Tuesday, January 20, 2009

if might makes right...

there is a comment on the post "gaza and the evil of choice" below.

the comment by mr. khazen calls to mind a few issues that i should rather clarify: first, i do not believe in "terrorism". acts that are construed by political pundits as terrorism are either one form or another of war or acts that constitute a crime, a felony. the two rather meld, actually, for war in itself is the biggest and wholesale crime... albeit, without a punishment to speak of (1).

if the premise in any situation, case, problem, dilemma whatever is that "might makes right" and battle is the way to might, every phenomenon has to be judged by that criterion.

the kernel of "might", though, lies beyond a mere physical (military, diplomacy, police, arsenal, intelligence, etc.) strength to coerce. might is also an abstract capacity to influence outcomes by influencing the way people feel, think, live and experience the world - science is might. art is might. aesthetics is might. a deliciou cuisisne is might. a beautiful woman is might. anything that expands and enriches the possible field of human experience, what existential/phenomenologist jargon records as "noemasis" is might.

israel is a legitimate political entity. in terms of "pure", muscular might, israel is right. it has won three all-out wars against arab powers that at least on paper, were incomparably stronger. it has waged another and longer war against the belligerency of the plo and yassir arafat. it has successfully maneuvered to devoid the philistines of the support of arabs through clever usage of diplomatic opportunities (2). when the going got rough, it was usually the israeli forces that came on top from clashes, even beirut in 2007 is scantly classifiable as a definitive defeat.

israel has committed atrocious acts during these wars but the effect of those crimes have largely evaporated inside the greater crime, the war - not because people are vilely pro-israel but because a stupid interpretation of history accords a totally unreasonable dose of totally undeserved legitimacy to war.

the philistines, on the other hand, have constantly lost in the battlefields. they also have committed atrocious deeds which are an inevitable, even natural collateral of war. they have also committed atrocious deeds which are not any inevitable or natural collateral of war against uninvolved parties. therefore, their atrocities are remembered as "philistine terrorism". that made pariahs of the philistines for decades, not because they were constant losers, not because their diplomacy was incompetent (3) but because the philistines and their supporters failed to convince the world of their non-violent might since, if anything, they had too little to contribute to the welfare and well being of humanity in general.

to every arab novelist, at least a hundred jews prevail; to each doctor, maybe thousands, same for artists, rocket physicists, playwrites, captains, football players, orchestra conductors etc.,

and humor. the israeli and jews in general are quite capable of turning self mockery into universal comedy - which is an extension of an ability to be critically introspective. not much in that department can be said in praise of arabs or more generally, muslims either.

to sum, israel won all the military battles - and possibly the war, too-; it also gained a place in people's minds that accords them the land they live on. whether it is promised or not is a moot debate, it is a land that they won. so go the spoils of war.

similarly, the world recognized the philistines' right to their own land and state and did a lot to pressure israel to acknowledge that right, as well.

with hamas, though, they decided to gamble on that gain and lost again. first, they lost their unity, now their credibility. except the obvious suspects, even those most critical of israel hardly utter a word in support of hamas (4). to it goes none of the sympathy extended to victims.

personally, i am adamantly anti-hamas and anti-iran. that does not make me particularly pro-israeli. but given the choice between a philosophy represented by the former of venerating death and destruction and by israel of a life far more worth enjoying; i cast my ballot along with a world that is capable of thinking as well as feeling.

my heart, too, goes to the innocent, the helpless, the destitute of gaza and their misery. however, my sympathy can achieve too little; too deep are the roots of hate and loathing that allows hamas and its likes their bloody playgrounds, for even a chimerical philistine victory to obliterate.

that leaves me one option: to reason. and i do not believe that my line of reasoning is faultier than that of hamas and its supporters, who still have nothing to advocate but war and seek victory in the havoc they have caused their fellow philistines.

(1) sort of makes "war crimes" an oxymoron, right? the best that humanity, even in "modern" times, could come up was blame atrocities on vanquished commanders; thus but adding to the false legitimacy of the original and generic atrocity.
(2) israel's main tactical failure so far, is allowing the philistines to divide between fatah and hamas, allowing the latter a margin of legitimacy in the region's affairs as iran's lackey.
(3) the sole arab diplomatic victory is the 1973 oil embargo which only backfired and in essence, the embargo was another form of sable rattling. as a matter of fact, any political progress the arabian side has made since 1967 is the consequence of western and essentially american initiatives to resolve the middle east issue.
(4) one rare and vocal advocate of hamas, turkey's premier tayyib efendi seems to have lost considerable sympathy at home and abroad and is likely to face america's cold shoulder in upcoming political or financial deals.

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