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June 26, 2002

Clarity on Moral Clarity

Max rightly felt I hadn't captured his Middle East "moral clarity" intent well. I should have emphasized that he was seeking to see how the warbloggers dealt with the distinctions of terror and Israeli killings.
...But while he indicated that he doesn't find the simple "collateral" versus "targetted" distinctions as simple as our more jingoistic friends do, there are some rules of war that appeal to him-- don't shoot those running away from battle, civilian suporters of terror are not legitimate military targets, and so on.
...He does talk about the distinction between "responsibility" and "appropriate punishment"; that language, however, assumes a legal environment dependent on the controlled bounds of action that exists only during peace in the classic Weberian monopoly on power by the state.
...In established society, we bar individual blood revenge against those who wrong us because we assume a state that will mete out any appropriate punishment. The point is not the means used by each side in the Middle East, but that all legitimate restraint on either side has broken down. The Israelis and the Palestinians share NO common authority or realm of sanctions, so each knows that only the most primitive revenge-based deterrence has any meaning to the other side. It's Hobbes in action.
...The United States acted at times in the last decade or so, under Bush Pere and Clinton, to provide a framework of potential sanctions and rewards to bring both sides under some mutuality of responsibility, but that has disappared under Dubya. Hamas and the more radical Fatah forces know there is nothing for them from Bush and the Israelis know they have carte blanche.
...As long as Bush continues his craven refusal to either push for peace or allow the UN to do so, murder and mayhem is inevitable. Period.

Posted by Nathan at June 26, 2002 10:55 AM

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