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Willisms

« And Now The Peace Offensive Begins | WILLisms.com | Democrats Have Union Labels On Their Bumper Stickers. »

Quoth The Craven: Nevermore

One of the recurring elements of the Israeli War On Terror has been the use of human shields -- often willing ones. And while it says something about the courage of those people, it reveals far more about their cowardice.

The idea, to me, seems an evolution of Mahatma Gandhi's "nonresistance," the tactic he used against the Colonial British -- to great success. The idea of meeting force with resolve, violence with peace, hatred with acceptance has an enormous moral power.

However, it has one critical flaw, one Achilles heel that keep it from being a guaranteed success: it depends on your opponent having a conscience.

In India, the British thought of themselves as the wogs' benefactor. The Colonial relationship was seen as symbiotic, a boon to both. Only when they were confronted with the simple fact that a large portion of the Indian people wanted the British to leave, to the point of death, that Gandhi won his victory.

Likewise, in the United States, the civil rights movement could have threatened far more violence. Many believed that the root causes of the Civil War had festered for a century, and could only be cured by a second. But leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King saw that the surest, cleanest road to victory lay through forcing America to confront not the protesters, but themselves. It was that non-violent resistance, in the face of brutality and savagery by the segregationists, that led to the ultimate passage of the Civil Rights Act and the fulfillment of the promises of the Civil War.

Those stunning successes gave the nonresistance tactic far more power than it deserved. It became embraced as the ONLY moral way to confront oppression.

Sadly, it is not. The Hungarians tried to escape the Soviets in 1956, and were crushed. The Czechs tried a variation in the "Prague Spring" of 1967, and were crushed by the Soviets. And in 1989, the Chinese tried to appeal to the conscience of their Communist masters -- and found them sorely wanting in that element.

Now, we have a new form of conflict. Nations find themselves challenged not by other nations, but terrorist organizations. Groups with access to more and more potent weaponry and technology, which grants them destructive power on a scale heretofore the exclusive bailiwick of other nation-states. The old paradigms simply do not apply.

The nation-states being challenged have been forced, through the brutal force of applied Darwinism, to adapt to these new threats. In Afghanistan, we overthrew an entrenched government largely through airpower and careful support of indigenous rebels. In Iraq, we are finding success more elusive, but we have made tremendous strides at defeating the terrorists there. And in Lebanon, Israel is discovering what happens when a terrorist organization becomes the government next door, either de jure (with Hamas) or de facto (Hezbollah).

In the light of these new circumstances, the anti-war side has not bothered to change their tactics. Their only concession to the new reality is to realize that in these new conflicts, one side is utterly immune to their policy of nonresistance. And instead of trying to find a way to adapt to the challenge, they have redoubled their efforts on the other side.

In the current fighting in the Middle East, one doesn't see large protests against Hezbollah or Hamas for their indiscriminate attacks on civilians. The International Solidarity Movement doesn't send its members on Israeli buses and into marketplaces to serve as "human shields" against Palestinian suicide bombers. And "peace activists" aren't fanning out across northern Israel to appeal to Hezbollah's better nature and cease their random bombardment.

It appears that these noble, worthy, high-minded anti-war activists lack the convictions of their heroes like Dr. Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi. They either cherish their own lives too much to put them at risk, unwilling to put their principles to the ultimate test, or in their heart of hearts they know what many of us already believe: those we fight have no consciences, no "better natures" to appeal to -- or, at least, are unwilling to pay the horrific butcher's bill of innocent blood required to finally reach that.

Until that day, when those high-minded and hazy-thinking moral exemplars finally acknowledge the essential vacuousness of their actions, they will continue to provide nothing but an annoying distraction to those who honor the threat. And their every action -- and inaction -- will continue to put the lie to their noble words.

Posted by Jay Tea · 24 July 2006 05:00 AM

Comments

Jay Tea...You are such a great writer. Wow!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at July 24, 2006 07:23 AM

if martin luther king was in gaza the israelis would assasinate him. You don't think people in lebanon and palestine have ever heard of ganhdi? Gandhi sided with them!!

Posted by: lester at July 24, 2006 11:28 AM

Lester,

Just the opposite you little freak.

Go back to your terror cell.

Posted by: mesablue at July 24, 2006 11:35 AM

lester... perhaps you would like to be a human shield?

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at July 24, 2006 12:18 PM

lester... perhaps you would like to be a human shield?

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at July 24, 2006 12:19 PM

lester... perhaps you would like to try being a human shield? OR, a suicide bomber when you grow up?

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at July 24, 2006 12:22 PM

Sorry! I studder...

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at July 24, 2006 01:32 PM

I read a fascinating alternate history story a while back in which the Axis won WWII, placing India under German control. Needless to say, the Indian peaceful resistance methods were significantly less successful against a government willing to actually use the military to put down a peaceful protest. I think it ended with Gandhi being betrayed by friends who were hiding him, and a firing squad... Depressing, but all too realistic. Peaceful resistance only works against enemies who are unwilling to use force on peaceful people for the sake of the "better world" they believe themselves to be building. Good call.

Posted by: Randomscrub at July 24, 2006 05:06 PM

Excellent post!
Something I have thought about also.
Sounds like an interesting read Randomscrub.
But a simple way to explain this is with the story of the Scorpion and the Frog in Prisoner's Dilemna:
http://www.spectacle.org/995/scorp.html
Basically the British were basically peaceful and thus were not the scorpions but the Germans were true scorpions and Ghandi's technique would not have worked. It is also important that Ghandi knew his "enemy" and thus was able to appeal to their sense of right and wrong.

Posted by: Ronald Rutherford at July 24, 2006 06:07 PM

The peaceniks aren't dumb - just unwise. And they aren't for peace - they are for defeat of the West.

Posted by: bird dog at July 24, 2006 06:41 PM

However, it (nonresistance) has one critical flaw, one Achilles heel that keep it from being a guaranteed success: it depends on your opponent having a conscience.

I think you could add Jesus, the biggest peacenik of all time, to the list of peaceful resistors. Being the Son of Man, Jesus of course knew that His opperssors had consciences, or would at least eventually come to discover their consciences and sin through His death on the Cross (think: the Roman centurian piercing Christ's side and proclaiming "He is the Son of Man". That's acceptance.).

Those stunning successes gave the nonresistance tactic far more power than it deserved. It became embraced as the ONLY moral way to confront oppression.

Again, agreed. While Christ's model may have worked on the Romans, would it have worked on, say, the Nazis? Doubtless, no.

There's a dogma in my Catholic parish that is "all war is bad". My repsonse is: Of course it is; all war is bad. There is no good in war, but there is good in why fight wars. (I can't remember who said that.). What they and the peace movement lack or fail to see is how their way often gets in the way of achieving actual peace. They are counting on or believe that terrorists like Hezbollah, Hamas, AQ and others have consciences. Clearly, they do not; that has been demonstrated time and time again. Yet, this dogma remains.

I believe the intentions of the peace movement are good and honorable. However, thanks to their misguided, unwise, uneducated and very naive tactics they lose credibility with and tend annoy the very audience they are trying to convert. I think their naivite is their biggest downfall as much as it is their strength.

To turn the tables on them, I always ask: "You ask me 'Peace? At what price?" and I say "How will your peace gain us peace? And at what price?" Invariably the answer is usually stunned silence and bumbling or reverting back to old arguments and talking points.

Posted by: Peter F. at July 24, 2006 08:10 PM

http://www.hindu.com/mag/2004/02/01/stories/2004020100220300.htm

Posted by: lester at July 25, 2006 01:57 PM

Nice post JT. You have also addressed the hand wringing of the "peacemakers" - no "Peace Activists" are demonstrating in front of any Middle Eastern embassy - but mofo Shehan is plopped down in front of Iraq's. No surprise there. And while "peaceniks" demonstrate all over the world in support of Hezbollah, they are not regarding "peace" as a solution. "Kill the Infidels", behead the aggressors, and destroy the US to fix their problem. Not exactly what Ghandi had in mind.

You write great, btw - and while it is different from Wizbang, it hangs with the best out there.

Posted by: tblubird at July 26, 2006 04:08 PM