Don't be So Open Minded that Your Brains Fall OutIt's considered quite 'sophisticated,' or 'tolerant,' or 'intelligent,' to talk about the "continuing cycle of violence" between Israel and outfits like Hamas.
The idea behind 'open-minded' statements like that is called "moral equivalence." It's the notion that killing innocent people in a house or market is the same, morally, as destroying an ammunition dump and killing its guards in the process.
You probably won't run into that phrase, "moral equivalence," in discussions of international affairs, but it's behind a great deal of what passes for 'open-minded' and 'tolerant' discussions of "Israeli aggression" and "oppression."
" 'Moral equivalence' has been defined as 'defining distinct and conflicting moral behaviors in similar terms.' The principle of moral equivalence is behind statements like ' "all sins are equal in God's eyes," which effectively equates ethnic cleansing with stealing a pencil.' " ("Moral Equivalence, Prisoners, and Al Qaeda" (July 21, 2007))
Moral Equivalence: Your Ticket to a New, Sophisticated, ImageIn Iraq, the best and brightest (their opinion) in America equated Abu Ghraib and "Saddam's torture chambers." Never mind that routine rapes, mutilations, and beatings, with the occasional mass murder, was a matter of policy under Saddam: and the Abu Ghraib scandal involved a few perverts with cameras, who got in trouble when their unsanctioned 'fun' was discovered.
My guess is that the self-styled sophisticates are already discussing the Israeli-Hamas conflict in terms of moral equivalence. And I won't be at all surprised if the United Nations Security Council, following Libya's sagacious lead, will do the same.
If you to want fit in with the 'right' sort, and display what passes for worldly wisdom, using moral equivalence as your guiding philosophy will help. I'd rather assume that taking photos of naked prisoners isn't quite the same as attempted genocide, and that bombing a market isn't equivalent to destroying a military facility, but you'll have to make up your own mind.
- "Hamas Facing Logical Consequences: And the Jews Are to Blame"
(January 3, 2009)
- "Looting in the News: Rape, Pillage, and the America Way"
(November 24, 2008)
- "Moral Equivalence, Prisoners, and Al Qaeda"
(July 21, 2007)
- "Haditha, Iraq; My Lai, Vietnam: This Isn't the Good Old Days"
(July 13, 2008)