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"Show Me A Good Loser, And I'll Show You A Loser"

"First thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."

That line from Shakespeare's Henry VI is oft quoted, but now I wonder if it will gain in popularity among the militaries.

Thanks to He Who Needs No Linkage, I found this article from the Jerusalem Post. It seems that there is one contingent among the Israeli military and government that is well pleased with last year's aborted war with Hezbollah in Lebanon, that ended with absolutely nothing resolved on the battlefield -- the lawyers.

Apparently, the lawyers in the Israeli military and government decided that that conflict was the perfect time to make their own push for power -- for the authority to dictate tactics and exercise veto power over actions -- and they succeeded. For while the actual conflict went unresolved -- indeed, Hezbollah argues with some justification that it is now stronger than ever -- the lawyers managed to make certain that Israel did forgo a decisive victory and substituted abiding by international laws and conventions and pressures.

As I read the article and thought about it, the more I came to realize that there was a great deal in common between international law -- especially when it comes to warfare -- and certain laws here in the United States. Most particularly, gun-control laws.

In both cases, the laws are intended to prevent needless violence and cruelty and carnage. In both cases, the laws end up only binding those who are generally inclined to be civilized in the first place. In both cases, they are ignored by those who are inclined to savagery. And in both cases, they end up ultimately benefiting the savages over the civilized.

When the Geneva Conventions and other agreements covering wars and other armed conflicts were first approved, the philosophy was not some high-minded appeal to people's better natures. It was a simple quid pro quo -- "we won't do this if you won't, either." Certain weapons and tactics were foresworn by both sides, the treatment of civilians and prisoners was regulated, and basic human rights were recognized -- but with the stick being that the agreements had to be multilateral. Any nation that did not live up to the standards could expect that it would not benefit from them.

That was the theory, at least. It was rarely put into practice, but it was more honored in the breach than the observance. And so, today, these laws and conventions are shackles that are put on by the honorable, who face foes unfettered by any such restraints.

The underlying philosophy seems to be this: it is better to be defeated -- or even killed -- than violate laws and standards that do not inhibit those seeking your death. You may die, but you'll die with clean hands and a clean conscience.

This may leave you to rest in peace, but it also leaves behind a killer who's seen firsthand how easy it is to kill. You've already paid your share of the price of your conscience, but those who are left behind may also get to pay that price, thanks to you.

Another appalling aspect of this mentality is that it implies a moral equivalency between the two factions. Let's go back to the Israel-Hezbollah conflict. During that fight, Israel was checked by its lawyers from committing acts that they said might be inhumane, might be against international law, might bring down condemnation from the global community.

But I recall no one discussing how nearly every single aspect of Hezbollah -- both their conduct and their very existence -- constituted a violation of nearly every single precept of legal war.

Did the Hezbollah fighters wear distinctive uniforms? No. They dressed as civilians, virtually indistinguishable from ordinary Lebanese -- until they started fighting.

Did Hezbollah avoid civilians, to keep them from being harmed? No. They set up their weapons and fighting positions in and among towns and villages, schools and hospitals and places of worship.

Did Hezbollah take pains to avoid injuring civilians? No. They fired off unguided missiles and rockets by the thousands, in the general direction of cities and towns and villages and farms, in the hopes of killing civilians.

Did Hezbollah respect the rights of prisoners? No. Their policy has been for years that Israeli prisoners are to be kept incommunicado, only rarely even offering proof that they are still alive, in hopes of exchanging them for Israeli prisoners. Even still, they are often tortured and executed in the cruelest fashion.

Did Hezbollah abide by the terms of the UN Resolution that ended the conflict? No. They have reasserted their control over southern Lebanon, keeping out the Lebanese government and army and re-arming with even more missiles and rockets than they had before the fighting.

In fact, the only rules of warfare I can think of that Hezbollah didn't violate are the ones they didn't have the means to -- use of weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, biological, chemical). Yet here we have Israel being held to this standard of conduct, while their enemy freely flouts the same -- and goes unpunished for it. Indeed, they are being rewarded for it. No one even talks about bringing this terrorist group masquerading as a political party and quasi-government to heel.

Likewise, under gun-control laws, law-abiding citizens are expected to obey all the laws and regulations the nanny-state governments choose to impose upon them, while the dangerous and psychotic and evil and rapacious do as they will -- and when the law does catch up with them, they can often strike a deal that mitigates the penalties. For example, in Massachusetts, they passed the Bartley-Fox Law in 1974 that mandated one year in prison for carrying an unlicensed handgun. To the best of my knowledge, no one has been convicted of breaking that law in decades.

When it comes to matters of life and death, the law only means anything to those who are inclined to be civilized in the first place. The same holds true for individuals, societies, and nations. And the end result is the same: the advantage goes to the barbarians. We saw that in Lebanon in 2006, on the campus of Virginia Tech, a mall in Omaha, Nebraska, and in four airliners in 2001.

Thanks, but no thanks. I will not go gentle into that good night. I intend to rage against the dying of the light.

That is my duty to my fellow civilized people -- I will not be a gentle, peaceful, law-abiding victim. I will not give my attacker any encouragement whatsoever to prey on others by submitting.


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Comments (18)

Excellently well put, Jay. ... (Below threshold)

Excellently well put, Jay. The central insight here cannot be repeated too often: Laws only affect the behavior of those already inclined to respect the law. There's no better practical argument for confining the law to a few, indispensable functions -- and no better argument against the legalistically inclined types who want to treat the battlefield as a sort of giant courtroom, presided over by a judge who secretly works for the ACLU.

World civilization is in a delicate state at the moment. Forces of evil are probing our defenses, our capabilities, and our overall resolve. They'll exploit whatever weak points they find -- and our recent penchant for war-as-courtroom-exercise is one of the weakest points of all.

Ya know...I love how some f... (Below threshold)
nogo war:

Ya know...I love how some folks love to trash lawyers..Should we simply shut down all law schools?
Everyone who finds themselves as a defendant.. go it alone?

There are lawyers who piss me off (Alberto G for instance)There are legal decisions that piss me off (Supreme Court Gore v Bush)...
But if we are to be a nation of law...
We need lawyers..
I would rather live in a country that have lawyers that piss me off..
than live in a country with no lawyers...

ya know... there's a differ... (Below threshold)

ya know... there's a difference... between having lawyers in society... and being governed by them... they make good servants... but terrible masters... because they tend to make rules for other lawyers... and if you don't think like a lawywer... you're screwed...

unless... you're counting on them to protect you... in which case you better hope you're being attacked by lawers... because if you get killed by a non-lawyer... you can count on your lawyer to sue on behalf of your estate... won't do you any good... or keep the attacker from killing your heirs... but.. eventually... they'll get tired of killing and get sued... maybe... if you're lucky...

nogo punctuation

ya know... there'... (Below threshold)
maggie:
ya know... there's a difference... between having lawyers in society... and being governed by them... they make good servants... but terrible masters... because they tend to make rules for other lawyers... and if you don't think like a lawywer... you're screwed...

unless... you're counting on them to protect you... in which case you better hope you're being attacked by lawers... because if you get killed by a non-lawyer... you can count on your lawyer to sue on behalf of your estate... won't do you any good... or keep the attacker from killing your heirs... but.. eventually... they'll get tired of killing and get sued... maybe... if you're lucky...

nogo punctuation

You know, that there is just plain scary.
And as to lawyers, maybe we should have stuck
to Columbus' premise of not allowing any into
the new world.

Lawyers outstripped their n... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Lawyers outstripped their need a long time ago. The only reason they are in as much demand as they are now is because they've created the additional need for themselves.

When a toaster manufacturer feels the need to include "do not use while bathing" warning, we have too many lawyers.

Too bad they seem to have set their eyes on the military in Israel. Likely not far behind here.

Only nogo would imply that ... (Below threshold)

Only nogo would imply that a complaint about certain lawyers means one wants to be rid of them all.

This reminded me of something too.
"When a toaster manufacturer feels the need to include "do not use while bathing" warning, we have too many lawyers."

I still stick to the suggestion made by someone I cannot remember:

Let's remove all the warning labels from everything and let the problem take care of itself.

As a lawyer for 16 years no... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

As a lawyer for 16 years now, I have always felt the profession has practitioners who are 1) without common sense and 2) arrogant.

So I agree largely with what you've posted, but remember, there is a sizeable group of us lawywers who know right from wrong, reasonable interpretation of the law and the opposite. Every profession has its cretins, but unfortunately for us, ours are the most outspoken and publicly visible.

It is obvious that attorney... (Below threshold)
OLDPUPPYMAX:

It is obvious that attorneys in Israel are led by the same far left associations which speak for their ranks in the US. Hatred and contempt for their own countries rule their actions. And like most leftists, their all-consuming arrogance leads them to believe that they will ultimately have great success negotiating with Islamofacists. After all, how many of these dirty, ignorant thugs--the Islamofascists, that is--went or Harvard or Yale!!
So these eager traitors and wanna-be rulers--the lawyers, that is--see a clear win/win. They will betray their own homelands to a global murderous swine--the Islamofascists, that is--while cleverly using their superior intellects to lull these boorish murderers into a false sense of trust and contentment.
Of course by the time these oh-so-sharp councilors discover that Islamic killers are not the cowards, suckers and sell-outs which marks todays crop of republican politicians, it will be rather too late. After dismantling the evil military and forcibly confiscating all of those felony-commiting guns, our Phi Beta Kappa Key wearing amalgamation of Mr. and Ms. Esquires will fing their ranks diminishing with the daily round of beheadings. Nothing could be more fitting.

Mitchell, the problem in th... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Mitchell, the problem in the profession is that 99% are losers looking for the dollar only and give the remainder a bad name.

Nogo, give it a break and get yourself some intensive mental health care. All of your rants have been disproven by so many, in so many ways, you only make a fool of yourself. 2000 was a long time ago and the decision was proven correct by recounts by the 'Liberal' MSM and the 'Racist' rainbow 'Je$$ie, we want more money crowd. Algorabge was and still is a loser.

A perfect follow up to my v... (Below threshold)
epador:

A perfect follow up to my victimhood letter I had to send to our school principal last week. Fighting is not inherently evil if what you are fighting against is. To teach that all fighting is evil, to pervert the Christian ethic of turning the other cheek into exposing your belly to all aggressors, that is teaching suicide.

I'm reminded of the followi... (Below threshold)

I'm reminded of the following song...

Paxton Tom - One Million Lawyers Lyrics
.
ONE MILLION LAWYERS
by Tom Paxton
.
Humankind has survived some disasters, I'm sure.
Like locusts and flash floods and flu.
There's never a moment when we've been secure
From the ills that the flesh is heir to.
If it isn't a war, it's some gruesome disease.
If it isn't disease, then it's war.
But there's worse still to come, and I'm asking you please
How the world's gonna take any more?
.
(CHORUS:)
.
In ten years we're gonna have one million lawyers,
One million lawyers, one million lawyers.
In ten years we're gonna have one million lawyers.
How much can a poor nation stand?
.
The world shook with dread of Atilla the Hun
As he conquered with fire and steel,
And Genghis and Kubla and all of the Kahns
Ground a groaning world under the heel.
Disaster, disaster, so what else is new?
We've suffered the worst and then some.
So I'm sorry to tell you, my suffering friends,
Of the terrible scourge still to come.
.
(CHORUS)
.
(BREAK:)
.
Oh, a suffering world cries for mercy
As far as the eye can see.
Lawyers around every bend in the road,
Laywers in every tree,
Lawyers in restaurants, lawyers in clubs,
Lawyers behind every door,
Behind windows and potted plants, shade trees and shrubs,
Lawyers on pogo sticks, lawyers in politics!
.
(CHORUS)
.
In spring there's tornadoes and rampaging floods,
In summer it's heat stroke and draught.
There's Ivy League football to ruin the fall,
It's a terrible scourge, without doubt.
There are blizzards to batter the shivering plain.
There are dust storms that strike, but far worse
Is the threat of disaster to shrivel the brain,
It's the threat of implacable curse.
.
In ten years we're gonna have one million lawyers,
One million lawyers, one million lawyers.
In ten years we're gonna have one million lawyers.
How much can a poor nation stand?
How much can a poor nation stand!
It's a worthwhile question to ask - when buying a house requires thousands of dollars in various fees, when buying a car is associated with a lot of very fine print - when the legal system has become in essence a 'priesthood' which has control of the country and that the comman man has no chance against.

Too many lawyers? It's very likely. We don't need more than a very bare minimum of lawyers in war - because in a war it's the side with the least number of lawyers thats got the advantage.

Hell, do a little Google se... (Below threshold)

Hell, do a little Google search to find out how many of our Congresscritters are, by profession, attorneys. We're getting it from the front AND the back.

AND expected to kiss them w... (Below threshold)

AND expected to kiss them with hefty payments in return.

Something ain't right...

Sorry to burst your bubble,... (Below threshold)

Sorry to burst your bubble, but LebanonWire and Gabriel Al Amin, who is a famous Lebanese columnist who is living the day to day life in Lebanon, is alot more credible THAN you.

Read and enjoy:


Why Hezbollah LOST the War in Lebanon!
And the Current 'Present' Situation in Southern Lebanon

By Gabriel al-Amin
Beirut, Lebanon

http://www.lebanonwire.com/0709MLN/07092429MN.asp


On July 12, 2006 Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers that led to Israel's war with them and, by extension, Lebanon itself. Hezbollah has been on Israel's fence since the latter's withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000. Israel always requested from the international community and from the Lebanese government to deploy its Lebanese Army there instead of Hezbollah militants. Hezbollah, quite naturally, refused! Hezbollah vowed to NEVER allow any other force other than itself to occupy southern Lebanon. Even during the conflict, Hezbollah said it would never agree to allow either the Lebanese army nor international monitors to patrol southern Lebanon.


lengthy copyrighted material deleted be editor -- see link for full article)

By, Gabriel al-Amin
Beirut, Lebanon

Articles and Refernces:

UNIFL: Not 'ONE' complaint filed against Hezbollah since last years cease-fire
(Jerusalem Post 6/14/2007)
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1181813036239&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Again, Israeli gloom is misplaced (First Post - 4/17/2007)
http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/index.php?menuID=1&subID=688&WT.srch=1

Lebanese army, UNIFIL are keeping Hezbollah in check (Haaretz - 2/21/2007)
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/828765.html

Hezbollah's 'Victory'? (Washington Post 9/1/2006)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/31/AR2006083101444_pf.html

The Lebanese Winnograd Commission (Thomas Friedman, New York Times 5/10/2007)
http://www.theolympian.com/109/story/104847.html

The Egyptian, 1973 October Victory (Egyptian State Information Service)
http://www.sis.gov.eg/VR/october/english/7.htm

Lebanon's Army Chief "the Lebanese Army is properly controlling its borders with Syria" (Moqwama.net [Hizbollah's Official Website])
http://www.moqawama.org/english/_nos.php?filename=20070330111424153


Ahmed - forst of all you're... (Below threshold)
marc:

Ahmed - forst of all you're a complete asshat for posting such a long comment when excerpts and appropriate links would suffice.

Secondly, I had my belly laugh of the day because of this bit of tripe: "Israel 'BADLY' miscalculated Hezbollah,"

This from the horse's ass himself, Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah:

"We did not think, even 1 percent, that the capture would lead to a war at this time and of this magnitude. You ask me, if I had known on July 11 ... that the operation would lead to such a war, would I do it? I say no, absolutely not," he said in an interview with Lebanon's New TV station.
Put another way, It's the Joooooos fault! 'Cause damn it we've been snatching Israeli soldiers for years, traded them for terrorists and it never led to war before.

DAMN them Joooooos for changing the playbook.

In WWII, the Japanese did t... (Below threshold)
capital L:

In WWII, the Japanese did terrible things to POWs. Should we have acted similarly in return?

It is true that when you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you, but I for one would feel profoundly unsatisfied if we cast aside the humanity that sets us apart from our enemies.

"In WWII, the Japanese did ... (Below threshold)
Tatterdemalian:

"In WWII, the Japanese did terrible things to POWs. Should we have acted similarly in return?"

Sure. I happen to feel freedom is worth defending, even if that means we have to nuke Hiroshima and Nagasaki to do it.

"It is true that when you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you, but I for one would feel profoundly unsatisfied if we cast aside the humanity that sets us apart from our enemies."

Good for you. I for one am glad that what sets me apart from my enemies is that I live, while they do not.

"even if that means we have... (Below threshold)
capital L:

"even if that means we have to nuke Hiroshima and Nagasaki to do it."

You've note that I didn't speak to the dropping of the atomic bombs, which I don't disagree with and which at any rate isn't the issue at hand-- torture.


"Good for you. I for one am glad that what sets me apart from my enemies is that I live, while they do not."

If that is all that you want to set you apart from them, why not just join them? Or are you on our side merely because you assume we are going to win? What exactly are you saying?




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