Sunday, October 8, 2023

War in the Middle East

     Talk about foreshadowing. 
     Friday, I was digging through a box in the basement when I came across this framed poster, an old newsstand card from decades past. I didn't take it as any kind of augury. But it turned out to be. 
     Everything old is new again. Saturday morning the world awoke to a surprise attack on Israel from Hamas terrorists — only the New York Times calls them "militants" — firing thousands of rockets into Israel, infiltrating its southern border, gunning down civilians in the street, in their homes, kidnapping women and children and taking them back to Gaza. At least 600 Israelis killed, over 1,000 wounded, with Palestinians reporting at least 300 dead. On Sunday, Israel officially declare a state of war. 
     "War in Israel" was not on my calamity bingo card. But there it was, big as God, immediately turned into a political talking point. Donald Trump blamed Joe Biden — the recent unlocking of Iranian assets of course paid for the rockets.  A complete fabrication, of course. The money is still sitting in Qatar. But when did that ever stop him? 
     Far left sorts were worse, holding the unprovoked attack up as a reminder that all of Gaza and the West Bank must immediately be handed over to the Palestinians — the latest massive slaughter being a sign of their desire for peace, I suppose. As if a separate state would end it, as pulling out of Gaza in 2005 hadn't prompted the first rocket attacks. Or to go back further, Jordan and Egypt controlled all of those territories in 1967; didn't prevent them from massing to attack Israel. Yet some people chose to begin history with the latest Israeli counter-strike. Why is that, do you suppose?
      Their thinking seems to be: if only the Jews weren't living where they are now, why, everything would be great. Because they just ... don't ... belong. Both the Nazis and half the sophomores in America come to the same conclusion. The former viewed it as compassion for themselves, and the latter, as compassion for others, though a very selective compassion. 
      The thing to remember about talk of a independent Palestinian state is that Palestinians have never suggested that such a thing will be enough, or result in peace. They had the chance for a state, and said no. We're living in the aftermath of that blunder. Attacking one of the most advanced militaries in the world won't help them toward that end. I imagine they did it because Iran told them to. Maybe the new understanding with Saudi Arabia had to be strangled in the cradle somehow. 
      Speaking for myself, I couldn't help but wonder how much Benjamin Netanyahu's assault on Israeli democracy this past year might have to do with the nation being completely blindsided by this massive attack. When he was undercutting the judiciary, Israeli reservists were threatening not to serve a tyranny, and everyone was talking how this would undercut military readiness, which should make military readiness being in fact undercut not so much of a shock. 
     Something we need to bear in mind. A nation in crisis, tearing itself apart, is not a vigilant nation. Rather it is distracted, vulnerable. We in the United States might want to remember that in mid-November, when our government shuts down again.  We can ignore outside threats; that doesn't mean outside threats will ignore us. Israel has been reminded of that, the hard way.



24 comments:

  1. Well stated.
    But one sentence needs to be read every day:
    "A nation in crisis, tearing itself apart, is not a vigilant nation."

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  2. The abject stupidity of Hamas is amazing!They have no chance of ever winning & things will just get worse now in Gaza.
    But you can bet their will be hell to pay at Mossad for failing to know about this attack.

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    1. i'm sure mossad will pay, but let's not forget that the right wing extremists in the coalition moved the bulk of the IDF extant to "protect" the west bank settlements, leaving the south largely unprotected. monsters, like nature, abhors a vacuum and launched much of their attack in the unprotected territory to fill it. hamas needs to pay dearly for this despicable attack, but bibi and his allies have a lot of blood on their hands as well.
      paul w
      roscoe village

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  3. Unprovoked? They have been provoking one another for a long long time. I'm a far left type but still think these actions are appalling ! A Peaceful solution is what I have always backed. Instead more war. Excruciatingly sad. Very hard .

    You are correct with all the rest of your observations. Iran does not want peace. Not sure Netenyahoo does either. He wants power at any cost. The cost is very high.

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    1. For many on the left, it is the provocation of Israel existing in the first place, plus the insult of trying to prevent attacks such as this one.

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  4. Whether or not Iran ordered Hamas' suicidal provocation, I cannot imagine what possible benefit the Palestinian cause and Palestinians in general can hope to achieve by it. Israel will no doubt be accused of various atrocities as they answer, as they must, killing with killing squared. The insanity continues.

    john

    john

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    1. You try being basically caged up for decades, not having your electricity cut off, not having food, having your homes taken away so Jewish settlers can move in. I am Jewish and I regard this as practiccally a genocide.

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    2. So am I, boychik...I'm OOTT (One Of The Tribe)...and not all Jews have any great love for Israel, mainly because of its treatment of the Palestinians for...what?...five...six...seven decades now? In my case, it's been a good half-century or so.

      Blind faithfulness, toward anything that the Israelis do, seems to be the mantra for most of America's Jewish population, and any wavering or dislike or outrage is looked upon as disloyalty, treason, and being a self-hating Jew. Or, as I was labeled on another site, long ago and far away, a Slef-hating Jew. That was okay by me, I replied...I didn't care much for the Slefs, either. And Priority One, along with my loyalty and my patriotism, is for these flawed and divided Untied Snakes, not somewhere I've never been and will probably never visit. Especially now.

      A less-than-funny story: In 1971, when my "strong dislike" originated, my Swedish girlfriend and I worked for the Hillel Foundation, the largest Jewish campus organization in the world. We were non-student hippies who cooked and cleaned at the chapter in Boulder. I was working a party when I heard a couple of students talking about "fighting for Israel" and possibly helping to evict the Palestinians and then living in one of the new settlements.

      I advised them to think about addressing the many issues in their own benighted States, including the shabby treatment of our own minorities (can you say gentrification, kids?), before embarking on a crusade of carnage half a world away. They told the rabbi, a nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn. And that, plus our using the wrong set of dishes (the ones for Kosher use only), got the two of us fired.

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    3. John has put it succinctly. I'd love to ask whoever claims to be in charge of Hamas, "What exactly did you think would happen as a result of your attack? Did the counterattack surprise you? If so, why? If not, how does your attack benefit the people in Gaza?"

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  5. Gathering info and intelligence is one thing. It's what leaders do with that info that counts.

    Stalin was given plenty of warning about a NAZI invasion. He did nothing.

    We knew that an attack on Pearl Harbor was a possibility, and radar picked up the incoming planes. The attack went as planned.

    George Bush was warned about al Qaeda, and the FBI issued warnings about suspected terrorists taking flying lessons. We all know what happened.

    History has plenty more examples of these failures to see the obvious.

    Neil's right. We need functioning government, especially democracies. We do not have the luxury of indulging nihilistic bomb throwers like the freedom caucus and Tommy Tuberville, to name but a few.

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    1. The planes the Hawaii radars picked were thought to be a scheduled arriving fleet of B-17s from the mainland, by the people in charge at the radars. Unfortunately, they were wrong, as the Japanese attacked from the north, which was very unexpected.

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    2. Great comment, James.

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    3. Israel's intelligence and spy networks, supposedly among the best in the world, certainly dropped the matzo ball on this one. How could they Nazi this coming? Just recently, I replied to someone who was posting somewhere about the upcoming anniversary of the Yom Kippur War of 1973 on October 6th. And that event did not go unnoticed by Israel's enemies.

      The 2023 date that will live in infamy was not picked out of a keffiyeh. It was the big trifecta...the anniversary of a surprise attack, the Jewish sabbath day (Saturday), and a Jewish holiday as well...Simchat Tora, the celebratory Jewish holiday that marks the completion of the annual Torah reading cycle. Simchat Torah literally means "Rejoicing in the Law" in Hebrew. (Just for the record, the 1973 attacks also began on a Saturday, and on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement...the most sacred and solemn day in the Jewish calendar, the day to reflect on the past year and ask forgiveness for any sins).

      So nobody in the Israeli intelligence community...Aman (military intelligence), Mossad (overseas intelligence) and Shabak (internal security)...not one person in charge...thought "Hey, there's a BIG milestone date coming up pretty soon. We need an alert. What if..." Seriously? And nobody sniffed out a thing? This is not only on a par with Pearl Harbor, but it's as though somebody planned a terrorist attack on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor...when December 7 fell on a Sunday. And nobody in Israel heard a peep? The mind boggles.

      Mr. S nailed it again...about how a nation in crisis, tearing itself apart, is not a vigilant nation. Distracted, vulnerable, engrossed in gossip and trivia and celebrity worship and football. We might want to remember our own history, and how in early December, 1941, America was bitterly divided over our entry into the fight against fascism.

      Lindbergh was railing against England and blaming the war on Europe's Jews and telling the Jews at home to shut up. Dolt 45's America First movement was not the first in America. We believed that two vast oceans would protect us from outside threats. Aircraft carriers put the kibosh on that one. And now, just to name one adversary, Kim is just a shot away. So are the big boys.

      Asia, Ukraine, and now the Middle East. I'm not a praying man. But if I were, I'd send one or two Joe's way. He needs all the help he can get. So do the rest of us.

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    4. Edited to add: My reply to "a posting somewhere"... about the upcoming anniversary of the Yom Kippur War (October 6, 1973)...was actually to Mr. S, in the EGD of September 26....a mere eleven days before the latest Middle East war burst upon the world. As the Beaver might have said: "Gee, that's really creepy, Wally..."

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  6. Preemptive retaliatory attacks though common throughout the world are generally frowned upon. Knowing a threat exists
    and taking action to neutralize it can be politically inconvenient.

    Many actions that have been taken to improve conditions in the West Bank and Gaza have been resisted by internal forces in those territories.

    It's hard to understand why people would choose conflict over Peace but when it benefits them it is often their choice.



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  7. Speaking of Nazis, today's hero image is of the Nazi chess set sculpted circa 1940 by German artist Georg Fuhg while he was an occupier in the Netherlands. The Rijksmuseum's collection page https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/collection/NG-C-2011-1 has no pictures because of copyright. You can find more info at https://www.soldatini.eu/2020/06/chess-set-in-rijksmuseum-amsterdam.html. The proprietor’s photo is one of the best I could find of this intriguing piece. I am sad it took a tragic reescalation of this war to surface it. Fuhg’s German Wikipedia page, https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georg_Fuhg, makes no mention of it.

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    1. It caught my attention at the Rijksmuseum — he was a German soldier, occupying the Netherlands, and made the set, which was displayed at the Rijksmuseum in 1943. Around the board are names of occupied nations, and I noticed he put England among them — a tad over-optimistic, as events turned out.

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    2. Yes, and the "USW" he added after England one presumes stands for “und so weiter” – “and so forth”. The set is thought to have been a gift from Gestapo leader Himmler to the chief Dutch collaborator, so it could have been an attempt to flatter his patrons rather than a deluded prognostication.

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  8. 🤷🏽Trans John/Karen 3/22October 8, 2023 at 2:38 PM

    Mostly at the moment, I fear for the lives of the hostages. Especially the women, for reasons that should be apparent. These are not nice people, and they have a history of brutalizing Israeli women that goes back to the birth of the country.
    Today, the usual slugs are blaming Biden. Tomorrow, of course, it will be Israel’s “WOKE” military, and let that be a warning to us all that we need to get rid of these groomers and perverts that are destroying our own military! (I hope everybody understands I am using sarcasm). Of course, everybody know it’s Obama’s fault.

    I know it’s ‘just’ a historical novel, but in ‘Exodus’, Leon Uris summed up in less than two pages what happened to what had been the brilliance of the Islamic world at a time when the remnants of the Holy Roman Empire closely resembled the ‘bring out your dead!’ scene from ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’. Invasions from without, which led to the beginning of their own version of the Dark Ages, destroying knowledge and replacing it with ignorance and superstition, and finally replacing any semblance of government with fiefdoms presided over by people who kept power by fomenting hatred and violence. Note well those last two items, Americans.
    Israel, as it must and always has, will respond ruthlessly. They’re tough, tougher than any of these backseat drivers sitting over here could ever imagine. Which will also assist Netanyahu in his quest to remake Israel to his own advantage. The terrorists who instigated this carnage will go before the world and play the victim, as is the Palestinian tradition, and most of the world will eat their nonsense up with a spoon.
    Even if they start murdering the hostages.

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  9. The U.S. had been distracted for two years by a completely unnecessary and overblown impeachment of Bill Clinton ahead of 9/11. This may have led to less vigilance. And that's the observation not of a liberal, but of one of Trump's Supreme Court justices who participated in the legal shenanigans that paralyzed the Clinton administration.

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    1. Geez, more baloney from Brett who seems to forget the void of 2.5 years between Clinton's acquittal in the Senate in February of 1999 and 9/11/01. Thanks for sharing his absurd defense of the Bush admin not paying attention to intelligence that was warning of something potentially catastrophic on the near horizon in August of 2001. I had not heard this bull before.

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  10. Imagine if Trump had a BBQ. A celebration.

    What was the occasion?

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  11. I think everyone should watch this video did 6 years agon interviewng people on
    the street. I believe it was in Tel Aviv. I imagine there is more hatred today than there
    was then, if that is possible. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1e_dbsVQrk4&t=61s

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