Patterico's Pontifications


The Lawyerization of War

Filed under: War — DRJ @ 3:01 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Patterico recently hosted a thoughtful and spirited debate on the legality of waterboarding, and this post is representative of that series. While the question of whether the US should waterboard detainees has been treated as both a moral and a legal issue, most discussions have focused on whether waterboarding is or should be legal.

The Israeli government investigation that followed the 2006 Israeli-Lebanon war illustrates why the US should resist the lawyerization of the war:

“This week the IDF distributed ribbons to its soldiers and officers for their service in the war with Hizbullah in 2006. The ribbons were a source of embarrassment. Soldiers and officers, who like the general public view the war as Israel’s greatest military defeat, are loath to pin them on their uniforms.

While the soldiers and general public view the war as a failure, one sector of Israeli society sees the war as a great triumph. For Israel’s legal establishment, the war was a great victory. It was a war in which its members asserted their dominance over Israel’s political and military leadership.

The legal establishment’s ardor for the Second Lebanon War was exposed on Tuesday with the publication of the testimonies of Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz and Military Advocate-General Avichai Mandelblit before the Winograd Committee which the Olmert government established to research the war’s failures. In their testimonies both men shared their perception of the war as a great victory of lawyers in their campaign to “lawyerize” – or assert their control – over Israeli society.

In his opening statement, Mazuz extolled the war as “the most ‘lawyerly’ in the history of the State of Israel, and perhaps ever.” He explained, “The process didn’t begin in Lebanon 2006. It… is a gradual process of ‘lawyerizing’ life in Israel.”

Mazuz responded negatively to the question of whether legal considerations superseded operational and strategic goals during the war. He claimed that the government and the IDF restricted their plans from the beginning to conform with perceived legal restrictions.

As he put it, that preemptive limitation of goals was “the result of a sort of education and internalization that have taken place over the years. I remember periods where there was a great deal of friction with the senior military level regarding what is allowed and what is prohibited. But today I think that there is more or less an understanding of the rules of the game and I can’t identify any confrontation… or … demands to ‘Let the IDF win.'”

Mandelblit and Mazuz testified that legal advisers were present at all levels of command in all the relevant service arms and in the security cabinet. At each level the lawyers were asked to judge the legality of all the proposed targets and planned operations before they were carried out. And as the two explained, in their decisions, these lawyers were informed not by the goal of winning the war, but by their interpretation of international law.

From both men’s perspectives, international law takes precedence over the national interests in wartime war. Mazuz argued, “Today international law controls our lives, no less … than domestic law. In all spheres – not just in the sphere of the laws of war… the sovereignty of states is diminishing and international law is becoming the tip of the pyramid of norms. It is becoming a substitute for the constitutions of states.”

It’s not unthinkable that the majority of nations will someday agree that Israel is a rogue nation whose lands should be “returned” to the Palestinians. If that day comes, I wonder how these Israeli lawyers will feel about sitting on the tip of that pyramid?

The article’s author also considered whether the lawyerization of the Israeli-Lebanon war contributed to the perception/fact that Israel lost the war. I think the answer is clearly “Yes” judging by Mazuz’s views, in which he equates war to child’s play where the goal is to avoid winners and losers:

“Given the contrast between Mandelblit’s and Mazuz’s view of the war as a triumph and the public’s view of the war as a failure, it is worth considering whether there is a connection between the unprecedented “lawyerization” of the war in Lebanon and the fact that Israel lost the war.

Mazuz effectively asserted that international law prevents victory in war when he argued, “The laws of war, or international humanitarian law doesn’t concern itself with relations between two states, but with the relationship between civilians and states. That is, it places the two warring states on one side of the divide and the citizens of the two states on the other side, and the goal of international law is to protect the citizens of the two states and to say: You’re big kids. You want to fight, go fight, you have rules… and the rules aim to minimize as much as possible the consequences of the war.

By so arguing, Mazuz demonstrated that he views the goals of legal advisers as different from and indeed in conflict with the goals of political and military leaders. The goal of the latter is to defend the country from its enemies and to win wars. As Mazuz and Mandelblit see things, lawyers are tasked with protecting enemy populations from the IDF.

The distinctive way that legal advisers define their responsibilities has had an enormous impact on the military and the political leadership of the country. It is not that the internalization of the lawyers’ approach has made the IDF or the Israeli government any more moral or law abiding than they have always been. Israel has never targeted civilians and has always sought to protect innocent civilians from harm even when they shelter enemy forces.

What has changed is the focus of military and political leaders in conducting war. Before the advent of legal dominance, commanders and political leaders devoted themselves to winning wars. Today they concentrate their efforts on avoiding criminal indictments.

Do you want to win or do you want to lawyer? That is the question.

NOTE: The equally interesting last section of the linked article is a summary of the Barak-Posner debate regarding “Can Democracy Overcome Terror?” I’ll leave it to others to explore that topic or (perhaps) I will address it in a future post but it’s definitely worth reading.

H/T Instapundit.


97 Responses to “The Lawyerization of War”

  1. Idiots. Didn’t the Holocaust teach them that there’s no such thing as international law?

    nk (c3cc40)

  2. “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  3. Well, at least kill somebody, if you don’t want to wind up as soap, mattress, and lampshades.

    nk (c3cc40)

  4. Some people construe Shakespeare’s quote to mean lawyers are idiots who should be the first to go but, in fact, his point was to praise lawyers as independent thinkers who would be more likely to oppose tyranny than non-lawyers. It looks like lawyers are doing everything they can to prove the first interpretation is more correct than the second. Sadly, like Perfect Sense, I think it works both ways.

    DRJ (09f144)

  5. The same phenomenon is occurring in our military and is the cause of some significant morale problems, far more than the op tempo.

    Mike K (86bddb)

  6. Inter armes, silent legens. When the guns talk, lawyers are not heard. (Loose but good translation.) The problem may not be that lawyers were talking too much but that the guns were not talking enough. I’m afraid to think that Israel has become a tired society, ruled by tired old men, after only three generations. But the indications have been there since the Oslo Accords.

    nk (c3cc40)

  7. Mandelblit and Mazuz have assumed the offices of the political commissars of the old Red
    Army, whose ‘informed’ counsel trumped the tactics and strategies of the professional military officers they nagged. At least the commissars, as opposed to Mandelblit and Mazuz, had intentions of winning on behalf of their unelected overlords in the Politburo, regardless of the damage they caused the military en route.

    Here M&M represent an even more nebulous Politburo – the faith-based religion of ‘international law’, which more or less represents the political position of transnational progressivism. In that faith, absolute moral authority is held by the heroic freedom fighters who hide among, and extort material support from, civilian populations. And the game played by M&M is stacked in favor of the asymmetrical warfare practiced by terrorists, using the dramatized power of endless lawsuits. It also enjoys the support of a complicit mass media in demonizing any government who defends its own population by taking the fight to the terrorists in their ‘civilian’ lairs.

    Until democratic governments make plain that the physical security of its citizens trumps the M&M game, the legal advantage remains with the terrorists. But read the Jerusalem Post article for the line of reasoning of Judge Posner in the Barak-Posner debate, and see if wouldn’t help end that excruciatingly created legal advantage in a big hurry.

    Insufficiently Sensitive (b0db09)

  8. oh, the lawyerization of israel’s military isn’t as bad as you think, they were, after all, able to drop some cluster bombs on southern lebanon (that we gave them, in the last 24 hours when it was known hostilities were about to cease) with bomblets that will be going off and maiming/killing people years hence, so it’s not like they’ve been re-armed with featherdusters by their legal cadres.

    drj was right in her first sentence of #4 interpreting henry vi, part 2, too bad she had to give ground to an idiot in the rest of her comment. you don’t ever have to be ashamed to be a lawyer!

    assistant devil's advocate (9a4b4b)

  9. War is hell and I’ve got no problem with opposing its over-lawyerization, but I would disagree, putting aside the international law issue, with the article’s seeming attempt to blame lawyers for the failure of the Second Lebanon War:

    “[Testifying before the Winograd Commissiion] Mazuz responded negatively to the question of whether legal considerations superseded operational and strategic goals during the war. He claimed that the government and the IDF restricted their plans from the beginning to conform with perceived legal restrictions.”

    The Winograd Commission’s Interim Report last Spring blamed poor military and political planning, placing the primary responsibility for these failures on the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defense and the Chief of Staff. stating:

    “The decision to respond with an immediate, intensive military strike was not based on a detailed, comprehensive and authorized military plan, based on careful study of the complex characteristics of the Lebanon arena.

    A meticulous examination of these characteristics would have revealed the following: the ability to achieve military gains having significant political-international weight was limited; an Israeli military strike would inevitably lead to missiles fired at the Israeli civilian north; there was not another effective military response to such missile attacks than an extensive and prolonged ground operation to capture the areas from which the missiles were fired – which would have a high “cost” and which did not enjoy broad support.

    These difficulties were not explicitly raised with the political leaders before the decision to strike was taken.”

    JayHub (0a6237)

  10. Do you want to win or do you want to lawyer? That is the question.

    Yes. Yes, it is. Then the second question is why would you want to lawyer when you’re fighting an enemy that doesn’t give a damn about law? It’s a veritable death wish.

    Pablo (99243e)

  11. A meticulous examination of these characteristics would have revealed the following: the ability to achieve military gains having significant political-international weight was limited…

    That’s the problem right there, JayHub. Shed that concern and decimate your enemy, and you’ve got yourself a successful campaign. The IDF was doing the latter, but surrendered it to the former.

    Pablo (99243e)

  12. Yes, Pablo, I think I agree if you mean that the only way the IDF could have achieved the gains it was seeking was to invade and and occupy South Lebanon again, but nobody was ready for that, so the exercise was unsuccessful.

    JayHub (0a6237)

  13. I’m not suggesting that they should have occupied, only that they should have continued eliminating Hezbollah assets until the job was done. Instead, they let politics get in the way of that.

    Pablo (99243e)

  14. I understand, Pablo, but am not sure how they could have accomplished that without reoccupying a portion of South Lebanon since Hezbollah is a guerrilla force integrated with the population there. Israel pulled out of it in 2000 after fighting an asymmetrical war with Hezbollah there for years. How would they eliminate Hezbollah’s assets without a much bigger and longer commitment than they were willing to make. As Gen. Petraeus and the Surge has demonstrated, it takes a lot of boots on the ground and time to combat an insurgent force.

    JayHub (0a6237)

  15. They were doing it, JayHub. And then they pulled up short under international pressure.

    Pablo (99243e)

  16. I think the Iraq war, indeed our whole military, is overlawyered. How did this strange idea come about? I guess the left, which sees itself as protector of morality amidst the immorality of war, has a childlike faith in our omnipotence and a belief that adhering to law will fix everything in this world. Yes, we have military superiority, as does Israel against its neighbors, but big guns don’t amount to a hill of beans if you don’t have the will to point them and shoot. I really think Bush buys into this view and that’s why he dithered for three years until he changed to a war general.

    Wasn’t it Patton who said the only mercy in war should be its brevity? He won his war.

    Patricia (f56a97)

  17. Even with limited incursions Israel did, they found that they had dug in tunnels and such and that Iran via Syria had supplied them with arms to counter some of their advantages.

    We also have lawyer issues in Iraq plus State Dept issues as well.

    Show me any conflict where both sides held to international law or the Geneva Conventions.

    You might have a long search.

    daytrader (ea6549)

  18. Clearly they were doing it and there was great international pressure. Israel’s leadership had not planned for an extended war, but they could have fixed that given time. I guess my question is whether the Israeli people would have supported a longer conflict. The statements of the Commission seem to say that there was not public support for it. I don’t have enough knowledge of Israel internally to judge that, but would be interested if you knew more.

    JayHub (0a6237)

  19. Israel’s leadership had not planned for an extended war, but they could have fixed that given time. I guess my question is whether the Israeli people would have supported a longer conflict.

    While I’m sure there was a diversity of opinion, I think that by and large Israelis would prefer to have threats to their lives eliminated. Abdicating that to the feckless UN seems, well, stupid.

    Pablo (99243e)

  20. Israel needs more lawyers, not less.
    40 years of occupation.

    PCHR Weekly Report: 06 – 12 Dec. 2007
    8 Palestinians, including 3 civilians, were killed by IOF in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
    5 of the victims were killed by IOF during an offensive against the southern Gaza Strip.
    12 Palestinians were wounded by the IOF gunfire in the Gaza Strip, and 9 persons, including 5 journalists and an Israeli human rights defender, sustained bruises in the West Bank.
    IOF conducted 22 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, invaded the south of the Gaza Strip and moved into its north.
    IOF arrested 28 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children, in the West Bank and one in the Gaza Strip.
    IOF razed 133 donums of agricultural land in Khan Yunis.
    IOF transformed a number of houses into military sites.
    IOF raided a number of media institutions in Nablus, confiscated equipment and closed one of them.
    IOF have continued to impose a total siege on the OPT.
    IOF have isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world and a humanitarian crisis has emerged.
    The number of patients who died due to the denial of their access to medical treatment increased to 15.
    IOF troops positioned at checkpoints in the West Bank arrested 7 Palestinian civilians, including a child and a girl.
    IOF have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attacks Palestinian civilians and property.
    IOF demolished a house in Jerusalem.
    Israeli settlers uprooted 32 olive trees in Hebron.

    More discusion of the Lebanon debacle among the Israeli Military and political elite.
    And more: “Follow Us Not Them” – The Ramallah Model: Washington’s Palestinian Failure

    You don’t even know what you’re defending.

    blah (fb88b3)

  21. Also from the Jerusalem Post The strategic significance of Har Homa
    This is
    Har Homa
    And this is what you support.

    SHVUT AMI OUTPOST, West Bank — For two months, Jewish youths have been renovating an old stone house on this muddy hilltop in the northern West Bank. The house is not theirs, however. It belongs to a Palestinian family. And their seizure of it, along with the land around it, for a new settlement outpost is a violation of Israeli law. The police have evicted the group five times, but they keep coming back.

    Yedidya Slonim, 16, one of the renovators here, who grew up in another West Bank settlement, Tzofim, said of the police: “We come back straight away, as soon as they’ve gone. They come every week for half a day. It doesn’t bother us so much.”

    The cat-and-mouse contest here lays bare a key dilemma of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute: Israel has pledged that it will permit no new settlements in the territory it has occupied since the 1967 war, no more expropriation of Palestinian land and dismantle unauthorized outposts — like this one — erected since March 2001, but it has never applied the muscle needed to do so.

    “Shvut Ami is a chronicle of failure of law enforcement,” said Michael Sfard, an Israeli lawyer who represents the Palestinian owners of the house on behalf of Yesh Din, an Israeli volunteer organization that fights for Palestinian rights. In this respect, he said, the area is “a jungle.”

    So the settlers continue building a patchwork of communities to try to preclude the drawing of a border between Israel and a future Palestinian state. At the vanguard are the hilltop youth, teenagers like Yedidya, who work to complicate the demographic map ever more.

    A settler organization called the Land of Israel Faithful has promised to set up seven more outposts over the eight-day Hanukkah holiday, which began Tuesday night — and to “strengthen” Shvut Ami.

    blah (fb88b3)

  22. blah, next time you compile a laundry list of atrocities, why not include the actions of the other side as well? Just listing the all of the “bad” things done by one side with no context and no acknowledgment of the bad things committed by the other side is deliberately deceptive.

    If you were living near a population of people who hated you so insanely that they filled the streets celebrating the murder of a bunch of school children including your own, I suspect you wouldn’t be that concerned about uprooting a few of their olive trees to encourage them to move farther away from you.

    Doc Rampage (ebfd7a)

  23. Carpet bombing converted the Germans and Japanese from the world’s greatest war mongers to nearly the most peaceful people on earth.

    All we are sayiiiing, is give war a chance.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  24. I had the same thought nk did in reading this article. The Jews in Germany respected the law when they were told to wear the yellow star, when they were told to report their whereabouts, when they were told to hop into the freight cars for “relocation”. By the time they realized that obeying the law was going to get them massacred, it was too late.

    Those Jews thought that the world had changed into a better place (a common conceit) and they didn’t believe that the old ways could really come back. Todays Jews don’t have that excuse. They see over and over how brutal and uncompromising is the hate against them. And still, they think that they can trust in “international law” to be fair to them.

    How tragically naive.

    Doc Rampage (ebfd7a)

  25. The Lawyerization of War

    We should begin such with much smaller subjects like , the Lawyerization of schools, the Lawyerization business, the Lawyerization of life in general. Expanded, yes the lawyers mucked up war as well!

    I think the GITMO boys and girls are at the top of the list, though their motives may be personal enrichment. Nothing wrong with that, but it seems that many attorneys would get paid out of public funds defending some foreign national that was captured in a combat zone! That is not where my tax dollars should be being spent.

    As far as I’m concerned they can all be released today in personal rafts and provided a compass and fishing gear.

    The same could be suggested of many lawyers within the rest of the nation as well. (Starting with any lawyer found in congress)!

    After Munich in 72, the israilies tracked down every one of those involved and flat out killed them. I’m sure there were collateral damages as well. The end result may have just been more new name and faces to keep track of and I’m sure to a degree such is true. But the action did have an effect.

    If Hezbolah fires a missile from a town site and the town disappears from the map, the locals get that message as well! Hez can’t prevent or contribute the goods from massive external aid which would prevent such. The only thing that prevents it, is that hez does NOT launch missiles from the town!

    Now if you had fore knowledge that if a missile was to be launched from your town and that the REAL end result would be that you will be dead or moving real fast, would you allow some organization like hez to be there?

    International law: Such has got to be the joke of the century. Made up by lawyers for lawyers! Motive for such actions? Personal enrichment!

    Lawyers used to fight on both sides for something called Justice. Then they determined that there is no place for Justice within a system they desired to totally control. So the Justice system was abandoned and replaced with a legal system. Note; no common man is allowed here. BTW, there was never a vote by the people taken for such either.

    Such is where we are at today.

    Lawyers used to have to deal with the laws passed by kings, and when the USA came about, by the common man citizen. Today laws are created by lawyers to be argued by lawyers before lawyers that are judges.

    Such creates a monopoly!

    So yes again, lawyers have mucked up war and big time! All combatant fields. Face it shit happens in combat, some of is real unpleasant as well. Now and again somebody should possibly have some charges of some sort leveled at them. But such should as well be handled within the military. FIRST! Additional and individual exceptions need be made. Or do they?

    TC (1cf350)

  26. blah, Gaza isn’t occupied. Your list is meaningless in terms of occupation.

    You don’t even know what you’re defending.

    I know what Israel is defending: Israel. That is both its right and its moral obligation.

    Pablo (99243e)

  27. Actually, given that the discussion was about the Lebanon war, I think it’s imperative that you review this link, blah.

    Pablo (99243e)

  28. What Blahs comments mean is, the Israelis would have a better PR case if the rat bags had better gudance systems added to the hundreds of missiles they have fired at Israel this year.

    The above statement leaves out the biased MSM equation.

    davod (5bdbd3)

  29. “blah, Gaza isn’t occupied. Your list is meaningless in terms of occupation.”
    Gaza is in total lockdown. If you don’t know that you’re an idiot, and if you do, which I’d bet on, you’re just a liar.

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (CNS) – Of the 1.5 million people living in the Gaza Strip, through which the Holy Family probably traveled on its escape to Egypt, nearly all are Muslim. There are about 3,000 Christians, including 200 Catholics served by one priest.
    His name is Msgr. Manuel Musallam, though he jokes that he’s also called the “pope of Gaza.”
    “To come to Gaza is to be a hero,” he says of his assignment.
    It was a position for which there were no other contenders. After Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem asked him if he’d be willing to take the post, the patriarch took the priest into Gaza three times before actually giving him the assignment.
    ”When I said ‘yes,’ he was very perplexed,” Msgr. Musallam, 68, recalls.
    The narrow 25-mile-long Gaza Strip is fortified on three sides by a double prison fence reinforced by guard towers. The fourth border is the Mediterranean Sea. There is one entrance at Eretz on the northern border and one at Rafah, on the southern border with Egypt. Israel controls the strip’s airspace as well as northern and eastern borders and seacoast.

    “Carpet bombing converted the Germans and Japanese from the world’s greatest war mongers to nearly the most peaceful people on earth.
    All we are sayiiiing, is give war a chance.”
    Perfect Senseless meet David Ben-Gurion

    “If I were an Arab leader, I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country. It is true God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? Our God is not theirs. There has been Anti – Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault ? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?”

    blah (fb88b3)

  30. So, what’s your solution to the conflict, blah?

    Patricia (f56a97)

  31. “So, what’s your solution to the conflict, blah?”

    First steps first: a serious discussion of the problem
    You won’t find that in the pages of the Jerusalem Post.

    You’ll find it here.

    blah (fb88b3)

  32. Classic useless blah.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  33. War is the remedy our enemies have chosen, and I say give them all they want.
    William Tecumseh Sherman

    For 50 years, the remedy Arabs have chosen is war. The Arab concept of “peace” is to drive the Jews into the ocean.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  34. “First steps first: a serious discussion of the problem
    You won’t find that in the pages of the Jerusalem Post.”

    Actually, the JP article was more illuminating than one which quibbles over reversing and undoing the history of 1948 or 1967.

    If we’re going to advocate undoing history, why not go back to the original brutal conquest of Jerusalem by Arabs in AD 637? Those Jews were just giving peace a chance, and here come aggressors and put them to the sword. Or how about the Muslim sack of the Holy Sepulchre in 1009? Let’s undo that while we’re at it. And while we’re mentioning unmentionables, let’s undo the massive expulsions of Jews all over the Middle East and North Africa following 1948, and start blowing people up to ‘fix’ those unjust acts.

    Insufficiently Sensitive (b0db09)

  35. “War is the remedy our enemies have chosen,”

    So now you’re defending Hamas?

    blah (fb88b3)

  36. Hamas Charter

    Article Nine: Motives and Objectives
    discarding the evil, crushing it and defeating it, so that truth may prevail, homelands revert [to their owners], calls for prayer be heard from their mosques, announcing the reinstitution of the Muslim state. Thus, people and things will revert to their true place.

    Article Thirteen: Peaceful Solutions, [Peace] Initiatives and International Conferences
    [Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement…..There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. The initiatives, proposals and International Conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility.

    Article Fifteen: The Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine is an Individual Obligation
    When our enemies usurp some Islamic lands, Jihad becomes a duty binding on all Muslims. In order to face the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews, we have no escape from raising the banner of Jihad.

    Article Seventeen: The Role of Muslim Women
    The Muslim women have a no lesser role than that of men in the war of liberation;

    Yeh blah, Hamas is definitely a peace organization.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  37. Binyamin Ben-Eliezer yesterday became the third member of the Israeli government– after Shaul Mofaz and Ami Ayalon– to support the idea of negotiations with Hamas over a ceasefire between Gaza and Israel. Ben-Eliezer also told Israel’s Army Radio that he thought Olmert might well be open to such a deal.”

    You should browse around here a bit too. And maybe you could enlighten me about the prospect of negotiation with the settlers like this Watch the video. Tell me about “Judea and Sumeria.” Tell the rest of the people here. Prove to them you pay attention to the issues.

    blah (fb88b3)

  38. On women in Hamas.

    You defend fundamentalists against the anger of people who’ve been thrown off their land. And then you moralize over extremism? And please don’t talk to me about the Russians’ “right of return.” By that logic half of the population of the US has that right: to go somewhere.
    And don’t accuse me of being an anti-semite or a self hating jew.
    If Israel were in the Rhineland I’d be there now killing Germans, happily.

    blah (fb88b3)

  39. blah, is the truth about Hamas starting to make you a little hysterical? How does international law deal with the Hamas Charter which calls for war, murder and hate?

    Hamas Charter:

    Article Eight: The Slogan of the Hamas
    Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Qur’an its Constitution, Jihad its path and death for the case of Allah its most sublime belief.

    Article Twelve: Hamas in Palestine, Its Views on Homeland and Nationalism
    Hamas regards Nationalism (Wataniyya) as part and parcel of the religious faith. Nothing is loftier or deeper in Nationalism than waging Jihad against the enemy and confronting him when he sets foot on the land of the Muslims. And this becomes an individual duty binding on every Muslim man and woman; a woman must go out and fight the enemy even without her husband’s authorization, and a slave without his masters’ permission.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  40. You don’t have to take blah’s position that Israel was at fault for the Lebanon war to find this article dumb as a box of rocks.

    To use Iraq as an example, David Petraeus insists that the recent success in Iraq came with *tighter* rules of engagement, i.e. , more control from the “lawyers”. It was 2004 when we were conducting no-knock raids, dragnet mass imprisonments, and free-fire zones. As a result, everyone hated our f***ing guts.

    This article is classic stab-in-the-back baloney from people in israel and sympathetic syncophants trying to pass the buck for their incompetent leadership. Israel “lost” the 2006 war because no one has developed a technological solution to stop Katyushas before they start, because Hizballah is a very motivated force with very good anti-tank weapons, and because the ISF leadership was full of Rumsfeld-esque fools who tried to avoid committing ground forces because they were casualty-shy and overconfident. It certainly wasn’t because of a failure to carpet bomb: Israel blew five times as much property in Lebanon than Hizballah blew up in Israel and killed five or ten times as many people. Go read the statistics for yourself.

    Nations or political forces that behave like barbarians always go down the tubes in the long runs. And yet, there are always yahoos out there clamoring about how unfair it is that terrorists don’t have to follow the Geneva conventions. No f***ing duh they don’t. That’s why they’re so wildly unpopular, and why they rarely get anywhere politically. The ones that do learn to moderate their brutality.

    glasnost (c0eb6b)

  41. The ones that do learn to moderate their brutality.


    They find a bunch of useful idiots to support their causes under the guise of NGO’s like the U.N. or under international law or even the democrat party. Adopting an “agrarian reformer” was the popular thing to do among democrats during the 1980s. Just follow Jimmy Carter’s travels as our worst ex-president to pick up the trail of thugs, terrorists, strong men he has left in his wake.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  42. glasnost,

    Do you have a link where Petraeus credits lawyers with better rules of engagement and/or outcomes?

    DRJ (09f144)

  43. PS – Here’s a link to a Petraeus’ counterinsurgency article. I can’t find any indication he thinks lawyers are helpful in achieving tactical military objectives, e.g., what he calls the kinetic part of war. He does laud the lawyers’ role in nation-building after the military objectives have been achieved.

    DRJ (09f144)

  44. Where the rules of engagement are set by the commander for the purposes of his strategy, that is exactly the opposite of lawyerization.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  45. Overlawyerization…
    I think I have commented on this previously.
    That said:
    I told you so.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  46. No, blah, what’s your solution? There’s been talk enough and you are so passionate you must have a solution in mind.

    Patricia (f56a97)

  47. I’m really under no obligation to take any of your blather seriously.

    “You media people!” Father Musallam boomed at me when I first poked my head around his door.“Hamas this, Hamas that. You think we Christians are shaking in our ghettos in Gaza? That we’re going to beg you British or the Americans or the Vatican to rescue us?” he asked.
    “Rescue us from what? From where? This is our home.”

    …Ninety-nine percent of the pupils here are Muslim. This is one of the reasons Fr Musallam says he does not fear the Islamists.
    “They should be afraid. Not me,” he chuckled.
    “Their children are under my tutelage, in my school. Hamas mothers and fathers are here at parents’ day along with everyone else.”
    …I found a group of 10-year-olds on stage, rehearsing their Nativity play, watched, with great enthusiasm, by a group of their Muslim friends.

    …Mary and Joseph squatted on stage. The girl playing Mary, clasped a tube of scrunched-up brown paper wrapped in a scarf, which, for rehearsal purposes, was posing as baby Jesus.
    “You see,” Fr Musallam told me, as he gazed indulgently at the goings-on on stage. “Our identity is a multi-layered one.”
    “Of course, I am a Christian believer, but politically I am a Palestinian Muslim. I resist Israel’s military occupation, obviously not with weapons.
    “The Jihad can never be mine but with my words, my sermons, I am a Palestinian priest.”

    My solution Patricia, begins with people like you growing the f-k up.

    blah (fb88b3)

  48. blah, given your behavior here, you’ve no right to be writing about taking others seriously or others growing up.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  49. “Nations or political forces that behave like barbarians always go down the tubes in the long run.”
    Israel was founded on barbarity. And its policies are weakening it.
    “And yet, there are always yahoos out there clamoring about how unfair it is that terrorists don’t have to follow the Geneva conventions. No f***ing duh they don’t. That’s why they’re so wildly unpopular, and why they rarely get anywhere politically. The ones that do learn to moderate their brutality.”
    Hamas won an open election. Israel has become more extremist.

    blah (fb88b3)

  50. Israel was founded on barbarity. And its policies are weakening it.

    Israel is an island of civilization in a sea of barbarity. The contributions of Jews to humanity are too numerous to list.

    Tell me something civilized to have come from the Arab world, ever in history, except for the arabic numeral system and the concept of zero, which they stole from the Indians. Your camel-molesting friends are no good except for killing and stealing. If not for their oil, they’d be eating each other.

    BTW, if you are female, do you have your husband’s or other senior male relative’s permission to blog? If not, you are subject to punishment by lashing or having your fingers cut off.

    blah, as rude as I may seem, I am really restraining myself. With all due respect, you are … as worthless a propangandist for evolutionary mistakes as there has ever been.

    nk (c87736)

  51. The Gaza Strip and the West Bank has TV stations that broadcast exhortations for children to become suicide bombers, and blah claims that Israel has become “more extremist”.

    The mind boggles at the monumental self-delusion that statements like that require.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  52. Hamas won an open election.

    Hamas won by promising to kill more Jews than Fatah.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  53. Saddam used to win elections as well. He was very popular at election time by all accounts.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  54. Is Hamas still keeping the streets clean?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  55. “blah, as rude as I may seem, I am really restraining myself.”

    Oh go ahead little man. Be as bad as you want to be.
    I’m a big girl.

    blah (fb88b3)

  56. Hamas won an open election.

    Just because a bunch of animals win an election does not mean we have an obligation to establish a relationship with them. If they don’t behave like a member of the international community, there is no reason to treat them as one.

    nk – I have an answer for your question. The Arab world lets us see what it is like to live centuries in the past without the pretense of an historical recreation. I believe that is a good thing because it shows us what we never want to become, especially if we mix an anachronistic religion with government.

    They also make an endless supply of amusing hate videos.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  57. Oh go ahead little man. Be as bad as you want to be. I’m a big girl.

    I’m 6’3″, myself. But I’m afraid that we’re back to being enemies were I to consider you worthy of that much of my attention. I think you’re going on “ignore” from here on.

    nk (c87736)

  58. I wonder how many times blah has visited Israel to speak with such authority.

    Excuse me, those are not blah’s opinion, she is referring people to the opinions of others. Apart from blaming Israel for the ills of the world, she is not taking a stand, expressing an opinion or proposing a solution. She may or may not be endorsing the links posted.

    blah, a big leftist atheist jewish girl with daddy issues just looking for attention.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  59. Exactly, daleyrocks, completely useless comments from a link spammer.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  60. Israel was founded on barbarity. And its policies are weakening it.

    Israel was founded by a UN mandate. Israel’s policy of defending itself has strengthened Israel and infuriated Arabs accustom to brutalizing Jews for 13 centuries.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  61. “Tell me something civilized to have come from the Arab world, ever in history, except for the arabic numeral system and the concept of zero, which they stole from the Indians.”


    The Moorish rule of Al-Andalus (Spain, between 711 and 1492) was considered the “Golden Age of Iberia”; the Muslims brought religious tolerance to Western Europe.

    But since you probably want something “tangible”…

    Yeah. I still have a lot of respect for you, but that was a pretty stupid comment, nk.

    Leviticus (662a2d)

  62. “…the Muslims brought religious tolerance to Western Europe…”

    Too bad they haven’t been able to bring it to the ME.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  63. You’re a foul-mouthed troll, blah. Drool on.

    Patricia (f56a97)

  64. …the Muslims brought religious tolerance to Western Europe…

    Unfortunately, on their way to Europe, Muslims slaughtered Christians and Jews in what is now Syria , Iraq, Turkey, Israel, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. After being expelled from France, Muslims learned some manners.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  65. “…the Muslims brought religious tolerance to Western Europe…”
    Christians certainly didn’t.

    blah (fb88b3)

  66. Gaza is in total lockdown.

    And yet they still manage to rocket Sderot daily. If Gaza is all locked down, where’s Egypt? They’ve got a border, right? Blah, blah, blah…blah.

    Christians certainly didn’t.

    Yah, stupid Christians.

    Pablo (99243e)

  67. Yup, Europe ought to take a page from those tolerant historically muslim countries where you see all that contsruction activity on Jewish temples, Christian churches, Hindu and Bhuddist places of worship. Damn intolerant euroweenies.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  68. ” If Gaza is all locked down, where’s Egypt? They’ve got a border, right? ”
    Egypt is what you would call a “country.” Countries have “borders.” This border has a “wall.”

    “Some 1.4 million people, mostly children, are piled up in one of the most densely populated regions of the world, with no freedom of movement, no place to run and no space to hide,” wrote the former senior UN relief official Jan Egeland and Jan Eliasson, then foreign minister of Sweden, in Le Figaro. They described a people “living in a cage”, cut off by land, sea and air, with no reliable power and little water, and tortured by hunger and disease and incessant attacks by Israeli troops and planes.

    You haven’t paid any attention to what’s happened over the past year have you? And frankly you must not give a shit. It all personalized domestic politics. It’s “us” and “them.”

    Both moves come on top of the existing blockade of Gaza imposed by Israel since last year’s election of Hamas and the confiscation of hundreds of millions of dollars of taxes it is obliged to pass on as part of previous agreements. And instead of being restrained by the US or European Union, both have deepened the crisis by imposing their own sanctions and withdrawing aid. The result has, inevitably, been further huge increases in unemployment and poverty. But far from discouraging rocket attacks, they have risen sharply – though the ratio of Palestinian to Israeli deaths has been running at more than 30 to one, compared with four to one at the height of the intifada five years ago.
    The UN’s senior official in Gaza, Karen Koning-Abu Zayd, yesterday branded Israel’s intensification of the Gaza siege as a violation of international law: despite its withdrawal two years ago, Israel continues to control all access to the Gaza Strip and remains the occupying power both legally and practically. Not that the situation is much better in the occupied West Bank. Despite the US and Israel’s fatal backing for the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and his emergency government of a non-existent state, Israeli demolitions, land seizures, settlement expansion, assassinations, armed incursions, segregated road-building and construction of the land-grabbing separation wall continue apace in the territory where Abbas’s nominal writ supposedly runs.

    You, and I mean all of you, are some of the most stupid people I’ve come across in my entire god damn life.

    blah (fb88b3)

  69. blah,
    Your first link is to John Pilger, one of the most reliable anti-semites of the last 25 years. His “reporting” has been debunked for decades. His first sentence is a dead giveaway, Gaza is not one of the most heavily populated places in the world (OK maybe in the top 250 places). Go to google maps satellite view and you can see that Gaza has many open fields and spaces.

    Your second link states basically says that Israel cannot protect itself when repeatedly attacked. Israel, like any nation, is under no legal obligation to admit neighbors who blow up buses, pizza parlors and launch rockets. While it might come as a surprise to the “journalist” who wrote the article, neither Israel, nor the USA is under obligation to financially support terrorists and Hamas is a terrorist organization.

    Like any good liberal, the Arabs in Gaza don’t believe they should be held responsible for their bad choices. Its always someone else’s fault and someone else should pay for their bad conduct. Again and again, they have chosen to go with war with Israel; again and again they lost, but they want to dictate peace terms like victors.

    Gaza shares a border with Arab Egypt, and Egypt wants little to do with Gaza. Furthermore, oil rich Arab states could give Gaza hundreds of billions in aid, but the Gaza Arabs have worn out their welcome. The oil-rich Arabs know that most aid money ends up in Swiss bank accounts.

    Finally, you, like Pilger, overlook that over a million Arabs have chosen to live in peace with Israel for some 50 years. They are Israeli citizens, they vote in Israeli elections and they sit in Israeli parliament.

    We may be stupid on this board, but we are not useful idiots like yourself whose “superior intellect” excuses murders.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  70. just a little hit and run,

    Hamas did win an election, and then mounted an armed insurrections to overthrow the government they were elected to participate in. yeah, those guys understand democracy

    that list of muslim inventions, didnt notice anything more recent than the 12th century or so. was tempted to add the suicide belt to the list but that was invented by the Tamils.

    chas (d7c0b2)

  71. You, and I mean all of you, are some of the most stupid people I’ve come across in my entire god damn life.

    I suspect the others are your parents.

    Pablo (99243e)

  72. Gaza shares a border with Arab Egypt, and Egypt wants little to do with Gaza.

    Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner.

    Why do you suppose that is, blah?

    Pablo (99243e)

  73. blah – theme song for you:

    daleyrocks (906622)

  74. Hamas has made a choice between food and dead jews, choosing the latter. You have to be brain dead, blah I’m talking to you, not to understand that the choice has consequences. Whether or not the ordinary Palestinian would rather have food than dead jews, I can’t tell you, but the presence of aemed people telling them that they do 24/7 must certainly be intimidating.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  75. blah,

    You ought not project your self image upon others. It only makes you look worse to the world.

    PCD (09d6a8)

  76. blah quoting Pilger? Now all my worst impressions are confirmed.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  77. “Too bad they haven’t been able to bring it to the ME”

    -Another Drew

    That’s certainly true.

    Leviticus (b673ea)

  78. Don’t like Pilger?
    Here’s some Israelis
    Here’s Gideon Levy in Haaretz.
    On the occupation.

    “Gaza shares a border with Arab Egypt, and Egypt wants little to do with Gaza. Why do you suppose that is, blah?”

    Something to do with illegal immigration I suppose. It’s an issue in some countries. But all All Arabs are the same to you, just like Dominicans and Puerto Ricans, or Colombians and Argentines. And of course Egypt is a dictatorship that signed a treaty with Israel.
    Is there anyone left on this site with a mind?

    blah (fb88b3)

  79. Blah…a simple question: If rockets stopped coming from Gaza immediately, and this “ceasfire” went on for about a week, and then, the leaders in Gaza were to say to Israel something like “We’ve stopped shooting at you, please help us”…

    Would Egypt come to their aid before Israel?

    reff (99666d)

  80. Something to do with illegal immigration I suppose. It’s an issue in some countries. But all All Arabs are the same to you…

    …quoth the ignoramus. blah, do not attempt to speak of what you know nothing about, such as my views.

    Do you not have a problem with Egypt’s illegal immigration concerns? Do you suppose there may be something else to Egypt’s failure to be an artery for the support of Gaza, which after all, was Egypt the last time it was anything? Why isn’t Egypt helping Gaza, blah? Why do think Israel ought to be doing it, while you give Egypt a pass for failing to?

    Pablo (99243e)

  81. Duh! They’re Joooooos.

    Silly me. I answered my own question.

    Pablo (99243e)

  82. Something to do with illegal immigration I suppose. It’s an issue in some countries

    So Egypt can control and protect its borders but Israel can’t? Egypt is not even threaten by the Arabs in Gaza. This might come as a shock to you, but Hamas sends suicide bombers and rockets into Israel, not Egypt.

    Why is Egypt stopping food, water, power, building supplies, money etc. from getting to its Arab brothers in Gaza? So useful idiots like Pilger will blame the Jews.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  83. On the lawyerization of war, I guess it’s the precedent we set at Nuremberg coming back to haunt us. War was so much more fun before the plunder, rapine, and genocide were factored out.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

  84. “its Arab brothers in Gaza? ”
    You fucking idiot.

    blah (fb88b3)

  85. Your foul mouth does not show any maturity, blah.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  86. Yassar Arafat was an Egyptian. Gaza was considered part of Egypt and occupied by Egyptian Army until 1967.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  87. “Gaza was considered part of Egypt…”
    “Your foul mouth does not show any maturity, blah”

    Gaza was occupied by Egypt for 18 years, from 1949 to 1967.
    It’s had a long history, both independent and not. Given your consistent shit-slinging stupidity it’s a wonder I haven’t been so immature more often.

    blah (fb88b3)

  88. The Egyptians should be thanking the Israelis for kicking them out of Gaza. Otherwise all those Arabs in Gaza would be attacking Egypt for keeping them from their Independence.

    davod (5bdbd3)

  89. blah, Gaza has a history of independence? That’s nothing but a fabrication of yours. Which is consistent with the rest of your evil fantasies about the region.

    While you are washing your filthy mouth out with soap, you might want to start considering just why you are perennially on the side of violent, anti-western and anti-freedom extremists. However, I doubt you are actually capable of the kind of self-knowledge necessary to answer that.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  90. T thin blah is the type of person who has had to work aggressively to become more of a moron over time. Most people would be embarrassed by the drivel and falsehoods blah posts here day after day, especially after being caught by other posters. Not blah. It takes a special kind of idiot to continue in the face those repeated humiliations.

    Gee, when was the last time Gaza was independent?

    Nice slide show here for blah’s types:

    Merry Chtistmas

    daleyrocks (906622)

  91. “blah, Gaza has a history of independence? That’s nothing but a fabrication of yours.”

    Look it up.

    blah (fb88b3)

  92. blah, it is fascinating just how often facts that you assert as the foundation of your beliefs are so very wrong.

    That this never dawns upon you is quite amusing.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  93. Gaza has a history of independence

    If true, why under international law doesn’t even one Arab state recognize Gaza’s independence?

    If true, why didn’t Egypt grant Gaza independence in when Egypt occupied Gaza?

    If true, why doesn’t Gaza declare independence?

    What provision of international law commands Egypt to prevent the shipment of adequate amounts of food, water, consumer goods, gasoline, electricity, etc. into a “historicaly independent” Gaza?

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  94. I just want an acknowledgement of medieval Muslim brilliance. The crankshaft is considered one of the most important mechanical inventions since the wheel.

    Leviticus (480644)

  95. Leviticus – If as you say, agreed. I think blah needs to sit on one while reading a book on the history of the Middle East so she has a little understanding of what she is hyperventilating about.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  96. Are you sure you don’t mean the camshaft, Leviticus? Archimedes invented that. About a thousand years or so before the best part of Mohammed ran down his momma’s leg. I don’t agree with any part of your romantization of the Arab conquest of North Africa and Spain. I see it as invaders taking over one’s house, killing the men, enslaving the women, and asking to be praised for perserving the books in the study.

    nk (c87736)

  97. I’m sure I mean the crankshaft, nk. The two are similar, sure, but they’re distinct. For what it’s worth, the Arab inventor al-Jazari is given credit for both of them. What makes you think otherwise (i.e. on what do you base your claim in re: Archimedes)?

    That aside, did you even look at the list of Muslim inventions and innovations? The crankshaft and camshaft are the tip of the iceberg.

    What’s more, it’s ludicrous for you to insist that the only inventions/innovations that count are the ones that have no precedent whatsoever (as your “they stole it” caveat implies). You’d be hard-pressed to name any Christian invention/innovation that was entirely original.

    The adoption and subsequent perfection of an Indian numeral system by Muslim scholars isn’t “stealing”(allowing that an abstract concept can be “stolen” in the first place… which is silly); it’s progress.

    Leviticus (f22d17)

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