A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

On Appeasement

A timely essay by Orson Scott Card. I don't wholly agree with OSC's lauding of President Bush's handling of the war in Iraq-- and I still wish Don Rumsfeld would get the axe-- but the argument against appeasement has never been stronger.

I am a strong proponent of compromise and moderation-- but those words only make sense when both sides are willing to honor their side of the compromise and both sides back down from their extreme positions. The Palestinians have never honored their side of any compromise, and far from backing down from their extremism, Iraeli appeasement actually seems to have ramped up Palestinian rhetoric and bloodthirst by several notches.

There can be no negotiation with those without honor or compunction. You cannot appease terrorists. You can only root them out and crush them.

We must remember the lessons of World War II-- the parallels with the present situation are too stark to be ignored.

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Let’s hear it for “disproportionate responses”! We need far more of them, with far greater differentials of response!
There can be no negotiation with those without honor or compunction. You cannot appease terrorists. You can only root them out and crush them.

We can't negotiate with them, we can't appease them, but if we don't provide them every consideration and right granted to legitimate armies and combatants, then they are presented as victims of our overly aggressive military, while we are portrayed as the evil bastards. I would love it if we could crush them, but when we root them out, we will be nailed to the wall if we actually do take out any terrorist who surrenders or otherwise becomes hors de combat. They have rights, you see. We can't become what they are, you see. They are subject to the protections of the Geneva Conventions, you see.

All Haji has to do is wave the white flag, or pretend to be wounded, and he will draw in our soldiers or Marines who can be blown-up along with him as he screams, "Allahu akbar!" Remember the Marines who dispatched a terrorist faking to be dead in a mosque in Fallujah? That brought a huge investigation and a great bit of propaganda for the enemy, all to find that the Marines were justified in their use of force in the end.

If they engage us, then it is hit-and-run or booby-trap; an attack which is spun as our inability to suppress the "insurrection." If we attack them directly or try bomb them out, well then there is that problem of the civilians who will become collateral damage due to the fact that the terrorists embed themselves amongst civilians for such protection and possible propaganda.

Crush them? We will not be able to crush the terrorists until the West comes to grips with the fact that we are going to need to fight a war; a war that is bloody, ugly, vicious, and cruel. The West isn't there currently, and I think that it will take another major terrorist attack, one with immense casualties, to get the gravel in the guts needed to actually crush our enemies.
Gunman kills 1, injures 5

One person is dead and five others have been injured in a shooting at the Jewish Federation at 2031 Third Ave. in downtown Seattle. One suspect has been taken into custody.

Seattle police spokesman Rich Pruitt said police are confident that only one shooter was involved.

Sources told KING 5 the suspect is a 31-year-old Pakistani man with a criminal background. He is from the Pasco but his citizenship status or how long he has lived in the United States is unknown. Also unknown is what sort of criminal record he has. Officials are on the way to the Pasco to interview his family.

According to the Seattle Times, a man got through security at the Jewish Federation and told staff members, "I'm a Muslim American; I'm angry at Israel," then began shooting, according to Amy Wasser-Simpson, the vice president for planning and community services for the Jewish Federation.

All of the casualties, dead and wounded, are women. One of the wounded women is pregnant.

So, do we get to crush this one? Nope. He surrendered. He has rights.

One of these days someone is going to walk into a mosque and open fire, or they are going to send an explosive device through a window of mosque during Friday prayers. Let's make sure to remember that, regardless of the carnage caused, that perpetrator must be treated fairly and without abuse. He also has rights.
Lebanese who have been wounded in the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah are shunning Jordanian assistance. Why? Because Jordan isn't pushing for a cease-fire, condemning Israel, and/or supporting Hezbollah.

The U.S. is planning on sending aid. We've pledged to send thirty million dollars to the U.N. relief fund and to immediately provide the poor, suffering people of the region with 100,000 medical kits, 20,000 blankets and 2,000 plastic sheet rolls.

I say let's not bother. We're not pushing for a cease-fire, condemning Israel, and/or supporting Hezbollah any more than Jordan is, so why should we send those thankless ingrates anything? Further, since we will not be able to crush anyone, let's not send any assistance either. It's not that I don't understand the concept of helping those civilians who have been displaced and hurt due to the stupidity of Hezbollah, but I do doubt that our aid will necessarily help those civilians.

If the aid is going to the hardest hit areas, then it will be going to areas that are under Hezbollah control. In effect, we will be sending the aid to Hezbollah, trusting that they will allow it to be disbursed amongst the civilian population. In actuality, we may be just as likely to be helping the Hezbollah wounded as we will to be helping the poor, suffering people of the region.

We won't grow the spine to crush the enemy, or to allow our allies to do so, so let's not help them by providing supplies. If we can't crush them, then cut them off.
The Red Cross has not recieved a positive response from Hezbollah regarding a request to vist the two Israeli soldiers who were kidnapped on 12 July 2006. The Red Cross has been trying to set-up such a visit for over two weeks, since the Hezbollah incursion across the Israeli border to kill and kidnap.

So, where are all of you Geneva Convention supporters now? Where is the screaming for Hezbollah to follow the basic tenets of combat and to allow an internationally recognized aid agency access to prisoners?

Terrorist enemies who do not follow the Geneva Conventions or any of the other established laws of war should not be given the protections of either. We should crush them mercilessly and hold their fate up as an example to others who would be tempted to travel down that same path. We won't, though. We've got to keep that moral high ground, you know.

Maybe that's what we should put on the gravestones of those who die at the hands of terrorists: "At least we kept the moral high ground." Try suggesting that to the family of the woman who was murdered in Seattle by "a Muslim American [who was] angry at Israel." I'm sure that, while that suspect is smiling smugly and making his jihadi statements through his lawyers to the press, they will be comforted by the fact that we are keeping the moral high ground.
"We are also protecting mosques, because there is always the concern of retaliatory crime," said Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske.

Great. Let's protect the mosques as well, just in case Joe Sixpack goes after them.

Hey! Where is that kind of concern for the rest of us, just in case Haji comes after us? Oh, that's right; if we look for Haji before he kills, that is called profiling. To hell with us. Haji has rights, you know.
This is why crushing the terrorists is impossible with the current Western mindset:

Israeli missiles hit several buildings in a southern Lebanon village as people slept Sunday, killing at least 56, most of them children, in the deadliest attack in 19 days of fighting.

What have the responses been to this attack?

Some of the poor, oppressed people of the region have responded like this:

Several thousand people massed outside the building in downtown Beirut chanting "Death to Israel, death to America. We sacrifice our blood and souls for Lebanon."

From the same article, Geir Petersen, the personal representative of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in Lebanon, said:

"I strongly condemn today's killing of tens of civilians by Israeli shelling of residential buildings in the village of Qana."

From neighboring Jordan, we get:

Jordan's King Abdullah also urged an immediate ceasefire, saying the latest Israeli air strike was an "ugly crime".

The monarch labelled it a "gross violation of all international statutes".

France weighed in with the following:

French President Jacques Chirac's office said "France condemns this unjustifiable action, which shows more than ever the need to move toward an immediate cease-fire, without which other such dramas can only be repeated."

For the most part, there was international condemnation of the attack without any of those condemning the attack asking or noting why Israel had attacked Qana.

This article helps to explain why Israeli forces targeted Qana. The opening two paragraphs are:

Some 150 rockets were fired from the Lebanese village of Qana over the past 20 days, Air Force Chief of Staff Brig.-Gen. Amir Eshel said on Sunday evening.

Speaking to reporters, Eshel added that Hizbullah rocket launchers were hidden in civilian buildings in the village. He proceeded to show video footage of rocket launchers being driven into the village following launches.

Wow! You don't find the AP, Reuters, or AFP opening any of their stories on this incident with that information, do you?

The Sunday Herald Sun, an Austrailian newpaper, tells of how Hezbollah embeds itself amongst civilians.

This is the picture that damns Hezbollah. It is one of several, smuggled from behind Lebanon's battle lines, showing that Hezbollah is waging war amid suburbia.

The images, obtained exclusively by the Sunday Herald Sun, show Hezbollah using high-density residential areas as launch pads for rockets and heavy-calibre weapons.

Dressed in civilian clothing so they can quickly disappear, the militants carrying automatic assault rifles and ride in on trucks mounted with cannon.

Didn't catch that on CNN, ABC, CBS, or MSNBC. They must be checking their sources or something.

Israel fired on the location that had fired some 150 rockets on Israeli civilians over the past twenty days. The rockets were fired from amongst the civilian population, so it was a choice of either letting the attacks continue, or attempting to take out the launchers with the fewest civilian casualties. The latter, logically, was chosen. Israel dropped leaflets telling civilians to get out of the area due to the terror attacks originating from there. The civilians either didn't leave, or were prevented from leaving and, tragically, they were killed because they were being used as human shields by the terrorists.

The MSM is now leading with stories that state that the Israelis killed kids, with those images next to the headlines. This will help to put pressure on Israel to stop their attacks on the terrorists in Lebanon. I'm guessing that Israel will cease attacks on Hezbollah in Lebanon by 13 August 2006 at the latest, provided that Hezbollah doesn't succeed with some major attack against Israel in the time being.

This is why the terrorists see the U.S., and the West in general, as a paper tiger. They sacrifice some of their own, or they give us a bloody nose, and we run away from the fight. We don't, as much as I'd like to see us do so, root them out and crush them. The West still doesn't have the stomach for that.
Kevin Sites has a piece on his blog about weapons being stored in civilian homes in Tyre, Lebanon.

He then puts all the weapons back on the bed for a moment so I can photograph them. Although it's not uncommon for households in the Middle East to have at least an AK-47 around the house, it's incongruous to see the three rifles and grenade launcher beside a baby's bassinet.

Just as quickly as he pulled them out, he puts the weapons back in the closet and we are done. But neither he, nor the rest of the neighborhood, knows for sure how long the weapons will stay there.

If Israeli forces were to hit that home because of an attack from the grenade launcher within, and if "Hussein's" four-month-old daughter were killed in the retaliatory strike, who do you think that the media would vilify: Israel for the attack on a home, or "Hussein" for firing on the Israelis with his daughter in the same location? I'm going to guess the former, and probably without any explanation as to why the Israelis would have fired on the home in the first place.
The poor, oppressed people of the region expressed their displeasure with the Israeli attack in Qana to the U.N. in Gaza today.

Palestinian protesters stormed the U.N. compound in Gaza City on Sunday during a protest against Israel’s bombing of a building in southern Lebanon that killed around 60 people, witnesses and U.N. staff said.

Hundreds of members of Islamic Jihad militant group, some throwing stones and others firing rounds from assault rifles, attacked the compound at the end of a rally, witnesses said.

At least two people were wounded.

Ah, the religion of peace.
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