Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Fisking a horrible letter.

I haven't done this in a little bit. The letter is here.

The best place for a wolf to hide is among the sheep — and Hezbollah knows this. To get at the wolf you must kill some sheep and the wolf knows that decent people won't do that.

Or scatter the sheep. Or wait for the wolf to leave to go somewhere else. Or, y'know, shoot for the wolf-shaped thing amongst all the sheep-shaped things. I don't know off-hand of any sheep farmers or shepherds who advocate bombing a herd to oblivion to get at a wolf. Seems like it might quickly put them out of business. Or make give the remaining sheep a good reason to hate the shepherd.

Hezbollah seeks out areas of high population density to set up its rocket launchers. Its headquarters are right in apartment blocks.

This is questionable, to say the least. (As this suggests, some of the claims made about Hezbollah firing from civilian areas are physically impossible.) Even if it is true, which it may well be, so what? Why does this justify bombing? On the face of it, if Israel can't target bombs without hitting civilians, because the areas are simply too (population) dense, shouldn't Israel be trying something else? If a guerrilla is standing on a rooftop with a rocket launcher, why didn't Israel send in a few snipers (plus appropriate ground support) to shoot him down? I thought they had a fantastically-trained, US-equipped military -- and they can't figure out a way to take out hostile guerrillas without hundreds of civilian casualties?

It deliberately draws down bombs and gunfire onto the heads of its countrymen. It gambles that the outrage at the civilian casualties will give it an advantage — and in previous battles, as in 1970, that has been the case.

As indeed it should have been. Killing civilians in order to get at paramilitary targets is pretty obviously morally wrong -- treating unalikes alike. (Not to mention it's stupid strategy. Is there a better way to foment extremism than to treat extremists and non-participants alike?) Furthermore, I find it bizarre to think that Hezbollah's (allegedly) deliberately drawing down fire justifies the Israelis providing that fire. If it's wrong for Hezbollah to draw it down, isn't it at least equally wrong for Israel to be drawn?

But all that is changing. Yes, decent people are incensed by the slaughter, but they are not letting the wolf get away with it this time.

I'm confused. Weren't we the ones killing the sheep in order to get the wolf? Now the wolf's killing the sheep? Are we both killing the sheep? Are we the wolf? Is the wolf we? Am I the walrus? (Goo goo k'choo.)

Terrorists exploit the values of civilized societies, which they consider weaknesses. Our values are our Achilles heel and Hezbollah thinks it can hamstring us once again. But, at last, we are learning that one cannot be a gentleman when fighting a lout — unless you want to end up dead. The Queensberry rules no longer apply.

This is a nice bit of rationalization for any atrocity one cares to imagine. "Oh, we're fighting someone horrible, so we can do horrible things!" The doctrine amongst genuinely moral people, however, is one of proportional response. If Hezbollah is truly hiding amongst civilians, then that does not justify Israel randomly bombing civilian targets. It might, however, justify Israel invading civilian locations and taking control. Ordinarily, an invasion would be immoral as a matter of punishing civilians for something they did not do and are not involved with; however, it may be a necessary wrong in order to prevent a greater wrong. (Note that preventing a greater wrong doesn't make a lesser wrong right. That's juvenile moral thinking. If one is faced with a choice between bad and worse, one should clearly choose bad; but one is an idiot to think that makes bad into good.)

The Lebanese civilian casualties will continue to mount until they give rocket launch sites — and Hezbollah terrorists — a very wide berth. Why they have not done so already, defies explanation.

It defies explanation only among idiots. The roads are destroyed. The shelling puts them at risk if they leave their homes. Hezbollah is fighting back, and hence can be viewed as protecting the civilians. The civilians have nowhere else to go. The Israelis are attacking sites that may not even be related to Hezbollah's attacks. And so on, and so forth.

This is little more than a grotesque example of blaming the victim, the same sort of reasoning that has been demonstrated by PM Stevie himself. Why is it that the Lebanese civilians must leave their homes rather than the Israelis must stop shooting at them? It's like saying that a bullied child should run away from the bully rather than the bully should stop hitting them. It's evidently asinine; and yet, it's fit to print in the city's major newspaper.

(The author, Mr. Peter Weygang of Bobcaygeon, ON, has a few other articles floating around the web. Here we find the anti-immigrant "Immigration Watch" favourably citing Mr. Weygang's own anti-immigrant bullshit. There's also an application to build a boat launch in Bobcaygeon, and a letter regarding local bylaws. In short, he doesn't seem like a kook or a bigot, just an idiot.)

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