no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics

The Right to Exist

January 18th, 2009

The Arab-Israeli conflict is interesting as a microcosm things gone terribly wrong. There are no “good guys.” American financial and military support does not mitigate Israeli criminality (I’m thinking about cluster bombs, and phosphorous munitions, dozens of recorded civilian massacres, the intentional firing on a U.S. vessel, just to name a few.) But it doesn’t justify the Palestinian criminality, either (e.g., indiscriminate shelling of civilians).

All men have the right to exist. All men have the right to self-sovereignty. But the nation of Israel deserves no special treatment. I reserve no special judgment for Israel, Japan, Zimbabwe/Rhodesia, Algeria or Sweden. None of these nations has any more right to exist than any other, which is to say no right at all. Do not confuse “the nation of Israel” for the people living within its arbitrarily defined, and violently maintained geographical borders. Like all men, the people of Israel have the right to exist. But so do the Palestinians.

But take this hypothetical: What if some native American tribes smuggled ordnance and artillery into their reservations, and began lobbing rockets into Mesa, Arizona? Of course, the U.S. would impose martial law,

with roadblocks, warrantless traffic stops, and house-to-house searches…until the miscreants were rounded up, whereupon they would be put on trial for murder.

Would the United Nations squawk? Would the French try to impose a “cease-fire”? Would demonstrators protest this violation of Apache sovereignty by blocking traffic in London or looting and burning parked cars in Paris?

I certainly hope they would, but probably, they would not. (Maybe they would, much of the world doesn’t like teh America anymore!)

From the likelihood that they would not which stems from their moral bankruptcy, Vin concludes that they should not be doing so now, in solidarity with the Palestinian cause. Which is exactly backwards. The world can sit idly by and watch an atrocity play out (Darfur, anyone?) while doing nothing about it whatsoever. Inaction does not excuse the atrocity as anything less. Much of the world’s public opinion is against Israel in her conflict with the Palestinians; and rightly so.

Somebody started it.

It wasn’t the Palestinians. It wasn’t really Israel, either, which did not exist. It was the old guard who divvied up parts of the Ottoman empire after the first world war; the failure of the arbitrary borders established by the Westphalian systemwhich is ultimately responsible for the conflict. And it is the American empire which prolongs and intensifies it. This is not to excuse the Palestinian acts of war. Then again, Israel is not as much the victim is she’d have you believe. In the past, she’s shelled refugee camps, or bombed U.N. checkpoints or used white phosphorous against personnel, or beseiged Lebanon (again), or bulldozed houses with people inside, or smart-bombed 8-story apartment buildings at 5am.

Vin carries on, raising another question which, if answered consistently, reveals the truth of the matter:

Shall the descendents of the Saxons start killing the descendents of the Normans, since “England has been the aggressor state since 1066”?

…But if it’s true that “Israel has been the aggressor state since 1948,” it’s equally true that America has been an aggressor state since we started moving west of the Appalachians — if not long before — and that any descendent of any Indian tribe has a “right” to murder you, your spouse and children in your sleep, at any time.

The state is always the aggressor. Always. And this is the problem, when “America” champions liberty and equality and what-not, but you open the cover and inside the book you see the centuries long slave-trade, the systematic exploitation of a people, the forced, mass exodus of another. The origins of this country are no better (and perhaps no worse) than those of any other: it was founded in conflict, erected and maintained by violence.

It’s an unsatisfying, discomforting conclusion, isn’t it, when logic is applied consistently without favoring one time or place or ruling class?  America is the aggressor state, and has been since we started moving west of the Appalachians. The passage of time does not absolve the sins of the past.

If teh America was at war with teh Anastazi, if the American government was sending laser-guided bombs down the chimneys of civilian-occupied apartment buildings, systematically interning hundreds of thousands of people, etc., I should hope that the rest of the world would condem these actions. Likewise, we should condemn the American government for its crimes, past and present. Its actions contra the Indigineous nations, the Japanese, the “Negroes” (to name a few), the atrocities carried out upon those people, by “our” government, have few rivals in the annals of Imperial Infamy. If the Anastazi people were reborn, and began shelling Mesa, Arizona, well, blowback is a bitch. Isn’t it.

That said, attacking random whiteys is not the answer.  The descendants of the Indian tribes have no “right” to murder as retribution for the sins committed by white men who lived here centuries before my ancestors from Prussia arrived in (give or take) 1876, nor do the great grandsons of freed slaves have an explicit “right” to take their 40-and-a-mule from some random whitey, either.  It is the government against which these aggrieved descendants have rightful claims.  The government is the problem, the amorphous, fictitious agglomeration of “society” of the people and by the people and for the people.  The government is and was the perpetrator of these crimes, of the violence writ large, of oppression.

And these evils will not stop as long as she exists.




no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics