Wall Street Journal Argument that Gazan Civilians Aren’t Innocent Is the Exact Same One Bin Laden Used To Justify 9/11

American Academic Embraces the Logic of Terrorists

Yesterday, Matt Breuning pointed out the insanity of a Wall Street Journal op/ed trying to justify Israel’s killing of civilians in Gaza:

In the Wall Street Journal, Thane Rosenbaum [from NYU school of law] opines on the civilian status of the killed Gazans:

The asymmetry is complicated even further by the status of these civilians. Under such maddening circumstances, are the adults, in a legal and moral sense, actual civilians? To qualify as a civilian one has to do more than simply look the part. How you came to find yourself in such a vulnerable state matters. After all, when everyone is wearing casual street clothing, civilian status is shared widely.

The people of Gaza overwhelmingly elected Hamas, a terrorist outfit dedicated to the destruction of Israel, as their designated representatives. Almost instantly Hamas began stockpiling weapons and using them against a more powerful foe with a solid track record of retaliation.

What did Gazans think was going to happen? Surely they must have understood on election night that their lives would now be suspended in a state of utter chaos. Life expectancy would be miserably low; children would be without a future. Staying alive would be a challenge, if staying alive even mattered anymore.

The argument is this: Are Gazan civilians really innocent in all of this? After all, they voted for Hamas, didn’t they? Aren’t they therefore responsible for the actions of that government? Do they really have a rightful claim to innocence and the usual civilian immunity from military attack?

I’ve read this argument before. Osama bin Laden himself made this argument in response to those who said that 9/11 was an unjust attack because it targeted civilians:

(3) You may then dispute that all the above does not justify aggression against civilians, for crimes they did not commit and offenses in which they did not partake:

(a) This argument contradicts your continuous repetition that America is the land of freedom, and its leaders in this world. Therefore, the American people are the ones who choose their government by way of their own free will; a choice which stems from their agreement to its policies. Thus the American people have chosen, consented to, and affirmed their support for the Israeli oppression of the Palestinians, the occupation and usurpation of their land, and its continuous killing, torture, punishment and expulsion of the Palestinians. The American people have the ability and choice to refuse the policies of their Government and even to change it if they want.

Slate noted today:

If there’s a single thing that separates legitimate warfare from simple terrorism, it’s the effort to distinguish civilians from soldiers, and combatants from noncombatants.


To collapse the distinction, or to ignore it entirely, is to embrace the logic of terrorists, which is what Thane Rosenbaum, a senior fellow and director of the Forum on Law, Culture & Society at New York University Law School, did on Monday in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal


For both Rosenbaum and Bin Laden, the situation is straightforward: Because a majority of Gazans/Americans voted for leaders who used violence or waged war against Israelis/Muslims, both have forfeited their claim to noncombatant status. After all, if they wanted to avoid conflict, they wouldn’t have elected those people in the first place.


If you recoil from this logic, your head is in the right place. By any standard, it’s perverse and morally wrong—a justification for the worst atrocities. [And it’s a war crime. And see this.]


Rosenbaum isn’t the only person to make this argument in the context of the Israel-Palestine conflict. In 2006, another law professor—Alan Dershowitz—took a somewhat softer line in arguing that we should have a “continuum of civilianality” that distinguished “the truly innocent” from the “guilty accessories to terrorism.” Dershowitz wasn’t as cold-blooded as Rosenbaum—sketching a difference between “a civilian who merely favors or even votes for a terrorist group and one who provides financial or other material support for terrorism” that Rosenbaum doesn’t abide—but even his logic is disturbing in its permissiveness toward broad-based violence against a population.

One last observation: In 2001, just after Sept. 11, University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill wrote an essay defending the attacks and disputing the innocence of the victims. “Let’s get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break,” he wrote, “They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America’s global financial empire–the “mighty engine of profit” to which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved—and they did so both willingly and knowingly.” The men and women killed in the World Trade Center, he declared, were “little Eichmanns” who deserved their fate.

This essay resurfaced a few years later, and in the firestorm, Churchill lost his job. Somehow, I doubt Rosenbaum will lose his job, despite making similar comments for a much larger audience ….

Julia Wong tweets:

author, apparently an NYU prof, suggests that Gazan CHILDREN are not innocent if their parents have certain views

(I guess they should have “had a more responsible father“.)

And given that Israel helped to create Hamas in the first place, punishing peaceful non-combatant civilians who simply vote for Hamas is somewhat schizophrenic.

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  • Robert Barsocchini

    Well observed!

    • drsmacko

      Why is washingtonsblog selling the Official Osama Bin Laden Did 9/11 Story?

  • colinjames71

    I suppose he’s auditioning for a federal judgeship. Beyond that I can’t even begin to ponder what goes on in this guy’s head. F*cking nonsense.

  • Gord Hicks

    This blog can’t possibly be pushing the “Bin Laden did 9/11” fairy tale can it??

  • awb22

    Understanding George is anti-war, and I agree, sometimes war comes to you. And not sometimes, it’s a certainty. I would that George would consider the spiritual aspect of the conflict, not that of man against man, but of the heavenly struggle between God and the Devil. Man would most certainly live in peace were it not for the one who was a murderer from the beginning, and the father of all lies.

    Even if one dismisses the spiritual aspects, nations have a moral duty and obligation to defend it’s borders, and when a belligerent actor reaches across your border to do harm to your citizens, then a measured response is required.

    The world would not condone the obliteration of Gaza and it’s 1.9 million inhabitants, and genocide should not be required, but the removal of all military age males may be necessary, and if the women fight, that much more may be required. It will not be Israel who will be responsible, but the belligerents. It’s a simple matter of one or the other, when it’s clear they will not give up until the last of them is silenced.

    Israel has that responsibility, in the name of peace.

    • not authorized

      What God and Devil? Yours? That structure does not exist in my mind. Religion is opinion, not reality. What about Human Dignity? Shouldn’t that come first? If Jesus were alive today, would he sanction the obliteration of a whole subset of people? What kind of God sanctions that? Not my God anymore.


      Neutrality. Please, try it once.

      • Nonanon23

        I believe that’s already been covered. You can’t tell me God is not your God, then use his words to support your argument. Well, you can, but they ring hollow, not because they’re void of reason, you are.

        Hamas deserves 10 fold what they’ve inflicted on innocent civilians in Israel. Note I say, deserves. I won’t be the judge of the Israelis, whether their measured response is the correct measure. God will be their judge and it will be to him whom they will give an account, not you.

        Thanks for playing.

        • not authorized

          Dear anon,

          I disagree with you on who the true Governor of the Universe IS. It has not been “covered” in my mind. But one thing “covered” in my mind is that I have figured out that your God is not the real God. YHWH is/was a violent tribal war god. He is a genocidal maniac and imposter in my book. The God of Love that you proclaim exists through Paul’s writings, would not condone, nor allow his followers to demand genocide of any kind, anywhere, period.

          That same God blessed Hagar and Ishmael too. Better brush up on your scripture. 😉

          Let me make myself clear. It has only been “covered” in your mind, not mine. Group-think isn’t fact, nor does it offer proof to me. This is 2014, the information age. Face it. The Bible as it is currently edited, is now demonstratively a work of fiction.

          As such, I recognize: You have NO RIGHT to force your belief of reality on me. Absolutely none. Your concept of reality has as much control or bearing over me as Harry Potter and events that happen in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

          Start here:


          Can you explain how Asherah jives with historical and the current paradigm of monotheism? See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asherah

          Really short answer: The local religion started off as polytheistic, but then morphed over time into a strong monotheistic God. Christianity was formed by what is known as religious syncretism. There is nothing new, or profound, in Christianity. Nothing. Other religions of the day recognized a Spirit of God resided in every human being already.

          But don’t listen to me. Listen to Jeremiah 8:8. “How can you say, ‘We are wise, And the law of the LORD is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes Has made it into a lie.”

          Good question Jeremiah. Care to answer?

          PS, I’m an ex spiritual fundamentalist Christian, so I KNOW what you are supposed to believe in and how you are to live. Your bullshit won’t work with me. I tried for 30 years to “convert” people to Jesus. I sacrificed myself, my wants and desires, and did my best to live the correct “Christian life” with “God” until Jesus would return and set things “right” for the whole of humanity.

          One of the biggest reasons why I rejected your religion was because of the other so called “Christians” and their actions. Your actions.

          I found in my past Christian life, the majority of Christians preach exactly the opposite of what should be lived in practice. Omega watches and all. You just don’t notice it while you’re a part of the group.

          But now, you are so blinded you can’t even determine right from wrong anymore. Does Matthew 7:12 support genocide? How do you plan to tell your savior that at the great white throne judgement? Think you’ll go to the Berma seat judgement instead with this kind of attitude against your brother?

          Really. How sure are you? Have you worked out your salvation with fear and trembling as Paul commanded you to do? See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Many-worlds_interpretation

          If I measured you and found you wanting, I can only imagine with the big J would find you.

          Good day to you.

          PS, the Hamas crap was a nice red-herring to deflect from the genocide currently being supported by your belief system and pulpits. I suppose it was to deflect from the fact Christianity’s Emperor also wears no clothing as well? Too late. Thankfully, others, have already exposed Hamas was created/helped by Israel. I need not focus on it, it’s a waste of time.

          That is my final answer.

          Welcome to the new age.


  • human

    In a broad sense, these arguments are of course true in a militarized society. Exceptions have to be made to justify the necessity of true self-defense in the current global situation.

    For a society to de-militarize, all the trappings must be disavowed, including the war profits of the industrialists as well as the earnings of the willing laborer. Presently, much of the population of the US is unwilling to accept this responsibility as they continue to be armorer to the world.


    Modern weapons, especially since World War II, make “Just War Theory” irrelevant, if not impossible. War has become terrorism with a huge budget, in which no civilian is safe. Until that realization becomes more widespread, atrocities and war crimes such as Gaza will never be stopped. U.S. imperial policy, based on the idea that the entire globe is now a battlefield, makes global state terrorism and its inevitable blowback the future for all of us.

  • Carl_Herman

    Yeah, killing “terrorist” children like these, that Palestinians do not care for: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rD79V9qAPSw#t=81

  • Occams

    Wow…. I RARELY meet/see anyone outside of lying MSM and lying politicians who STILL to try to pin 9/11 on bin Laden and ‘terrorists’…..

    Luckily, Americans ARE waking up, and I just never encounter anyone, anymore, that still believes the Official Lie.

    Hopefully, when the SHTF, journalist whores and shills will be held accountable for accessory to conspiracy, murder, treason, and sedition.

    Given the overwhelming evidence that 9/11 and the illegal invasions/murder were based on a plot hatched and consummated BY elements of US and Israel, one day we might just get a REAL terrorist attack, we’ve SO ENRAGED so many people in this world.

    HOWEVER: American’s time IS coming. Murder Inc’s CEO Dick Cheney, with Bill Clinton and puppet-Obama, are now warning there WILL BE a ”nuclear 9/11″.

    Much cleaner and simpler than the fraud of 9/11, which relied MOSTLY on the frightened complicity of the media to sell the lie (“tell a lie loud enough and long enough…”), and the stupidity and gullibility of the American people, a nuke strike will be easy to do – and easy to point fingers at.

    It’s coming. You were warned. Not by me – but the liars who did 9/11, Boston, Sandy Hoax, Benghazi……

    I now believe the US government, Israel, the Rothschild banking cabal, and mainstream media to be THE most dangerous ‘Axis of Evil’ the world has maybe ever seen.

    • Carl_Herman

      We journalists in alternative media write to multiple audiences to reveal comprehensive facts. This is an art and paradox. Those unfamiliar with the history of Washington’s Blog should do a little research to see, I would guess, 100-200 blogs challenging the “official” explanation of 9/11. Take a look 🙂

      • Gord Hicks

        Well Washington’s Blog needs to say up front, in his article, that they disagree with the state issued 9/11 conspiracy theory involving Bin Laden as perpetrator in chief.

        It’s on the writer, not his audience, to make his position clear.

      • Occams

        Which is WHY I was rather surprised to see such nonsense. A caveat should have appeared that ”it’s been WELL ESTABLISHED that bin Laden had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH 9/11, and the man HIMSELF told interviewers of his surprise, and said THE ONLY PEOPLE that had these capabilities were “the US and Israel”

        My, my….How prescient of the man who the US and Israel laid all blame at the feet of.

        The problem with NOT clarifying such use is that the remaining sheeple stop and say’ “SEE! Bin Laden and Palestine! If we just nuke ’em (and republicans again hold office), everything will be hunky dory” (and NO, I’m not with either of the ‘2 parties’; They’re criminals. All of them).

        As an aside, I happened to catch LA’s KNX1070’s Bill Handel (Jewish) with a guest, talking about “the righteousness of invading and killing civilians in Afghanistan, and how Israel is ‘simply doing the same thing’ “.

        THAT….is why ANY mention of the lies – which could lend CREDENCE to the lies – must be noted, clearly and concisely.