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U.S., Israel, Clearly the Good Guys in Middle East Conflict

  • U.S., Israel, Clearly the Good Guys in Middle East Conflict

  • 4 August 2006 by 0 Comments

U.S., Israel, Clearly the Good Guys in Middle East Conflict
By Richard Larsen
Published-Idaho State Journal, 8/4/06

Some of the more elucidating posts on the Journal’s Politics blog have caused me to ponder issues of morality in the philosophical sense: what is right, and what is wrong.

One of the bloggers cajoled me for being too simplistic; that the world is not as black and white as I think, but that there’s a lot more “gray” out there from a moralistic standpoint. I’m convinced that a great deal of our sense of morality is inculcated into us from our youth, preferably by parents who love us. For those amongst us whose morality lessons didn’t take or who became too “enlightened” to attach any expansive value to them, the world would undoubtedly be filled with a lot of gray.

For didactic purposes, let’s examine a few recent global events through the lens of morality. When the abuses at Abu Ghraib surfaced last year, the cries of outrage were resounding . Those abuses included putting underwear on the heads of the prisoners, making the prisoners pose in provocative positions while scantily clad, and making prison dogs bark within inches of detainees. These were bad, there’s no doubt about it.

Under Saddam Hussein, that same prison was used to torture dissidents to death, operate firing squads, and conduct routine rape and mutilation of political prisoners. Any sane person must concur that the abuses in the prison under Hussein were much worse than what recalcitrant prison guards under U.S. control did there. On an absolute scale of 1 to 10, Hussein’s abuses would have to be a 10, the worst. The U.S. abuses, again on an absolute scale, may be a 5, tops.

Why, then, was the uproar so much greater for the U.S. abuses? Because as Americans, we hold ourselves to a higher standard. These abuses then were assessed relative to our country’s cultural standards of morality. It was worse for Americans to have done what they did, than it was for Hussein to do what he did there.

The broad “War on Terror” provides another case-in-point. Islamic extremists believe it is not only justifiable, but desirous, that one lay down his life killing “infidels.” Even young children are encouraged by their parents to strap bombs on themselves, get on a bus or go to a café in Israel, and blow themselves up along with as many “Zionists” as possible. A billboard will go up in the neighborhood of that young person and praise him as a martyr, and if Saddam Hussein was still in power, he would give $25,000 to the family.

The same mentality drives 19 men to fly U.S. domestic aircraft carrying people, not military, or governmental, but just common everyday Americans, into buildings of symbolic significance: the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. They are convinced they’re martyrs for Allah, and that they will be granted 72 virgins in heaven. From our Judeo-Christian perspective, is this bad? Yes, it’s atrocious and unconscionable!

Consequently, we’ve attempted to take the war to them, rather than simply waiting for them to attack us again. In the process, many such jihadists have died. Is this bad? Yes, anytime people die we feel a bit of our humanity challenged. Is it as bad as what the jihadists do against innocents? Absolutely not! These are radicals who have sworn in their wrath to kill nonbelievers. Not just military targets, but innocents.

In the process of eliminating terrorists, innocents in Afghanistan and Iraq have died. Is this bad? Absolutely! Anytime innocents are hurt or killed it’s a horrible thing, and it piques our conscience. But is it as bad as what the terrorists are doing? Absolutely not! Unlike the terrorists, we don’t target innocents; they become innocent casualties of the ongoing conflict.

The same moral introspection can be engaged in regard to Hamas, the terrorist group that runs the PLO, or the Hezbollahs who are trained and funded by Iran and who, like Al Qaida terrorists, intentionally target innocents. They place their rocket launchers next to Lebanese residences so they can get the most bang-for-their-buck from the Western media as they dramatically display the innocents killed by Israeli rocket attacks, and prevent the Lebanese from evacuating the area in order to control the propaganda that will shape world opinion. They even place launchers next to U.N. observation posts, increasing the likelihood that the U.N. observers will be struck by Israeli rockets as well. Unlike the Israelis, who target rocket-launchers, and Hezbollah military sites to eradicate the terrorists.

Anyone with a semblance of a conscience or moral fiber can see the “black and white” of these issues. The U.S. and Israel are the good guys in this fight because of their stance on a higher moral ground. The terrorists are the bad guys. When we let domestic politics shape our perception to the extent that we lose that perspective, we have lost our morality.

Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board. He can be reached at

About the

More than anything, I want my readers to think. We're told what to think by the education establishment, which is then parroted by politicians from the left, and then reinforced by the mainstream media. Steeped in classical liberalism, my ideological roots are based in the Constitution and our founding documents. Armed with facts, data, and correct principles, today's conservatives can see through the liberal haze and bring clarity to any political discussion.

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