The best retraction money can buy

Richard Goldstone, the UN rapporteur who said two years ago that Israel may have “targeted” Gaza civilians during its military operations in Gaza, has retracted that charge in light of new “evidence” provided by Israel.

This changes nothing. In the law of just war, the belligerent, above and beyond not “intentionally” targeting civilians, may not use excess force in such a manner that civilians will be known to be harmed: this, in just war theory, is known as proportionality.

But in fact, all developed countries intentionally use disproportionate force when engaged in “asymmetric warfare” with developing countries and non-state actors as a matter of policy, because in all cases (the US in the Vietnam era: Israel today) the citizens of developed countries will protest high casualties in the developed countries’ military.

Proportionality is always violated of necessity. Disproportionality was policy under President Johnson and Secretary of Defense McNamara after 1965 and its used was assumed to be critical to victory in Vietnam. “Shock and Awe” were the names of policies in Iraq. It has been policy in Afghanistan with few modifications.

Israel chose, as is the custom in both Israel and the USA, a cute name for its aggression, for in both cases the public is expected to treat war as a movie in a multiplex: Operation Cast Lead. Disproportionality and the intentional or “unintentional” slaughter of civilians is a necessary result if the developed country is to demonstrate its physical and hence moral superiority to its people, in this brutal calculus.

The intentions and errors of operational officers are superseded by decisions made at the top which in the “fog of war” (a very familiar term known to military experts but almost never mentioned in the press) means that you are unclear on where the enemy is, let alone innocent civilians.

You are very likely to disproportionally harm civilians if your high level policy is to Cast Lead and use overwhelming, high-energy weapons that are “precision” only in the sense that usually they will precisely land where you programmed them to land under conditions of stress and the “fog of war”.

This creates an environment thought unendurable when that kind of environment appeared in Manhattan on September 11. In that environment, you are let us say a Muslim father who has taken his two sons for a treat to breakfast at Windows of the World. Nobody has intentionally targeted you.

I rest my fucking case.

As to Hamas’ intentional use of low tech rockets which has killed smaller number of civilians (where other Israeli civilians have been used as proxies for soldiers on the West Bank as settlers to take land in direct violation of international law): all formal statements of the law of war happen to exclude the criminals’ favorite argument and logical fallacy, tu quoque or “you’re another”. The Hamas rockets do not justify the necessarily disproportional use of force, especially since the use of force has never prevented the firing of the rockets.

Both German and allied fliers, during WWII, strafed columns of civilian refugees for shits and giggles. There is in fact no clear moral distinction between this and the long-term settled policies of Israel and the United States to be able, at all times, to bring disproportionate force to bear in asymmetric warfare. The shits and the giggles are simply pushed upstairs.

While American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have had, it seems, greater scope in unleashing disproportionate force at tactical levels for shits and giggles than IDF forces, this is because, as it appears, IDF soldiers are subject to greater procedural discipline and administrative paperwork, which has been provided (along with pressure) to Goldstone.

Unfortunately, when the top brass and the government make a basically immoral decision, the following of administrative rules and procedures becomes what used to be known as Mickey Mouse in WWII and “bullshit so high you needed wings” in Vietnam.

It has never been claimed that Israeli forces went in shooting civilians like a bunch of Jewish cowboys. Instead, they went in with their overwhelming force and shit happened as in “oops”, and this was by design. The IDF does have the capability to mount high tech and surgical operations as was on display in the Entebbe rescue of highjacked Israelis in the 1970s. These types of operations could have been used on Palestinian rockets (or a high tech Star Wars defense in miniature). They were not because the broader policy was to destroy the legitimacy of Hamas.

Note the moral decline. Israel either would nor could not bomb Entebbe when a highjacked plane with Jewish civilians landed in Entebbe in the 1970s. “Surgical” warfare with “high tech” did not exist. But today this “surgical” warfare (which, if it is surgery, doesn’t use anesthesia) is used indiscriminatly and in all cases disproportionally, while paperwork is more rapidly generated to say that the field commanders did what they were told and the higher ups had the purest of intentions, and then, shit happened, and stuff.

It is taken as axiomatic that in clean white offices intentions are good. But what if developed nations have, since the 1970s, been taken over essentially by criminal gangs by means of media manipulation and convenient assassination such as that of Rabin? This wouldn’t be announced. We’d just assume that there was not qualitative change when Ariel Sharon walked to Temple Mount, and also that he’d matured since he sowed his wild oats in the 1950s as a gangster for Israel.

Note that the psychology of the public here is essentially the same as that of the woman who apologizes for the abusive husband. Disproportionality is kind of sexy, I guess. Whereas being a non-state actor tends not to get the girls.

Clearly then, the fix was in as regards Goldstone (a creature of apartheid and who attained his majority in a state which conspired with Israel), and this is the best retraction money can buy.

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One Response to “The best retraction money can buy”

  1. dubturbo…

    […]The best retraction money can buy « Spinoza1111′s Blog[…]…

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