DQ here. I’ve been silent about the recent events in the Middle East because Bookworm knows the topic far better than I do and is doing a fine job of blogging about it. I do want to make a couple of suggestions, though.
I keep hearing calls warning Israel not to make a “disproportionate” response. I urge everyone who hears anyone say this to ask the speaker what they would consider to be a “proportionate” response. If they suggest that Israel consult the UN, point them to the UN reaction to the current actions, which opposes Israeli targeting of civilians without opposing Arab targeting of civilians. More importantly, if they suggest negotiations, ask who they would negotiate with. Israel is surrounded by entities who have sworn to drive them into the sea. Unless these entities are ready to change their tune and support Israel’s right to exist (an extremely unlikely event) there is little to talk to them about. There are, of course, such things as moderate Arabs, but how much pull do they have with Hamas or Hezbollah? If they suggest Israel do just enough to continue the current long-running standoff, ask how that standoff benefits Israel.
Most importantly, whenever you hear anyone oppose what Israel is doing, ask them what ultimate outcome they would like to see in the Middle East and how they think Israel can go about achieving that end. Honestly, I have my doubts that Israel’s current goal, disabling Hezbollah, is even possible. But I have no better solution to offerand would trust the judgment of the Israelis themselves before I would attempt to impose my own. I do know that I agree with Israel’s goal (a peaceful Middle East, with a place for Jews and Arabs) and do not agree with Hezbollah’s goal (the distruction of Israel). Everything else is just a discussion of tactics.
None of this will be new to regular Bookworm readers, but I think it bears repeating. In a prior post, Bookworm takes Israel to task for losing the media wars. I think that is partly because Israel and its supporters often fail to challenge the most basic assumptions of their opponents.
Finally, I can’t resist one comparison. I heard a Syrian official last night going on, basically without challenge, about Israeli killing of innocent civilians in Lebanon and ignoring that it has been an Arab tactic to intentionally target innocent civilians for many years. I was reminded of an earlier comment by the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations (sorry I can’t find the exact quote) that said, in effect, “Every time Israel kills an Arab child it is a mistake and a tragedy. Every time the Arabs kill an Israel child it is a victory and cause for celebration.” It does not take Bookworm’s knowledge or wisdom to see which side of this battle all Americans should be on and it is not those who target children and raise their own children to be human bombs.