Saturday, April 09, 2005

Isreal, Palestine,Terrorism, and Politics

Recntly there have been some stories in the press accusing Israel of "state sponsored terrorism", related to this incident, and others (as described below):

Early in the morning of April 9, 1948, commandos of the Irgun (headed by Menachem Begin) and the Stern Gang attacked Deir Yassin, a village with about 750 Palestinian residents. The village lay outside of the area to be assigned by the United Nations to the Jewish State; it had a peaceful reputation. But it was located on high ground in the corridor between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Deir Yassin was slated for occupation under Plan Dalet and the mainstream Jewish defense force, the Haganah, authorized the irregular terrorist forces of the Irgun and the Stern Gang to perform the takeover.

In all over 100 men, women, and children were systematically murdered. Fifty-three orphaned children were literally dumped along the wall of the Old City, where they were found by Miss Hind Husseini and brought behind the American Colony Hotel to her home, which was to become the Dar El-Tifl El-Arabi orphanage.
As much as this story has an obvious pro palestinian slant here, the facts of the story are true (never mind the editorial), and there are more of them. The Irgun, and even the Haganah were vicious; and don't even get me started on the Sayeret.

Every successful revolution (including our own BTW, on both sides), and most civil wars (including our own, on both sides) have used terrorist tactics at one point or another. It's part of warfare; certainly a despicable part, but theres no such thing as a clean war, and anyone who thinks there is needs to get their heads out of their asses.

Anyone who thinks the U.S. is "above" terrorism, you're kidding yourselves. We have done, and will do whatever it takes to serve our interests. In these media conscious days, if that means getting third parties to do it for us under the pay of the CIA in Laos, Cambodia, Nicaraugua, Afghanistan etc... how are we any less responsible for the terrorism that happens because of it?

It's a tactic, and a strategy. In particular it's the tactic of forces that do not have the resources to mount a successful guerilla campaign; and the strategy of forces whos objectives are militarily impossible, but politically possible.

The objective of terrorism is to demoralize the civilan population that supports the controlling authority, and to provoke disproportionate and misdirected response from the controlling authority; which will tend to engender support for the terrorists from the disaffected population, and from outside groups opposed to the controlling authority.

Terrorism isn't about military targets, it's about violent politics and propaganda, and it works in this limited arena only. Terrorists arent trying to win wars, they are trying to gain enough support that they no longer need to be terrorists; or failing that create enough chaos that the controlling authority collapses or loses control. Once chaos has trumped control, the terrorists then have a better chance for conducting successful operations given their limited resources which will allow them to take control.

Do I approve of it morally? Sure I do.


The causes of war, and the results of war may be moral, but the conduct of war has nothing to do with morality. War is about forcing your enemy to give in, and any strategy or tactic that causes that to happen is acceptable if it will end the war sooner.

You have to decide what a valid target or tactic is based on your asessment of your enemy, and their reactions to your targeting. In World War II, we decided that unrestricted bombing of civilian targets in Germany and Japan was a valid tactic (not strategy), because it would end the war quicker. Was this action moral? Individually no, but as part of a strategy to end the war quciker?


You have to preform a thought experiment here to understand what I'm talking about. Let's say the united states has been successfully invaded by a hostile foreign power. They have successfully pacified both coasts, but there are still large numbers of patriotic Americans with small arms, some military training, and some good leadership; in the mountain states, the woods and mountains of the south, and in pockets of the prairie.

No-one is happy under the occupation, but the people on the coasts are sufficiently afraid of the control the invaders have that they will not rise up against them. The invaders have brought in large numbers of their civlian population to adminsiter our occupation, and to reap the profits. The invaders also have artillery, air, and armor, but their infrastructure isn't fully established. They tend to have large, dense concentrations of forces, that are spread far apart, with little capability to respond in between, but significant civilian populations and political centers in those locations.

How are you, as a patriotic American, going to restore our republic? Now do you understand why I say terrorism is just another tactic (or strategy, depending on how it's used)?

Note: Read Robert Heinleins 1949 classic "The Sixth Column" if you want to know where that little thought experiment came from BTW. Of course I'd bet most of my readers already have, and recognized it about halfway in. A lot of Heinlein fans think this is one of his worst, but most of those people are liberals who "find it simplistic, and jingoistic, and find its racism, sexism, militarism, and anti-communism uncomfortable to read" (and yes, that's a direct quote).

I only object to terrorism (in the abstract) on tactical and strategic grounds; in that terrorism generally does not work.

Of course, in failing as a tactic and a strategy; terrorism creates more casualties or worse living conditions and oppression among innocents; than would be prevented if it did work (the only moral justification for war). This is clearly immoral.

In fact, terrorism often has the opposite effect intended, in that it strengthens the resolve of those it is directed against. This is accounted for in terrorist doctrine, in that you are trying to provoke a response; however if your opponent has no qualms about mis-targeted attacks, or collateral damage (As the Israelis clearly do not, nor should they), all that will happen is that you and your supporters will be exterminated.

In a population firmly committed to the controlling authority, or to the principles that authority represents, terrorism cannot achieve it's political goals, and can only be successful if it results in significant military gain (generally in the form of support from outside groups).

Unless the population or groups from which you intend to draw support are prepared (and are large enough and/or rich enough) to give you enough support to accomplish more significant military missions, or your target is politically unstable or vulnerable to chaos; terrorism will ultimately be unsuccessful, and merely wasteful of life.

Whatever your moral conception of the Palestinian issue (and mine is they lost 56 years ago, get over it), the Palestinian terrorist campaign is tactically sound (barely), but strategically unsound; which is the definition of how to win battles and lose wars.

It's important to understand, this is intentional.

The Palestinian terrorist campaign is NOT designed to win.

The terrorist campaign and it's associated groups are not capable of significant military victory, because the Arab nations which supposedly support them, are in fact using them as a pawn in their own political machinations. These states explicitly and intentionally deny the terrorist groups the resources necessary to conduct successful operations, becuase it would not suit their purposes to have the conflict end.

Without sufficient state support, the populations from which the terrorists draw direct support are neither large enough, or commited enough to provide enough manpower; nor do they have the resources to provide the equipment and materiel which would be sufficient to ensure military victory.

The only option left if they intend to win, is to cause a collapse of the Israeili system. This is clearly impossible. Israelis know that the cost of political defeat and collapse would be their death.

The terrorists do not intend to win here; excepting the fanatics who believe that if they are devoted enough Allah will sweep Israel into the sea.

The true purpose of the palestinian terror movement is organized crime. Power, romance, money, sex, drugs... whatever. Being an arab peasant is boring and unpleasant. Being a "freedom fighter" however is romantic, and "honorable", and it gives you an excuse to violate Allahs laws as much as you want, and still get the 72 virgins at the end.

They know they can't win, but their lives suck enough that they'd rather die fighting (and drinking, and fucking), then live being fucked over by their governments.