Originally written 1-26-09
A regular visitor was unhappy with a story I linked to regarding Obama ordering his "first murders" since taking office. The headline was: Congrats Obama! First murder order nets 3 children! (The full article referenced in the blog entry is available here)
Visitor wrote (in part)
"What makes Lew Rockwell believe Pres. Obama ordered murders? Could he be claiming that killing any terrorist is murder or that any collateral damage constitutes murder? I would hope not and I say this as someone who opposed Obama's election."
Regarding the blog entry (It wasn't Lew who wrote it, it was somebody who blogs at his site) I think his first point was to draw attention to what it means to transition from just a "lowly Senator" (presumably unable to order the deaths of unseen / unknown people on the other side of the planet) to "President" (where it's now a common occurrence...it is a "rite of passage" that marks an almost inconceivable change in "social status.")
Regarding the fundamental complaint of the blog entry, I think the best way to illustrate it is this:
Think of the most pathetic / horrible type of human being you can imagine. (We'll say a child rapist who enjoys torturing his victims to death.) The problem isn't in going after or even killing dangerous / horrible people. The problem is the double standard regarding "acceptable means." ..That is, if such a child rapist happened to be on an American bus filled with children, nobody would support our military firing a missile into the bus to kill him....and we can only assume if they wouldn't accept our military doing it, they would be a thousand times more outraged if the "order to fire" came from China or Russia.
In short, we would never accept our military or law enforcement employing these means in America, we sure as Hell wouldn't accept another country employing them either. (Regardless of how despicable the "main target" was.) But that's where the common sense standard splits off into a double standard. The gravity of the suffering and sense of injustice (forced on others around the world as a result of "our government's" actions) is diluted into insignificance.
Visitor replied (in part)
"I must say that the analogy of the bus scenario is invalid unless one is a pacifist. What's happening in Iraq and Afghanistan isn't a police action that can be handled by conventional police tactics. It's a war."
This is a common defense and, in my view, it is intellectually dishonest. ...I believe actions ought to be judged by the actions themselves, not the different names somebody comes up with to justify them. To demonstrate the validity of my bus scenario, change the person on the bus from a child rapist / murderer to a terrorist. We are "at war" with terrorism. ...the terrorist is on the bus. Is it no longer a "police action?" Do you support incinerating the bus to get the terrorist? NO, you do not. (Not if it is your child on the bus, not if it is a bus on an American road...not if our military does it, not if the Israeli military does it.)
I am not a pacifist. I have no problem killing a person who is trying to kill me or others. ....I do have a problem with killing innocent people and pretending it is "OK" because you call it something other than what it is. Therefore, I stand by my statement: "But that's where the common sense standard splits off into a double standard. The gravity of the suffering and sense of injustice (forced on others around the world as a result of "our government's" actions) is diluted into insignificance."
This NeoCon "war" has destabilized the middle east, nearly bankrupted our country, destroyed our image around the world...it has made us LESS safe, not more. Now for the worst part: Hundreds of thousands of innocent people are dead as a result of the "War on Terror." Sadly, the average American cannot get their head around those numbers. They cannot be intellectually honest and say to themselves: "What would WE DO if China was attacked by 19 "terrorists" and then they used that as an excuse to occupy our country and kill hundreds of thousands of our people.?"
-You implied we have only two options: "Surrender to terrorists" or continue what we're doing. Once again, this is a false argument. Nobody said anything about "surrendering to terrorists." Most of the people we're fighting over there are "terrorists" in name only. They're doing the same thing we'd be doing if we were invaded by another country...