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moral israeli pilots

something refreshing.
27 israeli fighter pilots refuse missions in occupied lands on moral grounds. What about "our" pilots. My experience has been that eventhough they run into church at every opportunity, they have absolutely no morals: bunch of yes-men who like killing people, destroying things and harrassing the enlisted women.
You've been watching "TopGun" one too many times 26.Sep.2003 09:57

PoohNTigger

"My experience has been that eventhough they run into church at every opportunity, they have absolutely no morals: bunch of yes-men who like killing people, destroying things and harrassing the enlisted women. "

And what experience would that be?

I know quite a few pilots, fighter, fixed wing and rotary and while they do follow orders, they are not "yes men" in the conventional sense (to someone outside the military it does seem like that). Many of them are what I would call extremly moral people and family men. And while a few harass women, they are few and far between and they do get punished, no matter what you might think. I've seen it happen more than once.

As for liking killing people, no many do not. However to a pilot, that other plane is just that; another plane. The human factor does not come into play in combat. Suffice it to say, you can keep your morals, the other pilot probably won't have them and would like nothing better than blowing you out of the sky!

As for bombing runs against land targets, in warfare if air support doesn't do their job soldiers on the ground get killed. The main objective in a combat situation is to get the most with the least casualties.

I actually respect the Israeli pilots for their decision. These are not military targets they were ordered to fire upon, but counterstrikes against terrorists inside tightly packed civillian zones. They felt that the targets were not worth the eventual price they would have to pay. In addition, if they had missed those targets or the intellegence was wrong, a lot of civillians would have gotten hurt.

Now i'm sure I'll hear about how we did the same thing in Iraq. Well, Saddam was stupid enough to put military targets (Troops, tanks, etc) in defined civillian zones and near hospitals without allowing his population to evacuate. I call that not caring about his population. He had to have known that someone would take the mission and take these targets out, That's called combat.

It's sad and for one minute don't think I'm not saddened when I see civillians hurt or killed, but that has happened in every war since the beginning of time. It's not something you can get away from in warfare, regardless of how careful you are. A cold attitude to some, but a realistic one to others.

But I know this is probably going in one ear and out the other. Just wanted to let you know that Hollywood doesn't reflect on the military in any way.

Pooh on PoohnTigger. What about the refusenik pilots? 26.Sep.2003 12:05

Not a medic

You don't have to hang out with pilots to know about the history of the U.S. bombing civilian populations. You don't have to have any time in a simulator or even a cockpit. You just need to read a little history. It is not an individual pilot's choice, as with someone deciding to fly under the Golden Gate Bridge. It is enshrined in U.S. military doctrine.

This is something that PoohnTigger ignores.

The firebombing of Toyko in the latter stages of World War II is one such example. Since the U.S. air command was conducting daytime bombing raids in Europe during WWII, precisely to hit strategic targets such as ball-bearings plants and fighter plane plants, the bombing of Toyko was done knowing that there were no military targets that would be hit.

The rice paper houses of Tokyo were destroyed in a firestorm that killed unknown hundreds of thousands.

Similarly, the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki targeted civilian populations, since neither city was a major military base or military production site.

Much of the bombing in North Vietnam during that war was against civilian populations, since the Pentagon knew that B-52s flying at high altitudes were not going to hit military production or military bases, which had already been dispersed during the wars against the Japanese and the French.

As for airplane to airplane combat, well again, PoohnTigger shows his (her?,their?) ignorance. The Iraqi Air Force was grounded during the last U.S. invasion. And most of the Iraqi air defenses were destroyed well before the war began. The U.S. was conducting pre-emptive strikes well before the 'official' start of the conflict, as has been admitted in the numerous self-congratulatory accounts of 'how we won the war.'

I am certain that there are good people in the U.S.Air Force. And flying for the Army, Navy and Marines. Unfortunately, being good people doesn't cut it when it comes to following orders. And when the orders are coming from Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rumsfeld and their ilk, then we can be certain that civilian populations in the rest of the world will be bombed.

The original post was about the Israeli pilots who are refusing orders. They will probably suffer harsh consequences, up to and including going to prison. Do anyone have more information about them? Including how we might support them?

If people who have little to contribute would not post lengthy ramblings, then perhaps we could find out about this very important development.

Answers? 26.Sep.2003 12:59

PoohNTigger

"The firebombing of Tokyo in the latter stages of World War II is one such example. Since the U.S. air command was conducting daytime bombing raids in Europe during WWII, precisely to hit strategic targets such as ball-bearings plants and fighter plane plants, the bombing of Tokyo was done knowing that there were no military targets that would be hit. "

It's called psychological warfare. In addition the German Air Force did start the dance first with the unrestricted campaign against London (It was called the Battle of Britain in case you're interested).

"The rice paper houses of Tokyo were destroyed in a firestorm that killed unknown hundreds of thousands. "

And how many people died during the Stalingrad campaign by the Germans?

Similarly, the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki targeted civilian populations, since neither city was a major military base or military production site. "

However, they did end the war didn't they. Ever look up the probable casualty lists if we had to invade Japan back then? The probable KIA would have numbered into the 100K range, probably more. After 5 years of war, America was tired and wanted a quick end. I will not condone the actions of those men. They did what, at the time, they felt was necessary. It's not logical to compare those times to what is going on today. The entire world was in a different mindset than today.

"Much of the bombing in North Vietnam during that war was against civilian populations, since the Pentagon knew that B-52s flying at high altitudes were not going to hit military production or military bases, which had already been dispersed during the wars against the Japanese and the French. "

The military at the time was fighting the first guerrilla war in its history by using conventional means. Vietnam taught some valuable lessons to all.

"The original post was about the Israeli pilots who are refusing orders. They will probably suffer harsh consequences, up to and including going to prison. Do anyone have more information about them? Including how we might support them? "

You conveniently missed the part where I said I supported these pilots didn't you? What I don't support is one-sided bashing of the military as it stands today. Obviously you either have never served or did serve and hated the experience, hence your hatred of the military as it stands today.

Either way, you'll never change my mind and I won't change yours.

to PoohNTigger 26.Sep.2003 13:16

------

Obviously the pilots are excellent men. I mean, the fact that 1 in 5 female air force cadets get raped couldn't possibly suggest otherwise, could it? It takes so much courage to drop bombs on AK-47 armed infantry, doesn't it?

"The main objective in a combat situation is to get the most with the least casualties."

As demonstrated by "Shock and Awe", no doubt.

Oh, the military is so deserving of respect -- they have done so much good in the world, haven't they?!

well, at least you can admit you're close minded 26.Sep.2003 13:18

historian

"you'll never change my mind"

Well, there in lies the problem, your refusal to accept that perhaps you will change your mind, perhaps if certain facts were brought to your attention that you currently do not properly understand.

Vietnam the first guerrilla war in our history? I don't know where to begin to address the fallacies of that argument. What about almost every other war the United States has ever fought?

As for the use of atomic weapons ending the war with Japan, it's popular rhetoric and taught in school, but historically it's a fairly dubious claim. The primary problem with the argument is that once you begin arguing that the war could have been ended by convincing certain members of the ruling council it was in their best interest, you open the doors to the argument that there were many other approaches that could have been taken. I wrote some comments on this same subject here ( http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2003/08/269389.shtml) if you're interested.

To be critical of the military is not to hate it. But to close off one's mind to the possibility that new information may be presented that will change one's viewpoint is both unwise and sad (and, of course, very common in our society). Here's hoping you at least change your mind about that.

re: Firebombing of Tokyo 26.Sep.2003 13:24

-----

"It's called psychological warfare."

That is not psychological warfare, you twit, it's terrorism and massacare.

"And how many people died during the Stalingrad campaign by the Germans?"

That's the justification?!? Well, lets just round up some Japanese now and execute them. After all, the Germans killed some people, too. The war was ending. Ike was against the bomb. The whole thing was a demonstration of the bomb by the U.S. -- an act of brutality to scare other countries. More than 100,000 people died in Tokyo and nearly 200,000 died from Nagasaki and Hiroshima. They were civilians!! Don't you understand how terrible that is!? How can you fucking defend that?!! You don't deserve to call yourself an American.

"Either way, you'll never change my mind and I won't change yours."

A grand display of your intellect.

Please, Continue 26.Sep.2003 14:19

PoohNTigger

Your general bashing of the military. By all means.

I've sent this site to a lot of my friends in the military, they all get a kick out of it.

oh grow up 26.Sep.2003 14:40

Dave

There was no such thing as a "civillian" during the second world war. There was a growing realization after World War I that civilians were a military asset. War is immensely expensive and consumes supplies in huge quantities and that money and those supplies have to come from someplace. Civilians pay the taxes and civilians work in the factories that make planes and tanks and guns and rifles and ammunition; they mine the ore, they work in the power plants, they grow the food, they weave the cloth, everything used by the soldiers was created by a civilian somewhere.

When World War II started, Germany didn't hesitate for a moment; they began unrestricted submarine warfare against England's supply lines(civillians) nearly immediately. In many ways, the Battle of the Atlantic was the single most critical battle of the war, because if the UK had lost it then it would have had to capitulate. The only reason the UK didn't lose in 1940 was that Germany hadn't built enough U-boats before the war. If in 1940 it had had the number it had in 1942, the UK would have lost.

But with the rise of powerful aircraft with great range and ability to carry a lot of ordnance, you also see enemy cities being bombed. The first case where enemy cities were directly targeted for no reason other than because civilians were there was during the Battle of Britain, when the Germans switched from bombing airfields to deliberately bombing London. (There are numerous reasons why this happened; and it is generally considered now to have been a blunder.) And London remained a target for the remainder of the war, subject to the ability of the Germans to reach it. Such weapons as the V1 buzz-bomb and the V2 ballistic missile were not accurate enough to hit specific targets, and in any case their purpose was to remove the will of the people of the UK to resist.

For that is another function that "civilians" perform: they support the government politically in its efforts to fight a war. When they lose their will to fight, it becomes very difficult for a government to continue.

There are no longer any "civilians". There haven't really been any since the mid 1930's. In the era of total war, everyone is a combatant and anyone can be a casualty. We're all on the front line now.

No Civilians 26.Sep.2003 14:52

anonymous

Does that include children, Dave?

no it dosn't 26.Sep.2003 15:05

Dave

No it dosn't mean killing children and thats not exactly what I'm trying to say people.

I'm just pointing out a fact of modern warfare(especially as manifested in WWII). It is not possible to fight only an enemy's army alone and defeat it. You don't defeat armies, you defeat their logistics, and the only way to do that is to attack the civilians who provide those logistics by attacking factories and warehouses and ports, and to attack supply lines and accept the fact that civilians in the area will be killed. You attack the merchant shipping and kill the civilian sailors on those ships. The military refers to this as "collateral damage" but it's a fact of life: it isn't possible to spare civilians in a modern war.

To accept the stricture that enemy civilians will not be harmed is to concede defeat. It binds the hands of your military and will prevent them from winning. A nation which does this will be remembered by history as decent -- and stupid -- and HISTORICAL, for it won't survive. It's not that you should actively seek to slaughter as many civilians as possible, but it is impossible to completely avoid killing them, and avoiding doing so can't be a consideration.

It's sad but it's true.

Well spoken dave 26.Sep.2003 15:29

PoohNTigger

Thank you for bringing a breath of realisim here.

the problem with reductionist history 26.Sep.2003 15:31

historian

Statements like these, "The first case where enemy cities were directly targeted for no reason other than because civilians were there" are untrue unless very specifically qualified. The subject of what country was the first to use aerial attacks is the subject of some debate, and the answer depends entirely on the specifics of the question. Here are some possible answers:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/notesandqueries/query/0,5753,-26204,00.html.

"it's a fact of life: it isn't possible to spare civilians in a modern war."

No, it's not a fact, though it may be a prevailing opinion at this time and it certainly is possible, though never really practiced by our civilization (other cultures have been known to not have problems with this but then they do not practice our kind of warfare in the first place). I have never heard anyone yet argue that if you were to kill or capture all the "enemy" soldiers you would not win the conflict. For how can the opponent continue to fight without any soldiers? Of course, you can make the claim that killing the civilian support structure makes this goal easier, and increases political pressure on the government but it would still be possible to engage in warfare this way. Obviously, international law would not be structured to create penalties for those engaging in attacking civilians if this were not the view held by a large number of people, at least at one time.

But what I have largely seen in defense of the military over the past several years is the argument that is presented here yet again: It's ok for our country, our side, our allies, our selves to kill civilians because the people we are fighting against are doing it too. I think people need to really stop, and think about the moral statement this makes. Many people murder, steal, and rape, does that make it moral for me to do so? Now, it may be effective, and the history of the extermination of tribal peoples across the planet is a testament to that fact. But on reflection on the more inhuman and inhumane chapters of our past (including our legacy or war and genocide), shouldn't we be looking to make choices to avoid these atrocities in our future? Are we really so close-minded as to think that there are not other solutions, other paths, and other ways of living in this world?

It is not only these Israeli pilots but many Israeli's that are refusing to fight. Many US soldiers are beginning to refuse to fight. The history of the Vietnam War shows us how effective soldiers can be at ending wars. What we must all never forget is that there is information out there which we may not have right now but when learned may alter our understanding and worldview.

response 26.Sep.2003 15:44

eurosquirrel

to the moron who first responded to my posting.
Me: former commissioned officer in "your Air Force" who has been to BAGDAD while you were still in your DAD's BAG.

Historian 26.Sep.2003 15:46

PoohNTigger

"But on reflection on the more inhuman and inhumane chapters of our past (including our legacy or war and genocide), shouldn't we be looking to make choices to avoid these atrocities in our future? Are we really so close-minded as to think that there are not other solutions, other paths, and other ways of living in this world?"

Historian, no one will fault your views of the world and the first that will celebrate the end of warfare will be the combat soldier. There are always other solutions I can agree with that. But will they withstand the test of time?

In order for this philosophy to be successful, the entire planet will have to go along with it. And right now, in this stage of our evolution, man is what he is; a predator. There will always be someone fighting on this planet for resources or political differences.

"I have never heard anyone yet argue that if you were to kill or capture all the "enemy" soldiers you would not win the conflict."

Civilian populations breed soldiers. To effectively win a conflict, you need to not only destroy it's armed forces, but it's logistical support as well. Remember the adage "For want of a nail, the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe, the horse was lost. For want of a horse, the battle was lost". This is basically siege type warfare but updated.

Civilian casualties are a fact. In every modern conflict their have been civilian casualties. The US Military does attempt to limit them to every extent. However you'll never be 100% collateral damage free in any conflict and still achieve victory.

response - the sequel 26.Sep.2003 15:52

eurosquirrel

By the way, I didn't make up the phrase "kill... and destroy..." Part of my training as a commissioned officer in the "United" States Air Force was the "K & D" briefing, i.e. "blablabla... our mission is to KILL people and DESTROY things ....blablabla"

So? 26.Sep.2003 15:57

PoohNTigger

"to the moron who first responded to my posting.
Me: former commissioned officer in "your Air Force" who has been to BAGDAD while you were still in your DAD's BAG. "

I'm 42. when were you in Bagdad, 1960?

Spare me the rhetoric... 26.Sep.2003 16:11

-----

I don't know, eurosquirrel. Dave and PoohNTigger have convinced me that the U.S. military is the most humane and rational organization in the world. Why, I think the DoD should get the Nobel Peace Prize.

I mean, did you know that avoiding killing civilians can't be a consideration, that we are in the era of total war, to win a conflict you need to not only destroy their army but also their civilian infrastructure as well? Good thing the military attempts to limit civilian casualities to _every_ extent, though, although according the previous logic that would be the "stupid" thing to do. Hmm... maybe I'm confused.

I guess all the soliders and vets that I've known were not representative of the military whatsoever. They mainly came in two varieties. (1) They were gung-ho, ass-kicking, all-american rowdies (who were basically good guys under a thick layer of "macho") who wouldn't have accepted anything less than K&D as the goal of military. And, (2) they (mostly vets) were well aware of how fucked up the military mindset is and were in no uncertain terms unhappy about. This includes a friend of mine who sniped more than 40 VC and got the silver star.

Give it up, guys. The military is a big frat house of ass-kickers who would like nothing better than to shoot the shit out of some "rag-head" minus the poor fools who got suckered in through ROTC lies. Give it some more years and perhaps you'll figure out that murder is wrong. <spit>

re: "So?" 26.Sep.2003 16:13

-----

Shithead, the point is that your talking out of your ass. You're trying to describe "realism" when you wouldn't know a crispy critter if you eat one for breakfast.

PoohNTigger 26.Sep.2003 16:13

historian

"But will they withstand the test of time?"

They are the only things that have stood the test of time. Warfare as we practice it as only been around for about 8000 years (as far as anyone knows) and in its more destructive forms far, far less. It has not yet stood the test of time. It may not. But humans lived without it for hundreds of thousands of years. Which do you think is more successful? And, do you really want to wait and find out?

"in this stage of our evolution, man is what he is; a predator."

Perhaps you see yourself as a predator and project that to the world around you. Perhaps you acknowledge that many people view themselves as "predators" as "competitions". It is true, many people believe that there are not enough resources, wealth, or land and that they should be fought over. But maybe it's time to change those views. Not everyone has to go along with it, and not everyone will. Very few people went along with the American Revolution and yet it was successful. We can choose to evolve or allow ourselves to regress but we are not simply helpless of victims of "this stage of our evolution".

"Civilian casualties are a fact. In every modern conflict their have been civilian casualties."

No one is arguing this. It is very effective to kill civilians in war. But think about the logic. Imagine telling your children that if they get beat up they should kill their bully's parents. Effective right? Destroying logistical support right? The question is, can you truly be proud of a legacy of killing civilians? I know you're defensive about this subject but try to give some thought as to the military legacy of this country, and of others. Are civilian lives truly meaningless when engaged in war?

"However you'll never be 100% collateral damage free in any conflict and still achieve victory."

Well, let's separate "collateral damage" which is supposed to be the accidental killing of civilians from deliberately targeting civilian infrastructure. You are not going to have the kinds of weapons used in today's warfare without lots of people being killed accidentally. That's what happens when you use very powerful but fairly imprecise weapons. But one could win without deliberately targeting civilian infrastructure. It might take longer, and you'd have to trade the lives of "our" troops for "their" civilians which is what the Geneva Convention was supposed to put a stop to. Alas, it seems like we have still a long way to go, and a much longer way than after WW1 or WW2. Makes one wonder about what it will take to finally hammer some of these points home.

PoohNTigger, do you completely lack morals? 26.Sep.2003 17:02

GRINGO STARS

PoohNTigger, it seems that you completely lack any sense of morality. You actually accept the targetting of civilians. Would your stance on thsi change if you were a target? The way that the USA is waging "total war" is making blowback inevitable. More 9-11s are surely around the corner the way the US empire is behaving.

Apparently, according to PoohNTigger, "realism" = "It's OK to kill civilians." Even though children are civilians? You sound like quite the dupe. Do you believe everything your fuhrer says?

I am very proud of the Israeli pilots who refuse. They do so based on their MORALITY, something which PoohNTigger is displaying a remarkable lack of. If everyone was like you, Pooh, they would simply accept things the way things are now. Yes, it takes an *unrealistic* person to make change in this world. The Israeli pilots are acting unrealistically because they will undoubtedly spend at least half a year in the brig like every other Israeli refusenik before them. Refusing to kill civilians is not benefitting them at all (which is "unrealistic"). I think there should be more unrealistic people. Without unrealistic people, there would have been no advances ever in technology, politics, art, personal freedom - most everything that makes life bearable. Without unrealistic people, we would all be living in a rigid patriarchy, hunting and gathering in violent nomadic tribes with absolutely no leisure time whatsoever, with a lifespan of not even 35 years. Thanks Pooh!

That's the difference between "realistic" and unrealistic people. "Realists" are conformists, changing themselves to better suit the world around them, while unrealistic types dare to actually change the world around them to better suit themselves. Morals are precisely what keeps people "unrealistic" enough to not conform to fascist, authoritarian power-abusers. Usually, having morals is "unrealistic" in that it doesn't directly serve one's own best interests to act morally. To actively sing the praises of "realism" is to be a servant of Big Brother.
the bravest military personnel of all
the bravest military personnel of all

It's a harsh world 26.Sep.2003 20:25

PoohNTigger

"Shithead, the point is that your talking out of your ass. You're trying to describe "realism" when you wouldn't know a crispy critter if you eat one for breakfast."

Nice peaceful thought there. Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?

"But humans lived without it for hundreds of thousands of years. Which do you think is more successful?"

In terms of general evolution I'll go with the warfare thank you.

"Perhaps you acknowledge that many people view themselves as "predators" as "competitions". It is true, many people believe that there are not enough resources, wealth, or land and that they should be fought over."

Yes, they're called successful. Call it warfare, business or whatever, Nice people finish last.

"No one is arguing this. It is very effective to kill civilians in war. But think about the logic. Imagine telling your children that if they get beat up they should kill their bully's parents. Effective right? Destroying logistical support right? The question is, can you truly be proud of a legacy of killing civilians? I know you're defensive about this subject but try to give some thought as to the military legacy of this country, and of others. Are civilian lives truly meaningless when engaged in war? "

By destroying an enemies logistical support, you destroy their ability to wage war. If that logistical support is in a civillian area, then civillian casualties are expected. I'm not saying bomb hospitals but if an ammunition plant is next to one, there is a good chance of civillian casualties. They're not wanted, but they do happen.

"Alas, it seems like we have still a long way to go, and a much longer way than after WW1 or WW2. Makes one wonder about what it will take to finally hammer some of these points home. "

I agree 100%. However, I don't feel that we as a species will ever learn that lesson.

"I am very proud of the Israeli pilots who refuse."

So am I Gringo. I can't fault them their courage. (as I've said for the 5th time)

"Without unrealistic people, there would have been no advances ever in technology, politics, art, personal freedom - most everything that makes life bearable."

Exactly. I am realistic. As you said yourself Gringo ""Realists" are conformists, changing themselves to better suit the world around them".

So, because I am a realist, you think I have no morals? Well, if that is your belief, you're welcome to it. I am firm in my convictions and, Unlike others, don't try to gloss over warfare with a lot of rhetoric. What it boils down to is this. In warfare to win is paramount, to win easily a blessing.

Ta ta.

Those who accept the targeting of civilians definitely lack morals 26.Sep.2003 22:18

GRINGO STARS

PoohNTigger writes "So, because I am a realist, you think I have no morals?"

Precisely. Because you conform to the conventional Bush-eque wisdom that openly accepts the lethal targeting of civilians, you definitely lack certain morals. Moral people do not attack those who do not attack them. Perhaps you think that workers who build munitions or vehicles of war are helping attackers, but you can't possibly argue that children do anything to help attack you, can you? It's ok to kill kids? Because that is what modern warfare does, as commonly practiced; it kills and maims children as well as orphans them. Anyone who supports that I would classify as immoral. Wouldn't you?

PoohNTigger also writes "What it boils down to is this. In warfare to win is paramount, to win easily a blessing."

I guess if you hold the life of someone who is a citizen of your own country as more valuable than the life of a foreigner. That is your choice. You choose to both accept the slaughter, maiming and orphaning of children as par for the course in war today - and you also value the lives of foreigners less than you value the lives of those who happen to be citizens of the same country that you are a citizen of. I guess that's just the way that PoohNTigger thinks.

Who am I to say killing kids is unacceptable? Who am I to say that life is precious to everyone and not just Americans? Answer; I'm certainly not PoohNTigger.

The fact is; if you only care about your country, right or wrong, then you are a profoundly thoughtless chump (in my ever-so-humble opinion). To "win easily" by killing peaceful people who are probably very much like you and, if you met them, you might very well get along fine, is to make countless enemies.

The blowback is happening in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, N and S Korea, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, etc. - all the countries where the USA is doing direct damage to the welfare of the people. It's happening to a lesser degree in every country on earth, as they watch the US play the part of the selfish bully. With the USA's arrogant, black-or-white, with-us-or-against-us attitude, a chip is being placed squarely on the shoulder of almost every person on earth, concerning the US empire. Otherwise middle-of-the-road Iraqis are driven to violently resisting the US occupation of their country by the arrogant and violent US actions that stem from the attitude that considers the slaughter of civilians as acceptable.

Your philosophy on warfare is part of the problem. Your blase acceptance of the targeting of civilians (a war crime) is an immoral insult to peaceful civilians all over the world. Do you wonder why so many people hate the US?

realism according to John Dean 26.Sep.2003 23:55

me


Realism is about the furthest thing from the minds of people who cheer on wars waged in their names by careless, egomaniacal leaders. Take the "war on terrorism," for example. A reasonable case for waging a war-without-end? Hardly. Don't take my word for it, take Rudy Giuliani's, or Nixon aide-de-camp John Dean's. These men are not known as fuzzy-headed peaceniks:


Terrorism, by definition, is an effort to terrify, frighten and intimidate. Terrorists can't vanquish their enemies, only hurt them, so they deliver their hurtful messages of hate through violent attacks against innocent people. As horrible as terrorism can be, it must be understood in context. Compared with the policy of mutually assured destruction of the Cold War (with its inherent potential of annihilating humankind), national security experts will tell you, privately, that terrorism's threat to Americans appears to fall somewhere between that of killer bees (which scare people but take very few lives) and drunken drivers (who frighten very few people while killing 17,000 annually).

Former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who experienced the horrors of terrorism firsthand on Sept. 11, 2001, says, "Everyone faces much greater risk every single day to their life, to their health, to their safety than terrorism." Giuliani has terrorism in perspective.

--John Dean, LA Times Book Review, Sept 21, 2003


Actually, this is typical of most wars. Most Europeans never believed in the peculiarly American mythology of the great "world-wide Communist conspiracy," complete with its famous "domino effect," requiring an endless Cold War of attrition and proxy wars on behalf of innumerable rightwing strongmen and American sponsored coups against innumerable innocuous left-leaning governments. A famous conservative British historian once noted that few in Britain ever believed in such a thing, even if they sometimes humored Americans and their strangely messianic conception of themselves as "arsenal of freedom." Now once again, Americans, true to form, have embraced yet another civilization-saving mission sold to them by power- and money-crazed leaders deeply tied to the oil, petrochemical and military-industrial complexes.

The Israeli pilots are to be commended for putting the lie to the ideological justifications for war by their leaders, especially given that, in their case, the threat of terrorism is far more real for their country than it is for the US. But they have the sense to see that the military "solutions" proposed do far more harm to everyone ultimately than good. One really wonders why more US pilots, who face no such high stakes as do the Israelis, haven't more often rebelled against the inhumanity of their assignments.