Kynn on the Iraq/Palestine Parallel

Kynn of Shock & Awe points to a Yahoo! News image of the US Army destroying Iraqi homes, and constructs a thought-provoking comparison between the US and Israel as occupying powers: Home demolitions.

I think he’s got a good point. Pay attention to what life is like in and around Israel these days. Because George Bush is absolutely following in Ariel Sharon’s footsteps. That’s our future as a nation we’re looking at, the logical end of countering force with more force, random violence against innocents with still more random violence against innocents, death with more death.

We need another way. We need to find a path to a world where differences with our neighbors don’t have to be capital offenses. I know that the right-wing types, especially those who have had their values systematically dismantled and re-assembled as part of their service in the military, will dismiss such talk as hopelessly naive. I understand where they’re coming from. They’re absolutely right — from a certain point of view.

But so am I, from a different point of view. We need a new, larger frame of reference that encompasses both truths. Resolving this ambiguity, the ambiguity between short-term realism and long-term idealism, is our main challenge as a species right now. It will absolutely determine the kind of world our descendants live in.

We need to move beyond our current system. We need another way, a different future. We need leaders wise enough to see that future, brave enough to commit to it, and skilled enough to actually take us there.

George Bush is not that leader. I’m still not sure, in all honesty, that any of the current Democratic challengers is, either, but I know for a fact that George Bush isn’t. He’s at the opposite pole. In his lack of insight, his blunt willingness to reduce complex issues to the simplest formulations, and, especially, in the darker undercurrents of his personality that lead him to set his jaw and dish out righteous vengeance to those he too-quickly identifies as the source of his troubles, he is absolutely taking us in the wrong direction. It’s the same direction Ariel Sharon has been taking Israel for the last few years, and it’s not hard to see where it leads. It’s a downward spiral of ever-increasing violence. It’s a tunnel with no light at the end, a hole, a pit, a collective mass grave.

It’s a good place for us not to be going.

2 Responses to “Kynn on the Iraq/Palestine Parallel”

  1. Michael Williams Says:

    The problem with finding a “new way” is that it requires both sides to abstain from violence. If one side decides to start using violence, then the other side must either respond in kind, or surrender. Thus, there is always incentive for one side to begin using violence as soon as it appears that the nonviolent methods aren’t going their way.

    It’s basic game theory, and there’s no way around it.

  2. John Callender Says:

    And yet human beings have somehow managed to surmount these problems in the past. At one time there was no real alternative to violence as a means of settling disputes between neighboring bands. Then larger-scale identities, and an expanding sphere within which the rule of law held sway, began to be created. As a result, humans were able to resolve disputes with their neighbors at greater and greater distances without needing to kill each other. First tribes, then city-states, and so on, up to the current situation, where at least under some conditions we’re able to keep at least the worst forms of unrestrained violence from being the primary means of settling our differences across fairly wide distances.

    That’s a simplistic version of events, I realize, but I think it’s cause for hope. The same arguments you advance could just as easily have been used in earlier times to explain why it would never be possible for Athens and Sparta to solve their disputes without going to war. But I think most people would agree that in today’s world, at least, that is no longer the case. How do you account for that?

    I think the appearance of nuclear weapons at the end of World War II gave a collective shock to the people of the world. Suddenly the stakes in the struggle to transcend war as a tool for solving international disputes became much, much higher. Sadly, I think people like George Bush, and the PNAC folks who currently have his ear, lack the wisdom, or the imagination, to appreciate that the underlying rules of the “game” have changed. They think they can still “win” the old game.

    I think they’re wrong. And I’m not willing to accept that collective self-immolation is our only option. Again, it’s a matter of frames of reference. At one time people knew for a fact that human beings could not cross oceans, could not fly, could not travel to other worlds — and conventional wisdom at the time dictated that such would always be the case. Within a sufficiently constrained frame of reference, those opinions were accurate. Within a larger frame of reference, though, they were completely wrong, as today’s world proves.

    I’m not asking you to deny things that you know to be true. I’m asking you to examine your frame of reference to see if, by expanding it, you can find possibilities that you currently don’t see.

    Well, actually, I’m not asking you to do that; it’s up to you whether you want to do that or not. But that’s what I was trying to do when I posted this item.

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