Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Concentrating on a Concentration Camp

So... what do 9/11, the nuking of Hiroshima/Nagasaki, and the once or current blockades of, e.g., Gaza, Iraq, Cuba and North Korea have in common?

They're all forms of collective punishment.  In some cases, the collective punishment has weak defense as the leaders whose actions are punished were elected by the populace that was punished.  9/11 and Gaza fit that mold.  I naturally reject that defense, but I do note that there's a difference.  The Japanese didn't exactly elect their emperor.

That said, if you're like many Americans, you probably have a very different moral judgment for 9/11 vs Nagasaki.  Why?

Because the Japanese started it?  The Japanese in Hiroshima share a language and an ethnicity with the Japanese who bombed Pearl Harbor, but that's about it.  Those civilians didn't start a damned thing.  How is a Japanese fisherman in Nagasaki more responsible for the actions of his country's navy than a stock broker in the World Trade is responsible for the behavior of the American military in the Middle East?

It's about time for us to grow up and quit it with this collective punishment bullshit.  No amount of rockets from Gaza justify turning it into a concentration camp.  Concentration camps are always and everywhere wrong.  The fact that some of the Gaza residents voted for Hamas doesn't change the moral calculus at all.  This will not end well.

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