Friday, July 18, 2014

An Eye For An Eye In The Country Of The Blind

"...I couldn't find anything about the Israel-Palestine conflict on your wall. Was it because you didn't get the news about what is happening there or you just didn't give a damn on what's happening in the far middle east?"

It’s mostly the latter.

Oh, well, okay, that’s not entirely true.

That question came from a reader who follows me on Facebook. This essay is an expanded version of my reply there.

It’s not that I really don’t care about what’s going on over there right now, because I do.

What happens in the Middle East, particularly when it comes to Israel’s precarious relationship to its neighbors affects the whole world in a thousand different ways big and small.

So, I do care.

But honestly, what can I say about the current mess that hasn’t already been said elsewhere? Oh hey, look at that, Israelis and Palestinians are busy slaughtering each other again. Show of hands, how many of you are surprised?  No, really, how many of you charmingly optimistic people honestly expected the Israelis and the Palestinians to sit down and live together in peace and harmony?


Yeah, me neither.

I look at the dead kids and the rockets and the rubble and the ground invasion into Gaza and I think, goddamn, I can’t tell if this is live or archive video – because it’s just oh so familiar. We’ve seen it over and over and over and over.

Of course I care about the innocents caught in the middle of this insanity. Sure. But the conflict itself?  The countries and the politics and the religion and the assholes who keep it going? That’s been going on my whole life, and long before, and frankly I’m long past caring about the extremists on either side. You know, it occurs to me that there has never been a week in my entire life that these goddamned people haven't been in the news killing each other. They've been killing each other for as long as I can remember - and a hell of a lot longer than that.

Everybody's God is buried in Israel.

Or they have some ancient wrecked temple there.

Or one of their various Holy Joes did a rain-dance and spoke some mumbo jumbo or consecrated a shiny rock or a magic shrub or had some divine world changing epiphany there.

Jehovah gave the land to the Jews. Jesus gave it to the Christians. Allah gave it to the Muslims. Or the British with the willing complicity of Europe and America, out of guilt for their inaction during the Holocaust, gave it to the Zionists and screwed the Palestinians. Take your pick. Everybody has a historical claim, no matter whose history you believe.

Both sides are right.

Both sides are wrong.

Both sides are guilty of atrocities, both sides are aggrieved, both sides are convinced that the other side are terrorists, and both sides are positive they’re justified in their bloody violence.

And Israelis kill Palestinian kids.

And Palestinians kill Israeli kids.

And there’s enough death on both sides to fill a battlefield with dead children and dead husbands and dead wives and dead mothers and dead fathers and dead bystanders of every stripe.

The Israelis started it.

The Palestinians started it.

Hell, nobody knows who really started it, it depends on where you draw the line and you can easily find evidence to support any viewpoint you like and plenty of folks do.

The Jews are the victims.

The Muslims are the victims.

It's all the Israelis’ fault.

It's all the Palestinians’ fault.

This land is the Jewish homeland.

This land is the Palestinian homeland.

The Israelis are dedicated to an exclusively Jewish nation.

Hamas, speaking for Palestinians, is equally dedicated to the destruction of that nation.

On and on, round and round, eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, life for a life and the fuck all I care at this point.

We Americans, we have this idiotic naive idea that we're somehow going wade into the middle of this shit-fight and broker some kind of lasting peace complete with flying bunnies and magic rainbows. We've got a road map and everything.  Every new administration sends the Secretary of State over there with some big plan and they make a bunch of speeches and the TV shows Jews in suits and Muslims in robes shaking hands like they’re touching raw sewage with their bare skin. They all face the cameras and smile with their mouths and not their eyes.

Then the US Secretary of State announces that things are looking good … about thirty seconds before it all goes straight to hell. 

Eventually they all sign something and maybe they even stop killing each other for five minutes.  Whichever political party is in power in America pats themselves on the back at their cleverness and says, see? This time it'll be different because those other guys, that other political party, yeah they suck and they hate Israel and they hate America. Not us, see? Boyah!

And while we're handing out the cigars and the peace medals, Hamas lobs a rocket into a Kibbutz daycare center or a bunch of radical Zionists dust off their Mogen Davids and fire up their bulldozers and they're all back to killing each other before the ink is dry on the peace accord.

These people and their murderous bullshit are the fundamental cause behind 90% of the problems in the Middle East. Damned near every violent conflict over there ultimately traces back to this idiotic war and America’s constant meddling in it.

Let’s be honest for a minute, shall we? Brutally honest. Strategically honest. We get nothing from Israel. The relationship is strictly one way.  We give them money and support and take it in the ass from every other country in the Middle East over our unending love for Israel. Hell, Israel attacked us and killed our people, and I served under a Master Chief who was right there that day as the aerial torpedoes smashed through USS Liberty’s hull, and we still give them unconditional support with no strings attached. And as a result we have been at odds with the rest of the Middle East, the Muslim world, for seventy years – the very Muslim nations that we, America, depend on every single day for the oil and the money to run our entire economy.  Now you tell me, which one is more important to us? Really. No, be brutally honest, which one is more important to America? The nation we get nothing from, or the nations we can’t run our economy without?

What’s that? Oh, yes, the birthplace of Jesus, right.  How foolish of me.  Maybe, if we pray enough, he’ll show up and multiply the barrels for us the way he did those loaves and fishes. 

Half of America wrings its hands in woe, wishing for peace and crying about all the little children.  We argue endlessly about Israel. Can’t you see? Israel has a right to their security! No no no, the Palestinians are second class citizens in their own country!  Fuck the Arabs, they’re just terrorist animals! No fuck the Jews, those murdering fascists they’re no better than the Nazis! On and on and round and round and an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth and it just never ends.

Meanwhile the other half of America thinks the slaughter is a dandy idea. They think it’s the beginning of the end and they just can't wait for it all to explode so that 90 Foot Tall Angry Bearded Robot Laser Jesus will return in fiery End Times to wrestle his evil devil twin from the Mirror Universe and to slaughter all the people they hate like it says in their holy book. Then they’ll get sucked up to heaven and live happily in their perfect ever-after – made all the sweeter by the thought of the rest of us broiling in Bible Hell for all of eternity right next to the Jews and the Muslims.

Look, I’ve been to Israel. It’s an okay place, in the brief moments between the slaughter.

But I’ve talked to the Jews and I’ve talked to the Arabs, and while I in no way claim to be an expert I come away with the impression that neither side is all that interested in peace. Oh they say they are, but it’s a kind of peace. The same kind of peace the extremists here want for America. The kind of peace where if the other side just either knuckles under or, more desirably, just fucks off and dies, then there’ll be peace they can live with.

These people, they don't want to live together, none of them, and they don't pretend anything else - it's all the rest of us who suffer that delusion.

These people, Israelis and Palestinians, won't have peace until one side or the other, or both, are all as dead as their prophets.

To be honest, I've long since lost patience with these idiots and I don't give much of a damn about either side.

If you insist on taking an eye for an eye, sooner or later everybody ends up blind.

As long as there is even one of each left, they'll keep right on killing each other.

So, maybe the sooner they get it done, the better for them and for all the rest of us. Harsh? Sure it’s harsh. And cold. And immoral. And unsympathetic. You bet. And I take no joy in it, but none of them care what I say, they just go right on killing each other regardless of the impact their hate and their war and their slaughter has on the rest of the world, so, really what sympathy do I owe them?  If they, the Israelis and the Palestinians both, are perfectly willing to keep throwing their children into the fire, why in the hell should I care? Why should I care more about their lives than they do themselves?

But, of course, I do care.

And I’d love to see this conflict end in real peace. Hell, if the Catholics and the Protestants of Northern Ireland figured out how to do it then I don’t see why these religious assholes can’t too.

But they won’t.

See, I’m a realist and I grew up with a recovered alcoholic and he always told me that you can’t make somebody else quit drinking.  And he was absolutely right. If they want to drink, then by God they’ll find a way. They’ll drink themselves into the grave and they’ll take just as many enablers along with them as are willing to climb aboard and they’ll feel not one shred of guilt just so long as they can get one more sip. 

No, the only way somebody quits drinking is if they want to.

Nobody, nobody, can make them.

And it’s no different here. I’d be perfectly willing to help if they really wanted to stop. But, these people are at war because they don’t want peace.  If they wanted peace, the Israelis would start treating the Palestinians with some respect as full citizens in their own homeland. And if they wanted peace, the Palestinians would stop shooting rockets into Israel and engaging in terrorist attacks.  And if we wanted peace, we Americans, then we’d stop enabling this conflict and start treating both sides equally instead as an extension of our own partisan civil war.

The simple brutal truth of the matter is that the reason there isn’t peace in Israel is because nobody wants peace in Israel.

Other than the poor sons of bitches caught in the middle.

The world will never have lasting peace so long as men reserve for war the finest human qualities. Peace, no less than war, requires idealism and self-sacrifice, and a righteous and dynamic faith.
    - John Foster Dulles, US Secretary of State under Eisenhower


  1. I'd love to see the conflict end in real peace as well and I do know that there are many who live in the Middle East who wish the same. The problem that the people who do wish genuine peace simply have no chance of getting into political power. The fanatics on all sides are simply too well practiced and too highly skilled in political manipulation to ever allow a substantial peace movement to exist for very long.

    I feel like the Prince in Romeo and Juliet. "A pox on both their houses."

    1. Thank you, Magister. This is pretty close to what I was going to say.

      I know a *lot* of Palestinians who genuinely do want peace. Problem is, Hamas keeps killing them when they try to make headway toward it, which means they don't get very far. I know even more Israelis who genuinely do want peace (not because I'm claiming that more Israelis want peace than Palestinians; it's just that I happen to know more Israelis, period). So long as the Israeli parliamentary system gives power to whichever party knuckles under to the wishes of the little two-seat Haredi parties, they can't get very far either. The only real difference I see between the two is that the Palestinian government murders its own citizens who strive for peace, whereas the Israeli government merely disenfranchises theirs. But either method secures control pretty effectively for those who are eager to keep shooting at each other. It's pretty much going to take a civil war in at least one country and probably both, before we'll see any changes.

    2. There's already been a civil war amongst the Palestinians - the Hamas versus Fatah (Arafat's old PLO basically) which saw Hamas take over Gaza.

      Also back in the 1970-80's the many Palestinian terrorists often split and fought each other too. The "Splitters!" scene in Monty Python is kinda alluding to this. Judean People's front, People's Front of Judea, "Where's the Popular Front - he's over there!"

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  3. My son is an American soldier. I'm happy as a clam to end the Yosemite Sam attitude and let the children in the corner fight it out on their own until they are ready to stop.

  4. It also "I will but you have to first", take the first step towards real peace, that is. I read a book sometime back, the subtitle was "victory for us is to see you suffer". Both sides work on that premise. How about both sides put only women/mothers in charge of everything - yeah, I know. But it sure wouldn't be any worse than it is now.

    1. There's another old quote that fits this situation: It's not enough that I win; you must lose!

    2. Interesting suggestion. You might want to read 'The Lie: a novel' by Hesh Kestin in relationship to that idea.

  5. Does anyone ever want peace, outside of the poor sons of bitches stuck in the middle. As a species we've got a really long history of inter-tribal conflicts that ended in a couple world wide wars and even that didn't make a lasting world wide peace, despite a whole lot of people who got stuck in the middle. I suspect that eliminating "the enemy" is as much a drive in us as the food or sex drives.
    History makes more sense if we, as a species, like making war.

  6. As a non Israel supporting Jew and somewhat of a pacifist and an absolute realist I can't agree with you more Jim. It's all nonsense and there will be no end of it. Israel loves to fight and the Palestinians hate the Jews. Round and round it goes. Where it stops nobody knows. Except someone will always die.

    1. Same. I love Miko Peled (another pro-Palestinian Jewish person and Israeli) but disagree with him that a single state Israel/Palestine is the only viable solution. If I were PM over there, I'd have no problem at all going back to the 1947 borders and an independent Palestinian state alongside an independent Israel. I'm not at all a Zionist, but I am pragmatic enough to realize that, somewhere down the line, the Israelis just have to stay on that side of the tape and the Palestinians on this side. I hate to be patronizing but it really is a case where the UN should send them to opposite sides of the room and tell them to LEAVE each other TF alone.

  7. Mine "currently lies in death-like sleep in the sunken city of R'lyeh"

    Time for "new" ethics or morality instead of a god and religion.

  8. The saddest part of this whole thing is, unless the people here in the US who appear to support Israel unconditionally get their act together FAST regarding Global Warming, 25 years from now that whole part of the Planet (and many others) will be uninhabitable anyway.

    1. That may actually be the best thing that happens to the area, by forcing the populations of both sides to move elsewhere -- hopefully to places that aren't next to each other?

      I love Israel. I hate its government, but I love the land and those of the people who are not Haredi or Likudniks. But I'd rather see it unpopulated and my people forced back into exile than to see it constantly at war and my people turning more and more pointlessly aggressive in ways we haven't been for millennia.

  9. I both nodded along AND learned something new here (or actually was prompted to go google the USS Liberty). Thanks!

    1. I, too, googled USS Liberty and was very surprised that I don't remember this attack on a naval vessel by Israel. It truly surprises me that we continue to support Israel so staunchly after this attack. Obviously, there is some reason that is not obvious to me. The constant warring seems more like a way of life in the part of the world, a continuation from earliest days. What a sad way for nations to live, fighting to the death with their neighbor. I'm glad not to be part of it.

    2. If you think that's crazy, google the USS Stark.

      Graeme Sutton, Victoria BC

  10. "No, be brutally honest, which one is more important to America? The nation we get nothing from, or the nations we can’t run our economy without?"

    OH SNAP. The inter webs will be lighting up.

    1. Three words: Military Industrial Complex. The U.S. no-bid contractors can't live without their constant cash cow, ERM, mortal enemies in the ME, so what better excuse to keep up the war machine than to keep clinging to the perfect excuse that is "we have no GREATER FRIEND than!" Israel.

  11. 59% of Israelis believe that Israel is an apartheid state. 74% of Israelis believe that the West Bank should have separate roads for Jews and Arabs. 69% of Israeli Jews believe that Muslims should not have the right to vote in the state of Israel.

    I suspect the numbers if you polled the Palestinians would be similar, except of course in the reverse direction.

    I think that says all that needs saying about the notion that the majority on both sides want to live together in peace and harmony. Oh sure, peace and harmony... the peace of the grave, and the harmony of solitary existence, that is.

  12. I see it very much the same. Jim expresses it better than I do. But yes that is the simple fact. The parties to this conflict want what they want and leave no room for peace. Concessions would have to be made on both sides and until there is some respect for "the other side" from both parties there will be no peace. It has not worked in my life time and it looks like it is not working again. True to form humans once again prove that Religious Dick swinging kills people. That has proven true through history.

  13. That said, in this latest blow-up the main issue is that Israel refused to allow a Hamas-Fatah reconciliation government to be formed, and used the United States as its bully to prevent government bureaucrats in Gaza from being paid by Kuwait (the U.S. controls the international monetary clearinghouse system and can unilaterally veto money transfers to groups that it has been ordered not to like). Israel also tightened the screws on Fatah in the West Bank for "negotiating with terrorists". At that point the Palestinian extremists -- NOT the mainstream Hamas or Fatah politicians -- decided to go kidnap some Israelis in order to trigger the usual Israeli over-reaction which in turn would recruit more terrorists for their ranks when the pictures of dead children started streaming across the Internet as usual when Israel starts dropping bombs on one of the most densely populated cities on the planet.

    What is baffling is that Israel's been doing this same thing for decades, now, and it never solves the problem. If stupidity is defined as "doing the same thing over and over again without success", the State of Israel over the past three decades has a huge case of The Stupids.

    Of course, the final solution to the Palestinian problem from Israel's point of view looks an awful lot like the final solution to the Jewish problem from Hitler's point of view (or from the point of view of Palestinian extremists), so ....

    1. "At that point the Palestinian extremists -- NOT the mainstream Hamas or Fatah politicians -- decided to go kidnap some Israelis"

      Source? My starting point is the same as yours--but from what I understand I diverge:

      When Arab leaders announced some many weeks ago their intention of a unified
      government, Netanyahu, said he would be damned to let that happen. A short while
      later, and with no proof, Israel claimed Hamas kidnapped 3 Israelis. Next, Israel
      starts rounding up dozens if not hundreds of Palestinians. Some are killed.

      "Oh, well, they deserved it," is the over all American sentiment. Hamas starts
      fighting back. This is where most Americans pick up on these events. Hamas starts
      firing rockets into Israel. (Most in America would defend themselves with their firearms and their home in the same way. That is my opinion.)

      So all out war, which is exactly what Netanyahu wanted, breaks out. Next come the
      airstrikes against whoever and where ever is deemed a "threat to Israel." But this is
      not the fault of Israel. No. And here comes the big pro-Israel talking point-"the human-shield."

      Hamas and the Palestinians are so evil, wicked, and diabolical, they hold their babies
      and children in front of themselves. At least, that is the message Israel
      and the U.S. sends to get people to look the other way when it comes to the murder
      of families, men, women, and children. I know I am going to Zionist-Hell for saying this.

      "Shrapnel ripped through most of her body, embedding itself in her brain, breaking her left arm and gouging out her left eye.

      The little remaining part of her face not covered in bandages was bruised black and
      yellow, and metal pins were holding her broken arm together."

      Oh well. Big deal. The Muslim brat deserved it. She was a human shield. The little
      girl voted for Hamas, for Christ's sake! She had it coming.

      Any individual who blew half of a child's face off in a premeditated act of homicide
      would be reviled. But when agents of the Israeli or US government does such a thing--eh, they had it coming. They deserved to die.

      Israel and the US war machine--what do they have in common again?

      I'd also like to know, since Obama is King of the Muslim-Arabs, why is he sitting back
      and being strangely silent? We all know how much he loves to hear himself give
      righteous speeches about the poor and the oppressed. So where is he? Things that
      make you go hmmm.

      This is guess, and only a guess, but I am guessing that any President who would dare take decisive action against the genocide of the Palestinians and against Israel, would find himself (or herself) at the end of a CIA/Mossad assassin. And Obama knows it.

      At any rate, these are my opinions and conjecture from the information as I have read it.

    2. Anthony, the extremists on both sides know what reaction they'll get for any action they take, and that the reaction will be good for extremists. Bad for Israelis, bad for Palestinians, but good for extremists. They will get more recruits because "see, *THOSE* people are vicious scum, all they understand is force!", and there you go. The extremists on neither side want peace because peace is bad for extremists, and they know how to prod the general population on each side to also not want peace because "those people are vicious scum, all they understand is force."

      Of course, the reality is that the only real threat to the existence of the State of Israel is the reproduction rate of the ultra-Orthodox, who neither work (they are all on welfare) nor serve in the IDF (they have a religious exemption), and whose attitudes towards women and everything modern are every bit as medieval as Arabs' attitudes. I could point you to stories at Haaretz about things the ultra-Orthodox have done in Israel that are almost as horrific as what is done to women in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait, if it wasn't for Haaretz's new paywall (sigh!). Less extremist Jews in Israel (and Arabs in Israel proper for that matter) are reproducing below replacement rate, the ultra-Orthodox are reproducing like rabbits, and at some point the Israeli welfare state will collapse due to the problem of too few workers to support the burgeoning ranks of ultra-Orthodox welfare cheats. But addressing the problem of the ultra-Orthodox would require self-introspection that Israelis are loathe to do, so ...

    3. It appears that Israel is having no success, but each year the settlements grow larger. Facts on the ground, they like to say.

      The Palestinians are herded into their little Bantustans (ghettos, reservations, etc.), isolated from the world and each other. Slow motion annexation.

  14. I personally think that we should just turn our backs on the whole region.
    You say we can't run our economy without the Arab oil and I don't think that's true. I think weening ourselves off of that particular teat would be the best thing we could do. It would take the wind out of the political sails of so many countries that have been sucking the life blood out of America for so long that it might even make them at least pause in their mad rush to Armageddon.
    So called experts will say we can't do that because we would just be giving the Middle East to China.
    All I can say is it couldn't happen to a better country.
    I doubt they would even know what hit them when the hate is directed toward them.
    But I always have been full of crap anyway.

    1. I'm right there with you.

      Yes, we could get off our addiction to middle east oil. And add to that, how 'bout deciding to withdraw some of that "aid" we so eagerly pump to the region.

    2. I'm with both of you. Time to move forward into this century and use new types of power available in our own country. Stop supporting these Middle East countries all because of our forced dependency on oil led by Cheney et al. It would be great to not only be free of the ME oil but also to marginalize all these oil barons in the US. They don't need any more money, dollars, or power. Time to be self-sufficient again.

  15. The United States actually doesn't even import oil from the Middle East anymore. Most of our imported oil comes from Canada, Mexico, and South America. There's no reason for the United States to be so involved in a region whose oil is going to Europe and Asia. Let the Europeans and Asians take care of it.

  16. Chief, you nailed it. I have long wondered why we haven't heard more about the USS Liberty from our government.

    Almost like they think it is something to cover up...Oh that's right, it is something they don't want discussed. After all, Israel is our "Little Brother", we have to make sure they are protected, and just maybe we wouldn't be so quick to do so if we really saw what they think of us.

    This is one of those tribal/religious never ending conflicts, and of course, America has to be involved, has to be right in the middle of it. As if we can do anything but shoot ourselves in the foot.

    Then to make things worse we treat Israel very, very well, billions upon billions every year, decade by decade. They, on the other hand, treat us like any enabler of any addict, with contempt, even to attacking and killing our Naval personnel and lying to us with impunity.

    A most frustrating situation, I wish we would stop all of our involvement in that conflict, leave'em to it, and let god sort it out.

    Thanks for your passion and insights.

    Rick Morton

    1. U.S.S. Liberty.

      Never forgive. Never forget.

      They would do it again.

      The B.

  17. If America stopped supporting them Israel would not be such a bully! Without our backing they would have to deal with others on a more equal footing and that MIGHT make them less arrogant and less willing to pick fights with everyone around them. And if not, they would be dealing with the consequences and pay the price for their bullying ways! But as you say, nobody really wants peace there anyway!

    1. Question for Tristan and Jim re: Why does the US provide so much support for Israel? The old answers: birthplace of Christianity, only democracy in the ME, etc just don't cut it anymore. Moreover, the popular answers from Israel's critics (powerful Jewish lobby and military industry) also feel flimsy. I may be reaching, but is the US providing so much financial assistance to prevent another superpower (China?) from becoming Israel's benefactor? I am a Zionist who opposes the building of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. I've always felt that within Israel, the Haredi vote was politically less significant than jeopardizing US financial aid. But if the Israeli's financial aid all can just as easily come from China, the US commitment starts to make a lot more sense. Any thoughts?

    2. Woloz, the main reason for American support of Israel is racism. If Israel falls, there will be a massive refugee crisis akin to the one in 1946-1947 in Europe, and unlike 1946-1947, there's no obvious place to send the Jewish refugees, so the United States would end up having to accept them. President Truman forced the British to allow the State of Israel not because Truman liked Jews, but, rather, Truman would rather have the Jews over there rather than here due to widespread racism against Jews in the United States. That reasoning still applies even though racism against Jews has died down significantly in the US.

      As for the reason the US would have to accept the refugees, it's because the US allowed the Holocaust by not serving as a place of refuge for Europe's unwanted Jews. Eichmann offered to let Europe's Jews be sent to the US rather than exterminated. The US refused. Thus Eichmann's "Final Solution". That moral stain still lingers, even if the US has written it out of its public consciousness.

  18. take responsibility for their actions. What's so crazy about this is... if Israel were destroyed in a blaze of nuclear fire tomorrow, Christians over here and all around the world would cheer because their particular "prophecy" would be one step closer to fruition. Millions of people dead, and somehow the religious zealots would applaud that. It's a sickening thought.

    1. The first part of this was....

      I initially thought you were a little bit harsh, but I don't disagree with you. Especially when you said that no one really wants peace there. Both parties need to take responsibility for their actions.....

  19. I really don't care about what's happening in Gaza. I don't care who's at fault this time. This is simply a continuation of the war when Joshua kicked the Canaanites out of Canaan.

  20. As someone with friends from both sides of this conflict and without a religion to provide a home team favorite, I regret to say that I fully agree with you.

    Like you, I care very much for the innocents but no longer have any hope that the two will coexist peacefully. One or both have to be eliminated before they light a fire that burns the world.

  21. Woke upthis morning mulling over why I care so much more about the Malayasian Air crash than the Gaza catastrophe.

    O.k. I was looking at this flight recently while dreaming of Bali & Indonesia & I totally accept that it is so priveliged of me to feel more empathy for airline passengers than people caught in the shooting gallery of Gaza.

    But of course my thought pattern was pretty much like yours...after more than 50 years of awareness & even concern about the Palestine - Israel situation I just know no onne, nobody, nothing will ever solve this endless killing. Quite often we humans just lack the will & ability to just stop the useless horror.

    Myself I long ago formulated my own Religious solution to this problem.

    Evacuate everyone from the whole Palestine-Israel area.

    Nuke the Place, preferably with nuclear devices that irradiate the hell out of Everything while still leaving the Buildings and such intact.

    Allow any and all who wish to do so to return and settle but without the benefit of any radioactive protective devices, clothes or medicines.

    Let Jehovah, Jesus and Allah sort it out by natural selection. Anyone who survives under those circumstances is obviously the blessed of whatever Skyking they worship and is welcome to the "Holy" land. And good riddance.

    The rest of us can then get on with all the rest of the nonsense we are busy killing each other over.

    Teaparty anyone?

    1. Amen, brother. I was going to suggest just nuking Jerusalem and the surrounding area, but your plan is much more thorough. :-)

      -Paul Cooper (Former QM3/SS)

  22. Suppose you were Captain Kirk orbiting this strange little planet inhabited by angry and violent little humans. You have all the power of the Enterprise at your disposal. And you need to solve this endless conflict by the end of the episode. And you don't have to answer to anyone but Spock after you fly away. How would you do it?

    Or suppose you are charged with looking after a couple of aggressive 3 year olds who both want -I mean really really want- to play with the same dump truck toy. And like all aggressive 3 year olds would obliterate anyone who thwarts his or her desire if she or he could. How would you solve the problem.

    Seems to me Kirk would transport the entire population en masse and scatter them across the rest of the planet, and then turn the entire region into a new extension of the med. Seems to me the three year olds would have their dump truck toy taken away and not given back. Seems to me there is no other solution, but it's a solution that cannot be countenanced, so there is... no possible solution. Not one that will not inspire some shitbags on both sides to take up the guns and bombs again, down the line.

    There is a very good argument that Northern Ireland only really came right when some vast proportion of the upcoming generation, on both sides, started taking vast amounts of E every weekend at dance clubs and so turned their backs on the whole misery. The violent old men suddenly couldn't recruit enough kids to keep the hatred going at a sustainable rate. And so they made peace.

    In other words if we can't take away the thing they are fighting over, then we have to change the brains of the people who, generation after generation, keep wanting to fight over it. Blanketing the region in clouds of airborne and waterborn and foodborn E or something even more powerful, especially if it would permantly warp everyone's brain to make them feel like they themselves had morphed into rainbow farting bunny rabbits, might well be the only solution.

    Which of course means that there is, as Jim so clearly puts, no solution at all.

    Netanyahu and his thugs will never be satisified until Israel is secure as a permantly sectarian stated controlling all the land from the med to the Jordan, and only Jews within it. As long as he or people like him are in control then the violence cannot be allowed to stop. If you could as him and his thugs in private they would not hesitate to tell you so, either.

    So no end to the babies being thrown into the fire. No end in sight.

    1. 20% of Israel proper's population is Arab. It's a quite multicultural place with immigrants from all over the world. Article 13 of the Hamas charter tells you exactly why there will never be a peaceful solution:

      "Article Thirteen: Peaceful Solutions, [Peace] Initiatives and International Conferences
      [Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement. For renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion; the nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its faith, the movement educates its members to adhere to its principles and to raise the banner of Allah over their homeland as they fight their Jihad"

      Wanna read the whole thing? <a href="http://thejerusalemfund.org/www.thejerusalemfund.org/carryover/documents/charter.html>Here you go</a>. And it has a nice quote from the Prophet: "The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!"

    2. As the author of the above post: Sure. That's all very old news. I never said there weren't shitbags on either side living off the violence, as they promote it, like vampires. We all know all about it. But consider: if the Zionist project (as interpreted and pursued by Netenyahu and his settler thugs) had never happened, then Hamas would never have happened. And so long as the that particular Zionist project is in operation, then there will always be a Hamas to counter it.

      Not so many years ago everyone in Palestine, Mulsims and Jews, got along very peacefully. As you know. They left each other to each other. And traded, and lived cheek by jowl. As you know.

      Of course Jews want a homeland. Of course the people who happened to be living in that particular location for 1000 years and more beofre the Zionists arrived didn't want to be forced out of their homeland. We could look at the problem in one way: seems like we're short one homeland. Or we could look at it another way: why can't these people just share the one place? As you point out, even excluding the Palestinians forced into the Gaza ghetto and the ghettos in the West Bank, 20% of Israel's population is Arab. And rising. And yet the sectarians cannot countenance a state that is not of Jews, by Jews and for Jews.

      Of course there can never be a peaceable solution so long as one side wishes to exclude the other. But for that drive to exclusion to change, both sides have to give up the drive to exclusivity. Does it matter who pushed for exclusivity first? Probably not. But if the side that were to renounce exclusivity first, is sure as Hell couldn't hurt the chances for peace.

      But go on: blame it on Hamas. If it makes you feel better. And by doing so join the throng of monsters that keep the misery alive. Both sides are at fault here. And the only solution is to stop having sides. Good luck with that.

    3. Captain Kirk did have to deal with this, except there were only two of 'em, and he couldn't stop it: "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield."

      In the latter half of 1968 a bunch of guys who were generally /optimistic/ about human nature figured the problem to be more or less intractable unless the people directly involved grew out of it. Humanity did. The Cheronites didn't, and not even All-American Captain Kirk could save them from themselves.

      So far, the progress of history has not proved them wrong.

  23. After reading the post and the comments, what comes to mind is John Lennon's "Imagine." If human beings could, for a few moments consider the devastation that religious wars have brought about from a rational point of view, they might come to the same observation regarding religious sects (of any stripe) as Benjamin Franklin when he stated that religion "served principally to divide us and make us unfriendly to one another" in his Autobiography. Franklin practiced religion in his own way, without attending church, but practicing certain fundamental prinicples, including self-improvement, being virtuous (or making a sincere best effort - Franklin concedes he often fell short of this), and doing good works. Franklin practiced Deism after deciding that Protestantism was more superficial than substantive. But, I digress. And, there is SO much more to Ben Franklin that this tidbit.

    The point of my comment is that without religion, humanity would have ONE less reason for war. I can hear the opposition now crying out that we will always find justification for war. What about war over territory? property? gender? equality? liberty? plain meanness? freedom from oppressors? the moon? shoe size? True, humanity will find a reason if one isn't handed to them. Religion is a ready-made reason for war.
    If we could set aside the religion factor, we could come to rational agreement on many of those other issues, and just for a few moments, it is a joy to imagine that we could live in such a world.

    Thank you, Jim, for giving me something to think about and write about this fine Saturday morning. My own muse is stuck somewhere wearing camouflage shivering and too afraid to come home.

    1. I agree with your post. Most wars are about “what is mine vs. what is yours” whether it be religion or resources. Humans when confronted with conflicts involving resources usually have to compromise to live peacefully. Unfortunately, religion is usually the sticking point that sets off the shit storm. I vote with Lennon.

  24. The alcoholic analogy is spot on. Just like one hears in a therapy session. And that's the issue that needs to be addressed. Ask Netanyahu that question. Or the leader of Hamas. Or Putin for that matter. Why do you want to be in a continual state of aggression? Why do lie about wanting "peace" or does peace mean killing? The bigger question is, what exactly is it about our nature that perpetuates this behavior.

    1. The extremists on each side don't want peace because peace is bad for extremists, and they know how to prod the other side into committing atrocities in order to produce new recruits for extremism. It won't change until the majority of people on both sides catch on that they're being played by the extremists, but the majority of people are sheep and behave as they're conditioned to behave. I.e., once the extremists on one side prod the other side into a response, they then say "see? They're all vicious animals!" and use that to prod the general population into violence. So many years of that have happened that the general population of both sides are like Pavlov's dogs, ready to slather upon the sound of that bell.

    2. BadTux, I agree, extremists have a vested interest in the bloodshed.

  25. "We give them money and support and take it in the ass from every other country in the Middle East over our unending love for Israel. Hell, Israel attacked us and killed our people, and I served under a Master Chief who was right there that day as the aerial torpedoes smashed through USS Liberty’s hull....." Right there! Right the FUCK THERE is the reason I god damn Israel every time I see this shit.

    Just yesterday I was training several young and very new soldiers and they started going on about the Arab "animals" and proud Israeli SOF troops who were the "best in the world" (not), etc, etc.... Young and old troops and coworkers go on and on about how Israel is our "only" ally and democracy in the Mideast. Oh yeah, what about Jordan and Saudi Arabia and Turkey? Welllll...."they are Arabs and Muslim and they don't count." Actually Turks are Turks and a NATO member.....but stupid aside.

    As Jim noted Britain gave Palestine to the Jews cause the empire was unsustainable post-WW2, angst and shame over the Holocaust and the Zionists were "agitating" for a homeland (i.e. shooting and blowing up British troops and property in terrorist....pardon me..."freedom fighter" acts). Once the Cold War took hold and the USSR started treating Arab client states to weapons and advisors the lines were pretty much set in stone that Israel was our bright shining outpost of US supported FREEDOM surrounded by a sea of Commie armed Arab (read "animal") enemy aggressors.

    The above telling is simplistic in the extreme, but I believe broadly correct as some of the major factors that sustain the tragedy. There are a thousand interleaved recent events and ancient legends that keep feeding the maw of Mideast tension. But, in Israel it comes down to the physics of no two bodies can occupy the same space at the same time. And it is a VERY small space.

    Back to the soldiers, I offered my opinion that Israel is not an ally but a parasite that has benefited from the largest foreign handout of any other country, US weapons and intelligence support to keep up their "greatest army in the world" bullshit. I have been to Israel several times as a Marine and I found them to be generally pleasant, attractive, arrogant, xenophobic and racist on par with Jim Crow Mississippi.

    These kids in my class had no idea about the Liberty and frankly did not believe what I was saying about repeated Israeli torpedo and strafing sorties against a US vessel. And the courageous fight to keep the ship afloat and save dozens of wounded AMERICAN sailors. They said "but, but, but they are our ALLY". Yeah sure.

    Nearly everything we have done in the Mideast since WW2 is based on preserving access to oil, counter Soviet aggression and to take out perceived threats to Israel cause they are our "only true ally". Fuck them.

    Now I am not supporting nor forgiving the Palestinians or Arab states as being better than Israel. I find the Arabs to be puzzling in the extreme for their inability to step out of the 15th Century and into at least the 19th or 20th. They actively deny enlightenment (whatever that is) and incessantly lean into the punch when it comes. Whole generations suffer in barely suppressed anger and hatred for themselves and the nearest available target. Israel and the occasional US ship or embassy.

    Several hundred Palestinians have been killed or wounded this week vs a couple of Israelis. Seems like someone needs to see the light, but they never do and keep prodding the bear. Israeli and US dominance in firepower and intelligence will seem to trump the hundreds of unaimed rockets fired back. But, the little guy only needs to be lucky once. We need to be lucky every time. I don't believe in luck, but one day Israel is gonna suffer big time when the little guy gets through to them. S/F Tommy D

    1. The Muslim world is currently stuck in its own religiously-fueled Dark Age, just as with the collapse of the Roman Empire the western world fell into a Dark Age. While Europe was becoming more hysterically superstitious, the Muslim world was practicing Astronomy and naming many of the stars in our sky. They were studying ancient Greek science, developing higher math and creating the concept of zero, all while the West, for the average citizen, became an educational and cultural wasteland. Hopefully the Arabs will one day have an enlightenment and pull themselves out of this religious stupor. They are a brilliant culture that is responsible for so many scientific, mathematical and cultural gifts, it seems naive to think that they won't find their way out from under this religious weight. People can be repressed and kept from knowledge for only so long until they rise up.

      Who knows, but more frequently it seems like Western culture, if the Christian extremists have their way, will fall into the abyss of superstition and denial of scientific facts and we'll all be forced to either exile ourselves, go underground or live our lives based on Biblical principle. The "fundies" will torch the Smithsonian and replace it with copies of Ken Ham's Creation Museum. If that does happen perhaps the Muslim world will once again be ready to grab the torch of knowledge, keep it burning and keep science and math alive until the West comes to its senses.

  26. Britain did not give the land to the Jews. The Jews have been there for thousands of years,and when the first wave of European Jews began returning in the 19th century, they BOUGHT the land, at inflated prices, from the Arabs. It was only after the Jews made the desert bloom that the Arabs decided that it had been stolen.

    After WWII, the Brits *resisted* Jewish immigration, often deporting refugees and imprisoning them in the same camps in which they had,until shortly before, been "guests" of the Third Reich. The Brits actively disarmed the Palestinian Jews, while allowing the Arabs to arm themselves to the teeth.

    When the Brits had had enough of the Mandate, they bucked it to the UN, which voted to create a Jewish state on land which was majority Jewish and an Arab state on land which was majority Arab.

    Even now, there are over one million Arab citizens of Israel, with full participation in all areas of society, including the Parliament, the police, and the military, so the claim that the Israelis want an all-Jewish nation is patently inaccurate.

    1. So, you're saying I was too subtle with that paragraph?

      You know, the part that goes, "Everybody has a historical claim, no matter whose history you believe."

    2. "when the first wave of European Jews began returning in the 19th century, they BOUGHT the land, at inflated prices, from the Arabs."

      See the below well-informed post from badtux. The notion that European Jews bought the land from it's rightful owners is one of the deeply toxic errors at the base of the entire problem.

    3. It doesn't matter if they legitimately bought the land or not. One does not simply walk into a country, buy land, and declare that they are now their own country. Every billionaire in the world would have their own country.

  27. The Jewish population of Palestine in 1899 was roughly 2% of the population. While much of the population was ethnically Jewish, most Jews had converted to Islam during the long Muslim ownership of the area (yep, most of the Palestinians are pretty much identical, genetically, to Jews!) There were not an appreciable number of Jews in Palestine until after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of the Palestinian Mandate under British control after WW1. When the Ottomans conquered provinces they annulled any existing land ownership documents and gave out ownership of the land to themselves, and the British accepted the Ottoman land ownership documents as the definitive documents, meaning most of the land in Palestine was owned by absentee Turkish landlords, not by Arabs. The absentee landlords had no problem selling land to members of the Zionist movement at extortionate prices, and of course the new Jewish owners of the land promptly evicted Arabs who had been living on the land for over a thousand years in order to replace them with Jewish settlers. From examination of land records it appears over 3/4ths of the land that Jews bought in Palestine during the 1920's and 1930's was from absentee landlords and less than 10% was bought from Arab owners of land. The end result was that by 1940 the Jewish population of Palestine had risen from 2% to 30% of the population, with Arab population being crowded out onto smaller and smaller percentages of the arable land as Jews purchased the land from absentee landlords.

    Then came the ethnic cleansing of 1948, of course, when suddenly that 30% became 80% because the majority of the Arabs were pushed out of Palestine entirely by Jewish terrorist attacks on their villages. But that's another story. The real story here is the revisionist tale told by American defenders of Israel, a tale which is contradicted by the work of Israel's own historians (especially the "New Historians", people like Benny Morris and Ilan Pappé) who have examined now-declassified Israeli government documents about events surrounding the creation of the State of Israel.

    Your comment about the British after WW2 sending Jews right back to the exact same concentration camps that Hitler had put them into (except with the guns turned around to keep Europeans from finishing the job Hitler started, and renamed as "relocation camps") is spot-on, and is 100% why Truman forced the British to acquiesce to the creation of the state of Israel as a refuge for the world's unwanted Jews. If he hadn't forced Israel into existence, the U.S. would have been required to accept those Jewish refugees (most of them wanted to go to the U.S.), and the U.S. at that time was just as anti-Semitic as Hitler had been and didn't want those Jews, but didn't want to put them in death camps either. So thus the creation of the state of Israel, a state that exists because of anti-Semitism in both Europe and the United States. But it isn't necessary to re-write the pre-WW2 history of Palestine to arrive at that conclusion.

    1. You neglected to mention that the Palestinian population between 1920 and 1940 went UP by 150%. Palestinians from other countries moved back to Palestine because the Jews created economic opportunities previously nonexistent.

    2. According to Israeli historian Itzhak Galnoor (please note that I'm using *ISRAELI* sources for the vast majority of my numbers), the Muslim population was 725,507 in 1922, 880,746 in 1931 and 1,339,763 in 1946 of which Galnoor estimates 100,000 were external illegal immigrants. Most other sources say even that is an overestimate of the number of number of Muslim illegal immigrants to Palestine. In short, the Muslim population increase was 54%, not 150%, and even Israeli historians admit that the majority of that was births due to modern medicine coming to Palestine with the British. Next lie, please?

  28. Thanks for assembling all of those streams of conscientiousness that have been running through my head for the past 30 years into a nice package. Wtf is wrong with these people?

    On and on it will go. The US needs to stop meddling in this mess.

  29. I have been following this conflict since 1968. And here's the thing. I don't give a damn what they do to each other. This is nothing more than a continuation of a war that began when Joshua kicked the Canaanites out of Canaan. Sometimes the Israelis have the upper hand and sometimes the Canaanites/Palestinians. They all pray to the same god, so let him sort it out.

  30. Hmm I ask this question to you all. I bring up this point to my conservative friends. So tell me if it is true. Name once Israeli's died fighting side by side with American troops that was not on Israel' behalf. Well the French started fighting by our side but I can point out British, Canadian, Italian, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Russian, German, Polish, Hungarian, and many more. Hell Mexico sent a fighter squadron to fight beside us in WWII. But I can not find an example of Israeli's doing so. Palestinians have not either. But Arabs have, Jordanians, Saudi's, Syrians, and Egyptians all stood against Saddam Hussein in the first gulf war. Allies stand with you for their causes and our causes. Israel is not an American ally. We are an Israeli ally. They use our foolishness to accomplish their own goals. Time is enough, break off the engagement and find another girlfriend. One that stands by us in hard times not just tell us what to do. Mike from Central Cal.

  31. "No, be brutally honest, which one is more important to America? The nation we get nothing from, or the nations we can’t run our economy without?" - Jim Wright.

    I agree with a lot of this bleak assessment but, in fairness, I think Israel has given something back to the US - new technology, counter-terrorism know-how and a military proving ground for this technology as well as lots of intelligence co-operation. (Two way street but Israel has done its share there surely?)

    See the wikipedia list :

    wiki / Israeli_inventions_and_discoveries (Not sure I can post links here or I'd do that.)

    Also there is a fair degree of truth in Netanyahu's line that : "Israel is using its missiles to protect its civilians whilst the Palestinians / Gazans / Hamas are using their civilians to protect its missiles."

    How dumb are Hamas to keep firing rockets at Israel and starting / continuing this fight knowing what will happen? They're picking a fight and then hiding behind their own women and children and exploiting the inevitable carnage that results from their dishonourable, repulsive "tactics" creating bad PR for Israel world wide and also getting to celebrate the occasional Israeli casualties as well. I'd like to hope there's a Gazan majority who aren't extreme (or are they?) who eventually realise this and overthrow Hamas but, I can't say I'm optimistic.

    Meanwhile Israel goes out of its way to warn them and try to minimise civilian deaths but is placed in a really nasty position where it can't win whatever it does.

    Don't forget Israel is a tiny nation with very little land to spare unlike its mainly much larger Arab neighbours - but the Jewish state has already given back territory it captured in wars the other side started with including Gaza where it got rocket fire and a Hamas mini-state in return for ending its occupation there. Plus the Sinai Peninsula which it handed to Egypt and got peace for - but the Muslim extremists then assassinated their president Sadat for it.

    There's a really good youtube clip titled "outstanding Explanation: Why Israel can't withdraw to its pre '67 borders line" which gives a 5 minute summary on well, what the name suggests which is well worth watching.

    1. "How dumb are Hamas to keep firing rockets at Israel and starting / continuing this fight knowing what will happen?"

      Hamas is only 'dumb' if it isn't getting what it sets out to get by firing the missiles. But what Hamas wants is the same thing Netanyahu wants: war without end. Netanyahu wants war so he can remain in power and funds and prestige, and Hamas wants war so it can remain in power and funds and prestige. Win win for both of them. Only losers are everyone else.

  32. “What distinguishes Buddhism from any other faith I’ve studied—from most human beings, really—is that the people who face the wall and the people who face away from it have never fought a war over it. They’re never going to agree…but they feel no need to. Buddha himself is supposed to have said, “People with opinions just go around bothering each other.”
    ― Robert A. Heinlein

    1. That was not one of Heinlein's better moments, I'm afraid. Buddhists have at times supported wars and are currently participating in a civil war in Myanmar.

  33. If we cared about Israel and Palestine we might learn something about our own radical right.

    In 1992, the Israel public was interested enough in peace to elect a Labor government which signed the Oslo Accords in 1993 and 1995 and recognized the Palestinian Liberation Organization. And the Labor leader, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, was assassinated by an Israeli radical-rightist in 1995, the radical-right Likud Party returned to power, and so it is has been ever since.

    It is harder to tell how matters stood on the Palestinian side. Since the Palestinians are stateless they cannot form a legitimate government, so it is not clear how much popular support the PLO ever had, but at least the PLO was willing to sign the Oslo Accords.

    People in the region who care enough about peace to compromise have been shot by people who want the war to continue. Now, where have I heard something like that before?

    This also gives us something to do in the region, if we want: support the factions that support peace. But our own war-mongering factions have formed an alliance with their war-mongering factions. And, of course, the factions that want peace might not keep the oil flowing.

  34. I had a friend who was the son of medical missionaries sent to the Gaza Strip. He told me about once, when he was a young teenager, when wounded Palestinians were brought into the clinic after a raid by the Israeli army. There was a little girl, maybe 10 years old, who had been shot an stabbed in the stomach, and the clinic, by then, had run out of pain killers to administer.

    She told him that the Israelis had broken into their house looking for her mother's uncle. Her mother didn't know where he was. Neither did her father or her brothers. The soldiers didn't believe them, and executed her parents and her eldest brother. She tried to stop them, so the shot her in the belly.

    A 10 year old girl. Shot in the belly. Left to die. No pain-killers. All he could do was hold her and try to comfort her and listen to her cry and tell her story over and over until she died.

    He never had anything good to say about Israel.

    I can understand why people take sides.

    -Paul Cooper (Former QM3/SS)

  35. I've got no dog in this hunt, but I've long felt that the Zionists have embodied the same hatred and focus on genocide of those they despise that Hitler directed at them. I see them as no better than he was. A shame really, since as a people, I would have thought they would never want that attitude propagated. Instead, they have become the same oppressor who oppressed and murdered their families.

    1. Jim, I suspect that Israel legitimately made difficult concessions to create peace when they evicted Jews from Gaza in 2005 and left homes, infrastructure and 3,000 functioning greenhouses for Gazans. The US even helped Gaza to hold free elections, and persuaded Gazans to elect a party seeking peace and prosperity. Instead, Gazans took this historic opportunity to change their lot in life, and elected a party whose raison d'etre is to destroy Israel and kill all Jews. The rest is a very sad history.

      Anon, Israel has the military might to kill every Gazan within an hour. It is tragic that 1,800 Gazans (or 0.1% of the population) were killed in Israel's campaign to disarm Hamas. But let's be honest with ourselves, Israel does not want to kill civilian Gazans, both to avoid bad PR and for moral reasons.

      Former Israeli PM Golda Meir (in)famously stated that she can forgive Israel's enemies for killing Israel's children, but she can never forgive them for forcing Israel to kill their children.

    2. Sad, Anon, and shamefully true. Even creepier IMO is the almost Aryan-like ethnic purity test that American Jewish people give to suspected "others." I converted to Judaism when I was a very young woman, a decision I do not regret BTW, but I often faced scrutiny by other synagogue attendees to whom I introduced myself with my decidedly goyish last name. If I didn't GIVE my last name, my fellow congregants would pressure me for it, and then look down their noses at me for my non-Jewish last name. I really didn't give a shit personally; I'd been through the two-year long conversion process and was just as Jewish as they were, but the overall implications of someone not being accepted into "the tribe" due to a fucking surname is downright scary.

  36. There's the other answer: think about how many leaders who brought peace and freedom have been assassinated: Lincoln, Gandhi, MLK, Rabin…

    Part of the answer to the question seems to be that to win peace, people have to be willing to die, not gloriously in battle, but ignominiously by the assassin's bullet, or the terrorist's bomb.

    Takes a lot of guts to be a pacifist.

  37. Fuck em all, Let God (Which doesn't exist) sort them out. I'm fed up with all of em.

    Jeff Lamm, AO3, USS Forrestal, CV-59, Spc4, MPI, US Army.

  38. Another great one Jim.
    Here's a couple lines out of George Washington's Farewell Address in 1796 that seem to mirror yours:

    "Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests."

    "So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification."

    And here is the one you didn't state exactly but runs though out your essay:

    "The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest."

    You're in good company. I think old George would have approved.

  39. My final notes on this, rerun from another blog: "In a better world, the USA would use its considerable leverage to restrain Israeli conduct and lobby the UN to intervene. As it is, there seems no political advantage in the USA to doing so and several of the Security Council’s permanent members would probably block action in the UN. So the war goes on."

  40. I can't tell you how many times I've linked this blogpost in Facebook. My newsfeed is awash in pro Israel and pro Palestinian posts. My inner liberal troll loves it, because I get to tell BOTH SIDES how full of shit they are.

    You can't fix stupid. (well, you can if it's a cat)

  41. Your analysis is flawed and for that reason your conclusion is flawed as well.
    Israel gives to the US much more than the oil rich Arab countries.
    In fact, in the Nasdaq Israeli companies are the third most listed after China, all foreign aid comes back to the US as buybacks, the US military uses a lot of technology and intelligence from Israel.

    Today Islam is the world's security nightmare. You just need to look at Nice, Paris, London, Manchester, Brussels and a few cities in Sweden and Germany to understand why.

    Now for the flawed analysis of the problem - just visiting a country and speaking with a few people does not give you a full insight. The reason there is no peace between Israel and the Palestinians is very deep.
    The PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) was founded in 1965, two years before the 67 "occupation". So it is clear that the Palestinians will not have less than everything. PLO in Arabic is Fatah (acronym for Falastine Thrir Hizb) however it is also a unique word from the Koran that is served only in the context of taking Muslim lands that have fallen in battle.

    So Yasser Arafat that was born in Cairo in 1927 can claim the Jewish quarter of the old city of Jerusalem when my Grandparents were born about 20 years before him.

    Now if you look at your conclusion - let us leave the Middle East and let one side (hopefully the Arab Muslims) win, what will be the consequence?
    Today the "Palestinians" that live in the West Bank (Jeudea and Samaria) have access to Israeli hospitals, their life expectancy is higher than that of Brazil, their infant mortality is lower than that of Brazil. They have the best conditions out of Arab Muslims living in non Gulf countries.

    What would their lives be under total Muslim rule? Check 56 Muslim majority countries and see. Check Gaza and their "tolerance" to women, gays, Christians, and God forbid Ba'hai or Druze.

    There is a reason why Muslim Arabs are killing Muslim Arabs in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Algeria, Sudan by the millions (!) and it is not imperialism and colonialism - do you know why? because these wars have been going on forever.

    So as a member of the free world you can either support the only democracy that is certainly not perfect or go with the Islamization and hope they would forget about you. But they won't.

    Now last but not least - in the second century AD their were discussions in the North of Israel (Saffed) about "An eye for an eye" - the conclusion was that there should be a monetary compensation. Do you know what was their logic? That if a person is already blind, taking out his eyes won't matter. So the death penalty was cancelled and the eye and tooth was cancelled. Too bad Islam is not yet at that stage.


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