More War and a Change of Mind

Two days ago, I wrote a post about the ensuing war in Gaza and our response to the rockets being launched at our southern cities. As some of my friends have noted (and some people who aren’t exactly my friends noted as well) – my stance was a touch on the dove-ish side.

Everyone agrees that the legitimacy of this war stems simply from the fact that  the other side (read Hamas) won’t be persuaded into negotiation without violence, and this makes attacking Hamas-related targets in Gaza an inevitable outcome.

On Saturday, I wrote that as a civilized nation, we must be willing to sacrifice more of our soldiers so that our counter-attacks would be against terrorists and not against innocent civilians, and after beating myself over the head about this for two days, I realize that even if bombing from the skies creates collateral damage, attacking from the ground creates it just as well. This I say while acknowledging the hypocritical “sacrifice of sons” on my part. Since the IDF (and I’m an IDF reserve soldier!) is made mostly of young Israeli teenagers with M-16s, I really think that we must aspire to fight this war with as little Israeli casualties as possible, while also maintaining as little civilian casualties as possible. I was hypocritical in that remark because I admit that even though I’m aware that a Palestinian life is objectively no less important than an Israeli, I can’t help but sympathizing with Israeli casualties more. This I do intuitively and immediately feel self-disgust, but I can’t help it. I’m a human being and in-group selection plays on the mind like that.

I think that all life is equal, and all loss of life is equally tragic, but I *feel* a greater loss when an IDF soldier dies.

So I take that back. Since this is such a contentious subject, it’s only reasonable to change my mind upon further reflection.

I wish there was a way we can bomb terrorist targets without hurting civilians, but there isn’t. If we sent troops there, we’d be responsible for their death, and we shouldn’t be. Hamas won’t talk, and if it won’t talk, sending troops to “arrest the ringleaders” is merely throwing young soldiers’ lives away in the guise of being more civilized. But this isn’t about being civilized, this is about dealing with the irreconcilable violence of monstrous armed thugs, and they are the ones who force us into making ourselves monsters. That is their greatest achievement. We are turned into murderers, and we can’t help it.

The Hamas forces us to murder. They are murdering scum, but by caring nothing for their civilian population, they turn us into murderers too.

The surest way of not having collateral damage is not attacking at all, and I would like to emphasize very well that I do not consider myself merciful to members of a terrorist organization who refuses to negotiate and chooses violence instead. Arresting them is the right thing to do, but it is, I realize, impossible. It’s impossible to be nice to these people, it’s impossible to negotiate with them. Fatah has been somewhat amenable to diplomacy, but Hamas isn’t. Hamas wants us all dead. Period. They won’t stop until every Jewish Israeli is dead, and they don’t mind killing their own kind for this purpose. They aim to liberate Palestine from Jews.

So as a clarification of Saturday’s post: I still think bombing the shit out of them won’t change anything in the long run. I still think that it’s an enormous tragedy that hundreds had to be killed and almost a thousand wounded. Surely, many of them civilians who had nothing to do with the Kassam barrages.

I think, though, that we are in a state of war with a dangerous organization who wants us all dead, and if we don’t fight back, they’ll kill us. It’s really that simple. The thing is, fighting them back won’t stop them from working, either, so the real solution is not this war either.

The conclusion I reach is that neither war nor diplomacy will work. It takes a special combination of the two, and I have to say, after getting a bit more in touch with the details, the IDF really attempts to attack only legitimate Hamas targets. It’s a terrible onus of responsibility for Hamas to position its “military bases” (read terrorist camps) within civilian populations. Of course we still have something to do with the civilian casualties, but Hamas purposefully shoves itself within civilian populations, apparently because it’s completely impervious to human life.

I regret my former conclusions, I regret that I was too quick to condemn IDF’s actions because I was so disgusted with the collateral damage. I still think this war is a wasteful blunder of human life, resources and time, but it’s the best thing we have against those thugs. Those thugs represent nothing but thieving, corrupt bandits, and they don’t even care about the Palestinian cause.

Israel would be wiser by making the war against them everyone’s business, including the Palestinians, because eventually, peace with us is a lot better for them, because there is no way in hell that they’re ever going to remove all Jews from Israel. It’s as much our home as it is theirs now, and we will simply have to respect each other’s right to live here. We have to stop looking at each other as different.

We’re not. We’re just acting like murderous bullies because of idiot tyrants of the past and their consequent wars.

Let us fight this war and try, to the best of our abilities, to harm no civilians and to arrest as many murderous criminal leaders as we can without killing them. Let us try to avoid, as much as possible, allowing the justified hate we have for these criminal murderers to turn us into what they are: brutal thugs, ogres walking the earth with guns and righteous bullshit ideology that claims to wipe blood of people’s hands when it doesn’t.

I support our troops, I support this war when it’s against the criminal organization that is Hamas. I am against this war only because people who are utterly innocent die because of it, but Hamas leaves us no choice. I am against this war, but I am for it. I am for it because if we weren’t for it, we would be butchered, as well.

If only the people of Gaza realized how damaging their so-called representatives are.

The slogan of Hamas is “God is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Qur’an its constitution: Jihad is its path and death for the sake of God is the loftiest of its wishes.”

(from wikipedia)

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13 Responses to “More War and a Change of Mind”

  1. Dana Says:

    I condemn anything that wrecks my weekend. Autumn is the new black!

  2. Jinjirrie Says:

    You might want to reconsider your position – it’s not Hamas who won’t talk, it’s the opportunistic Israeli government.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-the-true-story-behind-this-war-is-not-the-one-israel-is-telling-1214981.html

    and today

    http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSLU724989

  3. Mary A. Kaufman Says:

    I found this website after reading a comment you left on another website. I found the first site to be almost of “novelette” length and, though I’ve added this site to my list of “Favorites”, I must admit I have not yet fully read and digested your writing.
    On my way now to 90, I remember 1948. I also remember it wise not to express any concern I had at the time over the right of any people to reclaim land they had not occupied for hundreds of years. I’ve often wished somebody would explain that to me. The early Israelites won their land by killing off the original inhabitants and to my knowledge, never considered relinquishing any part of their gain. Way back then, it was a case of “finders-keepers…losers-weepers”. What made 1948 any different? I do not mean to offend and trust I haven’t.

  4. Freidenker Says:

    let me get this straight. israel refuses truce until rockets cease and this is wrong… why?

  5. Jeff Says:

    It seems to me that the morality of this situation belongs in the larger moral class of dilemnas faced by many nation when they are in conflict with non-nation states. And this, in turn, belongs to an even wider class of moral dilemnas faced by individuals and organizations alike.

    One way of expressing this dilemna is this:
    When others are taking advantage of our morality, how much of our morality do we sacrifice in order to protect ourselves.
    On an individual level, a person willing to mug me is taking advantage of my morality in that he is willing to harm me in order to take my money. This person confronts me with a decision: am I willing to harm him in order to keep my money?
    On a national level, a member of Al-Qada who tortures an American soldier or contracter confronts the US with a similiar question: Are we willing to torture them in return if we think it’ll yeild some tactical value?

    On one extreme, there exists the fear that if we don’t succumb to some of their measures we’ll lose everything. On the other extreme, there exists the fear that at some point we lose the moral high ground, we lose what made us morally superior, we no longer have the right to claim it’s defense at all.

    I am open to correction and admit that there are significant facts I’m quite ignorant of. But given this framework, here’s my analysis of the situation:

    As a non-governmental organization, Hamas “enjoys” some advatages that Israel doesn’t enjoy. For example, Israel can’t mount a guerilla campaign, it has a civilian population which it is responsible for, Israel is held to the expecations we have for nations such as the Geneva convention, etc.

    The more careful Israel is, the less effective it will be. There is a trade off in direct, short-term effectiveness. But the more effective and indiscriminate Israel is, the more it contributes to the incubation of terrorism in the future…

  6. Benny Says:

    I believe your opinion is the most balanced of all and surely preferable to that of the leftists or rightists.
    Congratulations for the site!

  7. Freedom Of Speech? Yes. Freedom Of Idiocy? No! | Obsessed With Reality Says:

    […] I have a lot to say about whether or not we should or should not continue this war, I can briefly state that […]

  8. Jeff Says:

    I read this morning that a practice is going on now that I’ve heard about for some time.
    The practice is the boarding up and destruction of homes of known enemies. I would have little in the way of a problem with this if the mentality was a “we’re freezing your assets” kind of deal. But it doesn’t seem like the interest is in who the property owner is. As long as the person lives there– based on my understanding– it’s fair game.
    A mentality I once heard expressed was that if connection to these groups leads to whole families losing their homes, it’ll be a disincentive to get connected to Hammas. If somebody is residing in their parents, home, for example, it’s almost like using negative peer pressure at a tremendous level. It’s like when the teacher kept the whole class in for recess when only 1 person messed up, knowing that kid would be hated later.
    My questions:
    Do you have any knowledge of this practice?
    Does it seem like an effective practice?
    Does it seem like a moral practice?

  9. Fatwah Envy - קנאת פטוואה - English/Hebrew | Obsessed With Reality Says:

    […] אם אני בעד או נגד המלחמה (לעיתים קשה לי להחליט בעצמי) – אני באופן חד וחלק נגד הפקרת נפגעים אזרחיים ו/או מניעת […]

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