Thursday, July 27, 2006
The art of practical politics
Israel is probably the #2 military power on the planet right now. Granted, their military is not the largest, and they do not have the ability to project power like the U.S. does, but neither does any other military on the planet (unless you count Russia's mouldering nuclear-tipped missiles as instruments of power projection), and nobody else has Israel's level of military technology and professionalism.
There is no military threat to Israel's existence anywhere in the region. Of the surrounding nations, either they have no real army (Lebanon), an army that is basically reduced to AK-47's and RPG's because all their old Soviet military equipment is worn out and useless (Syria), is basically a friend of Israel (Jordan), or is more concerned with its own internal politics than with Israel (Egypt). Neither Hezbollah nor Hamas have any ability to threaten Israel's existence, despite any nonsense they might spout to the contrary. They may be formidable guerilla forces, but a guerilla force requires a sea of civilians that they can disappear into, and neither Hezbollah nor Hamas have the ability to conduct large-scale operations outside their own particular Shiite or Palestinian sea of civilians. They are a nuisance, and an often-deadly nuisance that needs to be addressed, but they do not threaten Israel's existence.
However, most of Israel's current crop of politicans, much like most of current American politicians, came to power by saying, "You are threatened, and I am the one who shall lead you to safety!". If a threat to Israel's existence does not actually exist, it must be manufactured. Thus the reason for the disproportionate response to Hezbollah's little border incursion. Israel's politicians play these things up to their constituents, saying "they want to DESTROY you!", then compete to see who can be most convincing with the "I will lead you to safety by dropping bombs on rocket sites" "hah! he's a weiner! I'll lead you to safety by dropping bombs on all Hezbollah-owned facilities!" etc., leading up to the inevitable, but not-yet-stated, "I'll lead you to safety by EXTERMINATING ALL OF THE LEBANESE! Then you'll be safe!". The response, to Israeli citizens, is not disproportionate because their politicians lie about the extent of the threat to Israel. If your nation's very existence is threatened, after all, is not any force up to and including the genocide of the enemy that threatens to exterminate you an honorable and acceptable thing to do? Did we not fire bomb the major cities of Japan and Germany for exactly that same reason -- because the Germans and Japanese threatened the very existence of our nation?
Of course, reality is that THERE IS NO CURRENT THREAT TO ISRAEL'S EXISTENCE. What there is, is serious but managable problems (Hamas and Hezbollah) which can be addressed via far less drastic methods than Israel is using. But you can't say that in Israel, or, for that matter, on the pages of the New York Times, because if you do state this simple little truth you're an anti-semitic nutcase who wants to exterminate Jews and probably a neo-nazi too.
In the absence of a threat to national existence, Israel's actions simply look evil. But from the viewpoint of Israel's deranged political scene, which is all based upon who can best scare the populance into electing them under the "our nation's very EXISTENCE is threatened and I am the one to lead you to safety!" theory (Mencken's First Law of Practical Politics), it makes perfect sense. And after all, for my fellow Americans, certainly we're well acquainted enough with our own politicians to know that politicians have absolutely no problem implementing insane policies based upon a lie (Iraq, anybody?)...
Posted by: BadTux / 7/27/2006 01:28:00 AM
Very well said!
# posted by Ole Blue The Heretic : 27/7/06 7:45 AM
The same approach works very well on my tool shed. Whenever I see a wasp in there I burn down the shed.
# posted by K. Ron Silkwood : 27/7/06 9:24 AM
I think Israel is acting appropriately to the abduction of its soldiers. I just think that it is sad that civilians get caught up in it but you cannot use them as an excuse to let the terrorists walk free. It is horrifying to think that Israel is the only nation that will do what it takes to defeat terrorists without having to fear its own citizens defending the other side.
# posted by : 27/7/06 3:41 PM
the most telling thing i've been seeing is that hizbullah is approaching a 1/1 kill ratio. the isaelis are killing civilians and not much else. should the IDF drive on the ground they will be playing right into the hands of hizbullah who will fight their war from tunnels and bunkers that they have been designing and building for the last ten year. . .it's pure "come into my parlour" scenario.
# posted by The Minstrel Boy : 27/7/06 4:06 PM
Yeah, there was a lot of Hizbollah terrorists at the Beiruit airport and Beirut seaport when Israel fried all those longshoremen and airport workers. Yeah, there was a lot of Hizbollah terrorists at the border crossing to Syria when Israeli warplanes bombed and straffed the lines of cars attempting to escape the fighting by fleeing to Syria. Yeah, there was a lot of Hizbollah terrorists in the eighty 12-story apartment buildings that Israel bombed and destroyed in Beirut under their policy of "destroy ten civilian buildings for every rocket attack on Haifa." Keep reciting the Israeli propaganda, Matty my boy. After all, truth... well, who cares about truth anyhow, when lies are so soothing and clear the conscience so well?
# posted by BadTux : 27/7/06 4:19 PM
I think that many people overlook that the "killing everyone in the entire world" method would put an end to terrorism.
# posted by NewsBlog 5000 : 27/7/06 10:03 PM
Matt, I'm sure killing all those babies and children will make us all safe from the "terrorists". You're SOOOOOOO right. The world is so simplistic. It's good vs. evil. Snark on.
# posted by Missouri Mule : 28/7/06 6:42 AM
But Mule! Don't you know that those little brown babies would grow up and become terrorists just like their daddies? Remember the little asterick at the end of the Republican "Culture of Life" slogan? You forgot to look down at the small print at the bottom of the page, which says, "Offer Expires at Birth". Sheesh!
I mean, c'mon. They're just darkies, subhumans, they're not good white Christian people like you and me so killing them is like, well, killing cockroaches. It isn't murder. It's just, well, house cleaning.
-- Badtux the Sarcastic Penguin
# posted by BadTux : 28/7/06 7:50 AM
It's times like these that I entertain thoughts about what would happen if the US just pulled all of its aid to the Middle East out and let the people there massacre each other until they're ready to call a truce without our help. Because it seems like America and Israel are damned if they do try to make peace with the other nations, and damned if they don't.
Normally I'm a supporter of Israel, but the sheer disregard for civilian casualties this time around just makes me shake my head in shame.
# posted by Dr. Haus : 28/7/06 8:34 AM
That is actually what ended the Lebanese Civil War -- everybody pretty much pulled out and let the Lebanese fight it out until they were tired of fighting, and then the Lebanese (I think they have something like 12 religious sects there, all of which had their own militia to try to oppress the others -- insane!) finally got tired of fighting and got together and hammered out a peace plan that, more or less, pretty much kept the place peaceful until the current round of people lobbing bombs at their head.
As for Israel and the U.S. trying to make peace in the Middle East, when, in the last six years, has that happened? All I have seen, these past six years, is them trying to make war in the Middle East. And since when has Israel ever lived up to its end of any peace plan that it has ever signed? The only time I can remember is in the 1970's when they signed the peace treaty with Egypt and pulled out of the Sinai. Since then, it's always been a case of sticking their tongue out at whoever and saying "Nyah nyah! we won't fully implement our side of the peace plan until you implement yours! And we're attaching caveats that mean we'll never admit it if you ever implement yours! nyuck nyuck nyuck!"
It's no wonder that nobody around there actually believes Israel wants peace. And as I noted, peace would be toxic to the current crop of Israeli politicians, all of whom have made their oats by proclaiming how "tough" they are...
There's only one sure way to make peace in the Middle East, and that's to a) quit fucking with people (like, by demolishing their homes or bombing their gas stations and power plants), and b) insure prosperity for the common people of the middle east, to remove the wellspring of radicalism that emerges when a people feels themself oppressed. A happy and prosperous people do not go out and put on suicide vests and blow themselves up outside bus stations, they're too busy enjoying Nintendo and clubbing and all that other stuff that youths do in prosperous countries.
# posted by BadTux : 28/7/06 9:02 AM
We, for one, wish to extend our hearty thanks and congratulations to the Israeli military for doing their part to hasten the arrival of the Rapture. Granted, the onset of said Rapture will result in the fiery death of all Jews because they don't believe in Jeebus, but nothing's perfect, right?
"We had to destroy the world in order to save it."
-Some dude with a missile
# posted by Pope Horatio Tyrannosaurus Nixon Rex : 28/7/06 1:38 PM
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