Thursday, September 14, 2006

Alan Dershowitz's Sinister Scheme

Paradigm? What Paradigm?


"So when Dershowitz solemnly asserts that "democracies must adhere to their high moral and legal standards in combating terrorism", we should note that this innocuous statement is immediately equated with the provocative Israeli claim that democracies have to fight terrorism "with one hand tied behind their backs". One wonders which hand was tied during the month-long bombardment of Lebanon. Dershowitz then illustrates the 'both hands' approach by reference to the atrocious Nazi and Stalinist regimes--so apparently establishing his humane credentials. But these horrifying regimes are not used to frame a 'slippery slope' argument, or to point out that lesser oppression is nonetheless oppression. The Hitler/Stalin 'paradigm' is instead praised with faint damnation: "no democracy", we are helpfully informed, "could be, or should be, willing to employ such tyrannical methods." So now the range of potential 'new paradigms' is clearly revealed. At one extreme we have the dubiously 'high moral standards' of the Israeli military, and at the other, the most comprehensively nightmarish brutality ever known. Somewhere in between, we may conclude, lies the New Paradigm. The only certainty seems to be that the high moral and legal standards currently required by international law are, in Dershowitz's learned opinion, too stringent!"

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