Digby notes a more-than-passing resemblance between Alan "My Enemies are Roaches" Dershowitz and Ward "A Technocratic Corps at the Very Heart of America's Global Financial Empire" Churchill. Dershowitz is more clever by half than Churchill, and so couches his argument in a language that will mostly befuddle the Los Angelenos reading his blood yelp; many, I'm afraid, will come away remembering only "[t]here is a vast difference — both moral and legal--between a 2-year-old who is killed by an enemy rocket and a 30-year-old civilian who has allowed his house to be used to store Katyusha rockets," nodding in bemused agreement, and thinking yes, yes, that may be true. Or: "There is also a difference between a civilian who merely favors or even votes for a terrorist group and one who provides financial or other material support for terrorism." A not-so-veiled reference to those damnable Palestinians with the temerity to vote for Hamas; those damnable Lebanese with the temerity to vote for Hezbollah. (Those damnable Americans with the temerity to vote for the GOP? Should some Iraqi national pop into the US and open fire in a shopping mall in Houston, where, pray tell, will the dead fall on the Dershowitzian "continuum"?)
Dershowitz argues for guilt by proximity. The "civilian who has allowed his house to be used to store Katyusha rockets" is a canard. Dershowitz is saying that any Lebanese who hasn't already fled southern Lebanon, and probably most of the poor fuckers who lived there in the first place, except perhaps infants and centarians, are guilty anyway, to some degree or other . . . well, let us leave it in the good Professor's words:
Every civilian death is a tragedy, but some are more tragic than others.Every Jew killed in the Holocaust was a tragedy, but since some were really cheats and usureres . . . Dershowitzian logic, in other words, leads to a place mostly inhabited by the David Irvings and Fred Leuchters of the world. Pressed: "We don't deny the crime, just its magnitude!" How Dershowitz can now claim moral distinction from Hutton Gibson penning "Did Six Million Really Die" is an open question? The anser, I fear, is: He cannot.
Because upon close reading, it's clear that Dershowitz's true concern isn't really who lives or dies, but what modifier is appended to the names of the dead upon publication. This would allow readers to better judge between "complicity" and "innocence." One can imagine the reporting:
Southern Lebanon--Israeli airstrikes in South Lebanon today killed a 30-year-old civilian who has allowed his house to be used to store Katyusha rockets and at least ten civilians who merely favored or even voted for a terrorist group.It will not change the calculus of war, but it will certainly swell the column inches.