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July 25, 2006



"If you're correct, then poisoning wells, torture, etc. is morally justified in the current conflict."

I call it a straw man because the current conflict clearly requires no such thing other than in the mind of a lunatic or someone trying to puff up an absurd rhetorical argument. As for the arguments you bring up, I dare you to say that there are no circumstances under which torture is acceptable, while if you think poisoning wells is always wrong, perhaps you're also stupid enough to believe Sherman and Stalin were "morally unjustified" engaging in scorched earth tactics in their time.

"And that they are/won't, I think, demonstrates (put aside any tactical reasons for not doing so) that the concept of just war is alive and well."

Rubbish. One needn't believe in a dubious, nebulous concept like "just war" - whatever the hell that is - to see that in light of Israel's circumstances it pays no rational dividends for the Israelis to engage in the actions you're talking about. The goal is to crush Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and alienate the group from the rest of Lebanese society, and mass murder clearly wouldn't serve that goal. That you fail to grasp this much only betrays your unfamiliarity with the writings of even the likes of Sun Tzu and Clausewitz, let alone more modern thinkers: do you really think it's airy fairy moral considerations which have prevented, say, communist China from wiping out the Tibetans?

"And that is one of the sources of the concept of proportionality that you're abusing. (Another source is Catholic law.)"

"Abusing"? No, the one doing the abusing here is *you*, not just by refusing to state clearly what exactly you mean by "proportional" if not a "kidnap for kidnap, rocket attack for rocket attack" permanent stalemate, but you also abuse my intelligence by presuming to give a place to "Catholic law" in a secular international order in which most of the actors aren't even from traditionally Christian societies. If you think either the Jewish state of Israel or even the Muslim Hezbollah do in fact or even should in principle give a damn to what "Catholic law" says about anything at all, your arguments aren't worth a brass farthing.

gene berman

Interesting that Catholic law concerning war should be mentioned. The Israelis caught the top rep of the church--a bishop, I believe, smuggling arms, ammo, explosives, etc. just a few years ago. The material was secreted in hidden compartments with which his official limousine had been fitted.


I see that there's no point in trying to persuade. My mention of Catholic law was obviously (to someone who is arguing, rather than spewing) just an example of how widely shared the concept of Just War is; there are many other examples. (I'm not religious, but come from a Jewish family.) My father, for instance, was career JAG before he retired, and is horrified. But don't let the people who will bear the brunt of your wrongheaded ideas stop you from promoting dangerous ideas. That's what we pay them for, right? Much easier to throw Geneva to the wind.

Frankly, I expect this from the Freepers, but you're making me reconsider my former view that FD wasn't that lightweight.

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