Monday, July 24, 2006

Missed Opportunities of a More Important Sort

You knew it was too good to last. Eventually, that damned Nathi was going to post something here again. Chalk it up to busy schedule and while there's ample to rant about, nothing had really struck me until recently.

Please see my opening post should you have any issues with the following. No one's forcing you to read this anyway.

The Middle-East. How many years now has that conjured up images of war, and strife, and the usual bone-headed carrying on of some ancient insults and injuries and debate over God-given rights? Hell, I'm 35 now, and I can tell you I can't remember a time when it wasn't something or other over there. In fact, while we grew up in fear of The Bomb and 'those damned Russians' who were certainly set on our destruction, it was always the Holy Land and the surrounding area that always seemed going through actual blooshed and violence that was a lot more real and immediate than the vague yet frightening threat of nuclear anihilation.

It's not like I suddenly woke up and got upset about all the goings-on over there - it's been building for a while now. During the first 'Gulf War', I was engaged and worried sick that it was going to end up getting completely out of control, and that il marito and my little brothers, who were finally growing up entirely too fast, were going to end up drafted or the like. Overreaction? Possibly, but after so many years of relative inaction on our part overall, believe me, it was upsetting. I mean hey - I was born during the tail end of Vietnam. I remember the family talking about it, having had an uncle over there, and how uncomfortable a subject it seemed to be with society in general, and our history classes in school mysteriously seeming to end right about that time til I got to HS where a couple of teachers, one who'd been there, had no problems discussing the idiocy that went on with that, but after? It always seemed to be some other country, and someone else's problem, right up until we went into Kuwait.

I remember when the Israelis killed their own Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin - someone who seemed at the time, perhaps that region's best chance for some semblance of peace - and how right about then, after hearing them brag for so long about how they, unlike others, 'don't kill their own', I figured it was All Over, end story, and that the whole place was going to go up in a blaze of destruction. Overreaction? Perhaps, but then the last leader over there I remember getting assassinated was Egypt's Anwar Sadat and that whole ugly mess - the tail of which we're still dealing with today, what with several of the same folks involved in that still creating difficulties for the US today, if you do a bit of looking.

9-11. I'm not sure I'm of a mind to discuss all that terribly far. I still get teared up every time I see the ads for the new movie coming out on it, and it still makes me sick remembering watching the whole thing play out after an early-morning call from my mom who was in a panic having just seen the first reports coming in after the first tower was hit. I spent most of that day and the next week trying to convince her it wasn't the end of the world while she prepared 3-day kits for the entire family plus the two babies we had on the way, one of which was mine. The things that go through your head when you realize the sort of world you're bringing these kids into during times like that ... And in spite of the anger, and my entire family being all for revenge and the like, I couldn't help crying thinking of all the additional pain and suffering that was undoubtedly going to come on account. There was no way our government was going to let something of that magnitude pass. We all knew it.

We were down at my second youngest brother's wedding when the reports came in that we'd begun our retributive strikes. I remember sitting on the bed there at the hotel, holding my little boy and wondering just how far this all was going to go, regretting it happening, but agreeing that -something- had to be done. You'd think by now I'd start getting used to that sick sinking feeling in my stomach, watching the news, but I guess some things you just never get comfortable with.

So it's been a few years, and I'd like to think some good has been accomplished from all that mess. They dragged Hussein out looking like some mad half-starved dog. Iraq has it's own elected government, for what that's worth, and it seems like they're trying to pull things together. But still, every day there's more killing, more troops and civilians blasted to bits by roadside or suicide bombs, soldiers who were never trained to be police are put in impossible situations on a daily basis, dealing with levels of stress I can't even begin to imagine, and it seems from the reports that a handfull of them have finally cracked on account, with the usual unpleasant results. And even with the few good things, and even though I understand that just pulling up stakes isn't going solve anything, I can't help wonder, watching the same things go on day after day, if it's really worth it in the end. Maybe that area of the world has been at war and hated for so long they just don't know anything different anymore, and those who have opposing ideas get eliminated as soon as possible. I don't know.

One thing I do know is that as soon as we started gearing up for action, one of the first nations to get all gung-ho about their own issues was Israel. Unsurprising, if one looks at things historically. One tiny yet tenacious little nation, surrounded by enemies, but somehow having gained some pretty big guns in the way of allies. No big shock that when one of those allies gets hit and starts hitting back that they'd take the initiative to start pushing their own issues a bit harder. It's almost like 9-11 somehow gave Israel the right, in their eyes, to do whatever the hell they wanted in regards to the Palestinians - and now, the latest with Hezzbollah and the Lebanese.

Yes, I realize there's lots out there who compare the two actions - our own invasion of Iraq and all, and Israel's recent invasion of Lebanon, but I beg to differ. There's parallels to be certain, but there's far too many differences to chalk it all up to 'the same thing', and excuse the rather extreme overreaction of the Israelis.

Go right ahead and be as angry as you like - it's my opinion, and you don't have to agree with it. The Israelis are wrong.

Think for a moment about how Hamas and Hezzbollah have gotten to where they're at? While Israel has been bombing and destroying and harrassing, these groups have been building and educating and providing for. Is it any wonder common people look more favorably on that sort of thing than oppression and killing of their own? You can argue all you like about how terrorist groups are responsible for these people getting punished, and how in war, it's usually the common folk who get it the worst, but goddammit, it's got to stop somewhere.

Israel just waltzed in and has been doing its damndest to destroy a budding democracy who was just starting to get it's shit together, and why? Because a group the Lebanese government has no control over has been pecking at them. All of this over 2 soldiers, supposedly. Sounds more like they were just waiting for an excuse to go back in where they'd occupied before.

Now I can't condone terrorist acts by any of these smaller groups - but isn't that what helps define terrorism? Some smaller group acting against a larger established government? Legitimacy makes all the difference? Are you really going to sit there and tell me what Israel is doing is any different - bombing civilian centers and airports where it's own allies have thousands of citizens without warning, doing all it can to destroy a legitimate government to satisfy their own ends in going after a relatively small group that's unfortunately become a part of the nation they're so bent on destroying? It's different, some say? Why? Because they're bigger? Because they have the ability? Because 'we like them better'? Bullshit.

Opportunities missed. You want to take away the support of the common people for these violent groups, you have to win them over. Bombing them back to the stoneage, one might imagine, is probably not the best way to do that. It sounds as though the Lebanese would just as soon Hezzbollah not be using their nation as a base of operations either. Might it not have been perhaps more conducive to both winning friends and getting your way to, I don't know, HELPING the Lebanese government rebuild so it can take care of things? Working WITH them to try and remove the group together, rather than just bombing everything in sight? Offer aid and assistance rather than bombs and threats? And the audacity of the bastards, now saying 'sure, we'll accept a UN force there so long as you keep your nose out of our business'.

Every time these situations have blown up I've thought that's it, s' going to be all over now. Only this time, I'm starting to think they really have crossed that line, and it isn't going to end up pretty. Israel has pushed it too far, other nations there have been building up as well, and damned if pulling something like this isn't enough to unite them in coming down hard and heavy on Israel once and for all. With some of the comments being made on the news, I'm starting to wonder how far our own support will go. No doubt it'll go so far as it takes to keep nukes out of the hands of those we'd rather not have them in, but damned if a lot of pounding couldn't go on before we had to do something. Not that we're in much of a position to, given our involvement in Iraq and that whole mess still. Perhaps not the best timing on Israel's part to get all righteous rage on their unprepared neighbor.

So yeah, a bit of a rant there mixed in with remembrance and ample worry about the state of things in general. Don't even get me started on the whole religious angle on this - probably not what you might think. Signs of the times and all. Biblically seeing how it always seem like the Jewish people have had to get smacked down hard before they woke up and said 'oh, wait ...' It occurred to me the other night that if one of them is to happen, it's likely Israel is going to have to lose. The troubling thing is seeing how it's panning out, they might well be on their way to that.

Whatever the case, and whatever the arguments, I'm tired of the stress and fuss, and I'm tired of our nation politically supporting government-backed terrorism, while denouncing it and going after the bastards we don't like. Hypocrisy is never a pretty thing. And no, I don't blame our troops, for those who might look for that tangent. I've got the highest respect for those men and women. I blame our leadership and all the bullshit compromises and such that go on that put our soldiers in the positions they're in.

Probably not the most cohesive rantage here, but there you have it. It's past time I got to work, but I figured I'd get this out of my system, at least marginally, whilst it was bugging me again. I don't think I'll watch the news today in any case. It's just going to be more of the same, and frankly, since I know damn well no one involved is going to change their minds any time in the near future, and their heads are too damned set on 'destroy the infidel' and 'blow the shit out of those thrice-damned not-chosen-people' to even begin thinking of alternative solutions to what they've always done, there really isn't much point.

I feel sick enough this morning already.