Over at Democratic Peace, Dr. Rummel reviews the case of WWII Japan, and ponders upon exactly when such a "Just Democide" (Democide = an explicitly genocidal attack) may actually be warranted. He states, uneasily, that it was moral to "murder hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians versus ending the war quickly with the millions of lives thus saved."
if I'm surrounded by five armed thugs who want to murder me, a peaceful productive citizen, for my money and my wife I should just let them do so, because their five lives are worth more than one?
[Rummel:] The thugs are combatants, and killing them is an act of self-defense and not democide, or in civil law, murder. However, Solomon2 points up the need to tightly define when a Just Democide is appropriate.
Mark said: I think democide (murder by government) is different from personal self-defense.
Are "tight" definitions really the solution? And at what point does a robber baron and his followers become a "government"?
A practical present-day dilemma is almost upon us: I imagine that Israel will soon have to decide whether or not to attack Iranian and Arab nuclear installations with Israel's own nuclear weapons. If not, Israel's eventual destruction is assured. If so, then at a minimum tens of thousands of civilians will be killed, as production facilities and weapons depots are deliberately located in heavily populated areas.
What will Israel do? It is my opionion that the correct moral judgment is to proceed with the attack. The Holocaust showed that the human condition is not improved when a few million Jews are mercilessly slaughtered or enslaved for the pleasure of warlike and racist thugs.
The Jews are just the first victims; once they are gone, everyone else may be next. Is it not better to see the Jew as "the canary in the coalmine" and advocate eliminating the threat now, rather than wait?
Unless, of course, deep-down you feel that "the Israelis deserve it". For Iran's principal European supporter is Germany, and I suspect that for many Germans, and for other Europeans of anti-Jewish bent, either the destruction of Israel OR the mass civilian casualties Israel's defense will entail can be represented, deep in their secret hearts, as a kind of "justification" for their nation's past conduct: "See, we did the right thing, the Jews are bad for the world, everybody hates them, it would be best that they are no more, our grandfathers were doing the right thing, and we can be proud to be Germans/Lithuanians/Poles/(etc.) again."
That such people helped to achieve such ends by essentially doing nothing to halt the mullahs and dictators from advancing such ends makes little impression upon anyone. After all, the world could whine piteously about dead Jews and still smash (or slap lightly upon the wrist) perpetrators of a Second Holocaust afterwards. A nation wants to feel proud of itself, so the Jews must therefore suffer.
It's an old story. What is new is that substituting America for Israel serves much the same purpose.
Addendum (Hat tip, Pamela). Not even a slap on the wrist: Germany opposes banning Iran from the World Cup.
1/2/06: Jesus' General Goes Nuclear - or is it poison gas? - over this post.
1/3/06: Iran to Resume Nuclear Fuel Research The Europeans create little impression that their threat to take Iran to the U.N. Security Council might be serious:
A European diplomat...said it was too early to [determine] whether it would scuttle talks planned for later this months between Iran and French, British and German negotiators. The EU has previously said that any decision by Iran to resume work on its uranium enrichment program would be "the red line" that would end European attempts to negotiate...
The Hindustan Times (Thanks again, Pamela!) quotes Iran's "top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani" as saying Israel would "suffer greatly" if it launched an attack and adds - speaking about Iran's nuclear fuel program, but perhaps really voicing his thoughts about Israel from the previous question:
"It's not logical for a country to put the fate of its nation at the disposal of another country even if it's a friend."
2/5/11: i assumed the zionist above was a soft zionist. but perusal of his blog shows that he calls for nuclear attack against syria and iran, and that he’s an extremist neo-con. I don’t have fascists of any variety here. he won’t be commenting again.