2006/07/14

The Lebanese Bloggers

Now here's a site that gets lots of comments! A blow-by-blow account of the Israeli attacks by people on the ground. The Lebanese Bloggers. And here are the views from the Israeli side: News from Israel, Ynetnews - Two-Front War

The escalation of violence-- "asymmetrical," with suicide bombers & small-scale kidnappings on one side, aviation, tanks, aerial assassinations and more massive kidnappings of whole families and of legislators on the other -- is unsustainable, I'm sure. The two sides are fighting by different rules and with different objectives, and it appears that both are losing. The Israeli government announces that its aim is to force the Palestinians and Hezbullah to cease rocket attacks and other harassment, but since the people they are punishing are not (usually) the ones who are conducting the attacks, and since there are so many younger recruits ready to follow the martyrs' example, the destruction of homes, power plants and lives is useless. Hamas (especially its out-of-country military leadership) and Hezbullah want to exact enough revenge on the Israelis to make them desist the bombings, etc., and that obviously isn't working either -- again, because their usual victims are simple Israeli citizens and young soldiers, not the well-protected politicians who are ordering the carnage. Something's got to give, because so far both sides are losing. Maybe a radical political change in Israel, maybe a shift in policy & some more forceful intervention by the European Union, or Russia, maybe even a change in U.S. policy now that it is clear to everybody (except Cheney & Co.) that the Iraq war is a disaster and that we won't be able to salvage anything there unless we also address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

3 comments:

Bill Wheaton said...

It seems to me that the extremes in these situations are allied against the moderate center. It's almost as if Pat Robertson and bin Laden were actually deliberately conspiring to destroy the democratic center. The Palestinians who reject any accomodation with Israel, and the ultra-orthodox Jews who dream of "Greater Israel" as God's gift to his chosen people, cannot win while moderate "sensible people of good will" are in control. But they might conceivably win all themarbles by first making alliance against the center, and then (50-50 chance?) destroying the other extreme once moderation is dead. They don't have to even consciously think this whole horrible plan out to the extreme end, they just have to see and go with the next step that keeps them "viable" today.

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend", the saying goes, and maybe the logic is really no deeper than that. As the US has lately become the enemy of practically the whole world, by deed and by the proclamation of the New American Century people, our prospects are poor unless moderates and people in the center can figure out a way to respond to this cross fire, and respond in a way that does not deny the liberal principles that are the core of civilization.

gef said...

An Israeli friend was telling me about two different Israeli writers, one from the right & one from the left, who speak of the "Sampson solution": Destroying the whole temple with himself inside it. What they were implying was the readiness of the Israeli far right to risk national annihilation in nuclear war rather than concede anything to the foe. For those of us not fanatically touched, it just seems MAD.

Bill Wheaton said...

Indeed. Of course Islam is not immune to such thinking; again and again one reads of militants refering to the necessity of trusting in Al-Lah to bring victory regardless of how doomed the enterprise may appear. (Christians do this too of course, as anyone may observe from the phenomenon of people yearning for The Rapture, and eager to bring it to pass.)

Even those of us who are pretty much commited to rationalism often would agree, I suspect, that there can be times of crisis when we just have to do the thing we feel in our bones is right, and trust. When it works in war, we are heroes; when it fails we are casualties.

So, who am I to judge? Oft times the difference between sanity and insanity is a matter of degree...

Bill W.