2013 August 31 Saturday
Killing With Jets And Missiles Seen As Morally Legitimate

Gary Brecher looks at emotional reactions and moral legitimacy of different ways of killing people.

That’s where the “chemical weapons” aspect of the El Ghouta attack comes in. The SAA has been killing Sunni civilians in huge numbers, to the absolute best of its ability, for more than two years. And that hasn’t really bothered anyone except other Sunni Muslims, other members of the same extended family.

The reason we were all fine with those deaths is that they were carried out with the kind of weapons we like and trust: Aircraft and missiles. One constant for war news across my whole life is that nobody minds what you do as long as you do it from a fighter jet. It’s amazing.

Great article. It is a useful dose of demythologizing red pill. One of his excellent observations: The complaints about civilian casualties in Vietnam (notably Phan Thi Kim Phuc running from a napalmed village naked with a burned back) were just a rationalization for college kids who did not want to fight there. More generally: there is lot less care for others than people and governments pretend to have.

Hegemons get to define what is morally legitimate.

There are three factors that determine how much artificial world outrage a massacre sets off. First, the obvious one: Who committed it? Second: What technology did they use to commit it? Third: Who were the victims?

So then hegemon elites battle over what to define as morally legitimate in order to open up and foreclose options.

I understand why Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia wants to overthrow Assad's non-Sunni regime to replace it with Sunni rulers. But I do not see how US interests are served at all by letting the Sunni majority mistreat Shia, Kurds, Alawites, Christians, and other minorities of Syria. What is our upside? Nothing I can see. I can't even see why neoconservatives see an upside for Israel. My guess is that since the neocon record of miscalculating Israel's interests is so bad that they are again wrong on that score.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2013 August 31 09:59 AM 

Black Death said at August 31, 2013 1:12 PM:

"Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be just a vulgar brawl."

- Frederick the Great

So I guess jets and missiles are the new artillery.

Wolf-Dog said at August 31, 2013 2:29 PM:

Randall Parker: that article that speculates about Saudi intrigue, also asserts that the Saudi Prince Bandar threatened Vladimir Putin as follows:

Ingersoll referred to an article in the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph about secret Russian-Saudi talks alleging that Bandar offered Russian President Vladimir Putin cheap oil in exchange for dumping Assad.
“Prince Bandar pledged to safeguard Russia’s naval base in Syria if the Assad regime is toppled, but he also hinted at Chechen terrorist attacks on Russia’s Winter Olympics in Sochi if there is no accord,” Ingersoll wrote.
I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us,” Bandar allegedly told the Russians."

This assertion about the Saudi prince having threatened Putin by saying that Saudi Arabia would unleash Sunni Jihadis on Russia, may or may not be accurate, but the overall picture still seems to be correct: Russia is surrounded by well over 100 million Sunni Muslim peripheral Asian nations that directly threaten to overrun the Christian Russians within a few decades, and Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 will take place on land that Russians conquered from Muslim Circassians a long time ago, and Chechnia is only 300 miles from there.
To be exact, here is the map:

Thus, it is clear that Russia has an existential interest in supporting the Shiites to weaken the Sunnis (the Syrian Alawites are allied with the Shiites), and Al Qaeda is also involved in supporting the Muslim terrorists in Russia. Incidentally, the Boston marathon bombers were also influenced by the Sunni Jihadi ideology in Chechnya. From this perspective, it seems that some of the Russian and American interests might converge, and in particular, when the US evacuates Afghanistan, even more anti-Russian Jihadi terrorists might be trained over there.

Audacious Epigone said at August 31, 2013 3:20 PM:

I can't even see why neoconservatives see an upside for Israel.

My guess is because the Assad regime has (relative) military competency and presumably the mixed bag of rabble that'll 'replace' it when Syria descends into squabbling chaos proceeding the regime's fall will be even less capable of seriously threatening Israel than Assad currently is capable of doing.

Randall Parker said at August 31, 2013 9:03 PM:


A Sunni majority regime will be able to count on loyalty from a greater portion of the populace and will be able to recruit loyalists into the military from a larger fraction of the populace. I do not see a reason to expect the new government will be rabble.

Assad can't threaten Israel when he has to worry about using his military to keep control domestically.

Maximus said at September 1, 2013 7:59 AM:

The fate of Hezbollah is an important but often ignored part of the mix. At this time Hezbollah and Hamas are seen as the largest immediate threats to Israel. Hezbollah loses if Sunnis take over Syrian trade and smuggling routes. Israel has been able to come to terms with rulers of Egypt and Jordan. The evolution of the region would go much differently without the long arm of Iran reaching across Syria into Lebanon.

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