realitycheck(dot)ie

Irish doctor with too many thoughts, too little time and a blog that's supposed to check in on reality.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Why Victor Davis Hanson WON'T Get An Irish Times Slot

VDH nails his colours in this NRO article.
"It is now a cliche to rant about the spread of postmodernism, cultural relativism, utopian pacifism, and moral equivalence among the affluent and leisured societies of the West. But we are seeing the insidious wages of such pernicious theories as they filter down from our media, universities, and government - and never more so than in the general public's nonchalance since Hezbollah attacked Israel.

These past few days the inability of millions of Westerners, both here and in Europe, to condemn fascist terrorists who start wars, spread racial hatred, and despise Western democracies is the real story, not the "quarter-ton" Israeli bombs that inadvertently hit civilians in Lebanon who live among rocket launchers that send missiles into Israeli cities and suburbs.

Yes, perhaps Israel should have hit more quickly, harder, and on the ground; yes, it has run an inept public relations campaign; yes, to these criticisms and more. But what is lost sight of is the central moral issue of our times: a humane democracy mired in an asymmetrical war is trying to protect itself against terrorists from the 7th century, while under the scrutiny of a corrupt world that needs oil, is largely anti-Semitic and deathly afraid of Islamic terrorists, and finds psychic enjoyment in seeing successful Western societies under duress.

In short, if we wish to learn what was going on in Europe in 1938, just look around."


(It's not as if his position would have been anyway ambiguous anyway....)

While not in the same issue, but my NRO reading session, Claudia Rossett, Oil-For-Food expert, discusses Hezbollah's non-terrorist UN designation - But without a clear definition of what terrorism entails, U.N. member states — including the liveliest terror sponsors — pay no penalty for interpreting these measures in any warped way they might choose, or effectively ignoring them altogether.
This gridlock goes far to explain why Annan, apparently forgetting his reform pitch of last year, has been calling with the regularity of a cuckoo clock for an immediate “ceasefire” in the current conflict. In doing so, he ignores the desperately lopsided setup of any deal in which Israel would be constrained by U.N. words on paper while the terrorists — by definition, if only the U.N. had one — can be reliably stopped only at gunpoint. That asymmetry is pretty much the arrangement that incubated this war in the first place. Israel complied with U.N. rules and withdrew six years ago from Lebanon. Hezbollah violated the rules, expanding its protection rackets and stockpiling illicit weapons under the terror-neutral gaze of U.N. “peacekeepers,” until it was ready to strike.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous EWI said...

Yes, perhaps Israel should have hit more quickly, harder, and on the ground; yes, it has run an inept public relations campaign; yes, to these criticisms and more.

...and that tells us all we need to know about VDH, I'm afraid.

In doing so, he ignores the desperately lopsided setup of any deal in which Israel would be constrained by U.N. words on paper while the terrorists — by definition, if only the U.N. had one — can be reliably stopped only at gunpoint. That asymmetry is pretty much the arrangement that incubated this war in the first place. Israel complied with U.N. rules and withdrew six years ago from Lebanon.

Oh, yes. After how many years?

Hezbollah violated the rules, expanding its protection rackets and stockpiling illicit weapons under the terror-neutral gaze of U.N. “peacekeepers,” until it was ready to strike.

The UN "peacekeepers" are not "terror-neutral", they can only act under their mandate - a mandate which, incidentally, comews from the UNSC of which the United States of America is a Permanent Member.

August 09, 2006 5:48 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh for God's sake, why doesn't the Ireland for Palestine lobby finally come out and admit that it wants to wipe Israel off the map for once and for all so that we can all go back to having cheaper oil again?

Just recently I was walking down O'Connell St and a middle aged lady holding a placard saying "Stop bombing Lebanon". Nothing strange there, you might think. But what she was saying was "Stop bombing Israel". I pointed this out to her. She was shocked to her core. It was clearly the very opposite of what she meant.

Because nobody in Ireland calls for Hezbollah or Hamas to stop bombing Israel. (Apart from ex Fine Gael TD Alan Shatter) No one gives a damn about Israel's difficulties, unless of course they're silently urging on the suicide bombers.

Pretty much any killing of civilians is taken with a pinch of salt here, unless it's done by US or Israeli soldiers. Hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed in Darfur, and no-one raises a whisper. No-one takes to the streets to persuade the Government to demand EU or UN action. (Not that anyone would listen to us because of our precious neutrality)

But as soon as the US or Israel take military action and civilians are killed, this is the greatest human rights tragedy of the age.

It's hypocrisy of the worst sort. Only civilians killed by the US and their allies have any human value. Let everybody else rot.

The notion that anyone here really cares about doing something serious about human rights is a joke. Saddam Hussein killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians. Nobody gave a shit in this country. We traded beef with the guy at the time. No protests. But as soon as, tragically, Iraqi civilians are killed by coalition forces, this is the war crime of the century.

This from a country where Sinn Féin, a party prepared to lionise people who collaborated with the Nazis in WWII, as Jews were literally being incinerated, is tolerated and feted.

What's funny is that we think that our neutrality makes us the moral giants!!

I have no fixed opinion on the subject of neutrality, having no particular wish to Irish soldiers die in war. Maybe that's hypocritical of me. But I refuse to hold Ireland and its people up as some example of international moral example. The truth is that we piggy back off the global security and order provided by the military force of other countries, principally the US. So let's give up the pathetic moral self indulgence and grow up.

Tom O'Gorman

August 16, 2006 5:45 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we can gauge where the Irish middle class sits by the headlines in the Irish Times recently that nine Israelis had been killed by Hezbollah bombs, while at the same time 435 Lebanese civilians had been killed by Israeli bombs.

August 16, 2006 7:22 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you suggesting that the Irish middle class is pro-Israel?!!! Don't make me laugh! Discuss the issue of Palestine, Israel and the Middle East with almost anyone in this country, and you'll find their sympathies lie with the Palestinians. Have a look at the Irish Times editorials on the issue. You'll find that Israel's response is condemned as "disproportionate". As though killing Lebanese civilians was part of their plan.

The deaths of Lebanese civilians is a tragedy. But the only people who benefit from those deaths are Hizbollah, who deliberately fire their weapons from civilian locations. That way, they win the PR war when Israel strikes back.

I return to my point. Plenty of people protest against Israeli military action. Even greater numbers come out to demonstrate against US military action. No-one gives a damn about other military actions, even where they kills tens of thousands of civilians (eg Russian actions in Chechnya, the genocide in Rwanda). So the moral poses struck by those such as ewi and anonymous are nothing but empty postures.

Consistency is sadly absent. I'm not expecting that situation to change. It might require people here to get serious about world politics. Fat chance. Much easier to wallow in self righteous piety.

Tom O'Gorman

August 17, 2006 12:18 p.m.  

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