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Aug. 2, 2006

          Alan Dershowitz is sick, demented, ghoulish. Yes, you say, but how does that distinguish him from other lawyers? Good point. But Dershowitz is so twisted, so skin-crawlingly brutish that he really missed a bet, career-wise.
          I would not hesitate to cast Dershowitz as Hannibal Lechter, or in a remake of “Nosferatu.” Maybe the sequel to “The Hills Have Eyes,” planing the flesh off unsuspecting suburbanites. He could outdo pustuled, gray-fleshed Johnny Depp at the end of “The Libertine”---without make-up.
          Anyone who decrees that it is acceptable for innocent little kids to die, or dirt-poor, ignorant, uneducated families to be wiped out---merely because of their physical proximity to suspected terrorists---is a fiend.
          And please save the charges of naivete, and how it’s a murderous world where “morally pure” positions have no bearing in reality. I’ve heard it all before. I say that humans have grown so bellicose and bloodthirsty that “morally pure” positions are the only sensible ones left.
          You know, ideas like “no war.” And “killing is bad.”
          Dershowitz, like many who are so emotionally invested in the Middle East madness, has lost his witz, if not his humanity. If you missed it, the famed Harvard law professor and interruptive TV talking head wrote a commentary in the L.A. Times a couple weeks ago in which he proposed a bullgoose looney concept called a “continuum of civilianality.”
          Sounds like something the Wizard of Oz would have bestowed on the Cowardly Lion, but it’s more like something that Holocaust point-man Heinrich Himmler would have dreamed up. It is a method of assigning relative worth to human life. It justifies the murder of human beings who live, work, or drink coffee near the home of a suspected “militant” who opposes Israel.
          Wrote Dershowitz:
          “Hezbollah and Hamas militants. . .are difficult to distinguish from those ‘civilians’ who recruit, finance, harbor and facilitate their terrorism. Nor can women and children always be counted as civilians, as some organizations do. Terrorists increasingly use women and teenagers to play important roles in their attacks.”
          Nor can women and children always be counted as civilians. Can it be any plainer? Dershowitz has created a gray area in order to justify the indiscriminate killing of Lebanese women and children because some of them might be tools of Hezbollah. He has cast suspicion over an entire populace.
          Kristallnacht, anyone?
          Because some women and children might have been recruited to aid Hezbollah, he says, whether as cooks and errand-boys or suicide bombers, therefore it is okay to bomb areas where they might be, even if this incinerates other women and children as they twiddle their thumbs, kick a soccer ball, or watch Al-Jazeera.
          After all, as Uncle Al the Kiddies’ Pal, notes, those tykes and their mommies were given fair warning:
          “The Israeli army has given well-publicized notice to civilians to leave those areas of southern Lebanon that have been turned into war zones. Those who voluntarily remain behind have become complicit. Some---those who cannot leave on their own---should be counted among the innocent victims.”
          He’s right that all were given “well-publicized notice” to get out of southern Lebanon. We know this because some fleeing civilians were blown up by U.S.-built Israeli bombs. As for the notion of complicity by geography, this puts Dershowitz in good company with another child murder endorser, Israeli justice minister Haim Ramon, who announced on Israeli army radio that "all those in south Lebanon are terrorists who are related in some way to Hezbollah."
          Right. Here in Los Angeles, I live near a lot of latino gangs who regularly engage in shooting, drug sales, burglary. I must be a sympathizer.
          To his credit, the Dershbag doesn’t quite go as far as Ramon. He still has a shred of humanity. He allows that those dead women and children who were unable to “leave on their own”---who couldn’t hop into their Escalades and cruise to Beirut Airport---are “innocent victims.” How gratifying! This will be a great comfort to those who lay burned, dismembered, disemboweled, dying. Good thing that Alan Dershowitz has determined that I am an innocent victim, they will think. Praise be to Allah!
          The alleged point of Dershowitz’s chillingly detached commentary is to urge that the media reassess their “body count methods,” so as to separate the more circumstantially “complicit” men, women, and children from the less circumstantially “complicit” dead men, women, and children. Translation: he is upset with all the (accurate) recent reports of innocent civilians killed by Israel, and is exerting pressure on mainstream U.S. media to slant the story in Israel’s favor.
          But let’s take his proposal seriously for a moment. Could such a change in media coverage be accomplished? Sure. Just investigate the deaths of each civilian in order to learn their exact motivations and political beliefs. Talk to schoolmates of dead children and ask if they ever bought a cup of coffee for a member of Hezbollah. Why, we could deputize Al “C.S.I.” Dershowitz to do it. Give him a nice flak jacket and send him to southern Lebanon to get busy. . .
          On the surface, Dershowitz’s monstrous “continuum of civilianality” (say it fast ten times) is based on the ruse that there is an ongoing war---the same ruse that Bush uses to justify destroying Constitutional rights, flauting Congressionally enacted laws, rationalizing torture. “We need a new vocabulary,” Dershowitz writes, “to reflect the realities of modern warfare. . .” And: “this concept aptly captures the reality and nuance of warfare today and provides a more fair way to describe those who are killed, wounded and punished.”
          Nuance of warfare. Who wrote this, Dr. Strangelove? This is like “delicate disemboweling.” Listen: we are not at war. The “war on terror” is the Big Dershowitz/Bush Lie. The United States cannot fight a “war on terror” by brute military force, and neither can Israel. No one can. Brute force spawns more terrorists. Terrorism, no matter how ideological, is crime, not war. One side blows up buildings, the other invades nations in response? Doesn’t work. Dershowitz inadvertently illustrates this very point. Terrorists, he says, cannot easily be discerned among ordinary citizens. Correct. So what do you call people in a civilian population who blow up buildings, or assassinate innocents? Soldiers? How about “criminals?”
          Of course, this really isn’t only about fighting terrorism, as Uncle Al would have you believe. The Dershowitz/Bush agenda is all gummed up with the subjugation of the Middle East, oil (read about the BTC oil pipeline?), the “democratization” of the world (read: empire) by force, good old-fashioned bloodsport, and a healthy dose of Jesus-is-coming Biblical prophecy.
          As for the chorus of “what’s Israel supposed to do?” now being shouted into computer screens around the world, yes, this is the salient question. First, here’s what Israel should not do: earn the condemnation of much of the world’s press and populace, if not governments; unite Arab nations in new heights of hatred for Israel and Jews and the U.S.; embolden existing terrorists and terrorist groups sworn to destroy Israel and Jews and the U.S.; create generations of new terrorists sworn to destroy Israel and Jews and the U.S.; stoke anti-Semitism around the world; selfishly put the entire human population at risk of war and annihilation. (And drive Mel Gibson to drink.)
          Yet this is just what Israel is accomplishing, with full U.S. support, as it turns tiny, beautiful Lebanon into a place of refugees, rubble, orphans (and yes, an unknown number of dead terrorists), and new terrorists.
          And Alan Dershowitz-approved dead children.


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