All My Little Words

Human Shields, and the Pornography of Propaganda

Posted in Uncategorized by nickchristian on January 7, 2009

Jeffrey Goldberg makes a valid point about Hamas’ use of civilian areas as defensive cover for their fighters which, Israel believe, is what they were doing when forty children were killed yesterday at teh UN school. It’s  a despicable betrayal of a people that they claim to represent, based on a bet that Israeli morality and respect for International Humanitarian Law is stronger than their own.

The thing is, and this is what goes unmentioned by Goldberg, it should be. The Israeli armed forces know the coordinates of all the hospitals, schools and other civilian safety zones in Gaza and knows they must never even be viewed through the scope of a rifle. If that means sacrificing military advantage and letting the bad guys go, well, tough shit.  You do it because you claim to be on the side of “right”; once you start saying “fuck ’em”, you forego any claim to that position.

As for his perspective on the open display of the bodies of dead civilians and his belief that “Palestinian moral failings are not of great interest to many people” I think Goldberg again misses the point. Of course moral judgments shouldn’t  be based on double standards and we should demand that Hamas play by the same rules of combat but there’s very little that we can say or do to make sure that happens. We should not and must not damn the (mostly) innocent, stateless Palestinians to the same fate as a band of self-interested terrorists.

Pancetta?

Posted in Uncategorized by nickchristian on January 7, 2009

So Clinton’s former Chief of Staff Leon Panetta is Bam’s pick for CIA Director, and certain Dems aren’t too pleased.  Apparently the strike against him is his lack of direct intelligence experience but as far as I’m concerned the best case to be made for him is that he hasn’t been involved with the US intelligence community, the house of a thousand fuck-ups, for any one of the past eight years. Not to mention this reassuring quote that appeared in The Washington Times last year:  “We cannot and we must not use torture under any circumstances. We are better than that.”

While I have argued, and will continue to do so, that when it comes to policy not enough attention is paid to nuance, that nothing is ever black and white, torture is one exception to that rule.

Meanwhile Sullivan tells Feinstein et al on the Senate’s Intelligence Oversight to stop being brats and take Panetta’s appointment as a wake-up call to start doing their bloody jobs properly.  And the intelligent right makes a good case for his confirmation as well.

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