It's increasingly clear that you and bernstein are telling different stories. Earlier, you said this:

a mere mention of Israel does not make the post "about" Israel


But bernstein has said this:

anyone can google site:www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald israel and see that Greenwald blogs about Israel much more than I do, often raising Israel when its at best tangential to the issue


bernstein indicated that it's fair for the analysis to include greenwald's posts that mention Israel even when the post is about something other than Israel (i.e., Israel is only "tangential to the issue"). In other words, bernstein thinks we should account for the times that greenwald includes "a mere mention of Israel," in a post that's about something else. Why the double standard? And what's the point of doing the google search, as bernstein suggested, if not to count "the number of resulting hits?"

At no point in the quote you provided did he say (or "suggest") that one should merely and simplistically count posts


He suggested a google search. What's the point of that if not to "count posts?" And he specifically said we should include the times when greenwald was "raising Israel" in a post that was about something else. In other words, bernstein was suggesting that "a mere mention of Israel" is something worth noting.

Definition 3 of constant: "regularly recurrent; continual; persistent."


What fun, let's play dictionary. I see that constant means "continual." Definition 2 of continual: "not interrupted." When 98% of greenwald's posts are not about Israel, how is it fair to claim that he posts about Israel without interruption?

There's no reason why, on December 30, 2008, that a post in January 2008 is encompassed by "blogs" but a post in December 2007 is not.


bernstein made his claim in the present tense. By definition, that means that what happened a week ago, or a month ago, or 11 months ago, is more relevant than what happened 12 months ago. And this is utter misdirection on your part, because the analysis for prior years yields the same result.

Your methodology would equate that one-sentence, 24-word post (including the header) to the doubly-updated, 2569-word post (using Word's word count feature) of Greenwald's that is linked at the top of this Bernstein post.


I realize you think that word-count is a proper way to do this analysis, but bernstein's statements have not been about word count. Anyway, if you think that approach will provide a result that pleases you, then why don't you go ahead and do the full analysis and show us the results. It might not be what you expect.

Extrapolating from that to the full complement of your alleged "30 posts," it's clear that Bernstein does not, in fact, blog more about Israel.


What a joke. You're the one making complaints about imperfect methodologies, but you're pretending it's OK to draw conclusions by "extrapolating" from a tiny sample. And you lack the intellectual integrity to answer this simple question: how many times has bernstein posted about Israel? Do you have an answer to that question? Because if you don't, then your claim ("Bernstein does not, in fact, blog more about Israel") is based on something other than knowledge.

You managed to miss one that even had Israel in the URL!


That's because I wasn't looking at URLs. I was looking at the titles and summaries that appear on the Salon archive page. That particular article appears as follows:

Rendering public opinion irrelevant

How are views that are held by large majorities of Americans on key policy issues rendered forbidden in our political discourse?

Glenn Greenwald Jul 20, 2008


There's nothing there to indicate that the article is about Israel, so I missed it. Thanks for pointing it out. That means the correct ratio is 10:30, not 9:30. Big deal. Sue me.

I'm sure you'll call it an innocent oversight


I'm calling it an innocent oversight because it was an innocent oversight.

for some reason you think that your false statements should be treated charitably whereas anyone else's error is somehow evidence of dishonesty


An innocent error becomes evidence of dishonesty when the person who made the "error" is informed about the error and nevertheless refuses to take responsibility for it. All humans make errors. But only some humans lack the integrity to take responsibility for their errors.
1.2.2009 2:51pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
bernstein indicated that it's fair for the analysis to include greenwald's posts that mention Israel even when the post is about something other than Israel (i.e., Israel is only "tangential to the issue"). In other words, bernstein thinks we should account for the times that greenwald includes "a mere mention of Israel," in a post that's about something else.
Those are indeed "other words," because they're not the words bernstein used, and they're either a deliberate misinterpretation or an incredibly stupid misinterpretation of what he said. The fact that Israel is tangential to the issue does not mean that the post in question is not about Israel. That's the entire point: evidence of Greenwald's obsession is talking extensively about Israel when Israel is only tangential to the issue. You illustrate this point perfectly in the post you supposedly innocently missed: reading the topic of the article, "there's nothing there to indicate that the article is about Israel," and yet Greenwald chose to make the article about Israel.
Why the double standard? And what's the point of doing the google search, as bernstein suggested, if not to count "the number of resulting hits?"
That question is so stupid I think you asked it just to provoke: the point is to gather the universe of articles to review to determine if they're about Israel! That's how I found the post you supposedly innocently missed. I did the google and then actually looked at the articles!

What fun, let's play dictionary. I see that constant means "continual." Definition 2 of continual: "not interrupted." When 98% of greenwald's posts are not about Israel, how is it fair to claim that he posts about Israel without interruption?
He didn't claim that he posts about Israel without interruption. He said that he blogs about Israel constantly. When someone makes a statement that X is Y, you don't get to pick the definition of Y you like and then claim that the statement is false. You have this weird idea that you get to decide what someone means, out of several possible meanings, and then call them a liar because the one you chose is false, even though under one of the other meanings -- the one they intended -- it's true.

bernstein made his claim in the present tense. By definition, that means that what happened a week ago, or a month ago, or 11 months ago, is more relevant than what happened 12 months ago. And this is utter misdirection on your part, because the analysis for prior years yields the same result.
I can just see JBG now: "You said that the Yankees contend more than the Devil Rays do. But that's in the present tense, and the Devil Rays were in the world series last year while the Yankees didn't make the playoffs, so it's false!" There is no such "definition"; moreover, your last statement about "prior years" is made up just like you falsified the 2008 analysis.

What a joke. You're the one making complaints about imperfect methodologies, but you're pretending it's OK to draw conclusions by "extrapolating" from a tiny sample.
There was no "tiny sample." You posted 30 links; I looked at the first 9 -- or 30%. That's not "tiny." Since only 2 of the 9 were about Israel -- 22% -- it's reasonable to extrapolate and conclude that only 6 or 7 of the 30 you posted overall were about Israel. And it's not worth my time to go any further. Once someone has so conclusively been proven dishonest, there's no point in checking all of their work to see whether any of it might happen to accidentally be true.

An innocent error becomes evidence of dishonesty when the person who made the "error" is informed about the error and nevertheless refuses to take responsibility for it. All humans make errors. But only some humans lack the integrity to take responsibility for their errors.
Indeed. This person, for instance.
1.3.2009 10:18am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
evidence of Greenwald's obsession is talking extensively about Israel when Israel is only tangential to the issue


Since you have such a clear and authoritative definition of how to define "obsession," then all you need to do is tell us how often greenwald can be found "talking extensively about Israel when Israel is only tangential to the issue." And then you can tell us how often bernstein can be found doing the same thing. And then you'll be able to show that bernstein's statement is not a falsehood, right? So how come you stubbornly refuse to do this?

the point [of the google search suggested by bernstein] is to gather the universe of articles to review to determine if they're about Israel


Sorry, but that makes no sense. The google search bernstein recommended is here. Right now that search returns this many results: 1090. Are you really suggesting that bernstein was really suggesting that someone would "review" this "universe" of 1090 articles, checking each one "to determine if they're about Israel?" If bernstein was really suggesting that, he was making an extremely silly suggestion. Because no one would do such a thing (review 1090 articles individually). It's sufficiently clear that bernstein simply hoped and expected that we would be impressed by that number (1090).

Here's one reason it would be silly to review thost 1090 items individually. greenwald's first Salon article appeared on 7/31/06. His archive page indicates that he has posted 801 stories. So the google search recommended by bernstein is self-evidently bogus and wrong, because it indicates that 136% of greenwald's articles are about Israel (or at least contain the string "israel"). Why does google offer this strange result? Here's one reason: single articles appear in the search multiple times. Why? I don't know. And for the purpose of this discussion, it doesn't matter.

So "the point [of the google search suggested by bernstein]" could not possibly be "to gather the universe of articles to review to determine if they're about Israel." Because fully reviewing the results of the search would be more work than simply looking at every single one of greenwald's articles.

I did the google and then actually looked at the articles!


You obviously just looked at some of the articles. Did you really look at all 1090 links returned by the search? I doubt it.

He [bernstein] said that he [greenwald] blogs about Israel constantly.


Indeed. And the available evidence seems to indicate that bernstein blogs about Israel more often than greenwald does. Why have you still not shown evidence contrary to this?

your last statement about "prior years" is made up just like you falsified the 2008 analysis


If you have an analysis for 2008, or 2007, or any other period, why are you refusing to show it to us? And if you haven't done the analysis, how are you in a position to claim that my analysis is "made up?" And if my numbers (10:30) for 2008 are "falsified," why are you refusing to tell us the correct numbers?

only 2 of the 9 were about Israel


Here, in full, is one of the articles you claim is not "about Israel:"

Mead on Mearsheimer and Walt:

I've been remiss in not linking to this review by Walter Russell Mead in Foreign Affairs of The Israel Lobby:

Rarely in professional literature does one encounter such a gap between aspiration and performance as there is in The Israel Lobby. Mearsheimer and Walt fail to define "the lobby" in a clear way. Their accounts of the ways in which it exercises power, as well as their descriptions of the power it wields, are incoherent. Their use of evidence is uneven. At the level of geopolitics, their handling of the complex realities and crosscurrents of the Middle East fails to establish either the incontestable definition of the national interest that their argument requires or the superiority they claim for the policies they propose.

Among many good points Mead makes is that it's not at all clear why M &W themselves aren't part of "the lobby" as they describe it, given that they "describe themselves as pro-Israel, in that they believe in the state's right to exist. They admire its achievements and wish secure and prosperous lives for its citizens. They state categorically that the United States should aid Israel 'if its survival is in danger.'" Mead contends out that "the argument of The Israel Lobby actually seems to boil down to the point that the left wing of the lobby has a better grasp of both the Israeli and the U.S. national interests than the right wing of the lobby does." Or perhaps more precisely, anyone who disagrees with M &W on any specific Israel-related issue is part of "the lobby," while they are just enlightened and objective scholars.

As they say, read the whole thing.


That's not "about Israel?" Really? Then what's it about? Baseball?
1.3.2009 11:09am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Since you have such a clear and authoritative definition of how to define "obsession," then all you need to do is tell us how often greenwald can be found "talking extensively about Israel when Israel is only tangential to the issue." And then you can tell us how often bernstein can be found doing the same thing. And then you'll be able to show that bernstein's statement is not a falsehood, right? So how come you stubbornly refuse to do this?
Because you're not my mother, professor, or boss, so you don't get to give me assignments. And the burden of proof is not on the rest of the world to prove you wrong when you make the most ridiculous claims. (In any case, you've already been proven wrong! You just dishonestly refuse to admit it, despite your claim that you do.)

Bernstein made a claim. You can accept it, dispute it, or express skepticism based on the ground that he didn't support it. But if you're going to dispute it, and I demonstrate that your "evidence" is falsified, I am not under further obligation to demonstrate that Bernstein's claim is true or false. I'm satisfied with having shown that you're dishonest.

That's not "about Israel?" Really? Then what's it about? Baseball?
Domestic politics in the U.S. If you don't understand that, then you're even further over your head in this discussion than in the one about Zionism, and you should stick to googling and wikipedia.
1.3.2009 3:12pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Domestic politics in the U.S.


This article is about "The Israel Lobby." It contains 12 complete sentences. Exactly half of those sentences explicitly mention "Israel."

If an article about the Israel Lobby is about "domestic politics in the U.S.," and not "about Israel," than greenwald has written very little "about Israel," since most of his articles that I counted as "about Israel" are about the Israel Lobby and its effects on US policy toward Israel.

You would like to apply one standard when arriving at a tally for greenwald, and an entirely different standard when arriving at a tally for bernstein. And in your typically evasive style, you still refuse to take a clear position and give us your own answer to the simple question at the heart of what you and I are discussing: how many articles did bernstein write "about Israel?"
1.4.2009 12:03am
David M. Nieporent (www):
This article is about "The Israel Lobby." It contains 12 complete sentences. Exactly half of those sentences explicitly mention "Israel."
And if pattern-matching were the same thing as reading comprehension, that would be relevant; it isn't, so it's not.

And in your typically evasive style, you still refuse to take a clear position and give us your own answer to the simple question at the heart of what you and I are discussing:
I've taken a very clear position: you're dishonest. That's the only issue here I have a "position" on. I'm not counting posts by anybody; I don't care how many posts Bernstein wrote about Israel. I don't know how to make it clearer that I'm not giving you an answer to the question; once I've proven you dishonest, my work here is done.
1.4.2009 1:54am
billooooh (mail):
As I suspected, Nieporent is full of shite.

Why am I not surprised?
1.4.2009 2:30am

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