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Monday, July 24, 2006

Shocking and, Definitely, Odd

I had always thought that Jeralyn Merrit of TalkLeft was about as far to the left as a person can run without going completely over the horizon. I mean that in a nice way. What is shocking, and, yes, exceptionally surprising, is that she is taking it on the chin on her site for a post about Israel’s military actions that didn’t blame the conflict on Israel. To be fair, most of the commentary is of the polite variety (none of the Protein Wisdom v/ Insane University Professor variety drama)--but there is definitely some snark amidst the “violence never solved anything” naive grade school talk.

Israel is not randomly bombing civilians.

No..they’re just randomly killing them with bombs. See the big difference?

They’re not being bombed, they’re just dying from explosives dropped/shot from the air. That makes it ALL OK...Thanks TL.

Two notes:

Firstly, violence, as Heinlein pointed out, has been a tremendous force for solving problems throughout human history. In fact, some problems can only be handled with some level of violence--and for those unwilling to face that truth, violence will usually solve their problems, too. Just not in the way that they may ultimately be comfortable with. An obvious example: if violence weren’t used to thwart Japan’s plans for regional domination in World War II, what would the Pacific rim look like today?

Unyielding violence on one side of an argument must be met with reasoned, purposeful violence to be diminished. Terrorists don’t stop being terrorists just because we renounce our militaristic ways; they just gain ground when we refuse to push back. Israel is in a position where pushing back is, in my mind, the only reasonable option. That is neither antagonistic nor is it anti-Islamic. Anyone reading through the archives of this site could find that I favor a two state solution, that I had hoped that the “roadmap to peace” would actually wind its way to its stated destination, that I don’t hate Muslims, that I don’t think that Israel is above reproach, or that I favor military action where it isn’t necessary.

But I do support Israel’s right to defend herself, I so support Israel’s right to exist, I do wonder how Muslims can continue to support the nihilistic goals of Hamas and Hezbollah, and I do believe that there are times when war is necessary. 

Secondly, my boss (the VP of this and that for the company I work for) considers herself to be a Buddhist. She considers herself to be a pacifist and made some of the funniest imaginable faces when I told her that I was a moderate Republican. Of course, the faces she made were even more interesting when she noticed the tattoos and found out about the oddly placed piercing, but that’s another story entirely. The point is this: when Israel was bringing troops up to the Lebanese border, even my boss was supportive of their military action. Even she recognized that Israel was fighting for her existence and that there was no one left for the Israelis to negotiate with.

This woman (who was opposed to American military action in Iraq, seems pretty iffy America having gone into Afghanistan, and who hates George Bush with the kind of passion that I reserve for, say, Michael Moore) bordered on bloodthirsty in her feelings about the Palestinian terrorist organizations.

Somehow, that seems worth noting to me.

Read the post.

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Remember this oldie but a goodie?

Killing Zarqawi and three women in the house with him was not an act of war. It was an act of retaliatory terrorism. By our government. And I don’t want it to be in my name. Even if he was, as we’re told, the devil incarnate. Violence begets violence. It’s time for the war and the killing to stop.

Somewhat inconsistent, wouldn’t you say?  To condemn the US for doing that and then when Israel does essentially the same thing she’s casually discussing whether or not Israel can take down Hezbollah?  Not that I mind that she’s becoming more sensible, but I think it shows her opinions are based more on emotion than reason.

on Jul 24 2006 @ 02:10 PM

I missed that post entirely--and it’s a hell of a good point you bring up.

I have to admit that I don’t understand why some people can’t connect the dots between the people the Israelis are fighting and the people that we are fighting. It’s really two fronts to the same war.

on Jul 24 2006 @ 02:13 PM

Oddly-placed piercing? Go on…

on Jul 24 2006 @ 04:05 PM

Actually, while I hadn’t read either of the posts, I did catch Jeralyn’s early post supportive of Israels strikes on Lebanon, and one of my first thoughts was that she’s been staunchly apposed to U.S. actions Iran.

The question of legitimate targets is thorny, at best. You can argue that the civilians who continued to go to work every day, working in refineries, ball bearing factories, etc., were in fact supporting the Nazi war effort. Even those not working in war industries directly, e.g. farmers, by not letting their fields go fallow (thereby depriving the armed forces of sustenance) were culpable to some degree.

If we could only get her to come to a blogger bash, we could explore this in depth.

on Jul 24 2006 @ 04:28 PM

I thought Janalynn showed up for 4.5 at the Minturn… Of course, I wasn’t able to show up until almost midnight, so I could be mistaken. Damn that 4-letter word that starts with ‘W’… And no, not ‘word’… Wrong last letter.

on Jul 24 2006 @ 07:00 PM

Whoops. Spelled her name wrong. Note to self: No more typing while stuffing your face. Only type when you can see the keyboard.

“Sir, step away from the keyboard and place the meatloaf where we can get to it! I mean, see it! Now turn around and… okay, who has forks?”

on Jul 24 2006 @ 07:03 PM

She’s shown up a few times. At no time was she actually eating a meatloaf, if I recall…

As for the oddly-placed piercing, let’s just say that I’m glad I had it done, but I don’t know that I would ever do it again. It hurt, it bled, and it made me walk funny for a few weeks.

Jed, I’ll be happy to discuss my feelings on what is and is not a legitimate target at the bash. Look for the announcement tomorrow.

on Jul 24 2006 @ 07:34 PM

As I see it, Lebanon (the official government) must either be complicit, incompetent, or opposed to Hizballah, so let’s examine each of those cases:

If Lebanon is complicit, the people of Lebanon bear the full responsibility for its actions and have no place to complain about Israeli retaliation, even if that retaliation results in significant civilian casualties.  That’s what happens when you commit acts of war.

If Lebanon is incompetent to control the actions of Hizballah to the extent that it completely lacks control over the south of the country, it has no claim against the actions of any other party to defend itself against depredations from such uncontrolled land.  With authority comes responsibility.  If you abjure responsibility, you have tacitly abjured authority.  Lebanon has fiercly defended it’s authority over the south; it must then take the risk that people will believe the official line.

Finally, if Lebanon both competent and opposed to Hizballah, they made the choice that controlling their problem was too expensive to undertake.  If you decide that changing your timing belt is too expensive to undertake and it breaks and destroys the engine of the car, the responsibility is entirely yours.  You knew the odds and could reasonably be expected to know the costs.  And now the bill is coming due.

FWIW, I think the situation in Lebanon is a bit of all of these.  Lebanese competence is questionable, there are elements of the society that support Hizballah, and there are elements that thought opposing Hizballah would be too expensive.  But since none of these should reasonably immunize the country from response, I’m afraid that they’ll now have to accept the consequences of their actions/inactions.

on Jul 25 2006 @ 09:58 AM
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