The Pieta

You all know the Pieta, Michelangelo’s exquisite rendition of a devastated Mary holding Jesus’ body in her arms:

With that in mind, tell me what you think of this picture out of Gaza from the always even-handed New York Times?  (And for those of you who don’t know me, I’m being sarcastic about the Times.)

The rest of the pictures in that little photo essay are equally sympathetic to the Palestinians — that would be the same Palestinians who have rained thousands of bombs on Israel, regularly targeted (often successfully) Israel’s civilian population, and have vowed to slaughter every Jew in the land.  This picture, however, struck me with particular force because of the way it echoes the Pieta.  I will remind you that, if the Palestinians stopped fighting, the war would end; if the Israelis stop fighting, each and every one of them would be dead (and Jews know what that looks like).

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  1. Mike Devx says

    Professional journalism is at it again.

    I won’t put the links; these come via Drudge…

    Black smoke billowed over Gaza City, where the dead and wounded lay scattered on the ground after Israel bombed more than 40 security compounds, including two where Hamas was hosting graduation ceremonies for new recruits.

    At the main Gaza City graduation ceremony, uniformed bodies lay in a pile and the wounded writhed in pain. Some rescue workers beat their heads and shouted “God is greatest.” One badly wounded man quietly recited verses from the Koran.

    I’ll give them credit for this one:
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the Israeli air campaign was “criminal” and urged world powers to intervene.

    Credit is due when the word “criminal” by Abbas appears in quotes, to highlight its, er, dubiousness. Hamas rockets aren’t criminal… why? Because they can’t aim? Effectiveness, then, is the criteria for criminality.

    Aid groups said they feared the Israeli operation could fuel a humanitarian crisis in the impoverished coastal enclave, home to 1.5 million Palestinians, half of them dependent on food aid. Gaza hospitals said they were running out of medical supplies because of the Israeli-led blockade, increasing the chances that the death toll will rise.

    I know this isn’t war… the article also had this correct in referring to it as “60 years of conflict”… but what do they expect? These are hostilities, this is deadly. It is the expected sovereign response of a nation to an assault. Food aid and medical aid suffer during a snowstorm or a hurricane, let alone a military assault. Perhaps Hamas should not have fired off their rockets? How bout mentioning that, my oh so sensitive humanitarian idiots, I mean, workers.

    I can’t read any more of the articles. And I can’t comment any more. I get too disgusted these days.

  2. Charles Martel says

    Israel bombed more than 40 security compounds. . .

    Let me translate: bomb factories and terrorist training schools.

    I will admit the news that fresh “recruits” got kinda messed up by the people they were later hoping to kill almost nearly just about all but got close to choking me up.

  3. Danny Lemieux says

    Palestinian Death Cultists try to kill Israelis.
    Israelis defend themselves.
    Palestinian Death Cultists die.
    Palestinian Death Cultists whine.
    [yawn!]

  4. cottus says

    Damn – Sorry Bookie, I’m going to comment, as I am totally fed up with this crap.

    First of all, this is all a cheap pre – election gambit for the Ms. Zippy Livni, or whatever her name is. CORRECT ME IF I’M WRONG – this is not my strong subject, but does any Israeli think she will really kick @ss if she is elected?

    Second, if you tolerate this crap you will get this crap. When the US won the Vietnam war then immediately lost it, winning is no longer in style. You absolutely have to defeat evil and drive a stake through its heart, ala` the Drittes Reich. More than a few eyes are on Russia in this regard.

    Third, these clowns are no more than gangsters. If they really were intent on driving Israel into the sea, they would be all nicy – nicy until they had built up a prosperous economy that could afford state – of – the – art munitions….with a giant consumer sector, which was the Commo’s big error and which is an error that the Chinese are not making. Gangsters like Stalin, Hitler, Mao and the leaders of the Crips and the Bloods need constant ferment to stay in power. Keeps the wanna – be successors busy and happy.

    All around me is weakness and stupidity. The world’s greatest librarian met her No. 1 customer’s “Merry Christmas” with a “Happy Holidays” instead of “Happy Hanukkah”. And that has put me in a foul mood. Happy New Year :-(

  5. Ymarsakar says

    It is no longer just about the blame game of who gets to put the blame for civilian deaths on their target of preference. Now it is about who is going to win. In fact, that has always been the most important criteria.

    Winning international and political support is useful for victory, but it is not, by itself, enough. If it was, Hamas would already have won, for both the Western World and Israel’s own government have plenty of Leftists and socialists who think talking and negotiations will always be the panacea to the numerous wars that result from the over-anxious actions of military commanders.

    They believe that it is only the failure in skill to properly communicate and articulate your positions and feelings that has caused military actions to be necessary in such places as the Levantine. Military actions are by definition a mistake, one that results from crass and poor statesmanship, of which the solution is clearly obvious to those with an overabundance of said statesmanship skills.

    And it just so happens that those with the “skill” know that peace can only ever come if you break the cycle of violence and get both sides talking. After all, political factions in the West can disagree and hate each other (like the Left hates us) and we aren’t getting into shooting wars. Obviously with the right combination of correct social controls and subtleness, wars can be avoided. And it is the proof of Israel’s lack of subtleness which incites so many conflicts.

  6. Ymarsakar says

    Here’s an example of just what I speak of:

    Baklava: are you suggesting the Israel doesn’t threaten its neighbors?

    Bogey Man:The facts show clearly that Israel not only threatens its neighbors, but acts on those threats both covertly and overtly.

    Israel has every right to pursue its national security interests, and any attempt to ignore, deny or negate that principle is highly unlikely to succeed.

    Yet, since we can agree that “threatening neighbors” doesn’t bar Israel from self-defense, why should it bar Iran?

    Link

    My response to the comment can be found in the link.

    Suffice it to say here that there will always be people second guessing Israel, if only because it is easier to do so from a position of safety and after the decision has already been made by others.

    Jacksonians like me may also be described as armchairing the conflict by second guessing Israel’s actions, regardless of what political party or individual (Olmert) made the decisions in the first place. And yet the stark difference here is that I already know what Israel has to do next time and I already know the consequences if she refuses to do so. Such points of analysis have been made by me long before this single incident. Much of my views crystallized during Israel’s forced evacuation of their settlements and people from the West Bank.

    I said and believed at the time that a tactical or even strategic retreat away from Palestinian “land”, in order to then create the conditions for a mouse trap and strategic advantage that will win the war, is justified. It is a good strategy for victory. But you must make use of it. You must make use of the propaganda effect and the drain on enemy logistics. This can be compared with historic slash and burn campaigns waged by the Russians against both Napoleon and Hitler. Retreating from enemy advances and allowing them to occupy your territory can be a tactical disadvantage, but if the strategic advantages are worthwhile, then tactics must be subordinate to strategy. That is the only way wars are won.

    However, the Israeli strategy is still subordinated to the Israeli tactics of precision strikes and “counter-attacks”. Now the lack of a sufficient focus on Israel no longer “occupying Palestinian land” may be invisible due to the international media’s thirst for Jewish blood, but that is no excuse. If you wish to defend Israel or are a citizen of Israel, then your duty demands that you win and winning has some specific requirements.

    It doesn’t matter whether you like it or not. Many Americans didn’t like the idea of “arming militias” or supporting the people who had just recently been fighting Americans and helping Al Qaeda kill us, but in war you need what is necessary to win, or you can just give up and lose. Giving up is a nice option if the only consequences are decades into the future, but Israel doesn’t have that luxury. If she loses ,the consequences will be very immediate and clear. Israeli politicians and military officers and citizens do not have the luxury of this “passive” strategy of simply counter-attacking Hamas.

    I favor a much bolder strike at Hamas and Hizbollah logistics, which, in effect, will destroy the ability of Hamas to recruit, sustain, and provide for their people: all of their people. One of the ways Hamas produces local grassroots support is soup kitchens, medical care (paid for by terrorist funds and black markets), and various other “socialist” type organs.

    Hizbollah’s logistics are closely linked to Iran, but their local on site support is in Lebanon. Some of it may or may not be in Syria, I can’t remember any reports detailing such things and the ideological incompatibility would make it hard work to sustain, but we have seen ideological alliances between factions like Sadr and Sunni Al Qaeda or Iranian IED material provided to Sunni and Shia insurgents. This means that out of the two, Hizbollah or Hamas, Hamas’ logistics are easier to target and eliminate. The withdrawal of Israel from the lands Hamas claims to be their own provides sufficient propaganda and political masking that complete destruction of Hamas infrastructure (water, electricity, food, fuel, medical supplies, munitions, and personnel transports) could be conducted and maintained. The loss of Ariel Sharon, however, destroyed any grand strategy in effect with the pull out of Israeli settlements, assuming there was any grand strategy at all. In reality, this reality, Israel left the settlements, which allowed Hamas to position their rockets very very close to Israeli towns (which is exactly why Israel occupied Palestinian territory to begin with) and for what gain? So that Israel can strike back at “bomb factories” when they started producing rockets and launching them at Israel?

    This is a passive strategic posture. It is not incompatible with my own philosophy, mind you, it is also feckless and ineffective. Which, in war, mind you, is totally unacceptable. This is not a popularity contest. Nor is this a game where you score points depending on how many enemies you kill vis a vis how many of your own people you lose. The destruction of Hamas infrastructure and leaders and bases is completely worthless without the requisite strategic vision that can take advantage of tactical missions and strikes.

  7. Indigo Red says

    The similarity is striking. Given Paliwood’s penchant for stagecraft, I am not convinced the ‘body’ is dead.

    This operation, “Cast Lead”, has been six months in the making. The IDF was instructed in June to begin preparations and train to assault Gaza. A history is here.

  8. Tiresias says

    I suspect you’re giving the NYT credit for more literacy than most of them there posess these days. I think if you said “Pieta” most of them would think it was some sort of pizza with clam sauce or something. And the Palestinians are just dopes, as usual.

    It’s hard to credit it as some kind of propaganda master-stroke, because whom does it impress?

    I’ll say this one’s a coincidence. It’s possible you’re out-thinking yourself, and not giving ordinary coincidence and stupidity enough credit. We all see nefariousness where often enough simple stupidity is the explanation. Stupidity doesn’t get nearly enough credit in human affairs.

  9. SADIE says

    Indigo Red:

    Jerusalem Post May 2008:

    France 2 stringer Talal Abu Rahma, shows al-Dura hiding, and then cuts to footage of him lying, apparently dead, at the junction. It does not show the child killed.

    The footage, and Enderlin’s broadcast assertion of Israeli responsibility for the killing of al-Dura, turned the 12-year-old’s death into a cause célèbre in the Muslim world.

  10. eeyore says

    “…Buriej refugee camp…”

    Why would your own country keep you in a refugee camp? Shouldn’t they incorporate you into society in general?

    Of course, I know these camps are only to create sympathy for themselves and anger towards Israel.

  11. Mike Devx says

    Ymar,
    >> This can be compared with historic slash and burn campaigns waged by the Russians against both Napoleon and Hitler. Retreating from enemy advances and allowing them to occupy your territory can be a tactical disadvantage, but if the strategic advantages are worthwhile, then tactics must be subordinate to strategy. That is the only way wars are won. >>

    That’s so well said and true. One problem for Israel though, is that they are small, while Russia was vast (and the American seaboard colonies when George Washington was moving his ragtag army around and about). Does size matter?

    The ability and intent to project force matters, too, I think. Tippi Livni was closely involved in the Lebanon debacle, in a manner that makes her seem as serious as her “Pippi Longstocking-ish” name. She was outrageously ineffective.

    I think your point about Ariel Sharon is a good one. His maneuver, on the surface, looked all wishy-washy and weak and made the hearts of the U.N. and liberals every swell with… swell with, well, something… but in truth, he would have backed it up strategically with the follow-on tough decisions and tough actions that were required.

    What’s happening now is not that tough action. Israel has been outstandingly passive, and all they’ve received for it is more condemnation and then the latest ratcheting up of aggression by Israel’s enemies. Israel under Olmert and Livni have been passive victims and non-responsive; their enemies dictate all conditions. Finally, backs against the wall – or perhaps, pushed to the edge of the cliff, toes clinging to the edge – they finally have had no choice but to do SOMETHING. And as long as Olmert and Livni are in charge, that “something” will be wildly ineffective, probably at times tactically ok, but strategically destructive to Israel’s interests. It’s Tweedledum and Tweedledee, you see, with Olmert and Livni.

    Add a few more of Olmert’s and Livni’s political allies into the mix and you have the Keystone Kops in all their glory, available 24-7 on the cable news station of your choice.

  12. Indigo Red says

    Sadie,

    Thank you for remembering the a-Dura case. Watching the child’s “death” caused me a good deal of anguish. I shed muckets of tears for that child. I followed the case most closely as I wanted the animals who “killed” him brought to justice.

    When I learned, as everyone else did, that the whole scene was a fraud, that the firing was not Israeli, that Mohammad al-Dura was not harmed in any way… I will never forgive the Palestinians for that. And I can never believe anything they have to say. Any possible support they may have had from me was lost.

  13. Ymarsakar says

    One problem for Israel though, is that they are small, while Russia was vast

    That didn’t stop Israel from pulling out from their settlements and forcibly relocating their own people, who didn’t want to go, Mike.

    Regardless of what people think about Israel’s “size”, this does not change the facts that we have. And the facts that we have are that the Israelis themselves retreated on their own initiative. And the wall is not a strategy for victory. It is, at best, a holding tactic, as we can easily see from Israel’s need to attack.

    Does size matter?

    Size matters only in the aspect of logistics. It takes longer logistical lines and more logistical support to sustain military operations across vast distances. This means that the logistical lines become more important and it also means that once those lines are cut, your soldiers will start starving. Something I recommend Hamas needs to experience if Israel truly wants to blunt their offensive threat potential.

    Tippi Livni was closely involved in the Lebanon debacle, in a manner that makes her seem as serious as her “Pippi Longstocking-ish” name. She was outrageously ineffective.

    Americans have demonstrated how it should be done in cities like Fallujah, Ramadi, Tikrit, Mosul, and various other places in Iraq. The fact that the Israelis won’t or can’t emulate us or ask for our help is their problem. The solution is there, and Generals like Petraeus have shown that it will work. In fact, it will work in less than 10 years while the Israelis have been fighting the same war for decades.

    Israel never made any real attempt to get local support in Lebanon. Thus instead of creating the conditions for the local Lebanese to overthrow Hizbollah, Israel instead consolidated Hizbollah’s power in Lebanon. This is actually worse than America’s “catch and release” policy in Iraq during the year 2005.

    Israel has been outstandingly passive

    My guesstimate is that the security wall’s ability to stop suicide bombers let the Israeli socialist elites pretend that they didn’t need to worry about Hamas any more. Of course, socialist governments are the ones that often set up the conditions for “military adventures” in the first place and thus the invasion of Lebanon, after the security wall was up, was no surprise. As with all military operations, it can be done well or it can be done badly. Even if the political objectives were crap or unwise, the military component can still be done effectively rather than ineffectively.

  14. Ymarsakar says

    I will never forgive the Palestinians for that. And I can never believe anything they have to say. Any possible support they may have had from me was lost.

    That’s a good thing in the end that you saw through the veil of illusion. Unfortunately, there’s a sucker born every 10 minutes.

  15. Ymarsakar says

    I’ve gotten to the point where my internal filters prevent me from feeling any emotion when seeing pictures and reading headlines about “200″ killed.

    It is never full proof, for I am still a human being and vulnerable to human emotion, but it is still pretty efficient compared to, say, what I had in 2003.

    Human brains are wired to believe, and thus to feel, that what they see is true. You can recognize, intellectually, that what you are seeing is a photo and that a photo can be doctored, but that won’t stop your emotions. It won’t stop your emotions unless you have internal mental filters that will process what you see of photographs into the same part of your brain which processes what salespeople tell you in order for you to buy their products. Unless you put that signal through the compartmentalization and filter that all Americans have against advertisement and hype and “too good to be true” scams, then your emotions will be triggered first and not your brain.

    You’ll know when this is working if you feel sadness at a photo of “Palestinian” deaths and a few years later, you don’t feel anything after seeing the same photo. This is called making yourself less sensitive and the reason why the Left wants you to become “more sensitive” is because more sensitive people are easier to emotionally manipulate with guilt and propaganda techniques.

    You don’t want to become “more sensitive”. You want to become more accurate in how you process your senses and that is not the same as “more sensitive”.

  16. Mike Devx says

    >> You don’t want to become “more sensitive”. You want to become more accurate in how you process your senses and that is not the same as “more sensitive”. >>

    I’d add the old saying: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

    Palestinian (and French) dishonesty and deception can only harm them in the long run. They know this, which is why they were so desperate to keep the Al Dura tapes from becoming public. As with all media disinformation and dishonesty, the truth will eventually spread, and become more widely known.

    Already, the American media are taking it on the chin. Every year the percentage of Americans who acknowledge the incredible bias… that percentage just keeps on rising.

    Hope is there in the long term! Patience… patience… trust the American people to eventually awaken.

Trackbacks

  1. The Pieta…

    You all know the Pieta, Michelangelo’s exquisite rendition of a devastated Mary holding Jesus’ body in her arms: With that in mind, tell me what you think of this picture out of Gaza from the always even-handed New York Times?……

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