Tuesday, July 18, 2006

So, this whole thing with Israel and Lebanon...what?

Okay, so, for real, Israel's all ganked that Hezbollah lifted a couple of their soldiers. I get that. It makes sense that they'd want to get them back safe and sound. Hell, it doesn't just make sense; it's actually a good and reasonable thing that they want their guys back. Nobody is saying it's not a good thing. Shit, even Hezbollah thinks it's a good and reasonable thing, otherwise they wouldn't have grabbed 'em up in the first place.

But all the good and reasonable ends right there, doesn't it?

I don't quite get Israel's reasoning here. First they go batshit on Hamas by blowing up the power station that feeds most of the Palestinian state (and, therefore, most of the Palestinian population), then go SUPER batshit on Hezbollah by shelling apartment buildings and suburban neighborhoods, whacking out civilians pretty much indiscriminately in an attempt to nail a couple of high-profile militants.

Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but I am HUGELY of the opinion that civilians should never have a first-person view of a bomb tumbling off the wing of a fighter jet. Especially not off the wing of a fighter jet that MY FUCKING COUNTRY helped to pay for (seriously, we're tapping Israel something like US$5 billion a year in aid, and fighter jets are pretty fucking spendy). And any country that takes that step and calls it reasonable has lost their collective fucking mind.

Okay, yeah, Hezbollah can easily be called bad guys. I'm down with that. Their whole thrust is about hatred and intolerance, but keep in mind that the organization didn't exist until Israel occupied Southern Lebanon back in the 80's. And, yeah, Israel had some pretty compelling reasons to be there, but since when do you invade a country and not expect the people you've invaded (and their allies) to do everything possible to kick your asses out of there?

Now, if we're talking about two somewhat equal groups duking it out, okay, well, that's some potential for big, bad shit. But when you've got one tiny, angry pit bull of a country blowing farts at a whole fuckload of people who've got a bunch of cultural and religious reasons to not particularly like 'em to begin with, well, there's really only one way that should play out, right? Sure, the pit bull bites the crap out of everybody and then someone puts a bullet in the back of its head, dumps the corpse in the river and everyone calls it a day. But when your tiny little angry country is getting backed up by the biggest, meanest, toughest country on the planet the equation flips itself on its head, doesn't it?

So everybody hates Israel but none of the nations are really ready to move on them for one of two reasons: 1. They're too small and weak to really do any lasting damage and have to settle for terrorist actions (Palestine/Hamas, Lebanon/Hezbollah) or 2. They could probably win it, with a lot of damage, if they were willing to have the US come thundering down on them (Syria, Iran), which they aren't quite willing to do.

Or, actually, haven't been willing to do in the past. But in the past the US wasn't stuck neck-deep in Iraq and Afghanistan, right? No, in the recent past the US armed forces would have been able to move in with a fair amount of freedom, blast the living shit outta Tehran or Damascus and still have some munitions left for mopping up wherever. That threat is, I think, a lot of what's kept things relatively even in the Middle East for the last few decades.

Don't get me wrong; there's been a TON of wrong shit going on out in the desert, but it's been a lot of primarily internal stuff that the US couldn't get overtly involved in (covertly, sure, but for that track yourself back to Kermit Roosevelt and the overthrow of the Ayatollah in 1953 and then all the oil deals and close ties to Saudi Arabia since then) without taking shit from the rest of the world. And, yeah, we bust into Iraq and the whole fucking world calls us assholes, and suddenly, it seems, the whole goddamned pot is boiling over.

Right, I know, I'm swirling around the bowl here, but listen to me. Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, all those guys pretty much hate our guts, but do you really dig why? Think about it; all those joints were occupied or colonized by white Europeans going back to the 1800's and it wasn't until after WWII that most of them busted free and got to be their own countries again. So, yeah, there's a basic distrust of white Europeans throughout the middle east FOR A VERY, VERY GOOD REASON. They, the white Europeans, couldn't be trusted to keep their hands off other peoples' countries. And America, really, is just the cancer growth that white Europeans are capable of when there's no borders to hold them in check. So, okay, the middle east manages to reclaim themselves to a greater or lesser degree and there's suddenly this faint hope that maybe all the fucking paleskins are gonna go home and STAY there for once, and then the three most powerful countries on the planet (the US, the UK and the USSR, for those of you who might be a bit foggy on where the hell Israel came from) swoop in and say "By the way, we're taking this hunk of land that a bunch of other people are living on and that contains some shit that's sacred to 'em and giving it to the Jews 'cause, really, they just had a totally rough time of it and we feel bad."

"Wait, hey, how come here? 'Cause, y'know, we've been living here for, y'know, a while now, man."

"Yeah, well they've got this sacred scripture that you guys don't subscribe to that says that their god told 'em it was theirs."

"Hey, wait, we're not totally cool with that."

"Really? 'Cause, y'know, we've got a ton of guns and just nuked the civilian populace of another tiny little county, so, really...you sure you're not cool with that?"

Right. And so a country is born. Or reborn, depending on how you like to look at these things. And never mind that it was as contentious a land grab as you could ask for, and that it displaced one group of people who seemed to be getting along with everybody else pretty well with a group of utter xenophobes who kept talking about how wrong everybody else was, and never mind that the fighting started about ten seconds after the first kibbutz started planting their first row of tomatoes. And, moving forward, never mind that the Israelis proved themselves to be some of the most homicidal motherfuckers on the planet, and never mind that they seemed to have no problem moving into other people's land and setting up shop there, and never mind that, as a country, they seem to have taken the idea of 'the ends justify the means' to a level that even Genghis Khan might've felt a tad uncomfortable with. And, hell, never mind that Jewish commentators have taken to comparing the Israeli government to the Nazi party. And never mind that even fucking NPR & FOXNews are starting to side with the Lebanese and Palestinians. Never mind, really, that the Israelis are as wrong as they can be, that they're rapidly becoming more terrifying than any of the terrorists they claim to be fighting against.

Ah, never mind. As the father said, when I asked his opinion, "A pox on both their houses."

Dad is so Old Testament.

Sorry, that's a long ramble for no real payoff. I guess all I'm trying to point out is that Israel was created with, I truly believe, the best of intentions. A nation for people that had been displaced for milennia, somewhere that a culture with a long and rich history could be secure and thrive. Great idea, nice concept. Real heart-touching. But when the only way you can be 'secure' is by blowing up everybody who looks at you cross-eyed, isn't it maybe time to call the experiment failed and try something else? Not that I have the slightest idea what, but, shit, there's gotta be something. 'Cause I'm tired of having my government playing legos in the sand over there. I want my people to come home, and I want us to treat everyone else over there like adults, and to let them handle their own destiny.

C'mon, is that truly too much to ask?

Ah, probably.

I can't believe I missed The Daily Show to type this. I'm very angry and need to lift weights now.



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