Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The new right wing and fundamentalist fantasy: "There are no victims, only casualties; we all need to man up for conflict"

Hayes Brown, of ThinkProgress, has put out an op-ed about a piece in the Wall Street journal, by Thane Rosenbaum, that “there are no Palestinian civilians”, TP link here , WSJ link here.  There’s the obvious question, are Gazans and Palestinian civilians “forced” to shield terrorists?  Their society has no “third amendment” (which is largely forgotten in the US).  Matt Bruenig weighed in on the question of whether civilians bear personal moral responsibility for what their governments do here.  A bigger moral question, deserving attention in sermons, is how one behaves when finding himself living in a grossly unjust society.  That would seem to apply to anyone living in the Middle East.  Does a settler on the West Bank, if living that way because he was brought up to do so by family, bear moral hazard and risj for expropriation?   One could extend these arguments to anyone living in the West with some unfair inherited advantage, especially to influence policy.  In that sense, there are no victims, only casualties.  In my own personal situation at 71, I could hardly ever be a “victim” in my remaining years, if I was taken suddenly because of someone else’s outrage over “inequality”.
Perhaps this is just dangerous intellectual self-indulgence.  But then today the Washington Post calls Vladimir Putin’s Russia a “rogue state” in an editorial , as if Putin were a white (if hairless-chested when horseback-riding) Somali warlord.  When you think of post-Soviet nukes and remember the Cuban Missile Crisis (when I was 19), it all rings up. Timothy Garton Ash writes about “Putin’s Deadly Doctrine” of “protecting” ethnic Russians, as if ethnicity really means something in the 21st Century, here.   It does when you have a low birth rate.
As far as whether we are all soldiers at some point – well, I did go through the draft, brokering on the student deferment system of the 60s, winding up sheltered enough.  Maybe that was more cowardly than going to Canada.  But in Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson, DC in early 1968 (right after Tet), we were taught about the Geneva Convention, which is supposed to protect soldiers as prisoners of war.  It seems like the pundits are forgetting even this.  Maybe so are some of the survivalits building arsenals.

 And, by the way, when I was permanent party in the Army, stationed at Fort Eustis in 1969, wtih well-educated buddies with advanced degrees, most of them saw Russia (the Soviet Union) as much more dangerous than China, even when applied to the Domino Theory., 

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