Sharon gone too far. Now even the right thinks so.
April 16, 2002 8:42 AM   Subscribe

Sharon gone too far. Now even the right thinks so. My vote is that Ariel Sharon's offensive is the stupidest campaign in recent memory. Defined here as a campaign that has solved nothing, increased Israel's problems, intensified Palestinian hatred of Israel, estranged many Europeans and Americans, and fanned Islamic hostility. What is General Sharon up to? Sharon's policy is scorched-earth. Under his command, the Israeli army has engaged not in isolating the infrastructure of the suicide terrorists. What he is engaged in is wanton damage.
posted by onegoodmove (49 comments total)

 
That's a quote from the link before anyone jumps on onegood for being too editorial...should be in quotes and italics...l
posted by srboisvert at 8:47 AM on April 16, 2002


Sharon is nothing. Netanyahu would've got things done for real.
posted by dagny at 8:47 AM on April 16, 2002


Yes indeed that is a quote from William F. Buckley. Sorry about that folks.
posted by onegoodmove at 9:07 AM on April 16, 2002


"It is safe to say that the infrastructure of life itself and of any future Palestinian state -- roads, schools, electricity pylons, water pipes, telephone lines -- has been devastated."

Peace, yeah right.
posted by bittennails at 9:08 AM on April 16, 2002


Sharon is nothing. Netanyahu would've got things done for real.

Rather like Milosevic, no?

Getting cheers was Benjamin Netanyahu, a hustler and an opportunist of the most dangerous sort, who said "Yasser Arafat is nothing more than Osama bin Laden with good P.R." Righteousness can become intoxicating -- this rally, apparently, becoming a case in point.
posted by riviera at 9:09 AM on April 16, 2002


Sigh.. We already know the pro-terrorism view on this subject. Bring it up again when suicide bombers start blowing up your family members.

How is what Isreal is doing any different than what we did in Afghanistan after suicide bombers bombed our country?
posted by eas98 at 9:15 AM on April 16, 2002


well, not all of us support what 'we' are doing/did in Afghanistan. . .

but hey!

Sharon's policy is scorched-earth. Under his command, the Israeli army has engaged not in isolating the infrastructure of the suicide terrorists. What he is engaged in is wanton damage.
theres a difference!
posted by Dom at 9:20 AM on April 16, 2002


From the New York Times:

Palestinians Say Israeli Aim Was to Destroy Framework

"What they are doing, and what is not being noticed enough, is that they are destroying all the records, all the archives, all the files, of the Palestinian Authority," said Yasir Abed Rabbo, the Palestinian minister of information. "This is an administrative massacre, and this will lead to chaos."

The offices of private aid organizations, human rights groups, the ministries of Health and Education, all were ransacked.

--------------------------------------------------------------

Sharon is clearly not just fighting a war against terrorism, but rather a war against any promise of a Palestinian state. He and his party has always been opposed to any viable independent Palestinian state, and the PA, as corrupt and mismanaged as it is, is still a huge threat that Sharon's dream of an Israel from the Jordan to the Med.

In Afghanistan, eas98, the goal was not to defend our illegal settlements in a foreign country. The goal was to defend our own freedom, not protect our domination over another people. As long as some in Israel (its most vigourous proponent being the current PM) have designs on Palestinian land, in contravention with international law, and as long as it engages in illegal and immoral activity to defend those designs, it will not have the moral standing necessary to crush the very real and awful threat of terrorism of which you speak.
posted by cell divide at 9:25 AM on April 16, 2002


Sigh.. We already know the pro-terrorism view on this subject. Bring it up again when suicide bombers start blowing up your family members.

I think you've nailed it - pure and simple: revenge.

Incidentally - are you accusing me of being pro-terrorism because I don't agree with you?
posted by niceness at 9:28 AM on April 16, 2002


I was wondering when Metafilter would get around to discussing the Middle East.
posted by Skot at 9:31 AM on April 16, 2002


Of course Buckley is also pro-marijuana...are you SURE he's conservative? The true measure is to see what Rush "Arafat is EEEEEE-VIL!" Limbaugh is saying...well, what a surprise! No mention of any of this on his web page.
posted by byort at 9:39 AM on April 16, 2002


I don't want to bicker about the piece. Most rteaders have some awareness of my views. I do take exception to distinguisinbg between Afghanistan and what we are doing and the Palestinians. The writer says that American is kicking butt out of the Taliban who support the terror gangs (incidentally, Taliban also fought along with them); does the writer believe that Arafat and top leaders are not supporting terrorism?
Now you may not like what Sharon is doing. Or you may believe it is not pragmatic. But heck, isn't that what Gen Sherman did some years ago--in America?
Not as yet noted: After Arafat read a little speech that he was against terrorism , the following day his wife, enjoying her money and her life in Paris, stated on TV that Suicide bombing was great! Now why is she not in agreement with her hubby? Or are Arabs supposed to see what is fully intended here?
If Sharon is truly against making a peace accord, why is in recent days offering to meet with Arab leaders to discuss issues and yet none is thus far taking up the offer?
Ok. They are waiting for the troops to pull out of their territory; good. But Hamas has stated that they will not stop their suicide bombings. Tit for tat, no? WithSharon beginninbg to (alas) look much better than Arafat.
posted by Postroad at 9:42 AM on April 16, 2002


What infrastructure? I thought the Palestinians were destitute, and had no hope to begin with. You mean, they actually had what they needed for a productive society?!? Why were they attacking innocent civillians in Israel, then?

No, don't answer that. I don't mean to troll. But, for all the horrors being committed (on both sides), I honestly don't see how anyone could think Israel is deliberately destroying the infrastructure. "Wanton damage"? If that's what Sharon wanted, they could have just bombed the place -- far more effective, and with no risk to their own soldiers.

Why, pray tell, did Israel go in with its own men? What is the advantage, if not to limit the destruction?
posted by mattpfeff at 9:53 AM on April 16, 2002


I think there is actually a strategy in place here, though one that isn't immediately apparent. From an objective military point of view, Israel's is considered one of the most effective and successful armies in the world. It's foolish to write off anything they're doing based on the immediately visible effect.

There are two aspects to the Israeli campaign. First is a anti-comfort campaign to undermine support for Arafat in the Palestinian street by making people miserable. The elimination of power and water was deliberate, in order to increase the hardship of average Palestinians. Reports about Palestinian hunger are not a surprise if this is true. When people are hungry, thirsty and filthy, they may be angry but focus instead on finding food and clean water. Rage is easier to maintain on a full stomach, survival is a much more immediate concern. If Palestinians start asking Arafat and the militants what the Intifada has brought besides massive Israeli retaliation, destroyed infrastructure, hunger and suffering, the Israeli tactic will have worked. Every language has a metaphor for "kicking the hornet's nest will get you stung". I'm not condoning this, but I think it's part of what Israel is doing.

Second, Arafat is a ruse. He's an empty figurehead, but as long as he's yelling and on the news, Israel can go after Hamas (already has), Al Aqsa, and other terrorist organizations while using Arafat as "cover" in the media.
posted by joemaller at 10:04 AM on April 16, 2002


I don't mean to troll, and yet you leave that in your post. A cute way of trolling without trolling. Disingenious at best.
A little Black & White thinking. Don't you see anything short of carpet bombing as being "Wanton damage". A cynic might say they went in with their own men for public relations. The fact that their own men went in doesn't in my opinion prove the point you're attempting to make.
posted by onegoodmove at 10:05 AM on April 16, 2002


I'm not supportive of either "war". But a chief difference is that Israel has occupied Palestinian soil for 35 years. There is a system of apartheid there that looks much like South Africa's old regime, if not worse.

Attacks against civilians is wrong. Whether by bomb or suicide bomb. Would people support the Palestinians more if they just bombed, and forgot the suicide bombing part of it ? Also note, the disparity in armaments is staggering. Which perhaps is why Palestine must resort to suicide bombings.

Attacks against occupying soldiers is okay under the Geneva Convention. You are "allowed to resist". When the Nazis occupied France, the French resisted, legally.

Bulldozing homes and rocketing refugee camps (Jenin, in which half the population is under 18), is not fighting terrorism. It is terrorism, and it will only cause more Arab children to be Israeli-haters. With good cause, I might add.
posted by Mondo at 10:10 AM on April 16, 2002


Sigh.. We already know the pro-terrorism view on this subject.

Pejorative comes from Late Latin pejoratus, past participle of pejorare, to make worse, to become worse, from Latin pejor, worse.

A word, eas98, that fits your comment and the scorched earth policy described in the article. I hate butting into these foofarahs but that sentence really takes the cake, as does this one--

Bring it up again when suicide bombers start blowing up your family members.

What worries me is that our own complicity in this war may increase the chances for this happening to us. The wind having been sown, now we can now await the whirlwind's harvest. Postroad, Mattpleff, I respectfully disagree--Sharon's personal demonization of Arafat, the concomittant destruction of the PA and the wanton destruction of what pathetic infrastructure there existed on the West Bank and in Gaza is beyond pointless and, yes, pejorative, too. The equivalent in our our war might be if we had bombed Afghanistan back into the Jurassic, took out the Taliban and ignored Al Quaeda--The only winner in this fight is Hamas, who will be the quickest to rebuild, house and care for, win the hearts and minds of the civilian population. Next will come partition, Bantustans and reservations--at best. And eternal sucide attacks. Boy, isn't that the answer.
posted by y2karl at 10:12 AM on April 16, 2002


Does no one understand the concept of political face-making? (I was going to ask, but a bunch of new posts seems to say, some people get it)

Sharon would have sent missles in if he could really get away with it. Right now he has plausible denial that he was just going after what he calls terrorists. So be it that to send a tank into a neighborhhod required that all the buildings be demolished.

Oh, sure, they warned the occupants : "Come out now! Our army, standing at the door, won't hurt you, and will let you leave. Of course, you can't bring anything from your life with you, even though you aren't a terrorist.. unless of course, you're a Palestine, then you probably are one."

And why did they need tanks, anyway? Last time I checked, the Palestinians don't have heavy infantry or artiliary. I'm going with the 'destroy and distract' evaluation.

As for Arafat's wife - she's saving political face for Arafat, who has been completely marginalized by his (relatively) subdued attitude.

As for comparisons between Afganistanian Talibans and Palestinians.. Hey - the day I'm involved with keeping an entire people oppressed, without rights, in what amounts to concentration camps because I want their land and arrest and kill civilians with impunity, maybe - just maybe - I may think that the Taliban and Palestinians are similar. Until then, Taliban - terrorists, Palestinians - not (but I'm going to marginalize that by saying Hamas are terrorists for targeting civilians).

But then, in targetting civilians, Israel is guilty of state-sponsored terrorism.

I also agree that the US, by not taking an immediate hard line against Israel has just opened itself up for more hatred and attacks. Sadly a very vocal (I believe) minority marching in Washington probably passes for general American sentiment overseas.
posted by rich at 10:18 AM on April 16, 2002


A cute way of trolling without trolling. Disingenious at best.

Well, "trolling" is posting something inflammatory with the intent of provoking an inflammatory response. I can't prove my intent to you, but if you think that that post was written for that effect, well, you're giving me far too little credit, for one thing.

A little Black & White thinking. Don't you see anything short of carpet bombing as being "Wanton damage". A cynic might say they went in with their own men for public relations. The fact that their own men went in doesn't in my opinion prove the point you're attempting to make.

Of course, you can do wanton damage with a tank. But let's assume you really don't care (i.e., are wanton) about the damage you do, you simply want to destroy certain targets. Why not use the most powerful, convenient weapon you have, the one that minimizes the risk to yourself? That's the question I have.

And, yes, the public relations angle is a fair suggestion. But, if it's correct, it means the destruction wasn't wanton, after all. It means they were sensitive to certain concerns, and the portrayal of them as reckless brutes is inappropriate -- and does everyone who actually wants to understand the situation a disservice.

I'm not trying to defend Israel here, but I don't buy this argument against it, either.
posted by mattpfeff at 10:23 AM on April 16, 2002


"And, yes, the public relations angle is a fair suggestion. But, if it's correct, it means the destruction wasn't wanton, after all. It means they were sensitive to certain concerns, and the portrayal of them as reckless brutes is inappropriate -- and does everyone who actually wants to understand the situation a disservice."

You can have wonton destruction while being completely aware of certain concerns - such as the portrayal of that destruction and treatment of 'non-combatants'. You can be a reckless brute with a brain. Hitler sure was.

Through ground assault, Israel was also able to control access to the area by press, and clean the areas they rode into before anyone could see what they had actually done, who they killed, how many, and how.

Why not use the most powerful, convenient weapon you have, the one that minimizes the risk to yourself? That's the question I have.

Israel has the Bomb. How about that as convenient for them to use? No go back and re-read the concept of public politics.
posted by rich at 10:30 AM on April 16, 2002


matt posts

And, yes, the public relations angle is a fair suggestion. But, if it's correct, it means the destruction wasn't wanton, after all. It means they were sensitive to certain concerns, and the portrayal of them as reckless brutes is inappropriate -- and does everyone who actually wants to understand the situation a disservice.

The two are not mutually exclusive it doesn't necessairly follow that the destruction wasn't wanton even reckless brutes can be sensitive to cetain concerns. It is a disservice not to acknowledge that.
posted by onegoodmove at 10:34 AM on April 16, 2002


you fools! neither side is right. neither side is good. neither side is at fault. although you could say the exact opposite: both sides are right. both sides are good. both sides are at fault.

The problem is that anybody with vested interest in the region can't be objective about it and realize. What's really funny is that the US has to be objective as do other nations and no one can: what israel is experiencing is a war. it is not terrorism. The World Trade Center incident was an effort to "hit home" so to speak. It's the same reason we don't blame our foreign policy for half of our troubles as why israel can't blame itself. It's all about power. Power through the control of such important information that all of our actions affect the lives of everyone around us. Policy is just this en mass.

oh, and Postroad, "isn't [what Sharon's doing] what Gen Sherman did some years ago in America?" Sharon doesn't call it a civil war even though it is. He views the Palestinians as outsiders (part of the problem). Plus apart from these distinctions, we do not condone what General Sherman did...arguably one of the first supporters of attrition.

i really hate this topic.
posted by wantwit at 10:37 AM on April 16, 2002


who would have thought some one could have gotten on the right side of Sharon. Yet Netanyaho has atleast given that image. I think it was an election ploy on his hand, and I bet it is going to bite him in his a$$.
posted by adnanbwp at 10:48 AM on April 16, 2002


"the stupidest campaign in recent memory". No, that 'honor' has to go to Milosevic and his genocidal "greater Serbia" plan which actually destroyed Yugoslavia. This will eventually end with mass expulsions and complete partitioning. Don't count on world opinion, political pressure or military force to make Israel play nice.
posted by Mack Twain at 10:52 AM on April 16, 2002


You can have wonton destruction while being completely aware of certain concerns

even reckless brutes can be sensitive to cetain concerns


What do "reckless" and "wanton" mean, then?

If all you're trying to say is, Israel destroyed a lot of stuff, I'm with you. But if you're trying to characterize the manner in which they did it a certain way, you should clarify how. Saying, "Well, they made sure they didn't destroy certain things, but they didn't make sure they didn't destroy other things" is equivalent to saying, "They made sure they didn't destroy certain things". I.e., their destruction is not "reckless", or "wanton", by definition.

That is all I am saying.

Israel has the Bomb. How about that as convenient for them to use? No go back and re-read the concept of public politics.

This serves my point, not yours. Like I say, I'm not trying to defend Israel, I just take exception to a certain characterization. The fact that no one is even worried about Israel using nuclear weapons is rather good evidence that they're not quite completely reckless, isn't it?

The main point is, it just doesn't make sense to characterize Israel as an irrational, reckless, wanton destroyer. Sharon clearly has certain motivations, and bears certain considerations in mind. And arguing that he doesn't is therefore a disservice -- it hinders gaining any real understanding of the situation.

Forgive me for repeating myself, but I really don't understand what's so elusive about that point.
posted by mattpfeff at 10:55 AM on April 16, 2002


I dont know why you guys forget to realize, that the oppression, occupation of Palestinian land, lives and dignity was there way before the start of suicide bombings. The only reason suicide bombings started was because in their subdued minds nothing else worked, or will work. They didnt know if this would either, but this is what they could have thought of. It is just how a state of mind works.

While every one is busy marginalizing arafat for his subdued behavior, how many can really honestly say that he can stop Palestinian youth from any act of revenge. When every house in your neigborhood including yours has lost men, women and children to the astrocities of an occupying army, only the most drugged of you would not fight back. I would fight back with every drop of my blood.

There is a documented history of the start of the second Intefada. I say viva Intefada. What is the use of life without freedom. Most of you Americans dont understand the meaning of freedom because you havent lived in political, social, armed oppression and/or occupation.

I hate that we have such bad long term memory. When they said "never again", it didnt mean that never again would Jews go through that terrible time. It meant, never again humanity would go through such a debacle.
posted by adnanbwp at 11:02 AM on April 16, 2002


matt my friend. Being less reckless than every one says you are doesnt make you NOT reckless. The massacare in Jenin is enough recklessness. I dont think you are defending Israel. But your are talking about nit bits while people are dying on both sides. Reckless or not, they are killing civilians and sucide bombers are too.
posted by adnanbwp at 11:07 AM on April 16, 2002


> i really hate this topic.

It just won't go away though.
posted by vbfg at 11:21 AM on April 16, 2002


Sorry to make it simplistic, but I think both sides are WAY in the wrong. Though I think Israel should lead by example if they want peace, I haven't heard a good reason why what they are doing is any different than what America just did in Afghanistan. I would love to be convinced. Of course, I think the whole thing is utter insanity. Tom Tomorrow pretty much sums up how I feel.
posted by McBain at 11:24 AM on April 16, 2002


McBain: Was America involved with oppressing Osama, oppressing an entire race of people in Afganistan? did we take people's homes and property and give them to our 'own kind' and tell them to breed as fast as possible, and pay them for it, in order to out-populate the people who lived there? Did we do this for 40 or 50 years?

America and Osama/Taliban/terrorists is nothing like Israel and Palestinians.

(Well, yes, we did - but here at home to blacks and native americans.. but the guys who destroyed the Trade Centers weren't concerned about any of those issues.)

reckless and wonton.

I'm saying that Israel went into those areas with 'reckless disregard for the lives, homes, property and human rights of the Palestinians living there and wontonly destroyed homes, property, and lives.' I'm also saying Israel did it with chilling calculation, forethought, and manufactured secrecy to prevent real knowledge of what happened, all the while using Bush's war on terrorism as a smoke screen to paint Sharon as a helpless man just trying to protect his people.

I find Israel irrational when it uses the argument of Jew's oppression over the millenia as an excuse to oppress others, or use the Jew's history in WWII of theft of property and life due to Hitler's 'final solution' as an excuse for stealing and killing.
posted by rich at 11:33 AM on April 16, 2002


And let's not forget that Sharon has done this before and then as now it solved nothing.

After all these years the Palestinians reach the bottom line: "Better to die on your feet than live on your knees"
posted by niceness at 11:44 AM on April 16, 2002


Wanton as in no regard for justice or for others rights, feelings or safety as it pertains to palestinian civilians.
Reckless as in lacking caution. Once again as it pertains to the civilians. What is there not to understand.
posted by onegoodmove at 11:56 AM on April 16, 2002


Wanton as in no regard for justice or for others rights, feelings or safety as it pertains to palestinian civilians.
Reckless as in lacking caution. Once again as it pertains to the civilians. What is there not to understand.


Sure, that's a defensible interpretation of "wanton", but it's not the one offered in the link you posted, which is what I find objectionable. From the article:

Sharon's policy is scorched-earth. Under his command, the Israeli army has engaged not in isolating the infrastructure of the suicide terrorists. What he is engaged in is wanton damage. ... What Sharon has been doing is to give way to Israeli rage.

This is a characterization suggesting that Sharon and Israel are engaged in destruction for destruction's sake. If this is true, if Sharon has "given way" to his rage, then I would think he would seek to cause the most damage -- scorch the most earth -- with the least risk? Doesn't the fact that he hasn't done this indicate that he hasn't given in entirely, that something else is at least helping determine his course of action?

My original quote of the use of "wanton" was directly from the source, and that is the use I've been discussing this whole time.
posted by mattpfeff at 12:42 PM on April 16, 2002


mattpfeff: The reason Sharon would not use nuclear weapons is pretty friggin' obvoius, isn't it? Laughing a nuclear weapon at a next-door neighbor in such a small region would be a death sentence for thousands upon thousands of Israelis, if not all of them. Silly, silly, silly.
posted by raysmj at 12:58 PM on April 16, 2002


Nuclear weapons are not a laughing matter.

;)
posted by andnbsp at 1:03 PM on April 16, 2002


mattpfeff,

something else is helping determine his course of action - the underlying need to still be able to present a plausible face to the world.. yelling "see? see? they made me do it! but I did it in a nice way!" along with the massive amounts of extra control you have over the situation when you use ground troops.. in being able to hide body counts, restrict press access, restrict red cross access, restrict UN monitor access...

All enabling him to continue to press to the outside world that he and Israelis are, in fact, the ones being oppressed and killed - not that they have now actually become the perpetrators they so vehemently despise.
posted by rich at 1:04 PM on April 16, 2002


Wow...the metafilter community never fails to impress me when discussing this topic. It brings out the best qualities of an interactive community trying to work something out even with the ideologues and mild flames. Even if you are not at this moment making the world a better place you are at least making it a better informed place!

Mad Props to all!
posted by srboisvert at 1:09 PM on April 16, 2002


srboisvert: Haw!

Both today's Mid East threads are starting to creep me the fuck out.
posted by andnbsp at 1:25 PM on April 16, 2002


andnbsp: Unconscious slip.
posted by raysmj at 1:41 PM on April 16, 2002


andnbsp: srboisvert: Haw!

I was serious. I found this thread educational. Not only do we get a deeper examination of the issues with the point-counterpoint, link and counter-link but you get to see the sticking points played out in a microcosmic thread.

(When I am sarcastic I like to use x-xhtml sarcasm tags)
posted by srboisvert at 2:04 PM on April 16, 2002


The reason Sharon would not use nuclear weapons is pretty friggin' obvoius

Yes; my point is simply that Sharon at least occasionally listens to reason.

All enabling him to continue to press to the outside world that he and Israelis are, in fact, the ones being oppressed and killed

OK, that is a possible motive. But it demands a more thorough examination: What does Sharon need the outside world for? He has the power to take on the rest of the Middle East without their help.

Viewing these as black-and-white issues (Sharon is a madman, etc.) isn't insightful or productive; nor is finding easy rationales. The situation is messed up, and atrocities have been committed on both sides. But that doesn't mean that either side fails to succumb to thoughtful analysis.

It seems pretty clear that Sharon has decided that the costs of failing to act against terrorism outweigh the costs of Israel's recent moves against Palestine. He may be wrong; it's hard to imagine that there couldn't have been a better way to respond. But that doesn't make him a madman, and, given that he has resisted using the stronger weapons he has at his disposal, I believe he is acting out of something other than merely a desire to destroy Palestine.
posted by mattpfeff at 2:54 PM on April 16, 2002


Why not use the most powerful, convenient weapon you have, the one that minimizes the risk to yourself? That's the question I have.


Just how much do you think those bombs cost? Hint: they arn't cheap.
posted by delmoi at 2:54 PM on April 16, 2002


mattpfeff: A reasonable, or rather non-wanton, leader is now defined as, "Doesn't want his own people killed by a nuclear explosion or radiation?" Boy, you're a bit too much into semantics, methinks.
posted by raysmj at 3:54 PM on April 16, 2002


Or maybe not into them enough: Definition of wanton.
posted by raysmj at 4:02 PM on April 16, 2002


I think Bill has the right suggestion to Sharon in this quote:

"General Sharon might have sent in a platoon, pulled out Arafat and his 100 lieutenants and executed them on the entirely reasonable grounds that they embodied the terrorist movement in the West Bank. A bullet into the heart of Arafat is not a wayward contribution to the search for the infrastructure of the evil and genocidal war against Israel. So Palestine would be left leaderless? Such a problem would be that of the Palestinians who have tolerated Arafat for so many years."
posted by scottfree at 6:37 PM on April 16, 2002


Was America involved with oppressing Osama, oppressing an entire race of people in Afganistan?

Have you looked at why the Taliban bombed the US? Because they believe exactly that. Whether or not it's true is irrelevant [to them].
posted by Nyx at 9:03 PM on April 16, 2002


A reasonable, or rather non-wanton, leader is now defined as, "Doesn't want his own people killed by a nuclear explosion or radiation?" Boy, you're a bit too much into semantics, methinks.

raysmj, the article clearly suggests a particular interpretation of "wanton". If anyone here is arguing semantics, it's not me. Any you should also note that it wasn't I that introduced "the Bomb" into this discussion; I merely responded by noting that the fact that Israel has it and hasn't used it supports my argument, not the arguments against it. If you can call them that.
posted by mattpfeff at 8:42 AM on April 17, 2002


"OK, that is a possible motive. But it demands a more thorough examination: What does Sharon need the outside world for? He has the power to take on the rest of the Middle East without their help."

Why does Sharon need the outside world? Mattpfeff, this is one example of why discussing things with you seems to be a loosing battle. You say things aren't always black and white and then you go to the extreme of black and white.

Israel needs international trade. Israel needs arms supplies. Israel may be able to take on part of the Middle East, but only because NATO and the US stand as a threat like the big brothers behind the little sibling mouthing off to a group of older kids. Without any support, Israel may still win, but at horrendous costs.

I never said Sharon was a madman (in the crazy, nuts way), since that would preclude any of the rationality I attribute to him in how he executed his master plan. I do think he's a power hungry religious and political zealot on a mission to win the battle against Arafat he started decades ago and refuses to look at his world and the Middle East in any different way other than the way he viewed it back in the 1980's and before.

(I, of course, do not support Hamas' tactics, but don't think they have anything explicitly to do with Arafat other than trying to move political support from Fatah to Hamas)
posted by rich at 9:54 AM on April 17, 2002


Why does Sharon need the outside world? Mattpfeff, this is one example of why discussing things with you seems to be a loosing battle. You say things aren't always black and white and then you go to the extreme of black and white.

You mistake my purpose in asking that question. I by no means am claiming Israel doesn't need the outside world. I'm saying, and I quote, "it demands a more thorough examination". And that question is an example of the things you have to ask in order to do that. I don't know how to answer it; that's not the point.

(You then must ask, what is the cost, to Israel, of jeapordizing good relations with the rest of the world? How does that compare to the cost of failing to move against the terrorists? &c., &c. You say, "Without any support, Israel may still win, but at horrendous costs", but clearly inaction has horrendous costs as well. It's a nontrivial exercise to determine which cost is greater.)

That is, I'm not trying to argue for or against Israel's actions. I'm simply saying, to understand them, you need to examine a host of complex issues. This article contributes nothing to that effort, and neither does making blanket statements like, "But if Israel does that the rest of the world will be very upset!"

That's all I'm saying, though! I have taken no position on how to actually answer these questions; there's no way it could possibly be extreme.
posted by mattpfeff at 10:58 AM on April 17, 2002


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