24 July, 2014

Non-Combatants and Gaza | The American Conservative

Non-Combatants and Gaza | The American Conservative:

Thane Rosenbaum unintentionally endorses the logic of every terrorist group in history:

On some basic level, you forfeit your right to be called
civilians when you freely elect members of a terrorist organization as
statesmen, invite them to dinner with blood on their hands and allow
them to set up shop in your living room as their base of operations. At
that point you begin to look a lot more like conscripted soldiers than
innocent civilians. And you have wittingly made yourself targets.
This is perverse and absolutely wrong, but it’s the sort of argument
that one will end up making in order to defend a military operation that
has already killed hundreds of non-combatants. Civilian deaths
reportedly make up the overwhelming majority of Palestinian casualties
in Gaza over the last few weeks, and these have resulted from the
indiscriminate use of force in a densely populated area. More to the
point, Rosenbaum’s argument is extremely similar to the justifications
that terrorist groups use when they target civilians in their own
attacks. It is based on the completely false assumption that there are
no real innocents or bystanders in a given country because of their
previous political support for a government and its policies, which
supposedly makes it permissible to strike non-military targets. It is
very important to reject this logic no matter where it comes from or
whose cause in a conflict it is being used to advance, because this is
the logic that has been used to justify countless atrocities down
through the years.