Because Private Jones from Flint, Michigan’s life isn’t worth shit and the elites, even of enemy societies, are sacred and protected by “International law” the media wags its fingers at the apparent assassinations by foreign governments of Iranian nuclear officials. They act like there is some sort of alternative where nothing happens.
The left is somewhat correct to be suspicious of another Middle Eastern war, but they should consider whether the need to stop nuclear proliferation isn’t more important. The right is incorrect to want to invade Iran and try and remake its government from without the way we did in Iraq. So where does this leave us?
With sanctions, diplomacy, and covert operations being a fairly good alternative.
But, sure enough, folks like Juan Cole are calling it “terrorism,” mostly to scold the right for calling everything terrorism, not because I think he believes it and MJ Rosenberg is calling it “an act of war,” and today’s NYT piece has experts saying that such acts violate international law.
That’s all nice in theory; the reality is that the alternative, whatever it should be, is a full-scale war, where the soldiers and marines can get “assassinated” at every turn. But that kind of killing doesn’t violate “international law” so it’s ok.
If you stop and think: a well placed bomb might have killed Saddam Hussein and ended the Iraq war before it began. And many of these folks were left to face their arguments as reductiones ad absurdum when they tried to argue the killing of Usama bin Laden was against “international law.”
If computer viruses, explosions at military compounds, and the targeted killing of nuclear scientists—not exactly a work-a-day Tehranian—can get the job done, then let it be so.
I think some of these scholars and journalists think that some kind of world order preserved by these rules helps people and they are advancing their points in good faith. But they have apparently stopped asking why these laws exist in the first place and what function they are meant to serve. If an orderly, rules based conduct of wars like that in Iraq which killed hundreds of thousands are just fine and this isn’t, then something is wrong.