Thursday, July 20, 2006

"Moral Relativity", "Moral Equivalence", "Cycle of Violence", "Disproportionate Force", "Proportional Response".....?!?

"Let your opponent graze your skin as you smash into his flesh. Let him smash into your flesh while you break his bones. Let him break your bones as you take his life."
Bruce Lee

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

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Blogger Jen said...

The truth is that people hate Israel, they hate the fact that they're not little pussies taking it and not giving back any. They neglect to remember that thanks to the UN - there is a Israel and not a Palestine. I think it's also sad that you have Jewish people saying that Israel should have a "proportional response" - which I think they are their part of that EXCEPT these Hezbollah cowards, hide with women and children ... innocent Lebanese. So of course, the casualty rate is going to be higher on one side.

In the original incursion into Fallujah, April 2004 ... the Marines raged a "psychological" front by saying over a speaker into the streets to the insurgents: "To come out and fight like real men."

Terrorists aren't real men or women nowadays. Just thugs that need to be erradicated.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 1:55:00 AM  
Blogger Old Soldier said...

Excellent article. Very handy, too. Since I'm on the road traveling, I took the liberty of linking to your post.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 4:48:00 AM  
Blogger Gayle said...

Exactly right, Wordsmith!

Regarding this comment: "It should be clear which side yearns for peace and which side rages to wage destruction.", yes, it should be clear. Unfortunately people have not read their history, and much of the history they have read has been revised. Some of it, like the article I have posted, is simply deliberately false! It makes me crazy what some people are putting out there as fact, and unfortunately gullible people swallow it all, hook, line and sinker!

Proportional Force while fighting a war is one of the dumbest things I've heard of yet.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 5:42:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Check this out: Why Israel kills so many civilians. Check out the photo.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 7:21:00 AM  
Blogger WomanHonorThyself said...

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.....Well put!!!!!!

Thursday, July 20, 2006 7:40:00 AM  
Blogger airforcewife said...

Why doesn't anyone crying about "the cycle of violence" and how it is perpetuated try this little mental test...

What would happen if ANY terrorist organization threw down their arms en masse and staged sit-ins in Israel to obtain their own nation of Palestine without Israeli interference?

What would happen if Israelis threw down their weapons en masse and staged sit-ins for peace in Gaza? Lebanon? Syria? ANYWHERE in the Middle East?

Would North Korea have nukes today if we had done something more than engage in diplomacy when they showed that they valued human life somewhat less than they value dog crap?

Would there be so many kids today who are involved in criminal activities if, rather than being "fair" when punishing both kids, there was an effort made to have some sort of Justice? Perhaps that would have taught a valuable lesson of accountability.

There's very little accountability today. While the US gives compensation to nearly everyone who even claims their camel (always the best camel in teh world) was hit by US fire, and Israel gives compensation to "civilians" caught in their operations... Where is the money al-Qaeda owes New York?

And yet we're the bad guys...

Ghandi was wrong when he told the Jews to march quietly to their deaths in the ovens - there was nothing human left in the Nazis at the camps. You can't peacefully deal with people who don't value human life.

Talk first. But back it up. Walk softly and carry a big stick.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 2:25:00 PM  
Blogger Gayle said...

I checked out the link you left in this comment thread. GRRRRRRRRRR! It's simply too much! But it's not surprising as they have no regard whatsoever for life.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 6:16:00 PM  
Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

This post looks awesome, I will come back and read the whole thing. I have my Hezbollah post up including the great Hans Blix pic you provided :-). I appreciate your help despite the hard time that came with it :-).

Thursday, July 20, 2006 7:17:00 PM  
Blogger Mike's America said...

Wordsmith: We must be thinking along similar lines.

How often has there been a cease fire or Israeli withdrawal only to see Arab terrorists once again attack innocent civilians?

Would those who find Israel's response disproportional suggest that they simply continue to take ever greate civilian deaths and do nothing?

None of the negotiations, none of the international efforts, no amount of Nobel Peace Prizes have served to change the fundamental behavior of Arabs, and now Iranians, regarding Israel.

Thousands of Arab children have been taught to hate, kill and die and for what? They cannot destroy Israel, only themselves.

In the process they have committed unspeakable acts of horror to the point where their very culture has been stained for eternity.

"We will have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us."
--Golda Meir

Thursday, July 20, 2006 8:10:00 PM  
Blogger John Eyler said...

I'm new to your neighborhood but what a nice visit. Great Post. Somehow , somewhere, many in this nation lost all understanding of the neccessity of using force to constrain or guide the ignorant or the spoiled.

Today more than ever we listen and try to accomodate the squeaky wheels around us. We offer them compromise past any true equity and still they scream. We will only truly accomodate Hezbollah and the rest of the Islamo Fascists when we teach them that they had better accomodate us.

Friday, July 21, 2006 1:15:00 AM  
Blogger Tom said...

Excellent post! Hits the nail on the head.

Sunday, July 23, 2006 3:33:00 PM  

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