Tuesday, January 06, 2009
More on Glen Greenwald
Here are the two central problems with Greenwald's Weltanshaung.
1. He thinks that the United States, sneak attacked and declared war on by Japan and then declared war on by Germany in December, 1941, waged a disproportional war against those two nations. (Or perhaps he doesn't as he immediately retracted, but then said WWII was fundamentally different from the long Israeli-Arab conflict, so that different rules applied).
2. He thinks that Hamas in particular and the Palestinians in general can be counted on to respond well to appeasement and poorly to having war waged back against them.
He kept conflating Gaza with the West Bank but it is not the West Bank which has sent thousands of rockets and mortar rounds into Israel. He said, as all lefty armchair generals say, that there is no military solution and worse, bombing Hamas leaders, fighters, infrastructure and weapons caches will be counterproductive.
HH: Well, that brings me back, then, to the actual concrete steps that you think Israel ought to be doing, because should they negotiate despite the fact that 7,200 missiles have fallen on their land over five years?
GG: Well, I mean I think you know, those are a lot of missiles, the damage that has been done relative to the damage inflicted on the Palestinians over the course of that time period, of course, is something like 1/100th of the number of Palestinians who have been killed during that same time. So the rockets are definitely a problem. The government can’t allow rockets to be shot into their civilian populations. There’s no question about that. The question is what is the more effective course for ending terrorism? Is it to find a diplomatic solution, to offer concessions, even if they’re unilateral concessions, that diffuse the anger in the population? You know, we’re going to dismantle these settlements in the West Bank, we’re going to give you the right to control your own airspace, we’re going to let you have an airport, we’re going to stop blockading medicine that your children need. If you start doing that, isn’t that more likely to diffuse the extremism that feeds terrorism?
When Hugh pointed out that such appeasement was similar to the West's appeasement of Hitler in the 30s, Greenwald had this to say:
Would [military force] have been justifiable after only Austria and not before Czechoslovakia or Poland? You know, that’s hard to say. But certainly once a country starts indicating that they are a threat to their neighbors and to world security, and have the ability to carry that out, then force becomes something that is a lot more justifiable. (Emphasis added).
So because the missiles and mortar rounds used by Palestinians in Gaza to bombard Israel over the past few years are limited in number and range, Israel is not able to respond morally and legally. They just have to take it and give additional appeasement. (That total withdrawal from Gaza unilaterally was not a sufficient appeasement to produce peace in Gaza is wholly ignored by Greenwald). What action Israel could take against Iran armed with nuclear tipped missiles which could reach Prague, for example, is apparently part of that different matter. I would fully expect Greenwald to condemn without reservation an IDF airstrike on Iranian nuclear facilities. We'll find out soon.
As a final issue:
Israel, when it withdrew completely from what I guess is Egyptian territory, the Gaza strip, did not open the border crossing between Gaza and Israel to export from Gaza, for sound security reasons. The Israelis allowed imports of humanitarian aid into Gaza, as they continue to do (just as Israel supplies about 3/4 of the electrical power in Gaza). The sole egress from the strip was to be through Egypt. Here is what was proposed. Here is how the Palestinians, and especially Hamas, screwed up that proposed (and, for a while, actual open) border crossing. That Egypt continues to close that border crossing is hardly I think Israel's fault. Right thinking people know whom to blame.
Brilliant Andy McCarthy has some very good thoughts on the general subject. Neither Israel nor the U.S. have agreed to be bound by so called international law touted by the left and clueless, toothless old Europe. Who knew?