Posts about proportionalism

Disproportionalism

With disproportionalism becoming the meme of choice in the discussion of the Israel/Hezbollah fight, it’s worth remembering these numbers (from Wikipedia):

* U.S. civilian deaths in World War II: 11,200
* UK civilian deaths in World War II: 67,800
* German civilian deaths in World War II: 1,840,000 (not including Holocaust genocide)
* Japanese civilian deaths in World War II: 600,000

And so what would the proportionalists have had us do? What is their argument? Should we have dragged the war and the suffering on longer because we were winning too quickly by killing too many, thus allowing more Jews to die in the Holocaust and more civilians to die by starvation and disease and more soldiers to die over time?
Should have stopped fighting when we were killing too many? Of course, in war, any death is a death too many. So what is the right number? What is the right proportion? Does proportionalism take into account the population of the enemies? So in the current case, whom do we put in this devil’s algorithm: the populations of Israel and Lebanon, or of Israel and Hezbollah, or of Israel and the Arab world, or of Israel and the Muslim world, or of Israel and the rest of the world? I guess that depends on whom you count as Israel’s enemies. How do you account for military putting civilians at risk by hiding in their midst? How do you account for cutting off the fighting by cutting off its support? Do you award bonus points to the guy who starts it all? What is a proportional war?

Or did they just learn this doctrine from Star Trek and its 500-year war?

Beaming to the surface with a landing party, Kirk and Spock are met by a young woman, Mea 3, who tells them that Eminiar VII has been at war with its neighboring planet, Vendikar, for over 500 years. Mea 3 takes them to the council chambers where they find banks of computers. Eminiar’s head council Anan 7 informs them that the two planets have learned to avoid the complete devastation of war because computers are used. When a “hit” is scored by one of the planets, the people declared “dead” willingly walk into antimatter chambers and are vaporized. Anan 7 further tells Kirk that his ship and all the crew aboard her have been declared casualties and will be executed. When Kirk flatly refuses, the landing party members are taken prisoner.