Thursday, August 31, 2006

Would 'Jason' Schocken, 'Menelaus' Abramovitch and 'Tobias' Avneri...

Please, just leave the country. Please go away. Go to Europe. Go to New York. Take your entourage with you. Please let us live in peace, instead of injecting our body politic with moral malignancy. (Oh, what are the nicknames? See here.)

Shahar Ilan on the current state of affairs.

War? No way
Shahar Ilan

One of the most obvious conclusions of the war and its consequent protest movement is that for a large and influential part of the public, the concept of a war of no choice has ceased to exist. From this perspective, every war that Israel initiates (or at least every war that claims lives) is a war of choice and is illegitimate. And, anyway, there is no calling for a war. So what if most of the public, including residents of the North, thought that the second Lebanon war was an absolutely vital war. War is a harsh thing, painful and dirty, and therefore it is very easy to gnaw at its support. Fact. It happened.

There might have been no other government with a more legitimate casus belli than the junior officers' government of Ehud Olmert and Amir Peretz. Neither is suspected of harboring dreams of conquest and heroics. And if this limited operation has proved to be a size too large on a center-left government, and has led to a protest movement that threatens to overthrow the (newly elected) government, then it is obvious that a rightist government, or a generals' government, would have received much less leeway.

From now on every government will have to take into account that a substantial and influential part of public opinion does not consider any number of lives lost to be acceptable. In such an atmosphere, with headlines counting the dead each day, every war is a predetermined defeat; if not military, then at least moral. Another conclusion is that every war in Israel will end in a committee of inquiry (or several committees). The only war that will win full public support will be one in which Israel is attacked first. But then again a committee of inquiry will be set up to investigate the intelligence failure to predict it (or to predict it more accurately), and the army's lack of preparedness (or insufficient preparedness). And therefore every war will be conducted under the threat of a committee of inquiry, and every general will conquer a little, mop up, but mainly cover up and brush off responsibility. And perhaps in order to expedite, shorten and improve the procedures, a committee of inquiry should be appointed right at the beginning of a war, starting to gather materials and sending warnings for the failures that have taken place, and those yet to take place.

It is particularly hard to understand the rightists' enthusiasm over the inquiry committee. The ritual of the committee of inquiry is part of the "legalization" of the political establishment. If a problem is not decided in the political arena (and nearly nothing today is decided in the political arena), you turn to the High Court of Justice. And if a problem is not solved at the High Court of Justice, you set up a committee of inquiry.
Because if this war topples Olmert's government, there is a very likely possibility that next time there is a need to launch a war, no one will have the guts to say so. And, finally, when war will come knocking at an inconvenient time and circumstance, it might be tenfold more terrible and claim many more lives than a preventive war. One hopes that Prime Minister Olmert will stand firm against the pressure and not set up a state committee of inquiry. If he folds, it is already foreseeable what the next committee of inquiry will be investigating: the question of why didn't we engage in the next war while it was still small, like the second Lebanon war, and waited for it grow, and become the second Yom Kippur War.


Anonymous said...

Myobiter, I share you revulsion, frustration, and anger at these people and their ideas. But we cannot tell them to leave. For, whether we like it or not, they are entitled (yes, entitled) to Israel just as much as any Jew.
And whether we like it or not they are Jews, brothers.
Hate the sin, not the sinner.

The work that has to be done is to bring them closer, not distance them.

Jeffrey said...

Notice who I cited and who I didn't. As far as I can see, these specific people would really rather not be here. They would prefer to be part of the great Western expanse. They would really rather not have Israel exist, at least not as a Jewish State. So my response is, 'Bitte.' If you so don't like it, go where you'll be happy. Please, however, don't destroy me, my country and my people. Don't undermine our will to live and to fight, in the face of forces seeking to destroy us.

There is something ungodly awful about a group that works full time to destroy a country's will to live and then can be counted upon to use its resources to leave on the first plane when they succeed.

If they'll do Teshuvah. Fine. I'm all for it. After all, it's Elul.