One of the things a lot of people need to learn how to do is make political determinations, whenever possible, based on the undisputed out-in-the-open facts. This is possible a lot more than is pretended otherwise. The alternative is to try to make determinations based on the contested behind-the-scenes-facts, and this is an invitation to spiral into the fascinating worlds of conspiracy-thot.
An example I have used before is the public justification of suicide bombers. There is a type of person who believes that strapping a bomb to oneself and blowing up a hang-out for Israeli teens is a-okay, and the more people doing this the better. There is also a kind of moral blinkeredness that justifies this kind of preposterous claim. The real way to deal with ethical casuistry of this caliber is simply to laugh like a developmentally-challenged hyena.
It is simply beside the point to claim that the Israelis do this same kind of thing privately. But if it is private, it isn’t the same kind of thing, now is it? It is either not the same kind of thing because it didn’t ever happen, or it is not the same kind of thing because the Israelis are not deliberately targeting civilians in a such a way as to ensure that the whole stinking world knows about it. In other words, all we have to do is look at the public facts in order to determine who is being publicly wicked. And if someone is being publicly wicked, we have no business carrying any water for them.
Here’s another example, also taken from Israel. Take the vexed issue of the “settlements.” There are two options — the Israelis keep the settlements or they don’t. In which of these two options will the ethnic cleansing occur? Right. If the settlements are abandoned, then the Jews will all be banished, like yesterday. (And then the Arabs won’t want to remain there anymore, because where did all the jobs go? Darn it.) If the Jews remain, will Arabs continue to cluster where the economic activity is? In which scenario is it most likely that the two will be able to live together? Why is it simply assumed that the Arabs have the right to remove the Jews (or to have someone do it for them), while it is quietly assumed that the Jews do not have the same prerogative? Besides international hypocrisy, I mean?