Wednesday, July 19, 2006

MORALITY OF THE VICTORS:

First of all, Israel's foreign minister Tzipi Livni says,

"The diplomatic process is not intended to reduce the window of opportunity for military operations, but will take place in parallel."

It seems Mr. Livni has redefined the word 'diplomacy'. Diplomatic proceedings are supposed to precede all other actions. Military action is supposed to be a last resort. In any case, diplomatic proceedings are not supposed to be held "in parallel" with military action. That sounds outlandish to me personally.

To be frank, Israel's actions are sounding like typical political maneuvers, where one uses a particular document, event, or law, as an excuse for exercising some large scale agenda, which often is more of a personal vendetta. One of the cornerstones for the whole campaign seems to be one document, UN Resolution 1559, which calls for disbanding of Hezbollah. Does that also call for doing it by 'any means necessary', including killing innocent civilians? But of course, this is a question that has haunted us through many wars; are the 'accidental' or downright deliberate deaths of civilians during destruction of military forces and installations justified?

If history is anything to go by, it seems that this action is justified only for the victors. During World War 2, millions of civilians were killed by both sides during military target destruction. Although the allies never participated in anything as grotesque as the Holocaust, their killing of hundreds of thousands during strategic bombing raids on Dresden and Tokyo (where a deliberately provoked firestrom killed one hundred thousand civilians in one night, men women and children, more than that killed by the atomic bomb) are morally equivalent to the greatest travesty. None of the perpetrators of these acts, including Pacific commander Curtis Le May, or "Butcher" Harris, head of British Bomber Command, were prosecuted, whereas at Nuremberg and the Japanese war tribunal, scores were tried and hanged on similar accounts (Interestingly, the one dissenting vote at the Japanese tribunal was of an India judge). But LeMay summed up the repurcussions pithily; "If we had lost, we would all have been tried as war criminals".

The more important question of course reaches even deeper; how do we define morality, and is it context specific? Whatever the etymology, one thing is clear, distinctions have been seen throughout history. The most recent example is the US 'War on Terror' where the running philosophy again seems to be, 'If we do it, it's counter terrorism. If they do it, it's terrorism'. Does morality always have to take sides to preserve a structured world order? Has it become the bitter truth of the day? This is one of the pressing questions of our times.

So it seems that punitive action in this little war in the middle east will depend on who is seen as the 'victor' although as someone said, 'in war, there are no victors'. Is anybody listening?

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

very well said dude. Unfortunately, no one seems to be listening.

-naveen.

12:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It seems Mr. Livni has redefined the word 'diplomacy'".

Israel's foreign minister is a lady. Albeit with a lot of balls, she still has to a Ms. Livni.

Anamika.

7:58 PM  
Blogger Ashutosh said...

Ah! The confusion can be easily understood I guess...Israel's first prime minister David Ben Gurion called Golda Meir "the only man in the cabinet"!

9:25 PM  

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