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Whether To Be Condemned To Death Or Just Condemned
Which would you choose? Here's a letter to the editor in the German lefty daily, Der Tagesspiegel, posted by Andrew Sullivan:

I lived until 2002 in a small southern village near Mardshajund that is inhabited by a majority of Shias like me. After Israel left Lebanon, it did not take long for Hezbollah to take have its say in other towns. Received as successful resistance fighters and armed to the teeth, they stored rockets in bunkers in our town as well. The social work of the Party of God consisted in building a school and a residence over these bunkers! A local sheikh explained to me laughing that the Jews would lose in any event because the rockets would either be fired at them or if they attacked the rockets depots, they would be condemned by world opinion on account of the dead civilians. These people do not care about the Lebanese population, they use them as shields, and, once dead, as propaganda. As long as they continue existing there, there will be no tranquility and peace.

Posted by aalkon at August 3, 2006 7:15 AM

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This is why i think Israel is doing the right thing....these people need to have thier faces kicked in for good. Then they need to get after Iran because thats where a lot of this crap stems from.....these people hate Israel and the West and they make no bones about it either. i was dumbfounded and enraged when i heard that Rep from Deerborne Heights, Michigan saying that he's "not for or against Hezbollah" WHAT? He might be saying that because of the large population of Middle Easterners who live there however, WE ARE IN AMERICA DICKWEED!!!! OF COURSE YOU'RE AGAINST HEZBOLLAH! But i'll bet the curry is good there.....mmmmm....chicken tikka favorite.

I'm as much as a liberal fuckwit as anyone but c'mon folks....these people hate you and are dead set against you dying by any means possible.

This stuff

Posted by: Rob at August 3, 2006 6:09 AM

"these people need to have thier faces kicked in for good" - this sounds great in theory (fairly gets the blood boiling!) but in practice it doesn't work out too well. Do you need examples?

I'm not for Hizbullah or against Israel, just trying to find a solution that works. Unfortunately I don't have much of an alternative idea (except my crazy one for giving them so much stuff they don't know what to do).

Posted by: Norman at August 3, 2006 7:05 AM

Actually, while I suggested on a Pajamas podcast I did with Glenn Reynolds and Austin Bay that globalization is the best answer (getting rid of poverty is the best way to get rid of fanatics), I think giving people a lot of stuff is only going to make things worse. Welfare doesn't breed self-determination. Quite the contrary.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 3, 2006 8:01 AM

Amy, Linsky/Brokesy

There's not a lot I wouldn't do in support of Jewish people as a global force. Considering what happend to Judaism just before my generation arrived on the planet, you gotta figure it's an implicit responsibility.

On the other hand, this particular nation is just not working out. All the Israeli anger and certitude and decency and democracy and brilliance is up against 120 million surrounding Arabs and Muslims who want them dead. My mother says 40% of the Israel's population at the time of it's founding was Arab. Three or four generations later, those people are still living under a government to which they feel no allegiance. I understand that as nations go, this is typical... Even as the States were founded, we had millions of folks literally roped into participation who weren't happy about it. But it's not the American way.

And it's not practical. Too many corrupt nations are using Israel as a distraction from their own incompetence. Isreal may have righteousness, clarity and will on their side. But their opponents are armed with numbers, nihilism and stupidity. One doesn't have to be cynical to see that the outcome will not be good.

And time is passing, technology-wise. Israel may not have too many conventional wars like this left on the docket.

Posted by: Crid at August 3, 2006 8:12 AM

Crid, you're right. The Arabs will never stop wanting to kill the Israelis and Jews in general. Being Jews landed in that particular part of the world is a big problem. Once again, unfortunately, the problems go back to the primitive belief in god and the ensuing notion that a Jewish state must be in Israel. If the Jews in Israel would accept a chunk of Baja and leave the land in Israel to the Islamic nutwads a good part of the Islamic nutwads' ammunition would be neutralized. Of course, there are those calls to kill anybody who isn't Muslim that we wouldn't have managed with this, but I don't think that breeds the same sort of furor in people as the conflict in Israel does. Of course, as a rational human being, it's easy for me to say, "Okay, so you'll miss the Western Wall, but think of all the kids who'll get to grow up because you've left it behind." Primitive religious belief is behind too much tragedy in this world.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 3, 2006 8:27 AM


I'm not suggesting giving stuff to eliminate poverty. I'm proposing economic conflict, as a less murderous alternative to armed conflict. As you say, welfare doesn't breed self-determination - it's bad for you. Small scale dumping hurst small scale merchants in third world countries . Large scale dumping of consumer goods might destroy an enemy's economy. What would it cost? Well, we (ie the US, mostly) can apparently afford to spend several hundred billion dollars on troops and weapons that destroy things in, say, Iraq, so that's the sort of budget we'd have to play with. Now imagine that money being spent, by the US government, buying all sorts of consumer goods to drop on the enemy. Imagine what that would do to the US economy - it'd be party time.

Not sure it would work with Hezbullah though - they don't have an economy to destroy.

Posted by: Norman at August 3, 2006 10:56 AM

Amy, I agree with you on the globalization thing. But I think in many ways globalization is precisely what the religious nutters are fighting against. They can't have their wimminfolk driving cars, for godssake, or walking around with their faces showing! Next thing you know, they'll want to wear make-up and pants! And what happens if you start letting kids watch MTV and surf the Internet? What happens when they find out there are better things to do with their lives than strap bombs to themselves and get blown up? Well they just can't have that.

The good news is, I think globalization is going to happen anyway. There are a few bright lights in Islamic society who are starting to speak up. Those old farts running the show over there will die of old age eventually, and the younger generations will think owning an Ipod is way cooler than an AK-47.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at August 3, 2006 1:55 PM

I think you're right about the globalisation. Religious intolerance survives when the infidels are far away and can therefore be safely demonized, and caricatured as monkeys or pigs. Because they're far away, or kept rigorously separate, there's no evidence to the contrary, namely that they're people like you or me.

The web is changing all that, more powerfully than travel, books, mail, radio, and television did before. It is relentlessly rubbing our noses in the details of each other's lives, opening doors and revealing knowledge to people who were previously kept in ignorance. I'd love to know what Marshall McLuhan would say about it.

The result is that we all become neighbours, and if your outlook is that everyone who thinks different from you deserves to die, then you will have trouble adjusting to your new neighbours. I think we *will* adjust in time, if we don't blow ourselves up first, but it is not going to be pretty.

Posted by: Norman at August 4, 2006 3:29 AM

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