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Monday, January 12, 2009

Jonathan Zasloff is not aware of all internet traditions

He writes "I confess I have never heard of Davies before"

I'm honestly shocked. What blogs does Zasloff read ? I almost suspect that he has a life.

Lets see. Clearly he doesn't read "Sadly No" as he hasn't read the footnote

"‘Shorter’ concept created by Daniel Davies and perfected by Elton Beard. We are aware of all Internet traditions.™"

OK fine, SameFacts to Sadly No ! is a ways to go, but what about Brad DeLong and *the unanswered question* hmm a google and a click

and Oh my Daniel Davies wrote not one but two of the 5 classic blog posts listed by Brad DeLong (I was going to get to the "Everything I Know I Learned At A Very Expensive University" if google hadn't beaten me to it).

Also, I mean if you want to say that someone you've never heard of has shot himself in the foot with a howitzer, don't you google him first ?

On the merits, Zasloff has some pretty good snark, but no case. He takes DDs invocation of the Geneva conventions to be an argument that the law settles moral questions (you want a direct quote to make a claim like that). DD complains that Walzer does not take current international law into account. Not that Walzer thinks that the law should be changed, but that he doesn't acknowledge that it exits, is written and published. Now if Zasloff has proof that Walzer acknowedges that he is challenging current international law, then Davies is wrong. Otherwise Zasloff is focusing on one hyperbolic line in a long post (which line he paraphrased).

Aside from that Zasloff says the protocol is unclear (you want to quote the law when claiming it is unclear) and he decides that the rules should be different for the good guys and the bad guys (since it is perfectly clear to the bad guys that they are the bad guys this shouldn't lead to any confusion).

I think I know what is happening here. In the USA commentators are not allowed to take international law seriously. The idea that international law binds the USA and that the USA must obey it unless and until it is changed is held to be unmentionably fringe loony insane. One of the ways in which Mondale managed to lose to Bush Sr was be quoting from the charter of the Organization of American States.

Now it is OK to read international treaties and decide to ignore them, but it is safer to leave them unread.

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