Sunday, September 17, 2006

Knowing and Politics

In a September 8th story on NPR's "All Things Considered," it was reported that, "Dozens of Syrian migrant farm workers were killed in one village [by Israeli air strikes], and Lebanon's largest milk plant was destroyed. When it was disabled, the plant was attempting to renew its contract to supply UNIFIL troops -- a contract it won over an Israeli firm several years ago." The story further went on to suggest that the bombings were motivated by a conflict of interest created the aforementioned contract.

This raises an important question in the knowledge created by this occurrence. As we do not know the true reasoning for the air strikes, and probably will not be able to know the reasoning behind the attacks for quite some time (until information currently kept in classified Israeli documents are released), can we form a knowledge claim about the morality of the subject? Is it ever possible to make an accurate knowledge claim when such conditions exist? As most of us have grown up and been educated in the United States for all of our lives, how can we be certain that we are not being effected by the biases caused by nationalism?

Neither the administration, nor either of the legislative branches made any effort early in the conflict to intervene and stop the violence, nor did they condemn the aforementioned attacks on civilian establishments. Assuming that the events did indeed occur; could one make an accurate knowledge claim that we, as the electors of the US's representative government, are partially culpable for the attacks on these civilians?


Vvyynn said...

Well,Hobbes, first I must say: Kudos on the social contract, that's gone down. Anyhoo, on to answers. 20. On to answers about the question presented in this entry.
It is entirely possible to hav knowledge with...No. No I take that back. It's not possible, because you have no justification. Thus, you may have a "True belief", however this will not be properly justified.
And, No, we are not responsible for the attacks, because we had no control over the attacks, neither did we or the government. Unless I read the post incorrectly, these attacks happened outside our jurisdiction (although America's jurisdiction is the world!).

Hobbs said...

How does the fact that our government supplies the Israeli air force with the majority of the aircraft as (well as these air craft’s bombs and munitions) used in the aforementioned air strikes effect the moral culpability of the American people?

Even if we had not provided the weapons, can we be considered culpable (at least in part) for the deaths as we did not choose to intervene in the conflict even though we had the capability to do so? Is such culpability increased or decreased by our current preemptive strike doctrine?

Vvyynn said...

GAH! Have have Have Have Have! I'm a hypocrite! I hope everyone knows this! Because of course, I'm the topic on everyone's mind!

Well, I guess I actually have to answer for realsies now. I would say Yes. I say this because, we are partly in fault. In a very very round-about way: We are the cause of the problem.
Of course, by this logic, so are the British, the Italians, The Serbs, The Japanese, The Martians, etc. Because this information was given to everyone (although it probably wasn't).
Thus, the world is filled with heartless people. But don't worry! We've got the penguins.