Echo

COLLECTIVE GUILT AND COLLECTIVE PUNISHMENT  

Posted by Rezwan

Alan Dershowitz, a professor of law at Harvard is known for his explicit support for Israel. He points out that its OK to bomb Lebanoni civilians as they deserve the collective punishment for their collective guilt:

There is a vast difference — both moral and legal — between a 2-year-old who is killed by an enemy rocket and a 30-year-old civilian who has allowed his house to be used to store Katyusha rockets. Both are technically civilians, but the former is far more innocent than the latter. There is also a difference between a civilian who merely favors or even votes for a terrorist group and one who provides financial or other material support for terrorism.
So all humans are equal, but some are more equal than others. Its interesting because terrorism is also commonly rationalized by its practitioners on ideas of collective guilt and responsibility.

And if you have just overlooked the big picture, Noah Feldman says:
Iran's support for Hamas and Hezbollah is already being cited as evidence by those who want the United States to intervene directly against Iran. If their argument prevails, then Israel's little wars with Hamas and Hezbollah will turn out to have been a pair of proxy wars leading to the big one right around the corner.
The Whiskey Bar takes on Dershowitz and Feldman:
What's the point of having a doctorate if it can't help you justify a few war crimes? Let's leave aside the fact that this was exactly the same argument made by Bin Ladin and Al Qaeda to justify bringing down the twin towers. We're all mature adults here and understand that war propaganda has always been the art of making my black look like the other guy's white.

If "democracies" can and do fight "democracies" -- presumably with the support of their citizens, who otherwise would vote the warmongers out of office -- then what exactly is the point of trying to spread "democracy" throughout the Middle East?
And on the issue of collective guilt:
I am — though I voted against the bastard — somewhat responsible for George W. Bush and all that he has done. But then America is a mature democracy (indeed we are so structurally stagnated that reform is nearly impossible, and corruption and fraud is systemic) that is absolutely in control of its sovereignty and territory, and so the calculus should hold an American much more responsible for the American government’s actions than, say, a Lebanese responsible for its fledgling democracy’s actions.

This entry was posted on July 27, 2006 at Thursday, July 27, 2006 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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