Dropping the pilot?

In Israel, there is a bit of a hubbub over a protest by IAF pilots, who are refusing to serve in the occupied territories in protest at having to perform surgical strikes that endanger civillians.
The Israeli Defense Minister called them ‘pretentious snivelling’ but the pilots, including some of Israel’s finest, have hit back:

“Our letter was addressed to decision makers who place us in an impossible moral impasse,” he said. “It’s impossible to execute surgery with an axe, regardless of the surgeon’s qualifications. As patriotic Israelis and Zionists, we are obliged to annihilate terrorism; but we must refrain from becoming terrorists ourselves. This in itself is an existential threat to the Israeli nation.”

I have to say I am impressed with the pilots myself. I suspect that one of the goals of the Islamofacists is to degrade the moral sense of the Israeli people and therefore drag them down to the level of the Islamofacists themselves. This needs to be resisted as much as the terrorists that murder children themselves.
While the terror leaders do need to be dealt with, means matter as much as ends. Let’s not end up like them, after all.



  1. Spoons

    I most strongly disagree with you on this one, Scott. The pilots, like all military men, have not only a right, but a duty to disobey unlawful orders. Nothing like that has happened in this case. In fact, they’re not even objecting to specific orders they’ve been given, but are making a political statement against the government’s policies and asking other soldiers to join them. There’s nothing noble or admirable about this.
    It is undisputably true that in Israel’s war against terror, civilians are sometimes collateral damage when terrorists are targeted. This is no different from the U.S. war in Afghanistan, or Iraq, or anywhere else. Often, countries will refrain from strikes where the collateral damage is deemed to be too high, but this is a political/stategic question, not a legal one. As such, it’s not one that these pilots (most of whom are grandstanding retirees anyway) have a right to make.
    For announcing their intention to disobey lawful orders, and for encouraging others to do the same, these pilots could easily be prosecuted and convicted of treason. In all likelihood, however, they’ll simply be court-martialed and discharged.
    I think you may be tempted to sympathize with these pilots because they seem sincere. I have no idea whether they are or are not, but I don’t find that relevant. Rachel Corrie perhaps sincerely believed that Palestinian terrorists were the good guys because they mostly killed Jews. That doesn’t make her right. The same is true of these pilots, who are cut from the same cloth.

  2. Scott Wickstein

    I concede your point about the pilots responsibility to obey lawful orders. However, I’m still very glad that they are stirring up the ‘means and ends’ debate. For those of us on the side of the Angels, we need to ask these questions, lest we descend into the murk of ‘whatever it takes’.
    Must say it’s a harsh call to compare these guys to Rachel Corrie. This is their homes that are at stake.

  3. Scott Wickstein

    Yeah well it does get a bit murkey when the sequence goes Us – them- bang- kids fall over as collateral damage.
    That’s why Hamas leaders hide in densely populated civillian areas of course; they are the types that admire courage, from a safe distance.
    Yet it’s not a good move deep sixing civillians to put a nailgun in these blokes heads.