Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Terrorists and Freedom Fighters

The term "terrorism" is being bandied about rather loosely by some of this blog's commenters being used less to communicate meaning in the sense of conventional meaning in the spirit of rational argument than as weapons -- verbal grenades intended to blow up arguments rather than rationally refute them. I have blogged on the notion of Terrorism already and it remains available. What I want to do now is a bit different and deal with the distinction between Terrorists and Freedom Fighters.

The simple, perhaps simplistic, answer to the question as to how the terms "terrorist" and "freedom fighter" differ is that they don't -- at least in conventional meaning. As has been noted over and over ad nauseum is that one man's/woman's freedom fighter is another man's/woman's terrorist. And, when two terms refer to the same thing, as with "the Morning Star" and "Venus," they would normally be said to have the same conventional meaning whatever that may be. The problem we have in the case of "terrorist" and "freedom fighter" is that while we all use these terms in the same way, we do not use these terms interchangeably to refer to the same group of people.

Israelis see Hezbollah as terrorists; some members of the Lebanese community surely see them as freedom fighters. What this fact teaches us is that these two terms are useless in productive intellectual interactions -- they are, as I said, verbal grenades we lob at each other's positions hoping to blow them up. They have no other use.

In a situation like this, where our concepts/words are being used in a muddled fashion, it is useful to ask precise questions by way of evaluating the conduct of the participants in a war such as the one going on in Lebanon and Israel or in Iraq or Afghanistan. For a given group of interest, we might ask, for instance,
1. Does the group kill noncombatants?
2. Does the group target noncombatants?
3. Does the group place its military facilities where noncombatants live thereby endangering them?
4. Is the purpose of the group to liberate a population or piece of land from the control by another group and assume control itself?
5. Is the goal of the group to install a Western-style democratic government once it gets control?
Let us look, first, at Israel:
1. Yes.
2. No.
3. No.
4. Yes and No. The goal is to wrest control of Southern Lebanon from Hezbollah and exert a limited control of its own, specifically to keep Hezbollah from using Southern Lebanon as a base for attacking Israel. But Israel has no interest in governing Southern Israel. It tried that once and is too smart to do it again.
5. No. As noted, it does not mean to govern Southern Lebanon.
Now, let us look at Hezbollah:
1. Yes.
2. Yes.
3. Yes.
4. Yes.
5. No. The goal of Hezbollah would be to kill all of the Jews and install a Shiite Theocracy along the lines of Iran.
When one asks precise questions such as I have of the participants of a conflict one gets a more meaningful (significant) picture of what the group is like and whether or not we should support such a group. I have been critical of Israel from time to time since 1967 when I first became interested in the region -- sometimes quite critical. However, it is clear when one runs down the list of answers to the questions in the case of Hezbollah it is clear that no moral person who values life and values Western-style democracy could possibly support such a group.

Interestingly, every responsible Arab nation that has spoken on the attack by Hezbollah on Israel's soil to kidnap and kill soldiers has been critical of it and none have criticized Israel to my knowledge (I am somewhat trusting a columnist on this point in the Columbus Dispatch and might get burned). This is "a first" for a conflict between Arabs and Israel. What it tells me is that Arabs generally realize that Shiites pose a threat to the region, including themselves. One Iran is enough for them. Sadly, President Bush has set in motion events that will result in a second Iran in Iraq. With any luck, Israel will make sure this doesn't happen in Lebanon.

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Blogger Larry Kollar said...

Good point. I agree that the line between terrorists and freedom fighters (or guerillas) is whether they target civilians or other non-combatants. Regardless, civilian casualties are going to happen — somebody is going to be in the wrong place at the wrong time — no matter how far guerillas go to prevent them. The line can be blurry sometimes, but intent is how the line is painted.

10:14 AM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

Excellent analysis. It vindicates the real difference, in my mind, between terrorists and non-terrorists, and throws the arguments of "anonymous" from the last post into the trash.

10:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are comparing Hezbollah and Israel using a checklist of attributes that are far from obvious and that I cannot accept at face value.

You give Israel a NO and Hezbollah a YES for "do they target noncombatants" a play on words that I have raised before on other topics here.

Israel indeed targets noncombatants as it has been doing for days and is continuing to do with increasing severity. Destroying the physical infrastructure, displacing at least half a million people, maiming many hundreds and killing several hundred; if used as an example of "not targeting noncombatants" is surely an abject failure?

As I have said before, engaging in a course of action that kills, maims and in other ways degrades people lives and doing so with full knowledge that these consequences will arise, is surely "targeting".

If you do something that you KNOW will kill hundreds of people before you do it, then you are indeed targeting, you appear to give Israel the right to claim "we do not target non-combatants" which is a lie.

If you argue thet "Yes, but it is NOT their goal to kill these people" then why not allow Hezbollah the same privilege?

Even a crude study of history makes it clear that Israel is a proxy for the influence of western military power in the region, this is why Israel (which has the highest per-capita income of any country in this region) is the recipient of 2.5 billion dollars of US taxpayers money each year, year in, year out.

Israel simply refuses to even consider many UN resolutions for it to pull out of occupied areas, yet nothing is done. Iraq (it was claimed) did not comply with one little resolution, it was subsequently subject to a decade of sanctions killing over a million children and then bombed and invaded as you well know.

Here in the west we apply the term terrorist selectively, the real meaning based upon how it is actually used on TV and in the papers is this:

"A terrorist is anyone or any group that opposes to the point of violence western foreign policy, either directly or through western proxies such as Israel."

That is the real defintion of the word, which is always applied selctively; before a writer or journalist decides if someone is or is not a terrorist, they do NOT examine their actions but their allegiance, for it is this factor alone that is used to indoctrinate the public.


7:46 AM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

Hugh, you are either incompetent at engaging in rational discourse or unwilling to discipline yourself to do so and so I won't spend more than a few minutes. When Hezbollah puts its military assets -- a missle battery -- on the rooftop of a person's home and Israel bombs it, Israel is not targeting noncombatants; it is targeting the Hexbollah military asset. Blame Hezbollah, not Israel. However, it is absolutely clear that Hezbollah is raining missiles down on cities, not Israel's military assets. Noncombatants are always killed during wars. Hezbollah started this and is reaping the whirlwind. So is Lebanon, but Israel has the right to protect its borders. If Lebanon would disarm Hezbollah there would be not problem.

Now, you are right to question the questions I ask. If you don't like them, create your own questions on your own blog.

8:13 AM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

That was quite the sure-handed rebuttal, LG. I think I came into this game a bit late to understand why Hugh thinks this way, because his arguments are either (a) not making his position clear or (b) flawed.

9:03 AM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

Thank you Kelly. I can't figure out why exactly Hugh takes the positions he does because he does not declare his presuppositions. I would actually like to know what his presuppositions are because these may be worth addressing.

1:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problems Lebanon is experiencing right now can be laid at the feet of two parties. The first and foremost problem is Hezbollah. Their aim is to annihilate all Jews period. They do not seek peace they do not seek negotiation, they seek the destruction of Israel. The other party that can be directly blamed is the United Nations. It was their job to make southern Lebanon safe for the people of Lebanon to reoccupy and to keep terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah from reestablishing bases to attack Israel after Israel pulled out of Southern Lebanon in 2000.

The UN is a failed organization that not one single nation in the world trusts for help in time of crisis or for the prevention of such crisis.

Terror can be used as a weapon of war against opposing forces. They used loud rock music to force Taliban to surrender in the mountains of Afghanistan. Imagine being blasted with some the current heavy metal music that is popular with the current crop of youth. That could be construed as terrorism. Then after they are captured they are marched back to a prison holding facility and forced to watch Al Gore’s “Earth in the Balance”. Would that be construed as cruel and unusual punishment? How come the press makes little mention of the fact that it is against the Geneva Conventions of War to locate your bases among civilian populations. Yet when it comes to the treatment of the terrorists as prisoners the Geneva Conventions are in extra bold print above the fold.

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that has a bit of reality and common sense that organizations such as Hezbollah were formed strictly as terrorist organizations and countries such as Israel and other Western style Democracies have used terror style tactics as part of military operations in defense of their countries. There is a big difference in being a terrorist organization and using limited terror tactics in a time of war.

10:22 PM

Blogger riveron said...

very interesting linguistic philosophy, it would ve very nice to have your opinion of the riveronmirror´s texts,
hope to exchange views with you and thanks for sharing your work


12:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kelly if you have questions about anything I have written, it is customary to ask for clarification. Making vacuous statements like in your previous post amounts to little of constructive value here.

LG and you have blissfully avoided the issue I have raised repeatedly, namely Israel is in violation of internatioanl law. Should we allow Israel to violate the law? Read the UN charter I suggest each of you may learn something about the leaglity of Israels actions.

This is the debate that isn't happening on CNN, BBC etc. This is the key issue; is Israel in violation of international law or not and what should be done if it is?

Does this make my position nice and clear for you?


11:42 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incidentally, here is some more detailed information about what is actually happening:



11:49 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally, this is all I have time for today, why not review your own comments in the context of this informative depitcion of what is actually taking place, the destruction of an entire nation:



12:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perfect. This what'smissing from CNN, Fox, BBC and all of the other shameful "news" sources. Chomsky correctly raises the issue of Israeli kidnappings that no doubt motivated Hezbollah:

NOAM CHOMSKY: If there's a conflict going on, aside physical war, not in a military conflict going on, abduction -- if soldiers are captured, they are to be treated humanely. But it is not a crime at the level of capture of civilians and bringing them across the border into your own country. That's a serious crime. And that's the one that's not reported. And, in fact, remember that -- I mean, I don’t have to tell you that there are constant attacks going on in Gaza, which is basically a prison, huge prison, under constant attack all the time: economic strangulation, military attack, assassinations, and so on. In comparison with that, abduction of a soldier, whatever one thinks about it, doesn't rank high in the scale of atrocities.

I think its pretty clear that LG and the vacuous Kelly are as disinformed as I have beome acustomed to them being.

Of course its quite possible that Prof. Chomsky "hates Jews" if you think so LG please do say so.


2:21 PM

Blogger Sean said...

I'm not sure who hates Jews and who doesn't, and at the moment it's beside the point. My only problem with Hugh's argument is that it seems lop sided. I am distraught with Israel's actions as well, they seem counterproductive and perhaps in violation of someone's laws (take into accunt account that laws only work if everyone agrees to them, and I don't think Israel believes they are breaking any laws), but they are hardly the only culprit. Hezbulah is not exactly acted like law abiding angels (Muslim angels of course). Everyone is acting like idiots over there, which is usually the case when you base your existance on myth and fantasy, be it Muslim or Jewish or Christian myth and fantasy.

5:46 PM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

Hugh: I hardly think what I said was a "vacuous" statement. It was simply a report that I either don't understand what you're saying or that you're wrong. If I had simply stated that you were wrong without giving reasons why, that would be a vacuous statement. But that is clearly not what I did.

I'm still not getting it, though. Violating international law does not make you a terrorist. Targeting civilians (simply one subset of international law) is terrorism. If you had merely stated that Israel was violating international law and that you don't think they're doing the right thing, I could leave it at that. But you are calling them terrorists, and that's not what they are.

As an example, if I were the leader of a military platoon, and an enemy soldier surrendered to me, but I killed him, I would be in violation of international law, but that would not make me a terrorist.

6:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Sean the fact is that Israel are and have been in undeniable violation of international law, despite whatever excuses, reasons etc that they may give and our media may regurgitate.

Unless a country has been subject to an armed assualt (and this does not include kidnapping a couple of soldiers) then there is no legal basis for militarily attacking and invading Lebanon, creating a million refugees, killing hundreds of people, destroying schools, airports, power stations, rail stations, roads and bridges. This is the law as defined in Article 51 of the UN charter.

Regarding Hezbollah, yes they have indeed engaged in acts of terrorism as has Israel (on a far greater scale incidentally, look at Gaza right now) but Hezbollah are a socially popular organization within Lebanon and were the reason that Israel was forced to withdraw from its previous invasion of Lebabnon that it began in 1982.

The bottom line is that international law is always applied selectively (just as is the term "terrorist") and this is the reason that "allies" are free to break the law (to an incredible degree) whilst "enemy" states are bombed until they capitulate.

Israel is not alone in enjoying such freedoms to massacre on a grand scale, the Indonesians did it in East Timor and the pattern is well documented all over South and Central America.

I mean this is not seriously disputed, it's easy to check out any book by Chomsky, Chossudovsky, Pilger etc will cover these things in vast detail with a ton of references.


7:01 AM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

Hugh, I have ceased dealing with your comments because you simply don't know how to "fight fair," which is to say you don't know the difference between a good and bad argument. Quoting people means nothing to me. I was a student of Chomsky and had numerous political talks with him back then. I have also disagreed with him on both linguistic and political grounds. I find his modes of argument to be specious and do not respect them. I am not alone among linguists in feeling this way about him.

The fact is that what Israrel does is horrible. What Hezbollah does is horrible. The fact that the latter are raining missles down on Israel with regularity tells me that they had very evil plans for Israel in the future for they have stockpilled some pretty serious weapons designed to kill noncombatants) and it is Israel's good fortune that they blundered in a way that gave Israel an opening.

If you do not accept both the existence of Israel and its right to defend itself then we cannot debate this issue. If you do not see the goal of Hezbollah and Hamas as being the destruction of Israel, we cannot debate. These are rock solid facts to me.

Israel may seem to you not to be fighting fair but nations do not defend themselves by fighting fair. The US et al used overwhelming force against Iraq in Iraq I. It was not a fair fight. Such is life. In a fair fight one might lose. One cannot lose wars without someone paying a high price.

The fact is that the Euros, Russia, and "moderate" Arabs must join together in putting in place a system of safegards for the new Palestinian state (with the terroristic elements of Hamas being destroyed), for the new democracy in Lebanon (which means that Hezbollah must be disarmed or destroyed by the international community and Syria must be kept out), and for Israel then we will be reliving this species of Groundhog Day over and over and over through your lifetime.

9:01 AM

Blogger Sean said...

I'm with LG, Hugh's comments don't make any sense as they are predicated on the idea that Israel is bad and whatever another group, be it socially popular or not, does to them is justified because of their badness. This is not the case. Hezbollah's actions are inexcusable, and whatever wrongs Israel has committed, Hezbollah's are worse and unjustified. This is not mass media talking through me as I don't partake in mass media, but a weighing of the facts as I can find them from reputable sources. Again I state that everyone over there is being stupid, and has been acting stupidly for a very long time. Instead of trying to blow each other up perhaps addressing the stupidity might help.

Now, I will say this; I don't think Israel should exist. Do they have a right to? Sure, they've gone through the proper steps to be there, but I don't think they should be. But it's not because of some deep seeded hatred for the "dirty Jews" or something (Jews are, quite often, hot and a pleasure to chat with, I adore them), but because I don't see religious affiliation to be a good reason to form a country. My problem with Israel is a purely philosophical one, and for that reason I would "wage war" (not that I have any desire to, I have better things to do with my time) with purely philosophical weapons. These do not include Katyusha rockets.

1:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Sean please tell me which of my comments "don't make any sense" and I will be happy to either correct it or explain it better. If you complain about my post but fail to tell me what it is that you disagree with, I can't take you seriously.

You say "Hezbollah's actions are inexcusable" well which actions? I'm sure some of there actions are but what are you referring to? Are you reffering to them pushing Israeli forces out of Lebanon in 2000 (i.e. ejecting an invasive army) or are you reffering to the kidnapp of two soldiers?

If it's the latter, then what do you think about the Israeli actions that preceded that kidnapping?

You say "This is not mass media talking through me" yet how else did youi become aware of the events themselves? It is the mass media that keep repeating the mantra "Hezbolla started this by kidnapping two soldiers" which is false and so you MUST have been influenced by the media.

If you care to use a more critical anaylis you will see that quite a lot of cross border actions ocurred on both sides before Hezbollah got around to kidnapping two soldiers.

As Chomsky discusses it could be argued that it began when Israeli forces kidnapped two civillains in Gaza several weeks ago, why do you not consider this kind of illegal act as reprehensible as Hezbolla's reaction to it?


8:23 AM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

Hugh, stop quoting Chomsky -- or anyone else. He is not an unimpeachable authority on anything, including linguistics. Give your arguments and your arguments alone or go away. The next time you cite an authority like Chomsky in support of your argument I will delete the comment. Tell us what you think. Otherwise, as I said, go away.

The fact is that it makes no sense to pick a point in the long history of the reappearance of Jews in Palestine until today and start counting attrocities from that point unless you start at the beginning when Arabs began to use force to stop Jewish expansion in Palestine a very long time ago -- in the time in which Begin became a "terrorist."

The reality is that the world as a whole has allowed this to go on. The US is the only full supporter of Israel. Syria and Iran are supporting Hezbollah. Where is Europe? Where are the moderate Arab states (i. e., not Syria and Iran)? The fact is that the world cannot have countries that have internal militias that act against the interests of the state by making war on other countries. Hezbollah's incursion into Israel was not approved or supported by the Lebanese government.

Right now, Isarel is doing what Lebanon was afraid to do. This is obviously the wrong way to solve this problem but no one else is trying to disarm Hezbollah and as long as Hezbollah attacks Israel in any way, Israel has the right as a nation to defend its borders. Defending your borders does not mean simply massing troops at the border since the enemy can lob weapons over their heads into civilian targets and is doing so. Lebanon has the right to live in peace as well. Lebanon should have done what Israel is trying to do.

There are other places with such country-internal militas such as Iraq where Shiites and Sunnis are killing each other in larger numbers than in the Hezbollah-Israel "dust up." There is also the Pesh Murgha of the Kurds which is the largest militia in Iraq. They have been quiet. Afghanistan is another country with a history of militias. Somalia is another as the US learned to its regret. The difference between all of these cases and Lebanon is that none of the militas in these other countries are making war on another country.

10:24 AM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

Hugh, quoting Chomsky in a political debate is like quoting the Bible in a debate about the existence of God. It is forbidden in intelligent discourse to appeal to authority -- because there are none. If there was somone or some book that we could all agree always gets things right then maybe an appeal to this authority would be acceptable. But their ain't no such person or book.

6:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

LG My last post was directed at Sean, if you have anything to say about that particular issue then do so.


10:29 PM

Blogger Sean said...

I started to write a response, but after that lovely diatribe I've lost the energy to deal with you H. I'm tired of people yelling at each other, I'm not going to add to the insanity. Enjoy yourself, let's hope everyone stops exploding soon. -Sean

3:01 AM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

Hugh's comments on this blog will be deleted from now on. I refuse to take abuse from a teenager on my on blog. Cricicism is fine. Hugh acts like a teenager and will be treated like one.

7:35 AM

Blogger Dr. Taoist said...

Dear Language Guy,

I greatly respect your academic training as a linguist and your desire to apply your expertise for humanistic purposes; however, your impeccable credentials as a linguist do not make you infallible in the political arena. If you are going to run a public forum, you had better expect people to disagree with you and to criticize you on occasion, as I must now regrettably do. I'm not going to flame you, but I'm not going to pull any punches, either. I assume that you know how to graciously accept constructive criticism from a concerned colleague.

I have read every comment in reply to your original post, and I find nothing "abusive" in anything Hugh has written. To characterize simple disagreement as "abuse" makes you seem too thin-skinned to participate in public political discourse. Resorting to wholesale censorship by banning Hugh's dissenting voice from your blog was a bad decision, and I strongly urge you to reconsider it. Do you want real discussion on this blog or do you just want everyone to agree with you all the time? Is this a public forum or a vanity press? These are certainly pointed questions, but if you can answer them honestly, you will have a truly great blog.

You have criticized Hugh for allegedly committing the logical fallacy of appealing to authority in citing Chomsky, but you have made an unwarranted assumption. We academics cite the works of others all the time (in formal papers by including a literature survey with a supporting bibliography), and nobody confuses this with fallacious reasoning. As you well know, it would be wrong for Hugh to pass off Chomsky's arguments as his own; Hugh did the right thing by acknowledging his source. Hugh certainly has every right to cite the works of others if he feels those works have something relevant and meritorious to contribute.

Hugh never said that Chomsky was an unimpeachable authority—that was your assumption about his intention! One could argue that you have committed the straw man fallacy by attacking an agrument that Hugh never actually made. One could also argue that you have committed the ad hominem fallacy by categorically dismissing every statement attributed to Chomsky merely because Chomsky said it. Just because Chomsky said it doesn't mean it is without merit. If you have disagreed with Chomsky in the past, it does not automatically invalidate his current arguments. On these singular points, I find your reasoning to be specious, but I am quick to add that these mistakes do not mean you are incapable of formulating a cogent agrument.

You clearly have a lot of worthwhile things to say, but when you are dismissive and censor those who disagree with you, you risk losing both your audience and your credibility. If you want me, and others like me, to continue reading your blog, I respectfully suggest that you stop telling others how they may or may not make their case and simply let the discussion unfold in a natural way.

Wishing you success,

Dr. Taoist

The Way of Peace

11:05 AM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Taoist

It is encouraging to read your posting, I have disagreed with LG in the past and I guess I often know that he reacts strongly to those post's that are critical of his posts.

I do not want to say much more, but I did re-read all of my posts here (on the entire blog) recently genuinely asking if I could have expressed my self differently or if my posts were rude, etc and I can always find fault with what I wrote one way or another.

I will be responding to LG's posts far less frequently from now on though.

Many thanks

8:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Intersting that your points of definition 1-5 would desribe the US in Vietnam perfectly with Yes to all five. But nobody would agree with that, as they were fighting the Cold War then.
Anything went.
Why not look at the term in the context of how dominant political groups / nations want tp use their definition to stifle political debate? Perhaps you could get closer to the truth then.

9:05 PM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

All comments come to me at my gmail account and so Hugh's controversial post, which The Taoist probably didn't read was, with offensive comments highlighted. You, Taoist, will not be the judge of what I perceive as an offensive attack. I will.

LG you are a disgrace.
[Me: Notice that this is an attack not on my views but on me. He says I am a disgrace.

What is wrong with quoting people? I make it clear when I do so, and who said Chomsky was "unimpeachable"?

So how about this for your ridiculous logic, I won't quote anybody, instead I will say what they say and pretend these are my own words?
Me: Characterizing my logic as ridiculous is insulting. Had he shown specifically what was wrong with it that would have been fully acceptable

You are an ass LG
Me:This is a personal attack, not an attack on my ideas

I will cease commenting about what he says since I don't want to waste any more time on him. And, Mr. Taoist, quoting Chomsky in support of a view of the Middle East to bolster the strength of one's argument is perceived at this site as equivalent to quoting the Bible in an argument for the existence of God. I am interested in what commenters think, and the arguments that they can give in support of their views. This is the position I took as a teacher and will continue to take here.

But as you can see, Hugh has misbehaved and it is not the first time. That is why he is unwelcome here so long as he continues to act as he did in the above material.

], and rather than address the issues that I attempt to draw peoples attention to, you let your ego get involved and start grumbling about whom I quote.

You really are unaware about how your readers perceive you, "delete" my posts; dear chap you really do have issues.

I care not for you fragile ego, Israel is in violation of international law, read the UN charter and tell me why you disgaree?

Do not confude your mediocre PhD, BSc or whatver it may be, in linguistics with the ability to engage in reasoned discourse, you are insulting Sir and deserve to be exposed.

6:39 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well for what its worth I'd like to say I agree with you; I regret stooping to the level of "ass" a mode of expression that although brought on by complete frustration is nevertheless a personal slur.

It's a little like the very first response you made to my first post on this topic that began "Hugh, you are either incompetent at engaging in rational discourse or unwilling to discipline yourself to do" I could have chosen to label this as "personal" (ie I am described as being either 'incompetent' or 'unwilling to aply self discipline') but I really dont care for such petty stuff

The evidence is here for all to read themselves anyway, LG reacts rather badly to being openly and bluntly disagreed with and I suspect that this may well be a "vanity press" after all, or else you may deliberately hurl criticisms of my whole 'attitude' in order to avoid the issues I raise, namely is Israel in violation of international law or not, this appears to be a question that you resent.

Incidentally the reference I made to 'ridiculous logic' should be obvious; by telling me I am not permitted to quote others I could just as easily embed these words and silently imply they were mine, you would have no way of knowing and so the rule itself acheives nothing and is therefore illogical.


PS: I'm copying this to Dr Taoist's blog just in case you enforce your censorship option.

6:31 PM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

Hugh, I shall simply ignore you. If there were a way to block all ananymous posts I would. You don't have the courage to make your actual identity known so you risk nothing when you write something. Your new friend, Dr. Taoist, is the same. My identity is known.

6:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You really should not call what you do a "blog" LG. Remember everyone and anyone can read this and to refer to Dr. Taoist as "my new friend" simply because he chose to express a view that was broadly supportive of my right to say what I said (He did not say that agreed with me incidentally) is illogical.

Are you saying that everyone who disgarees with you yet agrees with me or with my right to challenge you, becomes my friend in doing so?

By that reasoning everybody else in this blog is your friend!

9:29 AM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

This helps because I believe you have posted here under both identities. That is undesirable.

This topic is worth a blog itself and I'm thinking I should just start it off with your comments beginning after the bit about identities. So, I need to think about it.

There is no question that the issue of civilian casualties is a factor that Israel can ignore at its peril. Bush may tolerate quite a large number but the inernational community won't. All Israel needs now is near universal emnity.

I wsa taken aback by the 54 casualties, especially when I learned that 37 were children. Israel doesn't deny it happened. I haven't been paying attention to how many civilians are being killed by Hezbollah missiles, including children, but a very great number of Israelis are basically living in bomb centers.

So, I need to think a bit. There is a very useful Reuters article at this site

1:26 PM

Blogger Cut in the middle said...

Actualy I dont agree, it seems that you dont read the near history, or the present time well..

In 1982 when Israel invaded Birut, it wasn't to librate them from anything, it was to show its muscales that they can invade..

An about combatant I dont know what kind of media transes you people see, in 1996 and while Israel is still occupying southern Lebanon, there was an israeli operation called Anger Clusters against against Lebanon, where people in Southern Lebanon -the targeted area- used to hide in the United nations tents that was built for them to be secured, in a city called Qana, guess what happened.. Israeli troops targeted those tents, where children, ladies, and lots of civilians were there, well Israel said that was by mistake, and so I would agree with you that israel might kill non combatnats, but doesnt target them, which is a very ironic thing..
But what do you call this? last summer in 2006 there was another operation for israel in southern Lebanon, responding to kidnaping two israeli soldiers from the troops occupying souther lebanon,,
what happened is that Israel retuned back and targeted UN tents in Qana AGAIN, knowing that there was no one there but some NONCOMBATANT from children, women, elders and all kind of civilians..
Please eveyone when you want to judge and be fair, u need to read the history of both sides, and see the media of both sides, to know the truth..
And this might be right:
Some nation's terrorist, is another nation's freedom fighters.

5:14 AM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

Wassim, I keep up with things and I already know about Muslims and their rage against the West and I know why. It has nothing to do with Israel and Iraq. It has only to do with the correct realization that if Western values pervade the Muslim world, Muslim values will be altered irrevocably. That is what you really fear. Your enemy should be rock music and blue jeans and beautiful half-naked movie stars.

7:39 AM

Blogger Unknown said...

I don't see the point in having separate questions for killing noncombatants and for targeting noncombatants. Your analysis of Israel seems to suggest that they kill noncombatants by accident, since they do not target them. Since the distinction between terrorists and freedom fighters lies in their intentions, it makes more sense to ask "Does the group put noncombatants in unnecessary danger, such as by irresponsible use of its military or intentionally provoking violence?"

Using that standard, any objective and informed person would place a big YES next to Israel's name. They seem to "accidentally" kill civilians any chance they get by bulldozing homes while people are still inside, firing missiles into crowds, conducting full-blown military invasions against other countries to retaliate against paramilitary groups, etc. An argument could be made that Israel also provokes violence through its tendency to punish entire populations for the actions of a few men, including imprisoning thousands of people without charges, preventing dying people from getting to hospitals, blocking students from attending school overseas, etc. The al-Aqsa Intifada was basically provoked by Sharon's attempt to assert authority over the Temple Mount. It is obvious the Israeli government does not want a lasting peace with its neighbors; if they were willing to show more consideration toward the Palestinians and other Arabs, there would not be nearly as much support for groups like Hezbollah.

6:25 PM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

There is obviously merit in the distinction between targeting noncombatants and killing them in the course of targeting combatants. Hezbollah rained missiles down on civilians during their recent war whereas Israel did not do so. However, it would be wrong to treat collateral deaths as being of no importance. In fact, I believe one of the reasons the US keeps developing ever more accurate weapons is because it has come under a great deal of criticism for its collateral killings.

12:58 AM


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