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Friday, August 01, 2014

OT: Politics, August 2014: DNC criticizes Christie’s economic record with baseball video

As Gov. Chris Christie prepares to cap off his trip to New Hampshire tonight with a fundraiser at a minor-league baseball game, the Democratic National Committee has released a online video taking a swing at the Republican governor’s handling of New Jersey’s economy.

The clip is modeled after an old-time newsreel — the kind that would have been shown in movie houses when Babe Ruth ruled the baseball diamond in the 1920s.

It notes that under Christie — a possible candidate for the Republican nomination for president in 2016 — New Jersey has among the highest property taxes and slowest job growth in the U.S.

“On his economic record, Chris Christie strikes out,” the video’s narrator says.

Bitter Mouse Posted: August 01, 2014 at 09:10 AM | 6359 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: new jersey, politics, video

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   1401. GordonShumway Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:05 PM (#4766358)
Gordon, you make some good points. A couple of caveats:

Thanks, and my responses:

While going against the grain unsuccessfully is hugely against incentives for the reasons you state, going against the grain successfully is the single most rewarded activity in academia. If there's conformity it is the conformity of having to say how what you're saying goes against what everyone else is saying. This is mitigated somewhat in fields where there is a strong two-pole argument since you can do fine upholding the one while bashing the other. BUt elsewhere every new claim is trumpeted as unlike everything else. So I think that's a break upon conformity.


I think we’re talking about the same thing here. You argue that there’s great success on going against the grain. I agree to an extent, but only to an extent that such actions can only take place within a very limited allowed space and under pretty rigid rules by academics incentivized to defend the status quo. This applies much more often I think in humanities and social sciences than in the STEM fields, as the latter fields generally have more objective, independently verifiable definitions of truth which can override status quo dogma.

Second I think to understand what is happening you have to also take into account that people with stature who are conservative don't suffer at all. Gordon Wood, who worked with Gingrich, is on anyone's list of the 4-5 most prominent historians. Where people might suffer is at the entrypoint when they have no status.


Sure, people with money, power, fame, or status will always be playing by a different set of rules than everyone else in any institution. I don’t think they disprove my point, but rather set the outer bounds for my point. But most people don’t have that Wood’s stature – most people start, in your words “at the entrypoint when they have no status”.

Third I think you'd want to look at fields that are conservative. History departments are liberal; diplomatic historians are generally conservative. How does that happen? Why is it slow to change if the incentives for liberalism are as strong as you say?


Perhaps I didn’t emphasize this enough but my point was that I think conservatives are wrong for saying incentives for liberalism in academia are strong. Instead, I think that incentives for following the status quo are strong. If diplomatic historians are generally conservative, have long been conservative, and there are no signs of that changing in the near future – I think that proves, rather than refutes my point.

Fourth I think you have to look at places where politics is far removed from the work. Why have engineering and science faculties become so much more liberal over time? Most faculty don't teach deconstruction (which actually attracts a fair number of a particular kind of conservative.) They teach international relations and intro to biology and things like that.


I think this helps, rather than detracts from my point. Here is the methodology of ranking engineering programs, at the US News:

http://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/articles/2014/03/10/methodology-2015-best-engineering-schools-rankings

In contrast to the ranking methodology for humanities and social science programs which place 100% weight on academic peer surveys, the ranking system for engineering places only a 25% weight on such surveys. The surveys still carry a lot of weight, but they’re not the be-all/end-all of where engineering schools get ranked.

Perhaps engineering faculties have changed their politics over time. I would argue that’s probably in part because the ranking system for engineering programs, which places much less weight on academic peer surveys, punishes people in engineering a lot less for straying away from the status quo than the ranking system for humanities and social sciences. Moreover, while there certainly is a political element to the work done at engineering schools, the political element is not as strong as in humanities and social sciences.

Hard science graduate programs are ranked in an identical manner to humanities and social science programs. Nonetheless, I think comparing hard science programs to humanities and social science programs are a bit like comparing apples and oranges since 1.) hard science work tends to have less of a political element, 2.) such work tends to have more objective, independently verifiable standards for truth and accuracy, 3.) such programs usually get a lot more funding from outside sources which evaluate them in ways at times very different from how academic peers would rank them.

Fifth, I think you have to ask what conservative means to know what you are testing. If you assume conservative and liberal are stable, then all the movement has to be on the faculty side. If they are shifting, though, the situation looks different. There are lots of people in faculties, especially in engineering and other applied fields who describe themselves as centrists or even center-right. But few of those people voted for Romney. And very few of them would vote for a theo-conservative. Quite a few, I think, would vote for Rand Paul. Not a majority but far more than other things.

So I think you also have to look at whether among the many variants of conservatism, ones that emphasize religion triumphed over other either secular or Main Line religious variants that were holding court in the 1950s and 1960s.

If so, then there's not really any mystery. Intellectual life in academia begins with the premise that we are after natural explanations. Lots of people hold to that and also believe in God and go to church and serve as deacons; it isn't anti-thetical to religion at all in general. But it is anti-thetical to a religious view that says supernatural explanations hold water. Biology profs used to be fairly conservative; lots of them loved Eisenhower and even Nixon. They stood with rifles outside their building to keep the dirty hippie kids from breaking in and messing with their stuff during the riots. But you can't find a hard-core Republican ticket voter in a biology department most places (on the prez level, on the state level you can find lots of Christie or Weld voters) because they see the party as anti-biology.

I don't think the incentives you mention can change that. And I don't think the movement has all been on the side of the professors.

A strongly pro-science Republican Party could change that in a second, and I have no doubt that most Republican leaders themselves prize scientific thinking. But their incentives are against them saying so because of internal party politics.

If the Democrats nominated say, an anti-vaccination person who defended that loudly and derided pro-vaccination research, I think you would see a huge shift away from the Dem Party.

Bolded and italicized above by me.

My previous post was on academic programs in humanities and social sciences, and I don’t think bringing up the hard sciences is greatly relevant to that previous post for the reasons I listed above.

But if I understand what you’re saying above, in part, is that people in academia are not dogmatically loyal to a particular political party, but their loyalties will shift depending on their self-interest. That was basically my point, most probably inadequately communicated by me. Basically, my point was that academic programs in humanities and social science generally follow the status quo because they’re strongly incentivized to do so. However, if there are any outside events (such as the nomination of Democratic POTUS candidate who’s very hostile to biology research, for example) which provide an even greater advantage to depart from the status quo, then such academic programs will do so.

I think though, that this discussion has been slightly shifted away from my original post, which wasn’t so much about professors per se, but more about the collective interests of all the interest groups – including academics - associated with a university academic program such as students, parents, professors, administrators, and alumni. Certainly academics, whether at an individual or collective level, may have different interests at odds with the various other factions. While I certainly wouldn’t presume that all my previous points or points here are unimpeachably correct, I think part of the differences in our views are from this shift of the discussion.
   1402. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:08 PM (#4766361)
Personally I care a great deal. I am just not sure what the right thing to do is. I hope people with more information and power than I are doing something though.


I think the current problem is that the only vaguely "good" thing to do would be to provide air support and maybe some "advisors" to the Kurds, but that would essentially undermine our entire "one Iraq" policy as well as torpedo relations with the Turks, because it would be the functional equivalent of signing up for "Kurdistan."
   1403. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:09 PM (#4766362)
As well as conflating concern for Gazan lives with "sympathy" for Hamas.

Why does the media act like every Gazan casualty is a civilian? Why never a mention of how many of the dead are Hamas fighters?

They're very careful to say 62 Israeli military dead and 2 civilians, but no breakdown is ever provided on the other side.
   1404. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:11 PM (#4766364)
I think the current problem is that the only vaguely "good" thing to do would be to provide air support and maybe some "advisors" to the Kurds, but that would essentially undermine our entire "one Iraq" policy as well as torpedo relations with the Turks, because it would be the functional equivalent of signing up for "Kurdistan."

Which is long overdue. There is no Iraq. The Gov't is a feckless puppet of Iran, who can't can't even defeat 10,000 fanatics in pick-up trucks.

The Kurds are the only people in the whole effing region, besides the Israelis, who have any affinity for the US, and have any potential as allies.

Eff the Turks. They haven't been useful allies in over a decade.
   1405. The District Attorney Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:12 PM (#4766365)
I guess what I would compare it to would be the disagreement in the late 19th century in this country over the Silver vs. Gold standard. It was the defining issue in several elections. It seems silly now, but it was a huge deal.
Isn't there an obvious difference, though? Economic issues will affect your life whether you want them to or not. The issue of whether Christ was man, god, or god/man for 33 years will only affect your life if you decide to start killing people over it.

If you want to say the dispute was a proxy for power struggles within and between various churches and empires, fine. Then it makes sense. But to the extent that people did kill each other over the obscure religious point, I think it's fair to criticize that. Just having a reason to kill somebody is morally insufficient. We're entitled to examine those reasons.
   1406. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:17 PM (#4766367)
Why does the media act like every Gazan casualty is a civilian? Why never a mention of how many of the dead are Hamas fighters?


You need better media. Of the roughly 1800 dead Gazans, 900 or so are estimated to be between 18-27, and thus "fighters." The others are civilians. 900 to 2 is not a ratio many people find acceptable. Leon Wieseltier has a good piece on the subject at New Republic.
   1407. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:17 PM (#4766368)
We should have left American troops behind securing that massive dam ISIS now controls. We also could and should have inserted said troops in the interim after ISIS's last offensive.
   1408. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:18 PM (#4766369)
And at the same time, ISIS is ethnically-cleansing (or worse) the Christians and Yazidis from the Nineveh region, and no one seems to give a ####. The death toll is almost certainly already multiples of that in Gaza, but Hamas gets more sympathy (or maybe people just like bashing the Jews).

People just like bashing the Jews. And as we've seen play out here in the Algeria debate, the left simply can't abide by anything that even smacks of "colonialism." So the left brings to bear here not only their inherent dislike and intolerance of successful peoples, but also their hissy fits about "colonialism."
   1409. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4766370)
People just like bashing the Jews.


Your persecution complex is already noted.
   1410. tshipman Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:21 PM (#4766372)
Isn't there an obvious difference, though? Economic issues will affect your life whether you want them to or not. The issue of whether Christ was man, god, or god/man for 33 years will only affect your life if you decide to start killing people over it.


This is a modern view of things. Economic issues are transient compared to the prospect of the afterlife and your local community. You were going to be a peasant, or a tradesman or whatever your father or husband was regardless of what the current taxes were or who the emperor was. That stuff didn't matter. What mattered was your community, where your choice of belief had huge effects, and the afterlife, which you viewed as a tangible, real thing.

If you want to say the dispute was a proxy for power struggles within and between various churches and empires, fine. Then it makes sense. But to the extent that people did kill each other over the obscure religious point, I think it's fair to criticize that. Just having a reason to kill somebody is morally insufficient. We're entitled to examine those reasons.


Again, I think this is a modern view that projects backwards. The dispute was BOTH a proxy for power struggles AND a battle for immortal souls. One was not subordinate to the other.
   1411. The Good Face Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:23 PM (#4766373)
Your persecution complex is already noted.


Said the unapologetic anti-Semite.
   1412. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:23 PM (#4766374)
Israel's tactics in Gaza have been excessive and disproportionate.

Which doesn't begin to explain the left's obsession with Israel and its neighbors.
   1413. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:23 PM (#4766375)
Your persecution complex is already noted.

I'm not Jewish.
   1414. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:26 PM (#4766376)
900 to 2 is not a ratio many people find acceptable.

Unless there aren't white people on one of the sides, then nobody gives a #### about ratios or anything else. No one gives a #### about, for example, ISIS's mass executions and displacements of other ethnic groups -- by all indications, far more copious and barbaric than the Israel/Hamas skirmishes.
   1415. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:27 PM (#4766377)
Said the unapologetic anti-Semite.


Your bruised ##### is showing, honeybear.
   1416. The District Attorney Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:27 PM (#4766378)
Okay, so how does the nature of Christ for those 33 years affect one's afterlife?
   1417. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:27 PM (#4766380)
I'm not Jewish.


Not a requirement.
   1418. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:30 PM (#4766387)
Not a requirement.

You're the one with the "persecution complex," what with being utterly racked with guilt flowing from your southern whiteness. That complex feeds into these pages daily, and is blatantly obvious.

IOW, you're projecting again.

   1419. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:31 PM (#4766388)
You need better media. Of the roughly 1800 dead Gazans, 900 or so are estimated to be between 18-27, and thus "fighters." The others are civilians. 900 to 2 is not a ratio many people find acceptable. Leon Wieseltier has a good piece on the subject at New Republic.

What was the ratio of US civilian deaths to German and Japanese civilian deaths in WW2?

Why should we care?

Hamas sucks as a military organization; can't see how that's Israel's fault.
   1420. The Good Face Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:32 PM (#4766389)
Said the unapologetic anti-Semite.

Your bruised ##### is showing, honeybear.


I guess the fact you're taking pride in your anti-Semitism is a sort of improvement for you. Can't fix it til you own it I suppose.
   1421. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:33 PM (#4766390)
We should have left American troops behind securing that massive dam ISIS now controls. We also could and should have inserted said troops in the interim after ISIS's last offensive.


The choices are clear - either invest in the nation of Iraq until it is solid and can govern itself - whether they want us to or not, or we leave and let it be sorted out as thousands of similar situations have unfolded.

However suggesting with 20/20 hindsight a couple places where "gosh US troops would be useful right there and no where else" (and ignoring the need to provide support for those troops - which opens all of them up to being killed) is ridiculous.
   1422. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:37 PM (#4766392)
The choices are clear - either invest in the nation of Iraq until it is solid and can govern itself - whether they want us to or not, or we leave and let it be sorted out as thousands of similar situations have unfolded.

No.

We can also invest in supporting the reasonable groups in the area (e.g. the Kurds) and protecting the minorities who are being persecuted, and enabling them to protect themselves.

Iraq will never be solid, absent another dictator or Junta. Maliki and his allies blew that chance.
   1423. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:38 PM (#4766394)
Why should we care?


Wait, what? Why should we care about innocent civilian deaths? Really?

We should care because it is bad to kill people. Sometime sit is absolutely unavoidable, but when someone dies it should always be examined and mourned and we should try to find another way to reasonably accomplish whatever. We should care because we are all people, all of us, and just because they live in another country, speak another language, have a different religion does not mean we get to ignore them.

Innocents being killed by ISIS are not more worthy of our concern than innocents killed by Hamas or innocents killed by Israel.
   1424. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:39 PM (#4766396)
Innocents being killed by ISIS are not more worthy of our concern than innocents killed by Hamas or innocents killed by Israel.

And they're not less, either. So why, then, the utterly disproportionate attention on Gaza? (Rhetorical question; the explanation has already been given.)
   1425. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:41 PM (#4766399)
We can also invest in supporting the reasonable groups in the area (e.g. the Kurds) and protecting the minorities who are being persecuted, and enabling them to protect themselves.


And that will have consequences. Side effects but intended and unintended. You can't pretend it would be free. If nothing else the history of post-WWII US has taught us that supporting a group can have large consequences and often takes on a life of its own even after the initial reason for that support is gone.

I am not saying don't support the Kurds. I have a soft spot for them and they have clearly been our best allies in Iraq (and it is not even close), but remember there will be a cost.
   1426. Greg K Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:41 PM (#4766400)
This is a modern view of things. Economic issues are transient compared to the prospect of the afterlife and your local community. You were going to be a peasant, or a tradesman or whatever your father or husband was regardless of what the current taxes were or who the emperor was. That stuff didn't matter. What mattered was your community, where your choice of belief had huge effects, and the afterlife, which you viewed as a tangible, real thing.

To take the Donatist heresy as an example (not Christological so perhaps not relevant to the specific thrust of the argument, but oh well).

Under Diocletian Christians were persecuted quite severely, but in Roman North Africa the local governor made a deal where he'd go lenient on the Christians there if the Church leaders surrendered their scriptures. Once Christianity became legal again these church leaders were viewed as traitors by large groups of the population. They argued that by their conduct they had forfeited their sacred power, and thus any sacrament they performed was invalid (including creating new priests, so the taint would flow perpetually). This was in part a power dispute, who gets to establish the legitimacy of priests, the central authority of the church, or judgements of their behaviour from the congregation? But at its core it was a very real problem for everyday life. If the rites received from your local priest going back for years were invalid then your soul was essentially screwed, and the souls of any of your loved ones who had died in the interim permanently screwed.

I think we have difficultly fully understanding the immediacy of these problems for 4th or 5th century Christians, but in their world the nature of Christ, or how priests were ordained did matter and couldn't help but matter.
   1427. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:42 PM (#4766401)
Wait, what? Why should we care about innocent civilian deaths? Really?

We should care because it is bad to kill people. Sometime sit is absolutely unavoidable, but when someone dies it should always be examined and mourned and we should try to find another way to reasonably accomplish whatever. We should care because we are all people, all of us, and just because they live in another country, speak another language, have a different religion does not mean we get to ignore them.

Innocents being killed by ISIS are not more worthy of our concern than innocents killed by Hamas or innocents killed by Israel.


No, I asked why should we care about the ratio.

Sam said:

900 to 2 is not a ratio many people find acceptable


Why would it be "better" if the ratio was 450 dead Palestinian civilians: 450 dead Israeli citizens?

We typically don't judge the justness of wars by the ratio of casualties, or even civilian casualties. Otherwise, WW2 was really unjust for the US, as was Gulf War 1. Being more effective militarily doesn't render you more blameworthy.
   1428. Lassus Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:43 PM (#4766402)
I agree that people love bashing Jews just for being Jews, and I agree that Israel is killing too many people in Gaza for my liking.

To be honest, I'm pretty sure there is no real way to enter this debate - at least as an outsider - without being cripplingly wrong no matter what you think. I have most often, and admittedly cowardly so, just chosen not to do so.
   1429. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:43 PM (#4766403)
And they're not less, either. So why, then, the utterly disproportionate attention on Gaza? (Rhetorical question; the explanation has already been given.)


I did not say they were worth less.

Look you want to make this some bizarre persecution, as if that was more significant than the people actually suffering and that is loathsome. The fact of the matter is that certain things get more media attention than others. A disaster in the NE US gets more play than a disaster in Alaska. Everything is not politics, race and the "Modern Liberal", despite your insistent obsessions.
   1430. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:43 PM (#4766404)
And that will have consequences. Side effects but intended and unintended. You can't pretend it would be free. If nothing else the history of post-WWII US has taught us that supporting a group can have large consequences and often takes on a life of its own even after the initial reason for that support is gone.

I am not saying don't support the Kurds. I have a soft spot for them and they have clearly been our best allies in Iraq (and it is not even close), but remember there will be a cost.


Of course, every action has costs and benefits.
   1431. tshipman Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:46 PM (#4766409)
I think we have difficultly fully understanding the immediacy of these problems for 4th or 5th century Christians, but in their world the nature of Christ, or how priests were ordained did matter and couldn't help but matter.


Really good post, Greg. I was struggling to come up with a really good example, and I thought you hit the nail on the head there. Thanks for really hammering that home.
   1432. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:48 PM (#4766414)
Really good post, Greg. I was struggling to come up with a really good example, and I thought you hit the nail on the head there. Thanks for really hammering that home.

The Arian heresy is another decent one. The issue of whether Christ was truly God, or only some sort of demi-urge, has huge implications on the nature of His teaching and sacrifice, and the nature of the Sacraments.
   1433. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:50 PM (#4766415)
Why would it be "better" if the ratio was 450 dead Palestinian civilians: 450 dead Israeli citizens?


Obviously it would be better if it was 0 to 0. 900 to 2 is worse than 800 to 2 is worse than 700 to 2 ... how is this not obvious? Both the rate stat and the counting stat matter (to put it in sports terms).

There is something called proportionate response which is what some of us expect from well run rational and good governments. The sort of rate stat the Israeli military is currently sporting either points to callous disregard, incompetence, or deliberate sending of a message - and no matter what all they are doing is creating a breeding ground for the next wave.

If their rate stat made it clear they were competent and cared about Palestinian civilian deaths it would be less likely to continue feeding the rage, the hate, of the Palestinians.

We have established that Hamas doesn't care about their own civilian deaths and that it helps their future recruiting, Israel doesn't seem to care, and you don't seem to care, but I and some others do care.

EDIT: Note to be clear the actual rate stat I am speaking above about is the Palestinian combatant to Palestinian Civilian ratio.
   1434. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:51 PM (#4766418)
Rhetorical question; the explanation has already been given.


Yes. TShip answered this immediately upon it being trolled out there.
   1435. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:52 PM (#4766420)
Look you want to make this some bizarre persecution, as if that was more significant than the people actually suffering and that is loathsome.

A bunch of fools say something inane and we say it's inane, and that's a "persecution complex."

Um, yeah.
   1436. GregD Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:53 PM (#4766423)
Gordon, thanks for your responses. I take most of what you say. I don't think separating humanities from science profs helps one understand the movement on politics within the academy because they have largely moved in tandem, so something broader is going on that can't be reduced to (often silly) trends in lit or to the alleged relativism of humanities fields.

If I understood your original point, you were stating that one could create through rankings more conservative faculty, and I doubt that because I don't think the rankings have had anything to do with the changes in political views of academics nor do I think that new rankings based on ROTC membership would actually put conservative universities at the top (Wisconsin has had a strong ROTC program and is one of the 2-3 most liberal universities in the country I think), nor do I think creating rankings that put Liberty at the top would create a big wave in academia. The rankings matter because 1) people think they are generally in the ballpark and 2) colleges therefore use their slots to advertise. But #1 is key; that's why the secret sauce always spits out Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford at the top. If the rankings came out Liberty #1, no one would pay attention to them and they would have no effect.

So I agree there are incentives that moved people but I don't think those incentives came from rankings. Instead, I think they came from shifts in politics. Most professors disproportionately come from one of two backgrounds: 1) well-educated WASP coastal suburbanites/urban private school types and 2) reform and secular Jews. #1 is a demographic that absolutely was Republican in the 1950s but is not now, especially among women. #2 has always been disproportionately Democratic. If you can explain most of the voting of professors without knowing their profession--by knowing where they came from--then explanations that emphasize incentives within the profession aren't determinative, right?

(I would guess that most professors are somewhat more economically liberal than their cohort who went into other fields, and that might be explained by their having chosen a lower-paying field both as a reflection of their values and as an incentive for not worrying about high taxes on high earners.)
   1437. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:56 PM (#4766424)
Obviously it would be better if it was 0 to 0. 900 to 2 is worse than 800 to 2 is worse than 700 to 2 ... how is this not obvious? Both the rate stat and the counting stat matter (to put it in sports terms).

There is something called proportionate response which is what some of us expect from well run rational and good governments. The sort of rate stat the Israeli military is currently sporting either points to callous disregard, incompetence, or deliberate sending of a message - and no matter what all they are doing is creating a breeding ground for the next wave.

If their rate stat made it clear they were competent and cared about Palestinian civilian deaths it would be less likely to continue feeding the rage, the hate, of the Palestinians.

We have established that Hamas doesn't care about their own civilian deaths and that it helps their future recruiting, Israel doesn't seem to care, and you don't seem to care, but I and some others do care.


No, it's better if the total civilian deaths are fewer, I don't see why the ratio between Palestinians and Israelis matter one whit, if we believe they are all innocent civilians.

The other (and most likely) possibility you fail to mention is that Israel does care about civilian deaths, and is trying to avoid them (if only for PR reasons) but, Hamas has so embedded its military capabilities among the civilian population, that this is the best Israel can do.

I care about the deaths, I just blame Hamas for them, not Israel.
   1438. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:57 PM (#4766425)
Yes. TShip answered this immediately upon it being trolled out there.

And what he said has no explanatory power. The anti-Semitic left isn't criticizing Israel because they "think it might work." Let's try not to be entirely absurd.

Nor was the question why is Israel but not ISIS being criticized; it was why so much attention was being focused on Gazan civilian deaths (which are to be mourned), yet none on the death of civilians ISIS slaughtered.
   1439. tshipman Posted: August 07, 2014 at 02:00 PM (#4766428)
And what he said has no explanatory power. The anti-Semitic left isn't criticizing Israel because they "think it might work." Let's try not to be entirely absurd.


I mean, I suppose I should have explained better and noted that since Israel is a democracy with close international ties to a number of countries, public criticism has the chance to spark action in the international community, rather than allowing you to imply that my point was that Bibi cares what a bunch of kids with dreadlocks have to say, but whatevs, I'm sure you'd find some way to troll about that too.

Edited for clarity.
   1440. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 02:03 PM (#4766433)
I mean, I suppose I should have explained better and noted that since Israel is a democracy with close international ties to a number of countries, public criticism has the chance to spark action in the international community, rather than allowing you to imply that my point was that Bibi cares what a bunch of kids with dreadlocks have to say, but whatevs, I'm sure you'd find some way to troll about that too.

Edited for clarity.


Sure, but the Gaza issue is complicated and defies easy solutions. The ISIS issue is easy; they're evil, and should be annihilated.

What's the downside to killing a few thousand ISIS fighters?
   1441. tshipman Posted: August 07, 2014 at 02:15 PM (#4766438)
What's the downside to killing a few thousand ISIS fighters?


Uh, we're reinforcing Maliki's status quo (or introducing a ton of uncertainty by supporting Kurdistan), supporting Assad, coming back into a region that we really need to stay out of and radicalizing Islamists against the United States again.

Generally speaking, it's contrary to our national interest. I mean, it's probably the morally right thing to do, but it's also probably against realpolitik.
   1442. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 07, 2014 at 02:19 PM (#4766441)
I care about the deaths, I just blame Hamas for them, not Israel.


I again suggest the link to the New Republic piece above.
   1443. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 07, 2014 at 02:23 PM (#4766445)
Uh, we're reinforcing Maliki's status quo (or introducing a ton of uncertainty by supporting Kurdistan), supporting Assad, coming back into a region that we really need to stay out of and radicalizing Islamists against the United States again.


Turkey is one of the few remaining states openly supporting Hamas.
We would like to influence Turkey to reduce as much as possible their support of Hamas.
If we enter the Syria/Iraq/ISIS fray on the side of "Kurdistan" we alienate Turkey and deeply compromise our ability to influence them vis a vis Hamas.
   1444. tshipman Posted: August 07, 2014 at 02:32 PM (#4766453)
Turkey is also a key US ally in the region and hosts the Incirilk Air Base, which is a key part of our force projection in the ME and Russia.

Also a NATO member.

Pissing off Turkey is sort of a big deal. They are our best natural ally in the region.
   1445. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 07, 2014 at 02:35 PM (#4766456)
Turkey is also a key US ally in the region and hosts the Incirilk Air Base, which is a key part of our force projection in the ME and Russia.


One of the forward operating air bases where we would launch said air support strikes against ISIS (not the only one, but one of them.) It's not a clean question of "go kill the bad guys." It's not a Rambo movie. It's a moral mess where every player and nation is compromised in some way, and our interests actually compete against themselves half the time.
   1446. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 02:40 PM (#4766460)
Israel's tactics in Gaza have been excessive and disproportionate.
Disproportionate to what?


EDIT:And to respond to a similar point:
900 to 2 is not a ratio many people find acceptable.
So how many Jews should be killed to make it acceptable?
   1447. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 07, 2014 at 02:41 PM (#4766463)
From various news reports it looks like plenty of people are concerned about the situation and action is being considered, so I guess I am unsure about where they cries of "Why does no one care?" and "Why is no one doing anything?" are coming from. This is a pretty new situation.
   1448. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 07, 2014 at 02:44 PM (#4766467)
So how many Jews should be killed to make it acceptable?


The ratio I find most troubling personally is the Palestinian combatant to Palestinian civilian ratio. Way too many innocents ON BOTH sides are being killed. Both sides should be criticized for that number.

Note: The attitude of your comment is very typical and not helpful. You know full well no one here is calling for more Jewish deaths, suggesting otherwise is ridiculous.
   1449. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 07, 2014 at 02:45 PM (#4766468)
Disproportionate to what?

The objectives and the threat posed. Israel has killed far too many children in this battle.

   1450. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 02:45 PM (#4766470)
What was the ratio of US civilian deaths to German and Japanese civilian deaths in WW2?
Exactly. No wars, except Israel's, have ever been judged in this fashion. Innocent people being killed is always bad, but nobody has ever done balance sheets like this.
   1451. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 07, 2014 at 02:46 PM (#4766472)
You know full well no one here is calling for more Jewish deaths, suggesting otherwise is ridiculous.

How aren't they? Presumably 900/900 would be a "better" ratio than 900/2, so how aren't people saying 898 more dead Israeli Jews would be better?
   1452. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 02:47 PM (#4766477)
Turkey is one of the few remaining states openly supporting Hamas.
We would like to influence Turkey to reduce as much as possible their support of Hamas.
If we enter the Syria/Iraq/ISIS fray on the side of "Kurdistan" we alienate Turkey and deeply compromise our ability to influence them vis a vis Hamas.


Turkey is increasingly friendly to the Iraqi Kurds. They've built a pipeline across Turkey to Kurdistan, allowing them to export oil independent of the Maliki Gov't.
   1453. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 07, 2014 at 02:51 PM (#4766480)
How aren't they? Presumably 900/900 would be a "better" ratio than 900/2, so how aren't people saying 898 more dead Israeli Jews would be better?


Well I for one have been very clear both rate and counting stats matter. Besides it is often helpful to not completely assume the absolute worst of other people in these discussions. Unless the goal is to troll and otherwise cause mischief at the very least you could ... I don't know ask reasonably and not automatically state the worst possible interpretation and assign it to the person your are having a conversation with and assert that is their position with 100% certainty.

And you call the Modern Liberal immature. Sheesh.
   1454. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 07, 2014 at 02:53 PM (#4766482)
Turkey is increasingly friendly to the Iraqi Kurds. They've built a pipeline across Turkey to Kurdistan, allowing them to export oil independent of the Maliki Gov't.


And since they are an ally and very close to the situation it is probably a good idea to consult with them before going off half cocked. And that takes some time. To all appearances the Obama administration is concerned about the situation. Let's see what ends up happening - though I am sure whatever happens 100% of the fault will be assigned to Obama.
   1455. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 02:55 PM (#4766486)
Well I for one have been very clear both rate and counting stats matter.

Why do ratios matter?

Our civilian casualty ratio in WW2 was something like Germany and Japan 2 million:US 2,000. Did that make our cause less just?
   1456. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 02:57 PM (#4766488)
And since they are an ally and very close to the situation it is probably a good idea to consult with them before going off half cocked. And that takes some time. To all appearances the Obama administration is concerned about the situation. Let's see what ends up happening - though I am sure whatever happens 100% of the fault will be assigned to Obama.

Is there any evidence we are doing anything?

It's been 2 months since ISIS took Mosul. Obama can't get a phone call with Erdogan within 2 months?
   1457. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 07, 2014 at 02:57 PM (#4766490)
Well I for one have been very clear both rate and counting stats matter. Besides it is often helpful to not completely assume the absolute worst of other people in these discussions. Unless the goal is to troll and otherwise cause mischief at the very least you could ... I don't know ask reasonably and not automatically state the worst possible interpretation and assign it to the person your are having a conversation with and assert that is their position with 100% certainty.

I don't really "assume the worst." I do adjudge the track record of people who have already proven themselves to be virulantly anti-Israel, and use it as a backdrop to complaints about better and worse death ratios.

There's also simple logic: 1f 900/900 is a "better" ratio than 900/2, what would be the way in which the ratio would be made "better"?
   1458. tshipman Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:01 PM (#4766491)
There's also simple logic: 1f 900/900 is a "better" ratio than 900/2, what would be the way in which the ratio would be made "better"?


900/900 is not a better ratio. A better ratio would be 2/2--or better yet, 0/0. The goal is to limit deaths on both sides, not to increase civilian deaths for Israelis.

   1459. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:04 PM (#4766492)
900/900 is not a better ratio. A better ratio would be 2/2--or better yet, 0/0. The goal is to limit deaths on both sides, not to increase civilian deaths for Israelis.

So you're saying total civilian deaths is what matters? I agree. 451/451 would be equally bad as 900/2.

Sam and BM both seem to think the ratio between the sides matters too.
   1460. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:07 PM (#4766495)
Exactly. No wars, except Israel's, have ever been judged in this fashion.


All modern wars carried out by democracies are judged in this fashion. Collateral damage is a constant concern for anyone and any nation concerned with just war. See also the US in Iraq and Afghanistan. Counter the horror of Russia in Chechnya. But by all means, continue apace with this "it's only because its the Jews" paranoia. It's lovely and becoming.

As a point of detail, during the escalation as the IDF was launching the most recent ground offensive, for perfectly reasonable aims (destruction of the tunnels) a tactical decision was made to expand shelling from guided missile-only to general mortar batteries. One of those mortar rounds is what hit the UN school and killed children who were in that school explicitly at the direction of the IDF (i.e., that was where they were told to go shelter to avoid being killed in their homes.) The decision to expand the bombardment to include far less "precise" bombs is on Israel, not Hamas. Hamas can answer for their own crimes. "But Hamas made me do it" is not a sufficient argument for Israel's actions.
   1461. tshipman Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:09 PM (#4766498)
So you're saying total civilian deaths is what matters? I agree. 451/451 would be equally bad as 900/2.

Sam and BM both seem to think the ratio between the sides matters too.


The ratio between sides matters because it implies that Israel could do more to avoid civilian deaths. Israel is obv. doing all it can to avoid Israeli deaths, but not enough to avoid Palestinian deaths, IOW.

Yes, yes, yes, I understand that Hamas is not trying to avoid civilian deaths at all. Totally understand this point and agree. However, despite Hamas's fecklessness, Israel should still do more to avoid Palestinian deaths.
   1462. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:10 PM (#4766499)
So how many Jews should be killed to make it acceptable?


This has been answered by others, but it's a sign of the depths of your paranoia that your instinctual response is to think people want to "balance" the ratio of civilian deaths by killing more Jews, as opposed to not killing as many Gazans.
   1463. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:12 PM (#4766500)
The ratio between sides matters because it implies that Israel could do more to avoid civilian deaths.

Maybe they could, maybe they couldn't. Don't know how we can judge that.
   1464. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:12 PM (#4766501)
Note: The attitude of your comment is very typical and not helpful. You know full well no one here is calling for more Jewish deaths, suggesting otherwise is ridiculous.
When one complains about a ratio being too high (rather than the numerator being too high), then one is indeed implicitly saying that either the numerator must drop or the denominator must rise. (If you're complaining only about the Palestinian combat/civilian ratio, then the comment isn't directed at you; it was in response to someone complaining about the Palestinian civilian/Israeli civilian ratio.)

As for the Palestinian combatant/civilian ratio, Hamas fighters intermingle with the civilian population. Either Israel doesn't defend itself, or it does and some noncombatants die.
   1465. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:13 PM (#4766503)
Sam and BM both seem to think the ratio between the sides matters too.


This isn't hard, Snapper. The threat, a threat that has taken the lives of 2 Israeli civilians to date, does not warrant a retaliatory action that kills 900 Gazan civilians. No one outside of eastern European soccer matches (and maybe some ugliness in France) want more dead Israelis. We want less dead Gazan civilians.
   1466. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:14 PM (#4766505)
As for the Palestinian combatant/civilian ratio, Hamas fighters intermingle with the civilian population. Either Israel doesn't defend itself, or it does and some noncombatants die.


This is the standard line of rationalization. It is wrong. Again, I strongly recommend the New Republic link above for a better take on the question. "But Hamas made me do it" is not a justification for this many civilian deaths.
   1467. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:15 PM (#4766507)
Disproportionate to what?

The objectives and the threat posed. Israel has killed far too many children in this battle.
If you were Kevin, I would defer to your military expertise. Since you're not, I don't see how you can state this.
   1468. Lassus Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:15 PM (#4766509)
When one complains about a ratio being too high (rather than the numerator being too high), then one is indeed implicitly saying that either the numerator must drop or the denominator must rise.

Technically right is the best kind of right.
   1469. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:16 PM (#4766510)
900/900 is not a better ratio. A better ratio would be 2/2--or better yet, 0/0. The goal is to limit deaths on both sides, not to increase civilian deaths for Israelis.

Sure, but those are the easy cases. The claim made was that 900/2 was unacceptable. If that's because 900 is too high, then it's too high whether the other side has suffered 2 or 900 and it's not the ratio that's the concern, it's the counting stat.

So then why cite the ratio?
   1470. tshipman Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:17 PM (#4766513)
As for the Palestinian combatant/civilian ratio, Hamas fighters intermingle with the civilian population. Either Israel doesn't defend itself, or it does and some noncombatants die.


Why are mortars necessary in a ground operation designed to close tunnels?
   1471. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:17 PM (#4766515)
This isn't hard, Snapper. The threat, a threat that has taken the lives of 2 Israeli civilians to date, does not warrant a retaliatory action that kills 900 Gazan civilians.

Again, we don't decide the justice of wars that way.

Otherwise we could decribe WW2 as "the threat that killed 2,000 American civilians did not warrant retaliatory actions that killed 2 million German and Japanese civilians".
   1472. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:18 PM (#4766517)
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- It's time for the Cleveland Indians to drop their name and Chief Wahoo mascot, an Ohio state senator says.

Eric Kearney, a Democrat from Cincinnati, introduced a resolution Wednesday that would encourage the baseball team to adopt a new name and mascot, citing racial insensitivity. He also sent a letter to Indians owner Lawrence Dolan urging a change.

...

At an unrelated Thursday news conference, Indians President Mark Shapiro said the Chief Wahoo mascot "represents the heritage of the team and the ballpark" and will remain in place. He added that the team will continue to build and promote the use of the block "C."

Kearney, who said he's a big baseball fan, didn't expect major change right away but said Thursday he's "asking for a discussion to occur."


Sure, let's discuss it:

This issue is stupid.

Signed, the non-annoying people
   1473. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:19 PM (#4766520)
If you were Kevin, I would defer to your military expertise. Since you're not, I don't see how you can state this.


As a civilian employee on an Air Force base, I'm now wondering if I should start claiming some sort of military acumen myself.

(Never had a problem with Kevin, but that was not his finest moment.)
   1474. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:20 PM (#4766521)
Why are mortars necessary in a ground operation designed to close tunnels?

If a unit is under attack, mortars are the fastest way to provide covering fire, as they are directly under the control of relatively small ground units (companies or battalions). i.e. an infantry squad taking machine gun fire from a building or a trench can get mortar fire placed on the targets in a matter of a minute or two, with a simple radio call. Calling up an air strike with precision weapons may take much longer.
   1475. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:21 PM (#4766523)
The ratio between sides matters because it implies that Israel could do more to avoid civilian deaths.

Then the problem isn't the ratio, it's the counting stat.

This isn't hard, Snapper. The threat, a threat that has taken the lives of 2 Israeli civilians to date, does not warrant a retaliatory action that kills 900 Gazan civilians.

You're confusing "threat" with two things, each of which justifies military force: (1) potential threat; and (2) valid military objectives, e.g., eliminating the rocket launch sites and the tunnels.

   1476. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:21 PM (#4766525)
Sure, but those are the easy cases. The claim made was that 900/2 was unacceptable. If that's because 900 is too high, then it's too high whether the other side has suffered 2 or 900 and it's not the ratio that's the concern, it's the counting stat.

So then why cite the ratio?


Because I was explicitly addressing a question raised by Snapper a few posts prior. He said @1403:

Why does the media act like every Gazan casualty is a civilian? Why never a mention of how many of the dead are Hamas fighters?

They're very careful to say 62 Israeli military dead and 2 civilians, but no breakdown is ever provided on the other side.


Note where he brings up the question of Gazan civilian-to-fighter casualty ratios, in an indictment that no one ever reports those details but holds Israel to a different standard. I pointed out that plenty of sources report those Hamas/Gazan civilian breakdowns if he bothered looking for it, linked to an article citing those stats, and brought up the disconnect between 900+/2. (This assumes that all dead Gazans between the ages of 18-27 are Hamas fighters, which no one here can verify as an accurate claim, but will do as a proxy.)
   1477. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4766527)
When one complains about a ratio being too high (rather than the numerator being too high), then one is indeed implicitly saying that either the numerator must drop or the denominator must rise.


And you assumed the absolute worst without asking. Which says more about your attitude than the person who wrote the original ratio comment.

So you're saying total civilian deaths is what matters? I agree. 451/451 would be equally bad as 900/2.


But Israel doesn't have full control of the ratio of Palestinian deaths to Israeli deaths. Since we are criticizing Israel (though Hamas is terrible, they are not a Democratic ally, but if you like then yes Hamas is terrible) we are criticizing the parts they control - in this case Palestinian civilian deaths (unless you think Israel is killing their own civilians or something crazy like that).

So while total deaths matters (obviously) when talking about one side or the others behavior generally we are talking about their behavior and the stuff they are doing.
   1478. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4766530)
The "ratio" complaint is an obvious criticism of Israel and is an implicit statement that more Israeli casualties to even out the ratio would be better.

If you're complaining that 900/2 is the wrong "ratio," then obviously 900/900 would be a better one. If you think that said conclusion is an unfair one, then stop complaining about the ratio.
   1479. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:24 PM (#4766532)
You're confusing "threat" with two things, each of which justifies military force: (1) potential threat; and (2) valid military objectives, e.g., eliminating the rocket launch sites and the tunnels.


The only valid thread were the tunnels. Rocket fire is obviously horrific and difficult, but hardly a real military tactic that amounts to a "threat."

"Eliminating rocket launch sites" basically means leveling all of Gaza, because as we all agree, the rocket launch sites are mobile and interspersed with the population at large.
   1480. tshipman Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:25 PM (#4766534)
The "ratio" complaint is an obvious criticism of Israel and is an implicit statement that more Israeli casualties to even out the ratio would be better.

If you're complaining that 900/2 is the wrong "ratio," then obviously 900/900 would be a better one. If you think that said conclusion is an unfair one, then stop complaining about the ratio.


This is being willfully obtuse.
   1481. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:26 PM (#4766535)
The "ratio" complaint is an obvious criticism of Israel and is an implicit statement that more Israeli casualties to even out the ratio would be better.


I suspect that you and David will hang onto the technical semantics of a "ratio" vs a "numerator" until the sun explodes, and it's pointless to try to actually reason with you here, but this is obviously bullshit and pretty much everyone with a vague aura of common sense understands as much.
   1482. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:26 PM (#4766536)
But Israel doesn't have full control of the ratio of Palestinian deaths to Israeli deaths. Since we are criticizing Israel (though Hamas is terrible, they are not a Democratic ally, but if you like then yes Hamas is terrible) we are criticizing the parts they control - in this case Palestinian civilian deaths (unless you think Israel is killing their own civilians or something crazy like that).

Then just say "Israel is killing too many civilians, they need to be more careful". The comparison to Israeli deaths is irrelevant.

Because I was explicitly addressing a question raised by Snapper a few posts prior. He said @1403:

I may have alluded to the ratio of Gazan civilian to military deaths, but you brought up the ratio of Gazan to Israeli civilian deaths all on your own, and deemed it unacceptable.
   1483. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:26 PM (#4766537)
This isn't hard, Snapper. The threat, a threat that has taken the lives of 2 Israeli civilians to date, does not warrant a retaliatory action that kills 900 Gazan civilians.
Common rhetorical trick on the left of making things about revenge. It's not a "retaliatory" action, Sam; Israel isn't trying to 'get even.' It's trying to destroy enemy forces. It's not just the missiles -- about which you apparently know little. True, they haven't killed many people -- but only because Israel unsustainably spends millions defending itself -- but they have disrupted half the country. If your neighbor were repeatedly firing bullets into the side of your home, you wouldn't say, "Well, the wall of my house stops most of the rounds, so no big deal." Every time a Hamas missile is launched, people are forced to drop what they're doing and scramble into shelters. (And the missiles are getting longer range and longer range.) But as I said, it's not just the missiles. Israel would have acted less strongly, if it weren't for the tunnels.

This is the standard line of rationalization. It is wrong. Again, I strongly recommend the New Republic link above for a better take on the question. "But Hamas made me do it" is not a justification for this many civilian deaths.
Yes, it is, actually¹. The Wieseltier piece is hand wringing, but it doesn't actually say anything other than "How horrible." Anyone can sign onto that, but it doesn't provide any guidance.


¹ One can take a pure pacifist position that one shouldn't defend oneself. One can take a de facto pacifist position that one should only defend oneself if no innocent people die. Or one can take the position -- the one reflected by both just war theory and modern laws of war -- that unintended civilian deaths, though regrettable, are justifiable if one is acting proportionately to one's military objectives. (I omit the far end of the spectrum: "Yay corpses, the only thing I'm upset about is that more enemy civilians didn't die.")
   1484. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:26 PM (#4766538)
The only valid thread were the tunnels. Rocket fire is obviously horrific and difficult, but hardly a real military tactic that amounts to a "threat."

Rockets with sufficient range to hit all your major urban areas, that your enemy routinely launches, isn't a "threat"?

C'mon now, this is a serious board.
   1485. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:27 PM (#4766539)
The "ratio" complaint is an obvious criticism of Israel and is an implicit statement that more Israeli casualties to even out the ratio would be better.


Only if you automatically assume the worst and refuse to ever change your mine.

A more reasonable interpretation wold be to assume it is talking about the parts of the ratio that Israel has control over.
   1486. spike Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:28 PM (#4766541)
They are our best natural ally in the region.

And for a lot more than just vis a vis Iraq/Syria. They are most conveniently located for making someone's excursion into Crimea meaningless outside of the Black Sea.
   1487. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:28 PM (#4766542)
When one complains about a ratio being too high (rather than the numerator being too high), then one is indeed implicitly saying that either the numerator must drop or the denominator must rise.


And you assumed the absolute worst without asking.


? There was no "assuming." There was only a logical conclusion that necessarily flowed from the complaint.

If "the ratio is too high," then it necessarily follows that a more even ratio is a more acceptable one. There are two ways to even out a ratio. Either would address the stated complaint of the ratio being too high.

If instead you mean that the total number of deaths is unacceptable, you should say that (and could say that, without talking about the ratio).
   1488. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:30 PM (#4766543)
All modern wars carried out by democracies are judged in this fashion. Collateral damage is a constant concern for anyone and any nation concerned with just war. See also the US in Iraq and Afghanistan. Counter the horror of Russia in Chechnya. But by all means, continue apace with this "it's only because its the Jews" paranoia. It's lovely and becoming.
People worry about collateral damage in all modern wars, yes. But nobody compares the number of civilians dead on each side in any of those other wars. People worried about whether we were doing enough to avoid civilian casualties in Iraq or Afghanistan, yes. And that's a legitimate concern. But nobody ever said, "5,000 Iraqi civilians killed in Fallujah; no U.S. civilians killed in Fallujah, so that's 5000:0; that's terrible."
   1489. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:30 PM (#4766544)
Then just say "Israel is killing too many civilians, they need to be more careful". The comparison to Israeli deaths is irrelevant.


Except there is the proportional response part of the equation*. Or put another way, too many civilians relative to what? Well the obvious answer is relative to the number of Israeli civilians we are retaliating over. Hence the ratio.

* We can argue regarding the validity of proportional response. I might not even defend it, but it is commonly accepted among most of the world as the way these things should go.
   1490. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:30 PM (#4766545)
Rockets with sufficient range to hit all your major urban areas, that your enemy routinely launches, isn't a "threat"?


How ineffective must a "threat" be in order to be downgraded from a "threat?"
   1491. Greg K Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:31 PM (#4766546)
I leave for an hour to renew my healthcard and our perfectly fascinating discussion of early medieval heresy has been hijacked by something to do with ratios.

Though I should clarify, I quite often find the discussion of the Palestinian conflict here enlightening, but these technical tangents I always find odd.
   1492. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:31 PM (#4766547)
Why are mortars necessary in a ground operation designed to close tunnels?
You understand that people are shooting back during that ground operation, right?
   1493. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:32 PM (#4766548)
People worry about collateral damage in all modern wars, yes. But nobody compares the number of civilians dead on each side in any of those other wars. People worried about whether we were doing enough to avoid civilian casualties in Iraq or Afghanistan, yes. And that's a legitimate concern. But nobody ever said, "5,000 Iraqi civilians killed in Fallujah; no U.S. civilians killed in Fallujah, so that's 5000:0; that's terrible."


Again, I suspect you're going to hang onto this meaningless bauble of a technical argument about "numerator" vs "ratio" forever. It's stupid and obtuse on its face and I have no interest in running around that mulberry bush with you endlessly.
   1494. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:32 PM (#4766549)
coming back into a region that we really need to stay out of and radicalizing Islamists against the United States again.

As a public service, here's a complete list of the things America does that doesn't "radicalize Islamists against the United States":

1.


   1495. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:33 PM (#4766550)
Except there is the proportional response part of the equation*. Or put another way, too many civilians relative to what? Well the obvious answer is relative to the number of Israeli civilians we are retaliating over. Hence the ratio.

* We can argue regarding the validity of proportional response. I might not even defend it, but it is commonly accepted among most of the world as the way these things should go.


As David has already pointed out, it's not about retaliation. It's about destroying the Hamas rockets and tunnels; eliminating their ability to pose a threat.

After Pearl harbor we didn't say, OK, we'll sink 8 Japanese battleships and then we're even, and will stop fighting.
   1496. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:33 PM (#4766551)
But Israel doesn't have full control of the ratio of Palestinian deaths to Israeli deaths. Since we are criticizing Israel (though Hamas is terrible, they are not a Democratic ally, but if you like then yes Hamas is terrible) we are criticizing the parts they control - in this case Palestinian civilian deaths (unless you think Israel is killing their own civilians or something crazy like that).
Israel "controls" that only to the extent it doesn't fight back at all. It can't do that and avoid all civilian casualties.
   1497. Greg K Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4766552)
How ineffective must a "threat" be in order to be downgraded from a "threat?"

Well I suppose it depends on what threat you're talking about.

A threat to the existence or territory of a state?
or a threat to the lives of its people?

Hamas rocket attacks aren't really the first, but they seem to be pretty clearly the second.
   1498. bunyon Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4766553)
I'd just like to say that my outburst to David was a lot more angry than intended. Long day. Sorry.

As for summer camps, you don't have to go to those if you can play baseball, which we did from march to October. I never really saw the appeal of summer camps. But I thought my childhood was too organized. I'd have gone nuts back east or anywhere today.
   1499. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4766554)
Turkey is increasingly friendly to the Iraqi Kurds. They've built a pipeline across Turkey to Kurdistan, allowing them to export oil independent of the Maliki Gov't.


Plus as as been noted ISIS/Islamic State is evil, hell they are almost cartoonishly evil, Bond villains have nothing on them, if you had written a script 15 years ago which described a terrorist/insurgency the way ISIS actually is... it would have been deemed either a parody or an over the top bigoted anti-Arab screed.

Remember True Lies?

HARRY: Abu Kaleem Malik.
GIB: Hardcore, highly fanatical, ultra- fundamentalist. Linked to numerous car-bombings, that cafe bomb in Rome, and the 727 out of Lisbon last year. Major player.

FAISIL: Now he's formed his own splinter faction called CRIMSON JIHAD.

GIB: Guess he thought the other terrorist groups were too warm and fuzzy for his taste.


That's ISIS and its leader Baghdadi, Al Qaeda was too warm and fuzzy for him...
   1500. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:35 PM (#4766555)
Israel "controls" that only to the extent it doesn't fight back at all. It can't do that and avoid all civilian casualties.


And no one has suggested avoiding all civilian casualties (it would be nice, but not realistic). However all of the numbers (rate and counting stats) paint a picture of an Israeli military that either doesn't care, is sending a deliberate message or is incompetent.

Which do you think it is?
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