Re: Mouthpiece

1

If somebody was attacking my nursery I would use mines. Extremism in the defense of tomatoes is no vice.


Posted by: Well Regulated and Opinionated Curtis Lemay | Link to this comment | 08- 3-14 8:04 PM
horizontal rule
2

The ideological settlers -
It seems nothing will give them pause.
I can't understand how their minds work:
They need to read Grossman and Oz.

But until the Pallies find Gandhi,
You won't find me joining their cause,
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal.


Posted by: Opinionated Phil Ochs Parodist | Link to this comment | 08- 3-14 8:12 PM
horizontal rule
3

but to judge from some of the hits that the Israeli army caused in Gaza, I think at least in some points the military action is excessive - justified, but excessive.

Excessive, yes. But justified!

Is there any excess of force or carnage that cannot be "justified"?


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 08- 3-14 8:45 PM
horizontal rule
4

I'm so glad we have the analogy ban here.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 08- 3-14 8:47 PM
horizontal rule
5

I had the exact same reaction to that Marshall post. His position on Israel can be kind of tricky to pin down; he describes himself as having a "two-state, liberal Zionist perspective," but that description actually covers a wide ideological range and he's clearly further to the right within it than a lot of liberal American Jews. (His recommendation in that post of J. J. Goldberg's reporting is right-on, though.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 3-14 8:50 PM
horizontal rule
6

I wonder if US politicians' unanimous "Support The Troops, Pray They Return Safely From The Worst Place On Earth To The Second Best Place On Earth" approach to Israeli military policy is finally having a counterproductive effect on US public opinion. Israeli spokesmen never have to present any sort of rationale or justification for anything, since the media is satisfied with the explanation "We are Israel, whereas they are Hamas." So for a couple decades now no pro-Israel propagands has actually reached the American audience -- since the media assumes everyone already knows the basic details of why Israel is right all the time, that message has not been reinforced.

It seems like a lot of generally apolitical celebrities are sending out tweets and whatnot saying "Pray for Gaza", and then being surprised when the media sees this as a bizarre and confrontational message.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08- 3-14 9:56 PM
horizontal rule
7

I'd drop a bomb on his house, steal his land, and give it to my brother.


Posted by: Asteele | Link to this comment | 08- 3-14 10:12 PM
horizontal rule
8

Ironically, "Neighbor, please" is a more polite version (used at Cole's blog among others) of the phrase that might be an appropriate response to JMM. Or maybe you did that intentionally.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08- 3-14 10:15 PM
horizontal rule
9

I think it was intentional.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 12:49 AM
horizontal rule
10

Well, there seems now to be little moral difference between the two sides except that one is blowing up schoolkids on purpose and the other one is doing it through deliberate neglect. On the bright side, I suppose they mean they have more common ground than they used to have.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 1:43 AM
horizontal rule
11

10: I think perhaps "one is actually blowing up school kids and the other is trying to blow up schoolkids and failing" might have worked better there as, by this point in the conflict, I had to think for a couple of minutes before remembering that, despite some of their politicians and a lot of their online support, the official Israeli line was still that they didn't intentionally target civilians.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 2:05 AM
horizontal rule
12

I mean, when you look at the warnings received over the latest UN school, that's a level of "neglect" that even Fred Goodwin might not recognise.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 2:08 AM
horizontal rule
13

I think perhaps "one is actually blowing up school kids and the other is trying to blow up schoolkids and failing" might have worked better

That isn't actually a moral difference. Moral superiority isn't conferred by incompetence.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 2:17 AM
horizontal rule
14

Re: 13

Really? You don't think there 's a moral difference between actuall killing in large numbers, and wanting to but failing to do so? Intention is all?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 2:25 AM
horizontal rule
15

It's more that there isn't a moral difference because both sides are, actually, targeting children intentionally and I am no longer prepared to give either side moral credit for lying about it.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 2:53 AM
horizontal rule
16

Although like ttaM, I have philosophical worries about a theory that renders Peter Sutcliffe or John Wayne Gacy less bad than about a tenth of YouTube commenters.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 2:55 AM
horizontal rule
17

I'm beginning to wonder whether UNRWA made a mistake in giving them the exact GPS coordinates of all their schools. Perhaps they took it the wrong way or something?

"No, "..and FIRE FOR EFFECT!" is not the traditional salutation for a business letter in Hebrew"


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 3:11 AM
horizontal rule
18

13, 14, 16 - there are two conflicting principles here. the first is the principle that intent confers responsibility (we might call this "justice"), the second is the principle that responsibility is proportional to capability (we might call this "fairness").


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 3:14 AM
horizontal rule
19

18 seems to get it about right.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 3:48 AM
horizontal rule
20

Maybe the first thing you'd do would be to wonder why the fuck your neighbor was doing that. Or maybe not, because there's a very good chance that you would know exactly why.

Further down the interview, he does actually address this question - the bit where he's talking about the Hamas charter.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 4:21 AM
horizontal rule
21

Whoever did 2 was very good, and it gets it about right.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 4:30 AM
horizontal rule
22

Digby links to a Robin Wright piece in the New Yorker, looking back at the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon in pursuit of the PLO which resulted in a similar siege and shelling of a dense urban enclave in pursuit of the "bad" guys. Worth reading the whole thing.

"The Arab world had given only lip service to the P.L.O. during the siege. Iran was the only country to step in, dispatching eighteen hundred Revolutionary Guards to Lebanon's eastern Bekaa Valley. They did not engage Israel--they quietly fostered, funded, and armed the embryo of what became Hezbollah. After the P.L.O. departed, Hezbollah launched its first suicide bomb--then a novel tactic--against Israeli military targets. On April 18, 1983, a car bomber attacked the American Embassy in Beirut, killing sixty-three people. Six months later, suicide bombers blew up a barracks housing U.S. Marines who had deployed to oversee the Palestinian withdrawal. Two hundred and forty-one American servicemen died."
Rabin a few years after the invasion:
I believe that, among the many surprises, and most of them not for the good, that came out of the war in Lebanon, the most dangerous is that the war let the Shiites out of the bottle. No one predicted it; I couldn't find it in any intelligence report. ... If, as a result of the war in Lebanon, we replace P.L.O. terrorism in southern Lebanon with Shiite terrorism, we have done the worst [thing] in our struggle against terrorism. In twenty years of P.L.O. terrorism, no one P.L.O. terrorist made himself a live bomb. ... In my opinion, the Shiites have the potential for a kind of terrorism that we have not yet experienced.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 5:10 AM
horizontal rule
23

I must say that I had not remembered the magnitude of the attack.

The siege lasted ten weeks. More than seventeen thousand Lebanese and Palestinians died; most were civilians. Lebanese officials claimed that a quarter of them were under fifteen years old. Israel lost more than three hundred and sixty troops. In the end, Israel got some of what it wanted. The P.L.O. was badly battered; Arafat and three-fourths of his fighters were forced into exile.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 5:24 AM
horizontal rule
24

6 is interesting.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 5:52 AM
horizontal rule
25

2, 6, and 18 are really good.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 7:35 AM
horizontal rule
26

And indeed, as I do my annual scan of the Salon frontpage, having been habituated to doing so years ago although I never click on anything anymore, I see a story that I actually click on because it supports #6. Specifically, millennials are the only age group in the US that see Israel more at fault than Hamas for civilian casualties.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 7:56 AM
horizontal rule
27

A pox on the bloodthirsty militant hardliners in both their houses.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 8:02 AM
horizontal rule
28

27: And the mushy middle that rolls over at the first sign of effective propaganda.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 8:49 AM
horizontal rule
29

Peter Beinart responds to this kind of argument and makes some good points.

All of which is to say that when Israelis complain about a double standard, they have a point. That doesn't mean Israel's behavior is justified (I don't think it is)--only that it passes the depressingly low standard that America, when responding to threats in the Middle East, generally sets for itself

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/08/what-would-you-do-if-hamas-attacked-you/375535/


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 9:10 AM
horizontal rule
30

Double standard seems off. That is, there are plenty of Americans who think that everything we've done to respond to 'threats' in the Middle East is fine, and there are plenty of Americans who think that Israel's actions in Gaza are wildly disproportionate. But they're mostly not going to be the same people -- I'd expect someone who disapproves of what Israel is doing in Gaza to also disapprove of most of what the US has been doing for the last decade and a half.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 9:19 AM
horizontal rule
31

"I WOULD MOW HIS MOTHERFUCKING LAWN, SIR."

I keep thinking that OP question serves as a political litmus test of sorts in the U.S., and trying to figure out if you've got an especially precise map of who will unconditionally support Israel and who will not by seeing whether people answer "I would call the police" or "I would shoot back." Because dude, you know, I guess I'm missing the point here, but I think I would immediately call the police if my neighbor started shooting a machine gun into any part of my house. Alternatively, I would get hit by gunfire and die. There's a pretty high likelihood of a shootout with the cops, I suppose. So are the police "the military" or "the UN"? Are we up to discernable levels of usefulness here?

I have no idea even how to reconstruct the point of view that derives insight from that question, because I can't figure out what the stock answer is expected to be. I didn't click through, though; is the link to a link to Gourevitch in the NYer?


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 9:25 AM
horizontal rule
32

30 is a good point: though I suppose the counter is that almost every American who is currently criticising Israel's actions also voted for Obama, who has done similar things in Afghanistan.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 9:31 AM
horizontal rule
33

In furtherance of LB's point in 30:

And while we argue with each other about the wisdom of recent military operations, we don't generally question their morality.

Well, sure, among the ghouls of the national political media no one is questioning their morality.

Christ Almighty. The fully-internalized will to empire, let Peter Beinart show it to you.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 9:34 AM
horizontal rule
34

32: Right. I'm voting for Ralph Nader in 2016 because then I can forestall accusations of hypocrisy.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 9:37 AM
horizontal rule
35

It's not much of a counter, given that there wasn't a candidate that wouldn't have done similar things in Afghanistan available -- I don't think anyone voted for Obama specifically because he was more reliably bloodthirsty than either McCain or Romney. (Oh, there are certainly voters who wouldn't have voted for him unless they trusted him to be bloodthirsty enough, but you can't tell who they are by just looking at voting behavior, you'd have to ask them.)


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 9:41 AM
horizontal rule
36

35 was me -- my name dropped somehow.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 9:41 AM
horizontal rule
37

Oh, there are certainly voters who wouldn't have voted for him unless they trusted him to be bloodthirsty enough

Obama, like most Democrats, tries to position himself in the Goldilocks Zone of bloodthirstiness.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 9:49 AM
horizontal rule
38

I am sorry that I have not used my considerable political influence to change American policy in Afghanistan.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 9:51 AM
horizontal rule
39

38: Much less income inequality. Fake accent, tied with 80 million other people as history's 2nd greatest monster.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 9:55 AM
horizontal rule
40

35: true. Just trying to work out the implicit basis of the criticism in 29.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 10:14 AM
horizontal rule
41

Well, when it comes to criticizing another country's foreign policy, you're generally held responsible for your own country's actions whether you supported them or not. Imagine if an Israeli wrote an editorial harshly criticizing Obama's use of drones. When everyone responds, "What about your own country!?" Israeli responds, "Hey, I didn't vote for Netanyahu." That just doesn't work.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 10:19 AM
horizontal rule
42

41: well, US critics of Israel's actions are as often as not perfectly explicit that what they actually hope to change is US policy towards Israel, -- especially in terms of scale and structure of aid -- in light of Israel's actions. So the criticism "what about your own country?" is not apt.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 10:23 AM
horizontal rule
43

I don't agree with that at all. That would mean that only people from countries with impeccable foreign policy could criticize anyone, wouldn't it?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 10:24 AM
horizontal rule
44

Me again, sorry.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 10:24 AM
horizontal rule
45

43: Plus hypocrites and those lacking self-awareness. That's a pretty big group.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 10:25 AM
horizontal rule
46

That just doesn't work.

Sure it does.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 10:26 AM
horizontal rule
47

42: Actually it's even more apt because of that. "You're going to get all judgmental and critical of us and cut off aid to us for doing the same things you're doing?"


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 10:29 AM
horizontal rule
48

46: It does not!

I won the argument this time!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 10:30 AM
horizontal rule
49

45: And the stateless, and space aliens, and people who have renounced their citizenship for tax purposes.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 10:30 AM
horizontal rule
50

47: That's really wrong: you're conflating American opponents of Israel's actions in Gaza with America the country. There is nothing at all inconsistent in an American who opposes American actions in the Middle East as disproportionate, also opposing American aid to Israel where it enables Israeli disproportionate violence.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 10:32 AM
horizontal rule
51

you're conflating American opponents of Israel's actions in Gaza with America the country

Which is the central fallacy of the Beinart quote, so peep too is being consistent.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 10:35 AM
horizontal rule
52

46: It doesn't work because the response is, "Then shut up about my country if you can't even fix your own."

.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 10:49 AM
horizontal rule
53

52: A response which can be swiftly and effectively countered by saying: "No."


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 10:51 AM
horizontal rule
54

Do you really think US Afghan policy is as bad as Gaza? If so I've seriously underestimated how bad we've behaved in Afghanistan. For example, I didn't know we had a blockade on all goods going into Afghanistan or that we we displaced a quarter of their population from their homes. But I could be wrong, you pay more close attention to Afghanistan than I do.

(If you'd picked Iraq that'd be different. But of course everyone opposed to the Gaza invasion thinks the Iraq war was wrong.)


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 10:55 AM
horizontal rule
55

I think in terms of the immediate complaints about Israel's conduct in Gaza -- killing and endangering civilians without sufficient concern for proportionality -- the US has acted comparably in Afghanistan. The, I don't know what to call it, peacetime complaints about Israel in Gaza are a different matter.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 10:58 AM
horizontal rule
56

Universalizing Settler Liberty ...Jacobin, 8/04/14, interview with Aziz Rana, The Two Faces of American Freedom, excerpts

Second, the narrative reads American founding as an anti-imperial act and the republic as the first post-colonial society. As a result, it erases the extent to which the republic was itself grounded in an imperial project of territorial conquest and a colonial one of settler control over excluded populations.

The result is a persistent view in American life that, unlike European states, the application of US power is fundamentally non-imperial. As Gunnar Myrdal stated in the 1940s, Americans stands "warmheartedly against oppression in all the world." Precisely because US founding commitments express the world community's ideals, the projection of American power necessarily means the defense of liberal values against illiberal ones.
...
There has been no symbolic raising of a new flag or writing of a new governing text, let alone imposition of the type of sustained policies -- such as those of reparations, land return, meaningful sovereignty, and systematic resource redistribution -- that defined actual decolonization efforts elsewhere.

Instead, in the US the project of inclusion -- as opposed to decolonization -- has concentrated narrowly on distributing more fairly the country's few positions of corporate, professional, and governmental power. The result, although clearly a move away from classic settler norms, has been mostly to broaden the composition of socially privileged groups at the top rather than to undermine privilege as such or to eliminate its racially inflected character.

There's more. We're a bloody empire, folks, and Israel is our distant and less-than-competent but still supported Raj.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 11:14 AM
horizontal rule
57

There have been 1600 civilian casualties in Gaza in a month! I'm not saying the US was great in Afghanistan, but most estimates I can find are at most a few hundred per year. And that's in the middle of an actual war zone with a real army on the other side. It just doesn't seem at all a reasonable analogy.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 11:17 AM
horizontal rule
58

Maybe its only "idiotic" if one refuses to make any distinction between "Palestinians" and "Hamas."


Posted by: Rich H | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 11:20 AM
horizontal rule
59

And Afghanistan has over 15 times the population of the Gaza Strip! If the US Military killed a quarter of a million Afghan civilians in a month then you'd have a great point.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 11:23 AM
horizontal rule
60

Sorry cant do math, someone fire me. 25K in a month.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 11:26 AM
horizontal rule
61

It's pretty ridiculous to say that anyone "can't" criticize anyone else about anything. There's nothing incoherent about hypocrisy, and everyone is hypocritical about almost everything.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 11:35 AM
horizontal rule
62

61: I can't argue with that.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 11:37 AM
horizontal rule
63

There is nothing inconsistent with being opposed to multiple instances of the same behavior, even if some of those instances are your own countries.


Posted by: Asteele | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 12:22 PM
horizontal rule
64

I'm been thinking about why this current mess in the Middle East bothers me so much. I've realized that it isn't the numbers of dead or even the particular actions, even though bad.

It is that so many of my FB friends seem to be justifying it.

Sure. I am maybe shallow or uncaring about death in the world. But, geez, just don't throw it in my face and act like Israel has some God-given right to kill people in Gaza.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 3:23 PM
horizontal rule
65

I think I've been most surprised to learn just how bad the Israeli blockade in Gaza has been.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 6:21 PM
horizontal rule
66

64: what part of "God's chosen people" don't you understand, antisemite?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 6:31 PM
horizontal rule
67

||

Sayeeda Warsi (a minister in the British foreign office) has resigned over Daveybloke's stance (or lack thereof) on Gaza. I almost feel proud of her, stupid Tory tosspot though she is. I think it's the first time a member of a British government has resigned on a point of principle other than opposition to the country getting involved in an actual war since WWII.

|>


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08- 5-14 5:28 AM
horizontal rule
68

67: Lord Carrington resigned over the Falklands, but not because he opposed it - because he felt it was his fault as Foreign Secretary. And Thomas Dugdale resigned back in the 50s over the Crichel Down business (compulsory purchase of land during the war, land not returned to owners as promised after 1945). But those were both more "accepting responsibility" than just disagreeing with policy - does that count as a point of principle?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 5-14 5:35 AM
horizontal rule
69

(A pedant writes: as the only Muslim member of the Cabinet, I think that Baroness Warsi is the least likely government minister to qualify as a tosspot...)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 5-14 5:37 AM
horizontal rule
70

66:

I've seen lots of people write: "Kill them big and small," Chivington said, "nits become lice."

Yet, nobody cites to the famous prize winning book about it.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08- 5-14 5:54 AM
horizontal rule
71

68. I think Dugdale counts, not sure about Carrington. I'd forgotten Crichel Down, good spot. "Tosspot" is my go to term of non-sexist abuse hen I'm feeling idle, but you're right, I need to think of a more inclusive one.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08- 5-14 5:57 AM
horizontal rule
72

71: "Pillock" has a good, robust sound to it.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 5-14 5:59 AM
horizontal rule
73

Dunno, I think of pillocks as male.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08- 5-14 6:01 AM
horizontal rule
74

Does 'pillock' have a literal meaning? I'm familiar with it as an insult, but I don't have any idea what the word means.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-14 6:07 AM
horizontal rule
75

Didn't David Clark quit Blair Mk.1 because he didn't like them watering down the FOIA?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 08- 5-14 6:11 AM
horizontal rule
76

I've always supposed it was a genteel version of "bollock". Maybe I'm wrong.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08- 5-14 6:11 AM
horizontal rule
77

That seems grammatically unlikely -- I'd think a euphemized version of "bollocks" would stay plural, wouldn't you?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-14 6:14 AM
horizontal rule
78

Apparently a variant of "pillcock" meaning penis.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 5-14 6:15 AM
horizontal rule
79

A wittol pillcock.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 5-14 7:00 AM
horizontal rule
80

A pedant writes: as the only Muslim member of the Cabinet, I think that Baroness Warsi is the least likely government minister

A pedant most assuredly does not. Unless he is in fact the only Muslim member of the Cabinet.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 08- 5-14 2:48 PM
horizontal rule