Over the past couple of weeks, I have had a number of email exchanges with my mother, who is almost ready to but still not quite willing to shed all of her wingnut leanings and thoughts. They are mainly about the appalling lack of willingness on Bush's or Condi's (or pretty much anyone in this administration) part to call for an immediate ceasefire in the Israel/Lebanon "situation". However, I have experienced the same theme here as I have in the past when it came to debating Iraq, Afghanistan as well as Israel/Palestine.
The discussions aren't always with my mother - sometimes they are with my father, a friend, or others in a larger overall conversation. But the theme is always the same. Bombings of innocent people, torturing of prisoners or overwhelmingly aggressive and destructive military action that may not result in killings but do result in displacement of thousands as well as destruction of cities are explained away and "justified" by any number of reason. And I am sure that many of us here have been in similar conversations over the past few years.
But what it really boils down to is this: You are either for finding a peaceful solution, regardless of how difficult it is or how long the odds are, or you are for the justification of killing more people for whatever reason makes you sleep better at night.
What prompted me to write this diary today are the discussions that I had with my mother over the past week or so regarding Israel and Lebanon. She is an "email forwarder" - everything from the "forward this to 10 people or else..." to other bits of "wisdom" or whatever it may be. Lately, there has been a lot of the anti-Muslim propaganda and pro-Israel propaganda. Her thoughts include the following gems:
"Muslims want to kill anyone that doesn't believe in what they believe in."
"They hate everyone that doesn't believe in their beliefs."
"They only wish that Hitler did a better job."
"The Muslim world who rules over the rest of the innocent Muslims are far more vocal and far more militant. They do not want anyone other than themselves ruling the world."
"This is about hatred of jews by the rest of the world."
"The Jews have been bombarded by every militant group, not just Lebanese and Palestines since the beginning of time.. Also in the text of the Islam bible, it specifically states to kill whoever does not believe what you believe and that means Jews. I don't like innocents killed any more than you do, but Israelis have been "picked on" (can't think of the real word I'm thinking of) and Jews have been the target of hate for a bizillion years. It wasn't just two soldiers (you and I both know that the truth in getting out the news is quite biased) and again, Jews have been giving back the land after every battle that has come across borders of the countries invovled."
There was also the "don't forget that you are jewish and how many of your ancestors died for many of your freedoms". Of course, the "we both know it wasn't only two soldiers" line was both inaccurate and indicative of the deeper problem. Even if it was more than two soldiers, was massive bombings, including innocent children and UN people in Lebanon an appropriate response?
Not to this guy.
And to not have this be solely about Israel, since that is not my point, the same has held true in Iraq. I wrote a diary a few weeks back titled "They would have grown up to become terrorists anyway" which talked about experiences that I had with friends and family regarding the torturing of Iraqi and Afghani prisoners - some beaten to death, only to be found innocent of any crimes after the fact.
Yes, I am jewish. But that doesn't mean that because of what happened tens, hundreds or thousands of years ago that it is ok to bomb and kill innocent children in Qana. And yes, I am American. But that doesn't mean that it is ok to use white phosphorus in Iraq.
One of the ironic things about my mother's comments is that she has never even read a "Cliff's Notes" version of the Koran - she still gets her info from me and from Fox News. Of course, even though she is an email forwarder, she doesn't forward any of my writings (and probably, sadly, doesn't read most of it either). Another is that she is generally a very warm and caring person. But my grandfather was fairly religious, and I guess that she gets the "religious blinders" on from time to time.
Also, I find it ironic how she points to the "militant religious Muslim extremists" who want to take over the world and hold the influence over the rest of the Muslim world but completely ignores (which I told her) the Dobson/Robertson whacko Christian militant extremists who hold the influence over the rest of us sane Americans.
Killing leads to more killing. Plain and simple. If your town or house is raided or bombed, or if a family member is killed by a bomb or by "accident", chances are that you are going to be pissed and hold a grudge.
We already know how little regard Dear Leader has for human life. However, not only tacitly approving the continued violence between Hezbollah and Israel but also sending missiles to Israel while not calling for an immediate ceasefire is, in Condi's own words, "grotesque".
But sadly, we see this attitude:
"If Israel were to stop its bombing campaign against Hezbollah in return for Hezbollah stopping its Katyusha rockets, it would mean a tie, and a tie in this sort of deadly game, a draw, is actually a victory for the underdog, for Hezbollah," Amir Oren, a Ha'aretz correspondent told CBS News.
Plus, Hezbollah has already indicated that they will reject the ceasefire call. But what if Bush and Condi both took a strong stance for the human race and immediately called for a ceasefire? Would Qana have happened? Would both sides have dug their heels in deeper?
Again, it doesn't only extend to Israel - not by a longshot. It also includes the talking meatsticks, the wingnuts, the 101st fighting keyboardists and even "Johnny-come-latelys" such as Hillary Clinton and Holy Joe Lieberman who want to throw more troops at a growing clusterfuck in Iraq. Or shifting troops to Baghdad in order to kill more people that are trying to kill each other.
No matter how you look at it, no matter what country, religious group or conflict you are talking about, there is a stark contrast. Either you are for killing people to advance your cause or you are not. Whether you feel your cause is "more noble" is meaningless. It just means that you can justify killing innocent people.
And there is no way to get around that.