Moral equivalence is an inducement to war

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-07-25 22:21

MORAL EQUIVALENCE: the position whereby those who initiate force and those who defend themselves against that initiation are considered morally equal.

A position equivalent to a parent who treats a bully the same as a child being bullied.

A position easily taken here in New Zealand at the distance of twelve-thousand benign strategic miles, with the luxury of not having Katyusha rockets raining down on us and enemies permanently at our gates who have expressed for fifty years their desire to drive us into the sea.

A position of appeasement that rewards the aggressor, punishes the defender, and refuses to see any difference between the two.

Peace cannot be achieved in the Middle East as long as individuals there continue to see themselves only as part of some tribal entity or collective. It will not be achieved as long as 'the world community' condemns Israel for defending itself, but fails to condemn those, like Hezbollah and its masters in Syria and Iran, who define themselves chiefly by their aim of exterminating Israelis. It will not be achieved as long as 'peace' is imposed without justice. It will not be achieved without a permanent cessation of Arab violence and permanent outrage at its rebirth.-- it will never last as long as entities exist that declare they intend to exterminate Israel and drive its citizens into the sea.

There are dangers in defending oneself, that for example a war of defence will radicalise new oppononents. There are heart-breaking tragedies that result. But what else can one do when rockets are falling on your cities, fired from sites intentionally embedded in civilian areas, and when no-one else is either condemning or even lifting a finger to stop those firing and supplying those rockets? There are those who say Israel should work with 'moderates' among those who fire rockets at them and send out suicide bombers to blow themselves up in the buses and restaurants of Israel. As Tel Aviv professor Barry Rubin pointed out, however, the problem is that "a Palestinian moderate [and presumably a Hezbollah apologist] ... can usually be defined as someone who apologizes for terrorism in good English."

At the end of the day, those responsible for the present tragedies are not those defending themselves from rocket attack . They are those who have initiated force from the 'defensive positions' of teeming civilian areas. The destruction and heartbreak are the direct result of those who fired the first rockets and who continue to fire them, knowing full well what the response had and has to be.

Only those who accept the principle of moral equivalance could fail to condemn the initiators of force, while noisily condemning those defending their citizens. Failure to condemn is an act of moral blindness, and an invitation for the same thing to happen again in future.

UPDATE 1: I just heard a good, combative interview from Naftali Tamir, Israel's ambassador to NZ, on National Radio, followed by the usual flatulent pro-terror apologetics from Richard Fisk. The audio from both is up now.

UPDATE 2: If you want to challenge yourself, you could download and print off a ten-page PDF 'In Moral Defence of Israel' produced by the Ayn Rand Institute back in 2002. "We hold, it begins, "that the state of Israel has a moral right to exist and to defend itself against attack...

Israel and those who attack it are not moral equals. Israel is a free, Westernized country, which recognizes the individual rights of its citizens... It uses military force only in self-defence, in order to protect itself.

Those attacking Israel, by contrast, are terrorist organizations, theocracies, dictatorships and would-be dictators...

Fundamentally, Israel is the target of those organizations and regimes precisely because of its virtues: it is an oasis of freedom and prosperity in a desert of tyrany and stagnation...

This is not an ethnic battle between Jews and Arabs. but a moral battle between those who value the individual's right to be free and those who don't. Those Arabs who value individual freedom are enemies of the [former] Arafat regime [and also of Hezbollah and its allies] and deserve to be embraced by Israel; those Jews who do not value individual freedom deserve to be condemned by Israel.

Nothing substantive has changed since 2002 for this analysis except of course for Arafat's death, and the analysis becoming all the more pertinent through recent events. I highly recommend this and related articles as a good thought-provoking moral purge.

LINKS: Cue Card Libertarianism - War: What is it good for? - Not PC (Peter Cresswell)
Cue Card Libertarianism - Force - Not PC (Peter Cresswell)
In moral defence of Israel - Ayn Rand Institute [10-page PDF, 2002]
In moral defence of Israel - Ayn Rand Institute [collection of web-based articles]

MORE ON THESE SUBJECTS: War, Politics-World, Ethics

Cartoon hat tip Samizdata. For "a soldier of Palestine" you may also read "a soldier of Hezbollah."


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It's been refreshing to see

Ross Elliot's picture

It's been refreshing to see Israeli commanders being interviewed on the news channels, staunchly defending Israel's actions. *That's* what the appeasers hate. The very thought that anyone would have the gall to stand up and tell it like it is enrages them beyond expression.

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