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Yet another conflict in an unbroken string of conflicts has broken out again between Israel and whatever group claiming to represent Palestinian interests of the day; this time it is Hamas.

It certainly isn't the first time this has happened and it certainly won't be the last.  But, typically, the usual suspects have lined up on both sides and have started screaming accusations of terrorism and murder at each other.  It seems they feel whoever yells the loudest wins the arguement.

But there is one argument that one side uses that is disgusting, disturbing and needs to stop.  That is the Body Count.

The “Body Count” Argument goes like this.  Hamas (or the PLO or Hezbollah, or whatever the group of the day is) has “only” killed X number of Israelis.  But Israel has killed Y number of Palestinians.  Therefore, Israel is in the wrong and is the guilty party.  This logic is then followed with accusations of Israel being a terrorist state, murderers, barbarians, etc, etc.

Team Israel usually responds to the body count argument thusly:  If “they” (Hamas, PLO, etc) would use some of their resources to protect their people, stop using them as shields, or stop instigating conflict with Israel when it knows this will result in untold death for their people, X number of Palestinians wouldn’t die.  Besides, Israel uses every method at its disposal to avoid civilian deaths.

Both of these are disgusting arguments.   They reduce human life to the level of poker chips.  Would the cause we supposedly care so much about be any less or any more significant if the same number of people died on both sides?  If Hamas were able to deploy chemical, biological or nuclear material on its rockets, and was able to kill hundreds, possibly thousands of Israelis at a time, would your support or opposition to the Palestinian cause be any lessened?  One death is one death too many in this endless circus performance.  Israel’s cause is not lessened or strengthened by the number of people they have killed or avoided killing.  The Palestinian cause is not helped or hurt by the number who have died pointlessly in yet another incessant conflict.

But as disgusting as it is, it is also a fatal argument for many of the innocents who we supposedly care so much about.  Focusing only on the number killed on both sides, inspires putting civilians in the line of fire for the propaganda advantage their deaths will earn.  If you think this is ridiculous, remember the Yugoslavian civil war of the 1990’s.  In that conflict, war crimes became a valuable propaganda tool for each side.  As a result, they began committing these crimes against their own people and then blaming their enemies for the outrage.  It reached such a horrendous level, that at one point the Canadian commander of the UN forces in the area said that if each side would stop killing their own people, there would be no civilian deaths.

The cold hard fact is that both Palestinians and Israelis care nothing about each other’s lives.  Both use brutal, harsh, cold blooded methods with virtually no holds barred in their attacks on each other.  Palestinians cheer when Israelis civilians are blown up by suicide bombers and Israelis say “they brought it on themselves” when told of Palestinian civilian deaths.  Israeli and Palestinian children are kidnapped and murdered just because they are Israeli or Palestinian.  The outrages are too numerous to list, the pointless, stupid deaths that proved nothing too many to count.  Both sides are dripping in the blood of innocents and don’t care.

The fact is Hamas and their allies are firing unaimed, unguided rockets onto civilian targets.  They care nothing if these land on schools, daycare centres, hospitals or shopping arcades.  They would probably cheer the result if it did.  Israel is more constrained by the expectations of a nation state and legal constraints but if one of their 120mm shells goes awry and lands on an apartment building instead of an ammunition dump, they have the ready made excuse of “fire came from that location”.  It is a fact, they don’t really care where their shells land.

So let’s stop the body count.  Let’s stop saying the side that kills the least or seemingly tries to “limit” casualties is the automatic winner in these incessant conflicts.  If we insist on using this argument, then let’s admit that for every one rocket Hamas sends into Israeli territory, the only legitimate response for Israel is to fire one 120mm shell into Gaza, unaimed, unguided.  Just a blind shot that could land on a hospital, school, daycare or shopping arcade.  Then both sides are equal and no shouts of murder, terrorist, etc, etc, can be allowed.

Or, we can work to stop the incessant killing altogether and stop being apologists for each side.  Condemn Hamas as much as Israel.  Say the side that uses violent means to destroy the other is the guilty criminal and will not get our support.  Murder, kidnapping, assassination, suicide bombings, drone strikes, rockets and shellings are not acceptable means of resolving differences and until each stop employing or supporting these methods, each has lost our support, attention and indeed even our care.

Ghandi drove the British out of India without firing a single shot or taking a single life.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    Tax and Spend I can understand. I can even understand Borrow and Spend. But Borrow and give Billionaires tax cuts? That I have a problem with.

    by LiberalCanuck on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 06:46:59 AM PDT

  •  While I can respect what you're saying here (12+ / 0-)

    and I do believe that human life is invaluable, the fact of the matter is that as a moral issue killing more people is worse than killing fewer. And when the killing is so tilted toward one side it changes from just  being a difference in numbers and becomes a different and worse action.

    Two Israeli civilians have been killed, and one of them while feeding members of the military at a military installation. When you compare that to the hundreds of Palestinian civilians who have been killed there is simply no moral equivalence.

    No War but Class War

    by AoT on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 07:14:13 AM PDT

    •  So the serial killer is who killed only 3 women... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, Hey338Too, Dr Swig Mcjigger

      is better than the serial killer who killed 20 women?

      Sorry, I reject that argument.  Both are monsters.

      Tax and Spend I can understand. I can even understand Borrow and Spend. But Borrow and give Billionaires tax cuts? That I have a problem with.

      by LiberalCanuck on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 07:40:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, I would say so. (6+ / 0-)

        If Hitler had only killed ten Jews he would no be as bad as what he in fact did. One person dead is not as bad a hundreds.

        Killing more people is worse, otherwise why bother trying to stop this conflict given that there are already dead people? If the number of dead don't matter then there's no moral imperative to stop any conflict in which someone has already died because it's not any worse for more people to die. Nor is there any moral reason to catch a serial killer since killing more will be just as bad as killing one person.

        No War but Class War

        by AoT on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 07:46:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I do agree both are monsters n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        corvo

        No War but Class War

        by AoT on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 08:01:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not sure you meant to say that both (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cybrestrike

        Hamas and Official Israel are monsters, but that's exactly how it came out. :-))

        Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

        by corvo on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 08:08:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  In short, yes the murderer of 20 is more monstrous (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tgrshark13, maregug, Hodor kills Bran

        than the murderer of 3.

        •  There's no such thing as being... (0+ / 0-)

          a little bit pregnant.

          Both killers are equally guilty.  Both would get the death penalty for their crimes and both would go to the same Hell.

          When you start counting bodies you start saying those 3 were worth less than those 20.

          Tax and Spend I can understand. I can even understand Borrow and Spend. But Borrow and give Billionaires tax cuts? That I have a problem with.

          by LiberalCanuck on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 10:30:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Lets just say that Hamas (0+ / 0-)

            would get 3 life sentences or so while Israel would receive 20.  You sound like fucking Stalin with his 1 death is a tragedy while a million is a statistic.

            •  I would also like to point out how we got here (0+ / 0-)

              Israeli lies to start a massacre using children it already knew where dead.  As well as the occupation army doing jack all to bring all the people who burnt that Palestinian alive all the while saying he was gay and blaming Palestinians, themselves, for doing it.

              Stop with the distortions and lies.  It's like you saying that John Brown's trying to make a slave revolt was equally as evil as the slavers because "both have blood on their hands".  It's cowardly and disgusting.

  •  To say that Hamas is using human shields does (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pale Jenova

    not excuse Israeli atrocities.
    On one level I'm sympathetic to this diary, but the killing is being done overwhelmingly by one side. That's a fact whether it is used polemically or not.

    If Gandhi could free India without violence, then surely Israel can figure out how to defeat Hamas without killing every last Gazan grandmother and infant.

    Yes, both sides are culpable, fear and loathing has been stoked for decades, and is stoke again and again by killing.
    Killing Palestinian children is not a winning strategy, it stokes more hate. Israel is losing. The Palestinians have nothing left to lose.

    Every argument that Netanyahu makes for Israel's right to "self-defense" is negated by that fact.

    I agree, the "body count" is a shame. Just one innocent dying is a tragedy. Just one soldier or militant dying is a tragedy. They could be peacefully tending a garden for their family instead. or teaching a class.

    However, rather than put some astigmatic lenses on that "equalizes" everything, let's look at this with sharpened focus, at the reality on both sides. In that case, sometimes the facts do matter.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 07:15:26 AM PDT

    •  You entirely missed the point of this diary.... (0+ / 0-)

      and are employing the body count argument mentioned by ignoring the facts on one side while focusing solely on the other.

      Let me edit your reply a bit and see if it reads any less factually true:

      If Gandhi could free India without violence, then surely Hamas can figure out how to defeat Israel without killing every last Israeli grandmother and infant.

      Yes, both sides are culpable, fear and loathing has been stoked for decades, and is stoke again and again by killing.

      Killing Israeli children is not a winning strategy, it stokes more hate. Gaza is losing. The Israeli's have nothing left if they lose.

      Every argument that Hamas makes for Palestinian right to "self-defense" is negated by that fact.

      I have heard the exact same argument as edited above from Team Israel, almost using these same words.  They are as factual to them as your words are to you.

      Finally, I am not claiming Hamas is using human shields.  They may be but I have no proof of that.  I did say that the body count argument inspires each side to put innocents in the line of fire to win the body count argument and used the Yugoslave Civil War as an example.

      Tax and Spend I can understand. I can even understand Borrow and Spend. But Borrow and give Billionaires tax cuts? That I have a problem with.

      by LiberalCanuck on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 07:31:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I didn't excuse Hamas. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        diffrntdrummr, cybrestrike

        And you're right, Hamas could stop and change.

        They are culpable.

        However, your 3rd rewrite isn't necessarily correct. Hamas isn't losing. Israel is losing. The only way to see Israel "winning" in this is if they persist in killing civilians until there are none left,  and I don't see how that can be a "victory" in the long run.

        The claim that Hamas is using human shields is a fundamental part of the narrative. It's the excuse Israel and the media uses for civilian deaths. It is their culpability. The rockets are a crime, and do create stress if not terror in Israelis, but they are not as horrific as Hamas using fear and loathing to encourage Palestinians to sacrifice their children for their hatred of Israel.

        You miss my point. Israel has the power to change its strategy. It has resources. The Palestinians have nothing but misery, and Hamas has nothing but terror tactics with which to fight an asymmetrical battle.

        As I said, I'm sympathetic to your diary, but if the facts continue to be skewed in one direction, a realistic view of the problem has to take that into account. You're right, we shouldn't let the body count drive one side's or the other's strategy.

        You can't make this stuff up.

        by David54 on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 07:53:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  To qualify as a human shield (8+ / 0-)

    one apparently must only "live in Gaza." If you call it living. Hamas fires off one of their stupid rockets; Team Israel flattens several city blocks where the "human shields" live. Both sides claim victory but both sides lose.

    And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

    by Pale Jenova on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 07:22:08 AM PDT

    •  Never said Hamas was using human shields... (0+ / 0-)

      I wrote the BC argument inspires the use of human shields.

      And are you saying that if Israel would only fire one 120mm shell blindly, where ever and whenever (school, hospital, daycare, etc) that would make them less guilty?  Would it make Hamas more guilty?

      Tax and Spend I can understand. I can even understand Borrow and Spend. But Borrow and give Billionaires tax cuts? That I have a problem with.

      by LiberalCanuck on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 07:34:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  P's and Is care nothing about each others lives?!? (12+ / 0-)

    Really? Do you speak for all Israelis or all Palestinians? You might as well just say they're all a bunch of f-ing animals.

    Beyond that, there are two problems with your approach.

    First, Talking about ordinary people's morality (or lack thereof, in your view) is a red herring. The killing is not being carried out by ordinary people. It is being carried out by a heavily-armed state (mostly) and a quasi-state organization, on the other side.

    Second, this is a classic case of false equivalence. A massively armed state has spend the last half century actively stealing a poor and mostly unarmed population's land, and is now subjecting them to a dehumanizing occupation that is among the most brutal ever seen. They have a right to resist. No such right exists for the aggressor. Presenting it as a case of "they're both bad" does not change this fact.

    •  Ignored the point of the diary. Both sides have.. (0+ / 0-)

      an argument to make, but using the BC argument is disgusting and dangerous for the innocent lives we supposedly care so much about.

      Finally, I reject a violent solution to the problems between Israel and Palestine.  I reject its use from either party.  The people who renounce violence as a means to an end and who start using non-violent resistance to their enemies are the ones who win my support.

      Till then, a pox on both their houses.

      Tax and Spend I can understand. I can even understand Borrow and Spend. But Borrow and give Billionaires tax cuts? That I have a problem with.

      by LiberalCanuck on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 07:37:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not even remotely as disgusting (15+ / 0-)

    as creating the body count in the first place.

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 07:36:51 AM PDT

  •  "Palestinians and Israelis care nothing..." (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, poco, letsgetreal, Nannyberry

    "... each other’s lives."

    Pretty sure you're about to get slammed by both sides.  Deservedly so.

    If that is what kind of justification it takes on your part to say "to H*LL with them" and wash your hands of the situation, then just go ahead and leave.

    I'm at the point where I feel pretty strongly for both sets of victims (I and P alike) and am extremely upset about the manipulating b*stards that acquire and maintain power from fanning the flames.

    If I could, I'd tell you to sit in the corner and contemplate the immense damage these two peoples are causing to each other (and if I have to tally lives lost to do it, I will).  As it is, this is the internet and you can do what you want.

    The RIGHT answer is to find a way to calm things down and find SOME KIND OF BASIS to start over.

    In the latest round (and there have been sooooo many rounds), it is pretty clear that Netanyahu is the chief villain: a cynical power monger willing to do anything to keep power and find an excuse to do it.
    Every. Single. Death. should haunt him in this world and the next.

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 08:01:23 AM PDT

  •  Proportions matter. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maregug

    That's why the Holocaust is the Holocaust, and why Hitler is different from Jeffrey Dahmer. Dahmer was creepy. He makes our skin crawl when we think about his behavior. But there is a reason that it is Hitler that fills the history books and college courses that everyone must take.

    Israel is more wrong here. Period.

    Israel has:

    - Wealth
    - A functioning society
    - A functioning political infrastructure
    - Complete access to the outside world
    - Extensive support from other wealthy states
    - Massive defensive capabilities
    - Complete access to the world's media
    - More blood on its hands, YES in terms of bodycount

    Gaza has:

    - No wealth
    - No functioning society
    - Very little functioning political infrastructure
    - No access to the outside world
    - Very little support from other wealthy states
    - Almost no defensive capability
    - No access to the world's media
    - And far, far less blood on its hands

    You may argue that one death and six million deaths are the same thing. I, for one, call BS on that argument.

    You may argue, in this case, that dozens of deaths of uniformed military with free movement are equivalent to thousands of deaths of civilians trapped in a large prison camp, including a large proportion of children. I also call BS on that argument.

    As well as to the argument that regardless of the asymmetries above, we should expect similar behavior from both populations.

    It's actually you that's living in some kind of bizarro ideal plane in which lives don't matter, if you can argue that bodycount doesn't matter.

    It matters to the people that are counted in it. A life is a life. That is why bodycount ABSOLUTELY matters, not why it doesn't matter at all.

    Kill one person, you're guilty. Kill a hundred people, you're a terrorist. Kill a thousand people, you're evil. Kill a million people, you're Hitler.

    There's a reason the history books don't agree with you. Think about it.

    -9.63, 0.00
    "Liberty" is deaf, dumb, and useless without life itself.

    by nobody at all on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 08:56:12 AM PDT

  •  It's not that Israeli is killing many times as (7+ / 0-)

    many people as Hamas, it is that the vast majority of Palestinian deaths in Gaza are civilians, while all but two of the casualties on Israel's side are soldiers.
       Worse, whatever the motivation of Hamas re killing Israeli civilians, they do not in fact have the capability to do it. They are using ridiculously primitive rockets and Israel is protected from rocket fire by its "Iron Dome" defense system.
       So, the Israeli massacre of hundreds of women and children has absolutely nothing to do with self defense. It is a punitive expedition.

  •  Wrong (5+ / 0-)

    We didn't count civilian deaths in Viet nam or Iraq- "they didn't count". Other agencies like the UN had to come up with numbers that showed the world what the USA is capable of.

    Every person counts, and their dead bodies are witnesses.

    My opinion is that accountability comes with body counts.

    I buy and sell well trained riding mules and American Mammoth Jack Stock.

    by old mule on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 09:22:03 AM PDT

  •  You know whats disgusting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Johnny Q, wigwam

    Israel killing almost 1000 people and you telling us to shut up.

  •  No, both sides are not equal in this scenario: (0+ / 0-)
    If we insist on using this argument, then let’s admit that for every one rocket Hamas sends into Israeli territory, the only legitimate response for Israel is to fire one 120mm shell into Gaza, unaimed, unguided.  Just a blind shot that could land on a hospital, school, daycare or shopping arcade.  Then both sides are equal and no shouts of murder, terrorist, etc, etc, can be allowed.
    Compare population densities in the respective target areas.

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