Thursday, July 27, 2006

Summer Crazy

There appears to be an inverse proportion to the amount of blogging going on and the weather. Yesterday, myself included, almost (with some notable exceptions) nobody posted. Is it that everyone’s happy? Perhaps the heat slows the brain too much? Maybe nothing interesting happens in the summer. Certainly the papers have a reputation for trawling in the gutter of humanity for something, anything to write about.

Yet that’s not true this summer. What’s going on the the Middle East hugely depresses me. Both in terms of the killing and in terms of the complete lack of understanding about what’s going on. A quick trawl through the papers today came up with both this and this. Truth is elusive and how to resolve it unfindable.

Myself, I have such mixed feelings. I have been, and remain a supporter of Israel. The world owed a debt and a new nation was the partial repayment. On balance I think as a nation it has been admirable. Standing up for its rights, yet giving its citizens the freedom to grow. I know from personal experience that some of the most intriguing developments in new technology have come out of Israeli labs.

Yet… and yet… I find it hard to support some of the actions of recent years. Though I can only imagine what living under the constant threat of suicide bombing and hostage taking is like, disproportionate action can not be the answer. If I’m honest I can understand the reaction to kick and stomp and utterly destroy a threat. To make sure it can not rise and strike again. IF there where an immediate threat to my family, I would not hold back from violence if that was the answer.

The problem is, this won’t solve that. It can’t. Terrorism is by its very nature irresolvable by physical threat. Certainly it can resolve an immediate threat. Killing a suicide bomber before he explodes himself stops the explosion. The problem is, in trying to kill the man behind the suicide bomber, the one who equipped and sent him on his way, you likely kill people around him.

He does not hide behind civilians because he does not see them as civilians. They are his family, his friends. Perhaps more significantly he sees them as part of the fight, as combatants. So he lives amongst them, and very likely they understand the threat, and actively want him to live amongst them. He is family.

So in trying to kill him, you kill those around him, and lo and behold the resentment builds and likely all you’ve done is created more mindsets willing to die in a glorious explosion.

You can only truly stop the threat by making him and his your family. That is so very much harder than dropping a bomb on him. It is also, in many ways, riskier, because he does not want to be your family, resents you. Kindness will be rebuffed and abused.

It is still the only true way to win the war.


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