Friday, 16 January 2009

A few thoughts

...following a argument last night:

"Humanitarian War" - The worst kind of hypocritical cant imaginable. An oxymoron of unbelievable proportions. Either the IDF had a reasonable idea of the consequences of the current operation and decided to proceed nonetheless, or it didn't and has thus proven itself incapable beyond belief.

"Deterrence" - An ugly word. In effect, it means, "this is what will happen to you if I catch you doing this again." It is a warning. A marker. A line drawn in the sand. To put it in personal context: I was beaten many times when I was at school, by housemasters, teachers and once, to my shame, by my principal. Each beating, for misdemeanours great and small, was intended as a "deterrence"; to dissuade me from following such a course of action again. In fact, it merely meant that I found new ways of being naughty. (The fact that I was caught again and beaten, repeatedly suggests that I was not particular inspiried in this path. Fair point.)
In connection to the current crisis: "Detrrence was a word the IDF used during Operation Grpaes of Wrath, the invasion of Lebanon, in 1982. The consequence was Hizbollah. The enemy merely becomes more resourceful, and I fear that will be the lasting consequence of Operation Cast Lead

Pacifist - On being challenged when I called myself a pacifist: Probably unfortunately, I am a bit of a realist and I recognise that wars will happen regardless of what people like me think. But I like to believe that there is almost always an alternative to gros violence, premeditated or not. I was told that since I claim no nationality, it is easy for me to take this position. That is correct. But then, perhaps it also means that I can (sometimes) avoid blind partisanship, which is what has dominated much debate over the last three weeks

Solidarity - Often an empty meaningless word, except if backed up with concrete actions. It costs nothing to go on a march and express one's solidarity with the people of Gaza, or to express solidarity with the armed resistance. Especially if one ain't the one doing the resisting. One can even safely avoid engaging with the complexities of the issue, merely by expressing one's 'solidarity'. Expressing solidarity does wonders for salving one's personal conscience, but not much else besides
(note - this writer is guilty of expressing solidarity, loudly and repeatedly, over the years. Often in completely contradictory fashion. He will probably do so again in the future.)

Sderot (and now Omer, Rafat and so on) - Won't live there, for love or for money. Even with bomb shelters, code red alarms and so on. Even basic, poorly constructed rockets (and these are just the ones from China). Why should I? Random rocket fire does not fall into my definition of 'acceptable risk'

"Disproportionate" - Weasel word, and one that suggests that there is a "proportionate" response. About six months ago, one of the crazies that pops up in Israeli politics from time to time suggested an automated rocket system in Sderot that fired a missile whenever one came in from over the fence in Gaza. In the light of the last few weeks, suddenly it no longer seems quite so "disproportionate" (note - I am NOT advocating this, or indeed any course of action. Please see "Answers", below.) The word "disproportionate" is used most often by those whom we expect to have answers to the foetid cesspit that is the relationship between Israel, Palestine and the military and political entities that serve their collective people so badly. I'm thinking of the UN, the EU and so on.

Hamas - Indubitably enemies of the Palestinian people. It is pretty easy to sacrifice others for one's cause, isn't it?

Journalists - There are more journalists per square metre in Israel than in any other place on earth. Tend to get on each others toes in search of the story, and get a bit distracted as a result. No other explanation for some of the bollocks I've read in the last few weeks, not even intelligent enough to be classed as partisan. Just deeply, deeply stupid

Peace - Not in my lifetime. I think there is an understandable, but misplaced enthusiasm for coercing resistant Palestinians and Israelis to love one another. Far better to accept that the hatreds run deep, and try to ensure that the next generation have less to fight over

Answers? - Don't be daft. I'm a blogger, and that's the beauty of blogging. Blogging - especially anonymous blogging - means never having to take responsibility for anything one says.