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Left/Right divide on spending and Israel:

This week's National Journal poll of leading political bloggers asked about economic stimulation and Israel. The results showed perhaps the widest divergence of opinion between Left and Right since the poll began last fall.

On economic stimulus, voters rated different means, on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being best. Aid to the States was highly rated (54% giving it a 4 or 5) by the Left, but not by the Right. Infrastructure spending garnered 67% from the Left, and far less from the Right. Conversely, the Right gave 86% support to tax cuts for businesses and tax cuts for individuals, both of which garnered little support from the Left. The one issue of some agreement was on safety net spending, where 62% of the Left and 93% of the Right did not give safety net spending a high rating as a form of economic stimulus.

I gave Infrastructure a 3, which was higher than most of the Right voters, and would have rated it higher if I were confident that the money would be well spent. My comment: "Spending on useful infrastructure could help the economy in the long run, but it will be difficult to keep the stimulus money from being used for inefficient pork projects, which state and local taxpayers have rightly refused to fund."

Regarding Israel's use of force in Gaza, the Left/Right split was enormous. The Left was unanimous that Israel was using too much force. The Right divided between those who thought the amount of force was "about right" (58%) versus "not enough" (33%).

I was in the latter category, and wrote "No nation should have to endure years of terrorist rocket attacks aimed at civilians. Israel has every right to destroy Hamas. The civilians who elected Hamas are the ones who are to blame for the suffering of the people in Gaza, just as the voters who elected the Nazis bore the responsibility for the necessary Allied military invasion of Germany."

As has been previously noted in the VC, the Nazi/Hamas comparison is a little unfair to the Nazis (and, by extension, to the Germans who voted for them), since the Nazis didn't put genocide of all the Jews in their official platform, whereas Hamas does.

einhverfr (mail) (www):
The question of whether too much force is being used IMO turns around what the longer-term goals and strategy are. If it is about deterrence (which would then include a collective punishment element), then too much is being used.

If Israel were serious about rebuilding Gaza and ensuring a viable Palestinian state, then too little would be used.

It's not just the violence, but what comes afterwards that matters.
1.9.2009 2:23pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
I would also note that the Right-wing of Israel has traditionally been better at addressing what comes after violence than the Left has been. So this may go a long ways towards explaining the division.
1.9.2009 2:24pm
JB:
einhverfr,
Left unstated in your first comment is the crux of the issue: Regardless of Israel's goals, it is not doing what it should be doing, and it is doing things it should not be doing.

The crisis will not be resolved until Israel has a clearer sense of its goals. Right now it is groping for temporary, short-term solutions, and all it is achieving is hurting its long-term position. In fact, considering the incapacity of most of its opponents, its inability to manage the situation better is a damning indictment of the level of thought it has put into the issue.
1.9.2009 2:27pm
Sarcastro (www):
Wait, so the Right is more hawkish than the Left on something?
1.9.2009 2:31pm
Commenterlein (mail):
"Israel has every right to destroy Hamas."

Sure. Unfortunately, in the real world, Israel cannot destroy Hamas. Which is why killings lots of people in a misguided attempt to do so is both stupid and immoral.
1.9.2009 2:31pm
jrose:
einhverfr,

In what ways have the Israeli Right done better after the violence than the Israeli Left?
1.9.2009 2:33pm
dave zimmerman (mail):
"since the Nazis didn't put genocide of all the Jews
in their official platform, whereas Hamas does"

GIMME A BREAK!!!!!!!!!!!
1.9.2009 2:55pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
JRose:

Compare for a moment the following PM's:

Shamir
Rabin
Netanyahu
Barak
Sharon
Olmert

What we have seen is that the Likud PM's (center-right) have tended to endorse violence followed by reconciliation, even where that reconciliation is unpopular. For example, Netanyahu's negotiations with Syria over the return of Golan (which cost him an election and party leadership, BTW). Sharon followed up the destruction of Operation Defensive Shield with the evacuation of Gaza and the dismantling of many of the West-Bank settlements.

When we compare this with Rabin, Barak, and Olmert, we see a different approach.

To be fair, I don't think Rabin belongs in this camp as his approach to force in his public life career was much more Likudish (advocating bludgeoning the Palestinians into submission as Defence Minister). His negotiations at Oslo were helpful but they showed the same fundamental flaw that existed later with Barak and Olmert, which was the idea that a viable Palestinian sovereign state could not really exist in the Territories. The push for a disarmed state at Oslo is part of what has got us here today.

Under Barak and Olmert, settlements made net expansions. Under Sharon and Netanyahu they either were reduced or fully frozen. Barak advocated trading Beduin communities for settlements, which rightly caused outrage among Israeli Arabs.

Barak and Olmert have tended to run wars primarily through the idea of Israeli deterrence, as if military force in the absence of a political solution will solve all problems. We saw the result of Olmert's campaign in Southern Lebanon in 2006, which strengthened Hizbullah politically. There is evidence that this campaign now is strengthening Hamas in the West Bank (and it is unclear what the effect on Abbas's re-election will be).

Likud has generally negotiated (often clandestinely) but done so from a position of strength, both military and moral. Labor and Kadima have not done so, much to the detriment of the various peace processes we have seen collapse under their stewardship.
1.9.2009 2:55pm
JoeSixpack (mail):
Israel should demolish the entire Gaza strip and then offer the land to Egypt as a Hanukkah gift.
1.9.2009 2:55pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
I would also note that the most prominent politicians advocating negotiations with Hamas are all in the Likud party.
1.9.2009 2:56pm
LXJenkins:

As has been previously noted in the VC, the Nazi/Hamas comparison is a little unfair to the Nazis (and, by extension, to the Germans who voted for them), since the Nazis didn't put genocide of all the Jews in their official platform, whereas Hamas does.


That statement is incredibly ignorant and insensitive. No legitimate historian would argue that the Final Solution was anything other than a part of the official Nazi platform - certainly at least from 1941 on (when Jewish emigration was effectively prohibited). And let's not forget that the Nazi's did engage in genocide whereas Hamas has not. So to somehow suggest that Hamas is worse than the Nazis (let alone making the Nazis look bad) is laughable.
1.9.2009 3:01pm
Katl L (mail):
Lx Jenking
The Nazis destroyed every proof of the final solution.They knew they could lost the war and pay for it. Like Stalin who signed the orders for genocide , hamas published it
1.9.2009 3:19pm
Zorkmid:
Is everyone who voted for George W. Bush (the first time, in 2000) responsible for Abu Ghraib?

The people of Gaza are responsible for Hamas because they actively support Hamas, not because everyone who lives in a (supposed) democracy is automatically responsible for the actions of its politicians.
1.9.2009 3:21pm
Crunchy Frog:
LXJ: By 1941 the thought of the Nazis getting tossed out of office in a democratic election was laughable.

The only reason that Hamas has not engaged in Nazi-style genocide is that it doesn't have a local Jewish population to exterminate.
1.9.2009 3:24pm
Steve:
I wonder if some people understand that the reason Hitler numbers among history's greatest monsters is not just because of what he wanted to do to the Jews, but because HE ACTUALLY DID IT.

Hamas favors the destruction of Israel, but they have no capacity to come anywhere close. There seem to be commentors on this message board who want to get rid of Israel; are they worse than Hitler? Should we shoot them in the head because of what they would like to see happen, even though they are completely impotent to accomplish that goal?
1.9.2009 3:32pm
jrose:
einhverfr,

I think you just argued the Right favors more force as the best means to a just, two-state solution. Given the rhetoric (see for example, the comments here), I'm skeptical.
1.9.2009 3:41pm
Sarcastro (www):
I would like to win the Nobel Prize for Physics. This makes me the next Einstein!

Wait, I actually said I wanted to and Einstein didn't, so I'm like SUPER-Einstein!
1.9.2009 3:41pm
Shelby (mail):
The people of Gaza are responsible for Hamas because they actively support Hamas, not because everyone who lives in a (supposed) democracy is automatically responsible for the actions of its politicians.

This reveals misunderstanding of the nature of democracy. When we vote, we accept collective responsibility for the outcome, whether or not we voted for the winner. That responsibility does not mean (in Gaza) that everyone should be killed, but it does mean that it's their collective fault that Hamas is in power. Moreover, because Hamas has always proclaimed its murderous intent, it's the electorate's collective fault that their government routinely launches terror attacks into Israel, and that Israel must respond.

In short, elections matter.
1.9.2009 3:42pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
jrose: Maybe it is just the PM's from the right ;-)
1.9.2009 3:47pm
Henry679 (mail):
OK, Israel should make total war on Gaza. Hell, Israel should make total war on Lebanon, Syria and Iran, too. Israel will just kill its way to eternal existence.

What is really going on here is that 60 years out, it is becoming clear that Israel has long-term existential issues that it cannot solve through warfare--these are demographic, both outside its borders and within. Formal conflicts with distinct Arab states it did very well. But what it is facing now and, worse, what it will face in the future, will not be so easily done (not that its conventional conflicts in the past were "easy"). It seems a lot of posters here and elsewhere would like a final solution to the Palestinian problem, but there isn't go to be one. Israel is not going to slaughter people on the scale that some of you would appear to like.

That is to the credit of Israel, by the way.
1.9.2009 3:51pm
JB:
It seems a lot of posters here and elsewhere would like a final solution to the Palestinian problem, but there isn't go to be one.

The only ultimate solution ("final solution" is far too loaded a term for the point I am about to make) is the 1948 solution.

In 1947, Israel controlled about 50% of Palestine. After the 1948 war, Israel controlled 78% (another 28%). After the 1967 war, Israel controlled 100% (another 22%). Of those three areas (the 50%, the 28%, and the 22%), in which has Israeli tenure been the least secure? The one where the population was not evacuated before them.

Without going into the morality of the issue, the lesson is that a 2-state solution is impossible, even absurdly so. There can be no peace unless the Palestinians are full citizens of Israel or living somewhere else. The moral costs of these two options may very well be higher than that of continuing the simmering war indefinitely--mass population expulsions and dissolutions of states are often morally unpalatable things--but those are the options.
1.9.2009 4:01pm
Xanthippas (mail) (www):

As has been previously noted in the VC, the Nazi/Hamas comparison is a little unfair to the Nazis (and, by extension, to the Germans who voted for them), since the Nazis didn't put genocide of all the Jews in their official platform, whereas Hamas does.


Demonstrating the mindset of the right, which is that it is intention, not results, that matter.
1.9.2009 4:03pm
Xanthippas (mail) (www):

That responsibility does not mean (in Gaza) that everyone should be killed, but it does mean that it's their collective fault that Hamas is in power. Moreover, because Hamas has always proclaimed its murderous intent, it's the electorate's collective fault that their government routinely launches terror attacks into Israel, and that Israel must respond.

In short, elections matter.


And when terrorists are driven to attack Americans in response to our invasion of Iraq, we can look around at each other and say "Well, we did bring this on ourselves by electing Bush."
1.9.2009 4:05pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
It might have been better to split this into two separate posts as all of the previous comments are focused on the question of Israel's use of force in Gaza.

Regarding the effects of the proposed "stimulus bill," I'm opposed to it because I frankly don't believe that having the government tax or borrow another $750 Billion to $1Trillion, further depleting the available capital for private businesses, is somehow going to help those same businesses increase their production and create jobs which is what we need for an actual economic recovery. If anything, it will probably slow the recovery even further all so that elected officials can take credit for "doing something" even if the "something" they did turns out to ultimately be counterproductive.

Also while this "stimulus package" is being sold in large part to rebuild or upgrade our nation's infrastructure -- something I don't object to in principal -- I suspect that in addition to the usual waste and inefficiency that comes from trying to fund what are largely local projects at the national level (which only adds layers of bureaucracy and graft with less accountability and control than when the users are the payers), a good portion, perhaps even more than half, will ultimately be spent on other projects that have little to do with rebuilding or upgrading our nation's infrastructure. Sort of like every other omnibus spending bill which is chock full of goodies that have nothing or little to do with the stated purpose of the bill.
1.9.2009 4:08pm
Steve H:

Demonstrating the mindset of the right, which is that it is intention, not results, that matter.


Actually, we don't even have a basis to ascribe intentions -- the mindset of the right is that statements, not results, matter.

This is why the Right was agitating for war against Iraq for all those years -- he "defied" us.
1.9.2009 4:09pm
Steve:
When we vote, we accept collective responsibility for the outcome, whether or not we voted for the winner.

Really? What about the people who didn't vote? Or people who boycotted the election? Is there any way to escape this deadly "collective responsibility"?

Maybe democracy should come with a little warning label attached. Most people probably have no idea how dangerous it is.

Frankly, this kind of talk comes perilously close to justifying 9/11.
1.9.2009 4:16pm
Steve H:

Moreover, because Hamas has always proclaimed its murderous intent, it's the electorate's collective fault that their government routinely launches terror attacks into Israel, and that Israel must respond.


In other words, because their parents collectively rejected Hamas 56-44, Palestinian kids in Gaza deserve to die.
1.9.2009 4:17pm
JoeSixpack (mail):
"And when terrorists are driven to attack Americans in response to our invasion of Iraq, we can look around at each other and say "Well, we did bring this on ourselves by electing Bush."

I hav a vague memory of terrorists being driven to attack Americans before we invaded Iraq. In fact most of those attacks occurred or were planned during the Clinton administration. So I guess we did bring the attacks on ourselves by electing Clinton.
1.9.2009 4:26pm
TGGP (mail) (www):
the Nazis didn't put genocide of all the Jews in their official platform, whereas Hamas does.
Oh, those smooth-talking politicians, always promising goodies they can't deliver :)

But seriously though, don't intentionalists make the case that the Nazis made it clear they were seeking that from the get-go? I personally find functionalism more plausible, but there's definitely an argument.
1.9.2009 4:27pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):

I hav a vague memory of terrorists being driven to attack Americans before we invaded Iraq. In fact most of those attacks occurred or were planned during the Clinton administration. So I guess we did bring the attacks on ourselves by electing Clinton.


More likely they were upset continuing George HW Bush's policies. So we brought it on ourselves by electing GHW Bush....
1.9.2009 4:41pm
Sarcastro (www):
Well, in 2001 Obama was alive. Maybe 9-11 was a reaction to Obama being alive. Really, he is to blame!
1.9.2009 4:44pm
Splunge:
Spending on useful infrastructure could help the economy in the long run

No doubt. Capital investment is very often useful, although not always. (I have only to remember the Moscow of 1969, which had beautiful new eight-lane highways, on which there was almost zero traffic, because the Stalinists had directed too much money into highways and not enough into cars.)

But...that about which you're being asked is not capital investment in the abstract, but rather whether it is sensible to seize the capital in private hands and have the lawyers and grandstanders (with the assistance of the lobbyists) in Washington decide where to allocate it instead.

Phrased that way, it sounds kind of stupid, doesn't it? And it is, except in the fairly rare case of some serious collective-action problem.

Besides, "infrastructure" basically means road and bridge building, and I thought the New Green Era frowned upon all this paving over of Mother Earth so we could zoom from place to place in our air-conditioned Hummers at 80 MPH (preferably while smoking and eating pork rinds).

I guess it could mean power-plant or transmission-line construction, too, since those are certainly infrastructure improvements needed in many areas of the country. But, again, does this not fall afoul of the New Green agenda?

I guess it could all go into paying for everyone to have a solar power panel on his roof, like in the Obama Olympics advertisement, but taking money from everyone (as taxes) just to give it (mostly) right back to them (as solar panels) gets us back to the Alice in Wonderland lunacy of Stalinist Five Year Plans.

Here's a thought: instead of trying to guess from Washington what each and every one of 300 million citizens needs to improve his life, let's just let them decide, and let them keep more of their own money to implement their decisions.
1.9.2009 4:49pm
PlugInMonster:

Steve H:


Moreover, because Hamas has always proclaimed its murderous intent, it's the electorate's collective fault that their government routinely launches terror attacks into Israel, and that Israel must respond.



In other words, because their parents collectively rejected Hamas 56-44, Palestinian kids in Gaza deserve to die.
1.9.2009 4:17pm


No what you are really saying is that Israeli kids should die because Palestinians are not to be held accountable for their deeds. At least be honest.
1.9.2009 4:53pm
Brett A. (mail):
Are the people who elect a government responsible for its actions and their consequences in its entirety? That would technically mean that while Al-Qaeda's claims are bullshit, the basic thrust of their argument (that since America has been screwing with the Middle East, and the American people support said government, it is therefore okay to attack said people) is on sound ground.

I imagine it would play hell with any legal attempts to exclude civilians from combat operations. You'd still have the Operational Reasons to not target civilians and the like, but a lot of those come after-the-fact.
1.9.2009 5:05pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
The problem is the Israeli centrists believe that all of this collateral damage is acceptable in the name of "Israeli Deterrence." I personally think this is exactly why they obstruct the ICRC (which is separate from the PRCS issue). More civilians killed means more deterrence. It is not that Palestinian kids deserve to die so much as it is an acceptable price to pay for restoring this deterrence after the debacle in Lebanon 2.

BTW, according to customary international rules of flame-wars, David Kopel lost the argument in his final paragraph in this post :-)
1.9.2009 5:07pm
autolykos:

Demonstrating the mindset of the right, which is that it is intention, not results, that matter.


This has been a fundamental concept of American law for centuries. A person who negligently runs over a dozen kids waiting at a bus stop is going to get less punishment than a person who intentionally runs down kids at a bus stop, even if the person who does so intentionally causes less damage. Mens rea? Hello? Any of this stuff ring a bell?

Of course, none of that has any application to the Nazi/Hamas comparison, which is a little silly. The Nazis didn't publicize their desire to kill all of the Jews because they were better people than Hamas. They kept their intentions hidden because they were smarter than Hamas. The Nazis at least gave lip service to international law. That's why their invasion of Poland was precipitated by an attack on Germany by a bunch of German troops dressed in Polish uniforms. It would take a lot of cognitive dissonance on behalf of any German voter to believe that the German government was acting righteously.
1.9.2009 5:13pm
PlugInMonster:

einhverfr (mail) (www):
The problem is the Israeli centrists believe that all of this collateral damage is acceptable in the name of "Israeli Deterrence." I personally think this is exactly why they obstruct the ICRC (which is separate from the PRCS issue). More civilians killed means more deterrence. It is not that Palestinian kids deserve to die so much as it is an acceptable price to pay for restoring this deterrence after the debacle in Lebanon 2.

BTW, according to customary international rules of flame-wars, David Kopel lost the argument in his final paragraph in this post :-)


Bullshit. It's just that previous delusional Israeli "centrists" now understand that there is no peace to be had with Hamas and want to protect their kids from the rockets and suicide bombers.
1.9.2009 5:16pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):

Bullshit. It's just that previous delusional Israeli "centrists" now understand that there is no peace to be had with Hamas and want to protect their kids from the rockets and suicide bombers.


Look, I don't object to Israel's attempts to take out the rocket infrastructure of Hamas. However, when international medical teams (such as from the ICRC) are obtructed, then more is going on than just an attack against Hamas or even concerns about the integrity of the PRCS. It is in this area alone I am willing to fully condemn Israeli actions and argue that the goal is victory by collective punishment of civilians. The only explanation I can come up with regarding the systematic obstruction of medical teams is that of collective punishment. Even Prof. Bernstein only defends a few limited cases of this and wisely avoids getting into the larger issues.

If Israel wanted to occupy Gaza, and build up a national police force and an army in Gaza of Palestinians capable of maintaining civilian control over their city, I would be 100% for the invasion and occupation. As it is, my prediction is that Hamas will win the next elections in the PA big time, and this time Abbas will have to go. And in 5 years we will be back where we were during Operation Defensive Shield including the accompanying European boycotts of Israeli goods.
1.9.2009 5:28pm
Cornellian (mail):
Israel has every right to destroy Hamas.

That's it? No qualifications at all? Israel can nuke Stockholm if they think a group of Hamas members are hiding out there? Do other countries have this same right to destroy their enemies without regard to the means, or only Israel?
1.9.2009 5:37pm
PlugInMonster:
Cornellian - any country that wants to survive will use and and all means to do it. Welcome to reality.
1.9.2009 5:38pm
Cornellian (mail):
The civilians who elected Hamas are the ones who are to blame for the suffering of the people in Gaza, just as the voters who elected the Nazis bore the responsibility for the necessary Allied military invasion of Germany.

Wow, you have totally bought into Al Qaeda's argument about why American civilians are legitimate targets.
1.9.2009 5:39pm
PlugInMonster:
Also there are NO limits to doing what it takes to survive.
1.9.2009 5:40pm
D.R.M.:
Like the Hamas rocket attacks, Imperial Japan did relatively little damage to the United States compared to the destruction visited upon it in return. Like Hamas, Imperial Japan wasn't powerful enough to actually pose an existential threat to the United States. Like Hamas, the Imperial Japanese government wasn't elected by the people. Like Hamas, the Imperial Japanese were fanatically dedicated and engaged in suicide attacks.

And like Imperial Japan, Gaza should be pounded until its rulers agree to unconditional surrender, including Hamas's surviving leadership being put on trial for war crimes by Israel.

But, Israel has proven, over and over, that it does not have the will to fight until it has truly defeated its enemies. Over and over, Israel winds up in compromise peaces that leave its enemies alive.

And that failure is why Israeli warmaking is immoral. It kills without ever forcing things to an end, guaranteeing that there will have to be another round of killing in a few short years.

(Israel at least has one mitigation argument to make; the rest of the world keeps pressuring it to act immorally. See the latest UNSC resolution. That doesn't change the fact that Israel is in the wrong for refusing to finish any of its wars.)
1.9.2009 5:41pm
texasfox82:
If anyone will be to blame for obama, it will be the guilty white people in america, who for some reason thought he deserved to be president.

I refuse to accept that we as a people are responsible for what our leaders do if did not vote for them. Saying that is unfair to democracy; but really democracy is unfair itself, the term is just a glorified word for "mob rule", and mob rule, when one see's how it turns out, makes the case for restrictions on who should be allowed to vote.
1.9.2009 5:56pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
DRM:

But, Israel has proven, over and over, that it does not have the will to fight until it has truly defeated its enemies. Over and over, Israel winds up in compromise peaces that leave its enemies alive.


This is part of the problem. Israel lacks a follow through which provides anybody anything they want out of the conflict. Consequently, the approach should be seen as "managing" an "eternal war" rather than trying to win victory and peace.
1.9.2009 6:04pm
GMUSL '07 Alum (mail):
JB, check your facts, it really throws off your math :

In 1947, Israel controlled about 50% of Palestine. After the 1948 war, Israel controlled 78% (another 28%). After the 1967 war, Israel controlled 100% (another 22%). Of those three areas (the 50%, the 28%, and the 22%), in which has Israeli tenure been the least secure? The one where the population was not evacuated before them.

But what you're forgetting several things.
(1) 77% of the British Mandate of Palestine was EAST of the Jordan river, currently the country of Jordan. Israel is only 23% of that Mandate. That brings your numbers to {11.5%, 17.94%, 23%}
(2) Israel no longer controls Gaza, and does not have complete control over the West Bank, further lowering your numbers.
1.9.2009 6:08pm
Steve H:

No what you are really saying is that Israeli kids should die because Palestinians are not to be held accountable for their deeds. At least be honest.


Or, I've said nothing of the sort.

But nice try.
1.9.2009 6:10pm
wooga:

Demonstrating the mindset of the right, which is that it is intention, not results, that matter.

Actually, we don't even have a basis to ascribe intentions -- the mindset of the right is that statements, not results, matter.

Wait, I thought wise Obama taught us that statements were not "just words" and needed to be taken seriously as having real meaning.

The mindset of the left is that the ends justify the means, so it is proper to ignore the rules if they might lead to an inequitable result. The mindset of the right is that means are paramount, regardless of the inequity that results. Prime example, as seen on this blog previously: The Ledbetter case.

In the Israel, the Geneva rules very clearly state that out of uniform combatants can be executed on the spot, and placement of military assets in civilian zones does not prevent destruction of those assets. This means lots of innocent people die. The right finds this acceptable, since Israel intends to follow the rules. The left finds it deplorable, since children die.

Why else does the left primarily criticize Israel by saying "this is not going to solve the problem" (ends) and the right defends Israel by appealing to rules of war (means) - without so much concern for whether this will solve anything?
1.9.2009 6:12pm
Shelby (mail):
Those who think I endorsed the killing of noncombatant residents of Gaza should re-read my comment, which includes "That responsibility does not mean (in Gaza) that everyone should be killed". Moral (and potentially legal, at least in a jus-ad-bellum sense) responsibility does attach to the electorate in a democracy.

Obviously that does not mean that all members of the electorate -- or of the population -- should be subject to legal sanctions for the acts of their elected officials, let alone to a sort of random non-adjudicated death penalty. Israel is, entirely properly, attempting to minimize non-combatant casualties; possibly it should try still harder to do so.

Again, my point was a critique of a prior comment claiming that Gazans' responsibility derived from their active support for Hamas (which many surely do not provide) rather than from their election of Hamas.
1.9.2009 6:22pm
SFBurke (mail):
On an entirely different topic, the best form of stimulus would be an acceleration in defense procurement. That would produce jobs and the government would be buying stuff it needs anyway (just sooner). Also, because defense contractors have been quite politically savy about spreading their operations all over the country, the benefits would be distributed relatively equitably.
1.9.2009 6:26pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Shelby:

Again, my point was a critique of a prior comment claiming that Gazans' responsibility derived from their active support for Hamas (which many surely do not provide) rather than from their election of Hamas.


Ok, I understand your point. I would be more convinced if we hadn't seen the bloody military takeover of Gaza in 2007. At that point, Hamas stopped being the democratically elected leaders by the Gazans.

We can say that they have some responsibility for the situation, but I don't think that provides responsibility for Hamas's actions after the military takeover. Similarly one can't blame the PA for this if the PA's armed forces are sufficiently limited via Oslo to prevent them from competently monopolizing the use of military force.
1.9.2009 6:29pm
Mary J. Woodhead (mail):
I would expect a law professor to want to avoid Rule 11 sanctions by honestly reporting the facts. Hamas does not support genocide of Israelis. When Hamas talks about destruction of the State of Israel, it means destruction of the political entity, not the population. Hamas is a bunch of murderous creeps and they are bad enough without exaggerating their positions.
1.9.2009 6:30pm
Mike 'Ralph' Smith:

the Geneva rules very clearly state that out of uniform combatants can be executed on the spot,


Where does it state that?
1.9.2009 6:42pm
wooga:
Mary,
How is this part of the Hamas charter not a call for genocide:

The Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to implement Allah's promise, whatever time that may take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said: "The Day of Judgment will not come about until the Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them), until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: Oh Muslim! Oh Abdullah!, there is a Jew behind me, come on and kill him. Only the Gharqad tree would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews."

Careful there... a frivolous sanction motion will get you sanctioned instead.
1.9.2009 6:43pm
Steve H:

Wait, I thought wise Obama taught us that statements were not "just words" and needed to be taken seriously as having real meaning.


?


The mindset of the left is that the ends justify the means, so it is proper to ignore the rules if they might lead to an inequitable result. The mindset of the right is that means are paramount, regardless of the inequity that results.


But isn't it the "right" that's saying it's okay for Israelis to kill Gazan civilians because it's necessary to stop Hamas from firing rockets into Southern Israel?
1.9.2009 6:51pm
PlugInMonster:

Steve H:


No what you are really saying is that Israeli kids should die because Palestinians are not to be held accountable for their deeds. At least be honest.



Or, I've said nothing of the sort.

But nice try.


The logical outcome of Israel following your "advice" is its death. Thus, you advocate Israeli kids should die.
1.9.2009 7:12pm
PlugInMonster:

But isn't it the "right" that's saying it's okay for Israelis to kill Gazan civilians because it's necessary to stop Hamas from firing rockets into Southern Israel?


Steve, I don't really care about your left/right semantic games. People will do whatever it takes to survive. Israel will do whatever it takes, no matter how much you scream about it.
1.9.2009 7:13pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
PlugInMonster:

I think that Americans and Europeans then need to take more responsibility for this conflict. Personally I am fairly careful about purchases which involve Israeli goods. For example, despite calls for boycotts of Israeli goods, I do support Intel's work primarily because they do a lot of outreach and education to Israeli Arab communities.

I am not sure I would buy a Checkpoint product though, simply because I haven't been able to see much about their outreach and hiring practices.
1.9.2009 7:25pm
Steve H:
PlugInMonster, I've given no advice, and I've done no screaming about Israel.

But feel free to keep trying, anyway.
1.9.2009 7:58pm
wooga:

the Geneva rules very clearly state that out of uniform combatants can be executed on the spot,

Where does it state that?


Seriously?
A combatant out of uniform is entitled to neither the POW protections or civilian protections. It's open season.
long article here.

Google also pulled up this Volokh comment, which has all the buzzwords for further googling:


I should qualify my statement as excluding all international rules, including certain Articles of the Geneva Convention, to which the USA has not adopted.
1.9.2009 8:27pm
wooga:
Wait, I thought wise Obama taught us that statements were not "just words" and needed to be taken seriously as having real meaning.
?

Apparently you had a life during the elections, and missed the 'monumental' Deval Patrick Obama speeches where he roused up he crowd with the repetitious use of the "just words" phrase.

The mindset of the left is that the ends justify the means, so it is proper to ignore the rules if they might lead to an inequitable result. The mindset of the right is that means are paramount, regardless of the inequity that results.

But isn't it the "right" that's saying it's okay for Israelis to kill Gazan civilians because it's necessary to stop Hamas from firing rockets into Southern Israel?
Sure, that is often said on the right. My statement was an over generalization. Everyone will occasionally take an 'ends justify the means' approach, since people are inherently emotional. If it feels 'just' - then even the right will descend into that mentality. Conversely, the left will occasionally use "ends do not justify the means" rhetoric when they find a particular 'means' abhorrent.

Geez. Nobody let's me get away with overly broad statements anymore. :)
1.9.2009 8:33pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Wooga

Sure, that is often said on the right. My statement was an over generalization. Everyone will occasionally take an 'ends justify the means' approach, since people are inherently emotional.


I think the ends in this case are the problem. This operation is not intended to bring us closer to peace but to restore Israel's "deterrence" through collective punishment. I think the ends sometimes do justify the means, but not always, and this is one of those cases where it doesn't.

There is no comprehensive strategy moving forward towards peace. There isn't even a military victory condition that seems well defined. On purely pragmatic ground, this operation is headed fully the wrong direction.
1.9.2009 8:58pm
Steve H:
Apparently you had a life during the elections.

Sadly, you are mistaken, sir.
1.9.2009 9:36pm
TruePath (mail) (www):
The reason Isreal's force in Gaza is excessive has nothing to do with whether they should have to live in fear of terrorist rockets or not. It's excessive because it's a largely pointless exercise but unfortunately, as Israel is a democratic state, the government feels pressure to be seen as doing something about the rockets and taking a tough stand.

I mean the problem with this sort of attack is that while you seize some weapons and kill some terrorists you can't eliminate the rockets from Gaza and the anger at being attacked and opportunity for anti-Israel propaganda it gives Hamas provide plenty more terrorists to take their place.

Now if I thought Israel was cleverly choosing it's targets and attacks to shift Hamas to a more moderate line (e.g. the strategy was to preferentially eliminate elements biasing Hamas toward a hardline stance) then I might be more sympathetic but there is never a reason to engage in violence unless it results in a greater benefit.
1.10.2009 5:41am
TruePath (mail) (www):
BTW I should add that I have absolutely no problem with collective punishment or killing civilians as long as in the long run it leads to less suffering (which it often does not despite what it may shortsightedly appear but did in the use of the A-bomb on japan...regardless of whether it was technically a military target with collateral damage).

D.R.M.:

Unless you are suggesting massive depopulation (which would probably require WMDs or more casualties to Israel than simply letting this continue) of Gaza what you suggest simply isn't possible. Japan could be pounded into submission because ultimately it was a nation state with central organization and when that surrendered the people went along with the surrender for the most part.

Hamas is a terrorist organization. You can kill as much of it as you want but even if you get all the living official leaders to advocate peace there will be plenty of angry Palestinians who won't listen.

Ironically, perhaps the best demonstration of this fact is the Roman occupation of Israel. The level of force and amount of mass slaughter necessery to pacify the jewish population would be considered genocide today. Hell, Bar Kokhba's revolt occured after the Romans had already shown a willingness to slaughter virtually every resident in Jerusalem during the last rebellion. When you try and break a population you either need to go extremely far or you end up with more terrorists than you started with.
1.10.2009 6:02am
Ryan Waxx (mail):
I wonder if some people understand that the reason Hitler numbers among history's greatest monsters is not just because of what he wanted to do to the Jews, but because HE ACTUALLY DID IT.

Hamas favors the destruction of Israel, but they have no capacity to come anywhere close.


I wonder if some people can grasp the concept that being evil and weak doesn't make you less evil.
1.10.2009 7:35am
Best-Legal-Aid.com (mail) (www):
When Hitler wrote Mein Kampf in prison and outlined his plan to destroy the world's Jewry, most people thought he was a madman and it could never be done. The reason Hitler continued to dominate Europe and rise to success is because no one actually believe what he said. As we see now, one must take a madman's words at face value.
1.10.2009 8:51am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
TruePath:

There are already some indications the operation has strengthened Hamas's hand in the West Bank. For example, political pressure over the Gaza op has already lead the PA to free most of the Hamas members in prison.

Anyone want to take bets as to whether Hamas makes strong political gains in the next PA election?
1.10.2009 11:37am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
wooga:

A combatant out of uniform is entitled to neither the POW protections or civilian protections. It's open season.


Wrong. Those who are found "out of uniform" do indeed fail to get "POW protections." Nevertheless, they are still entitled to certain protections, as expressed in Common Article 3.

Even Bush finally was forced to acknowledge that. whitehouse.gov refers to Common Article 3 as "The Standard That Now Applies To The Treatment Of Detainees By U.S. Personnel In The War On Terror." You should explain how that statement is congruent with the statement you made.

long article here


This is what you said earlier:

the Geneva rules very clearly state that out of uniform combatants can be executed on the spot


If they really did state that, "very clearly," then you could show us the text from GC. Why haven't you? Instead, you toss in a "long article" that doesn't say what you claim it says.
1.11.2009 8:21am
Yankev (mail):

The Nazis didn't publicize their desire to kill all of the Jews because they were better people than Hamas. They kept their intentions hidden because they were smarter than Hamas.
As is Arafat y"sh and his successor Abbas. Both have said in English that they intend to negotiate with Israel. Both have made numerous speeches in Arabic praising terrorist attacks on civilians and those who commit them. Both have made speeches in Arabic saying that they are working for a Palestinian state that will occupy every square cm. of Israel. Both have made sure the schools in the PA teach that Israel has no right to exist and that it is the duty of every Palestinian child to work for its violent overthrow. Both have made sure that all maps of the PA show Palestine stretching from the river to the sea.

And both helped plan and fund numerous post-Oslo attacks on Israeli civilians. Doesn't take much to be a moderate these days.
1.12.2009 12:10pm
mooglar (mail):
Not that anyone will probably read down this far in an old thread, but...

The OP makes an inapt comparison between voters in Germany voting the Nazi Party into power and Palestinian voters voting Hamas into power. As detailed in Henry Ashby Turner Jr.'s book Hitler's Thirty Days To Power, the Nazi Party never won a majority in any national election in Germany and Hitler was never elected to any government post. But, though in December of 1932 he looked to be finished politically in Germany, through a series of inspired back-room political dealings and gross miscalculations and undersestimation of him by by his political enemies, Hitler managed to get himself appointed Chancellor of Germany by aging and ailing President Hindenberg (Hindenberg, the President, incidentally, was elected).

Sure enough, after Hitler managed to consolidate power, set fire to the Reichstag and kicked most non-Nazi members of the legislature out, and then assumed the duties of both the President and the Chancellor without an election when Hindenberg died, he became wildly popular and probably would have won an election, but in the event, the fact is that the Nazis never won a national election in Germany, never won a majority of seats in Reichstag, and never won an election for President. Hitler took power by getting an aging and addled war hero President to appoint him to the Chancellorship. The Nazis were not elected democratically, though they eventually enjoyed wide support.

Though, since many of the economic policies and reforms that Hitler got credit for after he ascended to power were actually put in place by preceding Weimar governments, it is unlikely that the Nazis would ever have ascended to power without having it handed to them by Hindenberg. Once in power, the Nazis greatly benefited from being at the top to create support they could not have garnered otherwise.

One further note: Though at various times and to various levels of effect the Nazis played down their antisemitism when it suited them, they were never all that shy about their intention to destroy European Jewry. As a commenter above noted, the failure wasn't in the Nazis making the destruction of the Jews a plank in their policy, but rather in the world believing the Nazis would actually follow through on it.

Or, in some cases, a failure in the German people and the world to do its homework. For, while Hitler did spell out his intention to destroy the Jews (referring to them as a bacillus to be wiped out) in Mein Kampf, and post-1933 a majority of German homes (and the homes of every Nazi Party member) contained a copy of the book, it was so poorly written, boring, and difficult to get through that it was commonly joked amongst high-ranking Nazi functionaries that it was the most-purchased but least-read book in the Reich.

In any case, comparing the Palestinians electing Hamas to the Germans electing Hitler and the Nazis is an inapt comparison that fails to make the original poster's point. Nazi Germany is an example of a democratically-elected government turning power over to a violent, dictatorial government, ala Star Wars, not an example of the people of a democracy choosing an organization with a history of terrorist activity as its democratically-elected government.
1.12.2009 1:43pm
wooga:
jukeboxgrad,

I violated my own rule, which is that when a lawyer says "clearly" - it means that whatever he is claiming is anything but clear, and he is simply using the term to paint over his lack of supporting evidence.

Reviewing my statement, I effectively said that Geneva affirmatively authorized summary execution. As you note, that is incorrect, and was sloppy on my part. What I should have said is that Geneva does not prohibit the summary execution of non-uniformed combatants, and thus implicitly allows it.

As to your other point re Common Article 3; it only applies to people not actively hostile (eg, troops who have laid down their arms, detainees) and the injured. It does not provide protection to non-uniformed combatants. Just because Bush decides to extend some protection to detainees does not mean such protections are required by law. Bush made the legal 'error' of actually detaining people, thereby triggering the Article 3 protections.
1.13.2009 6:12pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
wooga:

that is incorrect, and was sloppy on my part


It's nice of you to say this, but your backpedaling is still not enough to get you onto solid ground.

Common Article 3 … only applies to people not actively hostile (eg, troops who have laid down their arms, detainees) and the injured.


The key statement, which you seem to now acknowledge, is that CA3 applies to all people who are not "actively hostile."

It does not provide protection to non-uniformed combatants


But it does, once they become "detainees" (i.e., once they are no longer "actively hostile").

Bush made the legal 'error' of actually detaining people


No one claims that you are not allowed to kill someone who is being "actively hostile." But once they are no longer "actively hostile," they fall under the protection of CA3. Let's review what you said:

out of uniform combatants can be executed on the spot


If they're being "actively hostile," you're allowed to kill them (whether they're in a uniform or not). But that's not called "executed." That's called 'killed in action.' The word "executed" implies the killing of someone who is in your custody. In other words, the person is no longer "actively hostile," and has become a detainee.

Geneva does not prohibit the summary execution of non-uniformed combatants, and thus implicitly allows it.


CA3 indeed prohibits "the summary execution" of anyone, because "execution," by definition, is something that is done to someone who is in your custody, which means they are no longer in a position to be "actively hostile."
1.13.2009 10:04pm

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