Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Pound of flesh

Heavy-duty poly-sci theory corner:  "Double standards and the rules-based order" (Robinson) (my emphasis in red):
 "When the Americans invaded Afghanistan, captured Taleban were not treated as prisoners of war, but as criminals. Take, for instance, the case of Omar Khadr, which is well known in Canada. He was 15 years old when he allegedly threw a grenade at an American soldier, killing him. This happened in the midst of combat. According to the traditional concept of the moral equality of soldiers, Khadr had a perfect right to throw the grenade after the Americans attacked the house in which he was living. But he was tried and convicted of murder. According to the new American interpretation of the law, the unjust side does not have the right to shoot back. On the other hand, the Americans and their allies have extra rights. This has not been taken to the extent of saying that it’s all right directly to target civilians, but the concept of proportionality has been stretched fairly far, so that a very large number of civilian deaths as so-called collateral damage is permitted. In one interesting case, two Israelis, Amos Yadlin, the former head of Israeli military intelligence, and Asa Kasher, a prominent ethicist, have argued that the life of an Israeli soldier is worth just as much as that of an Israeli civilian, and that soldiers shouldn’t therefore have to put themselves at great additional risk of harm in order to protect Palestinian civilians. Israeli soldiers don’t lose their right to life, as they are fighting in a just cause, whereas the same is not true of Palestinians. When judging what is proportional, therefore, Palestinian lives aren’t worth as much as Israeli ones.
To illustrate where we’ve ended up, let’s take another World War Two example. According to McMahan’s human rights-based logic, a British bomber crew dropping bombs on a German city would have been actly justly. But a German night fighter pilot trying to shoot down the bomber would not have been. This is despite the fact that the bomber crew is carrying out an act which will kill civilians whereas the night fighter is defending civilians and only shooting at combatants.
You can see, therefore, where this is heading. When you cease viewing things in terms of rule consequentialism, and jettison the complex mixture of ethical systems built up over time, and instead start viewing matters purely in terms of human rights, you end up in a position in which double standards are not only permissible but are even correct. The fact that there are double standards doesn’t mean that this isn’t a rules-based system; it’s a just a system which classifies people into two different categories and applies different rules to each of them.
This applies not only at the level of individuals, but also at that of states. Brian Orend is an ethics professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada, and he has written a number of books on the ethics of war, including one called The Morality of War, which looks at the subject through the logic of human rights reasoning. Orend argues that certain basic, core human rights are universally valid. Everybody is entitled to them. He is careful to limit these rights to a few, such as the right to life, but nonetheless he is quite categorical that these are universal. A state which does not protect these rights, says Orend, in other words a state which is not, as he puts it, minimally just, does not have sovereignty. Sovereignty derives from the people. It’s not something that the state has. States don’t have rights. People do. If a state is not minimally just because it abuses human rights, it does not therefore have sovereignty, therefore it has no right not to be attacked. Orend is quite blunt about this. A state which is not minimally just has no right not to be attacked. Following this logic, Orend supported the invasion of Iraq. Saddam Hussein’s regime was not minimally just. Invading Iraq was not therefore an immoral or criminal act, because the regime had no sovereignty, and was fair game for invasion.
The unjust state not only can be attacked, but also has no right to defend itself when attacked. David Rodin of Oxford University has pushed the argument even further to argue that no state has a right to self-defence. Again, he bases this proposition on human rights reasoning. But it’s clearly an utterly impractical conclusion. No state would ever accept it. The example shows the absurdities to which human rights reasoning has taken people. And yet, the reasoning itself isn’t poor. In fact, it’s very good, if you accept the basic assumption that ethics are all a matter of human rights and you therefore throw out all the conclusions previous derived from centuries of practical experience. It’s a bit like a picture by Claude Monet, but inverted. You know how if you stand close to a Monet picture it doesn’t look like anything, but if you step back you realize that it’s London bridge in the fog. While this is the same, but the other way around. Close up, it’s all completely logical. The reasoning is impeccable. But take a step back, and you realize that it’s crazy."
I think it is more robust to see the issue as the conflict between supremacists - Khazars and Americans - and non-supremacists.  It is telling that the apologists for 'human rights' - scare quotes as the use of the term is absurd, even obscene - all come from the Empire or its vassals.  The key issue is that supremacists all assert the unique ability to determine what human rights are, and who has them (not surprisingly, the only people who have them are the people in the supremacist group).  The contradictions of the apologists just reflect that supremacism isn't logical.

"Julia Salazar and Jewish Privilege" (Atzmon).  It would be hilarious  if everybody started officially identifying as Jewish.  Of course, the additional fillip is that Sephardic Jews - the Jews to which people of Hispanic origins might legitimately have a genetic connection, through Spain, a place where real Jews ended up, having traveled from the Levant, where they had lived with the people now known as Palestinians - are real Jews, unlike the phony Khazars, who are in fact the earliest minority 'identifiers' as they invented the concept of attempting to gain advantage by pretending to be from a more privileged group.

Speaking of which, on the pretendian front:  "Harvard never considered Elizabeth Warren as Native American in hiring process, report says".  How could they possibly know that she didn't gain some advantage through administrators having been misled by her origin claims, even subtle ones? It is quite amazing - Presidential aspirations levels of amazing - that this much effort has been expended in this task.

"Judicial Bias Blocks Justice for Abu-Jamal" (Washington).  The one given in American judicial history is that Abu-Jamal is going to be fucked over, no matter what convoluted pretzel shapes in which the judges have to contort themselves to accomplish.

"Saudi students file for asylum in Canada as deadline to return home passes" (Ghoussoub).  The act of claiming asylum is the act the certain retribution for which by the Saudi government serves as the basis of the claim!

"Introducing The Atlantic’s Ideas Section" (concentration camp guard).  I can't wait to see which supremacist notions are deemed needing some promotion.

"Why both London and Washington are Frustrated by the Signing of the Caspian Convention" (Berger). Note how the whole thing was set up to keep the Americans and their lackeys out:
". . . the Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea has effectively outlawed the presence out non-Caspian armed forces in the region, making it impossible for any of the Caspian Five states to provide its territory to outside players for military deployment, thus eliminating a scenario in which any one of them could be used a base for aggression against the other four. What this means is that Washington or London will not be able to use the Caspian basin for the containment of any of the states they consider their rivals, namely China, Russia and Iran."
"The U.S. Military Is Winning. No, Really, It Is!" (Turse). It is funny that Turse - pretty much by himself - has to keep wring articles pointing out the obvious fact that the US spends incomprehensible amounts of money - you have to cry when you consider the levels of human development that could have been achieved if only a small percentage of this money wasn't thrown away - to continue to lose wars.

Labour cucked completely.  This won't take the pressure off - on the contrary, by signaling its cowardice and lack of principles - how can any proper socialist party claim to be socialist while remaining silent about the biggest systematic human rights abuses of our time? - Labour has invited more and more Khazar attacks. Not the classic Khazar use of lawfare - something famously noted by Shakespeare in his play, Le Merchant of Venice - to achieve their vile supremacist goals.  Corbyn issued a 'signing statement', which made express what the Khazars said was their intention all along, and of course the Khazars went ape-shit - tweet (Alex Nunns):
"If "the IHRA definition does not restrict freedom of speech" as the Jewish Leadership Council asserts, then why is the JLC so irate about a "free speech caveat" that, logically on the JLC's terms, cannot affect IHRA?"
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