Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Viva la Muerte

I have no difficulty choosing sides when one side is in love with dying (and that usually means killing - they never just go off into a field by themselves and kill themselves). I have had discussions break off because the interlocutor had no real explanation for the suicidal/murderous nature of his hero. The love of purifying death is one of the first hints of fascism.

Alan Dershowitz explains this very clearly.

In particular:

Civilian casualties also increase when terrorists operate from within civilian enclaves and hide behind human shields. This relatively new phenomenon undercuts the second basic premise of conventional warfare: Combatants can easily be distinguished from noncombatants. Has Zahra Maladan become a combatant by urging her son to blow himself up? Have the religious leaders who preach a culture of death lost their status as noncombatants? What about "civilians" who willingly allow themselves to be used as human shields? Or their homes as launching pads for terrorist rockets?

The traditional sharp distinction between soldiers in uniform and civilians in nonmilitary garb has given way to a continuum. At the more civilian end are babies and true noncombatants; at the more military end are the religious leaders who incite mass murder; in the middle are ordinary citizens who facilitate, finance or encourage terrorism. There are no hard and fast lines of demarcation, and mistakes are inevitable -- as the terrorists well understand.


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