November 13, 2013
Letters to the editor: Drones, Tea Party lunches and the right to bear arms
Drone Issue Complicated Yet Simple: It’s About Ethics and Morality
Thank you for the great article “The Torah of Drones” (Nov. 8). It’s extremely important and well written.
My only concern is that the question regarding the morality of deciding who shall live and who shall die is mentioned at the end of the article, but not really explored at all. My suggestion would be for a follow-up article on why Israel takes the high road with no capital punishment for citizens yet why is “drone capital punishment” acceptable without trial? More simply, why is it acceptable to kill fellow neighbors (even if sometimes hostile) without trial, which Torah commands?
Again, thank you for a magazine as thought provoking as The Economist.
David Schlosberg via e-mail
If you consider that thousands of innocent people had been killed in wars in past decades, millions if you want to go back to World War II, killing 29 innocent people while taking out 45 bad guys in highly concentrated population areas during a 20-month period is an excellent result for reducing collateral damage. That’s a little more than one person every two strikes statistically. Any independent researcher of this data would conclude that the United States, Europe and Israel have gotten very good at limiting collateral damage.
Furthermore, not one American or Israeli battlefield soldier operating this type of weapon has ever been hurt or killed. That is just simply unheard of in warfare. How many U.S. soldiers do you think we would have sacrificed sending those 45 guys to meet Allah in standard special-ops missions into Pakistan?
Of course, despite Rob Eshman’s oversights, you can still make the case that one innocent death is one too many, but then you would have to be against war in general. It is virtually impossible to fight a war without some collateral damage. But then if you advocate getting out of this war and all wars in the future, how do you stop jihadists from killing infidels (us). For those of you who take that stand, I leave it to you to figure that one out.
Larry Hart, West Hills
If you were sitting in the left-hand seat of a Lancaster or B-17 bomber in the ’40s, you did not see the civilians. Your mission was to bomb the ball bearing factories in Schweinfurt. If your mission was a failure, you had to go back a second time, and you knew, in the back of your mind, that civilians were collateral damage.
Here are your choices: 1) Don’t join the Air Force. 2) Don’t follow orders. 3) Don’t think too hard about the ethical issues, because war is not an ethical undertaking. In battle, decisions are instantaneous. Wars are won when your side has the least [number] of bloody noses.
I only hope the leaders in Gaza have the same moral debates we have.
Brian Freed via jewishjournal.com
One has to see the drones as just another step in the evolution of the tools of war. The morality of using catapults, gunpowder, arrows, bayonets, tanks, bombers, human spies or drones is on the same level as the morality of wars themselves. In many cases these are evil necessities, sometimes necessary for the survival of one side against another evil side.
Nahum Gat via jewishjournal.com
Tea Party Interview Not His Cup of Tea
What I find disturbing about your discourse with Mark Sonnenklar was your utter lack of engagement with the objectives and tactics of the Tea Party and its base of financial support (“The Tea Partier,” Oct. 25). Why did you not challenge any of the many leading actions and objectives of the Tea Party, including shutting down the government, great financial cost to our citizens and trying to prevent paying debts we’ve already incurred by refusing to agree to raise the debt ceiling? The Tea Party promotes minority rule, through its actions in Congress, to its blatantly obvious attempt to disenfranchise citizens by requiring voters to prove their identity, while at the same time making it increasingly difficult for them to obtain the documents of proof they would require.
I generally respect your writing, and perhaps it is unfair that I write to you only in criticism. But I find it especially disturbing that you would write such a kind article about someone, who despite his personal charm, supports a party that doesn’t just represent, but actually is a great threat to our democracy. I hope you will follow up with a piece that actually reveals the actual behavior of the Tea Party and the elected officials it supports that undermine our most precious values and our Constitution.
Jeffrey Ellis via e-mail
Armed With Facts — and Anger
I disagree (“My Family’s Terror at the N.J. Garden State Mall,” Nov. 8). The right to bear arms is a fundamental right, and for a good reason. The founding fathers and mothers wanted to ensure that Americans would not live in tyranny as Europeans were doing. We have the right to overthrow a tyrannical government. We should not give that right away because there are nuts among us. There will always be mentally ill people. Just quit selling them guns!
Paula Bojsen via jewishjournal.com