Skip to comments.Why bulldozers are ethically neutral
Posted on 02/24/2006 5:26:17 PM PST by janetjanet998
The use of Caterpillar bulldozers to demolish Palestinian homes should not stop the Church of England from investing in the company, writes Rev Gill Jackson
In May, the Church of Englands Ethnical Investment Advisory Group committed itself to a robust and rigorous review of the Churchs £2.2 million shareholding in Caterpillar Inc the United States-based manufacturer of construction and mining equipment based on concerns over the use of Caterpillar bulldozers to demolish Palestinian homes.
After numerous meetings with political groups, voluntary agencies and Caterpillar itself, the recommendation was for the Church not to disinvest.
However, less than a year later the Church of England Synod has once again voted to review its investments in companies such as Caterpillar, following the acceptance of a resolution "to heed the call from our sister church, the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem to disinvest from companies profiting from illegal occupation such as Caterpillar Inc". Ruth Gledhill, The Times Religion Correspondent, described this latest decision as born of a mindset "steadfastly stuck in the 1970s and 1980s". Subsequent correspondence in The Times (February 20) referred to the decision as the pursuit of "contentious politics" and "political correctness".
These criticisms are largely based on what the Bishop of St Albans described as the Synods "failure to understand the situation in Israel". The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, has also expressed concern about the decision to review investment in Caterpillar and described the resolution passed by the Synod as "one sided".
An example of this one-sidedness is a failure to make reference to the fact that Caterpillar machines are equally likely to be used in clearing away Jewish settlements in the Gaza strip as to clear away Palestinian homes and farmland.
In addition, the debate on which the vote was based was imbalanced. While the discussion covered a broad range of topics related to ethical investment (during the course of which Caterpillar was denounced as "a company used for dreadful purposes" and their products described as "demolition machines") there was an absence of hard facts.
The fact is that there are 2.5 million Caterpillar machines in the world. Most of these are not used for demolition purposes but to support regeneration programmes. This work includes road building programmes in countries in Africa and power plants and energy infrastructure in the newest democracies in Asia and Europe.
The resolution passed unanimously by the Anglican Consultative Council in June 2005, which preceded the recent Synod vote, "to take appropriate action where it finds its corporate investments support the occupation of Palestinian lands" also voted to "encourage investment strategies that support the infrastructure of a future Palestine".
It is highly likely that a Caterpillar bulldozer will be used to help build that infrastructure.
Any decision to disinvest from Caterpillar can therefore also be regarded as a vote to disinvest from a company which makes a large contribution to the common good.
The Synod debate also failed to highlight any facts related to the sales programme of the D9 bulldozers being used by Israel for the demolition programme in the Gaza strip. The sale of D9 bulldozers came about through the US Government sales programme, which was a spin off from Camp David and the peace process. If Caterpillar were to bow to pressure from campaigners and refuse to sell goods to Israel this would in fact breach US legislation on free trade. Such a move would open up Caterpillar and similar companies to prosecution, since US law states that the only countries companies are allowed to refuse to trade with are those on an official US "boycott" or restricted trade list.
Furthermore, as one speaker during the debate highlighted, Caterpillar does not sell bulldozers directly to the Israeli army. Their machines are sold to individual dealers who then sell on to customers. Dealers are independent and not connected to Caterpillar in any way other than by being their customer, so Caterpillar has little control over what happens to their machines once they leave the factory gates. One of the Caterpillar machines caught on recent news footage has been identified as being over 50 years old. The route taken by this machine from leaving the factory to reaching its destination when captured on film is impossible to control.
The key question therefore, should be whether the Church should be taking issue with the manufacturer or more importantly those who use their products?
It is only right and proper that the Church should be concerned about ensuring that its investments are ethical. However, bulldozers in themselves are ethically neutral. The important thing is how they are used. Any decision to disinvest should not be based on a general Synod debate but a full and rigorous analysis of Caterpillars role in the use of its bulldozers in demolishing Palestinian homes rather like the review undertaken by the Church of Englands Ethnical Investment Advisory Group in 2005.
I think this is the reason churches shouldn't have investments and why the Christ chased the money changers out of the temple.
straining at a gnat , while swallowing the whole camel.
plus this debate has been going on for years and Cats stock has tripled in price since..good "timing" to sell for "ethical" reasons now huh?
Cats don't kill people, numbnuts who stand in front of them kill themselves.
I suspect if the Cats were exclusively used to destroy Jewish homes the Chruch would invest heartily.
What's really funny about it all is that the Taliban, once they take over UK, are going to use Caterpillars to bulldoze down various ancient Christian cathedrals and churches, and hopefully right on the heads of these jerks.
Getting rid of the letter n should be a step in the right direction.
I'd say it's time for another Rachel Corrie, eh?!
Her leftist comrades probably learned from her mistake. They'll leave the suicide business to the experts -- their Pali terrorist friends.
"I suspect if the Cats were exclusively used to destroy Jewish homes the Chruch would invest heartily"
I'd have to agree. That they would even discuss such a thing (divesting CAT using their rationale) shows just how spiritually bankrupt certain churches have become.
An IDF Caterpillar D9R bulldozer, nicknamed "ãåáé" (teddy bear) in Israel. Its armor allows it to work under heavy fire.The Israeli Armored D9 nicknamed Dooby (lit. teddy bear) is a Caterpillar D9 tractor that was modified by the IDF and Israeli Defense Industries to increase the survivability of the dozer in hostile environments and enable it to withstand heavy attacks. The main IDF modification is the installation of an Israeli-made armor kit which provides armor protection to the mechanical systems and to the operator cabin. The operator is protected inside an armored cabin, with bulletproof windows to protect against bombs, machinegun and sniper fire. The IDF also developed an armor add-on to deflect RPG rounds. The fitted armor package adds roughly 15 additional tons to the production-line weight of the D9. As for many customized packages, individually modified D9s may be found with disparate features, such as crew-operated machine guns, smoke projectors, or grenade launchers. The heavy armor carried by modified D9s allows them to work under heavy fire in dangerous battle-zones and resist mine blasts. The Israeli armor kit has proven to be effective, as no D9 operator was killed during the 4-year long al-Aqsa Intifada.
The Israeli Engineering Corps uses the D9 for a wide variety of engineering tasks, such as digging moats, clearing landmines, mounting sand barriers, building fortifications, clearing terrain obstacles and opening routes to armored fighting vehicles and infantry. On Yom Kippur War the D9s took part in the breaching of the Suez Canal, enabling Israeli forces to go through the canal and surround the Egyptian 3rd Army. In the northern front an Israeli D9 opened a route in the snow to elite infantry forces. It was the first ever motorized vehicle to reach the highest peak of Mount Hermon. One of the D9's primary roles is to clear landmine fields and booby-trapped areas. It can do it either by the regular heavy blade or by specially-designed mineplows attached in the front.
Two armored IDF D9R bulldozers. The heavy bulldozers used in counter-terror appliciations to "shake" militants out of barricaded and rigged hideouts, destroy Palestinian homes and uproot olive trees without risking soldiers' lives.In urban warfare and counter-terror operations, the D9s has also been used in standoff situations with opponents barricaded in buildings. In order not to risk Israeli soldiers, the D9 shakes the house until the barricaded gunmen surrender. After the building is evacuated, the D9 razes the structure in order to detonate and bury any explosives that remain inside. Hamas chief bombmaker and the plotter of the Passover massacre, Case Aduwan, was killed in April 7, 2002, after he was tracked by the SHABAK and the YAMAM and a D9 destroyed the house he was hiding after heavy exchanges of fire. In Hebron, the IDF used the armored D9 to stop the local Hamas leader, Bassal Qawasameh, who shot at the D9 with machinegun, but was killed when the D9 demolished the house where he was hiding. One year after, Imad Qawasameh surrendered to IDF forces, after a D9 started demolishing his house. Armored D9 bulldozers have demolished many structures in Rafah, Gaza strip during battles with militants and operations to uncover smuggling tunnels.
The destruction of hundreds of structures in Rafah is a highly controversial issue. The Israel Defense Forces claim that the destruction of buildings and tunnels is a security necessity and that most houses destroyed were used for terrorist activity. However, Palestinians claim that the destruction has left thousands of people homeless, and is done systematically in order to create a cleared "buffer zone" between Rafah and Philadelphi Route. Protests against this destruction have caused further controversy, through such as incidents as the death of civilians such as Rachel Corrie. According to Jewish Voice for Peace (a left-wing group whose goal is to prevent selling of Caterpillar equipment to Israel) "since 1967 Israel has used Caterpillar bulldozers to demolish nearly 9,000 Palestinian homes, leaving more than 50,000 people homeless. Since the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising in September 2000, Israel has razed the homes of 12,737 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In the past two years the Israeli army deployed Caterpillar bulldozers to uproot 1,000,000 Palestinian olive trees."  However, many dispute JVP claimed figures, mainly because the IDF operates many different kinds of bulldozers and engineering vehicles, most of them are civilian tools on licensing.
IDF armored Caterpillar D9 bulldozers in Rafah during Operation Rainbow.Human Rights Watch has published a report criticizing the mass demolition in Rafah, in which it argues against many of the IDF's justifications for the destructive activities carried out by D9s. HRW supports Palestinian claims that the existence of tunnels in Rafah is simply being used as a pretext to demolish homes in order to create a "buffer zone". HRW believes that instead of using available and effective technologies for neutralizing tunnels where they cross the border, the IDF is instead undertaking unnecessary and highly destructive incursions into the camp. HRW's report also contends that the extensive destruction of roads, water, and sewage networks by D9 bulldozers is not plausible as an antimine technique, as most of the destruction is wrought using the rear blade of the bulldozer, which would do nothing to protect bulldozers from improvised explosive devices. Instead, HRW claims that the IDF destruction of roads, utilities and civilian structures is vindicative, punitive and illegal. HRW has called on Caterpillar Inc. to suspend sales of D9s and related parts and services to the IDF so long as illegal demolitions continue.
The Israeli position regarding operation Rainbow described Rafah as the "Gateway to terrorism". The IDF stressed that "... the IDF traditionally does its utmost to avoid harming the civilian population. It employs infantry forces whenever possible as opposed to air or artillery strikes to minimize the possibility of doing unintentional harm. At times, this humanitarian concern comes at the price of risking the lives of soldiers two of whom were killed last week by Palestinian snipers while helping an elderly woman get food" and claimed that most demolitions are carried out against houses which are used by terrorists to shoot at IDF forces, and were approved by the Israeli Supreme Court of Justice: "Even though these demolitions were the direct result of terrorist activity and were thus the responsibility of the terrorists themselves 46 Palestinian families involved exercised their right to appeal the demolitions to Israels High Court of Justice this week. In ruling to allow the demolitions, the court noted that they were permissible due to the overriding need to protect the lives of Israelis."
In a ground breaking move on February 7 2006, the Synod of the Church of England overwhelmingly decided to divest itself of approximately USD$2.2 million in Caterpillar Inc. shares, property of the Church of England. This was seen as a move to distance itself from the Israeli army's use of the Caterpillar bulldozers to destroy Palestinian homes and uproot thousands of olive trees. Additionally the act of an Israeli army driver in running over and killing Rachel Carrie has caused great revulsion throughout the world. To date (February 2006)the Israeli Army driver has not been accused of murder nor manslaughter.
Both military armored D9s and civilian non-armored D9s are being used by Israel's Ministry of Defense in the building of the Israeli West Bank barrier. The main D9 contributions to the project are earthmoving and soil-leveling, clearing a path for the security fence, and digging trenches in front of the security fence. 
USMC armored D9R bulldozers.The United States Army has purchased several D9 armor kits from the IDF and used them to produce similarly fortified D9s. These have been used to clear destroyed vehicles from roads, dig moats, erect earthen-barriers, and construct field fortifications. D9s have also been used to raze houses which hosted snipers who shot at American forces (similar to the Israeli usage). There were some reports about the use of large bulldozers against Iraqi trenches during the first Gulf War. Military reports on the Conflict in Iraq say that the D9s were found very effective and "received highly favorable reviews from all that benefited from their use" (Field Report: Marine Corps Systems Command Liaison Team , Central Iraq , 20 April to 25 April 2003).
The US army used D9 bulldozers to clear wood in the Vietnam war but after the war it replaced them with smaller and cheaper Caterpillar D7G bulldozers. D7G dozers are still very common in US combat engineering battalions, but there is a resurgent high demand to replace the lighter D7Gs with the newer and more heavily armored D9s
Maybe but I think these fools are so stupid that they'll cut their nose despite their face.