What fresh hell is this?

I blog on an irregular basis - you might say "as the spirit moves me". My process - if it can be elevated to such an exalted level - is to post an entry once the dam has broken, once the tidal wave an inanity has broken through to the other side; suddenly, I can no longer control my fingers and they sally forth on their own.

The straw this time is the good rabbi, Newsweek's resident Old Testament (Tamuldic?) expert. In yesterday's - WEB EXCLUSIVE- breathless commentary, he assures us that although The Lord works in mysterious ways, His Word does tell us of terrorists and that they must always be fought. I will set aside for a moment the tale of Amalek, who in other contexts is surely remembered as a nice Egyptian boy who always listened to his mother, and turn briefly to another biblical tale of terror that I was once again introduced to last Friday on Bill Moyer's Faith and Reason: Samson. His interview with David Grossman presents an allegory of Samson as a terrorist, the original suicide killer. Not quite the heroic strongman I was introduced to in Sunday School, lo those many years ago. But is that not exactly who Samson was? A man, called by God to destroy the enemies of the chosen people of God and who fulfilled his destiny in the destruction of the house around him and all of the Philistines who were inside celebrating.

I am not sure you heard what I just heard: a man, called by God to destroy his enemies and he sacrifices himself in the act.

Remind you of anyone, of any event? Is the only real difference between a terrorist and a hero the perspective of the author of the report?

Returning to our friend the rabbi, who surely wrote this commentary in response to the recent events in Israel/Gaza/Lebanon; let me sum those as best I can:

  1. Palestinians kidnap Israeli soldier
  2. Israeli Defense Forces enter Gaza to search for their soldier
  3. Hezbollah takes advantage of the distraction to launch their own operation to kidnap two soldiers, killing others along the way
  4. Israeli Defense Forces respond with artillery attacks on southern Lebanon, the home base of Hezbollah
  5. Hezbollah launches rockets into Israel proper, killing civilians
  6. Israel launches missiles into Lebanon at Hezbollah headquarters, destroying them and causing the death of Lebanese civilians as 'collateral damage'
The rabbi tells us that the problem with Amalek - the reason he is a terrorist - is that he attacked the rear of the lines of the departing Israelites, killing the women and the children. The rabbi continues to say, "this is not warfare, it is the slaughter of innocents—it is terrorism."

So, if one attacks soldiers - as first thePalestinianss did above - that is not terrorism, it is warfare. And if one continues to attack soldiers - as Hezbollah also did above - that is not terrorism, it is warfare. In response to each of these acts of war, how did Israel respond? Finding themselves unable to find the enemy soldiers - but desperatee to act to ensure their society would itself not devolve into panic - the Israeli government tasked their army to target "terrorist infrastructure" in an attempt to weaken their enemies.

If a government, launches attacks on "terrorist infrastructure" in the full knowledge that said infrastructure has been implanted in the midst of innocent civilians, than can the resulting deaths be called collateral damage? Can the destruction of innocents be removed from the destruction of "infrastructure" when it is the same act that destroys each?

In the end, I do not know. But I have a very strong feeling that we are all terrorists and that instead of attempting to label us as "good" and them as "bad", we should just talk about what it is we are attempting to accomplish and make it happen, without all of the editorial moralizing from people on the sidelines. If we are convinced that we need to do what we are doing, we should do so without attempting to say that God is on our side. Judgmentt Day will let us know if we made the right call.

Sphere: Related Content

No comments: