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No Moral Equivalence
by Seyed Javad
20 April 2002 04:22 UTC
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"No Moral Equivalence"


In recent modern vs.postmodern debates there have been serious debates on Moral Issues and the problem of relativity, relativism, relationism and absolutism.  However, it seems the lack of moral calrity makes its presence more felt when one comes to Political arena and moves to an international level. And in particular when one is about to balance between an internal democratice system and an anarchic global context where emperial needs are the driving force.  Here there is a debate by Mark T. Clark  who is an Adjunct Fellow of the Claremont Institute and Director of National Security Studies at California State University, San Bernardino.

Hope you would enjoy it:



>On a recent 60 Minutes Andy Rooney declared with the
>certitude of a tenured academic that the U.S. should cut
>off all aid from Israel and the Palestinians "if [Ariel]
>Sharon and the Palestinian terrorists persist with their
>arrogance." His commentary was intended to show the
>difficulty of Secretary of State Colin Powell's recently
>failed mission in search of peace. Rooney prefaced his
>conclusion by asserting that Sharon loves this war and
>Arafat cannot stop the terrorists, as if both sides were
>equally to blame.
>In searching for that chimera, "peace in the Middle East,"
>the United States - like Rooney - is obliterating any
>meaningful distinctions between just and unjust wars.
>Compelling Israel to cease defending itself against
>repeated attacks on its citizens conflates legitimate self
>defense with the wholly unlawful - and immoral - slaughter
>of civilians by homicide-bombers.
>To be clear, the war between Israel and Palestinian
>terrorism is not morally equivalent. Let's look at some of
>those distinctions.
>The difference in political regimes: On the Palestinian
>side, Yasser Arafat controls the Fatah faction, which
>controls the Palestinian Authority. Mr. Arafat has never
>been democratically elected and has never had to answer to
>the Palestinian people. Arafat's organization began and
>continues as terrorist organization, in which he alone can
>brandish a pistol at a dissenting member of his ruling
>coalition. Compare this to Israel. In the last decade
>alone, there have been six different Prime Ministers of
>Israel. Mr. Sharon can be voted out and is at considerable
>pains to maintain a ruling coalition, as any Prime Minister
>is compelled to do.
>Political goals: The Palestinian Authority's official
>website tells it all: all maps of the region show only
>Palestine, not Israel. Its goals continue to be the
>eradication of the state of Israel. It was, after all,
>unwilling to accept the Barak proposal for 97 percent of
>the land. On the Israeli side, the goal is security and
>peace in that order, since peace is impossible without
>independence from constant war by the Arab Middle East.
>Strategy and tactics: Under Arafat's leadership, the
>Palestinians have chosen the path of terrorizing Israeli
>citizens. In this, the Palestinians have refused any limits
>on the means they use. Their only restraint so far has been
>strategic, since they cannot defeat Israel with
>conventional military power. The Israelis, on the other
>hand, could wipe out whole enclaves of Palestinian
>terrorists, but have restricted themselves in this latest
>campaign to the limited objective of taking out the
>organizers of terror and confining Arafat to his compound
>(and providing him food and water).
>Lately, the Palestinians have compared their struggle with
>the U.S. in 1776. But in what way are the two comparable?
>Only insofar as they both were/are asymmetrical wars. But
>in moral terms, they are radically different. The goals of
>the infant country in 1776 were never to eliminate Britain
>or to slaughter the wives and children of British soldiers.
>The Founding Fathers structured the political regime to be
>self-governing, answerable to its citizens, and predicated
>on the idea of finding a way to go from bullets to ballots
>in political succession. No such self-restraint, or check
>and balance against corruption, is in evidence by the
>current Palestinian leadership or its terrorists.
>Palestinian apologists claim that Arafat cannot control his
>terrorists. The Israeli incursions into selected enclaves
>of terrorists prove that idea to be a lie. Beyond the
>problem of saying one thing in English and another in
>Arabic, Mr. Arafat actively encourages and promotes
>terrorism. He is supported and abetted in this by rogue
>states like Iran, Iraq, and Syria who support terrorism,
>through finance, weapons, charitable donations
>to "martyrs'" families, and propaganda.
>No peace is possible with such a regime, because peace
>requires compromise. Israel cannot compromise with a
>Palestinian leadership that endorses lying as a tactic in
>negotiations (as Arafat has done), has Israel's destruction
>as a goal, and recognizes no limits on the means to that
>destruction. There can be no mutual interest in seeing
>oneself destroyed.
>Just as the United States is justified in eradicating
>terrorism in the world by targeting states that sponsor it,
>so Israel is justified in taking out terrorist organizers
>in the West Bank. Political solutions short of military
>victory will only foster more demands, and more terror.
>The first step in gaining any peace is replacing the
>Palestinian regime that knows no distinction between just
>and unjust war. The first step for us is in making moral

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