Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

The Hamas-Israel conflict and “disproportionate use of force”

There is no moral equivalence between Hamas and Israel

There is no moral equivalence between Hamas and Israel

Dina tweeted this editorial in the radically leftist UK Guardian, of all places.

Excerpt:

Hamas’s charter includes the aspiration that “The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews)”. While many concentrate on its death-cult worship, its bloodthirsty killing of adversaries, or its contempt for women, Christians and homosexuals, it is this aspiration for genocide that is at the root of Hamas activities. This is the primary reason why Hamas, the governing regime in Gaza, will never recognise or accept a peace accord with Israel in any form.

Since Israel left Gaza in 2005, thousands of rockets have rained down on Israeli cities and towns in deliberate contravention not just of international law, but all humanity and morality.

[...]Every rocket from Gaza is a double war crime. First, the rockets are aimed at civilians; second, they are fired from built-up civilian areas, often close to schools, mosques and hospitals. And about 10% of Hamas rockets fired from Gaza don’t reach Israel, exploding in Gaza. Mohammed Sadallah – a four-year-old killed on Saturday, his body displayed in a press conference with Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’s leader – was, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, most likely killed by an errant Hamas rocket.

Hamas leaders frequently declare that their people actively seek death. Fathi Hamad, a senior member of Hamas, stated in 2008 that “for the Palestinian people, death became an industry, at which women and children excel. Accordingly we created a human shield of women, children and elderly. We seek death as you [Israelis] desire life.”

[...]Israel has successfully targeted in excess of 1,300 weapons caches, rocket launchers and other elements of Hamas’s terrorist infrastructure. Yet despite this, the number of Palestinian casualties remains around one for every 13 strikes, the majority killed being active members of Hamas and combatants.

There is no moral equivalence here – one side is good and the other side is evil. It’s a black and white issue.

When I was in graduate school, I was partnered up with an exchange student from Egypt. She said that Israelis were terrorists because they killed civilians while using force. I told her that terrorism is the intentional targeting of civilians for attacks rather than military targets. Therefore, Hamas and Hezbollah are terrorists, and Israel is not. Israel uses arms in self-defense, and they try to minimize civilian casualties by giving warnings of strikes. Islamic groups intentionally target civilians – schools and hospitals. The Islamic groups are terrorists and the IDF is acting in self-defense against unprovoked rocket attacks.

If Islamic terrorists laid down their arms, then tomorrow there would be peace. But if Israeli Defense Forces laid down their arms, then tomorrow, Israel would be destroyed, and every Jew in it. That is why the IDF has to do what the IDF has to do. And this time, I hope that they don’t use half-measures to stop the flow of rockets into Israel. They must use the appropriate force necessary to stop the rocket attacks.

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Report: Iran shipping arms and personnel to Syria through Iraq

From left-leaning Reuters.

Excerpt:

Iran has been using civilian aircraft to fly military personnel and large quantities of weapons across Iraqi airspace to Syria to aid President Bashar al-Assad in his attempt to crush an 18-month uprising against his government, according to a Western intelligence report seen by Reuters.

Earlier this month, U.S. officials said they were questioning Iraq about Iranian flights in Iraqi airspace suspected of ferrying arms to Assad, a staunch Iranian ally. On Wednesday, U.S. Senator John Kerry threatened to review U.S. aid to Baghdad if it does not halt such overflights.

Iraq says it does not allow the passage of any weapons through its airspace. But the intelligence report obtained by Reuters says Iranian weapons have been flowing into Syria via Iraq in large quantities. Such transfers, the report says, are organized by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

“This is part of a revised Iranian modus operandi that U.S. officials have only recently addressed publicly, following previous statements to the contrary,” said the report, a copy of which was provided by a U.N. diplomatic source.

“It also flies in the face of declarations by Iraqi officials,” it said. “Planes are flying from Iran to Syria via Iraq on an almost daily basis, carrying IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) personnel and tens of tons of weapons to arm the Syrian security forces and militias fighting against the rebels.”

It added that Iran was also “continuing to assist the regime in Damascus by sending trucks overland via Iraq” to Syria.

I was recently having a conversation with someone who was all in favor of regime change in the Middle East, but thought that the best way to achieve that was by abandoning our military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. I didn’t say anything to him about it, but I do think it’s important to understand that any kind of intelligence gathering, covert operations, interdiction, espionage, etc. depends on having military bases nearby to support such operations. In particular, covert operations often require military support. You can’t wish the Middle East well, and then pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq. We need to be there to stabilize the region, just like we did in Japan, South Korea, etc. after other wars.

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Top Iranian official assisting Syria to crackdown on protestors

Map of the Middle East

Map of the Middle East

From Haaretz.

Excerpt:

A top Iranian military official is activily aiding the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad in suppressing popular unrest throughout the country, a top member of the National Syrian Council said on Monday.

According to the Syrian official, Kassam Salimani, commander of the Quds Force, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard special forces unit, has arrived in Syria recently and has taken up a spot in the war room which manages army maneuvers against opposition forces.

[...]The Quds Force includes 15,000 elite soldiers who operated, among other locations, in Iraq during the war, and the specialty of which is engaging in unconventional warfare on foreign soil. Among other duties, the Quds Force is in charge of traning and funding Hezbollah.

Salimani’s presence in Syria serves as an indication of the kind of battle that Assad is planning against opposition forces, with the Syrian army reportedly planning to wage all out war against the rebel city of Homs.

[...]The report also claimed that the Syrian army for the first time has been using rockets in order to target houses as well as mortars to hit populated areas. So far, 60 people were reportedly killed and hundreds wounded in this battle, as well as reports of the demolition of seven houses, residents and all.

[...]Syrian opposition organizations that are active internationally are currently trying to gain a political front bypassing the UN Security Council, where a resolution underwritten by the Arab League failed due to Russian and Chinese vetoes on Saturday.

At this stage, opposition leaders are trying to find a way forward, as it is clear that Turkey and the Arab states oppose military action against the Assad regime, and the imposing of economic sanctions will not stop Assad.

Facing Russia and Chinese opposition, and the Iranian threat to open a new front, there is doubt whether a western coalition will agree to act directly against Syria. The question is whether the Free Syrian Army will be able to get additional military assistance, and to arm itself with heavy artillery, tanks and shells so that it will be able to pose a real challenge to the Syrian army, and change the civilian resistance into a real military struggle, much like the rebel forces in Libya.

Where’s Obama? Why isn’t he supporting the civilians and the Syrian resistance?

Well, Obama only commits the US armed forces to wars that are likely to result in radical Islamist governments – as in Libya and Egypt. That’s “smart diplomacy”. America would benefit if the Assad regime were replaced in Syria – and that’s why Obama isn’t going to lift a finger to make that happen.

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Former Ron Paul campaign official explains Ron Paul’s views on foreign policy

From Right Wing News, an exclusive interview with a Ron Paul insider who was working for Ron Paul from 1987-2003.

Excerpt:

Ron Paul was opposed to the War in Afghanistan, and to any military reaction to the attacks of 9/11.

He did not want to vote for the resolution. He immediately stated to us staffers, me in particular, that Bush/Cheney were going to use the attacks as a precursor for “invading” Iraq. He engaged in conspiracy theories including perhaps the attacks were coordinated with the CIA, and that the Bush administration might have known about the attacks ahead of time. He expressed no sympathies whatsoever for those who died on 9/11, and pretty much forbade us staffers from engaging in any sort of memorial expressions, or openly asserting pro-military statements in support of the Bush administration.

On the eve of the vote, Ron Paul was still telling us staffers that he was planning to vote “No,” on the resolution, and to be prepared for a seriously negative reaction in the District. Jackie Gloor and I, along with quiet nods of agreement from the other staffers in the District, declared our intentions to Tom Lizardo, our Chief of Staff, and to each other, that if Ron voted No, we would immediately resign.

Ron was “under the spell” of left-anarchist and Lew Rockwell associate Joe Becker at the time, who was our legislative director. Norm Singleton, another Lew Rockwell fanatic agreed with Joe. All other staffers were against Ron, Joe and Norm on this, including Lizardo. At the very last minute Ron switched his stance and voted “Yay,” much to the great relief of Jackie and I. He never explained why, but I strongly suspected that he realized it would have been political suicide; that staunchly conservative Victoria would revolt, and the Republicans there would ensure that he would not receive the nomination for the seat in 2002. Also, as much as I like to think that it was my yelling and screaming at Ron, that I would publicly resign if he voted “No,” I suspect it had a lot more to do with Jackie’s threat, for she WAS Victoria. And if Jackie bolted, all of the Victoria conservatives would immediately turn on Ron, and it wouldn’t be pretty.

If you take anything from this lengthy statement, I would hope that it is this final story about the Afghanistan vote, that the liberal media chooses to completely ignore, because it doesn’t fit their template, is what you will report.

If Ron Paul should be slammed for anything, it’s not some silly remarks he’s made in the past in his Newsletters. It’s over his simply outrageously horrendous views on foreign policy, Israel, and national security for the United States. His near No vote on Afghanistan. That is the big scandal. And that is what should be given 100 times more attention from the liberal media, than this Newsletter deal.

I think Paul’s comments on World War 2, which I didn’t excerpt here, are pretty disturbing as well. I guess I just don’t believe that he knows enough about national security and counter-terrorism to be President. If I asked him questions like “who is FARC?” or “who is the Quds force?” or “How is Iran working with the Mexican drug cartels?” or “How is Iran working with Hugo Chavez?” then all I’ll get in response is Libertarian rhetoric.

Ron Paul doesn’t know a thing about national security or Islamic terrorism, he can’t quote any specifics at all about who terrorists are, what they’ve done, what they want to do, etc.. It’s like asking a witch doctor to explain modern medicine. You’ll only get conspiracy theories and unverifiable assertions – never any details. Everything Ron Paul asserts about how unilateral disarming would do this, or unilateral withdrawal would do that is really nothing more than his uninformed personal ideology. If you asked him to prove out any of his views on foreign policy, you would just get more excitable old crank rhetoric – devoid of data and history.

The best way to engage a libertarian who thinks that Ron Paul conspiracy theory diplomacy would work is to bring up a specific example when actual counter-terrorism produced results. For example, when KSM was waterboarded and gave up intelligence on the 9/11-style attack on Los Angeles, or when enhanced interrogation techniques led to the location of Osama Bin Laden. You can also point out how Clinton’s policies of appeasement emboldened terrorists to commit actual terrorist attacks against American assets. And how Bush’s invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan did actually dissuade terrorist attacks from occurring. And how large-scale attacks resumed under Obama, e.g. – the NYC subway bomb, the NYC Times Square bomb, the attempted assassination of the Saudi ambassador in New York, etc., to name a few. This is kryptonite to a fever-swamp libertarian who forms his foreign policy reading dead economists from the 1800s – prior to the invention of nuclear weapons.

Like this:

How to defeat Ron Paul in 2012

How to defeat Ron Paul in 2012

We can’t put someone like Ron Paul in charge of national security. It would be like putting a witch doctor in as the Surgeon General. Conspiracy theories are not good foreign policy. The antidote is to talk about the way things work in the real world.

Libertarian: a person who thinks waterboarding a terrorist to prevent a 9/11 attack is “cruel”, but who thinks aborting 50 million unborn babies since 1973 is “just”. Just understand what libertarianism is, and the scope in which it is useful, and don’t apply it to areas where it doesn’t apply.

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CIA Director Leon Panetta confirms that waterboarding led to Osama Bin Laden

CIA Director Leon Panetta confirms that waterboarding / enhanced interrogation techniques led to Osama Bin Laden, in this MSNBC interview by Brian Williams.

Excerpt:

Brian Williams: I’d like to ask you about the sourcing on the intel that ultimately led to this successful attack. Can you confirm that it was as a result of waterboarding that we learned what we needed to learn to go after Bin Laden?

Leon Panetta: You know, Brian, in the intelligence business you work from a lot of sources of information, and that was true here. We had a multiple series of sources that provided information with regards to this situation. Clearly, some of it came from detainees and the interrogation of detainees, but we also had information from other sources as well. So it’s a little difficult to say it was due just to one source of information that we got.

Williams: Turned around the other way, are you denying that waterboarding was in part among the tactics used to extract the intelligence that led to this successful mission?

Panetta: No, I think some of the detainees clearly were — you know, they used these enhanced interrogation techniques against some of these detainees. But I’m also saying that the debate about whether we would have gotten the same information through other approaches I think is always going to be an open question.

Williams: So, final point, one final time: enhanced interrogation techniques, which has always been kind of a handy euphemism in these post-9/11 years, that includes waterboarding.

Panetta: That’s correct.

This is the waterboarding that Obama opposed. Obama opposed enhanced interrogations. Obama opposed military tribunals. Obama opposed CIA prisons. Obama opposed Guantanamo Bay. Obama opposes counter-terrorism in general.

And don’t forget how waterboarding prevented a similar 9/11-style attack on Los Angeles.

Excerpt:

The Central Intelligence Agency told CNSNews.com today that it stands by the assertion made in a May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that the use of “enhanced techniques” of interrogation on al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) — including the use of waterboarding — caused KSM to reveal information that allowed the U.S. government to thwart a planned attack on Los Angeles.

Before he was waterboarded, when KSM was asked about planned attacks on the United States, he ominously told his CIA interrogators, “Soon, you will know.”

According to the previously classified May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that was released by President Barack Obama last week, the thwarted attack — which KSM called the “Second Wave”– planned “ ‘to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into’ a building in Los Angeles.”

KSM was the mastermind of the first “hijacked-airliner” attacks on the United States, which struck the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Northern Virginia on Sept. 11, 2001.

After KSM was captured by the United States, he was not initially cooperative with CIA interrogators.  Nor was another top al Qaeda leader named Zubaydah.  KSM, Zubaydah, and a third terrorist named Nashiri were the only three persons ever subjected to waterboarding by the CIA.

Waterboarding works. It is not torture. We waterboard all our our naval aviators as part of their SERE training.

But do you know what is torture? Partial-birth abortion. We don’t partial-birth abort our naval aviators as part of their SERE training – yet the same people who oppose waterboarding support partial-birth abortion.

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