08 January 2009

The Bomber's Veto

If we believe that:
  • People are born with certain inalienable rights;

  • Among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; and

  • People consent to government in order to protect these rights,
Then it necessarily follows that the Israeli government is not only permitted to go into Gaza to stop Hamas, but that it is obligated to do so. But this implies that, so long as Hamas survives, it can provoke Israeli government action at will. It needs only find a way to kill Israelis, or (as its done with its rocket attacks) find a way to so far degrade Israeli liberty and pursuit of happiness that the Israeli government must act.

If so, then Hamas can always torpedo a truce between the Palestinians and the Israelis, at least so long as Arab governments, including the PA, continue to use hatred of the Jews to distract their people from their own failure to secure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If demography is really the Palestinian's friend, then Hamas can win, or at least convince itself that it can win, simply by preventing peace until such time as the Palestinians so greatly outnumber the Israelis that Israel's position becomes untenable. Of course, by preventing peace Hamas also keeps the Palestinians poor, so it's a self-reinforcing cycle.

So what can Israel do? It can decide to simply absorb the rocket attacks. This is, in fact, what it decides periodically, until the burden on its populace becomes too great. Since I think that this is an immoral abrogation of the basic responsibilities of government, I'm less than happy with this tactic.

It can wipe out Hamas. I'm generally skeptical of the "fighting terror only creates martyrs and recruits" argument. Al Qaeda has found that we can make enough martyrs to limit the number of recruits, or at least prevent them from doing anything constructive with the recruits they do get. But the Israelis, who have been calling and texting people living near their targets and telling them to seek shelter, including members of Hamas, are not willing to do what it takes to wipe out a popular movement mixed into a civilian population. This is another indication that, contrary to most people's expectations, the US -- following the Declaration of Independence -- is more ruthless than the Israelis.

The other possible solution is OJ's argument that the Israelis should let Hamas govern, with the expectation that it will fail. This is similar to the Anbar Awakening, in which seeing the future that AQ was trying to bring about up close and personal drove the Sunnis into alliance with us. The problem with this is two-fold. First, Hamas already has some experience delivering social and civil services. Second, whenever Hamas gets in trouble with the people, all it need do is lob a few rockets into Israel, leaving us back where we started.

There is another solution, of course. The federal government owns or managers 86% of the land in Nevada, some 61 million acres. Israel is less than 5.5 million acres. Let them make another desert bloom.

15 comments:

Hey Skipper said...

If so, then Hamas can always torpedo a truce between the Palestinians and the Israelis, at least so long as Arab governments, including the PA, continue to use hatred of the Jews to distract their people from their own failure to secure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

A great, outside-the-box idea. It would greatly enrich our country, while exposing the real reason why the ME is a festering sore.

Two unfortunatelies:

1. Too many Jews believe the fairy tale that G-d is a real estate agent, and gave them eternal title to Judaea.

2. Nevada: great views, lots of land. No water.

Susan's Husband said...

"at least so long as Arab governments, including the PA, continue to use hatred of the Jews to distract their people from their own failure to secure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness"

That's the root, which means it's not a bombers veto, but a dictator's veto.

Plus the tyranno-philes here in the West who are so enamored of those dictators.

Bret said...

They don't all need to go to Nevada. Anywhere in the U.S. will do if they don't need to be an independent country.

How about an enormous artificial Island in the south Pacific? No water there either but desalinization could work.

I can't actually believe what the Israelis are willing to put up with. If I was the ruler of Israel, I'd lob 10 or a hundred or a thousand rockets back for each one that hit Israel.

erp said...

Ditto Bret.

Peter Burnet said...

Well Bret, that doesn't happen and you will note our host didn't even list that option as one of his theoretical solutions, even though it is the easiest and most readily available one. I guess "Light to the Nations" isn't just a political slogan. That is the glory and tragedy of Israel and I do not know what the answer is.

Harry Eagar said...

'to distract their people from their own failure to secure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.'

That's a really big assumption, because you are assuming they care about life etc. as compared with their religion.

I don't believe it. If the Palestinian areas were prosperous (which they used to be, relatively), the Moslems would still hate the Jews.

Heck, the Moslems in Indonesia hate Jews and not one Indonesian in 100 has ever been within 500 miles of Jew.

I do not distinguish Palestinians in general from Hamas -- they voted for them, didn't they?

Therefore, I know what the solution is, though it will never be put into practice -- treat the Palestinians the way we treated the Japanese.

Duck said...

Isn't the whole point of Israel that they are living in the land promised to them by God? Without that land, they're just New York.

I'd prefer that all peoples give up the notion of god-given territory, and just be happy to own private property in a free, democratic, secular state. But culture and identity go deep.

Hey Skipper said...

Isn't the whole point of Israel that they are living in the land promised to them by God?

If both the Palestinians and Israelis (or at least the devout among them) could come to terms with the notion that everyone is entitled to their own pursuit of Life, Liberty and Happiness, then the problem would solve itself.

Unfortunately, if there is one area where religion remains toxic, this is it.

Peter Burnet said...

How revisionist, Skipper. It astounds me how readily so many today confidently proclaim it is all about religion. Nobody would have said that until the 1980s. The founding of Israel was a decidedly secular undertaking that was viewed with suspicion by many religious Jews and her enemies were almost all quasi-marxist regimes that persecuted radical Muslims. Israel has a big problem today coping with religious terrorists but for the first forty years of her existence, she had to worry a lot more about secular armies.

Harry Eagar said...

Muslim Jew-hatred didn't just suddenly pop up within the past 40 years.

Islamic supremacism isn't 40 years old. It's 1,400 years old.

What you have detected is that, for a brief interval, because of European interference, there were non-religious states with Muslim majority populations.

Hey Skipper said...

Peter:

Skipper. It astounds me how readily so many today confidently proclaim it is all about religion.

So, you mean to tell me that Jews intent on settling in the West Bank and (until a couple years ago) the Gaza strip were not religiously motivated?

And do not, to this day, engage in violent civil disobedience when the government tries to dismantle their settlements?

While we are at it, do you also mean to tell me that Muslims in the region do not actively persecute non-Muslims solely on account of their religions?

Peter Burnet said...

Harry:

Tell me, when do you think you materialists are going to get passed the brief interval stage?

Skipper:

Do you divide history into events that are "all about religion" and events that have nothing to do with it?

David said...

Peter: It's more that he divides them into good and bad, and then he knows which column had nothing to do with religion and which column was solely a product of religion.

Peter Burnet said...

Indeed, and seeing how it is always, always bad to want anything for religious reasons, it seems the only just and righteous solution to the Middle East would be to empty the whole place.

Bret said...

Peter wrote: "...it seems the only just and righteous solution to the Middle East would be to empty the whole place."

Unfortunately, I think that is where it's ultimately headed.