Thursday, July 07, 2005

Patriots at work in London...

From CNN,
Blair blames Islamic terrorists An intense police hunt is under way in Britain for terrorists behind a string of bombings on London's transport system that killed at least 37 people and wounded 700 early today. Investigators have not yet said whether they believe the bombers left explosives on three trains and a bus or mounted suicide attacks.
Considering Brian Williams' comparison of American Patriots to Islamic Terrorists, and judging by some of the comments my post on the matter has received, would it be fair to submit the following CNN rewrite?
Blair blames Islamic Freedom Fighters An intense police hunt is under way in Britain for the patriots behind a string of bombings on London's transport system that killed at least 37 infidels and wounded 700 early today. Investigators have not yet said whether they believe the fighters of freedom left explosives on three trains and a bus or mounted suicide attacks.
After all, surely someone must think of the incident in those terms and shouldn't we be, at the very least, more tolerant of other moral views? There are many problems with the moral relativist's point of view. Keep in mind that I have never disputed the fact that someone, somewhere, may see (or may yet see) these malevolent terrorists as freedom fighters. What I've been saying is such a person is flat-out wrong. The issue is not, and has never been, how the opposing side views the matter. Such a position leaves one in the self-defeating realm of moral relativism in which no particular viewpoint can be considered true. This is patently absurd. It's not a matter of "the one who wins get to write the history" as if we can never really trust whatever history we've been handed. While I'll be the first to acknowledge the inherent tendency of man to bring his bias to the table, I would much more readily trust the historical accounts written by men of honor than by men of dishonor. One need only look to our recent past for examples: the reality of the horror of the Civil War (and its causes); the journals of Lewis & Clark; racial segregation in the military during WWII; the wanton disregard for the environment during California's Gold Rush; etc., etc., etc. Intentionally dismembering innocent men, women, and children, through coordinated bomb attacks, is morally wrong. And it doesn't matter that someone may consider it otherwise.

5 comments:

Paul said...

No it wouldn't be fair to rewrite the story. The story was an American one, and in America those people are terrorists. I'd question whether they are Islamic, under the No True Scotsman rule, but that's a whole different debate.

It appears I'm not a moral relativist, according to your reckoning at least. i do think calling them anything but terrorists is wrong. But I also acknowledge that other people might disagree with me, and that in years to come they may be seen as great heroes. I doubt it, and that certainly won't change my opinion that they are/were terrorists.

I'm happy to join you in condemning actions against innocent civilians, whether that be the acts of 9/11 or this weeks' atrocities, or the many disgusting campaigns the British waged across the world in the 1600-1800s, or the bombing tactics of Harris' Bomber Command during WWII, or the firebombing of Tokyo, or the napalming of Vietnam, or the astonishing campaign that made Laos the most bombed nation on earth. All morally wrong.

Rusty said...

There you go again Paul, coming perilously close to equating the normal actions of terrorists with the abnormal actions of military personnel. They are not the same. Period.

The Mai Lai (sp?) massacre in Vietnam was understood to be especially heinous because it was an action counter to what we expect of our military... if it had been perpetrated by an Al Qaeda group there would have been virtually no surprise (albeit horror) at the action.

Paul said...

You're right, the My Lai massacre was very much out of what we understood to be the norm for our military. That doesn't necessarily mean it really was outside the norm, but in any case I didn't refer to that. I referred, instead, to regular actions ordered in most cases by senior commanders, or otherwise consistent with standing orders. The bombing of Laos wasn't a sneaky thing that a few renegade pilots pulled off; RAF Bomber Command deliberately went far beyond anything required for purely military targets (as did the German Jagdbombergeschwader); and of course the British invented the concentration camp long before the Nazis came along and made it so much worse.

These events were generally acceptable by the standards of the day, if only because standards had been forced lower by circumstance. But that has no relevance to whether they were morally right or wrong, by your measure at least; they were all wrong.

Rusty said...

If you mean to say that immoral acts are immoral regardless of who commits them, then I agree with you.

If you mean to say that our military is on par with sadistically evil regimes, such as the Nazis, then I disagree with you.

Paul said...

I meant exactly the former, at least as I understand your viewpoint, and meant nothing of the latter. I was just validating that you do, indeed, think that acts such as the bombings of Dresden and Tokyo were morally wrong. It appears you believe so, which I think speaks to the integrity of your convictions.