Children Make Us Stupid, Or “Why Are U.S. News Networks Assisting Brutal Palestinian Propaganda?”

child victim

“Children make us stupid” is but a corollary to the law often stated here, “Bias makes you stupid.” Our natural bias in favor of caring for, protecting and seeking happiness for children is genetically wired into our being. Thus, in action movie after action movie, when the villain puts a gun to a child’s head, the hero invariably drops his weapon, apparently giving the world over to dictatorship, pestilence or death to save one rosy-cheeked kid. (Well, except for Dirty Harry, who picks off the creep holding the gun to the kid’s head with one well-aimed shot.) The trade-off is really, really stupid, and not ethical either: sacrificing the welfare of the many for a single child is simply illogical and wrong. But to those sentimentalists who don’t strain themselves by thinking, and to cynical politicians who know better but also know that convincing morons is all it takes to win “a majority” ( “…if even one child’s life can be saved…“—President Obama, 2013 State of the Union Message), the human bias that gives irrational priority to children is pure gold.

Obama’s use of the false ethic was  his call for gun control in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, in which an anomalous attack on a grade school was used to make it seem like children were being hunted down like rabbits. We are currently watching another classic demonstration of the “children trump everything” fallacy, and it is both a logical and an ethical fallacy:  the emotional and irresponsible rhetoric over the fate of the unaccompanied South American children being sent to the United States as a predictable response to Democratic promises of a better life, a college education, and eventual citizenship. The fact is that child illegal immigrants are just as illegal and just as undesirable as any other variety: they are just cuter, sadder, less culpable and easier to use to demonize principled opposition.

It is not surprising that the Palestinians, who pioneered using children as suicide bombers, figured out that sacrificing their own kids might be a dandy way to turn public opinion against Israel in its long, mad, apparently endless quest to eliminate the Jewish state. Israel turned over control of Gaza to the Palestinians there, and the Palestinians elected Hamas, which seeks, as written policy, the elimination of Israel. Instead of  using its resources to create a state and a stable infrastructure for society, Hamas spent millions importing and producing rockets, launchers, mortars, small arms, and even drones to do battle with Israel. It built a network of tunnels, and stockpiled the weapons in hospitals, religious sites, and crowded residential areas, using these locales to fire a barrage of rockets into Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

The Palestinians know the rockets can’t  inflict serious damage, being almost uniformly intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system. Why are they attacking, then? Simple: it is a perverted use of “Think of the children!”  As a Washington Post editorial pointed out, the goal of the missile barrage  is to draw Israeli missiles in response.Israel has given advance notice to civilians, dropping leaflets urging them to leave before its retaliatory  attacks, and Hamas has told families to remain and serve as human shields, all the better to produce pathetic civilian casualties and death to be contrasted with the lack of the same on the Israeli side.

As Charles Krauthammer wrote,

“To deliberately wage war so that your own people can be telegenically killed is indeed moral and tactical insanity. But it rests on a very rational premise: Given the Orwellian state of the world’s treatment of Israel (see: the U.N.’s grotesque Human Rights Council), fueled by a mix of classic anti-Semitism, near-total historical ignorance and reflexive sympathy for the ostensible Third World underdog, these eruptions featuring Palestinian casualties ultimately undermine support for Israel’s legitimacy and right to self-defense.”

Got it. But while the public has a right to know the facts, and reporting on the carnage of war, wherever it is, is a necessary duty of objective journalism, what the Western media is doing goes far, far beyond this.  It is following the Hamas script by wallowing in sentiment porn, lingering over footage of wounded children and grieving parents, and creating powerful cognitive dissonance that makes Israel appear to be the villain. CNN spent a substantial portion of its coverage Saturday morning on feature about one such wounded child, translating the father’s lament, “What has he done to deserve this? These are only children!” Then we got a return to the tut-tutting CNN anchors, talking about how heart-wrenching such images are, how horrible the results of the Israeli attacks have been, and expressing free-floating outrage without making the slightest effort to clarify the facts, the issues, or the truth beyond raw emotion.

Since the Palestinian methods, motives and strategy are well known, for CNN (and other networks) to knowingly follow the script and thus aid and abet the brutal anti-Israel propaganda campaign is irresponsible. dishonest, unfair and incompetent—and deadly. Hamas is killing its own children as surely as if they were suffocated in their beds, and CNN’s tear-seeking coverage is making the slaughter a successful, if evil and insane in its extreme utilitarianism, tool of war.

At our news networks, “Think of the children!” has metastasized from a bias that promotes stupidity to irresponsible exploitation that promotes death.

____________________________

Sources: Washington Post, Stopwar

Graphic: CNN

Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts, and seek written permission when appropriate. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work or property was used in any way without proper attribution, credit or permission, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at jamproethics@verizon.net.

 

72 thoughts on “Children Make Us Stupid, Or “Why Are U.S. News Networks Assisting Brutal Palestinian Propaganda?”

  1. In Muslim countries people seem to be born knowing that they are going to die as martyrs to Islam. If you are brought up with such a twisted idea of humanity even the unimaginable is just another day.
    Of all the enemies it is possible to have an enemy that knows it must surely die, in effect is already dead, is the most terrifying. There is no rational way to appeal to that kind of inhumanity.
    If they offer up their children and then cynically use their deaths to destroy you, you have no choice but to destroy them and their children. Or die yourself.

      • But what KIND of ideology? To what purpose? Is any “faith” that treats its children as disposable items fit to exist? It’s a question that western secularists might also ask of themselves. It’s a major factor in their de facto alliance with Islamism against Judaism and Christianity.

        • Speaking as a western secularist, I feel obligated to point out that none of the stuff you just associated with western secularists applies to me nor to any other western secularists I know or know of, and I know plenty. Not “faith” nor “treating children as disposable” nor “allying with Islam.” Do not confuse “allying with Islam” with thinking that it’s a bad idea to displace people from their homeland so that other people can just move in and claim the land. America has a bad habit of doing that…

          For future reference, if you want to make any criticisms, please go on Wikipedia and make sure your descriptive statements are accurate.

          • “EC”, your summary of the Israeli/Palestinian situation shows a lack of the basic historic facts about Israel, its occupations, and the current Israeli state.
            Israel, as it is today, is basically a reservation for Jews carved out of a relatively tiny portion of their own historic homeland. The Jews are, and have been for millenia, the region’s native dominant population and culture, even during the times when the Muslims and Crusaders fought over the land.

            • “historic homeland”? Not so much. While I agree at this point that the Palestinian expectation of the Jews to go somewhere else is ill-conceived at best and borderline insane at worst, and firing rockets into Israel is cripplingly stupid. The fact remains that in historical context, the Palestinians were there first.

              • Actually, the Canaanites and Philistines were there first. The Hebrews fought and defeated both to take the land, eventually to become Judea and Israel. They managed to hold off most foreign invasions until they were overwhelmed by the Babylonians first, then, later, the Romans and dispersed. As with any such dispersal, there were some who did not go with the program and stayed on. Since the Canaanites and Philistines are no longer around, the Hebrew claim is clearly first.

                • Philistines are Palestinians, it’s an etymological difference between how Palestinians referred to themselves and how the Jews referred to them.

                  • Etymological Fallacy

                    If the Zulu population of South African moved into the Chickasaw reservation in Oklahoma after the Chickasaw were all killed off or moved away through millennia, and started being called “Checkasaw people” it wouldn’t make them the same as the original Chickasaw.

                    This is where ethnically based arguments break down. Because what really is “ethnicity”.

                    Philistines and Palestinians have nothing materially relevant in common.

                    • I’m going to eat this one…. And I learned something today! I assumed that since Philistine and Palestinian were actually the same word in different languages, that modern Palestinians were descendants of ancient Philistines. I was wrong.

                    • While it’s not quite like the case with Turkey (where it’s pretty clear that the population is mostly descended from their Greek-speaking Byzantine forebears, not their Central Asian Turkic-speaking conquerors), the Palestinians can probably trace a good part of their descent to pre-Islamic (and even pre-Nabataen) Levantine peoples, just like all the major Jewish groups can. Arabization in Palestine, both in the ancient and medieval eras, seems to have involved more acculturation and intermixing than outright replacement, anyways. Aren’t genetic studies fun?

                    • What people themselves make of it, really; the Palestinians likely have some ancient Levantine ancestry, but culturally speaking, they’re probably feel as much connection to their pre-Arab roots as FDR felt he was Dutch (in my case, I just had to remind someone that “Julian” IS what I consider my real name, given that I was born and raised in the States). Anyways, while “pots, not people” is an anthropological cliche that has thankfully been receding due to the rise of genetic analysis, there are cases (like the Arabization of the Middle East or the Turkification of Anatolia, and possibly even the Sinification of South China or the Anglicization of Great Britain) where a weak version of the theory has some uses for historical usage.

                      The moral element, however, at this point has little to do with who lived there first, and more both sides have lived in the region for generations, both have a right to call it home, and Hamas can’t make the Israelis leave anymore than the Apache can take back the Southwest USA. (And weirdly enough, I think I said something like this to you before).

                  • That is an interesting theory, one espoused by one sheik or another and by Al-Jazeera, but without any basis in fact that I am aware of. The Philistines were probably Phoenicians, but in any case, were definitely NOT Arabian nor did they speak Aramaic.

                    • And I’m going to apologize as quickly as possible. I didn’t read HT’s comment until AFTER I had posted mine. I claim old age and stupidity.

                    • It’s believed by many that the Philistines were one and the same with the “Sea People” whom the ancient Egyptians recorded as having plagued their shores. They may have been Mycenaean Greeks… perhaps from Crete itself.

          • You know you’re my favorite squid, EC, but you’re all wet on this one, and so is Wikipedia.Most of the public has amnesia on this topic, and it is reflected in the internet misinformation, but the Palestinians weren’t displaced, and the U.S. was not a displacer. The Palestinians have had multiple opportunities to establish a nation and be peaceful neighbors. I think when you elect a terrorist organization to represent you, it is a res ipsa loquitur, no?

            In 1948, both the Palestinians and the Jews had the opportunity to organize separate states within Great Britain’s former Palestinian mandate, which was expiring. The Jewish state organized; the Palestinians chose to agitate for the expulsion of the Jews by force or otherwise, and all the death and chaos has grown out of that decision. I don’t know what you do about it, after whole generations have been born and raised in a culture of fear, revenge and hate. It is as if the U.S. offered the Native American tribes everything from the Rockies west, and instead of accepting the deal, they decided to keep trying to drive the white man back to Europe. Sorry—they would forfeit my sympathy and respect after a while.

          • I apologize for my historical sloppiness and am grateful for the serious corrections. Ironically, when I follow my own advice and actually check Wikipedia, it does confirm the corrections I’m receiving (it’s not good for formal papers, but for getting a basic overview of a topic it’s not bad). Well, except for the rather hollow “I know you are but what am I” style one from Steven. Everything I said about secularists still stands, which was my main point. If not Wikipedia, at least read something that can offset confirmation bias. I only suggested Wikipedia because I thought it would be quick and easy.

            However, I am glad that I embellished the point if only because it made it possible for me to be corrected on my views. I did not know that there was a considerable Jewish population in the Palestine region even before WWII. I’m cynical enough not to be surprised that whatever I read before about the establishment of modern Israel didn’t see fit to point out that fact. It makes sense in retrospect, since anti-Semitism had already been around for centuries and so Jewish people would return to their land of origin to escape persecution repeatedly throughout history. So it was not so much like “we’re back, so leave” but rather like “here’s more of us, since we don’t have another guaranteed safe place.” I can definitely understand that.

            As for modern Palestinians, I concur, their tactics and divisiveness should by rights forfeit all sympathy from anyone with sense. Based on what I know of the three main Western monotheistic religions (and I’ve taken classes), their actions as described in this post are condemned in all of them by virtue of being antithetical to compassion, so I think it’s safe to say that whatever religion they think they’re following, they’re doing it wrong.

            –ExCeph

            • Gee. It’s been a while since I’ve been compared to Pee Wee Herman! Look, Gastropod; I stand by my statement as to western secularists and offer their countless statements and actions of the past 20 years (at least) as evidence. What better example can you find of leftist lunacy when you find leftist Jews in America attacking Israel and supporting bloodthirsty terrorists who want to kill all their kinfolk and, ultimately, them and other Americans, too? Even if the so-called Palestinians had a just case, they’ve contaminated it beyond redemption. Their biggest ally is not Iran or Russia. It’s the western based numbskulls who are either too stupid or too hateful of actual godly people to see that they’re excusing and making common cause with evil creatures that have their deaths in mind as well.

              • I just realized that when you said “secular” I was interpreting it to mean something more along the lines of “humanist” and defending it as such. I apologize for my conflation and retract my previous statement, on the basis that being secular does not automatically confer any ethical superiority over being religious. I am still indignant that you assume all secularists think in an unethical way, but I do not deny that many do.

                Also, for the record and in response to Michael’s comment below, I did know that the British controlled Palestine and allocated the land for Israel; I described the situation a bit simplistically in my attempt at brevity. Sorry that that wasn’t clear. I’m hoping that the comment about the first World War was tongue-in-cheek, though… that has a bit of a “might makes right” vibe to it.

                • Say, E.C.; I got a little on my high horse over that. I think we were both stumbling over definitions. Sorry about that. I’m out a at a rural site all night and I keep losing my wireless connection- which irks me to no end!

          • Do not confuse “allying with Islam” with thinking that it’s a bad idea to displace people from their homeland so that other people can just move in and claim the land.

            Israel received their land from the British, who conquered it from Turkey in the 1910’s.

            If they did not want to be dispossessed, they should not have lost the Great War.

        • One learns very quickly that life is cheap. No one cares about you but you. Certainly, not Jesus, Mohammed, or any other psychotic tribal deity. We send men to war knowing that some will not return, and it is hard for me to think of a single “just war” since WWII.

          If you are destined to end up in heaven, and others have made your life a living hell, who cares? Christianity and Islam are joined at the hip, in that regard. Might as well hasten the inevitable.

          Without justice, there can be no peace.

  2. I’m so tired of the ‘think of the children.’ they have managed to wear out that knee jerk reaction. In a war, they should remember to think of the children on the jewish side too. How many ‘minor’ incidents of violence happen against them? They have to live under a permanent siege because their enemies can’t just settle down and grow a few generations and build lives for their children. Killing your people like that is self-genocide. When people reach that level of stupid i can only feel pity and a little contempt.

    I am going to try to set my inner heckler to reply to the ‘think of the children’ with ‘Where are the parents and grandparents and people who should be protecting them?

  3. The use of children to advocate for or against policy debates is nothing new, of course. What is new is the 24 hour news cycle and modern communications that makes such news “important.” Be that as it may, as ethical people, do we not have a responsibility to place import on the exploitation, death or peril of children over adults? Presumably, we do so because 1) we are hardwired to be protective of children (as was noted); 2) children are by and large weak and helpless having not yet developed physically or mentally; 3) children, too, are hardwired to trust in adults in general, and their parents in particular. As noted, the Newtown murders would have been big news and a tragedy had they been adult victims, but the fact that they were children who: 1) had no choice but to be in school; 2) had no ability to protect themselves and 3) didn’t have a clue what was happening to them, made it more compelling. So, all true. But just because children (or baby animals, for that matter make for injustice times two (shoot a fawn and one is heartless and cruel, same animal 6 months later and one is a good hunter)), does not relieve us of our obligation to place more weight in the favor of the powerless, and who or what has less power than a children (or baby animal). Pay for sex with a 12 year old and you’re rightly a sexual predator and monster, pay for sex with the same girl/woman 6 years later and you’re a loser.

    I would suggest that the greater risk is that we get so much of this terrible news that we soon turn a blind eye to their plight, treating them as the moral equivalent of adults. One is tempted to say this is all that separates us from the animal kingdom, but even that would not be true; animals routinely risk their own lives or die in protecting the young (think the.mother bird feigning injury to draw a predators attention away from the baby bird).

    Bottom line: children are used as effective propaganda tool precisely because we are ethical beings, capable of weighing the factors of an event. But what other choice do we have? Can we really say the senseless death of a child is equal to the senseless death of say a 70-year-old man? It’s when we get to that point — where everything’s a wash — that we become meaningless beings incapable of distinguishing between technically equal events which are, in reality, not equal at all.

    • The instinct to sacrifice for children is an essential survival mechanism for humanity. That makes it all the more despicable to manipulate that instinct to achieve harmful ends, or to allow that instinct to warp crucial values and policies.
      Is it “more unethical” to kill a child than an adult? Certainly not from the perspective of the individual being killed. Doing either is unethical, and the comparison is only useful in an either/or, zero sum situation. All things being equal, sure—we all agree culturally that maximizing the welfare of children is a societal priority, but it is irresponsible to make that priority and absolute in all cases. Open borders is terrible policy whether the illegal aliens are children or adults. The sentimentality that goes along with rational concern for children fogs the latter…like all ethical mandates, there are limits and exceptions: If a hijacker says he will kill the pilots or a child, well, unfortunately, the child is out of luck.

      • I would say that as a society, yes, it is a greater moral outrage to kill a child than an adult and I dare say that few other than that adult in that situation would disagree. I agree, open borders is a terrible policy whether children or adults, which is why we don’t have an open border policy. But we do have many immigrant communities in this country that formed after a humanitarian crisis in their countries (remember the Boat People? The Irish potato famine? Jews escaping Nazis?) The national response was often similar: Irish and German Catholic immigration was opposed in the 1850s by the Nativist/Know Nothing movement which felt we were being overwhelmed by Catholic immigrants, who were often regarded as hostile to American values and controlled by the Pope in Rome In 1882 Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act. From 1880 to 1924, around two million Jews moved to the United States, mostly seeking better opportunity in America and fleeing the pogroms of the Russian Empire. Congress passed the Emergency Quota Act in 1921, followed by the Immigration Act of 1924, which was aimed at further restricting the Southern Europeans and Russians who had begun to enter the country in large numbers beginning in the 1890s. The National Origins Formula of 1921 (and its final form in 1924) not only restricted the number of immigrants who might enter the United States but also assigned slots according to quotas based on national origins. In 1946, the Luce-Celler Act extended the right to become naturalized citizens to newly freed Filipinos and Asian Indians. The immigration quota was set at 100 people a year. In 1950, after the start of the Korean War, the Internal Security Act barred admission to any foreigner who was Communist.

        So, sorry to inflame, but it’s nothing new.

        My comment that “its nothing new” in the child exploitation discussion did not suggest we not consider the issue; it was a statement of fact to point out that Palestine is not by any stretch being novel here and that policy debates should not either be slanted by “it’s nothing new,” or “this has never been done before.”

        Interesting discussion!

        • The problem with all the refugee analogies is that this influx is not like that from Hitler’s persecution, the fall of Vietnam, or the Irish famine. This is a steady state of chaos in South America—talk about “nothing new’! The unrest, political instability and periodic violence is the South American way and has been for centuries. This illegal migration has no endpoint. The Washington Post has a report this morning that the US was warned two years ago that a wave of kids were coming, and we did nothing…the crisis is one of incompetence, not human rights. If we define “refugees” absurdly broadly—“getting out of third world or unstable countries”—to “think of the children,” coherent and responsible policy becomes impossible.

          By the way, I didn’t mean to impugn you (or Steve) regarding “it’s not the first time” —I just think it’s necessary to consider that cliche’s implications. I think it desensitizes us to genuine wrongs that need to be condemned and addressed, new or not. I’m grateful for the catalyst.

          • ” This is a steady state of chaos in South America—talk about “nothing new’! The unrest, political instability and periodic violence is the South American way and has been for centuries. This illegal migration has no endpoint. “

            Key to this point is that immigration from South America, even more so from Central America, and even more so than that from Mexico, is that massive waves of immigrants from those countries do not face the same cultural compulsion to “become American” that groups from Asia, Europe or Africa had to. The latter, being wholly and completely isolated from their bases of support had to assimilate and adopt, for the most part, the native culture.

            The former group, especially those from Mexico, face no such pressure to an appreciable degree. They can fiercely hold onto loyalties to the homeland and resist assimilation. That right there presents a solid national security concern that automatically compels us to have differing immigration policy and differing foreign policy towards those countries than from the Old World.

  4. This is nothing new, when Clinton and Gingrich were battling over welfare reform and other aspects of policy the general rule was hitch your wagon to a child if you wanted to succeed, in fact my normally conservative grandparents were going to vote for Clinton because they thought the Republicans were becoming the party of hurting kids (neither made it to the 1996 elections). This is just that same principle taken up to eleven.

    • Well, that does it—-I’m adding “It’s nothing new” to the rationalization list. I’ve been considering it for a while, and having two comments on the same thread use it back to back is the clincher. Really, what does this statement suggest?

      1. That it’s not a problem because it isn’t new? That only NEW problems are worthy of attention?

      2. That we should just shrug off the conduct because it’s SOP? Why is the fact that bad conduct is repeated make it less obnoxious? I would say the opposite is true.

      3. That the fact that bad conduct of a certain stripe isn’t new must mean it’s nothing to worry about, since we’ve survived so far?

      Besides, it IS new, unless you’re aware of other situations where a society intentionally put their children in harm’s way so they could vilify an enemy who made good faith efforts to minimize the danger to those very children. “It’s nothing new” sounds like something Hamas would say.

  5. Yes; “think of the children” and “if it saves one child” have been used to justify many ill-conceived and futile laws and policies that are contradicted by facts and research and do not even begin to accomplish their goals.

  6. It’s one of those supreme ironies (and depravities) of modern life that those who call the loudest for “the sake of the children” are often the worst offenders against them- and in a number of ways. Those who sincerely advocate for them on moral grounds have to be careful to draw a line between themselves and those who claim “virtue” from their very depredations.

  7. I’ve been on the road for 2 months and have had a hard time catching up on the news, but in just the 3 minutes of CNN’s coverage of this conflict I watched at a McDonald’s This week I was completely repulsed. “Israeli attacks kill 4 Palestinian children…” Really? We’re not stupid. Not all of us anyway.

    • Actually, Isaac, I think we are. When is the last headline you saw that said “Hamas rocket attack kills 4 Israeli children.”? And who, outside of the Israeli’s would care? Other than the commenters (some of them, not all) on this blog? Have I mentioned lately that we are doomed…as a race, and as a country.

      • Stop doomsaying—it’s defeatist and un-American… Hey! What’s all this laying around stuff? Why are you all still laying around here for?…What? Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no! And it ain’t over now. ‘Cause when the goin’ gets tough……………………………………………………………The tough get goin’! Who’s with me? Let’s go!…What the fuck happened to the Delta I used to know? Where’s the spirit? Where’s the guts, huh? This could be the greatest night of our lives, but you’re gonna let it be the worst. “Ooh, we’re afraid to go with you Bluto, we might get in trouble.” Well just kiss my ass from now on! Not me! I’m not gonna take this!

      • “When is the last headline you saw that said “Hamas rocket attack kills 4 Israeli children.”?”

        To be fair, we don’t hear that headline, because simply put, Palestinians suck at epically incompetent levels in accomplishing their goals. Hell, 10% of the rockets the Palestinians waste their money on fall on Palestinians. What dipshits (I don’t like swearing, but that seems apt at this juncture). Last I checked, the “Palestinians” have only managed to kill 2 or 3 Israeli civilians since they began the barrage of Israel.

        And Israel, being a developed and advanced civilization that hasn’t dedicated its existence to destruction, has been able to join the international community and develop/procure advanced technologies, helping to lead it to being way better at protecting its people from the violent tendencies of self-isolating hate-cultures. All the time it has done this it has been able to FLOOD the land of it’s self-made enemy with MAGNANIMOUS aid and support.

  8. I suspect that if, given their druthers, oppressed Palestinians would rather lob cruise missiles into Tel Aviv from their cushy armchairs in Florida like “our heroes.” Bill Maher was spot-on: to wage war like that is cowardly. But as Sun-Tzu and Gin Rummy taught, you go to war with the army you have. IEDs and shoulder-fired rockets neutralized the two most powerful armies in the world, and prevented the de facto annexation of Iraq. Using children as suicide bombers is only possible where you have a strong moral argument for your position, and the Palestinians have one. And yes, it is not without benefit. Sun-Tzu taught that, as a guerilla force, you can attack anywhere, while the enemy must defend everywhere. All we’re doing here is debating tactics, not ethics.

    As for the illegals, I agree with you. Unless and until something is done about the terrorist organization known as the Catholic Church and its own weapon of mass destruction–a population explosion–it is one problem we cannot solve, and should not try to solve. Israel is a bridge too far for the same reason, and the (formerly, Christian) West in general has sown the seeds of its own destruction.

    In politics, optics matter. That was true in China under Chiang Kai-shek, Russia under the Romanoffs, and Egypt under the dissolute King Farouk. Cliven Bundy and his rag-tag band were going to use women and children as human shields. You can have one standard, and no more.

    • There’s not much you can say to someone who’s loony enough and depraved enough to actually post a rant like that and believe they’ve made any valid points. If you actually want to believe that Palestinian Arabs are Allah’s Angels and that the Jews, the Catholics, Cliven Bundy, the American military and (one presumes) the Bilderbergers are the real baby killing scourges of the Earth, you go right ahead. In fact, why don’t you run for office on that platform? The Democrats need someone to make them seem rational by comparison this November.

    • This a screed, not an argument. You’ll have to upgrade from pamphleteer propaganda to actual facts and rational debate, or you’re not going to last here.

      Bill Maher is almost never spot on, and that observation of his is especially silly. I suppose he’d like to reduce all war to Greco-Roman wrestling, but the point of armed conflict by the good guys is to stop dangerous and lawless conduct endangering civilized society. Nothing about Palestinian aggression has been civilized or ethical for more than 50 years. How hard is it to agree that Israel has a right to exist? You espouse a terrorist ethic, and that is per se unethical, and also despicable.

    • I don’t see how fighting over land is a “strong moral argument” for using children as suicide bombers. This isn’t just tactics; ethics comes in because people’s lives are being literally destroyed by these decisions. Such an action is not only probably hastening the destruction of one’s culture, but also is treating as expendable resources (you compare them to cards in Gin Rummy) the lives of those one is supposed to be responsible for nurturing. I ask the serious question: Is that an acceptable price to pay for a piece of land?

      Also, describing the Catholic Church as a terrorist organization is inaccurate and undermines your arguments, except arguably in the context of the Troubles in Ireland, and in that case it was less the Church as an organization and more the people. Avoiding hyperbole is important in serious discussions.

      Lastly, I’m afraid I don’t understand the import of your third paragraph.

      • Excellent EC, but you have more patience than I—the Catholic Church as a terrorist organization comment is a tell—he’s not interested in serious debate on this or any topic, and his defense of using children as suicide bombers disqualifies him to discuss ethics credibly.

    • BGeist:
      “Using children as suicide bombers is only possible where you have a strong moral argument for your position, and the Palestinians have one. . . Sun-Tzu taught that, as a guerilla force, you can attack anywhere, while the enemy must defend everywhere.”

      If that is the case, then you made the case for killing those children as they are enemy combatants. At issue here is whether an adult, with adult issues and demands against another should use children, who know nothing of the issues or have been inculcated by their society to hate, to serve as a proxy soldier in their parent’s fight and who should be held accountable when the child is maimed or dies. The bloody bodies of the children and the tears of the parents are designed to inflict maximum political damage.

      Whether it is right or wrong in war is immaterial. The point Jack makes is that we are letting the other side use our sense of morality to foment third party anger against their foe; knowing full well that we will ignore the fact that the children were put at risk by their very parents and leaders. That is what is unethical.

      Reminds me of what happened at Kent State. The anti-war professors egged on students to protest the Viet-Nam war. They happily watched students stand up to the National Guard from high up in their ivory towers . Cowards never lead from the front line.

      • Great comment and rebuttal of BG’s ethically-inert gibberish. Now I almost feel badly about banning the guy, since such comments as his can be catalysts for clarifying and valuable comments like yours. Almost.

        • The problem with people like him being catalysts for clarifying and valuable comments is that is the sole purpose of using the Strawman Fallacy — “I have a point I want to make, I don’t want to make it independently because it may be off topic, so I need to act like the opposition asserted something for which my point is valid”

          Yet Bouldergeist has managed to assert what would otherwise be Strawman Arguments…

          My vote is don’t ban him.

          • I already did. The Clarence Thomas bit was the straw—I could have lived with the straw men and off-topic screeds, because they were stimulating. (In fact, his final comment has led me to re-visit the Thomas story from a different angle, probably later today.) But that “I detest selective outrage” snot was way, way over the line, having based his argument on an incident that I had written about.

            I don’t want yes-men and yes-women here, but I insist on having regular participants who are smart, articulate, fair, honest, not routinely obnoxious, arrogant and insulting, and at least minimally open to new ideas. Once someone makes this job unpleasant for me, there is no reason to keep them around. “Unpleasant” is when I feel abused, or when I feel the blog is being defaced, not when someone takes issue with a position. Did I go too long with Scott? A lot of posters thought so–ultimately he more or less proved me wrong and them right by stomping off once I challenged his libertarian absolutism.

    • Sun-Tzu taught that, as a guerilla force, you can attack anywhere, while the enemy must defend everywhere.

      Of course, the enemy can also attack anywhere.

      If the Gazans do not unconditionally surrender, they will be destroyed.

  9. These children are being used as human shields to protect military assets. Because they serve a military purpose, they are themselves military assets and thus should be treated as combatants rather than civilians. The party turning civilians into combatants should be the proper target of any outrage about their deaths. Their age, and the fact that they are involuntary combatants is irrelevant, except as a good reason to utterly destroy the party using such tactics.

    • The use of children as shields and military tools is without question unethical. But unless you have some inside personal information that the only children being killed are being placed there intentionally, the ethical debate is far more nuanced. The U.S. killed children in war, but makes every effort to avoid targeting areas where there are civilians. I don’t think we know enough of the facts to leap to the conclusion that every report of children being killed is the result of them being used as military assets. If we do so, then we assume all children “should be treated as combatants” which is clearly unethical.

      • I don’t think that’s the issue here. Yes, adults AND children are beiong used as human shields, but the kids are the ones who provide, as Netanyahu said yesterday, “photogenic dead Palestinians.” When wepaons are intentionally fired from sites heavy in civilians, those civilians are warned in advance of Israeli shelling, and Hamas instructs them to say put, I don’t see any nuance at all. Outside of accepting daily missiles from Hamas and responding with an Obamaesque, “we will not stand for this” followed by nothing else, Israel is doing all it can while protecting its population and nation. Every example of children being killed is a result of Hamas attacks on Israel in defiance of international law. That makes Hamas culpable.

        When citizens are killed in warfare, primary responsibility goes to the government that failed to protect them. Citizens are culpable for the governments they elect, or fail to overthrow, or effectively oppose. I am not especially sympathetic to a parent who voted for a terrorist organization to run Gaza, and is condemning Israel for the death of her child.

        • “When citizens are killed in warfare, primary responsibility goes to the government that failed to protect them. Citizens are culpable for the governments they elect, or fail to overthrow. or effectively opposed.”

          Which brings us back to your comments regarding the children killed in Newtown. And I agree.

          • I’m not sure how they relate, Kevin. Death of civilians is a predictable consequence of war. Massacres of fourth grade classes are not predictable consequences of a Second Amendment, except in the sense that given enough time, anything that can happen, will happen.

  10. This: “Israel has given advance notice to civilians, dropping leaflets urging them to leave before its retaliatory attacks, and Hamas has told families to remain and serve as human shields, all the better to produce pathetic civilian casualties and death to be contrasted with the lack of the same on the Israeli side.”

    I was told by someone (as per the Lebanon invasion of 2006) that a lot of civilian casualties were the direct result of this. They intentionally open fire from schools, etc., or gather all the civilians together at certain locations when intel reaches the IDF of terrorist locations.

    It’s deliberate murder and it’s absolutely astounding the American media peddles news in favor of actual terrorists.

    But, the photos are more than likely fake anyway. By most accounts, they’ve been doing this stuff for a while. Hamas, et al., also stage photos of wounded kids too: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/11/20/brazen-faking-images-reveals-hamas-desperation/

    But that’s been going on since, well, always.

    I’m still amazed when people say the the media is pro-Israel. They probably don’t read or listen.

    • False flag attacks are a favorite. I recall seeing a forensic breakdown of a video in the 90s. A gun battle between Israeli soldiers and insurgents was going on and an insurgent cameraman videotaped a Palestinian father and his son taking cover from the shooting.

      The Israelis were off camera to the right, the cameraman was across the street from the father and son. The father and son were in defilade, meaning they had cover from Israeli fire. Rounds were impacting extremely close to the cameraman as you could see ricochet kicking up dust in front of the camera, while you could hear gunfire and see the camera man shake from return fire immediately next to the cameraman.

      Presently, rounds began impacting near the father and son. The traces didn’t make lateral impacting as would be expected from rounds coming from the side… rather flat or round traces from bullets fired straight on. Simultaneously, the father and son look at the cameraman with an extremely confused look on their faces.

      The bullets stopped at the father and son but the gunner continued firing, presumably at the Israeli soldiers, who again returned fire. Immediately, rounds began impacting the wall behind the father and son in the defilade where no Israeli bullets could possibly hit. The holes were circular, as though a round fired directly from the cameraman’s angle, not obliquely, as though fired from the direction of the Israeli soldiers.

      With the same confused look on their faces, the son crumpled under impact and shortly, in a vain attempt to shield his mortally wounded son from his new found true enemy, the father shuddered under the impact of bullets.

      The video was published under some propagandistic title “Israeli soldiers murder innocent family” or some other nonsense.

      • Ok, didn’t take long to research and find the incident. Apparently was a big deal internationally. I see my memory embellished some minor details, I apologize and retract, but not many. Yet the best forensic analysis I read and from what I saw was still that Palestinian insurgents killed their own in a false flag attack.

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