Yassin’s death: right or wrong?

Yassin’s death: right or wrong?

Yesterday, the Vatican condemned the Israeli assassination of the founder of the terrorist group Hamas. It warned that vendettas and revenge killing would be a setback for the quest for peace. Maybe.

On the other hand, it’s not like Yassin was the leader of just another Palestinian group. These are hardcore killers, responsible for most of the worst suicide bombings. It could be argued that killing Yassin may produce some violence in the short runt.com
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192.168.1.1
2004-03-23 14:45:21
2004-03-23 18:45:21
The question is whether Israel is engaged in a law enforcement action or a war of self-defense. In the same way, John Kerry wants us to arrest and try al Quaeda terrorists rather than fight them where they are.

Was America wrong to launch a Hellfire missile from a Predator UAV at a car in Yemen carrying members of al Quaeda?

If this is a war on terror, then such actions are not out of bounds.

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8929

dom@bettnet.com
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192.168.1.1
2004-03-23 15:28:07
2004-03-23 19:28:07
I agree with what Duncan Maxwell Andersons says at HMS Blog:

the problem is that Israel has not always been blameless.  They share in being violent and threatening over the years.  Does the end justify the means? Yes in the early days the non-Jews in Palestine (BTW, they only came to be known as “Palestinians” in this centruy) had the entire goal of “pushing the Jews into the sea” and it’s my opinion that the Jewish fight is still one of survival.

But, I’m still not convinced that survival means you get a free pass to assasinate. Or do their own bombing.

Then again, does Yassin not set himself as military in this fight and thus as a legit target of war? But again, does this legitimize assasination?  Why not capture? Why not a trial? Why not justly executing?  Would it really prove more costly to Israeli lives to give him a swift and quick trial/execution?

ahh, if only Abraham would have relied on the Lord to send him a son…

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8943

dom@bettnet.com
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192.168.1.1
2004-03-23 20:32:49
2004-03-24 00:32:49
Jen,

Are you saying that you should never try to kill the opposing general in a war? But it is okay to kill his soldiers? Would it have been wrong to assassinate Hitler in 1942? It seems to me that you could shorten a war and prevent more death if you killed the guys running it.

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8945

dom@bettnet.com
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192.168.1.1
2004-03-23 22:42:42
2004-03-24 02:42:42
You know, I’d be more inclined to listen to all this moralizing about Israel’s bad acts if I heard even one tiny bit of the same condemnations every time there’s a suicide bombing. How many press releases get issued from the European capitals condemning the Palestinian Authority or Hamas when an Israeli bus blows up or a restaurant or disco is destroyed? But when evil old man (his wheelchair didn’t seem to slow him down any) is killed in a surgical strike, the condemnations fly.

Does this make sense to anyone?

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8958

vjmorton2001@yahoo.com
http://cinecon.blogspot.com
66.44.54.217
2004-03-24 13:29:15
2004-03-24 17:29:15
Al:

“beyond the requirements for putting the combatants out of the conflict”

Sheikh Yassin declared himself and his group at war with Israel. He was tried and imprisoned once before only to become the rallying point for more terrorism. Thus his death was required. And please, don’t give me any nonsense about less lethal means. Once war is joined, not every act has to pass that test. We were not required to try to arrest and try every Hans and Fritz in the Wehrmacht before firing on their unit. If the Israelis cared only about killing Palestinian leaders with no regard for civilians, Arafat would have been a puddle under a rock years ago.

Oh, and “war on terrorism” is only a novel sophistry if “terrorism” be a novel sophistry. Bali, Madrid, 9/11 and the daily risk of getting on a bus in Israel are not novel sophistries.

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8960

vjmorton2001@yahoo.com
http://cinecon.blogspot.com
66.44.54.217
2004-03-24 13:40:29
2004-03-24 17:40:29
Al wrote:

“… lying, perjury, bad faith, treachery, as well as the direct slaughter of the innocent, wanton destruction, and the lawless pillage and outrage of cruder times, are, as far as the worst of them go, A THING OF THE PAST AMONG CIVILIZED NATIONS.vidently not so.

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8961

vjmorton2001@yahoo.com
http://cinecon.blogspot.com
66.44.54.217
2004-03-24 13:44:55
2004-03-24 17:44:55
“War on terrorism is a sophistry.”

Why? Just because you donnformation received.

To pick an example from another issue, when Norma McCorvey (“Jane Roe” of the “vs. Wade” Roes) was pro-abortion, she was a hero to the pro-choice groups, the Rosa Parks of abortion. When she had her religious conversion and became pro-life, those groups said “this was an issue about all women’s right to choose, not a single woman’s. Plus she is free not to exercise it,” and there also came behind-the-back mutterings of “traitor,” wondering how much she was bought off for, and the usual conspiratorial machinations.

That kinda displaces your question: “why the existential decision?” Here’s my hypotheses.

On the left, (1) Because they see the Middle East through the lens of “colonialism” and “imperialism,” with Israel as the colonizing Western society oppressing a “backward” “people of color”; (2) Because in the West, Jews have been long among us and Muslims have been “Other,” and thus they must be the misunderstood ones; (3) Because Israel is the stronger party and the left not only has a strong pacifist/peacenik streak, but generally seems to believe not only that “might doesn’t make right” but that “might makes wrong”; (4) Because Israeli success in building a modern society from nothing in 40 years and leaving the non-oil Arabs in the dust is a rebuke to their dependencia understanding (sic) of economics and dredges up the old alliance between left-wing anti-capitalism and anti-Semitism; (5) Because, and I do mean this seriously, of a perverse “anti” quality—whatever the dominant culture celebrates and whoever the US considers an ally must on that basis be opposed.

On the right, support for Israel is generally much greater for the mirror-image of those five reasons. But some residue of old right-wing anti-Semitism remains of course (from the 19th century to WW2, anti-Semitism was more a province of the right than the left) and that probably accounts for some conservative animus for Israel.

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8966

vjmorton2001@yahoo.com
http://cinecon.blogspot.com
66.44.54.217
2004-03-24 15:08:42
2004-03-24 19:08:42
“Riiiiight. Holding someone and then giving them over to ransom for assassins is ‘trying’ incarceration as a means to keep someone out of the conflict.”

Who Israel ransomed Yassin for the first time around is neither here nor there. Do you really think Hamas would not resort to kidnappings or hostage-taking of civilians or even soldiers on patrol inside pre-1967 Israel to trade Yassin out of jail? Learn your history. That is the oldest terrorist tactic in the book (far older than suicide bombing), and it is something Israel has been forced into repeatedly as democracies are wont, sometimes even just for the remains of dead Israelis.

“The thread here, that you keep missing, is that Israel has to give up assassinations.”

Attacking a war enemy’s leadership is not “assassination” unless it be the case that all attacks on enemy units are “assassination.”

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8968

dom@bettnet.com
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192.168.1.1
2004-03-24 15:18:42
2004-03-24 19:18:42
Jen,

We actually tried to assassinate Saddam. That’s what all those first night of the war strikes war and that big bomb on the restuarant we thought he was meeting his top lieutenants in. Now, as you say we didn’t try to assassinate him before the war. That’s because we were under a cease fire agreement. However, Israel is at war with Hamas.

The closest analog is the Barbary pirates of the early 19th century, the terrorists of their day. We didn’t try to arrest them. We declared war on them and wiped them out. No one hears much about pirates on the Barbary Coast these days.

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8969

vjmorton2001@yahoo.com
http://cinecon.blogspot.com
66.44.54.217
2004-03-24 15:37:00
2004-03-24 19:37:00
“I donahoo.com http://cinecon.blogspot.com 66.44.54.217 2004-03-24 17:04:34 2004-03-24 21:04:34 Al:

How is “assassination” different from “killing” (in Romance languages, they’re generally the same word)?

Where in the Catholic Encyclopedia or the Summa are age, physical health or location cited as relevant moral characteristics for determining the licitness of a target over and above that person’s SELF-DECLARED STATUS (“we are at war with Israel and I lead our group”)?

Once war is declared, self-declared soldiers are always legitimate targets. Nothing in the Catholic Encyclopedia or the Summa says otherwise.

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8973

dom@bettnet.com
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192.168.1.1
2004-03-24 17:27:09
2004-03-24 21:27:09
I don’t see what Yassin’s wheelchair has to do with anything. And by Al’s logic, surgical strikes on rear-area headquarters are out of bounds. I don’t understand why.

Look, if Israel had sent a battalion of soldiers into Gaza to arrest Yassin, is anyone naive enough to believe that there would have been fewer casualties? I think not.

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8974

vjmorton2001@yahoo.com
http://cinecon.blogspot.com
66.44.54.217
2004-03-24 17:39:04
2004-03-24 21:39:04
Al, quit talking as though Sheikh Yassin’s health is in any way relevant to his status as a combatant. He is a commander and leader.

“Ambush in ongoing combat is a different matter.”

Bzzzzt … wrong answer. That’s EXACTLY what this is. Hamas has declared the battle to be a perpetual war against all Israelis at all times, an existential war to the finish—“perpetual war” in your phrase. It is merely reaping what it sowed.

Further you cannot cite the Catholic Encyclopedia as noting that assassination is wrong as some absolute moral principle here. What it says “in black and white above” is that “assassination … have met with common condemnation, thus closing the loophole of obscurity in the natural law.” In other words, it’s contrary to common behavior and norms. But that’s not an absolute principle in itself, it’s a mutable practice dependent on the customs of the nations.

At a minimum it seems licit against a group that declares itself as engaged in an existential war of populations in which all people at all times are legitimate targets.

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8975

dom@bettnet.com
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192.168.1.1
2004-03-24 17:54:11
2004-03-24 21:54:11
Oh, and the members of Hamas are not citizens of Israel.

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8977

vjmorton2001@yahoo.com
http://cinecon.blogspot.com
66.44.54.217
2004-03-24 18:34:10
2004-03-24 22:34:10
The “battle” here is Hamas’ determination—which is not “2 wrongs make a right,” but a determination of what the nature of the conflict is (which then determines what might be right or wrong).

Your first paragraph is an absolute muddle because it’s trying to think in terms of a classical-warfare category (state citizenship) that does not apply to Hamas’ war on Israel (not an abstract “war on terrorism”) because Hamas is not a state. Get out and about; not everything in the world fits into Thomistic categories and the spread of terrorist groups and the modern use of terror on civilian populations is one of them.

“the normal just war rules arise from immutable natural law, not from positive Church (or international law) precept”

Dude, the Catholic Encyclopedia passage you cite on assassination proves EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE. Some of the rules of war (including assassination) and even the natural-law considerations therein are EXPLICITLY based on international custom.

And Al, you have no legitimate standing to refer to anyone as a heretic. And you know that.

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8979

vjmorton2001@yahoo.com
http://cinecon.blogspot.com
66.44.54.217
2004-03-24 20:38:02
2004-03-25 00:38:02
Confronted with an account like this one at David Morrison’s blog,

http://davidmorrison.typepad.com/sed_contra/2004/03/suicide_bombers.html

The likes of al in their legalism and a priori categories of selective outrage would no doubt accuse the Israelis of humiliating children, of treating children as combatants, of forced public nudity and probably child pornography (because all are “against the natural law” which supposedly is unaffected by circumstances like … uh, this case).

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8982

vjmorton2001@yahoo.com
http://cinecon.blogspot.com
66.44.54.217
2004-03-24 23:04:47
2004-03-25 03:04:47
“Try learning something before bloviating and thinking about whatally what happens when a bishop deeply involved in the Scandal refuses to step down? Now we know.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli

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