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« John Travolta's Agony: Taoist and Confucian Views | Main | Arendt and Confucius »

January 07, 2009


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Neither Mencius nor Sunzi conceptualized terrorism, or even guerilla warfare. Condemn the Israeli strategy if you will, but to argue that these thinkers have anything really relevant to say on one side is very, very weak.

Wait, Sun Tzu didn't conceptualize guerrilla warfare? You've never read him, have you?

The Israeli attack on Gaza: morally backrupt and strategically worthless.



It is a-historical to claim:
Neither Mencius nor Sunzi conceptualized terrorism, or even guerilla warfare"

The translator Griffith offers a chapter on "Sun Tzu and Mao Tse-Tung" citing The Art of War an influence on Mao's On Guerilla Warfare, On the Protracted War, and Strategic Problems of China's Revolutionary War and including a quote from Mao: "We must not belittle the saying in the book of Sun Wu Tzu, the great military expert of ancient China, 'Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.'"

During the Vietnam War, some Vietcong officers studied The Art of War, and reportedly could recite entire passages from memory.

"When the people are not afraid to die, what is the use of threatening them with death?" (Laozi)

Interesting, but these vague quotes from famous people are too high level to stand on their own. If someone were to say the Israelis are attacking strategies, you would say...? If someone said they are attacking alliances, you would say...? Etc. You have not made the connection. There are no facts in your entry that would answer either question, let alone the many others. Thus you have posted your feelings and hypothesis (a good start) rather than a logical conclusion, but you have claimed a conclusion.

The use of "high-flying Foreign Policy Magazine blogger" to qualify a comment also trends towards logical fallacy. The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. Abu may not see a strategy, but have you shown any proof of no strategy? Please show calculations if you would like others to support your conclusion.

I agree with you on Mencius and Sun Tzu, but not on the fact that Israel was hit first---it was Israeli forces who broke the ceasefire on November 4th. In any case, regardless of who started it, this "war" is nothing more than a massacre that is both a crime against humanity and a massive strategic blunder. I agree with Abu Aardvark as well that this will only serve as a recruiting tool for al-Qaeda and other extremist groups.

Hi Davi, I will give it a shot (though bear with me it's been awhile since I have studied formal logic)....

Sam posits that 1) Mencious would condemn the Israeli war based on his statements (as contained in the texts that most people reading here are familiar with) that war is unjust if it a) kills too many innocents b)violence is disproportiant

2) He then "proves" that the Israeli attack on Gaza has a) claimed too many innocents and b) has used disproportiant force (proves not just by stating but by providing links)

Therefore: 3) Mencius would condemn war


To be honest, I think it really is up to you at this point to either
1) Show that Mencius did NOT say the above 1)
2) Show that a) and b) are incorrect


What do you think? As far as the argument high-flying blogger abu was just like an extra aside and was never necessary as part of the proof that you were looking for???

David, the reason why the Israeli massacre is a strategic blunder for several reasons. By targeting civilians they have abdicated what the Chinese classics would have called the "Mandate of Heaven", which is a complex concept but in this context I would say it corresponds to political and moral legitimacy. Having shown time and time again that they are willing to utilize disproportionate force, flaunt international law, and undertake any brutality to achieve their ends, Israel's support around the world is flagging. While the massacre on Gaza may (or may not) buy Israel some temporary security, they have utterly destroyed any political capital they may have had and this is bad for their long term security and for the image they will impart to posterity.

Moreover, undertaking the actions that they have is only going to increase Palestinian support for Hamas and act as a recruiting tool for other extremist groups such as al-Qaeda. The Palestinians did not vote for Hamas out of love for their cause, they voted for them because they were fed up with the corruption and inefficiency of Fatah. Given that Hamas was voted in not because of their own merits, but because of the corruption of their rivals, it's safe to say that in time the Palestinians would have tired of them and elected other representatives. But now Hamas can paint itself as champion of the people, as an underdog attacked by a brutal oppressor. And Palestinians who have had friends and family killed will find themselves more open to a message of violence and revenge. The long term effect of the assault on Gaza will be to bolster violent resistance against Israel amongst the Palestinians.

And in a wider context, the assault on Gaza will have the same effect. In his testimony Khalid Sheik Mohammad cited US support for Israel as one of his key motivations for joining al-Qaeda and attacking the US. This is also routinely cited by al-Qaeda terrorists as a strong motivation as well---they even go so far as to refer to Americans as "Crusaders". Israel's behavior will only reinforce this perception in the Arab and Islamic worlds, and this will in turn bolster support for international terrorism against Israel, the US, and Europe. Therefore from a purely strategic standpoint, Israeli terrorism harms Israel in the long-run.

And obviously a strong ethical case can be made against killing civilians, especially women and children. The UN claims 25% of all casualties are civilians, but according to independent physicians working in Gaza, this number only includes women and children. The other 75% of the casualties are Palestinian males, and therefore they are assumed to be "terrorists". The upshot of this false assumption is that the civilian casualty count is no doubt much, much higher than it is made out to be. And keep in mind this is happening after over a year and a half of blocking all humanitarian aid to Gaza, effecting making the Gaza Strip the biggest open-air prison in the world.

Strategic blunder? It all depends upon what the decision makers in Israel wants... peaceful cooexistence or total domination and ethnic cleansing? Aparrently the aim is the second one, which is insanity for a third party, but again, rational from the Zionists point of view.
This war on the people of Gaza isn’t really about rockets. Nor is it about “restoring Israel’s deterrence,” as the Israeli press might have you believe. Far more revealing are the words of Moshe Yaalon, then the Israeli Defense Forces chief of staff, in 2002: “The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people.”

Nazi Germany tried it once... Japanese imperialists tried it once and they were wildly successful in their own times on their once colonial subjects ... this current colonial domination will end in its own time, just a lot of innocent blood will be wasted ...

Dershowitz on Israel and Proportionality


I appreciate your verdict on the disproportionality of the Israel action. Actually, it is such a mild word but even that Prof Dershowitz would strongly disagree. That patent irrationality, to a self-styled barbarian like me, is such an irony.

It reminds me that many moons ago in my wild idealistic days, my law school buddy and I were translating Dershowitz word by word into Chinese and we were treating his book as semi-bible and him as demi-god. Now, finally, he is showing off his Zionist Nazi ideologue color and the blood of the innocents in his bloody hands ... moral bankruptcy in the core of the empire in a sense he and his fellow-traveler could dominate the intellectual discourse and make sensible discussion almost impossible and maybe that is the burden and millstone that each and every empire have to carry ... till death by exhaustion ...


Will you do the sane thing? Or will you endorse, enable and justify ethnic cleansing that is ongoing ? The world and the humanity collectively hold its breath for you. Alas, your "Mandate of Heaven" , is at stake. "The day, Obama, and all things stay for YOU."

The eyes of WORLD are upon you,
All the live long day.
The eyes of WORLD are upon you,
You cannot get away.
Do not think you can escape them,
At night, or early in the morn'.
The eyes of Humanity are upon you,
Till Gabriel blows his horn!


Cabinet decides to push ahead with Gaza offensive,7340,L-3653492,00.html


The prime minister added that "Israel has never allowed any outside source to determine its right to defend its citizens. The IDF will continue to act to defend the citizens of Israel and carry out the missions laid before it in the operation".

2. "Democracy" at work

Poll: 76% oppose truce without Shalit

War and Peace Index shows Jewish public supports Gaza operation, objects to ending it if kidnapped soldier is not released as part of agreement, even if rocket fire stops. Arab public conveys opposite views,7340,L-3653393,00.html

A humanitarian and protection crisis unfolding$File/full_report.pdf

Since the Israeli military operation “Cast lead” began on 27 December until 8 January (4:00PM), 758
Palestinians have been killed—approximately 42% of whom were women (60) and children (257)
according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. The number of children fatalities has increased by
250% since the beginning of ground operation on 3 January (see chart below). 56% of Gaza’s population are children.

It is about Gaza and it is in the news all over the world:

PM: Rice left embarrassed in UN vote

"The Security Council resolution passed on Friday calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza was a source of embarrassment for US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who helped prepare it but ultimately was ordered to back down from voting for it and abstain, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday.

Olmert: The world forgets Hamas uses people as human shields

Rice did not end up voting for Resolution 1860, thanks to a phone conversation Olmert held with US President George Bush shortly before the vote, the prime minister told a meeting of local authority heads in Ashkelon as part of a visit to the South.

Upon receiving word that the US was planning to vote in favor of the resolution - viewed by Israel as impractical and failing to address its security concerns - Olmert demanded to get Bush on the phone, and refused to back down after being told that the president was delivering a lecture in Philadelphia. Bush interrupted his lecture to answer Olmert's call, the premier said. "

And nobody could give a better comment than my favorite lady, elaine:

Ah, hubris! Isn’t it wonderful. Olmert can’t help but brag about how he, via AIPAC, owns the President of the United States, not to mention, nearly all of Congress. These treasonous people listen ONLY to AIPAC and obey ONLY AIPAC. This is absolutely…I am speechless. The greatest fear of all empires, all nations, is for some minority group to take over and then force the entire country off course, doing things on the behalf of the minority aliens. Since the Jews who live in America support Israel over America, this means, they will be tempted to commit treason. Namely, screw America so Israel can flourish.
The US President represents us. If he is seen as a panderer who rushes away from public business to take ORDERS from a foreigner, this diminishes US power tremendously. Many foreign rulers know the way to get in control of our leaders and they use this power ruthlessly: campaign finance raising. After retirement, US Presidents go about the planet, starting with Reagan, asking for money from foreign powers who are reaming us out in trade and other ways. Israel is the worst of the lot: it not only runs an increasingly big trade surplus with the US but also gets the lion’s share of US aid money and a great deal of military support.

If the Jews fear anti-semites, why is their leader boasting to the entire planet, about how our President kow-tows to Israel? Eh? If this isn’t a bucketload of gasoline being thrown on more than one fire! This very action is so provocative, Congress should censor the President [hell, arrest the bastard!] and the Israeli ambassador should be recalled.


And this is from UK:

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: How Israel gets away with murder - Commentators, Opinion - The Independent

Even more strikingly, Israel has ignored the Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire. One reason for this is that the only Western country that really counts is the United States, and Israel has for many years been able to rely on unconditional American support. Having threated to veto previous draft resolutions, the US took part in drafting the security council resolution calling for a ceasefire, and was evidently going to vote for it.

Then late on Thursday the American representative shocked other council members by abstaining. This volte face came on direct orders from the White House, after president Bush had spoken to Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, and the Israelis have taken abstention as permission to continue their action. “Israel is not going to show restraint,” Tzipi Livni, the Israeli Foreign Minister, told The Washington Post yesterday, understandably enough in the circumstances.

Although Israel is sometimes described as an American client state, which receives huge financial subsidy from Washington, she is unique as a client state: she can do exactly as she likes in the knowledge that she will never be seriously restrained by her sponsor. Even when the White House is privately irritated by Israeli actions, Congress is absolutely reliable, never knowingly outbid in its unswerving loyalty. During the bombardment of Lebanon in the summer of 2006, the House of Representatives passed a resolution of total solidarity with Israel by 410 votes to eight, and the Senate has just passed another on a hand vote, not even bothering to take a formal tally.

Anyone who thought that there would be a change of heart and direction after the last American election hasn’t been concentrating. The Senate in question is the newly elected, strongly Democratic one, which has just met for the first time. During the presidential campaign Barack Obama went out of his way to endorse Israel. He has appointed in the form of Hillary Clinton perhaps the strongest supporter of Israel ever to serve as Secretary of State, not excluding Henry Kissinger, a Jewish refugee from Hitler, though even she is surpassed in her commitment by Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s chief of staff.


Here is elain's conclusion:

" all our mainstream media is IGNORING THIS STORY TODAY. If it makes the news, it will be after the entire planet knows how our President is a stepping stool for Israel’s rulers. And this is very bad. Obama better slap down these guys, and do it fast and do it hard. If he doesn’t, he will be on his knees while some arrogant Jewish leader pisses on him, too. Gah."

What can I say, I just hope it is all unreal, but it is real,it is surreal.


Kudos to India!!!That is moral leadership and "soft power" in operation ...

India slams Israel's Gaza incursion
Sun, 04 Jan 2009 22:02:02 GMT

Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee

India strongly condemns Israel's excessive use of military force in Gaza and calls for an 'immediate' halt to Israel's offensive in the strip.

"The retaliation by Israel (to what was called Hamas rocket attacks) was not only disproportionate, but totally unacceptable," Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters in Kolkata.

"There should not be any further aggravation as innocent people at Gaza are being killed... There is immense suffering of the people there," the minister said on Sunday.

Also, in a fourth statement this week on the latest situation in Palestine, India's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said India supports all efforts aimed at securing an immediate ceasefire.

The statement and remarks come as Israel's strikes on Gaza entered a ninth day with Tel Aviv rejecting an international proposals for a ceasefire in the region.

Israel launched what it called 'Operation Cast Lead' against the Gaza Strip on December 27 and escalated the incursion into a ground offensive late Saturday night.

The Israeli offensive has so far killed at least 520 people, including 50 children, and wounded more than 2,790 others.

The Israeli bombardment has also reduced much of the infrastructure in Gaza to rubble but has failed to stop Palestinian resistance forces

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