Is the SDS now mainstream for the Democrat Party?

August 11, 2006

Tom Hayden in a Huffington Post article has a  lot to say about the ’06 elections. The Huffington Post bio of him remarkably ignores his role in the radical SDS.
We already know this: The public and the press were in the dark, but Vice President Cheney already knew British agents were arresting Muslim suspects in the trans-Atlantic bombing case when he attacked Ned Lamont and the Democratic Party for encouraging “al-Qaeda types.”
    When you make this accusation you are suggesting that  had the press and public known about this fact they would have been less inclined to believe Cheney’s statement. In fact this knowledge makes Cheney’s statement far more believable.
The US war in Iraq is a failure in the eyes of most Americans. The US-backed Israeli bombing of Lebanon has revived the discredited neo-conservative argument to carry the war to Middle Eastern terrorists.
No, the attempted bombing has revived the argument of taking the battle to the terrorists. Let’s face it, if we sit back and react to the terrorists we’ll lose this war and be killed, if we try for understanding we’ll be back atthe start except with a few thousand dead and a few more years of terrorist planning in the books. Also saying that Israel should be more careful in bombing Lebanon isn’t ridiculous, just wrong. Saying Israel shouldn’t bomb Lebanon at all is suicidal. Should Israel wait till Hezbullah sends a full scale army at them before engaging Hezbullah. Why shouldn’t Israel exploit their military advantage as Hezbullah is exploiting its advantage of a lack of morality (or rather a morality which doesn’t care about civillian casualties).
This is about the November 2006 election, Armageddon for Republicans who fear losing their monopolistic grip on the Congress, and about the 2008 election which will be a referendum on what the neo-conservatives have wrought. This is about the fate of the planet for this generation.
No, this is about terrorists who want to kill us. I think very few Republicans consider the elections Armageddon and by 2008 odds are that the Iraq war will not be the major issue. As an aside doesn’t calling the Republican control of Congress monopolistic seems a bit hyperbolic. There’s a fair market for both parties and the Republicans are winning now, hardly monopolistic.

Who has a plan?
Indeed who does have a plan for this war? It doesn’t seem that he has one besides leaving immediately.

The issue of Iraq is “ripe” for an anti-war majority at the polls. The “war on terrorism” is a different matter, which is why Republicans want to shift the public focus from the debacle in Iraq to the latest terrorist threat.Peace advocates don’t have a consensus on what to say. We need to win on the issue that is ripe, which is Iraq, while not being trumped by other issues which are still ripening. The case against Iraq must make sense to the broadest majority of Americans, and be bullet-proof against Republican and talk show fusillades.
His basic point here seems to be that the anti-war activists should lie about their ideas in general in order to get an electoral advantage. It seems to me that someone doesn’t believe in his convictions or in speaking truth to power. (Considering his view of the general populace I guess his motto would be ‘Lying to weakness’)

But what should be said on terrrorism? That we need a change from Bush policies that have not made Americans safer after 9/11? That Bush has talked about “taking the fight to the terrorists” but they already were in Britain, Canada, and almost in the air over the Atlantic while 140,000 Americans were sweating in Iraq? That Bush’s slaughterhouse in Baghdad, Bush’s arming of the Israelis with cluster bombs, and Bush’s unilateralism have incited more anti-American hatred than ever before?
     I’m taking it that by talking about the fact the terrorists are already here Mr. Hayden isn’t endorsing Michael Savage’s idea of interning all Muslims until Michael Savage decides that we can let them out. Also the fact that a terrorist plot failed  does not mean that we are not a safe place. Exactly how would Hayden prevent terrorism. Not through military action as he has made amply clear, and not through surveillance, I’m assuming, considering I haven’t heard him take a high-profile stand against the New York Times. Maybe he thinks we should buy the terrorists a Coca Cola and hope that they spend the next hundred years wiping out every Jew in Israel while we tie down their hands and feet and bring out the wheelbarrows to the sea. Then after we give them Israel and the terror doesn’t stop we can hand over the Vatican. Then we could give them Spain. Of course we’ll have to convert to Islam but that isn’t so bad really because these people are not bad, we’re bad. After all who’s great to the nth degree grand father did the Crusades, huh. Who killed the Jews in the Holacaust, who massacred the Armenians, oh never mind about that last one that was just an accident on their part.

That Bush’s budget-cutting, tax-cutting philosophy has left us stripped of resources to protect our ports, airports, nuclear plants, and other exposed facilities? That Bush’s oil policies are destablizing the planet, the economy and the atmosphere itself?
Let me tell ypu that this is one of the first times I’ve heard Bush accused seriously of being a budget-cutter. Also Hayden presents his plan for defense against terrorism. To quote an idealogical compatriot of his, Neville Chamberlain,
” Before giving a verdict upon this arrangement, we should do well to avoid describing it as a personal or a national triumph for anyone. The real triumph is that it has shown that representatives of four great Powers can find it possible to agree on a way of carrying out a difficult and delicate operation by discussion instead of by force of arms, and thereby they have averted a catastrophe which would have ended civilisation as we have known it. The relief that our escape from this great peril of war has, I think, everywhere been mingled in this country with a profound feeling of sympathy.”
We can’t as a radio caller suggested, “pull our troops out and build a 20 foot wall around the country. I agree that Bush’s economic policy has destabilized our economy. For example the European economy is tremendously stable almost exactly matching inflation while our economy is very unstable at approximately 4% instabilility a year.

Those are just suggestions. We cannot simply say “withdraw troops from Iraq”, though of course we should say that too. To the Democratic Party, I say keep the peace and justice movement in mind. Don’t sound like flip-flopping echos of the Republicans on terrorism and Lebanon. If you are going to take the fight to the Republicans, you can’t sound like Republicans lite.
So his political advice is to ignore everything but the Iraq War but to go for broke on that one issue. There is just one problem with his proposal. If by some chance things start going right in Iraq the Democratic Party has completely messed up their election chances and it could be 1972 all over again instead of 1974.

Where does the Left find these self-hating Jews?

August 9, 2006

Rabbi David Goldberg is disturbed by the violence and sees many Talmudic problems with….. Israel’s retaliation. To quote him.
“In one of the tractates of the Talmud – that vast repository of rabbinic law and lore – there is a discussion about the difference between killing in self-defence and murder. A man came before the eminent Babylonian sage Raba and said that he had been ordered by the governor of his town to kill a third party in order to save his own life. Was he permitted to do so? No, ruled Raba, the principle that if someone intends to kill then you kill him first only applies if thereby the life of the intended victim is spared. Otherwise, “Say not that your blood is redder than his; perhaps his blood is redder than yours.” Even in extreme circumstances we should comply with certain rules of moral conduct that enable societies to function and sovereign states to maintain relations with each other.
Talmud may be one of the misquoted texts out there, especially by liberal Rabbis. This passage is referring to complying with a third parties demand that you kill an innocent to save you from the demander. Hezbullah terrorists fall into none of these categories they are attackers who you can defend yourself against. Israel is a nation with not only a right, but an obligation from the Torah to defend itself by any means necessary.
War, too, has its own rules of limitation and restraint, enshrined in just-war theory, the Geneva conventions and international law. Prominent among them is the doctrine of proportionality: that the response to aggression should be commensurate with the act. It would be true to say that Israel has always taken a robust attitude towards reprisals. Zionist policy from pre-state days was to respond to Arab attacks with double force, as a deterrent. David Ben-Gurion, the first Israeli prime minister, was the supreme exponent of this approach. Yet, interestingly, shortly after Israel’s stunning victory in the six day war he counselled returning almost all of the captured territories because, in his view, after such a comprehensive thrashing the defeated Arab nations would leave Israel in peace for at least a decade. Moshe Dayan was dispatched to his desert kibbutz to tell the old man to pipe down. Piecemeal colonisation of the West Bank followed, in retaliation for Arab refusal to recognise or negotiate with Israel, which is why almost 40 years on there are 250,000 Jewish settlers on Palestinian land and no resolution in sight to the claims of Palestinian statehood.

To quote the Geneva convention on proportionality ”

Civilians have special protections under Convention IV, Protocol I, and Protocol II.

They must be treated humanely, without discrimination based on race, color, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or other similar criteria.

Violence to life and person including murder, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture are prohibited. The taking of hostages is prohibited. Outrages upon personal dignity, including humiliating and degrading treatment are prohibited. Sentences and executions without a judgment from a regularly constituted court and without benefit of the standard judicial guarantees are prohibited. Civilians must not be used to protect military installations or operations against attacks. Indiscriminate attacks are those which are not directed at a specific military objective or those which use a method of attack that cannot be directed at or limited to a specific military objective. (Protocol I, Art. 51, Sec. 4) This includes area bombardment, where a number of clearly separated military objectives are treated as a single military objective, and where there is a similar concentration of civilians or civilian objects. (Protocol I, Art. 51, Sec. 5a) This also includes attacks where the expected incidental loss of civilian life or damage to civilian objects is excessive to the military advantage anticipated. (Protocol I, Art. 51, Sec. 5b) Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited. (Protocol I, Art. 51, Sec. 4) Combatants must distinguish between civilian and military objects and attack only military targets. (Protocol I, Art. 48) If it becomes apparent that an objective in an attack is not a military one, or if that attack could cause incidental loss of civilian life or damage to civilian objects, then the attack must be called off. (Protocol I, Art. 57)”

Israel is guilty of none of these offenses by any reasonable standard of war. Hezbullah is guilty of all.In addition the colonisation wasnot in retaliation but was done because people believed that the land was theirs. Anyway Rabbi Goldberg doesn’t advocate a return of Britain to the Celts and the Scots and the Welsh and the Irish. In addition, Ben Gurion was clearly wrong. the defeat of the Arabs gave Israel 6 years of peace before another all-out war.

The present eruption in Lebanon is the latest in a long list of major wars, smaller campaigns, two intifadas, terrorist attacks, suicide bombings and targeted assassinations that have bedevilled the region since 1967. Both peoples have been corrupted by the situation. Neither can claim moral superiority.
Major wars: Started by Arabs
Intifadas: Started by Arabs
Terrorist Attacks, Suicide Bombings: Arabs again.
Targeted Assasinations: Israel. It doesn’t seem clear to me why targeted assasinations are wrong to these lefties. Do they think Israel should leave the terrorists alone until they have personally committed a crime at which point the police can arrest the remains of the suicide bomber and turn them over to his weeping family where he will get a greater funeral than those he killed. Or maybe Rabbi Goldberg thinks Israel should send in ground troops to the area (just kidding that would be an invasion of Palestine’s soveirgn territory) or maybe he thinks they should rely on the PA, I mean Hamas, to deal with those pesky Hamas terrorists.
I think Israel can claim moral superiority.

It is reasonable to infer from newspaper coverage and television evidence that Israel has been noticeably disproportionate in its response to the abduction of two soldiers and the killing of eight others in a Hizbullah ambush three weeks ago. Asymmetric warfare, as it is currently fashionable to call the contest between regular armies and guerrilla forces, inevitably results in asymmetric casualties, at least 10 times higher in Lebanon than in Israel. The government of Israel has the legal sanction to protect its citizens and forcibly remove Hizbullah’s rockets from southern Lebanon, along with the danger posed by 2,000-3,000 guerrillas. However, it should be borne in mind that – intolerable though it is for a large section of the population to be forced into bomb shelters and some of them killed – Hizbullah’s arsenal of Katyushas, rifles, machine guns, grenades and mortars represents a negligible military threat to the survival of Israel. This is not a total war between two countries that involves both armed forces and civilians, making Israel’s response to Hizbullah rockets analogous to the American response against Japan after Pearl Harbor or Britain’s against Germany, as some of Israel’s defenders have grotesquely tried to claim.

Hezbullah is targeting Israel, pretty soon they’ll be able to hit Tel Aviv and they can already hit Jerusalem. To say that this is not a major threat to Israel is absurd. Again he doesn’t give an answer to what a proportional response is, only that the BBC shows more Lebanese homes destroyed than destruction in Israel so therefore, the response is disproportionate. Should Israel keep a body count of their civillian dead and aim to kill that many Hezbullah terrorists. Should they measure their economic damage and destroy an equivalent amount of property. Should Israel aimlessly lob primitive missiles into Beirut and hope to hit the terrorists. Or should they use their technological superiority to kill the terrorists and prevent future rocket attacks.

Whether Hizbullah is indeed the fanatical spearhead of a Shia arc of extremism bent on the liquidation of Israel followed by world domination, or whether the prospect of Muslim unity among its opposed factions is a chimera, is something for strategic analysts to argue over. What is certain is that governments must respond to events in the present, even while getting their foreign-policy thinktanks to anticipate the shape of future alliances. In replying as forcefully and misguidedly as it has done to provocation from Lebanon, Israel might not even achieve a rocket-free zone in the north. But given that the Palestinian problem is no nearer solution and that by creating a wilderness in Lebanon and calling it peace Israel has recruited thousands of new martyrs to the Hizbullah cause, military and diplomatic planners are going to have to ask themselves how long the respite will last. Was Israel’s disproportionate response worth the cost of strengthening Arab hatred, alienating world opinion yet again and, last but not least, inviting criticism from a growing number of diaspora Jews who wish for Israel to live in security but find it increasingly difficult to condone what is being done by the Jewish state in their name? As the late Richard Crossman said, a policy of pragmatism is never justified – especially if it is unsuccessful.

Deal with the present problems and leave the future for later events. An interesting strategy indeed. Does he mean that Israel should wait for Iran and Syria to send in their ground forces before bombing Beirut back to the Stone Age because if he does Israel isn’t following his advice because Iran and Syria already are in this war. Inviting criticism from a growing number of diaspora Jews who wish for Israel to live in security but find it increasingly difficult to condone what is being done by the Jewish state in their name. Frankly sir, Israel doesn’t care at all about what you think.

Lebanese Game Theory

August 4, 2006

Israel frequently releases to the press its plans for the war. For example, Olmert frequently has made statements about his plans for a ceasefire. Somehow this makes sense to some people. The people who like these statements are typically those who favor timetables for withdrawal. Not only does this lead to bad results in the long term it also hurts you in the short term. Consider the use of suicide bombers. In a long term battle suicide bombers are a rare weapon used sparingly because of the lack of sustainability. In fact, one reason Hezbullah isn’t sending suicide bombers is because they fear that Israel isn’t going to cave soon. Also rockets are less valuable during a ceasefire so you should shoot as many of them off as possible before the war ends. What are the possible benefits of publicly discussing ceasefire?

Qana raises some interestng questions. Although there were weapons stored in the building the military costs of Olmert’s 2 day unilateral truce were very high. However, Israel must not set the precedent of ignoring these types of buildings as targets. Ideally the press wouldn’t report Hezbullah’s exaggerations but that is unrealistic. Wouldn’t it be simpler if we could be cold and uncompassionate killers like Hezbullah? It might win us the battle but it would lose us the war.