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NOTE: The opinions expressed by our individual bloggers are their own, and not necessarily those of Young Democrats of Atlanta.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The wages of war is death
Today's bloggerIt's easy to lose sight of events in the larger world when you have ringside seats to The Georgia Democratic Primary, also known as the biggest and bloodiest political donnybrook this party has seen in years. But the war of ideas, insults, and cheap tricks that masqueraded as our primary election pales in comparison with the war of Katyusha rockets and laser guided bombs being waged by Israel and Hezbollah.

It is an abomination unto the ideal of rightness to presume that Israel somehow has the moral high ground in this conflict. Israel, Hezbollah, Hamas, and all their comrades in arms have the stricken blood of innocents on their hands. More pragmatically, what does Israel believe the long-term effects of leveling apartment buildings and shredding the limbs of innocent civilians will be? Every member of Hezbollah they kill will be replaced by a mother or brother or father of an innocent person the Israeli military has seen fit to execute in the ostensible interest of exterminating terrorists.

This is not at all to side with the murderous, vindictive subhumans firing rockets at random into Israel , paid for by Syria and Iran. Hassan Nasrallah apologizing for the children killed by one of Hezbollah's rocket attacks - “some events like that happen”, he said – is like the Serpent apologizing to Eve for tricking her into eating of the tree of life. These animals have as little honor and decency as any Israeli soldier.

The vendetta Israel is pursuing against Hezbollah is a textbook example of how truly awful war can be. It's one thing when war is your guys with guns and tanks and bomber aircraft versus the other guy with Soviet-era rockets, assault rifles, and improvised explosives, and they kill and maim each other. What we're seeing in Lebanon, however, is a lot of sublimated anger against civilians, UN observers, and the infrastructure of a nation that just wants to be left alone. Hezbollah's idea of getting back at the Israeli pilots bombing Lebanon into oblivion is apparently to high-five each other when one of their rockets kills a teenage girl who never did a damn thing to them. Who with a single shred of human nobility in their soul could look on this orgy of destruction and killing and say that either side is right?

Know what's most sickening about all this? Seeing Condoleezza Rice and some Arab leaders smiling and shaking hands over an expensive wooden table, and Ehud Olmert bleating his tired rhetoric from the safety of some Israeli parliament building, and Kofi Annan wringing his hands over whether or not Israel intentionally destroyed a UN observation post (give me a break). All this while two countries, two nations of human beings like you and I, duke it out over who gets to ride in front on the down escalator to Hell. I have a feeling I'm going to be seeing some familiar faces there.
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posted by Ataru Atlanta at 7/26/2006 11:46:00 PM

12 Comments:

Blogger Melissa said...

Unfortunately, I haven't been close attention to world outside of Georgia Primary in the last few weeks so your take on what is going in the middle east is eye opening to say the least. I do have comment not sure if I should post here or not but here it goes. Benson for the last time you are not going to hell!

Melissa

7/27/2006 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

I'm surprised that with the link in BfD, there hasn't been more response yet. I've always prided myself on not mincing words, but Benson may be my master in this particular domain! :)

I believe Israel is not looking at their pounding of Lebanon in terms of creating new enemies from the rubble. Their chief objective seems to be to send the message that any country that harbors terrorists that mess with Israel are going to suffer a TREMENDOUS price. The thinking is that by making an example of Lebanon, whose government hasn't been able to control Hezbollah (which in turn controls the southern half of the country that borders Israel), that other countries (especially Palestinian territories) will think twice about allow a terrorist group to operate openly and brazenly in their borders. I'm not sure how well that will work, but in the Middle East, there is something to be said for brute force.

My concern mirrors yours that Israel is not targeting its wrath enough, and will gain enemies it doesn't need...or even turn world opinion against it.

In the scheme of things, I believe Israel has a right to exist and this "drive the Jews into the sea" attitude needs to die. The only way Israel has survived is by kicking ass when threatened. I don't blame them for that. Israel's democracy is what we hope develops in the rest of the Middle East, so it should be protected. I fear that this could escalate into all-out regional war.

7/27/2006 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger MelGX said...

Speaking of Condi, this picture was on the front page of the NY Times National Edition today. Not exactly "smiling and shaking hands". More like "oy vey".:

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2006/07/27/nytfrontpage/scannat.jpg

I'm not sure if this has anything to do with the lack of comments, but I couldn't get this comment window to open from my home computer this morning.

7/27/2006 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger Smitty said...

Jason, do you really believe that Israel, or as you put it, Jews, are in danger of being driven into the sea by Arabs? I find it confusing how the crimes of Europeans are transferred onto the Arab world. No excuses should be, by anyone, for terrorism, but killing civilians is terrorism, making the Israeli military the biggest instrument of terror in this war. Bigger than Hamas, bigger than Hizbollah.

But that's only if you stick to the numbers. If individual moralizing becomes the standard of judgement, then all bets are off and everything becomes a matter of opinion or ideology.

If the preservation of life is the top priority, Israel remains the biggest obstacle to achieving that goal as its military has killed ten times the number of civilians in this conflict as has Hizbollah.

7/27/2006 02:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Clay said...

I agree wholeheartedly with Benson and Jason. Israel's war is creating more enemies, rejuvenating a long-running cycle of violence. Now, we have Ayman al-Zawahiri using this is an opportunity to call Muslims to Jihad against "crusaders" everywhere. It's truly a world problem, not only a regional one.

So what are the answers to the extraordinarily complex issues surrounding response to terrorist attacks? Israel has a moral obligation to ensure the safety of its citizens and soldiers, as does Lebanon. But we agree that all-out war only endangers the children of Israel, who will have to contend with the children of a war-torn Lebanon.

It's human nature, I think, to seek retaliation and to respond to force with greater force. If your child is being picked on by a bully, you say, hit him back. If a murderer is caught, we say execute the murderer. In this age of warfare, of missiles and nuclear weapons, responding to force with greater force is disproportionately dangerous. And alas, as al-Zawahiri's exploitative statements demonstrate, terrorists hope to instigate all-out wars.

So how should Israel, America, or any other country respond to terrorist attacks and the states that condone them? Obviously, we as a race need to evolve beyond the eye-for-an-eye mentality. Our continued survival demands it. But how should we respond?

I used to think that economic development of impoverished countries was key. Perhaps it is, but is that enough to combat the extremist thought that leads to al-Zawahiri's statement: "It is a Jihad for the sake of God and will last until (our) religion prevails ... from Spain to Iraq"?

Certainly, war is warranted on occasion, but we have to learn to look beyond war as an answer or at least to minimize it to a smaller part of the solution. But what do we do? How do we fight the al-Zawahiris of the world without force when they're so quick to use it? How do we spare innocent civilians when terrorist choose to operate in populated cities? I wish I had the answers. Maybe someone out there does.

7/28/2006 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger Smitty said...

Oh, the lies we tell ourselves..

"how should Israel, America, or any other country respond to terrorist attacks and the states that condone them?"
The two states, Israel and the America have perpetrated more documented acts of terror than any other nation in the past 30 years(perhaps with the exception of the UK in its role as junior partner to the US).

"Israel has a moral obligation to ensure the safety of its citizens and soldiers, as does Lebanon. But we agree that all-out war only endangers the children of Israel"
Despite the disparity between the number of Israeli civilians killed and the times over higher number of Lebanese civilians killed, we are still forced to listen to this fiction about how the children of Israel are primarily under attack and as you say, the 'only' ones under attack. It will never be admitted (so I'm not asking for an admittal) but this translates into a statement that the lives of Arabs have little if any worth.

"How do we fight the al-Zawahiris of the world without force when they're so quick to use it?"
Have you looked at Israeli and American foreign policy lately. Lately as in over the past half-century? I would venture confidently, to say that Israel and America have used force more often and much more recklessly than have all of the Zawahiris of the world. And this isn't conjecture. Look at the death tolls left by America in Iraq, Israel in Gaza and Lebanon.

Over the past 20 years Israel has killed more civilians than Osama Bin Laden but pay no attention to any of that because Israel, they're the good guys, right?

7/29/2006 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger Shelby said...

Smitty, I think your second point was based on a misinterpretation of Clay's statement. When he said " all-out war only endangers the children of Israel," I'm pretty sure "only" applied to "endangers" and not to "the children of Israel." As in, "all-out war only endangers, rather than protects, the children of Israel because violence begets violence," and NOT "all-out war endangers only the children of Israel, who cares what it does to others."

7/29/2006 04:46:00 PM  
Blogger Smitty said...

I'm happy to apologize for misinterpreting that statement if indeed I did. War is a scourge to civilians, particularly children, everywhere.

Understanding that I misunderstood what was written, and agreeing with the intended meaning, hopefully we can share ground on the points 1 & 3 as well as others which leads to slightly different conclusions than those expressed in the aforementioned post.

7/30/2006 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger Benson said...

"If your child is being picked on by a bully, you say, hit him back. If a murderer is caught, we say execute the murderer."

Yes, but what Israel, Hamas, Hezbollah, and all the perpetrators of this despicable war are doing is hitting back at random people. Isreal says "Well, Hezbollah hurt us, so we're going to kill 60 civilians, including women and children, in this apartment building", and Hezbollah says "Fine, we'll launch rockets randomly at your cities and cheer when your women and children get killed." That's human nature, all right, and last time I checked giving in to human nature is tantamount to writing your ticket to Hell. I hope George Bush is ready to burn for every innocent who dies while he and his executioners resist calling for a ceasefire.

7/30/2006 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger Smitty said...

Do you all think that it's important to bring attention to the fact that there is illegality occuring on both sides which results in death to civilians, Israel is causing more death by far.

On the order of a magnitude of ten, in fact. I can hardly imagine Hizbollah killing 100 Israelis for every 10 Lebanese and still hearing the same 'balanced' opinions and apportioning of blame. We seem to be encouraged to pretend the magnitude of the crimes are equal or that 'it doesn't matter' as long as Israel is doing the most killing of civilians.

What is this most obvious bias all about?

7/30/2006 11:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Clay said...

True, Israel kills many more Arabs than Arabs kill Israelis. That's a fact, but what does it mean? Does it mean that Israel is a bigger terrorist organization? Only if we assume that Israel purposely targets civilians. (al-Qaeda and Hezbollah do and make no bones about it.) As Benson pointed out, women and children are killed when apartment buildings are bombed. That's horrible, and I wish it didn't happen, but a big chunk of the blame lies at the feet of Hezbollah. They purposely place military installations in populated areas. In other words, they provoke attacks that will end in the deaths of civilians--their own people.

Unfortunately, life rarely comes down to good guys vs. bad guys. There are many valid viewpoints out there that are never really heard because people too often resort to violence first. And the moral issues of war are never cut and dry. War is ultimately about destruction and death, and while I don't find pacifism practical, I wish wars didn't happen.

My question is this: Who is the true aggressor in this war? The answer to that question, in my opinion, depends on another question. Does Israel have a right to exist in peace within the current borders of the Middle East?

By the way, I never meant to suggest that the lives of Lebanese children are any less precious than those of Israeli children. And I'll be the first to admit that when it comes to this issue, I have more questions than answers.

7/31/2006 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Smitty said...

"Israel kills many more Arabs than Arabs kill Israelis. That's a fact, but what does it mean?"
I believe the numbers tell the truth. When you or I or anyone else speculates as to motives and rationales we have moved beyond objectivity and observation of evidence and into ideologies. In these very emotionally volatile matters we should begin with the facts and let them guide our thinking. Israel has done in the past and is currently doing, by far the most killing.

"Does it mean that Israel is a bigger terrorist organization?"
If numbers, and thus the facts, are relevant, it is a logical imperative.

"Only if we assume that Israel purposely targets civilians."
By this logic, any group that says it kills only by accident, is no longer a terrorist organization. A very slippery slope I think we'd all be better off far away from.

"They purposely place military installations in populated areas. In other words, they provoke attacks that will end in the deaths of civilians--their own people. "
The WTC had CIA and FBI offices inside it. Does that justify the attacks of September 11th. Again, very slippery slope.

"Who is the true aggressor in this war?"
A more appropriate question: Is anyone above the law in this situation? A drug dealer robs another dealer at gunpoint. That night, the victim of the robbery drives by and guns down the thieving drug dealer and his entire family.

The law doesn't ask and is not concerned with the 'aggressor'. It is an irrelevant question that ends up distracting us from the legal questions. Whether this distraction is by design or not...who can say. What's important is that we distance ourselves from moral equivalence and focus on objective reality. Killing civilians, whether you claim you did it by accident or not is a crime as explained in international law.

Agreed?

7/31/2006 11:50:00 PM  

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