Branding Terrorists as Terrorists
A Los Angeles Times editorial this morning caught my attention with this enraging sentence:
Although the United States, Israel and the European Union brand Hamas a terrorist organization, Palestinians admire it for the schools and hospitals it runs.
Sorry? We “brand” Hamas a terrorist organization? How about simply saying that Hamas “is” a terrorist organization?
But putting it that way might make it seem kind of silly to then praise it for running schools and hospitals. After all, a sentence like this would be kind of jarring: “Although Hamas is a murderous terrorist organization, Palestinians admire it for the schools and hospitals it runs.” Doesn’t have that ring to it, does it? It would almost be like praising Al Qaeda for establishing schools and hospitals — which it has done, by the way.
How about Al Qaeda, L.A. Times editors? Is Al Qaeda a terrorist organization — or is it just branded one? If the Palestinians overwhelmingly voted in Al Qaeda, would you still be saying that most Palestinians want peace, and praising their wonderful hospitals and schools??
The editorial goes on:
And the organization that once routinely dispatched suicide bombers into Israel has mostly refrained from such attacks for about the last year.
Well then! As long as they have mostly refrained from dispatching suicide bombers into Israel, everything is okey-dokey! They’re not really a terrorist organization — just an organization that we “brand” as a terrorist organization! (“Mostly” means only 29 potential suicide bombers from Hamas were arrested in 2005.) You might think that it’s small comfort to, say, the family of Sasson Nuriel, who was kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists in September 2005 — but who knows? Maybe his family is grateful that Hamas has “mostly” refrained from terror attacks.
Note how full credit for “mostly” refraining from terror attacks goes to Hamas, with no mention of the role that the security fence has played in controlling the attacks.
I wish I were an artist or a photoshopper. The image that comes to mind is a rancher branding a steer with a brand that reads: “Steer.” Whether you brand it or not, a steer is a steer. Regardless of how it is branded, Hamas is a terrorist organization. And the editors of the L.A. Times, who can’t bring themselves to call Hamas a terrorist organization . . . well, they are also what they are, regardless of how they might “brand” themselves.
The most basic principle in logic is that (A equals A) that is, a thing is itself.
Failure to grasp this fundamental point leads to all manner of fuzzy thinking, as is so conclusively demonstrated by LAT’s editors.Black Jack (71415b) — 1/27/2006 @ 7:13 am
I note that Hamas has “mostly refrained” from attacks over the last year because Ariel Sharon built a big fat wall to keep them from coming into Israel to blow-up civilians. The attacks have been “prevented” by legitimate Israeli self-defense opposed by most elites and liberals, not any self-restraint or good will on the part of Hamas.Jason Krischer (e9e380) — 1/27/2006 @ 7:44 am
I don’t think you appreciate this enough. I bet the people you prosecute have mostly refrained from crime. Some will go weeks (weeks!) between crimes, and yet you prosecute them for what they do one day. This biased selection of the time frame in which you decide to scrutinize their actions leads inevitably to unfair prosecutions.
If you had simply picked a different day, the defendant didn’t commit any crimes on that day. It’s like 10-1 against that they committed a crime on any given day; the appropriate method of calculating the penalty is to either reduce the sentence by the ratio of innocent days to crime-spree days, or to prosecute people without this arbitrary bias (by, say, prosecuting only people who commit crimes on the second Tuesday of the month.)
Mostly crime-free folks – like mostly terror-free folks – deserve better.
And I’m not even going to *start* on your ridiculous implicit assertion that a guy who commits crimes is a criminal. Most of the time, they’re not committing crimes; you should refer to them as “mostly law-abiding.”
I hope you’re sorry.
–JRMJRM (de6363) — 1/27/2006 @ 8:23 am
Indeed, and Benito Mussolini, though branded a fascist, did succeed in improving the rail system in Italy. Adolf Hitler, though we branded him as a thug and a brute, did succeed in improving the German economy, building schools and all sorts of other good things.Dana (3e4784) — 1/27/2006 @ 8:43 am
And I suppose the Democratic Party has mostly refrained from slashing tires – for about the last year.Amphipolis (fdbc48) — 1/27/2006 @ 9:06 am
Although Patterico’s Pontifications and many other blogs brand The Los Angeles Times a worthless waste of paper, many Southern Californians admire it for the classified ads and movie listings.JVW (54c318) — 1/27/2006 @ 9:13 am
Recall the remark that Sen. Patty “Bin Laden Day Care Center” Murray (AQ-WA) made following 9/11. Consider Joel Stein’s column. Consider the column that ran about the same time as Stein’s in the NYTimes by the two idiotarians who think we need to cut and run in order to demonstrate our benevolence and thereby win over terrorists and their supporters. And the Dems want to be trusted to govern? N.F.W.TNugent (6128b4) — 1/27/2006 @ 9:25 am
LAT reporting in WWII:perfectsense (024110) — 1/27/2006 @ 11:20 am
Adolph Hitler has been branded by the Allies as a mass murderer even though he built autobahns and he likes dogs. It should be noted that the German Luftwaffe largely refrained from bombing London after 1942.
LATimes channels Jimmy Carter on Hamas
A few days ago I blogged about an interview former President Jimmy Carter did with CNN in which he questioned the validity of tagging the terrorist group Hamas with the label of “terrorist” in spite of the fact that Hamas stands for the wh…Sister Toldjah (3e6668) — 1/27/2006 @ 11:58 am
How about this:
When you explain why we call them terrorists, it makes clear that their other good deeds are pretty much beside the point.
Of course, I would also argue that a good many Palestinians admire Hamas precisely because of its support and sponsorship of suicide bombings. The editorial makes it sound like they’re blissfully unaware of those activities.Crank (5f5694) — 1/27/2006 @ 12:38 pm
Nat Turner and John Brown were terrorists too but that doesn’t change the fact that slavery was an immoral institution. Similarly Palestinian terrorism doesn’t change the fact that Israel has pursued immoral occupation policies since 1967.James B. Shearer (fc887e) — 1/27/2006 @ 1:35 pm
In simple terms, James Shearer, please elaborate on exactly what Israel could/should have done post-1967?
In your explanation, please specify what the proper response is to the refusal of Arab states to sign peace accords, and to the refusal of the Palestinians to recognize Israel’s right to exist.
If your point includes the claim that Israel was occupying the state of Palestine, please include maps/references to a “state of Palestine” that existed prior to 1967. It would also be appreciated if you might include an explanation of why the creation of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) predates the 1967 war.Lurking Observer (ea88e8) — 1/27/2006 @ 1:55 pm
One could also say that Richard Ramirez, branded by some a serial rapist and killer, has mostly refrained from rape and murder over the last 20 years. Certainly this is evidence of reform.Kevin Murphy (9982dd) — 1/27/2006 @ 4:40 pm
Lurking Observer, Israel could have annexed the territory it occupied in 1967 and granted the inhabitants Israeli citizenship. This is what the US did with the territory it took from Mexico.
Alternatively Israel could have disclaimed any permanent interest in the occupied territories and stated an intention to return them to Egypt, Jordan and Syria (or grant them independence) upon conclusion of a peace treaty with those countries.
However the fact is Israel wanted the land but not the people. Unwilling to give up the land or accept the people Israel never came up with a sensible long term plan and allowed the situation to fester.
As for Israel’s right to exist why are the Israelis entitled to a state but not the Palestinians?James B. Shearer (fc887e) — 1/27/2006 @ 6:33 pm
“As for Israel’s right to exist why are the Israelis entitled to a state but not the Palestinians?”
Palestinians have a state. It’s called Jordan…and Syria…and Lebanon.sharon (fecb65) — 1/27/2006 @ 7:05 pm
sharon, ok why are the Israelis entitled to a state in Palestine? I don’t believe the Palestinians would have a big problem with Israel if it were located in Europe.James B. Shearer (fc887e) — 1/27/2006 @ 7:29 pm
Iran’s President Ahmadinejad says Israel should be moved to Europe. James B. Shearer says “I don’t believe the Palestinians would have a big problem with Israel if it were located in Europe.” You are certainly in fine company, Mr. Shearer. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has also openly called for the state of Israel to be “wiped off the map”. I am sure you would not disagree with that statement either. But, of course, you are not an anti-Semite.Richard (b6db20) — 1/27/2006 @ 8:28 pm
Hmmm … Sharon, why aren’t the Israelis entitled to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon?
THe whole logic of who is entitled to what is silly. Shearer is right in saying that Israel never did quite figure out what to do with the West Bank, trying to have it six ways, and events spiraled out of control. The crack about Europe is of course nonsense.Kevin Murphy (6a7945) — 1/27/2006 @ 8:59 pm
Can we please not have the Israel-Palestinian debate here? It never goes anywhere. My focus is: is Hamas a terrorist organization? If it is (and it is), shouldn’t an honest news organ say so?Patterico (929da9) — 1/27/2006 @ 9:02 pm
I have to profess ignorance. Why won’t an honest new organ say so? (FOX doesn’t count) In someone or another’s opinion here?blubonnet (86405d) — 1/28/2006 @ 12:55 am
blu asked, “Why won’t an honest new organ say so?”
Honesty about the Left is problematic for news organizations these days. Consider what happened at the WaPo two weeks ago when Deborah Howell wrote, “Jack Abramoff made substantial campaign contributions to both major parties.” The Left’s outcry was so loud and venomous the WaPo’s web site had to shut down the comments section, the trash talk got so bad. Deborah Howell was called a “paid liar” and a “right-wing whore.”
Chris Matthews got similar treatment for pointing out the similarities between what Osama bin Ladin said on his most recent audio tape, and what Michael Moore has been saying for quite a while. It didn’t matter to the Left that it was true, only that one of their own said it.
Even lightweight Tim Russert got sideways with Lefty loudmouths for a series of sharp questions to Barack Obama on Meet the Press. No, it’s soft balls only for Lefty guests, and save the hot coals and pitchforks for those Hitler lovers in the GOP.
News organizations have been going down hill for years. They have, for the most part lost all Conservatives, nearly all Republicans, and most Independents and Moderates already. Subscriptions are tanking, circulation is falling like a rock, ad revenues are way down, and jobs are disappearing faster than Hillary’s billing records.
The loony Left, teacher unions, and college kids are about all the audience the antique media has, and so it’s not difficult to understand why they don’t want to say anything that’s sure to anger the “reality based community.”
So, in a nutshell, the answer is: cowardice, bias, and self-interest.Black Jack (9f37aa) — 1/28/2006 @ 11:21 am
You are totally picking nits. What about this:
“… gave the militant Islamic group Hamas–branded a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States, and Europe …”
And what is this little slice from? Some crazy left-wing newspaper like the NY Times? No:
Give me a break! Why don’t you argue substance instead.
[I’m not thrilled with that either. But the same piece says: “Nevertheless, for the time being the Palestinians and Israelis are stuck with committed terrorists at the helm of the Palestinian Authority.” If the LAT editorial had such a clear statement that Hamas is still a terrorist organization, I wouldn’t be as upset. — Patterico]Calvin (531edc) — 1/28/2006 @ 3:05 pm
Calvin, why didn’t you finish the rest of the quote? The phrase immediately following the words you pulled is: openly dedicated to Israel’s destruction.
I’d say that the Weekly Standard’s use of “branded” is permissable given that it’s immediately followed by a succinct summary of Hamas’s true objective. The Standard isn’t trying to downplay what’s really going on there.Joan (1f3f15) — 1/28/2006 @ 8:05 pm