Tuesday, July 18, 2006

In defense of Israel and other thoughts on the Middle East

I have watched, intermittently this weekend, the turmoil in the Middle East. I'm tempted to throw my hands up and say that peace is impossible in the Middle East and we can hope that only combatants are killed. That is the easiest route, but a big shirk of my duties as a self-appointed pundit.

So let's talk Middle East peace...

The Old Man had an analogy to explain the role of Hezbollah in the Lebanese government. "I think a rough comparison would be like the Democrats in the USA deciding at a party planning meeting to mobilize their own people to start a shooting war against illegal immigrants crossing the Mexican border, and the Mexican army mounting a full-scale attack on American civilians in response. Imagine how the Bush administration would feel: supposedly "in charge" of the USA government, but suddenly stuck in the middle of a war they did not start nor want. While analogies surely have their limits, I think this is a fair suggestion of where the beleaguered Lebanese government finds itself at present."

And his analogy is close, but it falls short of what exactly the situation is on the ground. A more accurate analogy would be that the Democratic Party having a standing militia along the southern border that is armed with missiles from Cuba. Several times a week, this Democratic militia would launch these rockets into Mexican towns and villages indiscriminately. Meanwhile, the Republican majority government didn't do anything to stop them or disarm them. Eventually, the Democratic militia decides to invade Mexico, kill several policemen and kidnap two others.

Now we can debate whether Mexico would be justified by bombing bridges in Chicago, but there is no doubt that Mexico would be justified to retaliate. They were attacked and have the right to self-defense. And I'm not sure that Democrats could ever claim that Mexico retaliated too hard.

gurufrisbee had a very pointed remark that has made me think. "Aren't Hezbollah and Hamas the democratically elected leaders in their countries? I thought I heard that. If that's true, it sure makes one wonder about the wisdom and direction of using the argument for our continued negative presence in Iraq to be the need to establish democracy there. Apparently democracy doesn't work real well in the Middle East. At least not the way the US wants it to."

I've been in favor of action in Iraq because, up until last week, no two democratically elected countries have ever gone to war against each other. A democratic Iraq would make the world a safer place. Now, that isn't a slam-dunk. I completely reject the idea that democracy in the Middle East is an impossibility because Jordan and Kuwait are moving toward it as we speak. I don't have all the answers on this yet.

I'm definitely supportive of Israel on this specific incident. I can't say I support them unequivocally, but I think the arguments in why the Left should be supporting Israel and Gene's question of If not now, when? are very convincing.

What do you think?

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