You Heard It Here Last

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You have no doubt heard by now that Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was killed today in an attack by Israel. A quick roundup of viewpoints: Killing was "right and wise." Killing will cause more terror. Yassin was a hero. Yassin was a bastard. UK condemns. South Africa condemns. Switzerland condemns. Vatican condemns. U.S. denies involvement. Families of terror victims will speak out in favor. Jordan says Hands off Arafat.

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  1. Overlord,

    I agree with you about the potential danger of arresting him, but I’m still skeptical of your comparisons. The “Black Hawk Down” scenario involved hundreds of enemy combatants with heavy artillary including rocket launchers.

  2. “it would have made the battle in “Blackhawk Down” look like a pillow fight ”

    True. And Hammas would vow retribution, while the world lamented Israel’s brutal invasion.

  3. “Awesome! One gazillion terrorists minus one = a safer world!”

    Absolutely, why not? One gazillion minus two would be even safer. I don’t understand the logic behind your sarcasm.

    “I’m sure no one will fill his position.”

    Perhaps.

    “Giving religious nuts the martyrdom they’ve been praying for is absolutely the first step to peace.”

    Who cares what they want? I’d be more concerned about the cessation of the terrorist’s actions than whether or not they are pleased by their own martyrdom. I believe Yassin will now cease.

  4. Mogadishu involved thousands, but so would an incursion to arrest Yassin.

    Hamas has Unknown number of official members; tens of thousands of supporters and sympathizers.

    They have guns and RPGs, along with larger ‘Qassam’ rockets and mortars.

  5. Les,

    Remember that the purpose of an analogy is to inform, and since you asked a question, an analogy was given to answer it. It does not imply that the analogous example is exactly the same as the situation being explained in every way imagineable. Of course there’s a huge difference in scale between Hitler in Germany and Palestinian leaders in the West Bank. But the point being expressed (whether it’s true or not I lack the knowledge to know) is that it Israel lacks the ability to carry out police operations against such people and it would thus be very difficult and risky. If you know anything that contradicts that, I’m all ears, or uh, eyes. But complaining that the Hitler example was silly doesn’t get us anywhere.

  6. rst:

    “The man is a leader of a military group, and a valid target in a war.”

    By that, so is Sharon.

    “What claim do the Palestinians have?”

    Going forward from the British Mandate (Mandatory Palestine). Not even the Likudniks would deny that it is Palestinian land that they are occupying.

  7. A phrase that I’ve seen in some of the European responses is “extra-judicial killing”, implying Israel could try and then kill the Hamas leader, but not use direct force. I find this phrase odd because one never uses the phrase “judicial killing” to describe a death penalty matter. Indeed the European nations largely forbid the death penalty in judicial cases. So really, from their perspective, there is no difference between a “judicial” and “extra-judicial” killing since they condemn both equally.

  8. Rick,

    You are right, so is Sharon, however, I don’t remember Hamas so limiting the targets of their attacks to leaders of military groups.

  9. The BBC has some good pics. I like the one of the little boy possing with the assault-style rifle. Kids are so cute! Kouchee kouchee kou.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_pictures/3557189.stm

    What a strange part of the world. Even when I’m down south I hardly ever bring guns to funerals. Maybe these people are afraid the funeral announcement in the local paper will bring firearms thieves to their homes while they are attending the funeral?

  10. fyodor,

    Actually, I acknowledged Overlord’s first response as probably the correct reason why an arrest was not attempted. I was simply compelled to respond to his high degree of hyperbole (and the condescending tone was certainly a motivation as well). I think it’s reasonable to correct blatently inaccurate historical comparisons, which REALLY don’t get us anywhere.

  11. I’d be more concerned about the cessation of the terrorist’s actions than whether or not they are pleased by their own martyrdom. I believe Yassin will now cease.

    My point wasn’t that you should care whether they’re pleased or not. My point is merely that you have to look at what exactly is it you’re trying to eradicate.

    Considering that the main “actions” coming from that wheelchair bound pile of bones were as a spiritual icon and rallying point for rage, I respectfully have to disagree that anything important about him has “ceased.”

  12. The purpose of an analogy is not neccessarily to inform; indeed, analogies are used quite often to distort.

  13. By that, so is Sharon.

    I agree, and by all means, blow the fat ass up, because at least then they’ve got some tenable military definition to their actions. Blowing up commuters doesn’t do anything except slightly upset regional birth and death rates. If you don’t bring the fight to the fighters, who will or even should take you seriously?

    Going forward from the British Mandate (Mandatory Palestine).

    Probably the reason that Mandatory Palestine is irrelevant today is that remarcation since (49, 67) has long since by agreement rendered the original claims invalid. Waving Mandatory Palestine around is like waving around Plessy v. Ferguson and tellin that black kid to back away from the water fountain.

    Even when I’m down south I hardly ever bring guns to funerals.

    The area is largely anachronistic. Guns are today’s swords, and swords are romantic artifacts in ME culture.

  14. wellfellow,

    Sharon doesn’t limit the targets of his attacks to leaders of military groups either, or even only military groups. In fact, there have been far more innocent Palestinians causalities under Sharon’s direction than innocent Israeli casualties during this duration. Also, remember all of the Palestinian property that has been stolen under Sharon.

    That is why I say that Sharon is a far worse terrorist then the terrorist Ahmed Yassin ever was.

  15. Nothing posted here will change anything.
    Go back to work, slackers.

  16. Can anyone point me to a none political history of this conflict? I just want a fact based narrative, without one side or the others spin on events.

  17. I just want a fact based narrative, without one side or the others spin on events.

    Who doesn’t? History is the writer’s spin.

  18. True enough.

  19. If it was so important to kill this old man, why did they trade him for two mossad agents a few years ago?

    Do the Israelis really coat their bullets in pig fat before loading into magazines?

    Why DON’T they blow up his fat ass? If everyone is so down on the US in the War on Terror, why aren’t they shipping attack helicopters to palestine? Or jets/cruise missles, etc.? I mean, all that stuff only takes money, right?

  20. I know an Israeli soldier posted in the West Bank. His job every day in his sector is to kick in the door of every Arab’s house and count the occupants.

  21. How did vaporizing a wheelchair-bound old man help Israel?

    Did they eliminate an imminent threat? No, he wasn’t going to be a suicide bomber himself.

    Did they disrupt the ability of Hamas to plan attacks? No, someone else will surely claim his place as the mastermind.

    Did they silence an instigator of suicide attacks? Yes, but whatever inspiration he was giving to potential suicide bombers as a living man is amplified 10x now that he’s a martyr.

    So, I ask again, how did killing this one man benefit Israel?

  22. Jean Bart, that is just so much sophistry. Look, Overlord wanted to make a point and his analogy accomplished that quite well. The fact that Hitler would have been much harder to capture alive than Yassin is immaterial. What wuold be material is if someone could argue persuasively that capturing Yassin alive was a viable option for Israel. Until someone argues that, the analogy is valid.

  23. If commuters on buses are valid targets, then so are mullahs in wheelchairs. I.a.Q. and Hamas need to learn that the odds of military victory are stacked squarely against them.

    That’s the point, neither commuters on buses nor mullahs in wheelchairs are valid targets, from either a moral or a practical standpoint. Terrorism doesn’t work — that’s what Hamas et al need to learn. You don’t teach them that by using terrorist tactics against them.

  24. If, by a stroke of blind luck, a Hamas member manages to get Sharon by whatever means, would that be an act of terror? Is Sharon a legitimate target? Are soldiers at a checkpoint? Does the target legitimize an attack, or the fact that it is carried out by a para-military automatically delegitimize it? Why should Israel worry about collateral damage when the Palistanians attack a disco? Where exactly do these two sides think this will ultimately lead, if anywhere?

    These are the questions that come to my mind whenever an event in this war grabs headlines. I’m appalled at the use of suicide bombers, but I don’t know how I expect the Palistanians to fight. I’m also not terribly impressed at the morality of assassinations, but I don’t know what other option Israeli’s have to address the terrorists. The only thing that is clear to me is that this is a mess. Can there ever be peace when the extreme’s are allowed an automatic veto.

  25. The M-word [Martyrdom] has been mentioned, so It is time for little history question. I am well-read on all aspects of military history, but one event seems to escape me:
    Which campaign was systematically being won by the stronger side, and then was suddenly lost when the foolish invaders killed a popular leader of the opposition and so galvanized the defenders that defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory?

    Despite the prevalence of the “we can’t kill him . . . . it would make a martyr out of him!” meme, there is not one instance in all of military history to support this amazing claim. The martyrdom of a well-known carpenter from Nazareth was absolutely inconsequential to the immediate situation in that region. Jerusalem was destroyed about 40 years later, but it had nothing to do with that particular martyrdom.

    If numbers are important, remember that the deaths of 16 million Ukrainians in the ’30s had no effect on the international situation whatsoever – the US allied with their perpetrator anyway. When 100,000 persons were executed in the Ukraine in ’54, it ended the ant-Moscow guerrilla war that had brewed since ’42. There was no one left to fight it.

    So what is the surgical removal of yet another terrorist chieftain going to do? Rouse the Egyptians and Jordanians in the Gaza and the West Bank to homicidal fury?
    As compared to what?

    Give me good logistics and effective agitprop – you can have all the martyrs in the world.

  26. deron, you ask good questions that don’t have very good answers. When folks are killing each other regularly, the whole issue of “morality” becomes rather murky.

  27. fyodor,

    Wow, are we disagreeing!

    You said, “Look, Overlord wanted to make a point and his analogy accomplished that quite well.”

    I asked why we didn’t arrest Yassin and he compared arresting him to arresting Hitler. The only point made by that ridiculous assertion is that Overlord had no idea what Germany in WW2 was like.

    “The fact that Hitler would have been much harder to capture alive than Yassin is immaterial.”

    How is that immaterial? The only value in a comparison is its accuracy. Since the comparison was wildly inaccurate, it had no value whatsoever.

    “What wuold be material is if someone could argue persuasively that capturing Yassin alive was a viable option for Israel. Until someone argues that, the analogy is valid.”

    It’s obvious that capturing Yassin alive wasn’t “a viable option” for Israel because they chose not to. The ONLY way that the analogy is valid is if it would have been just as difficult to capture Hitler as it might have been to capture Yassin. Since it would have been exponentially more difficult, if not impossible, to capture Hitler, the analogy is pure nonsense.

  28. neither commuters on buses nor mullahs in wheelchairs are valid targets

    In whose eyes? People need to stop using their Western notions as overlays on cultures halfway around the globe. Isn’t it a little late in the game to be worrying about who is a valid and invalid target? Obviously neither side is interested in following the West’s rules of engagement. For its part, the U.N. has been wholly ineffective – as usual – in resolving this crisis. The PA has failed to curtail its miltant operations one iota, and Israel would rather bulldoze Palestinians into the Jordan than bulldoze a settlement. You will have no other solution than the “natural” progression of two peoples pounding each other into submission. I know people were expecting that now that we have a U.N., all disputes could magically be solved peacefully…save that routine for the ignorant bastards who’ve never heard of Kashmir.

    There is only tactical expedience or failure here, and Hamas’ approach is a guaranteed tactical failure. A zenith of popular anger might lead to Sharon being replaced, but I think the Knesset has a Zionist Pez dispenser out back.

  29. Change “we” in that first sentence to “Israel.” I must preview! I MUST preview!!

  30. or the fact that it is carried out by a para-military automatically delegitimize it?

    I shudder to think what that says about our own independence.

    Why wouldn’t Sharon be a valid military target? A government as the controlling body of an army is as complicit in the actions of that army as the army itself. I think the Pentagon was a valid target, however intending for civilians to die as part of the weapon on 9/11 was a terrorist act. It’s when you drag normal civilians into a war that it becomes terrorist. You’ve used the people to create a proxy, instead of going after those “at fault” for your grievances. Passive aggressive, you might call it.

    When 100,000 persons were executed in the Ukraine in ’54, it ended the ant-Moscow guerrilla war that had brewed since ’42. There was no one left to fight it.

    I think the current situation will be resolved in much the similar way. The times change, but humanity does not.

  31. When you say that something is a “valid military target”, all it really means is that if you happen to capture (instead of kill) the soldiers who attacked it, and if they happened to follow the rules of war (whatever that means), then you aren’t supposed to punish them, but you can still put them in a POW camp.

    There’s nothing that says you can’t retaliate for attacks on valid military targets. Let’s ignore, momentarily, the fact that 9/11 was perpetrated in gross violation of the rules of war. The attack on the Pentagon would be a cause for retaliation against the group behind it.

    There’s nothing in the rules of war mandating that you say “Oh, well, they attacked a military target, so it was legit and we can’t counter-attack. The main purpose of the rules of war seems to be to (at least somewhat) reduce the harm to civilians, and to secure some understanding that captured soldiers will be kept alive until they can return home. (In principle they’re supposed to be treated humanely; of course, in practice there’s nothing humane about a POW camp, sadly, so the effect is to at least keep them alive so they can eventually go home.)

  32. I hope you weren’t talking to me, thoreau…I don’t say the Israelis can’t retaliate, just that trying to make moral distinctions of valid and invalid military targets in a region where kids bring assault rifles to funerals is pearls before swine.

  33. rst-

    My use of the word “you” was generic, as in “When you do this, that happens…” or “When you say this, all it really means is…” I was directing it in the general direction of the subject of proper military targets. I wasn’t trying to argue with you in particular.

  34. oldfan:
    “So what is the surgical removal of yet another terrorist chieftain going to do? Rouse the Egyptians and Jordanians in the Gaza and the West Bank to homicidal fury? ”

    the EGYPTIANS and JORDANIANS? Don’t you mean the Palestinians? or are you just reading too much Likud propaganda.

  35. thoreau – ah cool, like I do all the time. I am often misunderstood, so I figured I’d check.

  36. “The ONLY way that the analogy is valid is if it would have been just as difficult to capture Hitler as it might have been to capture Yassin.”

    Sigh, why do I bother?

    No, the analogy is valid because the two hypothesized arrests would have been difficult (to the point of not being a valid option) for some of the same reasons! I.e., both enemies were well guarded in hostile, foreign territory. Now, if this was already clear to you, I simply don’t know why you asked the question in the first place. If this was made clear to you by Overlord’s post, then maybe the analogy contributed to your undertanding?

    If someone wants to argue that the Occupied Territories don’t truly constitute hostile foreign territory for Israel the way Germany was for the U.S., of if someone wants to argue that arresting Yassin presented no greater challenge than, say, arresting David Koresh should have been for the ATF, I’d find those interesting and valid points.

    But simply pointing out that the two examples differ in degree sure doesn’t tell me anything.

    If that still doesn’t make sense to you (Les), so be it. I won’t argue the point any further.

  37. Oh, don’t go home all mad, fyodor. I’m sorry if I’m inspiring sighs with my desire to clarify what is useful, valid information and what is not.

    Overlord pointed out the obvious by saying, “Because he is surrounded by armed body guards and swarms of admirers and deep inside hostile territory,” which got me to remembering that military types usually prefer to risk the lives of innocents over the lives of their own soldiers, so that was informative. Then he made his false analogy, which OF COURSE is wrong by degree.

    If I want to walk to the corner store and I’m told that I might as well walk to Alaska, that’s simply wrong and useless and it only differs in degree. Just as, in this instance, the difference in the number of enemy troops, the distance to Hitler and the advanced state of technology all combine to make a comparison between capturing Yassin and capturing Hitler very, very silly.

    It’s obvious that Israel considers the occupied territories hostile, foreign territory and I don’t know if capturing Yassin would be as difficult as capturing Koresh. But I don’t think anyone’s going to get into a detailed analysis of why capturing Yassin would have been almost nothing like capturing Hitler because it’s as obvious as the fact that walking to my corner store is almost nothing like walking to Alaska.

    If that still doesn’t make sense to you (fyodor), I’ll be happy to try and explain it again.

  38. Israel is a nation built with violence upon a false premise:
    “this land is mine, God gave this land to me.”
    Palestine was a peaceful land before Israel.
    Israel should not exist, but it does.

    How would we dismantle it?

    Better for Israel to attack a militant than bomb a bus.
    There is no end to suicide bombers, it seems,
    but those that command the bombers don’t want to die.

    Better for Hamas to attack Sharon than bomb a bus.
    How many tanks, how many attack helicopters,
    how many armed uniformed soldiers does Hamas have?

    How much money does the US give Israel?
    How much money does the US give Palestinians?
    What can the US do to diminish the fighting?

    Should we arm up both sides equally and let them fight it out?

  39. “I don’t know if capturing Yassin would be as difficult as capturing Koresh”

    David Koresh went could have been arrested at almost any time, by a single police officer, without incident. He did not have a band of armed militants guarding him 24/7. This point was made clear in the congressional testimony.

  40. Uh, I like to throw random words into some of my sentences – ignore that “went”. Don’t you hate it when people get all self-conscious and correct their every little mistake? There should be a site policy against frivolous error corrections.

  41. “this land is mine, God gave this land to me.”

    cf. Manifest Destiny. Should the United States west of the Mississippi not exist?

    “Should” does not matter. What is and will be matters. What is, is a war. What will be, is its end. The mechanics of its ending are the issue. Historical claims are as subjective and unreliable as history itself. The Palestinians have no more compelling a claim to lands east of the Jordan than the Israelis do. Because they lived there? So what?

    If between themselves they cannot compromise, then they will fight, and nothing that any other nation does, whether they render material assistance, will matter.

  42. Except that our government paid for the missiles and helicopters that killed him as it does for the Israeli government’s thieving and murderous occupation of Palestinian land.

    “Where do terrorists get their money? If you buy drugs, some of it might come from you…”

  43. rst,
    The Palestinians are killing themselves to kill Israelis to prevent (though it may simply bring) the same fate that befell the Native Americans. The fact that they were there in recent memory is a pretty good reason for me to think they have a right to be there. In fact, aren’t the Israelis using the same logic to claim posession. It’s just that their claim is some person that lived there 2000 years ago was related to us, which is a more tenuous moral position than my dad lived there 60 years ago.

    If they deserve it because they won a war, then the Pals have the right to wage war back. In a country where almost every adult male citizen is a member of the military if need be, then most civilians are or are surrounded by legit targets. The innocents killed are just collateral damage, just like the Palestianian civilians that get killed as part of Israel’s “precise” attacks*.

    * The quotes are around the word precise because Israel has killed more civilians than the Palestinians, even though Israel’s only tageting military targets while the Palestinians are targeting civilians.

  44. israel is just too civilised to do what needs to be done.

    the world has forgotten how one defeats barbarians, and finds the whole process distastedul. this could be solved very easily, but Israel does not want to do what must be done, so therefore the violence continues.

    all of the people here who hate israel, think that they are evil, tht sharon is a terrorist, etc, remember that israel is exercising extreme restraint here. they can end this war whenever they feel like it. they just aren’t willing to do that yet. Israel loses (or at least doesn’t win) wars for the same reason that the US and Britain have: they just aren’t willing to do what needs to be done to win.

    now if israel would just adopt the tactics of the Romans in the 3rd punic war, no one in israel would ever have to fear for their lives getting on a bus.

    this war will end when israel finally accepts what it has to do, or decides that suicide is the better option. i hope that they don’t commit suicide.

  45. That’s it.

    Time to trot out my solution. Israel is a problem? Fine. Move it to Florida.

    I mean, seriously. Central Flordia is also butt-ugly, so that would be the same. It actually has water, which is an improvement. Most of all, we’ve already squashed the native people well and good.

    Perhaps the Mossad can keep busy by going after Castro or the latest Hatian menace.

    Besides, there’s already a substantial population of Jews there, and relatively few Palestinians.

    There’s an equal amount of oil, too.

  46. hey,

    Are you suggesting the Israelis implement the final solution to solve the Palistinian problem?

  47. esco,

    Couldn’t agree more. France is not the kind of nation that deserves a place in the world. They are officially Catholic. Can we start the bombing now?

    I do think better/worse enters in to it. At least while there are more targets than guns.

    So let me polint out that Palestinian homosexuals go to Israel for safety.

    We need to go after Palestine before we do Israel.

    And the Saudis need a dose before either.

    Well Iraq was a start.

  48. Mo, Mo, Mo,

    You evidently believe Israeli history began in 1948.

    1. Jews have lived in Palestine continuously for 3,500 years. Hebron is a prime example before the Arabs murdered the Jewish community there in 1921 (I think).

    2. In the 1880s (about)European Jews began BUYING land in Israel. You see even then they suffered at the hands of the Europeans. The current European attitude towards Israel is just the second stage in the final solution. Their answer was to BUY property in the land they wanted to live in. This happened under the Ottomans. Well before the Brits got into the act.

    3. The UN partition of 1948 was designed to separate Arabs and Jews so the Arabs would stop killing Jews. The big Arab idea of the time (publicly stated) was to get all the Arab armies together to attack Israel and drive the Jews into the sea. That was Arab policy. Drive the Jews into the Sea. Cute. Well they accomplished the first part. On the second part they were not so effective.

    I could go on. But in the most libertarian sense the Jews have every right to live on the land they bought and on the land the Arabs lost when they attacked the Jews. Pretty strait forward libertarian doctrine.

  49. M. Simon,

    You are quite wrong.

    750,000 Palestinians were ruthlessly driven from their land. It was about as “libertarian” as theft ever is:

    https://www.reason.com/hitandrun/004144.shtml#004144

  50. It is about time Israel did this. The Carter Administration taught terrorists that they could sit down at the table and use extortion to expand their demands and desires. Now the failures of appeasement and negotiation with murderers has become obvious…again. How many more innocents must die before the rest of the world wakes up to the ways of extortionists?

  51. M.Simon,
    Egypt, Syria and Jordan attack Israel and the Pals bend over and recieve? Well, I guess it sucks when others fight in your name. I guess Alsace in Arabic is Palestine. 🙂

    Why couldn’t they have chosen Uganda … blast!

  52. I.a.Q. blows up Israeli commuters. IDF blows up I.a.Q./Hamas leaders. What’s the big deal? This is par for the course for the region. And quite fair, I think, in the context of this silly My God’s Dick Is Bigger Than Your God’s Dick tit-for-tat. Poke a lion, and it will slash you. Go to the zoo and try it if you don’t believe me.

    Nice hit, though. It’s about tactics…had I.a.Q. the presence to go after and get Sharon, they’d probably have a different situation in the region. At some point I hope these idiot nomads learn that blowing up voters a few dozen at a time doesn’t bring much change to a statistical landscape measured in millions. You’d think that a people whose ancestors helped bring about calculus would know that.

  53. Sheikh Yasin was jailed by Israel twice in 1982 and 1989. He was released in both instances as part of prisoner exhchanges in 1985 and 1997. So to say that Israel couldn’t arrest him is not true. After all, Gaza where he lives is under Israeli military control. He wasn’t hiding, he went to pray in the same mosque in Gaza city 5 times a day.

    The fact is Israel could have assasinated him any time they wanted to. Apparantely, Sharon and his advisors/cabinet thought it was time.

    Israel assasinated Ali Abu Mustafa (the head of PFLP) in 2001. The Palestinians responded by assasinating Israel’s Minister of Tourism.

    It is almost certain that the palestinans will respond to Yasin’s assasination in kind. The only unknown is when and who will it be.

  54. Uh, oh. Now Hamas will get REALLY angry at Israel. Now they will blow up civilians. Hmm. No, this time they’ll hit children! Darn it, already done.

    Well, anyway, they will at least issue statements of righteous indignation.

  55. does this mean that they’re no longer going to smear the busses with pig fat?

    one less terrorist is probably a very good thing. may the cycle of violence be broken and may the world realize that Israel has a valuable place in the world and that terrorists do not.

    regards,
    Karl

  56. Yassin has achieved the one true and glorious state befitting all terrorists – a bloody smear on a sidewalk.

  57. Heartbreak Hotel

  58. So Hammas will do the same thing they always do, only now it will be labelled ‘revenge for Yassin’.

  59. I’m not afraid of appearing ignorant (because I really am), so I’ll ask an honest question. Why not just arrest the guy and charge him in a court of law?

  60. Les,

    Because he is surrounded by armed body guards and swarms of admirers and deep inside hostile territory. That’s like asking why didn’t we just arrest Adolf Hitler in the middle of WW2?

  61. So this is what the War on Terror has come down to: vaporizing a quadripilegic rolling out of a mosque in his wheelchair.

    I’m sure no one will step in and coordinate the suicide bombers now. A great victory for Israel! 😉

  62. Hey, crimethink,
    At least he never saw what hit him.

  63. Tim, I like the type there with the “US denies denies involvement” bit. It’s like saying, “we didn’t not do it…”

    Thanks for the links!

  64. A very evil man dies. The lot of mankind improves. One monster at a time if that is what it takes.

  65. Overlord,

    I agree with you in terms of the bodyguards and the implied risk of a fire-fight. But…

    “That’s like asking why didn’t we just arrest Adolf Hitler in the middle of WW2?”

    That’s a really silly comparison. I mean, really silly.

  66. Les: I don’t understand why it’s a silly comparison.

  67. Did Peter Jackson get his idea for Saruman’s “look” from Yassin, or was Yassin a LOTR groupie who dressed as his favorite character?

  68. Terrorism is the murder and otherwise victimizing of innocent civilians. Sharon is a far worse terrorist then the terrorist Ahmed Yassin ever was.

    The United States has strongly denied any involvement in the assassination of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin

    Except that our government paid for the missiles and helicopters that killed him as it does for the Israeli government’s thieving and murderous occupation of Palestinian land.

    If we want to quit facilitating this madness we should contact our congressional Reps and tell them to quit sending our tax dollars to finance the occupation for many reasons, not the least of which is that it endangers Americans.

    http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/

    What is Sharon up to with this action that clearly endangers Israeli civilians? Perhaps he is trying to provoke escalation to justify further Israeli government aggression.

  69. Israel should send a message by invading Zimbabwe. Sure, Zimbabwe apparently hasn’t been involved in the attacks against Israel, but it would send a message that no dictator can sleep soundly at night. It would transform a region.

    That’s the only way to be secure: Lash out against somebody who doesn’t threaten your security, while diverting attention away from known and immediate threats. Besides, it might lure Palestinian terrorists into Zimbabwe. Better to fight them in Zimbabwe than in Tel Aviv.

    And Jayson Blair can fabricate the intelligence suggesting that Robert Mugabe has WMD.

    Come on, Israel, let’s roll!

  70. Curious,

    The size of Hitler’s army (not to mention the amount of land under German control) and the distance between him and U.S. troops. The technology available. The fact that the most powerful nations on Earth weren’t even able to assassinate Hitler, whereas Yassin was killed by some missiles shot from helicopters. There are a lot of obvious differences between the ability to arrest Hitler and the ability to arrest the head of Hamas, it seems to me.

    That doesn’t mean they should have attempted it, just that the comparison to Hitler was silly.

  71. War on Terror has come down to

    It hasn’t come down to anything. Hamas’ spiritual leader, the one who exhorts its followers to blow up Israeli commuters, was in a wheelchair. People can be mass murderers from a wheelchair. A wheelchair only makes it wicked hard to deal with stairs and steep hills.

    If commuters on buses are valid targets, then so are mullahs in wheelchairs. I.a.Q. and Hamas need to learn that the odds of military victory are stacked squarely against them. Hamas will respond to this by escalation, but Israel has a much higher ceiling for that escalation. What is the world going to do about it? Have the paper tiger UN issue another SC resolution strongly condemning it? Oh no, please don’t, the Israelis have run out of room storing all the other resolutions strongly condemning their every action in the strip and W bank.

  72. Les,

    Any attempt to arrest him would not have been on the scale of WW2, but it would have made the battle in “Blackhawk Down” look like a pillow fight and all without any real chance of catching him alive or at all.

  73. I don’t think any state that gives special rights to people of certain religions/ethnicities has a “valuable place in the world.”

  74. ” … a people whose ancestors helped bring about calculus??”

    Algebra, yes. Calculus, no.

  75. Perhaps he is trying to provoke escalation to justify further Israeli government aggression.

    Do political commentators still brush up on the classics? Or do they feign shock (and ignorance)when states engage in the same wartime behavior as has been practiced by every state since states were states? Those involved are already fighting a war. That you don’t see it as a war, that’s your problem. The man is a leader of a military group, and a valid target in a war. That he moonlights as a Sheikh doesn’t give him any more protection than Catholic priests should have had when they were fucking little boys.

    occupation of Palestinian land.

    What claim do the Palestinians have? We were here when the Ottomans left so it’s ours now? It was Ottoman land, broken up in the 20s by the countries that controlled the region.

  76. Algebra, yes. Calculus, no.

    Heh, maybe that explains it then.

  77. Awesome! One gazillion terrorists minus one = a safer world! I’m sure no one will fill his position. Giving religious nuts the martyrdom they’ve been praying for is absolutely the first step to peace.

    If they really want to show those palestinians who’s boss, they should mix the bastards ashes into cement and turn them into new settlements.

  78. exlosives = explosives : todays lesson – proof reading. Pay attention now.

  79. M. Simon:

    “The Ottomans liked having the Jews in Israel because they bought land, paid taxes, and increased the productivity of the land. The Islamics hated the Jews because – well you know how they are about land they once controlled. Deeds mean nothing to them. What counts is superior force.”

    I really didn’t want to go into history, but Simon’s rants obligate me to respond.

    According to a book edited by Ben Gurion, the Jewish population of historical palestine in 1914 was 85,000 (12% of the population) ( http://www.palestineremembered.com/Acre/Articles/Story873.html).

    The Jewish immigration to Palestine accelarate after the British took control of Palestine as a fullfulment for the infamous Balfour promise in 1917. According to statistics perpared by the British Mandate, the Jewish immigrants constiuted 91.7% (out of 401,149) of the total number of immigrants to Palestine between 1921-1945. (Scanned images of the documents that show the breakdown by year can be found here: http://www.palestineremembered.com/Acre/Books/Story835.html)

    The Jewish population of Palestine in 1947 was 608,000 which amounted to 33% of the total population (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1947_UN_Partition_Plan)

    So, the vast majority of the Jewish population of Palestine in 1947 were recent immigrants (and while Palestine was under British control).

    Despite the above fact, the partition plan of 1947 gave 55% of the land to Israel (i.e., to 33% of the population). So, it was only natural that the Palestinian felt cheated. BTW, the plan was rejected by Shamir’s Stern Gang and Begin’s Irgun. Shamir is a former Israeli prime minister and Begin is a former Israeli defense minister.

    As for your claims that the Stern Gang and Irgun were merely defending the jewish population, I have one thing to say. Shamir was on a British “Wanted” Poster for his group’s terrorist activities against the palestinian population and the British Mandate government. Their activities were not directed against the Palestinians and the British government, but also included the Jewish population in other Arabic countries (e.g., the King David Bombing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_David_Hotel)

    So, in a nut shell you are sadly mistaken, or worse, just making up ‘facts’ to suit your argument.

    I want to conclude my historical lesson with one quote from the Zionist delegation that went to Palestine in 1897 to investigate the suitability of establishing a Jewish state:

    “The bride is beautiful, but she is married to another man.” (Iron Wall, p. 3)

  80. minor typo:

    “Their activities were not directed against the Palestinians and the British government only,”

    only was missing.

  81. I’m glad that Isaad, anon, Rick, and Mo are here to offer much smarter rebuttals than I could. Thanks, all. (Simon should be glad Jean Bart wasn’t here. It woulda bin moida, I tells ya!)

  82. Dead finks don’t talk.

  83. Make that 3 times not two.

    I have one more thing to say on the Israeli/Palestinian thing though. All the news media apears to make a big deal of Israeli soldiers shooting palestinian demonstrators, but I think if you throw a rock at a guy with a gun, you have to expect to get shot. If it is really an unfair fight, don’t start the fight.

  84. Les,

    To JB I’m just a plebian American troll. Mostly he is too haughty to deign to respons to my simplistic cowboy posts.

    Either that or he has no good answer and takes the aristocratic route of holding his nose in the air and pretending not to notice.

  85. Rick,

    Siding with the enemy in a declared war often has unfortunate consequences. The Arabs promised to kill all the Jews. Evidently the Jews were nicer and just threw the Arabs siding with their attackers out of their homes.

    Lucky the Jews weren’t Arabs like the Jordanians or Syrians, eh?

    In any case as I said, before Arabs stared the big wars against the Jews, Jews bought their land. I notice you did not refute my main point. Only brought up the Arab losses in war.

    My point is simple if you can’t afford to lose don’t start a fight. Fights often have unfortunate consequences.

  86. So my next question is was the Stern Gang an original Jewish idea or a response to Arab gang attacks?

    The Ottomans liked having the Jews in Israel because they bought land, paid taxes, and increased the productivity of the land. The Islamics hated the Jews because – well you know how they are about land they once controlled. Deeds mean nothing to them. What counts is superior force.

    Agreements mean nothing to them when they have superior force.

    The best idea I have heard on the subject is to let both sides do the scorpions in a bottle bit. Unfortunately the Palis are a bunch of cry babies and while to uncle in Washington to please save us from the mean nasty Jews we are trying to kill.

    Read Article 15 of the PLO Charter. “Renounced” by Arafat but not officially voted out of existance. That article says something about Jewish existance but voting is not part of the equation.

  87. M. Simon,

    Surely you realize that the founding of Israel as a Jewish homeland involved other issues than just buying land. Establishing a political entity specifically for one ethnic group rather than another is hardly libertarian.

  88. Does any one know if a Palestinian can convert to Judaism if they wanted to have the status that Jews have in Israel?

  89. Since the only status difference I am aware of is based on personal/social prejudice (as opposed to any legal distinctions), it’s questionable whether a mere religious conversion would have any effect unless the converter were willing to leave his or her entire community behind and join a new one.

  90. M. Simon,

    “Arabs would stop killing Jews” eh?

    Well from the ’20’s to the ’40’s there was plenty of Jews killing Arabs, whole villages, in fact (ever hear of Irgun or “the Stern Gang”). There are people in the Palistinian refugee “camps” to this day who have deeds from the Ottoman Empire (some dating back hundreds of years, the legal status of which was not changed by the British Mandate). Some can even take you back to the ruins of the house from which they were dispossessed.

    My question to “conservatives” today is why should americans be supporting communist religious fanatics who are dispossessing freehold farmers with longstanding claims to their land?

  91. A further point is this. So you have killed the leader of this “cult”!

    Does anyone imagine that Sheikh Ahmed Yassin personally organized every attack on Israelli innocents? (If you do you probably think that OSB personaly planned 9/11). Look for a bunch of revenge attacks by Palestinians in the next few weeks. Why? because any punk in Palestine who wants to can get hooked up with someone who will give him (or her) a belt of exlosives.

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