Silly me. I actually took the bait, flopped my fingers on the keyboard, and wrote a new column about the Israeli-Palestinian situation, when all I had to do was dig back into the archives and pluck out a completely-serviceable old one. Here is a column from ... well, I'll let you guess. Read it, see if there is a comma that is no longer relevant, alas. At the end I'll give you the date, as a sad coda.
Whatever your motive, attacking nations is usually bad for you. Dangerous even when you're a big powerful country attacking a weaker nation, like Nazi Germany when it invaded Poland in 1939. The Germans had high hopes, rolling across the border. But it did not end well for them. Even a nation acting on high moral principles, such as the United States was supposedly doing five years ago when it invaded Iraq, will run into trouble. The war is now universally viewed as folly that cost the lives of 4,100 American soldiers and --get ready for a statistic you don't read much -- some 100,000 Iraqi civilians. As bad an idea as it is for nations, it's an even worse idea for non-nations. Were I to decide to wage war on America -- say by firing homemade rockets from my back deck into the surrounding neighborhood -- retribution would be swift. The local police force would no doubt surround the house -- a more powerful force, by the way, than myself and my paltry homemade rockets. Even, dare I say it, a disproportionate force . . . You see where I'm going with this. While nobody wants to see civilians die, at some point -- and that point seems to be now, at long last -- the world is going to realize that by constantly firing missiles into Israel, Hamas is calling hell down upon itself and its people. The rocket attacks were not fighting for their new nation, but forestalling it. A dispassionate observer would note that what Hamas is vowing now after Israel's deadly reply -- to visit more destruction upon it -- is exactly what they were vowing before. Peace will come the day Palestinians decide they would rather build a real, limited nation today than die on the altar of a theoretical, unlimited future idyll. That day, alas, tarries. — first published in the Sun-Times, Dec. 29, 2008