Monday, August 4, 2014

"Fair" And Other Nonsense Syllables

I have a number of "favorite words." They're not my favorites because I use them often; I don't. They're not my favorites because they convey a meaning I find particularly valuable; they don't. They're my favorites because I laugh heartily whenever I see them used in a political or economic context.

"Fair" is one such word. As with most single-syllable words, it's very old. And it does possess a dictionary definition:

Fair adj.: Characterized by frankness, honesty, impartiality, or candor; open; upright; free from suspicion or bias; equitable; just; -- said of persons, character, or conduct; as, a fair man; fair dealing; a fair statement.

I must say, that's not the way my stepdaughters used it when they were smaller. "It's not fair!" translated to "But I want it!" in most cases; in the rest, it meant "Why can she have what she wants but I can't?"

It's also not the way the United Nations' Human Rights chairwoman would use it:

The UN's top human rights official again condemned Israel for its military actions to stop Hamas rocket attacks against Israeli civilians, accusing the Jewish state of “deliberately defying International Law... in a way that may constitute war crimes.”

Navi Pillay told reporters following yet another "emergency" meeting of the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council that Israel was not doing enough to protect civilians. "There is a strong possibility,” said the known Israel critic, “that international law has been violated, in a manner that could amount to war crimes.”

Among the UN’s long bill of particulars against the beleaguered Jewish state comes the almost unbelievable accusation that Israel’s refusal to share its Iron Dome ballistic missile defense shield with the "governing authority" of Gaza – i.e. Hamas, the terror group created to pursue the extermination of the Jewish state and now waging a terrorist war against it – constitutes a war crime against the civilians of Gaza.

The UN chairwoman criticized the U.S. for helping fund Israel's Iron Dome system which has saved countless Israeli and Palestinian lives. "No such protection has been provided to Gazans against the shelling," she said.

Just because Hamas fires rockets indiscriminately aimed at Israeli civilian population centers without provocation and fires them from within its own population centers does not “absolve” Israel from its own legal violations, Pillay told reporters Thursday.

Translation: "Israel has Iron Dome. HAMAS doesn't. That's not fair!" (Applause to Phineas at Sister Toldjah for the link.)

Let's leave aside HAMAS's many aggressions, its unconcealed determination to destroy Israel and slaughter every Jew therein, its use of tunnels to commit atrocities against Israeli civilians, its use of human shields to discourage counterbattery fire by Israel, its repeated violations of previously agreed-upon cease-fire periods, and its general villainy toward those upon whom it has imposed itself. Gentle Reader, have you ever heard a military engagement condemned as "unfair" before? Specifically because the two sides were unequally armed? What would the United Nations have said to such a complaint, had it been raised by Germany or Japan in the closing days of World War II?

Good grief. Among American military officers of command rank, one of the homilies relevant to preparation for conflict is "If it's a fair fight, you haven't done your job." The entire point of military planning is to accumulate advantages over your putative adversary -- i.e., to make the coming fight as unfair as possible. But hark! The UN's top Human Rights official has just declared preparation that conforms to that maxim a war crime!

I have an uncanny suspicion that, were the balance of armaments just as asymmetrical as it is today, but in HAMAS's favor, Miss Pillay would not have emitted a word of protest. But hey, that's just me.

What about the conflicts between Russia and Ukraine? Or between ISIS and Iraq? Or the tensions on the Korean Peninsula, steadily escalating toward a rolling boil? Has Miss Pillay had anything to say about the imbalances of armament in those regions?

Or...say it softly, now...what about the card Israel holds that has kept its neighboring states at bay since the conclusion of the Yom Kippur War: its nuclear deterrent? Would Miss Pillay like to go on record as advocating Israel's sharing of those weapons with HAMAS?

I can imagine a time, not too far in the future, when the citizens of a restored America walk by that megalith on the East River, smile down at their minor children, and say, "Would you like to hear what the people who once worked in that building did there?" And after regaling Junior with fifteen or twenty minutes' worth of UN lunacies, conclude with, "And we used to pay them to do it!"

Before Dad launches into such a recitation, he'd better make certain that Junior has a healthy tolerance for absurdity. A program of nightly Monty Python productions might do the trick. Failing that, there's always the clown extravaganza we call Congress. But perhaps I'm being "unfair" to our esteemed legislators. Not that I care, of course.

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