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16 July 2006

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angela

The occupation of some of Lebanon is what several million perhaps several tens of millions on the right most fervently wish.

It would indicate the possibility of a "greater Israel" which is supposed to be a necessity for the rapture that will take decent people up to heaven so they catch watch Jews, Muslims and Democrats suffer.

Some polls indicate roughly half of Republican voters vaguely believe in this and events could shift them.

The president has a more moderate official Christianity, but he also believes God speaks to all people and it's one's duty to listen. He thinks he does. He is also aware of the apocalyptic theories and the White House spinners have been coy.

When asked about these theories he said, "Fisrt, I've heard of them," the White House removed the comma as though anyone could not have heard this is a common, deeply held belief.

So as with many Muslims we are confronting there is an apocalyptic force that is very strong in the Republican party.

angela

Anyone who says they want justice not for themselves but for everyone is a potential murderer who will first torture.

The best and most moral peole know that they work from a subjective perspective, they also knows that when it comes down it will mostly likely be them and theirs, they know their tendency to rationale the questionable acts of their of themselves and their friends, they know they are pragmatically indifferent to the pain of the world because one can't simply take it and they know that if they get worked up about one cauder they ignore others (how many died in the Congo while liberals agonized for Kosove and rightists about the butchery of Saddam?)

It's selective, it's always selective. The truly humane use reason and law to try and establish a system more just, they try to allow themselves to bow to these systems because they know the limts of their individual morality.

The people who cry for justice for Palestinians never shouted loudly about Arafat and his cronies looting billions, caring nothing for infrastructure, leading their people into a war that would smash them, nor did they campaign for Palestinian rights in Lebanon where it's Illegal for Palestinians to practice a profession or even work without a permit (of which only a few hundred are issued) where most factions have slaughtered thousands of the despised foreigners kept in camps not allowed to settle or of their treatment in other Arab lands where they are loved abstractly and hated in person.

Yes Israel has plenty of the same ilk, but the goal of "justice" is not this but death and destruction which includes most importantly that of the Palestinians, the sacrificial victims.

The "advocates" are like david Horowitz in the sixties who wanted to use blacks as a "vanguard." Let them die, let their communities be smashed, let's encourage them.

Babak Makkinejad

Angela:

Justice and Peace are incompatible aims. A quest for Justice entails perpetual war.

Moreover, absolute Justice is impossible (even theoretically) to achieve since it requires one to adjudicate among qualitatively incommensurable things (which one is better: an ice-cream sundae or a Cypress tree?)

One can only manage, not solve.

W. Patrick Lang

Babak

In re "justice," I agree. pl

W. Patrick Lang

angela

I agree on the question of the subjectivity of justice. Once one understands this there is room for the exercize of a certain amount of compassion wrappedup as a common sense desire to avoid excess. pl

angela

I don't believe justice is necessarily subjective. Law and reason are designed to make it as "objective" as possible.

But practiced correctly they balance things and that blindfolded lady is in great confusion and muddle weighing the balance here.

It's those with the simple definition which always puts guilt on one side or another who speak the word most loudly, the more objective measure is unsure, always unsure. Why we have appeals in our courts etc.

Dr Slop

"Justice" is a social construct - the tough part is the historical (i.e. over generations) compromise and negotiation required to get your and my notions of "justice" more or less to coincide.

Once lost, consensus is bloody hard to rebuild - and Amos Oz reckons the only thing that ends civil/tribal conflict is exhaustion.

confusedponderer

It's an indication of the neo's shortsightedness that they were so eager to cast aside the principles of Westfalia after 911 (I guess that was the perfect excuse). International stability is a vastly underestimated commodity in a time where a Michael Ledeen can preach 'creative destruction', without being put under medication right away.

Perhaps something coming close to justice is best achieved by sticking to principle - with all the side effects. The wars of secession from Serbia in Kosovo were not an international problem, but an internal one. The Serbs had a right to crack down on the kosovar separatists. But you'd have to accept that limitation. Accepting it, however, limits political leeway. Serbia as one of the last communist countries had to be rolled back.

I am convinced now as I was then that NATO, including my gvt, started a war of agression when they intervened there.
But that was about political will. There are many things, that are illegal, that can be made possible if there is a corresponding political will, and the persuasion that 'we are the good guys' who, have virtuous and (self-?) righteous goals.

For some reasons, the Americans persuade themselves more effectively on this. (Mental note: If you believe your own propaganda - is your propaganda just brilliant, or are you a dupe?). I'm deeply sceptical about the sensibility of intervention today.

Principle would mandate to crack down harshly on your own war criminals too. But I don't see anyone willing to prosecute Bush for ordering the supreme evil, war of agression, that made possible all the other evils from Abu Ghraib to the recent atrocities in Iraq. There seems to be a certain amnesia about the simple fact that the Nuremberg principles are universal, and apply to the US, too. The world, certainly the US, isn't ready for this. I wonder if we'll ever be.

The knee-jerk response is: Hey, Saddam was a bad guy, didn't he deserve it? Probably, but what about his people? What about the blow to international law? Is war on suspicion indeed such a boon to global stability (Questionable)? Are SERE training techniques at the right place in the hands of military interrogators (No)? Are the Iraqis truly better off in a civil war where all the rights they gained in their constitution are pointless to their ethnic rivals? I wouldn't be so quick to say 'yes'.

I always wince when I hear Bush babbling his tirades about liberty and freedom and living under the 'iron heel of communism' as he did when he was in Wismar - without having ever experienced something like that. He doesn't know what he's talking about. It wasn't exactly so that the entire east was a single giant gulag. My impression is that in dictatorships, you can live a life 'within the limits' as long as you don't stick your neck out, and that's just what the majority of Iraqis did, what the majority of people in the former Warsaw Pact countries did. Speak to easterners, to Iraqis, or go read Milan Kundera's books for this. Yes of course there was repression.
But the question is how that felt for the majority of the population, compared to chaos and civil war. Only a lunatic would pick (civil) war, given the choice.

But their opinions just like the realities of their lifes don't matter for the moral clarity of the zealots pushing them into the abyss, so they can say to themselves: 'We didn't compromise with evil!' 'Great you didn't, but I lost my family, health and wealth over it. I'm so happy you sleep well.'

It's not so that the own actions don't count as long as your enemy is 'evil'. That's too cheap.

confusedponderer

PL: 'Once one understands this there is room for the exercize of a certain amount of compassion wrappedup as a common sense desire to avoid excess.'

The neo-cons make me miss Kissinger. He was devious and ruthless, sure, but at least he knew what he was doing.

You cannot sustain a policy like the one (or lack thereof) America's conducting in the Middle East without being clear about a few things: (a) what do I want? (b) What exactly am I doing to achieve it?

America isn't clear about the goals of their engagement in the Middle East. Maybe some folks in the administration are, but I bet even there there are at least two dissenting opinions.

America also isn't clear about the nature of their benevolent use of firepower. When you use the military you go and kill people, and bystanders, too. The survivors will not love you for it, so think long and hard before considering it.

Delusions about why you fight will create delusions about why you're fought. Delusions about this point also create a lack of empathy for the suffering of the civilians standing by.

Same for blaming Saddam for a *war of choice* started by the US: All that came out of it is his fault? The lawlessness for instance? Saddam also is to blame for the checkpoint shootings and torture at Abu Ghraib? (Interesting view on causality)

The excess of subjectivity (and the denial about it) is ruling out common sense solutions, not only between Israel and the Palestinians.

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