Paul Balles: The Bouncer
Here’s a story to think about:
A bouncer at a night club doesn’t like the looks of one of the customers. What makes matter worse is that the customer is loud-mouthed and vilifying night club bouncers, saying that they are the ones who should be kicked out of the club.
The bouncer takes a night stick that he has for just such an occasion, walks over to the table where the noisy customer is ranting and raving.
Then, without further warning, the bouncer bashes the noisy customer’s head with the night stick. The customer falls to the floor, dead.
People who see what had happened ask the bouncer why he beat the customer to death.
“Shut up,” shouts the bouncer, “He was armed, and I had to stop him before he destroyed us.”
“I did,” argues the bouncer. “When I accused him of having a weapon, he denied it.”
The patron is flummoxed. “Why didn’t you search him?”
The bouncer, becoming impatient with the sceptical crowd, proclaims, “I told him to prove he didn’t have a weapon.”
“Eh?” questions another patron, “You asked him to prove that he didn’t have what he didn’t have?”
The bouncer insists, “That’s right, it’s called ‘pre-emptive’ challenges, leading to pre-emptive strikes, leading to pre-emptive elimination of pre-emptive dangers.”
Another patron chimes in, “Now that you’ve eliminated the pre-emptive danger, where’s the weapon that led to your pre-emptive strike?”
Becoming even more upset with the challenging questions of the patrons, the bouncer declares, “It doesn’t matter. He has a bad reputation for using weapons, and he could do it again in the future.”
Tell us who’s the bouncer with the clever justification for pre-emptive action by insisting that one must prove that he doesn’t have what he doesn’t have?
My friend, there are many bouncers. One of them, Condoleezza Rice appeared on Jon Stewart’s show a week or so ago and tried to convince an audience of dunces that the bouncer rationale was justification for the war on Iraq.
Hers was an echo of many cunning leaders who have used the same bouncer self-justification for the most heinous crimes. The list includes insidious leaders like George W Bush, Tony Blair, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.
Feeding these treacherous leaders have been duplicitous Israeli firsters pretending to be American patriots, including figures like Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith.
Iraq wasn’t enough for the pre-emptive strikers. The next target using the same disingenuous arguments is Iran.
America knows that Iran does not have nuclear weapons; but the bouncers want to destroy all of Iran’s nuclear facilities so that no weapons will ever be made.
America has already made the bouncer’s demand, saying to Saddam Hussein: prove that you don’t have what you say you don’t have–an impossible demand, used only to provide an excuse for bouncers.
According to Mark Amstutz, “Pre-emptive attack is morally justified when three conditions are fulfilled: The existence of an intention to injure, the undertaking of military preparations that increase the level of danger, and the need to act immediately because of a higher degree of risk.”
The advocates of pre-emptive attack are attempting to meet those conditions with the flimsiest evidence and erroneous assumptions. Though Iran hasn’t attacked anyone for more than a hundred years, their detractors argue that Iran wants Israel driven into the sea.
If that’s not enough, stories have been fabricated about Iran’s purchase of material that can only have military use, attempting to give the lie to Iran’s stated objectives for nuclear energy.
Iran’s “undertaking of military preparations” has been no greater than those of any other developing military, and much less than any nuclear power. To assert that test firing a few rockets amounts to unacceptable military preparation completely ignores the vast superiority of Israel’s military might, including 200 to 400 nuclear bombs.
“The need to act immediately because of a higher degree of risk,” is a spurious argument that applies to all countries, Record pre-emptive strikes (in Lebanon, Gaza, Iraq and Syria), as well as colonial occupation and destruction of Palestine, makes Israel the consummate high degree of risk.
Meanwhile, Benjamin Netanyahu tries to rally cabinet support for an attack on Iran. Israel’s defence minister Ehud Barak and foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman are among those backing a pre-emptive strike to neutralize what the Israeli hawks dub Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Of course Lieberman would encourage a pre-emptive strike. His preparation for the foreign minister’s role? He was formerly a night club bouncer!