S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Reflecting on the War in Gaza

The war in Gaza has been a terrible event, terrible for the Palestinians and terrible for Israel. It has been terrible for Hamas and for Fatah, for Gaza and for the West Bank. It has been terrible for those trying to help, the NGO's, the UN and Egypt.

The loss of life has been astonishingly asymmetrical. And the loss of innocent lives has been just heartbreaking. As a result protest has broken out all over the world, including in Israel. The nation of Israel cannot justify its actions as defensive. And Hamas has been shortsighted and stubborn in maintaining its rocket attacks on Israel. And the United Nations has, once again shown that it is ineffectual at its most basic work.

The timing of the war was chosen because of the transition of power in the United States, and because the Bush administration lost credibility as honest brokers for peace a long time ago. "United States interests" have not been in what is best for the Middle East, but myopic and misguided. The timing took terrible advantate of President-elect Obama's lack of authority in the situation, knowing that he would respect the principle of one president for foreign policy at a time. Congress is out of touch with how widespread the dissatisfaction with what our friend Israel has done in Gaza. It is an unfortunate and unrealistic situation. The timing also has to do with Israel's political calendar. With the current Prime Minister having lost credibility and standing in his country and with elections coming in February, the war inevitably looks like it was fought for political gain at home for the Israelis.

The news about the war has been bad. And it has been badly reported, biased against the Palestinian people who lost their lives as innocents. Opinion makers ignore the astounding loss of life in the Gaza strip, they ignore the politics of the situation in the U.S., Israel and the West Bank. And they ignore the failures of the Bush administration regarding a long-awaited peace agreement in lands that have tried to settle it with violence for many decades.

Terrorists get to their views because of grievances, either real or perceived. Their terrorized adversaries will never be able to kill them fast enough or in enough numbers to attain peace. Because others look on, see what is happening, and take up the cause as soon as they are old enough. Terrorism is a tactic that is not confined to merely those who fit the stereotypical model.

Nations can find themselves getting into vengance-driven responses or aggression that puts them at risk of losing their souls. If nations had such things as "souls." Individuals have souls, nations have values and histories and constitutions and norms and good will to throw away. If they lose their way, as has the U.S., Israel, and Palestine (both parts). People in authority need to step back, take a breath and open their eyes to a larger reality.

View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.
(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)
My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.
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