Middle East Mayhem
My friend is a South African who is living in Isreal and serving in the army. Like most people serving with him, he's doing it because he has to, because the only alternatives are jail or being unemployable in yet another country. He is no more keen to be kidnapped or blown up than anyone else on the street, civilian or not. But he's caught up in the middle of the only logical result of an attempt to reason with fundamentalists, and for that reason I am afraid for him.
Yes, you read me right, I agree that Israel has made the right choice, purely because it was the only choice they had. They have been trying to do the impossible - to reason with religious fundamentalists and try to make them obey laws other than those of Holy Writ. This is impossible, by the very definition of what makes someone a fundamentalist: the insistence that the holy word is the last word in any argument.
So yes, the inevitable happened. The Lebanese government has ignored all attempts to negotiate peace, and continued to associate themselves with Hezbollah, whose only mandate is the murder of Israelis and the destruction of Israel. And you cannot negotiate with Hezbollah, because they are insane. I see no difference between standing up and saying 'we will go to war because god commands it' and saying 'we will go to war because the space aliens command it'. You've got to be equally deluded to make either of those statements, and good luck reasoning with someone who can make them.
So Hezbollah crossed the line, as anyone should have expected they would, and now Israel must answer force with force. You have to fight at the level of your opponent - sticking to Queensbury rules in a streetfight will only get you killed. I don't see it as Israel making the right choice, or the moral choice, or the ethical choice. I see them making the only choice.
On days like this, I allow myself to wonder what the world would have been like without religion...