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Author Topic: London Beheadings
starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
Bud,

A halakhic ruling of din rodef is where there is a legal determination that someone is about to commit a very evil act, such as a murder, and under such circumstances, it is permitted by Jewish Law to kill them to stop the murder. In the case of Yigal Amir, some Rabbis in Brooklyn published their determination that these circumstances applied to Rabin because the Rabbis disapproved of Rabin's role in the peace process.

But again, saying, "He's a rodef" is not the same as saying, "You should go out and kill him." A lot of people have been called rodfim without being killed for it. What he did was absolutely redifa. But not in the immediate, technical sense that would justify murdering him.
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Greg Davidson
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In response to the following
quote:
If there are examples of a Christian scholar or leader sanctioning a massacre, assassination or an action that deliberately caused the death of anyone in the last 50 years, I’d like to find out about it and learn what happened as a result.
I'd like to bring out the first guy I found on a google search

quote:
At the center of it all is Pastor John Hagee, a popular televangelist who leads the 18,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas. While Hagee has long prophesized about the end times, he ratcheted up his rhetoric this year with the publication of his book, "Jerusalem Countdown," in which he argues that a confrontation with Iran is a necessary precondition for Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ. In the best-selling book, Hagee insists that the United States must join Israel in a preemptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God's plan for both Israel and the West. Shortly after the book's publication, he launched Christians United for Israel (CUFI), which, as the Christian version of the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee, he said would cause "a political earthquake."
So, here we have a significant figure in the American Christian community (he had repeated interactions with John McCain) who was part of a group advocating for war with Iran. Unless you believe that it would be possible to go to war with Iran without anyone being killed, here we have someone who meets your criteria of "sanctioning...an action that deliberately caused the death of anyone"

[ May 25, 2013, 11:17 PM: Message edited by: Greg Davidson ]

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Greg Davidson
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starLisa, I completely agree that Amir was not justified in his murder, and in fact the Rabbis in Israel who he consulted with did not give him approval for an act of murder. I can't know what motivated the Rabbis in Brooklyn to make their pronouncement, and for all I know, they may have recanted if Amir had actually asked them specifically before he committed his act. But it is an example of a murder receiving religious sanction for his act from a subset of religious authorities in his community of faith.
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Greg Davidson
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quote:
what I can’t understand is when decent intelligent people like yourself try to excuse these Muslim fanatics and blame circumstances and compare them to other religions as if to mitigate their acts of barbarism:
You are not reading carefully what I write. There is no excuse for the evil acts performed by Muslim fanatics. There are no mitigating circumstances - people are responsible for the evil acts that they commit. And we do face a threat from Islamic extremists.

Here's where we differ. I believe that you mis-diagnose the threat we face from Islamic extremists by believing in that Islam has a greater potential for extremism than other religions. A wealth of data concerning actual evil actions committed across history and across the world today refutes your basic premise. Since your basic premise appears to be false, any solutions that you identify to address the threat from Islamic extremism based on that premise are unlikely to work. If you will accept the preponderance of data that the root cause of Islamic extremism is not specific to the religion of Islam, we could have a more productive discussion on how to address the real threat of Islamic extremism.

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
starLisa, I completely agree that Amir was not justified in his murder, and in fact the Rabbis in Israel who he consulted with did not give him approval for an act of murder. I can't know what motivated the Rabbis in Brooklyn to make their pronouncement, and for all I know, they may have recanted if Amir had actually asked them specifically before he committed his act. But it is an example of a murder receiving religious sanction for his act from a subset of religious authorities in his community of faith.

Not really. Again, if they'd said "You should kill him", that would meet your criteria. An "implied" sanction is not the same thing. And actually, I believe they declared him a moser, rather than a rodef.
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Greg Davidson
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I'll agree with your clarification that while Amir believed he had received religious sanction, that may not have been the intent of those whose direction he believed that he was following.
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Bud Martin
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Star Lisa,

I really appreciated your remarks at the end of page 3, posted May 25, 2013 10:59 PM. I might not agree with all of your positions, but you speak with complete integrity.

Greg,

Technically you could be considered correct about Hagee because I wasn’t specific enough, but I actually meant the religious backing for the act of murder (its not murder til it happens - another technicality) and since we haven’t taken actions on attacking Iran based on what he said, then his advice is strictly political, arbitrary and irrelevant, since he isn’t in the chain of command for the US government. His recommendations are neither a religious edict, Fatwa nor a warrant to kill or murder, but an attempt to influence US foreign policy. We have separation of church and state just to prevent those types of situations.

Actually, I would have recommended attacking Iran many times over the years; I am completely biased against their country since the US Embassy takeover in ’79 and the Beirut barracks bombing of US Marines in ’83. I used to be a Democrat until Jimmy Carter screwed up everything (the economy, foreign affairs, education, transportation, infrastructure, you name it, the whole enchilada) as the President, and since have gone back and forth between the political parties trying to find a moderate choice for President.

I also happen to believe that we might have just about reached the point, where bombing Iran won’t have any good consequences. In my estimation, Iran is a rotzei'ach and we should do whatever we can to prevent the next victims’ death, but that will never happen under this Administration and there are too many victims now to count. Now if Obama had supported the Iranian election protests in 2009-10, we might not be having this problem now, but who’s to say if they could have actually overthrown the Mullahs or kept a worse government from taking over.

quote:
Here's where we differ. I believe that you mis-diagnose the threat we face from Islamic extremists by believing in that Islam has a greater potential for extremism than other religions. A wealth of data concerning actual evil actions committed across history and across the world today refutes your basic premise. Since your basic premise appears to be false, any solutions that you identify to address the threat from Islamic extremism based on that premise are unlikely to work. If you will accept the preponderance of data that the root cause of Islamic extremism is not specific to the religion of Islam, we could have a more productive discussion on how to address the real threat of Islamic extremism.
On this point I totally agree with Seagull that “Islam as practiced today has more effective tools that can be abused by power seekers who want to use terror tactics to advance their cause.” But I think you still need to look at the difference between individuals committing murder and then using religion as an excuse to justify those acts versus the religion (authorized through Mufti using hadiths to issue Fatwas based on the Koran) promoting murder and actively recruiting believers to commit atrocities in their name and promising them eternal life and paradise with 72 virgins, etc, etc, etc,.. ad infinitum!

Again, I commend all of the responses I've read on this issue for their integrity and honesty. I have learned quite a lot here and feel a greater kinship with Israel than before. Thank you all!

[ May 26, 2013, 04:56 AM: Message edited by: Bud Martin ]

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AI Wessex
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quote:
Originally posted by Aris Katsaris:
quote:
The label "crazy" is no less meaningful than "Muslim".
Really? Really? Look, I can define "Muslim" as anyone who thinks that Muhammed was the prophet of God. I can also define "Muslim" as anyone who views Qu'ran as a divinely inspired text.

Since the above two groupings very closely coincide, that's a concrete and specific terminology. It only gets fuzzy and meaningless when you're talking to moron conservatives who'd be willing to call Obama a "radical atheist muslim." Or to those radical muslims who think that every baby is born Muslim, even if it doesn't know it yet. I'm not either of the above.

But I do *not* know what you mean by "crazy". Do you mean "suffering from schizophrenia"? Do you mean "suffering from persecution anxiety"? Do you mean "suffering from audio-visual hallucinations"? Do you mean "suffering from the delusional belief in the existence of a superpowerful being called God"?

So, what the hell do you mean?

Fair point. "Crazy" to me means:
quote:
cra·zy
/ˈkrāzē/
Adjective
Mentally deranged, esp. as manifested in a wild or aggressive way: "Stella went crazy and assaulted a visitor".
Noun
A mentally deranged person.
Synonyms
adjective. mad - insane - demented - daft - lunatic - nutty
noun. lunatic

There are lots of ways that crazy manifests itself, but I would include beheading a complete stranger on the street and then stopping to address passersby with a calm and seemingly rational political message that fundamentally also seems crazy.

I think we may all apply different terms to express what amounts to the same level of horror and revulsion we feel about what was done. For others here what they did was "evil". The definition I found for that is:
quote:
e·vil
/ˈēvəl/
Adjective
Profoundly immoral and malevolent.
Noun
Profound immorality, wickedness, and depravity, esp. when regarded as a supernatural force.
Synonyms
adjective. wicked - bad - ill - vicious - malign - sinister
noun. harm - ill - mischief - wrong - disaster - wickedness

The intersection of crazy and evil is mentally unstable, since there is no rational or moral justification for crazy or evil acts and both describe unjustifiable violent acts against innocent people.

[ May 26, 2013, 07:01 AM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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KidTokyo
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Pete,
quote:
Kid, Muslims found the Last Temptation of Christ blasphemous against Issa. in New York City I believe that's where any threats would have come from. ( are there actually any Christians in New York City to speak English?) the show was less blasphemous than painful, like the Demi Moore version of the Scarlet Letter. I was offended as a fan of the Bible story, and of good film in good literature in general. as a believing Christian, I felt nothing but embarassed pity for the people who had made it. well meaning fanfiction produced by a retarded mind.
I don't know what the hell you're talking about here, and I'm not sure you know either. I was referring to a controversial play by Terrance McNally, not to any movies, most especially not the self-basting turkey to which you refer, wherein Robert Duvall dances around a campfire with a deer carcass on his head.

In answer to your (I hope unintentionally) condescending question, there are millions of English speaking Christians in NYC. Even in the theater biz. When I worked there, a quarter of my coworkers showed up annointed every Ash Wednesday. We also have conservatives here too. There is even a huge Mormon temple near Lincoln Center.

Regarding your second point...what I'm asking is how can it even be reasonable to refer to anythings as broad as "Islam" as a single thing at all, much less a thing with some kind of specified intentionality which can be responsible for anything? By what mechanism does this or anything rob individuals of responsibility for their actions?

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seagull
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A friend of mine married a settler and moved to Gush Etzion a cluster of Jewish villages whose population (men women and children) was massacred in 1948. After 1967 it was one of the first places in the "west bank" to be resettled by Jews. The settlements of Gush Etzion have much broader support in the Israeli public than those of Hebron and Nablus for several reasons:

1. It is a strategically important location for defending Jerusalem
2. There are no valid Arab claims for that land.
3. The story of the attempts to relieve the siege on these villages before the massacre is part of Israeli heritage
4. Many Israelis believe that rebuilding on the exact locations where Jews were murdered is a way to show our resolve and to send a message to our enemies that murders will not succeed at breaking our resolve. The controversial extremist settlers in Hebron are trying to build on that sentiment with limited success, by contrast the settlements in Gush Etzion are not controversial.
5. Even Israeli left wingers who want to give the Palestinians all of the pre-1967 West Bank have trouble justifying an evacuation of the Gush Etzion settlers.

But enough with all that background ...
I want to get to the story that this settler friend of mine told me which is relevant to what Greg is saying on this thread.

She was shopping for Groceries in a Hebron market during the middle of the first Intifada. She said that it was not a designated riot day so it was safe to go shopping and the shop and martket stand owners were glad to get her business.

In a conversation with one of the Arab market stand owners who was selling her groceries he was critical of Israeli handling of the Intifada saying:
quote:
You Israelis are uncivilized barbarians just like the Western countries that you came from. You have the military strength to quash this uprising in less than a day. If something like this happened in Egypt or Saudi Arabia, the police would go out, fire live bullets into the demonstrators, kill a few tens of them and scare the rest into going home. We'd have peace and prosperity for another decade before they'd have to do it again. That is what a civilized society does.

Instead of doing the civilized thing, you Israelis give our hotheaded youth the mistaken impression that you are weak and look at the results. In the last year alone this Intifada has killed more than a thousand people from both sides and I have to keep my market stand closed every time there is a riot. The blood of all these deaths is on your hands because you did not have the conviction to kill a few tens early on.

I can hear the logic of what he said, I can accept the truth in his criticism. I can see why his people would think that we really are uncivilized barbarians. But I still have a problem with firing live ammunition into a violent demonstration that does not pose an immediate risk to life. I belong to a civilization with a different set of values and even if I can understand his logic, I could not follow it and fire into a crowd.

Maybe that difference between my culture and his culture explains some of Greg's statistics which show that over history Islamic cultures have managed to kill fewer people per capita.

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KidTokyo
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quote:
You got some bomb threats but nobody died. "The Innocence of Muslims" a 15 minute video on you tube resulted in 50 deaths, the sacking of multiple diplomatic missions, Pakistan's minster of railways putting a price on the directors head and the Irainian bounty on Salman Rushdie (who wasn't involved in the film at all) raised by another 500,000.

The reason we need to be willing to admit that there is something happening within Islam that is very dangerous is at that point we can discuss what that is.

No one's doing mainstream Muslims any favors by not talking about it.

I'm not saying we shouldn't talk about "it.". I'm just making sure we correctly identify what "it" is. I think you are blaming religion for a phenomenon that is based on political activity.

If I ask you to describe what it is about Islam that causes the behavior you describe, you could not point to a single element that is unique to Islam, nor anything necessitated by Islam.

Pointing to differences between the responses between NYC and Pakistan as though religion is the greatest defining difference between the two places strikes me as absurd.

Groupthink and fanaticism is a phenomenon unto itself. Making Islam uniquely responsible for it only pushes the solutions, which necessarily involve outreach to communities and individuals most vulnerable to it, further away.

[ May 26, 2013, 09:27 AM: Message edited by: KidTokyo ]

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Pete at Home
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Kid, re-boot your humor algorithm. The second question.. As for 'you do either,' i'll take your plagiarism for praise of my cutting style.

Oh, and most mormons dont speak English. [Razz]

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Pete at Home
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My point, which i'm disappointed you did not catch, was that 'Last Temptation' insults the Muslim faith at least as much as Christians, and in NYC, given the history of violence done in the name of the respective faiths, the threats were more likely Muslim than Christian in origin.

You ask what problems seem particular to Islam. The notion that faith cannot withstand mockery. Muslims have told me that their holy writ states that Mohamed himelf ordered the assassination of playwrights that mocked him.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
You ask what problems seem particular to Islam. The notion that faith cannot withstand mockery.
This is not particular to Islam. At least part of the Mormon definition of "sacred," for example, involves keeping the most special elements of the faith from the swine so that they do not cheapen it by mockery. What is particular to some Islamic cultures in the modern age is the belief that violence in such situations is morally justified even if it is legally censured.
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Pete at Home
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As usual, Tom cut off the relevant part of the post. Islam is afaik unique in that its FOUNDER was so sensitive to mockery that he had poets and playwrights murdered for spoofing him.

since Tom brings up a comparison to the LDS church, I think the Mormons compare rather favorably in their restrained and gentle response to the heavy-handed mockery in The Book of Mormon musical. Trey Parker and Matt Stone have commented on it.

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Pete at Home
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Mormons dont discuss the temple ceremony or listen to mockeries or discussion of it. Mormons dont try to force others to not mock or discuss the temple. the temple ceremony is in the US library of Congress; anyone can look it up.
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Greg Davidson
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quote:
I can hear the logic of what he said, I can accept the truth in his criticism. I can see why his people would think that we really are uncivilized barbarians. But I still have a problem with firing live ammunition into a violent demonstration that does not pose an immediate risk to life. I belong to a civilization with a different set of values and even if I can understand his logic, I could not follow it and fire into a crowd.

Maybe that difference between my culture and his culture explains some of Greg's statistics which show that over history Islamic cultures have managed to kill fewer people per capita.

This argument seems to be that since our culture values life more, an unintended consequence is that this honorable attribute may result in a higher level of killing. And I agree that in some contexts, we are much more hesitant about killing innocent people, and I do feel proud about our culture in those contexts.

But I am cautious about comparisons between my culture and others that make me feel good - I know there is a natural tendency to think of my own in a more favorable light. So I like looking quantitatively, and trying to do so from a neutral perspective, so that I judge fairly: how many deaths of innocent civilians have been caused by each side? If your assertion is right that our culture places a higher premium on avoiding civilian casualties, we should see that in most (if not all) cases. But, to take the case of Israel in the past few years, I can't come up with a quantitative case to substantiate your assertion. Israel was responsible for more civilian casualties in Gaza than the number of Israelis killed by their enemies for the past decade. The 2006 war in Lebanon had a similarly disproportionate number of casualties for innocent civilians. I am not saying that the civilians were specifically targeted for killing, and the example is not precisely the same as "firing live ammunition into a violent demonstration", but when an individual or army takes an action that is likely to lead to a given result, they are morally responsible for the consequences.

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Greg Davidson
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Side-note on where I am coming from:

As a Jew I believe that I am responsible for moral judgments. My reading of Torah indicates to me that the morality of Jewish behavior is an even higher value than loyalty to fellow Jews. And my emphasis on the importance of quantification when making moral decisions also has some substantiation in Torah, as seen in this dialog between Abraham and G-d as the morality of the people of Sodom are under scrutiny:

quote:
24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing--to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?" 26 The LORD said, "If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake." 27 Then Abraham spoke up again: "Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city because of five people?" "If I find forty-five there," he said, "I will not destroy it." 29 Once again he spoke to him, "What if only forty are found there?" He said, "For the sake of forty, I will not do it." 30 Then he said, "May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?" He answered, "I will not do it if I find thirty there." 31 Abraham said, "Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?" He said, "For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it." 32 Then he said, "May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?" He answered, "For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it." (Genesis 18:24-32)
Torah, which sometimes passes over generations in a fraction of a single verse, spends the time to identify 6 different quantitative estimates in determining the overall level of justice. The lessons I take from this is that in pursuit of fair moral judgments, it is sometimes necessary to ask difficult questions, we need to do so with humility and skepticism, and that ultimately justice requires quantification.
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
I'll agree with your clarification that while Amir believed he had received religious sanction, that may not have been the intent of those whose direction he believed that he was following.

Not to beat a dead horse, but I don't believe he even knew what those rabbis in New York said. He was part of an extreme group, run by a Shin Bet provacateur, who egged him on. That's all public record.
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
Side-note on where I am coming from:

As a Jew I believe that I am responsible for moral judgments. My reading of Torah indicates to me that the morality of Jewish behavior is an even higher value than loyalty to fellow Jews. And my emphasis on the importance of quantification when making moral decisions also has some substantiation in Torah, as seen in this dialog between Abraham and G-d as the morality of the people of Sodom are under scrutiny:

quote:
24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing--to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?" 26 The LORD said, "If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake." 27 Then Abraham spoke up again: "Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city because of five people?" "If I find forty-five there," he said, "I will not destroy it." 29 Once again he spoke to him, "What if only forty are found there?" He said, "For the sake of forty, I will not do it." 30 Then he said, "May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?" He answered, "I will not do it if I find thirty there." 31 Abraham said, "Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?" He said, "For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it." 32 Then he said, "May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?" He answered, "For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it." (Genesis 18:24-32)
Torah, which sometimes passes over generations in a fraction of a single verse, spends the time to identify 6 different quantitative estimates in determining the overall level of justice. The lessons I take from this is that in pursuit of fair moral judgments, it is sometimes necessary to ask difficult questions, we need to do so with humility and skepticism, and that ultimately justice requires quantification.
And yet, Abraham was presumably completely okay with nine entirely innocent people being annihilated.
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seagull
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Abraham also had no problem going to war against 4 victorious kings whose armies significantly outnumbered his 318 followers just to rescue his one Nephew (Lot of Sodom).
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Viking_Longship
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Kid

quote:
Pointing to differences between the responses between NYC and Pakistan as though religion is the greatest defining difference between the two places strikes me as absurd.

Religion IS the biggest defining difference between NYC and Pakistan. Without Islam there would not even be a Pakistan. Islam is the foundation of the culture and is a full system for the culture.

Religion in United States isn't the foundation of our culture, it's not what binds us together. In the United States for most people religion is something you do one a week to twice a year, but it really doesn't define you any more than your favorite brand of soda does.

And again we really do need to talk about scale.

Between Jylland Posten, the response to Terry Jones and the Innocence of Muslims contorversy 300 people have died. that's just in the past decade.

A play getting some bomb threats but no bombs is not evidence that Christians are just as bad as Muslims and there's not something unique about Islam at this point in history. .

[ May 26, 2013, 03:10 PM: Message edited by: Viking_Longship ]

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seagull
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Greg:
quote:
Israel was responsible for more civilian casualties in Gaza than the number of Israelis killed by their enemies for the past decade. The 2006 war in Lebanon had a similarly disproportionate number of casualties for innocent civilians.
I would like to paraphrase that statement in the context of the Bruce willis' Die hard movie.

In that movie John McClane (Bruce Willis' character) was responsible for more civilian casualties than the number of McClanes killed by his enemies.

To avoid any confusion the people that McClane kills in the movie are civilians. They are certainly not a foreign military and even if they pretend to be terrorists, the movie makes it very clear that they are in fact criminals (i.e. civilians - not enemy combatants).

The Arab terrorist who purposely use human shields and shoot them in the back when they try to escape from the warzone would like nothing better than for Israel to buy in to the preposterous recipe that fairness means that our casualty count should be on par with theirs. In their speeches they openly say that they would gladly sacrifice their children as "martyrs" to kill Israelis and that since they outnumber us more than 100 to one, they can be victorious even if ten Arabs die for every Jew.

I am sure that many of the Palestinians in Gaza love their children too. I suspect that even the Hamas and Hizullah leaders love their own children - that is why they send other people's children to die but are willing to negotiate prisoner exchanges when their own family is involved.

I was about to say that these leaders could not care less about the death of innocent civilians but then I realized that such a statement would not be true. In fact, they care very much about those deaths - they want to see as many of them as possible because it advances their agenda. After they kill the human shields that try to escape they blame Israel for those deaths. After all if Israel had not tried to kill them, they would not have had to shoot the human shields in the back.

Israel does what it can to minimize innocent civilian casualties. We try to target the actual terrorists and our track record in avoiding "collateral damage" is much better than that of the US or British military. Don't take my word for it look up the statistics for yourself.

Please note that I was comparing the performance of the IDF to other modern armies that are not defending themselves against an existential threat. When Britain was facing an existential threat from Nazi Germany it had no problem leveling Dresden to "send a message" that even cities that are not part of the military industrial complex would suffer if Germany did not surrender. The US was not even facing an existential threat when it dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and I am not criticizing the decision to do so. The deaths of the people in those cities served to end the war sooner and thereby saved the lives of many more Japanese and American lives.

But in spite of the fact that Israel is facing an existential threat, we hold ourselves up to a higher standard. The IDF has performed better in reducing collateral damage than the US and British military did in conflicts with the Taliban, the Argentinians and the Vietcong who did not use human shields as effectively as the PLO and Hamas do.

If you are looking for a fair statistical comparison to make maybe we should look at the percentage of Israeli civilians who are considered legitimate targets by Hamas and Hizbullah (close to 100%) with the percentage of Arab civilians who are considered legitimate targets by the IDF.

Hint: all Palestinian civilians put together are less than 5% of the total Arab population and the IDF is certainly not targeting all of them.

I know, these stats are so skewed in Israel's favor that it's ridiculous to take them seriously. That is why we hold ourselves to a higher standard.

[ May 26, 2013, 04:03 PM: Message edited by: seagull ]

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Greg Davidson
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Justice depends on quantification here. If every civilian casualty in Gaza was intentionally being put in harm's way by the entire Palestinian people for propaganda purposes, then I would agree that moral culpability would be entirely on the Palestinian side. Or if none of the people killed were innocent civilians - if every one of them were actively engaged in acts of terrorism or warfare - I would similarly hold themselves accountable for their fate.

As you write:

quote:
The Arab terrorist who purposely use human shields and shoot them in the back when they try to escape from the warzone would like nothing better than for Israel to buy in to the preposterous recipe that fairness means that our casualty count should be on par with theirs. In their speeches they openly say that they would gladly sacrifice their children as "martyrs" to kill Israelis and that since they outnumber us more than 100 to one, they can be victorious even if ten Arabs die for every Jew.
The important question is regarding the the dead - how many of them have committed the actions you describe above (gladly sacrificing their children as martyrs) and how many are civilians innocent of that sort of actions. It is morally convenient to assume that everyone killed had it coming to them, but unlikely.

I also will say that in the scheme of things, the number of casualties in Gaza is dwarfed by the number of casualties in the Congo or a wide range of other places in the world. Even if the majority of those killed were innocent by any standard that we would also use to judge Israeli, American or other Western casualties, it's still far fewer than occurs in much of the rest of the world.

But at the same time, if we are trying to make a case for a special and higher level of morality for the actions of Israel (and there are some reasons for doing so), we must also fold in the possibility of moral culpability for civilian casualties in incursions such as Gaza in 2009 and Lebanon a few years earlier. I have some personal contacts with those involved in those military operations, and from the stories I heard, these were not perceived (at least by some who were engaged in them) as operations designed to achieve clear-cut military objectives with a minimum of civilian casualties - they were seen as efforts to provide a show of force for political reasons (both regarding Israel's enemies as well as Israeli domestic politics) and enemy civilian casualties in the hundreds as being acceptable. These opinions may be biased or inaccurate (it's second hand info - maybe there were clear-cut goals, and the notion of inflicting casualties on civilian populations for ignoble purposes never entered the minds of a single person on the Israeli side whose finger was on a trigger), but at a minimum I believe that real life tends to hold greater moral complexity than a simple view where they are all terrorists and all the civilian casualties are really just enemy plants.

Let me re-iterate - I disagree strongly with any suggestion that there is a moral equivalence between the actions of the Israeli military and those of terrorists. But I believe that the distinction is not entirely black-and-white between the actions of all Palestinians (and/or all Muslims) and those of Israel or the West, and that an accurate count of innocent people killed is one key indicator of the level of moral responsibility.

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Greg Davidson
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quote:
If you are looking for a fair statistical comparison to make maybe we should look at the percentage of Israeli civilians who are considered legitimate targets by Hamas and Hizbullah (close to 100%) with the percentage of Arab civilians who are considered legitimate targets by the IDF.
I believe that people actually killed is a far more relevant judgment of morality than our speculation about percentages considered as eligible targets by an enemy. Considering someone an eligible target is not an immoral act, in either International Law or Jewish Law. Taking action on that belief is where morality comes in.
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seagull
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quote:
The important question is regarding the the dead - how many of them have committed the actions you describe above (gladly sacrificing their children as martyrs) and how many are civilians innocent of that sort of actions. It is morally convenient to assume that everyone killed had it coming to them, but unlikely.
I never said that everyone killed had it coming to them. Quite the contrary, what I said was that their leaders want to have as many "deaths of innocent civilians" as possible.

Dead hostages are just as dead regardless of whether they are shot by an Israeli aiming at the hostage taker or whether they were shot in the back trying to flee. Either way, the word "hostage" implies that they were not terrorists themselves and that they were not purposely targeted by the IDF.

My view is that the Entire population of Gaza is being held hostage by Hamas and that innocent civilians are dying on a daily basis in Gaza because they can not receive life-saving services.

IDF soldiers have been attacked from ambulances. Several roadblock searches of women who looked pregnant and were on the way to Israeli hospitals have found that the large belly contained a bomb rather than a baby. If Israeli intelligence and circumvention measures had not been as effective, these attacks could have been more lethal than they actually were and there are still too many people dying in Israel from terror attacks. These indiscriminate bombers purposely attack civilians and steer away from soldiers and security guards because their goal is to maximize the death toll. Their bombs are very egalitarian, they do not care about our skin color or whether we are Jewish or Arab Israelis, they just want to kill us.

As a result of these precedents, some women who really are pregnant are detained and searched by Israeli soldiers on the way to hospitals. I do not know how many of these women lost their lives or their babies as a result of the delays caused by roadblock searches. I doubt that anybody has the incentive to collect accurate statistics on these highly explosive matters but I am sure that it happens sometimes. Regardless of the actual number, the moral responsibility for ALL those deaths rests with the first woman who strapped a bomb on her belly and thereby made those searches necessary. It also lies with the people who made the bomb and gave it to her knowing what the fallout would be and planning it so that pregnant women will hate the soldiers who search them even if they do not lose their babies.

Trying to assign the moral responsibility to the IDF soldier manning a roadblock and doing a regretfully necessary job is just wrong! Distorting morality to make self defense seem immoral is not a "higher level of morality".

quote:
they were seen as efforts to provide a show of force for political reasons
I already expressed my views on "a show of force" when I mentioned Dresden and the Atomic bomb. I know that some people retroactively disagree with the bombing of Dresden and Nagasaki. I do not think it is fair to second guess the commanders who had to make those difficult choices. Looking forward, I would not want the leaders of Israel to be hobbled by fears that would prevent them from making a similar choice if it became necessary.

I prefer to avoid civilians deaths whenever possible and regardless of whether they are Arabs or Jews. Still, if it ever comes to a choice between the death of ten babies in Gaza or one Baby in Israel (who may be Arab), I hope and trust Israel's leaders to protect the Israeli baby first. The moral responsibility for the death of the ten Arab babies in Gaza rests clearly with Hamas because they are the ones who are forcing Israel to make these choices.

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seagull
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quote:
I believe that people actually killed is a far more relevant judgment of morality than our speculation about percentages considered as eligible targets by an enemy.
If you want to focus on people actually killed, how about comparing the percentage of attacks that killed ONLY innocent civilians and no legitimate targets.

Oh, I take that back, that kind of comparison would be unfair to Hamas, the PLO and Hezbullah because they do not have the advanced technology that makes it possible for Israel to hit it's targets more accurately. So no matter how good Israel comes out in that comparison, it would mean nothing until these Arabs have the resources to develop similar technology.

But wait a minute, they outnumber Israel more than 100 to one, and they have all that Oil money (which Israel does not). Why is it that they do not have similar or even better technology?

Could it be that their priorities are different from Israel's? Could it be that their actions show that they don't really want to use their resources to minimize civilian casualties? Could it be that their actions in choosing how to use their resources actually reflect their beliefs?

So if you want to measure morality based on what actions people take and not just of what they say that they believe we are back to

* How many of Israel's attacks killed ONLY innocent civilians?
* How many Hamas, PLO and Hizbullah attacks killed only innocent civilians.

Or better yet:

* How many of Israel's attacks killed ONLY innocent civilians that Israel was reasonably expected to know about ahead of time?
* How many Hamas, PLO and Hizbullah attacks killed only innocent civilians that these organizations were reasonably expected to know about ahead of time.

After all these poor Hamas operatives could claim that they aimed the rocket at a military base but it just happened to go off course and hit a kindergarten. I don't think they can make the same claim when a suicide bomber explodes himself in the middle of a crowded restaurant.

Oh silly me, I forgot, the suicide bomber is not an innocent civilian and since he also died in the explosion, there was a "legitimate target" killed.

I guess that means that they have the moral high ground. Or does it?

[ May 26, 2013, 07:17 PM: Message edited by: seagull ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
Side-note on where I am coming from:

As a Jew I believe that I am responsible for moral judgments. My reading of Torah indicates to me that the morality of Jewish behavior is an even higher value than loyalty to fellow Jews. And my emphasis on the importance of quantification when making moral decisions also has some substantiation in Torah, as seen in this dialog between Abraham and G-d as the morality of the people of Sodom are under scrutiny:

quote:
24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing--to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?" 26 The LORD said, "If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake." 27 Then Abraham spoke up again: "Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city because of five people?" "If I find forty-five there," he said, "I will not destroy it." 29 Once again he spoke to him, "What if only forty are found there?" He said, "For the sake of forty, I will not do it." 30 Then he said, "May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?" He answered, "I will not do it if I find thirty there." 31 Abraham said, "Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?" He said, "For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it." 32 Then he said, "May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?" He answered, "For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it." (Genesis 18:24-32)
Torah, which sometimes passes over generations in a fraction of a single verse, spends the time to identify 6 different quantitative estimates in determining the overall level of justice. The lessons I take from this is that in pursuit of fair moral judgments, it is sometimes necessary to ask difficult questions, we need to do so with humility and skepticism, and that ultimately justice requires quantification.
And yet, Abraham was presumably completely okay with nine entirely innocent people being annihilated.
that is one bizarre presumption. Nine could be evacuated, as Lot was. the point is there's only so far Abraham was willing to argue with God about saving the whole cities.
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Bud Martin
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I know that ornery protocol doesn't seem to include Thanks and polite gestures, but I'm really having a great time reading this thread and really did enjoy the interplay between the different opinions. Seagull and Greg, in particular your dialogue was so interesting and witty and full of so many intelligent and complex issues that my brain has been on overdrive thinking about these posts.

I honestly want you to know that this is what I think Ornery should be and that this kind of repartee and discussion is what enhances all of those that participate.

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
The important question is regarding the the dead - how many of them have committed the actions you describe above (gladly sacrificing their children as martyrs) and how many are civilians innocent of that sort of actions. It is morally convenient to assume that everyone killed had it coming to them, but unlikely.

False dichotomy. What about people who simply can't be troubled to get out of the way when the terrorists move into their apartment building? Are they innocent victims? If so, of whom? If they stay, knowing that their building is now the immediate site of an attack on Israel, is Israel to blame for their collateral deaths? I don't think so.

How about if the Arabs launch rockets from a building they identify as a hospital. Which may or may not be, but let's say it is. Does Israel, in your opinion, have any moral obligation to let them keep shooting at us from that hospital? Isn't it the responsibility of sane Arabs (which you assume there are lots of) to attack the ones who use the hospital as a base of operations?

The thing is, no one among the Arabs acts to stop these things. No one. Not anyone. Nada. Sure, if one person were to try, he'd get his genitals handed to him. But if there were any significant objection to what they're doing, it could be stopped.

I guarantee you that if a Jew were to start firing rockets into Jordan or Lebanon from his home or God forbid from a hospital, they wouldn't have to worry about return fire, because the Israel government would come down like the wrath of God and smite the crap out of him. And Jews all over the world would bemoan the event, and beat our breasts, and cry out, "What did we do wrong?! How could we have allowed such a thing in our midst!"

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Bud Martin
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StarLisa,

Again a response that shows integrity and righteous indignation. Have I shown you yet that I understand the word. [Smile]

The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.

THANK YOU StarLisa for your comment, it was very well put!

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Greg Davidson
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Bud,

Thanks for the thanks. I've been gone for a long time - I do appreciate discussions with those who have different opinions, but hold them with integrity (meaning that they apply the same standards of justice and proof for all sides, and they hold themselves responsible for speaking the truth as they best understand it).

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Greg Davidson
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starLisa, I am willing to discuss with you a scale of moral culpability, but we have to make sure that it is fair and just.

I start from the assumption that we cannot weigh some innocent human lives as being of higher value than other innocent human lives. So let's count number of innocent civilians killed as a metric for evil.

Next, what is our standard for evil? Intentionally killing an innocent civilian is evil. But how about when innocent civilians are killed, and it is not possible to definitively determine whether those killings were intentional? How about when a military action is selected, and a certain number of civilian casualties are accepted by the attacking force - is it morally appropriate to tell those innocents who have had their spouses or children killed in a war of choice that the attackers are not evil? Where is the boundary line?

And then we get to those who do not commit evil actions, but still support them. Does this support, while less than committing the deed, still render these supporters as slightly evil? Is their degree of evil greater if they have played a role, even a small one, in the commission of the evil? Think about your answer to this carefully, because if this is your view, it may bring unintended consequences. It means that we who live in a democracy have a greater share of moral responsibility for innocent civilian casualties due to our actions than those who have a lesser voice in their government. This may be less of an issue in terms of I/P, because the number of civilian deaths is relatively small compared to the rest of the world, but in the United States, the killing of roughly 100,000 innocent civilians that resulted from the Iraq War is an evil that a substantial share of the American public might have responsibility for in terms of having provided support. I don't believe that the American public that supported the Iraq War is a legitimate target for attack even though a substantial portion supported acts that resulted in the deaths of many civilians. Similarly, I don't believe that Palestinians who provide no material support to terrorists can be considered to have lost their "innocent civilian" status and thus be considered legitimate targets

[ May 27, 2013, 01:33 AM: Message edited by: Greg Davidson ]

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seagull
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quote:
So let's count number of innocent civilians killed as a metric for evil
If you insist on following that metric the Palestinian who criticized Israel for being uncivilized western barbarians was right to do so. If IDF soldiers could shoot into the violet crowds during the first demonstrations of the first Intifada (like Saudi and Egyptian police do) they could have prevented a much larger number of innocent civilian deaths on both sides (and much more suffering that did not result in actual death). Does that mean that these IDF soldiers were evil for NOT shooting at the crowd?

quote:
the killing of roughly 100,000 innocent civilians that resulted from the Iraq War is an evil that a substantial share of the American public might have responsibility for in terms of having provided support
Greg, American's responsibility for the 100,000 deaths you mention is indirect because most of the killing was not done by American troops and there was no active participation by the US to encourage those killings.

I do not understand why you choose to focus your moral compass on these indirect events instead of looking at the much more troubling moral implications of:
* active support for Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war (active support for someone who killed many innocent civilians).
* Active support for Al-Qaeda as long as they were fighting against the Russians.
* Civilian deaths from collateral damage in Vietnam (which not all Americans opposed).
* Barbaric sanctions imposed against Iraq that hurt the hostage Iraqi population without making a dent in Saddam's power.
* Barbaric sanctions imposed against Iran today which hurt the hostage Persian population without making a dent in the mullahs' power.
* Deserting allies in South Vietnam, Lebanon, Kurdistan and Somalia to be massacred after we promised to help them.
* Promising protection to the refugees in Srebrenica encoraging them to gather in one place where they could be massacred more easily by their enemies and then standing by and doing nothing by as the massacre happened.

quote:
I don't believe that the American public that supported the Iraq War is a legitimate target for attack even though a substantial portion supported acts that resulted in the deaths of many civilians.
Greg, I agree with your sentiment but I also recognize that former allies that we abandoned and refugees that we mislead into a false sense of safety feel differently. For many of them there could not be a more legitimate target in America than Wall Street. Wall street is the symbol of what they see as "corporate colonialism" that drives the US to interfere in Kuwait, Iraq and Libya (where they have Oil interests) while ignoring massacres in Bosnia, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Sudan and Syria.

For them, Wall Street is a more legitimate target than the Pentagon or the White house. The people in Al-Qaeda who choose to attack the twin towers were very much aware of these differing sentiments. They knew that attacking wall street will make it easier for them to find more recruits and that at the same time it will enrage people like you and me into a defensive stance that will only increase the gap between our cultures and theirs. They want that gap to grow, they thrive on the conflict. They did not attack Wall Street by accident. They wanted Americans to unite behind what we see as killing of innocent civilians so they could tell their people "see all Americans are immoral".

If we want to avoid falling into the trap they set for us and promote peace instead we need to find common ground with the other cultures. We can not base that common ground on our own outrage at what they consider to be legitimate targets.

One moral concepts that I believe is common to most human societies is that "our own people come first". Sensible Arabs recognize that is not immoral for me to expect the Israeli government to protect an Israeli baby even if that protection means letting ten babies in Gaza die. They recognize that because they know that they would rather let ten Israeli babies die to save the life of their neighbors' baby.

Can we steer the discussion toward the question of "how can we make sure that babies don't have to die"? Can we avoid falling into the trap set for us by the extremists and fanatics - of which both sides seem to have an unlimited supply?

I do not know the answer to these questions. I certainly think it is worth a try to steer the discussion in the direction of peace. I also think that we should not give up on peace just because there is an unlimited supply of fanatics. But until we can work something out, we need to make it clear to those on the other side that we will not stand idly by and watch our own babies get killed.

Anyone who sees someone attacking us and does not immediately run away from the scene is responsible for their own death. Any mother who allows her children to throw stones at Israeli cars (babies die in the car accidents that follow) is responsible for the death of her own children.
I am not saying that they deserve to be killed, I am not saying that they should be targeted. I am just placing the responsibility where it really belongs.

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Greg Davidson
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seagull, I don't disagree with some of the other areas you suggest of potential moral culpability, but I hope you also see how moral determinations get increasingly complex as you weigh the costs of who was killed to those who might have been killed, you differentiate between those responsible for specific actions that lead to civilian casualties and those who merely support the ones who actually take the actions. My overall point is that I believe we need to be careful about apportioning moral responsibility to those who don't actually commit the acts that kill innocent civilians, because any decision-rule broad enough to assign guilt might affect almost everyone.

I agree with is general tendency that you cite:
quote:
One moral concepts that I believe is common to most human societies is that "our own people come first".
Thus, a central struggle becomes "our people". I would like to identify "our people" as non-terrorists, as those who do not kill innocent civilians. I strongly reject attempts to associate all Muslims (or all of any group defined by race, religion, or ethnicity) as being terrorists or those who commit evil actions. Such efforts (seen in Western anti-Islamic propaganda) help our enemies. Instead, I'd like to link all of the extremists as the enemy.

We have a choice of how we label an extremist. I am not responsible for the actions of Boston boI am also an American citizen. Similarly, Muslims as a group are not responsible for his behavior. Specific human beings he interacted with who encouraged attacks against the US, promoted the use of bombs, and/or provided material support do share some responsibility for his actions. Islamic extremists are our enemies, but not Islam and not the vast majority of Muslims.

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Greg Davidson
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I would love to discuss what should practically be done given current circumstances. Following on to my data indicating that Islam is not the root cause of Islamic violence, I have several potential root causes that we should consider:
(1) Environmental Resources: It is historically common that when there is an increase in resource scarcity, it results in conflict. The growth of the Sahara desert was a contributing factor to violence in Darfur, and Jared Diamond's book collapse makes the case in one chapter that resource scarcity created conditions conducive to violence in Rwanda in 1994. If these are among the root causes, the corrective actions may involve changes in policy to deal with climate change and contraception
(2) Islamic terrorism may be supported by wealthy interests to distract attention from wealth imbalances. If so, an effective policy to address would be to increase the level of democratic participation so that governments in Islamic countries would be forced to directly deal with issues of economics and wealth inequality (and it would not hurt if the United States were on a path to be the leading producer of energy by 2020, something I would never have expected but which now appears to be a real possibility)

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Bud Martin
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quote:
Greg, American's responsibility for the 100,000 deaths you mention is indirect because most of the killing was not done by American troops and there was no active participation by the US to encourage those killings.

I do not understand why you choose to focus your moral compass on these indirect events instead of looking at the much more troubling moral implications of:
* Active support for Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war (active support for someone who killed many innocent civilians).
* Active support for Al-Qaeda as long as they were fighting against the Russians.
* Civilian deaths from collateral damage in Vietnam (which not all Americans opposed).
* Barbaric sanctions imposed against Iraq that hurt the hostage Iraqi population without making a dent in Saddam's power.
* Barbaric sanctions imposed against Iran today which hurt the hostage Persian population without making a dent in the mullahs' power.
* Deserting allies in South Vietnam, Lebanon, Kurdistan and Somalia to be massacred after we promised to help them.
* Promising protection to the refugees in Srebrenica encouraging them to gather in one place where they could be massacred more easily by their enemies and then standing by and doing nothing by as the massacre happened

I would add to that the following:

*American disbanding of the Iraqi Army after the second Gulf war by Bush Appointee Bremer that loosed 100,000 + military men on the Iraqi population with no job and no pension that led to the sectarian warfare of Shia v Sunni that killed thousands of American soldiers, Iraqi people and led to the looting of a majority of Iraq’s national historical treasures.

[ May 27, 2013, 06:02 PM: Message edited by: Bud Martin ]

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seagull
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Thanks Bud, I forgot that one.
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seagull
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quote:
I strongly reject attempts to associate all Muslims (or all of any group defined by race, religion, or ethnicity) as being terrorists or those who commit evil actions
While I agree with this statement, I prefer to focus on a distinction that is more important to me within the non-terrorist Muslims that you refer to.

After 911 there were riots in America that were directed against law abiding american Muslims. Some of the idiots even attacked immigrants from India because they thought they were Arabs. At that time I was living in the US and my best friend at work was an Arab immigrant from Iraq. I don't usually mention that because I know what "some of my best friends are Arabs" sounds like.

But after 911, I was not only ashamed of the way Arabs were scapegoated in the US. I was outright angry that the only criticism of those attacks was because they were unfair to the innocent law abiding Arab citizens of the US. What I heard from my Arab friends did not amount to a threat against their lives (those were isolated incidents). What I heard was that suddenly they did not feel as welcome in American society as they did before.

What made me angry, was that it was stupid for America to make them feel that way. Their communities formed the majority of loyal Americans who spoke the language and understood the culture of our enemies. At that time, there were not enough American soldiers who spoke or understood Arabic and we desperately needed more of them. American Muslims (specifically Arabs and Pashtun) were the most important human resource that America needed to win the fight against terror. At the time when we needed them most, we treated them in ways that alienated most of them.

I admire the Muslims who went on to serve in the American military allowing their fellow troops to understand the language and culture of both the civilians and enemy troops in Iraq. Their ability to understand, negotiate, and defuse tense intercultural situations were and still are essential to our success.

Years after 911, I saw some TV episodes (NCIS and Strong Medicine) that made my point. People who saw those episodes eventually understood that these loyal American who happen to also be Muslim are some of the greatest heroes in the fight against terrorism and that without their sacrifices there would have been many more successful attacks against us.

But just after 9/11 most American's knee jerk reaction was to close ranks around "our people" leaving these heroes outside and alienated. As an Israeli, I grew up in a country where more than 50% of the Jews knew Arabic because they or their parents were refugees from Arab countries. I had served in the IDF along with ethnic Arabs and knew how important their knowledge of the local dialect and culture was for Intelligence gathering, community relations and defusing tense situations to avoid unnecessary suffering.

I knew that alienating our loyal Muslims was the worst thing America could do but it took years for other Americans to learn what I knew in my bones.

So Greg, what I am trying to say is that there is a world of difference between Muslims that are "our people" and those whose identify with "our enemy" and give them support even if they do not actually try to kill us with their own hands.

Muslims who serve in our military or risk their lives infiltrating terrorist cells and reporting about them to the authorities deserve our protection and more than that our thanks and humble apologies. They deserve it for being who they are - not just because we fancy ourselves to have "higher moral values" which after 9/11 I did not see that much of.

quote:
I would like to identify "our people" as non-terrorists, as those who do not kill innocent civilians.
Every time we hear the words "collateral damage" we know that our soldiers have killed innocent civilians. War is messy and soldiers need to make decisions with incomplete information. If they can not always avoid incidents of "friendly fire" how can we expect them to avoid "collateral damage"?

A country or society would not survive a single serious military conflict without holding on to the principle that: 'They are still "our people" even if innocent civilians get killed'.

Conversely "non-terrorists who do not kill innocent civilians" are still not "our people" if they do any of the following:
* send money to terrorist so they can build their bombs
* hide an "honor killer" from the authorities
* expose our people who infiltrate terror cells
* send their children out to throw stones at other people as if it was a game.

Any moral definition that puts our heroic Muslims in the same category with those who simply did not kill us is not only unjust, it is ungrateful and ultimately stupid and self destructive.

quote:
I am not responsible for the actions of ...
I beg to disagree. We as Americans are responsible for not stopping our own extremists. Our enemies hold us responsible (it is part of their culture) and I believe that they are right to do so.

I try to think about that every time I ask myself: "what have we done to deserve this"? It helps me keep the focus on what is really important.

[ May 27, 2013, 07:54 PM: Message edited by: seagull ]

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Bud Martin
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Seagull,

Nice post: "For by wise guidance you can wage your war", "Where there is no guidance, a nation falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety."
Institute, Aman Or Unseen Shield.
Don't mind me, I'm just trying out the Sabra cause Im an Ahabal fishing for fun. [Wink]

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