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Refusenik Israeli Pilots
September 25, 2003 8:02 PM   Subscribe

27 Israeli Pilots have been grounded by the military after refusing to take part in airstrikes carried out in the occupied territories. Some active, some retired, they were accused of "making cynical use of the Israeli air force to express a civilian view," but in a joint letter to their command, they spoke out against "air force attacks in civilian population centers." Either way, Edward Said may be resting a little easier, at least tonight.
posted by scarabic (10 comments total)

 
"The petition, despite its supersonic boom in the press, barely scratches the metal surface," he said, adding that "a pelican hitting a cockpit does more damage".

Block that metaphor!
posted by crunchburger at 11:57 PM on September 25, 2003


Well I guess if we can get a few suicide bombers-in-waiting to do the same we'll be getting somewhere...
posted by PenDevil at 12:28 AM on September 26, 2003


PenDevil - I am not sure how that would get onto the news in the West. Maybe that kind of thing happens every day, how would I know?

What makes a potential suicide bomber become an actual suicide bomber?

I am just saying, is all.
posted by asok at 4:02 AM on September 26, 2003


Interesting that the Israeli government's response seems to be that all members of the armed forces should obey orders and ignore any ethical or moral issues.
posted by daveg at 4:05 AM on September 26, 2003


daveg, this is probably the position of every army in the world-- without it, it might be impossible to field an army, as when you are in the business if killing people, it is very hard to avoide ethical dilemmas.

asok that is an interesting point, one example might be the fact that a few suicide bombers have detonated themselves in fields and killed noone other than themselves. Also I have read several news reports of bombers who bailed out on their mission and either went home or were apprehended by the police inside Israel. I believe that one of these fellows was interviewed in his jail cell by CBS news.
posted by chaz at 4:19 AM on September 26, 2003


chaz: I would theorise that of the bombers who bailed most (if not all) did it to preserve their own lives rather than those of Israeli civilians. If you've got some links to stories about bombers who killed themselves in a field rather than hurt civilians I'd like to see them as it's the first I've heard of it.
posted by PenDevil at 5:01 AM on September 26, 2003


Pen, I did a google search but was unable to find the story. I live in Israel currently, and I believe it was about this time last year that a young bomber detonated himself in a field, rather than the populated target that he had been dropped off at. I heard about it on the news, but couldn't find it in Google or Haaretz archives... anyway-- it may be hard to find such stories because Hamas doesn't want to admit that anyone chickens out, and the IDF doesn't want to admit it either.

Here is a link
to what is called "a very rare case" of a suicide bomber turned around after having second thoughts. This would be the second such case I have heard of, both young people are currently serving time in Israeli prison. Both of them said they saw the people they were meant to kill and had second thoughts. Obviously their own deaths would have played a role as well...

Of course, one can't quite make an equivalence for a variety of reasons, one of which being that the Israeli pilots are refusing to be given orders, not refusing a direct order once already 'in the air'. Looking at it another way, we can see that there are 4m Palestinians (perhaps 1.5m of the right age) and so far there have been an average of 40 suicide attacks per year in the past 3 years.
posted by chaz at 5:17 AM on September 26, 2003


I agree it would help to see restraint on both sides. I think that's the whole enchilada, the thing we're currently waiting around for.

But it's a little dubious to look for moral parity between the Israelis and the Palestinians, as they are in wildly different positions. I think one of the reasons the jet pilots were able to make this statement is that they have so much power. They're in a position of overwhelming strength, and they didn't like the way it was being used. It might cost them their careers, but they'll probably keep their homes and families and their lives.
posted by scarabic at 11:28 AM on September 26, 2003


ok... that made it sound like I believe in a double standard. I don't. I just meant that it's hard to judge people and their various actions side-by-side without considering the overall context.
posted by scarabic at 11:36 AM on September 26, 2003


I had no idea until I belatedly read the morning paper over dinner that Edward Said had died... I'm still a bit in shock over this.
posted by jokeefe at 1:27 AM on September 27, 2003


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