Sunday, November 29, 2015
Leftist moral blindness rolls on at New Matilda
Lissa Johnson, the tame psychologist at New Matilda, ignores most of the facts in her latest essay. Someone has criticized her writing without getting to the heart of what she gets wrong so she gives a rather supercilious reply. I excerpt the introduction to it below. The last paragraph below encapsulates what she refuses to see and it doesn't get better from there on. She deplores the Islamist attacks in Paris but adds:
"Our grief must be grief for all humanity, and all innocent victims, including victims of our own collective violence. I cited civilians killed and injured by US drone attacks in Yemen as examples"
Get it? American attacks ON terrorists are as bad as attacks BY terrorists!
To adapt a saying by Mao, terrorists are fish that swim in the sea of the people so they are hard to kill without killing bystanders. But we have to kill them before they kill others. And the solution to that dilemma adopted by the American forces has been a very consistent one. The Obama administration has been most careful in vetoing strikes where there is a likelihood of civilian casualties involved. On some accounts two out of three target requests from the military are turned down.
The information available to U.S. military planners is of course not always perfect so some civilian casualties do occur. The only way of totally avoiding civilian casualties would be to do nothing and let the terrorists continue on in their murderous ways. I guess that's what Lissa Johnson wants.
And American caution is not a recent development, the "JAGs" were regularly a great problem for American military men on the ground in Afghanistan. Has Lissa ever heard of the JAGs? If so, she promptly forgot it. JAG stands for the Judge Advocate General's Corps, a branch of the U.S. military that aims to keep the actions of U.S. troops ethical and legal. And in JAG guidelines, killing civilians is NOT legal. So in Afghanistan they refused many targeting requests on terrorists because it was not totally clear that they were terrorists -- sometimes leading to loss of life among American troops.
So our Lissa sees no difference between the actions of an armed force that goes out of its way to AVOID civilian casualties and an armed group who deliberately aim to INFLICT civilian casualties. Can there be bigger ethical blindness that that? I can't see it. She is not so much a disgrace as a pathetic Leftist fraud
I have recently been asked by news website the Tasmanian Times to respond to an article by freelance journalist Shane Humpherys, critiquing my analysis of the psychology behind the tragic Paris attacks.
Given that replying offers the opportunity of a case study in the psychology of systemic violence, and the metaphorical head-kicking that can come from challenging the status quo, I thought it was worthwhile providing a response.
My initial article outlined the shared psychological foundations – and human cost – of all intergroup violence, state-sanctioned or not. One main point was that victims of Western violence are just as human, just as dead or injured, and their families just as bereaved as victims of terrorist attacks.
I argued that if the Paris attacks are to be an attack on all humanity, then our grief must be grief for all humanity, and all innocent victims, including victims of our own collective violence. I cited civilians killed and injured by US drone attacks in Yemen as examples.