Wednesday, August 02, 2006

World of Warcraft

I'm running out of energy to maintain this semi-private analytical blog of events taking place 6000 miles away. I need to find some other interests, because this blog is becoming a one trick pony, and I am sick and tired of making dire predictions and watching them come true. Today was an awful day, probably not a turning point, but an awful day nonetheless. As Israeli spokesmen talked of advances in diminishing the threat of Hizbollah (destruction of a C&C center in Tyre, daring assaults deep into the Bekaa Valley, the near-completion of a "security belt" 6-7 kilometers deep along the entire border), Shaykh Nasrallah's rocketeers gave answer to the empty Israeli claims with a new record of over 220 rocket launches, including long-range missiles never before employed.

So let me sum up my views, and then please let me take a break. Maybe I'll write another movie review; maybe you'd like to read my musings on the difference between slow-paced charitable BINGO and the professional monstrosity that takes place twice a day at Foxwoods (I finally got a chance to witness what professional BINGO really feels like, and it is far different than the game I run). Maybe you'd like me to vent on my crazy family and its day-to-day soap opera (naw, too much information). But unless there is a dramatic change, I've got to take a break.

This war is a disaster for all concerned. I've concentrated on the Israeli side of the equation, because I am an avid consumer of Israeli media, and my Hebrew is much more serviceable than my Arabic. It doesn't mean I am unfeeling towards the human tragedy in Lebanon. But it is clear to me that much of what is said about the devastation in Lebanon is exaggerated by drama-prone newscasters. Where Israel has attacked by air, the results have been sometimes shocking; but I also know that there are gigantic swaths of this beautiful country that have gone untouched. A foolish American-Jewish professor wrote the other day in the local paper with great emotion that Israel has turned Lebanon into a "free-fire zone" and that Israel is "burning children to death." It must look that way to many when the cameras turn their gaze on Qana and Dahiya, two very different targets (but even here the bombing is far from indiscriminate - take a look at the two before-and-after satellite images of Dahiya in the Wikipedia article on the conflict). The death has been awful, and it pains me no end, but I do not lose concentration on the larger picture by thinking only of the poor Lebanese. There are other victims in this tragedy.

In essence, this was a war that need not have been waged. It is a war of choice for Israel. It may be a war that needed to be fought, but it should not have started on Shaykh Nasrallah's timetable, while the IDF was already deeply engaged in a similarly foolish operation in Gaza. I am of the opinion that Ehud Olmert, Amir Peretz, and Dan Halutz should all be deposed through the democratic process of a commission of inquiry. But it won't happen - I am bitterly disappointed with the Israeli Labor Party, which has been a full partner in this folly. This war has been fought all wrong, its tactics have been premised on a completely bogus conception of the region and the efficacy of air power, and in the end there is only one harsh judgment: many young men and women are dying because of a pathetic jihadist in Lebanon and so that Ehud Olmert can prove to the Israeli electorate that he has big balls. It's that simple.

Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon -- two of Israel's most experienced military minds -- were of the opinion that ippuq zeh koach ("restraint is strength"). There were numerous deadly provocations with Hizbollah between 2000-2006 and they had the good sense to hold off. This former mayor of Jerusalem and Minister of Industry; this former Chairman of the Israeli Labor Federation; and this former commander of the Israeli Air Force have each proved the Peter Principle in triplet - in a perfect storm of incompetence these small-minded "leaders" are now running this failing war. Shame on them.

You can tell by the tone of this that I have reached the end of my rope. I think I'll finish an article, play some Sit & Gos, and try to get to lvl 40 in a much more inviting World of Warcraft before the end of the summer. Then I'll get good and shitfaced at my children's wedding on Labor Day weekend. To life!

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