Finally, the Obama Doctrine: “Atrocities Prevention”

Responsibility to prevent?

Numerous news outlets have reported on the new Atrocities Prevention Board unveiled by President Obama as part of commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day, and quite a few have expressed skepticism.  It’s one thing to create a board; another entirely to take action using the tools of national power.

Defining “atrocity” will be a stiff challenge.  If something seems awful but the US administration doesn’t really want to intervene in it, will it be defined as an “atrocity”?  If it’s defined as an atrocity but we don’t do anything other than blather about it, what exactly will be the point of the Atrocities Prevention policy?

Presumably, a due-out from the Atrocities Prevention Board (APB) will be a periodically updated list of which foreign activities and ongoing events the United States considers to be atrocities.  The absence of any such communication will render the APB so pointless as to be a daily unfolding satire.  Silence from an Atrocities Prevention Board is inherently untenable.

Yet assembling that list will be a heavily politicized process.  Will we call “atrocities” things we have no power to intervene in?  If the American people are reluctant to take on an “atrocity” intervention, is there any political value for the president in having the atrocity officially identified?  A divided Congress may have been inert in the last 18 months, but when overly provoked, as with the endless, punch-pulling Vietnam intervention, Congress becomes a snorting, stamping elephant.   How would a president acting on the proposals of an Atrocities Prevention Board deal with Congress?

If atrocities are defined and declared on a regular basis, yet remain undeterred, the atrocity list will lose its impact in the same way the Homeland Security terror-alert system has.  “Yeah, we’ve got some atrocities going on out there,” the average citizen might say.  “I don’t know what they are, but there’s some kind of board for that.”

Institutionalizing indifference to mass murder – to use The Weekly Standard’s formulation – is one of the obvious hazards of boardifying the US posture on “atrocity.”  There are a couple of others worth mentioning.  One is contingent:  the APB’s leadership under Obama.  The president has appointed Samantha Power– the brain behind the “responsibility to protect” non-hostile kinetic military action in Libya – to head the APB, and she is on record as calling Israel a “major human rights abuser.”  Here is her 2002 proposal for intervening in the Israeli-Palestinian Arab conflict:

What we don’t need is some kind of early warning mechanism there, what we need is a willingness to put something on the line in helping the situation. Putting something on the line might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import; it may more crucially (sic) mean sacrificing—or investing, I think, more than sacrificing—billions of dollars, not in servicing Israel’s military, but actually investing in the new state of Palestine, in investing the billions of dollars it would probably take, also, to support what will have to be a mammoth protection force, not of the old Rwanda kind, but a meaningful military presence. Because it seems to me at this stage (and this is true of actual genocides as well, and not just major human rights abuses, which were seen there), you have to go in as if you’re serious, you have to put something on the line.

Getting a US military intervention force in Israel past Congress would be interesting.  The American politics of this are a head-scratcher, but so is the definition in this case.  If Power were to be specific about what she considers “human rights abuses,” one can only presume she would be speaking of checkpoints, the security fence between Israel and Gaza (the security wall with the West Bank had not been constructed in 2002), and Israel’s military attacks on terrorist strongholds in Gaza.

One question this raises is what the APB would call the terrorist attacks by Hamas.  Presumably a single terrorist incident is not a “mass atrocity” – if the Holocaust is taken as the standard – but how about systematic terrorism of the same kind, and against the same people, over decades?  Terrorist organizations do commit mass atrocities, as they have in Colombia and Russia, among other places.  Are terrorists to be intervened with like national governments?  How about syndicate crime, like the cartel thugs who have slaughtered more than 50,000 Mexicans in the last five years?

Meanwhile, are India and Pakistan abusing each other’s populations with their border barriers in Kashmir?  Perhaps even more informative, is the UN committing a human rights abuse by sponsoring (and managing) the security barrier between the Republic of Cyprus and the unrecognized Turkish-occupied portion of the island?

Is the existence of border-security measures a justification for armed intervention?  And if it is, how does it fit into the “mass atrocity” construct?  If it doesn’t justify armed intervention, on the other hand, but something else – what is that something?

Beyond these problematic points is a more fundamental one, which is the question of what international boundaries mean and how we will decide to use the elements of US power, including force, across them.  Before we jump to any conclusions on this, we need to remember something very basic.  The Holocaust was ended only when we regime-changed Hitler with armed force.  Nothing short of invading Germany and eliminating Hitler – pursuing what was for years afterward called “absolute victory” – had the power to stop any facet of Hitler’s program.  The same was true of imperialist Japan, which committed what we may well call mass atrocities in Manchuria and Southeast Asia during the occupation period there.

The only mass atrocities that have ever been stopped by outside agency – eventually – were stopped by regime-changing the perpetrators.  Suasion, shaming, contumely from the world community, and even sanctions of various kinds have been tried against the perpetrators of other mass atrocities, and nothing but the credible threat or actual use of force has ever produced even a hiatus.  There is no basis on which to hope that it may be possible to “prevent atrocities” by specific, tailored means, as if the atrocities can be separated from the objects of other elements of US policy.

We may perhaps, for example, foster economic and social conditions that have the effect of deterring atrocities.  But except in the case of the longest-running regional or ethnic feuds, we may not even be aware in advance that that’s what we’re doing.  We may simply be pursuing policies that we think are of assistance to other peoples, and will thereby promote US security and interests.  Specifically planning to “prevent atrocities” by these means raises a host of questions about both our prophetic abilities and – frankly – our good sense.

We may also decide that a demonstrable perpetrator of atrocities, like Saddam Hussein, has to be regime-changed, for reasons relating to US security policy.  That will effectively halt his career of atrocities – unlike, for example, our posture on North Korea, where the Kim regime has been starving and torturing its people for decades, as part of a 59-year-old armistice over which our forces stand guard.  The US spent the entire period of the Soviet Union’s existence declining to intervene directly in most of the numerous mass atrocities perpetrated by Soviet Communists and their proxies abroad, while ritually decrying them, imposing very limited sanctions because of them, and performing other ineffective actions.  Estimates of the lives lost to Communist civil wars and takeovers – entirely apart from World War II – range from 100 to 150 million.

The effective powers of government have their limits.  Force is a blunt tool which cannot be used effectively in the calibrated manner suggested by Power’s proposal for Israel and the Palestinians.  To be effective, force must have a concrete, achievable objective that is suited to what force can do: destroy means and vanquish will.  This works for regime-change, an objective with at least a potentially self-sustaining end-state.  It does not work for “atrocity prevention,” which cannot be self-sustaining because it does not posit vanquishing the will of the perpetrator.

Ending atrocities is possible, meanwhile, precisely because there are multiple armed nation-states, and some are constituted to act with both compunction and purpose.  A prophylactic, globalist approach to mass atrocities is another matter.  If we sold out the concept of national sovereignty – including the integrity of borders – for the postulated benefit of preventing atrocities, we would find that against a supranational body chartered with “prevention,” there would be no recourse.  Whatever atrocities it permitted would be unredressable.

Territorial nationalism is what allows us to guarantee liberty and civil rights for ourselves, and to intervene abroad on the terms we consider appropriate.  Global-political universalism is the enemy of liberty and national political discretion, as demonstrated most recently by the globalist Communist empire, but in earlier centuries by the Roman Empire.

Ultimately, even in a narrow sense, “atrocity prevention” as a core mission of the US national security apparatus is a recipe for endless, end-state-less – and regional-pattern-distorting – involvement abroad.  It fits no traditional construct for the US decision to use national power.  It inherently posits a kind of “force decision-making” different from what exists today with the structure of the US government and our arrangements with our allies.

Yet all of that may be moot, if the APB is little more than window-dressing.  And if that is the case, US credibility will take another major hit.

J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at Hot Air’s Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions,Patheos, and The Weekly Standard online.


68 thoughts on “Finally, the Obama Doctrine: “Atrocities Prevention””

  1. Irish humanitarian gadfly Samantha Power, wife of weirdo philosopher and BHO confidante Cass Sunstein, created this agency and position for herself. As usual, atrocities seem to happen only to large numbers of victims, though the threshold is never specified, and in foreign countries. Incidents like the Branch Davidian or Elian Gonzalez affairs don’t make the list, much less more recent fatalities like David Turner in Bakersfield, CA or Jose Guarena of Tucson, AZ
    It’s only an atrocity if it’s collective, individuals don’t really count, and if administered by the cops it isn’t an atrocity, either.

    1. the Gonzalez kid…an atrocity???

      and yeah, in legal terms atrocity crimes are usually large-scale…….genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

  2. how atrocious!

    of course, it’s a publicity thing and of course you’re spitballing with that “US credibility will take another major hit.”

    the US took several really major hits beginning with the invasion of Iraq and whatever the hell this thing turns out to be won’t amount to a fart in a windstorm.

    1. That sympathetic writer at the Atlantic writes, “Preventing mass atrocities is difficult, dangerous and time consuming. Very few conflicts that involve mass killings are the kind where the nudge of sanctions or vague threats of criminal prosecution are going to get the job done.

      Yes, there are cases where a relatively small investment of attention and action would have paid huge dividends–Rwanda comes to mind.

      But for every Rwanda, there are many that look more like Bosnia, Syria, Somalia or Sudan, where problems cannot be fixed without getting deeply involved in resolving multilateral civil conflicts and nation building. In those cases, getting involved at all risks getting involved all the way and, in turn, risks being involved for a very long time at great cost.” [my emphasis]

      That sounds like it has the potential (and IMO the virtual certainty to occur) to be a lot more than a “fart in a windstorm”…

  3. The Atlantic piece that J.E. linked to is a thoughtful, sympathetic evaluation of the proposal that expresses much doubt as to its feasibility. Just as J.E. does, it lists many of the ‘devil in the details’, such an enterprise would entail.

    Giving Obama the benefit of the doubt, most likely this is an attempt by Obama to lift up his resume for reelection and merely window dressing.

    If Obama makes sympathetic noises while basically ignoring Powers pronouncements, I’m not convinced that US credibility will take that big a hit.

    That eventuality would mean that Obama is aware of the virtually certain pitfalls that await any administration that tries to upgrade the US from the world’s policeman (Commissioner Gordon) to the world’s first crime fighter (Batman).

    There’s so little upside to this and such potential for disaster that if he’s serious and is reelected, he’ll turn into another LBJ and guarantee that his party is swept from power in 2016. This naive policy has disaster written all over it. Only an ivory tower, bleeding heart intellectual with a messiah complex could seriously consider it.

  4. According to the Random House American College Dictionary sitting on a chair next to me, “atrocity, n. 1. quality of being atrocious”. Up one entry is “atrocious, adj. 1. extremely or shockingly wicked or cruel; heinous.”

    It doesn’t indicate any kind of a numerical requirement. The point is that maiming, dismemberment and death are things that happen to individuals, although they could happen to more than one individual at the same time. Nonetheless, death, for instance, is the extinguishment of an individual life, the dead individual can’t reflect on any kind of collective demise. Only the survivors, witnesses and philosophically interested, like Samantha Power, can interpret the event as a collective one. We see a similar situation in regard to economics, where even when things are just booming along, there’s always someone that hasn’t gotten in on the prosperity. Collective affluence doesn’t mean too much to an individual that’s broke.

    On any given day in the USA let’s say that a dozen homes in different localities burn to the ground. It’s a real tragedy for the owners and occupants of these homes but unlikely to receive coverage in the media on a national basis. However, if those same dozen homes are in one subdivision it’ll be all over the evening news from one end of the country to the other. The tragedy is identical in either case, the societal response is much different. So it goes with the collectivist view of events in a place like the West Bank, where probably most of the residents go on about their daily business as we all do, trying to hustle a buck and put food on the table in spite of government and quasi-government efforts to take our wealth for their own devices and/or use us for their own purposes in other ways. All of these people are engaged in individual actions determined by their own desires and preferences and occupy different niches in society. There aren’t any collective actions. Leftists especially like to put everything in collective terms, like humans were ants or termites, one identical with another. Except for them, of course.

    1. Dictionaries often fail to provide a full view of the matter. That is one reason why encyclopedias exist.

      When two groups engage in a fight and one side loses, the difference between a massacre, where all or most of one side is killed and an atrocity would be if the winning side then went and killed all or most of the supporters (family, friends, tribal members, citizens) of the losing side. defines atrocity as “outrageous behavior ” but then expands that definition by listing among other words; barbarism, enormity, horror, monstrousness, savagery, brutality, inhumanity, uncivilizedness, ferocity, fierceness, ruthlessness, sadism, viciousness, evil, infamy and wickedness as synonymous or closely associated with the word atrocity.

      It’s the sheer extent of the barbaric savagery and the monstrous horror it evokes that defines it as an atrocity.

      A murder inhumane enough might well qualify as an atrocity. But quantity has its own quality and that, I suspect is why we generally associate atrocities with large numbers of victims.

    2. chuck— try using a legal dictionary rather than a general one for best results in understanding

  5. An “Atrocities Prevention Board” ? You don’t say. This is just another modern day manifestation of the Democratic party’s misguided Wilsonian idealism.

    Its most likely outcomes?
    1) More money down the drain.
    2) Inadvertently causing severer conflict and misery down the line.

    Sounds good to the electorate though.

    1. To the most naively idealistic of the electorate, yes. But after Iraq and Afghanistan? More than a few will remember Mogadishu and the Marine Barracks in Beirut too.

      No, this is too easily cast by Romney as a typical example of the naive, in-over-his-head policies Obama has pursued since he was elected. It’s easily criticized because it is unrealistic and only the most naive wouldn’t immediately grasp that fact.

      Romney can have a field day with this, supporting the impulse to help, while pointing out that the naivete of the proposal indicates that Obama clearly doesn’t understand the difference between what we’d all like to be able to do and what is actually achievable.

      Then tying in the fact that it was just announced that hiring in March was an abysmal 2.2%. That more than pie-in-the-sky ideas and fine words and polished speeches are needed from the President.

      Respectfully but forthrightly concluding that Obama has revealed himself both to be unprepared for the office he was elected to and, after more than three years of on-the-job training, clearly unable to grow into the position.

      Closing with the assertion that especially with the office of the President, too many livelihoods and the lives and opportunities of those dependent upon those breadwinners, make it imperative that when someone is hired and doesn’t work out in such an important position, the larger good requires that they be replaced with someone who is prepared to do the job.

      Finally sharing that it’s always unpleasant to let someone go but as Obama is a multimillionaire, the only ‘hit’ his family will suffer is to his ego. And that Obama is sure to find something to do that more closely fits his talents and qualifications.

      1. I concur with your points GB. Problem is that the GOP has failed to put up a first rate challenger to “less that stellar” incumbent Obama. It’s another sign that the nation is increasingly incapable of rising to the occasion Fact of the matter is the broad electorate seems uncomfortable with Romney and is dissatisfied with Obama. We will most likely muddle through another four years of “mediocre” management, regardless of the electoral outcome. I don’t see either candidate having the leadership qualities and political will, to initiate and see through, urgent/pragmatic reforms.

        Then again, maybe we’ll get lucky. Like the rest of the world’s great powers really mucking things up so bad, that it’ll make our poor performance look good. Wouldn’t be the first time that happened…

        1. You (and I) may have been a bit premature in our assessment of Romney as being second tier. He gave his victory speech the other night and came across like another Reagan;

          “Four years ago Barack Obama dazzled us in front of Greek columns with sweeping promises of hope and change. But after we came down to earth, after the celebration and parades, what do we have to show for three and a half years of President Obama?

          Is it easier to make ends meet? Is it easier to sell your home or buy a new one? Have you saved what you needed for retirement? Are you making more in your job? Do you have a better chance to get a better job? Do you pay less at the pump?

          If the answer were €œyes€ to those questions, then President Obama would be running for re-election based on his achievements, and rightly so. But because he has failed, he will run a campaign of diversions, distractions, and distortions. That kind of campaign may have worked at another place and in a different time. But not here and not now. It’€™s still about the economy and we a€™re not stupid.

          People are hurting in America. And we know that something is wrong, terribly wrong with the direction of the country.

          I see an America with a growing middle class, with rising standards of living. I see children even more successful than their parents – some successful even beyond their wildest dreams – and others congratulating them for their achievement, not attacking them for it.

          This America is fundamentally fair. We will stop the unfairness of urban children being denied access to the good schools of their choice; the unfairness of politicians giving taxpayer money to their friends’ businesses; the unfairness of requiring union workers to contribute to politicians not of their choosing; the unfairness of government workers getting better pay and benefits than the taxpayers they serve; and we will stop the unfairness of one generation passing larger and larger debts on to the next.”

          Here’s the text of Mitt Romney’s victory speech judge for yourself.

          1. Read the speech GB. Very reluctantly, my vote will boil down to the lesser of two evils. Difficult choice indeed. In all fairness, I do not believe either party is totally to blame for our ills. I despise Obama’s crypto-socialism and Romney’s “effective” 1%ism equally, both their rhetorics aside.. At least there is time to mull things over till election day.

            1. Romney was never my choice when it came to politics, yet of the challengers, I always thought that he had the best chance to beat Obama because this ones about the economy too.

              Yet without at least a small majority in the Senate, any effectiveness he might manage, will be greatly curtailed. The dems and the media are going to be rabidly opposed to any actions and legislation he might propose.

              My fear is that after 4 years of obstructed republican efforts and unceasing blame, in 2016 the nation in its confusion will once again turn to the democrats, accepting the meme that we just didn’t give Obama enough time.

              1. Yet Reagan faced vociferous opposition too, but with a reviving economy he won in a landslide. Business will certainly place more confidence in Romney than they have in Obama. If Romney can pull off some good moves; neuter the EPA, address the debt in a much more meaningful way, restore some hope and optimism… it would go a long way to restoring some confidence in people and the economy, which does want to rebound, (what goes down, must, in time go up) could bounce back and win him reelection. I’m increasingly convinced this election is Romney’s to lose.

  6. I think I should mention to the much vilified Ms. Samantha Power. Dyer says “one can only presume she would be speaking of checkpoints, the security fence between Israel and Gaza, and Israel’s military attacks on terrist strongholds in Gaza”

    Not quite, Ms. Dyer. To my recollection, Ms. Power was specifically referring to the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West bank, and to the ongoing robbery of Arab homes, farmland, and water.

    What is significant is Dyer’s constantly ignoring the land-grab as something that might possibly be provoking resistance on the part of the Palestinians. One can only presume that her avoidance of this issue is evidence that she is perfectly aware of the repugnance with which morally-functioning people regard the bulldozings, rush-in house-seizures, and expropriations which she so obviously supports. It is convenient to ignore the fact that land-grabs elsewhere have an unparalleled record of provoking violent resistance. Much better to pretend that Palestinian resistance is the unprovoked action of incorrigible, uncivilized, Moslem untermenschen bent on genocide.

    Ms. Power, given her Irish background, will have a rather better insight on these things than Dyer. Her former country was subject to several waves of settlement (the plantations), and her Catholic forbears became a dispossessed majority in their own land. The Roman Catholic Irish reacted even more violently than the Palestinian Arabs have in similar circumstances.

    What mystifies me is how someone who professes to have Christian beliefs can so obviously support the stealing of the homes and farmland of the non-Jewish people of the Holy Land.

    (And just to make it clear, I support the right of both Christians, Jews, and Moslems to use proportionate force to defend their persons and lawfully obtained property. This is also the Christian position, as I understand it)

    1. Forgive my cynicism and provocativeness.
      Just out of curiosity, Do you you support the use of force to reclaim properties that were previously conquered by Christians, Muslims Jews, that now belong to someone other religious/ethnic group? If yes, does the statute of limitations ever run out? If no, how can you indirectly support ethnic cleansing?

      1. Good question. You are forgiven. I believe in the rule of law for everyone.
        There are two issues: Criminal liability, and civil redress.
        There is no statute of limitations in international law for prosecuting before the International Court those who would organize or participate in the settlement of occupied territory with the population of the occupier. However, under the domestic law of many states there is a limitation period for the domestic prosecution of non-homicide war-crimes. However, criminal liability is personal, and dies with the perpetrator. Most of the perpetrators responsible for the land-grab in the West Bank since 1967 are probably still living.

        States which observe the principles of the rule of law (Basically, the liberal democracies) all have strong civil law protection of private property. However, to protect the interests of commerce, all of these countries have limitation periods outside of which the owner of the “paper” title cannot sue for recovery against a wrongful occupier. In common and civil-law jurisdictions, these periods are commonly 12 and 20 years respectively. However, under neither system does the limitation period begin to run until the owner is in a position to assert his or her title in an unbiased forum free from the threat of force or retribution.
        Asserting legal rights is a futile exercise for non-Jews in any case, Israel does not observe the rule of law in the territories it controls, and non-Jews have no real access to the means of asserting their title to homes and land which has been stolen by Jews. On the odd occasion that the Israeli Courts make findings in favour of Arabs, the military authorities usually ignore the court.
        I accept that the question of the rights we in the West take for granted are moot for people in ethnocracies who belong to the wrong ethnicity. In such cases, restitution depends on the ability of the International Community to force it on the perpetrating faction as part of a settlement of the conflict.

        1. If you think that there is ” strong civil law protection of private property” where you live, you might be willing to put your money where your mouth is by not paying your property taxes for a few years. Or by growing some cannabis sativa on it. See how long you get to drive your new 4×4 if the cops think they can make a stop that involves prostitution, drugs or just money. All property ultimately belongs to the state, it’s willing to let you squat on it or use it in exchange for tribute, until it finds a more lucrative use for it.

          1. The Noose Continues to Tighten But No Government Lasts Forever
            By Carl Watner

            Voluntaryists have a unique outlook on government. They view the State as an invasive institution. It imposes a coercive monopoly over defense services and collects its revenues via compulsory taxation. Theodore Lowi, a professor of political science at Cornell University in the early 1980s, authored a book, INCOMPLETE CONQUEST (1981), in which he observed:

            Every action and every agency of contemporary government must contribute to the fulfillment of its fundamental purpose, which is to maintain conquest. Conquest manifests itself in various forms of control, but in all those forms it is the common factor tying together in one system the behavior of courts and cops, sanitation workers and senators, bureaucrats and technocrats, generals and attorney generals, pressure groups and presidents. [p. 13]

            Two of the most basic “forms of control” exercised by any government are that of demanding enrollment in its armed forces, and in collecting taxes based on one’s income and/or accumulated wealth. Perhaps conscription is the State’s most direct control over your life, but its ability to tax ultimately destroys the principle of private ownership. Everything you think you “own” is really held subject to its pleasure. It is as though you are a slave and your master allows you to retain certain perks.

    2. Let me just add to that. So, you shouldn’t have any problem with the Irish Catholics invading and resettling the north of the island, correct? All it does is address a historical injustice after all, right?. And the Germans could reoccupy Kalliningrad/East Prussia, the Greeks could claim Constantinople, the Poles Lvov, the Arabs Cordoba, the Turks Sarajevo, the Palestinians Jaffa, and so on……
      I just don’t get why you are so upset when the Jews do it. They can and they do, just like all the aforementioned examples would, if they could.

      1. I should refer you first to what I have written above.

        I will address your comments on Ireland.
        During the 17th na 18th centuries, large tracts of the southern and eastern part of the island were “planted” by waves of ethnic English Protestants. This was done in concert with “Penal Laws” which prohibited Catholics from owing land, participating in the political process, practicising their religion, or belonging to the liberal professions (Rather similar to the Nazi “Nuremburg Laws” several centuries later). Catholics became impoverished tenants on their own land, or were banished to the badlands of the western province of Connaught. In the middle of the 19th century, as part of the process of general political liberalization and Catholic emancipation, the Parliament of the United Kingdom began to address the wrongs that had been perpetrated in Ireland. Ultimately, under the priemiership of Gladstone, laws were enacted to restore the land to their tenants. The big estates owned by the Protestant ascendancy were broken up, and the British paid compensation to their former landlords.
        The part of the Island which is now known as Northern Ireland, and which remains part of the United Kingdom, had a different history. This wasn’t planted by the English, and the Catholic owners retained their land until the increasingly draconian Penal Laws forced them too to surrender possession. The story of Northern Ireland is the story of waves of immigration of Scottish Dissenters (Presbyterians). These Dissenters, fleeing other discrimination on the British Mainland weren’t farmers, but the people who established the former mill-towns of Northern Ireland. As industry superceded agriculture as a primary source of wealth, and with the added assistance of the legal impediments and institutional discrimination faced by Catholics, the latter became a largely impoverished minority in the North. The legal impediments were legislated away during the late nineteenth century, but the institutional discrimination persisted until Westminister prorogued the local (Stormont) parliament in the 1980s and sorted the place out.
        Paradoxically, the old smokestack industries that sustained Protestant wealth, languished (As they did everywhere), and with equal educational opportunity there is now no difference in the wealth of Catholics and Protestants in the province. The old animosities remain to some extent among the urban working classes, but have died elsewhere, and the power-sharing imposed on the province by the British and Irish governments are working well. It is also an example of how other conflicts might be resolved.
        (Southern Ireland (The Republic) is, in spite of its recent economic downturn (caused by a housing bubble and banking crash) remains one of the top 20 richest countries on the planet in terms of GDP/head. According to the Heritage Organization, it is also one of the freeist. My Irish granny would have been proud)

    3. I believe you may be correct in your recollection of Ms Powers specific objectives. Which makes them no less naive and disastrous.

      Dyer and I aren’t “ignoring the land-grab as something that might possibly be provoking resistance on the part of the Palestinians”. The intention is to ‘provoke’ the Palestinians into awakening to the fact that they’re “playing into a bad hand” and “throwing good money after bad”. Our ‘avoidance’ is evidence of our awareness that you can’t provoke someone beyond a killing rage, which Israel did when it declared its Independence.

      When you effectively support genocidal maniacs, lumping yourself into the category of ‘morally-functioning people’ is truly ironic and despicable.

      “Much better to pretend that Palestinian resistance is the unprovoked action of incorrigible, uncivilized, Moslem untermenschen bent on genocide.”

      As ever, it’s you who are pretending and projecting. The Palestinians have elected, in perpetuity, a terrorist government whose unrevised, founding charter, specifically calls for the destruction of Israel. It’s ‘baked into the cake’, part of their unwritten Constitution.

      In an alternate universe where Israel never strayed beyond its 1967 borders, (since the 1948 borders were indefensible in the long term) never built even one settlement upon Palestinian land, never built the wall, never declared Jerusalem its capital and did nothing to ‘provoke’ the Palestinians…it wouldn’t matter a damn bit.

      Compared to the ‘sin’ of claiming the land as Israel and declaring its Independence, none of the rest of the ‘provocations’ amount to a proverbial ‘hill of beans’.

      Through five wars of aggression against Israel and 62 years of never ending terrorist attacks, the only ‘peace offering’ the Palestinians and Muslim nations have ever been willing to accept is Israel’s utter destruction. Which leaves no basis for peace, only a basis for suicide.

      Instead, you berate them for being the oppressor, intentionally ignoring Israel’s desperate attempts to find something, anything short of self-inflicted suicide, that will bring the Palestinians to a sincere desire for peace. Peace offerings like the Oslo accords did not, armed response to terrorism will not and, so you even begrudge Israeli’s the gradual expulsion of those who will not live in peace.

      No matter what Israel does, it will never be enough because Islam hates ‘the other’, more than it loves its children. Which is what this conflict is really about, not a Palestinian country or ‘oppression’ but Islam’s tenet that once a land is conquered (Jerusalem 638 C.E.) and part of the Ummah, a land can never be released from its borders. Islam declares that once conquered it shall ever remain so but never shall anyone do to Islam what it freely does to others.

      “One day, millions of men will leave the Southern Hemisphere to go to the Northern Hemisphere. And they will not go there as friends. Because they will go there to conquer it. And they will conquer it with their sons. The wombs of our women will give us victory.”
      Algerian leader Houari Boumedienne speaking at the UN, 1974

      “Islam is a revolutionary ideology and program which seeks to alter the social order of the whole world and rebuild it in conformity with its own tenets and ideals. Islam wishes to destroy all States and Governments anywhere on the face of the Earth which are opposed to the ideology and program of Islam, regardless of the country or the Nation which rules it.” —Sayyed Abul Ala Maududi

      ” those who study jihad will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world. All the countries conquered by Islam or to be conquered in the future will be marked for everlasting salvation. For they shall live under [God’s law].

      There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam. There can be no fun [or] joy in whatever is serious.” Ayatollah Khomeini

      That’s what Israel is facing and you’re too gutless to face it. But what makes you really despicable is that you actively act as an apologetic and thus support homicidal maniacs, who blow up defenseless women and children. Rationalizing and justifying it as “resisting oppression”. But the French, Polish and Chech resistance movements didn’t go out of their way to kill Nazi families.

      On some level, you have to know, that if able, Islamists will export their hate to our shores and, as you’re already an apologist for them, if they did, you’ll be one of those who collaborates or converts because that’s all your moral cowardice will allow. That sounds harsh but its true because you’re already collaborating with them.

      1. It is evident that Paulette has no idea of what living as a non-Muslim in a Muslim dominated state is truly like,

  7. pretty funny thinking that Romney “could have a field day with this”.

    What exactly is Romney gonna be able to engage the voters about?

    Is there a big bunch of people who are pro-atrocity and rebel against the idea of speaking in opposition to atrocities?

    1. “What exactly is Romney gonna be able to engage the voters about?”

      Read my reply to jgets above fuster, once again, “it’s all about the economy, stupid”.

      99.9% of Americans, the West and most of the third world is against atrocities. But once again you’re being obtuse, fuster. We won’t be just speaking out against atrocities, which we generally have done all along. Obama has announced the creation of a new White House Atrocities Prevention Board, which is tasked with formulating a response to war crimes, crimes against humanity and mass atrocities. That response is tasked with preventing atrocities but the only way to do that is through force because atrocities are generally committed by really vicious people, who are NOT easily intimidated and who only understand and respond to much greater force directed against them.

      Which leads to the Atlantic writers point, “Preventing mass atrocities is difficult, dangerous and time consuming. Very few conflicts that involve mass killings are the kind where the nudge of sanctions or vague threats of criminal prosecution are going to get the job done.

      Yes, there are cases where a relatively small investment of attention and action would have paid huge dividends–Rwanda comes to mind.

      But for every Rwanda, there are many that look more like Bosnia, Syria, Somalia or Sudan, where problems cannot be fixed without getting deeply involved in resolving multilateral civil conflicts and nation building. In those cases, getting involved at all, risks getting involved all the way and, in turn, risks being involved for a very long time at great cost.” [my emphasis]

      You’re the one who always ranting about the blood and treasure lost in Iraq. Now, you’re going to give Obama a pass when he proposes a policy that guarantees more Iraq’s, Afghanistan’s, Somalia’s and Beirut’s?

      1. You are on the money here, albeit in a politically correct sort of way. It’s amazing the way our politicians commit the lives of our young with their high sounding ideals. Love to see the President’s daughters on the front line to defend these high-minded policies.

        1. If Obama cared 1/10 as much about those who go into harm’s way as George Bush did, he’d have some claim upon their respect but he cares nothing for those he sees as ‘cannon fodder’, those “who cling to their guns and bibles”. That’s not mere speculation, he’s given many indications of that view. Only the willfully blind don’t see it.

          “Bush, for instance, has sent personal letters to the families of every one of the more than 4,000 troops who have died in the two wars, an enormous personal effort that consumed hours of his time and escaped public notice. The task, along with meeting family members of troops killed in action, has been so wrenching – balancing the anger, grief and pride of families coping with the loss symbolized by a flag-draped coffin – that the president often leaned on his wife, Laura, for emotional support.”

          Bush related that he saw it as his solemn duty.

          Incidentally, Cheney did the same thing.

          It would be interesting to know how many Obama and Biden have met with and written to, in the time that is, that his now 17 vacations have allowed.

          That said, providing ones enemy with potentially high value hostages is generally not a good tactic.

          1. I don’t think even you believe this nonsense. If memory serves me correctly, Bush, far from honoring our fallen soldiers, tried to suppress coverage of the return of their bodies because his advisors deemed it bad PR for his political career.
            In his concern for the bereaved families and the policies he has pursued for the welfare of our vets, Obama has by word and deed exemplified his sense of duty as commander in chief and president.
            Sending our young people to die in foreign wars concocted out of a lie for the partisan Republican agenda rather than defence of the vital interests of our nation is NOT most people’s idea of patriotism or concern for our servicemen and women.

            1. Of course I believe it, one should mean what they say and say what they mean.

              Once again either through ignorance or mendacity, you besmirch the reputation of someone whose true motives you have no way of verifying. All because of petty political disagreement.

              Bush’s dim view of coverage of the return of the bodies of our fallen was due to the certain exploitation that the democrats and their propaganda machine, the MSM would employ it in service of; namely gutting our response to Islamic terrorism.

              Bush and Cheney, met with hundreds of deeply grieving relatives. Many of whom must not have been supporters of Bush’s policies. The emotional wrenching and anguish must have been enormous. Bush and Cheney did their best to offer comfort, in the assurance that they deeply believed in the mission that had demanded the sacrifice of their sons and daughters, spouses and brothers and sisters and grandchildren. Knowing that some would be skeptical, disbelieving and exhibit animosity towards them and yet going ahead with those meetings out of a sense of duty that I suspect you can little comprehend. Those are actions not mere words. Where is the confirmation that Obama cares beyond his political promise to end Iraq and Afghanistan? Where are his assurances that he understands the importance of leaving those fields of conflict in a manner that doesn’t make all that sacrifice on of being in vain?

              1. If their sacrifice is in vain it is not because the President sends letters to their bereaved families (Which he, like his predecessor, does in any case) but because they were sent to an unnecessary war of choice dishonestly cobbled up in pursuit of a now discredited political ideology.

                I’d be pretty “emotionally wrenched” too if I had to face the parents of kids I had sent to die on a lie.
                Pity these slime-bags hadn’t been more “emotionally wrenched” when they were inventing poison-gas trailers and uranium ore in Chad.

                1. An argument that ignores rebuttal and just repetitiously repeats the same mantra is not an argument but an attempt at verbally bludgeoning those who disagree. It’s not only a futile gesture but the tactics of the tyrant. Lenin would approve.

                  Any sacrifice in vain must be shared. By a President who failed to appreciate that tribal cultures steeped in a fanatical, violent religion would adamantly resist democratic values and by the left, its ‘useful idiots’ the liberally inclined, the great majority of Congressional democrats and its Party’s propaganda organ; the MSM, who sabotaged through incessant distortions in their reportage, the public’s support for their President, who in a time of war was trying to do his level best to protect that public from a clear and present danger. Which incidentally, fits neatly into the category of “offering aid and comfort to the enemy”.

                  Bush didn’t lie, (to knowingly tell an untruth) though you need that lie (for you do know) to discount democrat’s approval of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, approved long before Powell’s UN presentation.

                  Bush accepted intelligence reports presented as reliable, reports compiled from a source who later admitted that he lied. Had the Bush administration presented its evidence to the UN as partially unconfirmed, justification for action would have been undermined by the media, democrats, the left and liberals like yourself.

                  Bush failed to understand deeply enough the regional dynamics, thus supporting a flawed policy but he genuinely believed in it. Honest criticism would have no need to lie about his motives or methods, deliberately exaggerating, insisting that decisions made on faulty reports were actually mendacious lies.

                  Contempt is less than than your refusal to consider facts deserves.

                  Had Bush refrained in deference to those assertions, the sanctions would have been shortly lifted and Saddam would today have WMD’s. Then you’d be complaining that Bush hadn’t done anything. It’s your agenda rather than honest evaluation or any difference in national security policies that fuels your criticisms.

                  Monday morning quarterbacking from a surrender monkey.

                  The 19th century English philosopher John Stuart Mill talked of your ilk, “War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings, which thinks that nothing is worth war, is much worse.  A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing that is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

            2. “Sending our young people to die in foreign wars concocted out of a lie for the partisan Republican agenda rather than defence of the vital interests of our nation is NOT most people’s idea of patriotism or concern for our servicemen and women.”

              Iraq was not done out of a “partisan Republican agenda” nor was it “concocted out of a lie”. It was presented in a simplified manner which encouraged the impression that we were more certain than we actually were that Saddam was actively pursuing WMD’s. Plenty of other reasons were given at numerous times. Most importantly, everyone who had access to intelligence material believed it extremely likely that Saddam was either actively pursuing WMD’s or prepared to do so as soon as the sanctions were lifted.

              The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, in which 82 of the 208 democrats voted in favor, occurred long before Colin Powell addressed the UN. The resolution authorized President Bush to use the Armed Forces of the United States “as he determines to be necessary and appropriate”. Every prominent democrat, from the Clinton’s to Sen. Kerry (a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee) was on record prior to 9/11 as stating that they believed that Saddam was pursuing WMD’s.

              Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., ranking member of the House intelligence Committee; “Some are suggesting, certainly, that (Saddam) destroyed the weapons after 1998 or maybe even sooner. It’s just counter-intuitive that he would have done that. His would have been the greatest intelligence hoax of all time, fooling every intelligence agency, three presidents, five secretaries of defense and the entire world into thinking he still had the weapons.”

              The Democratic Leadership Council said in a 2003 statement
              “If the Bush administration was wrong about Saddam’s WMD program, so too was just about everybody else, including U.N. inspectors, the French, the Germans, the Russians and the Chinese, all of whom accepted prior evidence of such a program is beyond doubt,”

              “In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security.” — Hillary Clinton, October 10, 2002

              “I am absolutely convinced that there are weapons…I saw evidence back in 1998 when we would see the inspectors being barred from gaining entry into a warehouse for three hours with trucks rolling up and then moving those trucks out.” — Clinton’s Secretary of Defense William Cohen in April of 2003

              “The community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists. If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow.” — Bill Clinton in 1998

              “I will be voting to give the president of the United States the authority to use force – if necessary – to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security.” — John F. Kerry, Oct 2002 a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee

              David Kay’s report on the activities of the Iraq Survey Group to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Defense and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence: “Saddam, at least as judged by those scientists and other insiders who worked in his military-industrial programs, had not given up his aspirations and intentions to continue to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Even those senior officials we have interviewed who claim no direct knowledge of any on-going prohibited activities readily acknowledge that Saddam intended to resume these programs whenever the external restrictions were removed. Several of these officials acknowledge receiving inquiries since 2000 from Saddam or his sons about how long it would take to either restart CW production or make available chemical weapons.”

              At Sagat, special forces captured a chemical weapons facility in Iraq’s Kurdistan region just as the Operation Iraqi Freedom started. Shortly before the war started, long convoys of trucks left Iraq and entered Syria, they weren’t carrying Saddam’s art collection…

              For a fuller understanding of why we went into Iraq see: The real NeoCon rationale for invading Iraq

      2. I read your response to jgets, it was a disjointed mess of confusion.

        there’s no linkage between the economy and this atrocity thing, and Romney isn’t gonna score any points trying to forge one…except with the people who already despise Obama.

        the independents, the centrists and the reasonably sane aren’t with you, GB, on this

        1. Though strongly conservative on economic and foreign policy issues and a believer in small government, I’m an independent fuster, I’ve never belonged to any political party and don’t vote the party line. More relevantly to your assertion, a recent poll showed that only 27% of independents trust the federal government. Obama is on really shaky ground with that demographic, as they are not ideologues, it’s getting the job done that counts with them.

          A disjointed mess of confusion? I certainly have my faults with feet of clay like any human being but logical inconsistency isn’t one of them. Like Dennis Prager, the talk show host whom I hold in high esteem, I have always valued clarity over agreement. I would be happy for you to demonstrate specifically how it is disjointed, rather than simply make the assertion as self-evident truth.

          Let me elucidate the connections for you fuster, while reminding you that I was briefly discussing with jgets our views on Romney and, providing a pertinent and important recent speech by Romney that I hoped would reassure jgets about Romney’s acumen.

          Yes, that was a bit of a tangent but not in my judgement an irrelevant one because to any fair minded person, Obama’s inability to provide effective economic leadership is now undeniable and, by demonstrating this level of naivete, his disqualification on foreign policy is now also undeniable as well.

          Romney can now reasonably question Obama’s competence on both fronts. And that is why it is not disjointed, nor irrelevant to J.E.’s post.

          The alternative Romney offers is highly relevant because if Obama’s reelected three’s an excellent possibility that he shall lead us into the ‘briar patch’ and leave us a “disjointed mess of confusion” with potentially great loss of life and treasure. And with nothing to show for it beyond the plaintive cry, “well, I had to do something”.

          The Atlantic writer’s and J.E.’s points have to be obvious to any competent analysis of Power’s proposal, so those points must have been brought up to Obama, yet he’s cavalierly presenting himself as naive to the point of being dangerous.

          As perhaps nothing is quite so dangerous as the most powerful man in the world, being in over his head and not realizing it.

          Thank you one and all for putting us in this mess.

          In a perfect world, you would reap the consequences of your folly without imposing that circumstance upon the wiser of us. But alas, we’re stuck with your juvenile pretensions at adulthood.

          The reason why the charge of juvenile pretense at adulthood fits is because Obama has now revealed just how out of his depth, how unrealistic and naively idealistic he really is, which is a critical flaw in a President. He’s still a Harvard frat boy, pretending at serious discussion of weighty issues.

          Yet you’re trying to minimize it as of no real consequence because at this point, it appears that not having to admit you were wrong about the man is more important to you than the potential safety, security and economic health of your fellow citizens.

          On the domestic economic front and now, on the foreign policy front, Obama is clearly “above his pay grade”. When will you admit it? Will that day ever come?

          1. you would do well to examine the meaning of that “don’t trust the federal government”… really does not mean that it’s Obama who is “on shaky ground”.

            1. Certainly the MSM will try to paint it as not trusting Congress, rather than Obama. But since those independents will be basing their vote on what he’s accomplished in leading the efforts to get the economy moving again, he’s in real trouble.

              Obama and his minions recent behavior; stumbling into Freudian slips, criticisms of Romney’s wife’s being a stay at home Mom, his wealth (much of it self-made) and even his dog proves that assertion beyond a reasonable doubt. Obama is reduced to personal attacks before Romney has even been nominated because he can’t run on his record.

              “When they attack one personally, it means they haven’t a single political argument left.” –Maggie Thatcher

  8. Regardless of my political differences. I do not believe Obama is an idiot. He is just under-qualified to lead the nation. So was Bush junior.
    Bush jr’s writing efforts would have been unnecessary had he not so idiotically squandered 9/11. Laura Bush will always be respected. Cheney does not even deserve mentioning this context, his last positive service to the nation was assisting in the demise of the USSR. Biden has children in the Armed Services (as far as I know) , so hands off. By all means go after Obama,

    As for you last, concerning high value hostages, it is totally misleading and shows what little stomach you have for real confrontation. Best you hide behind the people (and nations) on the front lines..

    1. Whoa. I’m a Vietnam vet, my stomach isn’t lacking in handling confrontation. Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough.

      Providing your enemy with a potential opportunity to grab high value hostages is never a good idea. That’s why we have the Secret Service, not because any government officials life is of more intrinsic value than any other Americans but because of the symbolic importance of retaining your leadership unhindered by threats to their family. To lead effectively, one must feel that ones family is essentially safe. Yet Sarah Palin got little credit for supporting the sending of her son off to war.

      A President whose child was held hostage and had to face the possibility of watching their torture and beheading on Al Jazera and YouTube would be, at the very least, emotionally compromised. Any decision they made after that in regard to responding to and prosecuting a war against terrorists would be criticized as an act of vengeance.

      I don’t believe Obama’s an idiot either, nor has anybody here accused him of being one. He’s more than just unqualified to be President, though that alone is sufficient. He yearns to fundamentally change this country in ways that, if he had been forthright about them, would have disqualified him from his party’s nomination…for an American President to view the Constitution as a hindrance, speaks volumes about core attitudes.

      Discussing Bush we can save for another time but I do disagree with you somewhat on him. Cheney is the most misunderstood man in American politics because he sees the threat of Islamic terrorism clearly and is unapologetic about combating it. He was and perhaps still is, the least PC politician alive, certainly the most prominent. I’m a big fan.

      My criticism of Obama and Biden clearly referred to suspicion that their meeting with and writing to the relatives of American soldiers falls far below that of Bush and Cheney. Which is a completely valid criticism, if accurate.

      So any criticism I have of Biden has nothing to do with his children or spouse or parents or even distant relatives. I completely agree, criticism of a politician’s family is verbotten. What odds do you wish, that the dems and their media will ever return to that standard?

      1. Sorry GB, I went a little overboard with my last. The combination of my son’s upcoming Army commission (I had hoped to pass him a better world), Paulite’s singling out of Israeli injustice in a world of injustice and too much moonshine must have been at fault. 🙂

        1. Not a problem jgets, no offense taken, I should have been clearer as to what I meant. Right after postin,g I realized I could have been more articulate and wished once again for a ‘review’ button. But such an option is not available to our host in this format.

          You are to be congratulated on your son’s Army commission, there is no higher calling. At least in some ways, you are passing him a better world in that its problems are better defined and understood. I have also occasionally indulged myself but the older I get, the less attractive the appeal. 😉

        2. I don’t single out Israeli injustice. I oppose all injustice, but Israeli injustice is the only injustice that is defended and supported around these parts. If you start defending injustices perpetrated by other outfits, I will be just as quick to “single out” those too.

          But it is progress of a sort for you to implicitly acknowledge Israeli injustices.

      2. You were ‘spot -on’ when you when you conceded that your argument would be valid criticism “If accurate”.

        The fact is that most of it isn’t accurate.

        1. You cannot know if that criticism is accurate, anymore than I can assure you that it is, you have no ‘facts’ to support your contention, only bluster.

          My assertion on the other hand, fits the modus operandi of Obama, who took to heart the advice of Jean Giraudoux the French diplomat, dramatist, & novelist; “The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

          And earlier I was referring to Bush’s personally composed letters, not the identical pro forma letters Obama sends out.

    2. —” I do not believe Obama is an idiot. He is just under-qualified to lead the nation. So was Bush junior.”

      other than Eisenhower, LBJ and the first Bush…….who hasn’t been in the last 60 years?

          1. He was reelected in 48, so his last two years fits within your 60 yr time frame. Unless you’re going to quibble, technically he qualifies, yes, no?

            In any case, at least 5 or 6 of the last 12 Presidents have been unqualified. In fact, Nixon was qualified, he just allowed his paranoia to get the better of him.

            And rather than just an impressive resume, qualified can be validly demonstrated by a Pres. proving on the job to be competent. Which many hoped would be the case with Obama and would have, if he had truly wished to lead from the center but that was never his intention, just easy lies to get elected.

  9. This Board is such a preposterous idea that I’m surprised anyone is spending more than a sentence or two on it. Fortunately, it will hold a few meetings and fade into oblivion. Just another head fake by the Manchurian Candidate.

    1. I’m inclined to agree. It is just as perposterous as the neo-con project to remake the Middle East (You will remember that the neo-cons also claimed a moral purpose for their catastrophic misadventures)

      All of these projects come to grief when realpolitik intervenes in the form of national interests. We end up investigating atrocities committed by our enemies while using our UN veto to protect our buddies from similar scrutiny. Just like the neo-cons who were doling out US taxpayer largess to some very unpleasant ethnocracies and autocracies while preaching democracy at our foes.

      Plus ca change.

      We have no business interfering in the internal governance of foreign outfits, and they have no business, none of them, getting US tax-dollars. They can commit their own atrocities and observe their own system of values with their own money. Our only foreign intervention should be to serve our own exclusive interests. So much the better if these interests incidentally serve a colateral moral purpose.

      1. it sometimes serves our interests to give money to foreign governments and, in other ways “interfere” with them.

        how could anyone think otherwise?

        1. Serves our interest in the short term yes but in the long run?

          Prioritize our interests as primary. Protect the sea lanes for international commerce. Defend our allies if attacked. Be prepared to join in UN actions against wars of aggression, if it serves our long term interests.

        2. I have to agree. But we should give this money conditionally. The condition being compliance with whatever specific US interest is behind the provision of the money.
          What I was specifically referring to was the permanent dole we seem to be providing to a number of foreign outfits irrespective of whether they respect our interests, objectives, or values.

          1. “I was specifically referring to was the permanent dole we seem to be providing to a number of foreign outfits irrespective of whether they respect our interests, objectives, or values.”

            I realize that your primary focus in that statement is Israel but other than their treatment of the Palestinians, they are a western democracy who fully shares our values.

            On the other hand, the Palestinians share none of our interests, objectives or values. Fit that ‘square’ within the ‘circle’ of principles you’ve just stated..

            1. The Israelis don’t share our values unless you consider institutionalized discrimination on the basis of race and religion is one of our values. They are nothing like us.
              The fundamental characteristics of Western democracy – in particular, the ‘rule of law’ – are absent in the Israeli ethnocracy. They are also absent in the Palestinian Territories, most of Africa, China, and sadly, most of the rest of the planet.

              The only true democracies are the EU states, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Norway, Iceland, South Africa, and Switzerland, and several minor statelets. Russia, Turkey, Israel and some other outfits have some of the characteristics of a proper democracy, or are Ethnocracies which exclude people who are not from the dominant ethnic group from equal citizenship. Israel is an ethnocracy

          1. What conscience? You support genocidal maniacs.

            Where we agree is in your statement that, “We have no business interfering in the internal governance of foreign outfits…Our only foreign intervention should be to serve our own exclusive interests. So much the better if these interests incidentally serve a colateral moral purpose.”

            Almost universally, our foreign interventions do serve our interests. It’s when the moral purpose becomes the primary reason wherein we stumble. And the only problem with Afghanistan and Iraq is that we pussyfooted around, thanks to liberal opposition and demands for ‘proportionality’.

  10. I presume that your problem is either literacy or comprehension (or both).

    Had you read what I had written you would have noticed that
    I don’t support any foreign outfits, genocidal or otherwise, Israeli or otherwise.
    My comments were in response to attempts to justify and excuse stealing by a foreign outfit which receives dole from the US taxpayer. If Dyer was in the business of excusing similar behaviour by any other foreign outfit in receipt of our money my reaction to her position would be the same.

    The issue of Christian values and the correct Christian response to the immoral behaviour or the Israelis and their agents, and her disregard for the seventh commandment also arose. This arose in the context of Dyer raging against the mainstream Christian Churches and “60 Minutes for daring to expose a sin against Christian moral values – rather than ignoring or condoning it. (as she obviously prefers they would do)

    Stealing isn’t moral because someone elso does the same or worse. Stealing other people’s property isn’t moral because the property concerned is the home of someone you hate or despise. If Dyer, or anyone else who thinks the fundamentals of Christianity are an expediency, tries to justify the actions of Somalis, Serbians, or Indonesians in similar terms, my response will be consistent and identical. The 10 commandments aren’t “liberation theology, and I don’t agree that they are for cultists to dine on a la carte.

    I hardly think that killing tens of thousands of people – many of them civilians – is a proportionate or Christian “response” when the killings were perpetrated in the prosecution of a premeditated lie.

    1. Forgive my lack of specialization, you have obviously delved deeper into this issue than myself. How can Jews wishing to resettle their ancestral homeland be considered theft? This land was taken by them through force of arms ( land promised to them in the Bible, since you quote the Seventh Commandment). If I were to follow your logic I’d have to give my ancestral land back to the Ottoman Turks from which MY granny (very bloodily) ejected them from. Do I have to return my land to some Ottoman Sultan on the basis of the Seventh Commandment as well?
      Of course I believe the “Palestinians” should be adequately compensated for their property. The Israelis are quite decent about this. The Knesset duly pays the monthly rent it owes to the Greek Orthodox (Christian) Church, for the land on which it (Knesset) is built.
      Christians have had a rough time in the Near East and South East Europe my friend.
      The Israelis have treated local Christians better than any conqueror since Byzantium, with the possible exception of the brief Anglo/French colonial period..
      That said. it is saddening that a modus vivendi that cannot be achieved even within the narrow sphere of blog commentary.

      1. Jews immigrating to their “ancestral homeland” isn’t theft. Stealing Palestinian homes and farmland is. But of course, Israel/Palestine is the ancestral homeland of the Christians and Moslems who live there too. The ancestors of the latter may well have been Jews who later became Moslems or Christians.

        I and most people I know of all faiths either inherited our homes or purchased them with the fruits of our honest labours. I don’t much respect the sort of people who acquire their property by stealing it. I wonder do these folk ever reflect on how they got their property so cheaply? Have they no pride in themselves?

        And two wrongs don’t make a right. I don’t much admire the Ottomans either.

        1. By the way, Palestinians that wish to exercise the right of free exchange and sell their property to Israelis/Jews face the death penalty, not from the Israelis but from their own countrymen.

          1. The Irish also regularly assassinated their countrymen who sold property to the English planters, and if my memory serves me well, the French Resistance had a similar attitude to those who did business with the Nazis.
            The reality is that occupiers always have the economic power and (if required, guns to back them up) to acquire what they want from those in the occupied community who are mendacious and craven enough to deal with them. In the case of the Occupied Territories, the Israelis also have the assistance of one-sided laws and one-sided policing.
            This essential inequality of contractual power, and the unacceptability of occupiers using that power to settle the occupied lands with their own population is what prompted the international legal code which outlaws such behaviour.

            If the Israelis are so concerned about the freedom to buy land perhaps they might start in Israel itself where there are numerous laws which prevent non-Jews from acquiring property or building or extending their homes – all backed up by bent courts and partisan policing.

        2. Again these are just my opinions and my purpose is dialogue. I am no expert in these matters.
          I see your point, and in an ideal world would tend to agree.
          Unfortunately the principles/definitions of private property (and the laws or rules of the game in general) are implemented/imposed/set by the state, after the “land grab” (possession, settling ,purchase, colonization, conquest) of the state has succeeded/completed, in a way it sees fit. This regardless of whether the state’s form of government is a democracy ethnocracy dictatorship, tribe etc.
          I submit to you that the process has not completed between the Mediterranean and the Jordan river. Actually it is never ending.

          All property is the product of some form of theft at some point down the line, as you define it. The homes bought and inherited by decent folk as you mention were stolen/ conquered from the Aborigines in Australia, the Maori in N.Z, various Indian tribes in North and South America, stripped from feudal lords in Europe etc.
          The democracies which “share our values” like Latvia and Estonia, are knowingly attempting to disenfranchise their Russian minorities. Hungary and Romania treat their Roma as second class citizens (as bad if not worse than the Palestinians). Germany is attempting to subjugate the rest of Europe with economic weapons after two failed military attempts the past century and it looks as if She is succeeding this time around. Thousands of Illegal immigrants in Italy and Greece are held under primitive (bordering on barbarous) conditions. The prison population in the United States is disproportionately Black and executes prisoners at numbers on par with China, Saudi Arabia and Iran. etc, etc, etc. I wonder do these folks ever wonder how they got their property so cheaply? Have they no pride in themselves?

          As for your last concerning the Ottomans, I’m sure the Armenians would agree.. 🙂

  11. “All property is theft” is actually a direct quote from Marx’s Das Capital!

    I, on the other hand believe that protection of private property under the rule of law is an absolute fundamental of the type of society and polity we have in the ‘West’.

    1. Yesterday was May Day after all. So I guess quoting Marx was kinda fitting.

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