Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Common Squid Ink Responses

Here are some common responses to the article from John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt on the Israel lobby and AIPAC.

Israel and its US supporters are not the only reason we have policy X,Y and Z.

This is bogus becuase Israel doesn't have to be the only reason we have a cerain policy. It just has to be a significant reason.

This report makes claims that are similar to other false claims made in the past (such as the Protocols).

The report doesn't make any claim that resembles any conspiracy theory whatsoever. However, even if there was such a claim, the fact that a conspiracy theory in the past included a similar claim has no bearing on whether the current claim is valid.

The current claim must be reviewed on its merits.

Some other specific points are disucssed here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely. In fact as is pointed out in the LRB piece and in some reviews, this is not a pieced-together "theory." There's plenty of hard copy black and white out there, including AIPAC internal reports seen on this blog and various policy papers by American and Israeli think tanks. One of the more depressing things about the American Jewish community is the universality total irrationality of their approach to this.
We met a guy at the fashion blog JewSchool we'll call OADS, who is a really smart, rational, talented, likeable webmaster, and when charges of Israeli interest in the rape of Iraq came out he ionstantly spat out this totally insane business about how you had to be a part of the goyim conspiracy of conspiracy theorists to buy it. (We demonstrated that on realpolitik alone it was unimaginable that Israel would not be at least interested in the removal of what she identified as her greatest single regional threat, and since then enormous evidence has been found making OADS's claim pretty much insane.)
But it is insane. It is this reflex driven into them in their summer camps and their beat-over-the-head teaching style and their constant mentioning of Holocaust around children. It is this dream they are all forced to suffer, of straw goyim coming for them in their sleep "for no reason but just because they're Jewish." Our enemy is insanity itself.

3/21/2006 05:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Daniel said...

Brian, I am the fellow who wrote the comment re your Milosevic entry. I do not understand your response. You seem to be saying that there was no mass killing or threat of ethnic cleansing--and even if there were, the Serbs were right anyway, and the West had no business getting involved.

As I said, I like your blog, but I can't agree with you here. In my view, the dissolution of Yugoslavia was not inevitable; channelling ethnic nationalism, Milosevic spurred it on. The West could have played a role early on in arguing for and supporting tolerance and multi-culturality, but as in Iraq and other places, the West accepted ethnic-nationalistic dissolution as a foregone conclusion, and actually contributed to it by bargaining with the ethno-nationalist leadership.

Under Milosevic's leadership, Serbia fought for border changes with Croatia and Bosnia, based on the ethnic composition of the areas in question, as if nations must be ethnically pure; however, in Kosovo, where Albanians outnumbered Serbs by at least 15 to 1 even then, Milosevic and his allies argued that Serbia was due Kosovo due to history, and that Kosovar Albanians were not entitled to self-determination: he turned the principal for which he fought for in Croatia and Bosnia on its head. In your response, are you saying that because Kosovo was the cradle of Serbia, that it's population make-up in recent history has no bearing on its status? If you are, why should that principle not apply in Israel/Palestine as well?

Finally, you say that they had nothing on Milosevic. They would have convicted him--but of course you can say that it was a foregone conclusion. However, I want to understand your point of view: is it really your assessment that Milosevic he wasn't responsible for intentional massacres against Bosnian, Croatian, and Kosovar Albanian civilians?

daniel said...
Brian, I'm a fan of your blogs, but I think that the Milosevic remarks were a bit unfair. Yes, the Bush Administration used a similar template created by the Clinton Administration for getting the war started--but there are many dissimilarities in other respects. Was the Serbian war a just war by traditional measures? Well, no, Milocevic was not an aggressor against or an imminent threat to the United States--no question about that. Yet the decade long apartheid conditions and increasing violence in Kosovo, together with the past record of escalating violence created by Milosevic's other wars for Greater Serbia, to me called for the world to take action, even if Russia objected. In the same spirit, there are grounds for military action--if it came to that-- intended to push Israel back behind 1967 borders and to create a settlement winning compensation or return for the 1948 refugees and their descendents. Both problems have threatened world peace. International law must be written to take into account such comtemporary, "small world", circumstances that concern global stability. As well, international law perhaps should also take into account the need to put some controls on gross international law violators--such as countries involved in or threatening massive ethnic cleansing. Granted--these violations must be measured in degrees; otherwise all countries would be considered violators; nonetheless, some reasonable measures must be created. I think both the behavior of Israel and Serbia transgress those measures.

3/18/2006 11:06:33 PM

Brian said...
ell, no, Milocevic was not an aggressor against or an imminent threat to the United States--no question about that. Yet the decade long apartheid conditions and increasing violence in Kosovo, together with the past record of escalating violence created by Milosevic's other wars for Greater Serbia, to me called for the world to take action, even if Russia objected.

Very complex. The main issue is the exaggerated claims made to pull the US and west into the conflict. American's should be given the truth before deciding to enter an armed conflict. I don't think that is too much to ask.

There were no mass graves, nothing like the 200,000 dead that was the standard claim in the MSM for years.

Israel and Serbia are similar in that artifically drawn borders are constant souces of conflict, whether in Serbia or Isreal. How do you handle such conflicts?

While I don't agree with the methods employeed by Milosovich, I think his desired result would have been the better solution. That is, the borders should have been drawn on true ethnic lines. In some cases, this involved separated heavily mixed areas.

Now, he was using a blunt instrument to achieve this. The West should have helped the separation process to proceed in a more orderly way. Instead we chose to enforce the artificial border instead.

Now we basically have a low level conflict and the Serb's are people slowly ethnically cleansed from their homeland. So someone has lost.

I realize this may be too realpolitik for many, but this kind of solution would probably be acceptable to many of Israel's supporters (separating the populations) so I don't see why it can't be pursued many other places.

And I have basically come to the conclusion that these war crimes trials are used to indescrimanately. We are always trying to fit things into the WWII model, and they don't always fit.

They had nothing on Milosovich after four years of trial, and the first count against saddam involved 130 or so people some of whom tried to kill him.

Under Bush, if only 130 Iraqi's during a week that is considered about average.

3/22/2006 01:31:00 AM  
Blogger Brian said...


The main points are:

The numbers of dead was greatly exaggerated - not 200,000 but less than 10,000.

Milosovich was simply preserving territorial integrity of his country, something that he is allowed to do.

The were Serbs in the disputed area (I am not sure about your 1 in 15 numbers- have not seen that before)

The war crimes tribunal was not able to convict in four years.

Kosovo was also actively involved in conflict and killing.

Today it is the Serbs that are being ethnically cleansed in Kosovo, albeit more slowly.

This was a low level regional conflict that was "blown up" into another WWII. Everything gets fit into the Hitler/WWII box and we make mistakes by not demanding more precision in our assessments.

If you don't demand complete and accurate assessments before using the US military, and keep that use limited, you open yourself up to future misuse like Iraq. Once you get into the "rescue" business people like GWB and the neocons will find lots of other place that need rescuing.

Neither Saddam nor Milosovich are Hitler nor anything close. I don't think Milosovich should have been put on trial for war crimes. Or if he should Bush should as well, as he is responsible for the deaths of many, many more people.

Finally, some movement of peoples is/was probably necessary in the Serbian conflict.

See more discussion here.

3/22/2006 06:48:00 AM  

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