Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A Sensible Comparison

In a remark showing both great sensitivity as well as an un-muddled understanding of Holocaust history and current events, British MP Sir Peter Tapsell accused Israel of waging a war in Lebanon that was "gravely reminiscent of the Nazi atrocity on the Jewish quarter of Warsaw," Haaretz.com reports today.

No doubt, those brave Hizbullah fighters are indeed comparable to the handful of Jews held within the walls of the Warsaw, along with their families, who showed super-human courage in facing the Nazi beast using the equivalents of bare hands. Let's see exactly how well the situations compare.

The Jewish fighters of the Warsaw ghetto were facing a future that included extinction by gas, death by firind squads, or any other means of death devised by the Nazi officer who happened to have the shift that day. They were battling daily lack of food and utter lack of personal security. The south Lebanese are under no such threats from Israel. Moreover, The Hizbullah has proven, by firing more than 2,500 rockets into Israeli territories, that it has the funds and resources at hand required to mount a complicated, expensive military operation. Had the defenders of the Warsaw ghetto access to even a tenth of the resources available to Hizbullah via Iran and Syria, I'm sure they'd have used it well, hell, maybe they'd even get themselves armed with obviously-defensive missiles such as the Fajr or the Zelzal, so they can bomb Berlin, or Munich, as a defensive tactic, that is.

The Warsaw ghetto was not a "quarter," as the sensible MP has put it. a "quarter" makes you think of quaint urban housing, fronted by bustling cafes and the smells of ethnic spices rising from the stalls of the local market. In Warsaw, the Jews lived in a ghetto, enclosed within protected walls, cut from the outside world, lacking basic supplies, and harassed daily by the Nazi patrols. In addition, while the Hizbullah fighters use the glorious tactic of hiding within civilian populace to escape detection by the IDF, the Jewish fighters of Warsaw were the civilian populace.
Finally, it is absurd to compare the IDF with the Nazi war and murder machine. First, the uniforms are very different; the IDF's is a khaki shade of green, while the Nazis, based on the films I've seen, wore dark gray. Second, Israeli soldiers are far less disciplined than their Nazi counterparts. You see, it took the Nazis about five years to kill six million Jews. The Israelis are battling the Palestinians for 58 years now, and are not even close to that mark! Also, while Israel has the full support of the allies, the Nazis had to endure the inconvenience of having the allies as their enemies.

All of this points to a clear need by Sir Tapsell to take a short break, have a glass of whatever at his favorite pub, and consider the notion that even with a British accent, some things are better left unsaid, if not unthought.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Transformation, Missiles and David

In this level-headed post by the Big Pharaoh I read that Nassrallah's public appearances hint at a change in his attitude; that he's more apologetic now, a wee bit more subdued.

It is not surprising.

As everyone knows, for any movie to be successful, it is important for its protagonists to go through dramatic transformation. Yesterday I filled a wide blank in my cinematic resume and viewed on DVD the conclusion to the first star wars trilogy. As I watched young Anakin Skywalker complete his move to the dark side, I couldn't help but think of the young Nassrallah (let's call him Darth Nassr, shall we?) who, albeit in different circumstances and with no light saber, must go through his own transformation, and become, from an arrogant and elusive leader of a relatively successful terrorist organization, into an arrogant and elusive leader of a relatively successful terrorist organization that must hide in bunkers and face the wrath of the Lebanese who hold him responsbile for eliciting this new round of bloodshed. One wonders how many midi-chlorians he'd have to manipulate to get of THIS mess, huh?

Speaking of movies, I've also recently realized why Israeli intelligence was caught with its undies down a few days ago when Hezbullah hit one of our battle ships with a direct ground-to-sea missile, an Iranian missile the intelligence community apparently didn't know existed. You see, it's because of the movies. In every action movie, especially those spy or anti-terrorism flicks where the hero is always played by Harrison Ford and his family is always put in danger, you can count on two consistent truths: 1) The good guys will always hit their mark; 2) The bad guys will always miss it. I think it would be fair to say that our otherwise-competent intelligence officers have been watching way too much Hollywood crap in recent years. The remedy, of course, would be either to read this blog, or to make them watch reality TV, where there are never any good guys, yet you can at least count on Harrison Ford to either eat a cockroach or, hopefully, beat the crap out of the baddest bad ass in TV history: David Hasselhoff.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

"totally disproportionate"

Esteemed French president Chirac has declared that Israel's offensive in Lebanon is "totally disproportionate."

Interestingly, it is the same president who has shown just this past week his own tolerance for acts of violence, as he publicly embraced the persona of a certain French soccer player who happened to headbutt an Italian colleague during a certain important world cup match last Sunday. So, according to Chirac's worldview, headbutting a fellow soccer player who just called you and your family names constitutes a proportionate response, but bombing away at a country that allows terrorist organizations to fire missiles from its own territory to a neighboring country, is "totally disproportionate." Hmmm.

Now, just in case you're bewilderingly shaking your head at my suggestion that a headbutt in a soccer match is a good analogy with the first moves of a regional war, I encourage you to take another look at the situation and lose your complacent attitude, in order to see that the baguette-eating president is, in fact, wildly inconsistent with regards to his own worldview.
Let's see what really happened here: First, it was Sheikh Nassrallah, in his troops' offensive last week that resulted in eight Israeli soldier casualties and two kidnapped, who has figuratively taunted PM Olmert, and called him names. Then, PM Olmert, in response, headbutted Nassrallah by bombing hundreds of Hezbullah targets across southern Lebanon, including the Sheikh's home in Beirut. This caused Chirac to flag Olmert with a red card:
"One could ask if today there is not a sort of will to destroy Lebanon, its equipment, its roads, its communication," Chirac said during an interview in the garden of the presidential Elysee Palace to mark Bastille Day, the French national holiday.
Well, excuse me, Monsieur President. Just as Zidane wasn't trying, by headbutting Materazzi, to destroy the whole of Italy, its equipment, roads and excellent street cafes, so is Olmert not trying to do the same to Lebanon. And if you can't see the logic of this analogy, well, that's because you've had one too many croissants this morning. Or because you haven't read what Rob Hiaasen of the Baltimore Sun said: "the headbutt is the universal male symbol for territorial aggression when hands and words just aren’t enough."

So drop the red card, Mr. Chirac. After all, it's just another game. Isn't it?