Wednesday, July 19, 2006

War (since we must) and inner peace (when you can get it)

You know, throwing oneself into one's work in order to avoid thinking about the war (and also, not incidentally, in order to meet deadlines) is amazing for one's productivity. I've spent the last three days, and a fortune in money and calories, in cafes. Cafes are incredibly conducive to concentration. Especially after midnight, when almost everyone else has left.

Also good for one's peace of mind: reading the news exactly twice a day, once in the morning, and once in the evening. Not twenty times, just twice.

And finally, for lowering one's blood pressure, I highly recommend not reading blogs, except maybe for Allison's, at the same time that you are checking out the news. In fact, I give you permission not to check my blog, either, if my blog in any way causes you stress. Believe me, I understand.

So, the war. The war that we are not talking about. The war I don't want to blog about in any meaningful way, because talking about politics or military operations always leads to inflammatory comments, and I hate that. I deal with it, but I hate it.

So, I just have these things to say:

1. The operation in Lebanon and the operation in Gaza, while in certain tenuous ways related because they both involve a conflict with neighboring Arabs, are not the same situation. One cannot extrapolate from one very much about Israel's plan or MO in the other.

2. The idea of innocent civilians, people who truly just want to live productive lives and leave Israel alone, dying because of the conflicts in which Israel is mired always makes me sad. It always bothers me. It does not mean that I think Israel necessarily has other options -- though sometimes I wonder -- but even when Israel is clearly justified in all it does, it makes me sad. I would hope that most people would have room in their hearts to both support Israel and be sad sometimes about the loss of innocent lives on both sides - just as, at the Pesach Seder, we take a moment to remember the spilt blood of the Egyptians. It really takes just a moment. If more people took that one moment, I wouldn't feel it necessary to take two moments on my blog.

2. On Israel's disproportionate actions in Lebanon: Of course Israel is being disproportionate. That's what happens in a war: One side uses more force than the other, and that's how they win.


I don't understand what some people expect Israel to do, say "oh, they killed x of our people, so we'll stop at x of theirs, even though there are still missiles pointed on our sovereign land"? That's not a war, that's tit for tat. The object is to castrate Hezbollah (and I choose that word for all its connotations), not slap them on the wrist.

War is hell. I pray for the everyday Joe Lebanese, the hardworking people who just want to live productive lives and leave Israel alone, that they manage to stay safe. (Yes, those people do exist; I've read their blogs.)

This is about a lot more than Hezbollah; it's about the Lebanese government not getting their act together, and it's about Syria and Iran, also. To avoid a regional war, Israel is sending a clear message: you mess with us, we'll kick your butts. I am truly sorry that innocent people are dying, but sometimes, to nip something in the bud, you have to take a pair of scissors and cut off the bud!

(Pause while I stop to think about all the, uh, circumcision imagery in this post, and Lisa's idea that all of this conflict in the Middle East can be explained with the question "whose is bigger?" . . . . ::pause:: . . . . well, whatever, we can deal with that some other time.)

OK, I'm going back to work now. Please keep comments civil, and remember that I'm trying to balance my desire to speak my mind with my desire not to have a coronary, OK?

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