Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Fisking a repugnant neocon editorial.

I have to say, I have never heard of "Kamloops This Week", nor do I have any idea who "Christopher Foulds" is. But this editorial is one of the most vile pieces of neocon apologetics I've ever seen in a Canadian periodical. (Disclaimer: I refuse to read the Western Standard on moral grounds.) Let's go point by point, shall we?
About the only thing missing from the local NDP press release concerning the carnage in Lebanon and Israel was a paragraph extolling the virtues of the freedom fighters known as Hezbollah, that misunderstood band of lovable renegades battling the demon child that is Israel.
Strawman. Since Foulds doesn't actually tell us what release he's talking about (giving him an easy out in case he's called on his bullshit), it's hard to figure out what he's trying to attack. Helpfully, though, the NDP have a page here, gathering all their positions on the Lebanon/Israel debacle into one convenient location. I'm missing the part, though, where the NDP say they think Hezbollah is loveable. It's particularly hard to spot in this release, which reads in part (emphasis added):
"I call upon Stephen Harper to speak up and denounce the brutal attacks being perpetrated against civilians in Lebanon, Israel and the Gaza strip," says [Alexa] McDonough [NDP Foreign Affairs and International Development Critic].
Back to Foulds.
Leave it to the loopy left to send out, presumably with a straight face, a news release condemning Prime Minister Stephen Harper for his "pro-Israel stance," and calling for our leader to issue a plea for an immediate ceasefire in the region.
Only those crazy leftists can't see the humour in asking people to stop killing each other.
Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo NDP president Ruth Fane even went so far as to mock Harper for being a "senseless cheerleader for Israel," and for not calling for the creation of a "multinational peacekeeping force."
Apparently, multinational peacekeeping forces are funny, too. 'Cause, y'know, widespread multilateral intervention into conflicts in order to keep people from dying is... um.... Sorry, I seem to have overlooked the part that was supposed to be funny.
There's a reason the New Democrats have never and will never gain power in Canada
Will never? Last time I looked at a poll, the NDP were pulling away votes from the Liberals, who were busily self-destructing. As for "have never" -- perhaps Foulds is unaware that his very own province was ruled by the NDP for decades. Or he's a blithering idiot. Whichever.
and complaining about Canada's decision to stand with a country under siege from a group deemed by Ottawa to be a terrorist organization is at the top of the lengthy list.
This is really picky, but: he starts the sentence with "there's a reason" and concludes with a "lengthy list", presumably of reasons. Anyone want to copy-edit Kamloops This Week? Note also the vacuous "group deemed by Ottawa to be a terrorist organization" swipe. According to Wikipedia, only three countries designate the entirety of Hezbollah to be a terrorist group: the US, Israel, and Canada (a decision reached under the Martin Liberal government). Three more consider the Hezbollah External Security Organization to be a terrorist group: the UK, the Netherlands, and Australia. And one more considers Hezbollah member Imda Mugniyah a terrorist, and considers Hezbollah to have engaged in terrorist activities: the EU. So, being generous, that's seven countries that call Hezbollah a terrorist organization. Counting only the members of the UN, that's 7 out of 192 countries in the world, or about .04%. Not exactly a resounding condemnation.
If Harper is a "senseless cheerleader for Israel," then hand me some crazy pills and toss me some pom poms.
I don't think Foulds needs any more pills.
The NDP and other apologists for terrorist fascists like Hezbollah and Hamas have pointed to the awful death toll that the Israel bombing runs on Lebanon have wrought.
Where did Hamas come from? What do they have to do with this? Hamas is over in Gaza, not in Lebanon. I know bombed-out ruins under Israeli attack tend to look the same after a while, but, seriously.
Entire apartment blocks have been levelled. Homes have been destroyed. And in each are the bodies of Lebanese moms, dads and children. To call it tragic is an understatement. But to lay the blame on Israel is wrong.
Because someone else dropped the bombs?
Nowhere in the NDP's couched condemnation of Israel is a call for Hezbollah's anti-Semitic leader, Hassan Nasrallah, to stop committing war crimes by using the Lebanese population as cover for his group's missile barrage into northern Israel.
(Moral point, not legal point, coming.) Because Hezbollah isn't a state. So it can't engage in war. And so it can't commit war crimes. Hezbollah is an independent organization that can commit murder. States can't murder. States can commit war crimes. Israel is a state. Israel cannot murder. Israel can commit war crimes. (Perhaps I need to start making these arguments in monosyllables.) Worth noting that Israel has refused to participate in the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and will not give the Court jurisdiction over its citizens. So, anyone defending Israel should be a little careful about lobbing around the "war crimes" thing.
When terrorists use residential buildings to launch rockets into a neighbouring country, attacks that kill people in that neighbouring country, is it not reasonable to expect that neighbouring country to respond by attacking the sites of those rocket launches?
Well, one, sane people don't consider civilian deaths "acceptable losses", so would try to minimize if not eliminate civilian deaths while responding. Thus, two, sane people would launch commando raids, such as Israel is renowned for, into the terrorist-controlled territory. And, therefore, three, sane people would steathily capture or kill the ones actually responsible for launching the rockets, and leave the innocent civilians alone. I swear, it's like Foulds is treating civilians as part of the scenery. Nice to look at, occasionally worth saving, but legitimate targets if a "bad guy" is hiding behind them.
Nor do I recall Jack Layton and the gang calling for a ceasefire as Hezbollah lobbed rockets into Israel during the past six years, after Israel had withdrawn from Lebanon.
I love the quick jog past Israel's repeated invasions of Lebanon throughout the late '70's/early '80's, which necessitated the withdrawal in the first place. A withdrawal that didn't happen fully until 2000. (See here.) I also love the implicit, but entirely untrue, claim that the Conservatives or the Liberals were busily calling for a ceasefire as Hezbollah "lobbed rockets into Israel during the past six years" (which, incidentally, overlooks the retaliatory skirmishes by the Israeli military).
And I cannot seem to find the press release from the left that demanded that Hezbollah terrorists release the two Israeli soldiers abducted on Israel soil.
Because "the left" has a pressroom. Honestly. Note, again, how the Israeli-held prisoners that the soldiers were supposed to be traded for have mysteriously vanished from Foulds' consideration. Note also the blatant tu quoque fallacy: "if "the left" doesn't condemn Hezbollah, then I don't have to condemn Israel!"
In fact, it was this act that precipitated this latest round of misery in the Middle East.
Very, very arguable, but certainly simplistic. A single event is most often the excuse, not the reason, for an explosion of violence. To find its true causes requires delving into the history behind the single event, and tracing the undercurrents of policy and principle. Of course, that does require not taking one's editorials from Conservative press releases, so I understand why Foulds couldn't be bothered.
Many, including the New Democrats, have attacked Harper for describing Israel's response to the abductions as "measured." Perhaps in the opinion of members and supporters of Hezbollah, Hamas and al-Qaeda - organizations that brainwash followers to embrace death, yet whose leaders curiously fight like hell to stay alive - Israel's massive response to the abduction of two soldiers and the wanton attacks on innocent civilians is odd.
Wow. So, now the NDP are like Hezbollah, Hamas and al-Qaeda (who aren't even like each other). And anyone who thinks Israel should really stop killing Lebanese people who aren't (yet) trying to kill them is also like Hezbollah, Hamas and al-Qaeda. I think we've heard this rhetoric before:
There have always been people who have opposed wars ... I think we just have to accept it, that people have a right to say what they want to say, and to have an acceptance of that and recognize that the terrorists, Zarqawi and bin Laden and Zawahiri, those people have media committees. They are actively out there trying to manipulate the press in the United States. They are very good at it.
Then again, for those of us who feel life is to be cherished, even if it's "only" two soldiers, or the hundreds of Israeli citizens killed randomly simply because they are Jewish, the response of Israel looks absolutely justified.
Except they're randomly killing Lebanese, not even because they're Lebanese, but simply because they're in the way. "Absolutely justified" is a bit of an overstatement; "justified, on balance" is arguable. But, Foulds doesn't live in the real world of moral complexity, he lives in a world of cowboys and Indians, white hats vs. black hats:
Each and every death of an innocent Lebanese is the fault of Hezbollah.
See? Hezbollah are bad guys. Israel are goods guys. Killing Lebanese is a bad thing. Only bad guys do bad things. Therefore, Hezbollah are killing Lebanese.

Foulds gets worse before the end, though.

Instead, we see "Canadians" marching in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, waving Hezbollah flags and demanding that Israel be punished for "war crimes." If Hezbollah is officially a terrorist group, and outlawed in Canada, why can't we ban lunatics from soiling our streets with such putrid nonsense?
First point: Israel is violating international law by targetting civilian areas. Second point: Israel is possibly using incendiary devices to do so, which is also a violation of international law. Third point: note how Foulds is now questioning the "Canadian-ness" of anyone who criticizes, not even the Canadian government, but the Israeli government. And, fourth point: note how Foulds wants to restrict freedom of speech to only opinions he agrees with. The line between neocon apologist and fascist fanatic is a thin one, and I think he's just crossed it.

Even the CBC has done a good job of showing the anguish Israeli citizens feel for the deaths of innocent Lebanese.
Because, normally, the CBC glories in showing Israelis being blown to pieces.

Reporter Adrienne Arsenault, formerly of Vancouver, has done a first-rate job showing us that residents of Tel Aviv care deeply for Lebanese victims.
This is the most offensive sort of pseudomoral thinking. It's one of the many reasons I have deep disdain for most Christians (not all are this dense, but many, many are). There's this line of "thought" in modern Christianity that you can do any horrible thing you like, as long as you go and confess about it and do some minimal penance afterwards. Similarly, Foulds is suggesting that as long as the Israelis feel really, really bad about the bombs they're dropping on Lebanese cities, it's okay to drop even more bombs.

But that sympathy for the victims of the war is sympathy for victims of Hezbollah, not Israel. The terrorist group invited this carnage. When will the Lebanese demand its ouster?
Hezbollah controls the south of Lebanon. They have a (very small) role in the Lebanese government. How, exactly, is the Lebanese government supposed to condemn Hezbollah without (1) putting their citizens at potential risk, (2) putting their own hold over the country at potential risk, and (3) risk being tarred as ostracizing a political opinion they disagree with? Again: white hats vs. black hats. Hezbollah are bad guys. Bad guys must be condemned. Lebanon must condemn Hezbollah. It's moronic pseudomorality, but it's got a pervasive hold in some people's minds.

And I thought Kamloops was such a nice little town.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

NDP did not rule BC for decades. NDP was in power for 13 years in tota;. They did some good things between 1972 and 1975, but fucked up the budget and were turfed after one short term. They returned in 1991 and drove BC into economic hell for 10 years, before beign turfed again. It isn't coincidental that times started booming in BC once the NDP lost power.

As for what started this latest war, it was indeed the unprovoked raid by Hezbollah terrorists into Israel to kill three soldiers and abduct two others. What precipitated this raid? Pray tell, what did Israel do to invite this attack? Hezbollah has no land claims in the region, unlike Palestinian groups like the PLO and Hamas. Hezbollah was created in the 1980s by Iran as a means of opposing Israeli occupation of Lebanon. Israel pulled out completely in 2000.
So, why does Hezbollah continue to exist for the past six years? Oh, I forgot. To lob rockets indiscriminately into Israel, in the hopes of killing babies, kids, moms and granddads, as long as they are Jewish.
Why should Canada back one side over the other? Here's an equation: Israel has diplomatic relations with Canada and is a country recignized by the UN. Hezbollah is banned as a terrorist group in Canada, is an illegal militia operating within a country and is not recognized by the UN or anyone else as anything but a terrorist group.
If you cannot figure out where Canada should stand, perhaps we should all thank our lucky stars you will likely continue to be a professional student sucking the teat of taxpayers while piling up useless degrees.
Philosohy? I am lazy, therefore I ponder.
Bcer

ADHR said...

Oh, look, my first real troll!

NDP did not rule BC for decades. NDP was in power for 13 years in tota;.

And 13 years is completely negligible, I suppose.

It isn't coincidental that times started booming in BC once the NDP lost power.

I nearly fell out of my chair laughing at this comment. If you want to defend the Campbell's government's authoritarianism, you're more than welcome to try. But simply asserting that "BC is booming" is pathetic. I left BC because Gordo's ham-fisted policies were heading towards disaster.

As for what started this latest war, it was indeed the unprovoked raid by Hezbollah terrorists into Israel to kill three soldiers and abduct two others.

No, that's the excuse. Israel was raiding before. Hezbollah was raiding before. Israel invaded Lebanon and vacated in 2000. And so on and so forth, going back over the decades.

It's funny how some people really can't get over the juvenile moral idea that there has to be a good guy and a bad guy. Usually, there's, in reality, there's various levels of bad guy.

What precipitated this raid? Pray tell, what did Israel do to invite this attack?

If you can't educate yourself about the history of the region, why should I help you do it? But if you're thinking that sweet, innocent Israel was sitting around, doing nothing at all, before mean ol' Hezbollah attacked -- well, like I said: juvenile moral idea.

Hezbollah has no land claims in the region, unlike Palestinian groups like the PLO and Hamas. Hezbollah was created in the 1980s by Iran as a means of opposing Israeli occupation of Lebanon. Israel pulled out completely in 2000.

Six years ago. Gee, maybe that occupation might have provoked some anti-Israeli feeling in Lebanon that propagates pro-Hezbollah sentiment. Gee, maybe the current rockets and missiles levelling Lebanese territory might also help propagate pro-Hezbollah sentiment.

So, why does Hezbollah continue to exist for the past six years? Oh, I forgot. To lob rockets indiscriminately into Israel, in the hopes of killing babies, kids, moms and granddads, as long as they are Jewish.

Entirely unlike Israel's current plan of lobbing rockets into Lebanon, in the hopes of killing anyone who happens to be Lebanese.

Why should Canada back one side over the other? Here's an equation: Israel has diplomatic relations with Canada and is a country recignized by the UN. Hezbollah is banned as a terrorist group in Canada, is an illegal militia operating within a country and is not recognized by the UN or anyone else as anything but a terrorist group.

That's not an "equation", it's bullshit. Canada also has diplomatic relations with Lebanon, but is allowing Lebanese civilians to be killed and calling it "measured". Hezbollah has a paramilitary arm, but also a political arm, with members in the Lebanese government. Hezbollah as a whole (rather than the part of the organization that is actually killing people) may be, for some bizarre reason, recognized by a handful of countries as a terrorist group, but it's fatuous to think there's any significant content to the claim no one recognizes it as anything but a terrorist group. The significant claim is that so very few countries recognize Hezbollah as a whole as terrorists.

If you cannot figure out where Canada should stand, perhaps we should all thank our lucky stars you will likely continue to be a professional student sucking the teat of taxpayers while piling up useless degrees.

You are a fool, aren't you? Let me educate you: I work two jobs, totalling almost sixty hours a week, to fund my educational activities. Once I'm done, I will put myself in the job market to teach Canadian students, and give back more value than the minimal amount by which taxpayers fund graduate education. My profession requires advanced degrees, so I am taking the degrees required to enter the profession. How that makes me a "professional student" is something that only makes sense in your narrow, nigh-vacuous little mind.

Philosohy? I am lazy, therefore I ponder.

I'm not sure what "philosohy" is, but perhaps you can enlighten me. I'm glad you admitted you're lazy, though. I knew there had to be a good reason for hating those brighter than you.

Raywat Deonandan said...

Well dissected. Glad to see I'm not the only one who gets nauseous when I click on the Western Standard Blog.

ADHR said...

Greetings, Lord Wat.

I actually got a follow-up to this from, ostensibly, the guy who wrote the original editorial; he posted the text of a reply editorial. I didn't approve it because, while acknowledging the lines of criticism I was employing, he completely failed to understand them. (I'm not that abstruse, am I? Really?)

It's nice to know people like this aren't very prevalent, but disturbing to know they exist at all.