Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Ceasefire's are only for reloading.

Ceasefire: 8-14-06: 1am EST. (8am ground zero time) Only two minutes before the ceasefire began CNN reported that Israeli air strikes hit Lebanese targets on the coast. After a month of exchanging volleys of missiles and bombs both sides may be wary of fighting. Unfortunately, both sides are still committed to continuing their efforts and will likely look for, and use, any excuse to restart the fighting.

Both sides in this conflict used the countdown to the ceasefire to launch their largest volume of attacks like boxers throwing the most punches just prior to the bell. No doubt both sides will only use this ceasefire for reloading and preparing for round 2. 1:09 am.

It is unlikely the million or so Lebanese who have been displaced by the Israeli attacks will now optimistically return to their homes.

So far nearly a 1000 innocent Lebanese have been murdered compared to slightly over 100 Israeli civilians since the violence started 33 days ago. An astute reader will note that I did not use the adjective “innocent” to describe Israelis murdered by Hezbollah missiles. This important word should be used for Israeli children who are below the voting or military service age.

At the beginning of this war 75% of Israelis supported their leader. Today, after Israeli military forces were unable to ‘defeat’ Hezbollah only 43% of Israeli support their leader. Most wanted the war to continue. War appears to be a popular Israeli sentiment. If Israeli citizens vote for aggressive leaders, pay their taxes -- and believe that non-combatant Lebanese are legitimate ‘collateral damage’ when they allow Hezbollah’s presence, then Israeli citizens are not innocent ‘victims’ of “terrorists”.

To set the record straight, the two Israeli solders who were kidnapped by Hezbollah militants and the other Israeli solder kidnapped by Palestinian militants were legitimate military targets. Hezboalla abducted them in hopes gaining the release of their militant associates still held by Israeli military forces from past conflicts.

Israeli political leaders used these criminal cross border incursions as an excuse to launch an unprecedented and abusive military response that has killed and maimed thousands and displaced over a million innocent people. Using the same logic what level of military action could Iraq have justified after Israeli’s ‘preemptive’ strikes on Saddam’s nuclear facilities in the early 1980s? If Israel can legitimately use a minor cross border incursion to justify a major invasion to destroy Hezbollah, is there any wonder why so many Muslims call for the destruction of Israel? Perhaps we should be thrilled that Israel hasn’t used it’s own nuclear weapons to eliminate Hezbollah. If Israel’s existence is truly threatened by Iran and other Islamic extremists…why shouldn’t they be justified in using their nuclear capabilities? If 'preemption' is considered a ‘legitimate’ use of force by ‘Christian/Judeo powers’ why wouldn’t it also be a ‘legitimate’ goal of ‘Islamic’ powers to preempt their overly aggressive enemies?

(35 minutes into the ceasefire it appears to be holding…. No record of Katusha rockets fired….which suggests that Hezbollah has an effective communications system… There are still 10,000 Israeli soldiers on Lebanese soil)

Bush claims that you are either with us, or with the terrorists…. Even though there is no real agreement on what a “terrorist” is. Many in the Muslim (and even the non Muslim world) consider the US a terrorist state. Even using the most popular western definitions of terrorist many past and even some recent US/Israel military actions would fit within that definition.

And, if Israel’s attacks on Lebanese infrastructure are seen as legitimate military targets then the US Trade Towers and hte Pentagon would also be ‘legitimate’ military targets. Islamic extremist attacks on the US military barracks in Lebanon during the Reagan Administration, the first NY World Trade Towers bombing, the bombing of the US Air Force Kobar towers, US embassies and the USS Cole…were also ‘legitimate military’ targets... with any adult citizens being ‘legitimate’ collateral damage and not 'victoms of terrorism. Unless war is terrorism and terrorism is war.

If Israel and the UN resolution 1701 is calling for a “Hezbollah free zone” in southern Lebanon why is it any surprise that many Muslims still believe in a Jew free Middle-east.

Here’s my math. If you justify killing innocent people by ANY means (war, self defense, or terrorism) then you are in fact justifying murder and should be treated accordingly. If you actually carryout violence that results in the murder of innocent people then you should be held accountable for those deaths. Only if you are willing to die for what you believe…but unwilling to kill innocent people…are you in fact a ‘legitimate’ user of force. Any truly civilized society calls’ these individuals policeman or ‘peace keepers’. They are the true warriors for peace. All other uses of force, including sanctions which can be more deadly than war, is an act of terrorism. Anyone who kills innocent people are the bad guys.

Policeman enforce the law. They don't allow collateral damage. Policemen who kill innocent people are held accountable. When we have real international law, not unenforceable resolutions… we will have a foundation for real peace. More will need to be built on top of that foundation…but it is the foundation of law…that is the path to peace. Not more violent wars.

That brings me to the second point. Disarmament. As Emery Reves so clearly stated more than 60 years ago ‘peace is not a function of arms or disarmament. It is function of just laws”. The last and the newest UN Resolutions targeting the disarmament of Hezbollah, is wrong and unworkable on at least 3 levels. First, the right to bear arms is the second inalienable right our founding fathers granted all Americans under our Constitution. They recognized this right as an inalienable human right to protect individuals from any and all abusive governments. This basic principle is not, and should not be limited to US citizens.
Second. Even if you wanted to ‘disarm’ someone, some group, or some nation it would be virtually impossible to do so given the dual use nature of all technology and natural materials. Even the most repressive and intrusive police state possible would be unable to ‘disarm’ committed and thinking souls. The ‘liquid bombs’ planned by the latest busted ‘terrorist’ cells in the UK are evidence of this dual use dilemma. Their bombs were constructed from household liquids and common use electronic toys.
Last. Any effort to disarm one group without an equal effort to disarm all other groups…would be a form of prejudice that few groups would be willing to peacefully accept. Especially when they perceive the disarmee to be a non-neutral force. US political and military support for Israel puts any US action into question.

In summary. War is not the answer. The rule of law is. War is the path to Armageddon. Law is the path to peace. Time and technology is not on our side in learning this lesson.
Many have said that “intellegence’ is the key to defeating terrorism (as evidenced by the UK police success in stopping this potential 9-11 follow up attack. But true intelligence isn’t measured by how much we know. It’s measured by what we do when we don’t know what to do. The root of our problem is doing the wrong thing based on the wrong information that we have. Too may people still believe war can solve human problems. It rarely has in human history. It never will in humanity’s future.


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