Sunday, August 06, 2006

Total War

For some reason, this news-item got under my skin (reproduced in full).

Yesha Rabbinical Council: During time of war, enemy has no innocents

The Yesha Rabbinical Council announced in response to an IDF attack in Kfar Qanna that "according to Jewish law, during a time of battle and war, there is no such term as 'innocents' of the enemy."

All of the discussions on Christian morality are weakening the spirit of the army and the nation and are costing us in the blood of our soldiers and civilians," the statement said. (Efrat Weiss)
(07.30.06, 17:37)

Yesha — is a Hebrew acronym for Judea, Samaria, and Gaza (West Bank and Gaza Strip) = the occupied territories.

Among other things, it seems to validate the notion of "collective guilt", it leads down a slippery slope to genocide. It echoes bin Laden, who in 1998, formed the International Islamic Front (for Jehad against the US and Israel), and declared war on the US - according to bin Laden, the people in the World Trade Center on 9/11 were legitimate targets. To them, we are the enemy, and killing any of us is right as per this law. It means either that one (stupidly) believes that God is on one's side and that anything one does is therefore good (and thereby the asymmetry is introduced); or else in the symmetrical case, it means might is right; if we kill them, we are right and if they prevail, they are right. This is the morality of the medieval duel.

If Yesha is correctly stating Jewish law, then Jewish law is obscene.

I do not know the Islamic rules of war, Bernard Lewis gives the following sayings to the Prophet Muhammad
("Islam - from the Prophet Muhammad to the Capture of Constantinople"):

"Go in the name of God and in God and in the religion of the Prophet of God! Do not kill the very old, the infant, the child, or the woman. Bring all the booty, holding back no part of it. Maintain order and do good, for God loves those who do good."

A slight improvement over the Jewish law, though one must note that in practice, Christians and Muslims mostly didn't observe these rules.

But there is no reason to debate old religious law. All nations are signatories to various international conventions that make it a crime to target civilians, and this would take precedence over all religious law. The religious types belong in a museum, along with the dinosaurs.

1 comment:

etlamatey said...

But now we got weapons
Of chemical dust
If fire them we're forced to
Then fire them we must
One push of the button
And a shot the world wide
And you never ask questions
When God's on your side.

-Bob Dylan in "With God on Our Side"