Friday, July 21, 2006

"Moral Equivalence"...."Moral Relativity"..."Disproportionate Force"..."Proportionate Response"...?!?

by The WordSmith from Nantucket

There are a couple of buzz phrases that are currently being kicked around: One is "Proportionate response/disproportionate force". The other is "cycle of violence".

This is due to the Israeli military response 8 days ago, to the Hezbollah incursion across the southern Lebanese border and the capture of two Israeli soldiers.

The EU is basically calling the Israeli response, "disproportionate".

So what do they expect the proper response to have been? The hostage taking of 2 Hezbollah terrorists to counterbalance the abduction of 2 Israeli soldiers?

Patriot at A Soldier's Perspective writes:

those same types of terrorists “only” collapsed a few buildings in New York City in 2003 and our country destroyed Afghanistan. There is no such thing as “disproportionate force” when fighting a war. Actually, it’s something you want. Wars aren’t won when each side counts what the other has and organized his force to ensure everything is equal. The reason America is the greatest military power on earth is because of our disproportionate force.

Exactly right. This isn't a game, where you fight with "fair play" in mind. In warfare, your objective is to overwhelm the enemy with superior and sustained firepower, in the hopes of bringing the conflict to a quick and decisive resolution, with minimal casualties to your side.

I've heard some ridiculous charges by some people who call the U.S. a cowardly bully for attacking a "weak" foe like Saddam's regime, and not go after a North Korea or China who have a "fighting chance" against our military might. These same people wonder why we're allowed to have nuclear weapons while others are not. I can only look for the nearest brick wall to hammer my head against, to relieve the pain of dealing with such idiocy. Warfare and global politics is not a sport. Can you imagine someone criticizing law enforcement officers as cowards, because whenever possible, they do not act alone to bring down a suspect? But might tackle and take him down by virtue of superior numbers? This is for the suspect's safety as much as for the safety of the officers'. In a prizefight, unless you like punishment, you don't stand there toe to toe, exchanging blow for blow; you go for the win and avoid as much as possible, any damage to yourself in kind. But because it is a spectator sport, the whole nature of the rules- such as having weight divisions- is to maximize and equalize the potential for punishment to be received by both combatants.

Old Soldier writes the following, in regards to "Proportional response":

War is the resultant associated with the breakdown of humanity. War is the final solution when diplomacy (read appeasement) fails. The military objective of each battle specifically and war in general is to soundly defeat the enemy. That is not done via 'proportional responses'. It is a complex task designed to remove the ability of the enemy to continue to wage war. It can be achieved by destroying the enemy's war making capabilities – like bombing the industrial complexes of Germany during WWII. Or it can break the will of the enemy to continue to wage war – like Nagasaki and Hiroshima did to the Japanese. Had we engaged our enemies of WWII with 'proportional responses', we would still be at war with Germany and Japan today and millions upon millions more people would be in graves because of it.

I think it was last week, that I listened to Dennis Prager make mention of the morally absent phrase, "cycle of violence".

Japan bombs Pearl Harbor, and suddenly we are "caught up in a cycle of violence". Why? Why must the ones who started the violence, be absolved of blame and the ones defending themselves, be held responsible for perpetuating the "cycle of violence"?

One of the interesting antidotes by Prager, was in relating how even as a child, he was bothered by the moral relativity inherent in how many adults solve disputes between kids. Rather than try and discover who was at fault, the parent will often punish both kids as being equally at fault. One kid hits another kid first, who then proceeds to defend himself. The adult comes along and what happens? Rather than seeking to meet out justice, the adult simply wants to "make the problem go away". As I wrote in Old Soldier's comment section, "[Prager] found it morally lazy and immoral that the adult would not care to find out" who was in the right and who was in the wrong.

Thomas Sowell puts things into perspective this way:

Of all the Western democracies, only two have no choice but to depend on their own military forces for their survival -- the United States and Israel. The rest have for more than half a century had the luxury of depending on American military forces in general and the American nuclear deterrent in particular.

People who have long been sheltered from mortal dangers can indulge themselves in the belief that there are no mortal dangers. Nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran or North Korea -- and, through them, in the hands of hate-filled terrorists -- may be all that will finally wake up such people. But that may be tragically too late.

Those who keep calling for an end to the "cycle of violence" are what make such violence more likely. "World opinion" in general and the United Nations in particular can always be counted on to counsel "restraint" in response to attacks and "negotiations" in response to lethal threats.

What that means is that those who start trouble will have a lower price to pay than if those they attacked were free to go all out in their counter-attack. Lowering the price to be paid by aggressors virtually guarantees more aggression.

Dennis Prager outlines some of the reasons why Israel is the one who has consistently traveled the moral high ground throughout their conflicts with the Arab world:

Those who deny this and ascribe the conflict to other reasons, such as "Israeli occupation," "Jewish settlements," a "cycle of violence," "the Zionist lobby" and the like, do so despite the fact that Israel's enemies regularly announce the reason for the conflict. The Iranian regime, Hizbollah, Hamas and the Palestinians — in their public opinion polls, in their anti-Semitic school curricula and media, in their election of Hamas, in their support for terror against Israeli civilians in pre-1967 borders — as well as their Muslim supporters around the world, all want the Jewish state annihilated.

In 1947-48, the Arab states tried to destroy the tiny Jewish state formed by the United Nations partition plan. In 1967, Egypt, Syria and Jordan tried to destroy Israel in what became known as the Six-Day War. All of this took place before Israel occupied one millimeter of Palestinian land and before there was a single Jewish settler in the West Bank.

Two months after the Six-Day War of June 5-10, 1967, the Arab countries convened in Khartoum, Sudan, and announced on Sept. 1, 1967, their famous "Three NOs" to Israel: "No peace, No recognition, No negotiations."

Six years later, in 1973, Egypt invaded the Israeli-held Sinai Peninsula, a war that ended in a boost in Egyptian morale from its initially successful surprise attack. Though nearly all of the Sinai remained in Israel's hands, the boost in Egyptian self-confidence enabled Egypt's visionary president, Anwar Sadat, four years later (November 1977), to do the unimaginable for an Arab leader: He visited Israel and addressed its parliament in Jerusalem. As a result, in 1978, Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty in return for which Israel gave all of the oil-rich Sinai Peninsula back to Egypt.

Three years later, in 1981, Sadat was assassinated by Egyptian Muslims, a killing welcomed by most Arabs, including the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization). Why welcomed? Because Sadat had done the unforgivable — recognized Israel and made peace with it.

The lesson that Palestinians should have learned from the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement was that if you make peace with Israel, you will not only get peace in return, you will also get all or nearly all of your land back. That is how much Israelis ache for peace.

As a lifelong liberal critic of Israeli policies, the New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman wrote just two weeks ago: "The Palestinians could have a state on the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem tomorrow, if they and the Arab League clearly recognized Israel, normalized relations and renounced violence. Anyone who says otherwise doesn't know Israel today."

Give Israel peace, and Israel will give you land.

Which is exactly what Israel agreed to do in the last year of the Clinton administration. It offered PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat about 97 percent of the West Bank and three percent of Israel's land in exchange for peace. Instead, Israel got its men, women and children routinely blown up and maimed by Palestinian terrorists after the Palestinians rejected the Israeli offer at Camp David. Even President Clinton, desirous of being the honest broker and yearning to be history's Middle East peacemaker, blamed the ensuing violence entirely on the Palestinians.

Israel's Camp David offer of a Palestinian state for Palestinian peace was rejected because most Palestinians and their Arab and Muslim supporters don't want a second state. They want Israel destroyed. They admit it. Only those who wish Israel's demise and the willfully naive do not.

Israel wages war by weighing into consideration, civilian casualties. Their aim is in taking out Hezbollah safehouses and military targets. The aim of Hezbollah and Islamic terrorists is to maximize civilian casualties on both sides. So where is the moral equivalence? It should be clear which side yearns for peace and which side rages to wage destruction.

Hat tip: The Dennis Prager Show

Also blogging the Prager mention of "Cycle of Violence": Green Pieces

More at Mike's America

Cross-posted from The Bosun Locker blogspot

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