13 May 2008

Response to Comment

The following is a direct response to a comment made by an anonymous reader on a previous posting, Carter on Hamas: Blame the US and Israel, which was originally posted on American Thinker.


Perhaps I made my point poorly, or rather used incorrect terms while bringing it to light. We’re all subject to mistakes in meaning. So let me try to explain a little more clearly. I’ll also try to respond to your points as I’m able.

What I should have written, perhaps, is that Mr. Carter ignores the difference in kind between acts of violence as committed by Hamas and by Israel. That difference in kind is directly related to one group – Hamas – taking the position that the other group – Israel – must be destroyed. There doesn’t seem to be any shades of gray in that position, a Hamas charter position. On the other hand, Israel has been talked into compromise deals time and time again by third parties. To my knowledge, Israel has come to the realization that at some point there will be a Palestinian state. Indeed, Israel unilaterally pulled out of Palestinian areas (which it was criticized for, oddly enough…it is invariably Israel which is denounced broadly in the press and in the UN for acts of violence against Palestinians).

By ignoring this fundamental difference between the two groups, Mr. Carter shows his bias, or at the very least, his appalling moral relativism. I do not find Mr. Carter’s denouncement of, in your words, “violence and oppression and injustice” comforting in the slightest, particularly when he holds court with purveyors of injustice and oppression within their own regimes. North Korea in particular comes to mind as well as Hamas. The injustice and oppression of Palestinians in Gaza comes not from Israel, but rather from Hamas itself. By holding court with such parties, Mr. Carter lends legitimacy to them and aids then with their ever-evolving propaganda.

And to denounce violence wholesale is na├»ve at best, deadly at worst. Violence must, at times, be visited on those who clearly threaten one’s vital interests. The harder and faster it can be done – in direct need to accomplish necessary objectives – the better. To suggest, as you do, that Carter is right in “denounce[ing] violence…whatever its source” is to not understand that at times military action is necessary. It is the responsibility of the state to decide where, when, and how violence through military action is exercised. On the other hand, state sponsored and advocated international pacifism is an invitation for others to take violent action against the state.

The oxymoron at the end of your comment, that Mr. Carter “fight[s] for peace”, is sadly a common phrase used in reference to those who actually discuss, negotiate, or bargain for peace. Suggesting that Mr. Carter fights is a misuse of language purposely to make Mr. Carter seem more of the warrior. Mr. Carter no more fights for peace in the Middle East than I fight for reconciliation in Iraq – though we are both former military officers.

Finally, please don’t single out Mr. Bush or any other president in recent memory for attempting a last-minute peace plan for the Middle East – or any peace plan, for that matter. They all try it. Some try it more often than others. Mr. Carter managed to have success, and that has been a good thing for Israel and Egypt. As far as present-day negotiations go, it is right that there is clear differentiation between a somewhat legitimate peace partner (Fatah) and an outright terrorist organization which happens to hold the reins in a small, isolated state (Hamas).

Thanks for your comment.

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