Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Definition of a Proportionate Response

When someone initiates attacks against you, a proportionate response is one that suffices to prevent further attacks.

33 comments:

  1. Not so sure what your point is. If you write "suffices, but does not exceed" then at least you would be giving a definition, though one that is impossible to calibrate. As is, your definition has a floor (not enough to stop them from doing it gain) but no ceiling. Dropping a nuclear bomb on Gaza would also suffice to prevent further attacks. Do you think that would be a proportionate response?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If that (nuclear bomb) were the only thing that would stop further attacks on Israeli citizens then it is perfectly proportional.

      Delete
  2. Proportional clearly means equal. If someone throws rocks at soldiers, a proportionate response is trowing rocks back (ideally, the same rocks). Insisting on proportionate response ensures the conflict will never end; it's like playing chess against yourself. And I think those demanding Israel only respond proportionally would be fine with that, when the alternative is Israel winning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That’s not the meaning it has in the law of conflicts; see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proportionality_(law)#International_humanitarian_law for an overview. The OP is correct.

      Delete
  3. Since when did the proportion have to be 1:1?

    ReplyDelete
  4. And how has it worked for Israel in the last 10 years? I think this is the third mini war between Israel and Gaza since 2005. The third time Israel is teaching them a lesson. Have they learned their lesson? Is Israel any safer?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Someone quipped, "We've had Operation Cast Lead, Operation Pillar of Defense, and now Operation Protective Edge. How many times can you perform the same operation on a patient!?"

      Delete
  5. Whatever happened to Colin Powell's "Doctrine of Overwhelming Force"? What are we doing here, playing a game?

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think the U.N. has a different definition.
    Don't get me wrong, I don't disagree with yours, but who's to say that yours is right and the U.N.'s is wrong? Don't forget, the U.N. has the global consensus of world leaders and politicians on its side!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes because the african and islamic dictators who constitute the majority of the UN are really authorities on what is moral and what is not.

      Delete
    2. This is the same UN that voted for the creation of the State of Israel. My guess is that the number of dictators in the world stays constant over time.

      Delete
    3. And because many were bribed, cajoled, or otherwise convinced to vote for partition, enough for the majority at least, that makes it a moral body which has dominion over right and wrong and whose member leaders are righteous? What a fantasy world. I hardly see the relevance of the fact that the UN once made a good decision to the question of its domain over morality and justice or the character of its many member states and their leaders. Sure, there were of course many evil dictators then too. The world of Israel doesn't live or die on the basis of the UN.

      Delete
    4. it is no the same UN. back then the UN was very different. there were only 57 countries in the whole thing

      Delete
  7. So history has proven that terrorists have a very high recidivism rate. So a proportionate response would be to kill anyone who attempts a terrorist attack. Throwing rocks, which mame and kill people are terrorist attacks.

    ReplyDelete
  8. This comment is directed primary to US Citizens and Residents.

    I noticed that there were multiple anti-Israel petitions on the internet site of the President of the United States gathering thousands of signatures, but not one that called for the US to support Israel in its current war with Hamas. So I created one:

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/support-israel-unconditionally-whatever-it-needs-do-stop-hamas-terrorism-it-has-right-defend-itself/YXmChhNj

    Please sign if appropriate, and spread the word. 100,000 signatures are needed for the White House to respond.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Nope. The definition of proportionate response is a response that will keep the conflict going for as long as possible.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Yehoshua, considering the often harsh retribution doesn't seem top create deterrence, perhaps upping the ante... Further angering the proportional crowd further is warranted

    ReplyDelete
  11. I think that "suffices to prevent further attack", can also be defined as annihilating your enemies ability to launch any further attack. Not that as a 20 year USAFR officer I'm biased mind you.
    Ari

    ReplyDelete
  12. If dropping a nuclear bomb on Gaza were the only way to prevent further attacks, it would be perfectly proportional. There are, however, other ramifications and other ways to prevent further attacks..

    ReplyDelete
  13. I've never quite understood the "proportionate response" argument. At face value, it would seem to imply that rockets launched indiscriminately into Israel should be met with rockets launched indiscriminately into Gaza. I don't think that the staunch defenders of Gazans would like that approach very much.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I like the proportion given in Parshat Bechukosai - 100 from 5 and 10,000 from 100. When the intensity is low, hit 20 targets for every rocket, and when it's high, like now, 100 for every rocket.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Was the firebombing of Dresden disproportionate? Who cares? Win wars, let historians debate later.

    ReplyDelete
  16. https://scontent-b-fra.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xap1/t1.0-9/10417759_745644208812184_3886554058745375957_n.png

    ReplyDelete
  17. EML-
    I am afraid that things are not so simple. In principle, I agree completely with you that rock throwing is meant to maim or kill and should be met with as much force as possible. Someone mentioned this to a fellow at my work in Israel who is a religious Right-winger but he said it is hard for many soldiers including himself to shoot at kids, even if they are doing these things. His unit became engulfed in a mob riot in "Palestine Square" in Gaza City in 1971 and there were a lot of kids and old people in the crowd and a lot of the soldiers were reluctant to fire. Finally riot dispersal equipment arrived and they were able to control it with non-lethal force. Don't forget that this was long before the Israeli Left became post-Zionist and patriotism was still a powerful force in all branches of Israeli society.

    ReplyDelete
  18. iirc this all flows from Aquinas and the doctrine of double effect (which may or may not be halachic)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_double_effect
    The principle of double effect — also known as the rule of double effect; the doctrine of double effect, often abbreviated as DDE or PDE, double-effect reasoning; or simply double effect — is a set of ethical criteria which Christians, and some others, use for evaluating the permissibility of acting when one's otherwise legitimate act (for example, relieving a terminally ill patient's pain) may also cause an effect one would normally be obliged to avoid (sedation and a slightly shortened life). Double-effect originates in Thomas Aquinas's treatment of homicidal self-defense, in his work Summa Theologiae.[1]

    This set of criteria states that an action having foreseen harmful effects practically inseparable from the good effect is justifiable if the following are true:
    the nature of the act is itself good, or at least morally neutral;
    the agent intends the good effect and not the bad either as a means to the good or as an end itself;
    the good effect outweighs the bad effect in circumstances sufficiently grave to justify causing the bad effect and the agent exercises due diligence to minimize the harm.

    lots of different girsaot and mfarshim on this

    KT
    Joel Rich

    ReplyDelete
  19. http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000644.html

    Or in common language: If we want to maintain proportionality, the intensity of the reaction to an unprovoked assault has no limitations.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Under international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute, the death of civilians during an armed conflict, no matter how grave and regrettable, does not in itself constitute a war crime. International humanitarian law and the Rome Statute permit belligerents to carry out proportionate attacks against military objectives,[7] even when it is known that some civilian deaths or injuries will occur. A crime occurs if there is an intentional attack directed against civilians (principle of distinction) (Article 8(2)(b)(i)) or an attack is launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage (principle of proportionality) (Article 8(2)(b)(iv)).

    ReplyDelete
  21. What's the proportionate response to occupation?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What part of Israel remains that Hamas (or the Palestinian Authority for that matter) does not consider "occupied territory"? Even areas that were barren desert that Israel developed are referred to by Hamas as "settlements".
      That is one of the problems of entering into negotiations to begin with--it has never been clarified to the Arabs what will be the final borders, and that any further aggression is an act of war.

      Delete
  22. "What is the virtue of a proportional response?" -West Wing
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtrX9rZl-j4

    ReplyDelete
  23. One cannot merely take the rodef and the attacked into consideration. If killing a rodef will attack the bystanders, one is not allowed to do that.

    ReplyDelete

Comments for this blog are moderated. Please see this post about the comments policy for details. ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL NOT BE POSTED - please use either your real name or a pseudonym.