Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Wars We Are Fighting... and How

Eight posts and one article I've read in the last 12 hours or so that are simply excellent... To read all of them should take you less than 15 minutes.

WestBankMama pauses her updates to remind us that this is a bit of a scary, tense time to be having a war:
It is obvious that Israel is afraid that a ceasefire is going to be forced upon us - and that Hizballah is going to be given another chance to re-arm and hit us again in the future.

Personally, I don't know what I am more afraid of - the fact that the terrorists may have run away already (no Katyushas at all yesterday - just a few mortar shells) and won't get what they deserve - or the fact that we are going into a major offensive on the seventh, eighth, and ninth of the month of Av. (The nine days of the Hebrew month of Av are days of tragedy for Jews throughout the centuries).

In any case, this is the time to increase our prayers and good deeds, and watch our tongues - fighting amongst ourselves could have deadly consequences - literally. Maybe that is why G-d chose this time for this specific war.
WBM's post is first because it's an important reminder to the Jewish readership of SerandEz. Links and excerpts to the rest after the jump.

David Bogner of Treppenwitz went to bed:

As I drifted off to sleep I started thinking about the fact that for most of yesterday the news had been perfectly silent about what our troops were doing up there in the north. Nearly every media outlet on the planet is up on the Lebanese border with a voracious 24 hour news cycle to feed, and... nothing.

Absolutely nothing.

No reports of what all these thousands of Israeli soldiers were doing during the lull in hostilities. No human interest pieces about the idle artillery crews and tank battalions playing football or calling home. Not one little anecdote about the soldiers... while the international spotlight shifted to Jerusalem and the pas de deux between Olmert and Rice.

Then it hit me. It's time.

I sat up in bed and practically knocked my laptop off it's stand. There was no news from the north because the military censors had placed a blackout on the area while the ground war Robert predicted got fully underway. And whether by accident or design, the choreographed meetings between Olmert and Rice in Jerusalem provided perfect misdirection to divert the world's attention.

Cruisin-Mom: The Mouse Analogy.

Chayyei Sarah think Nasrallah didn't own a guinea pig growing up:
The media not giving people the context they need to understand why so many Lebanese are dying (hello, Hezballah is attacking Israel from within suburbs!) and so few Israelis (hello, Israel invested millions of dollars into early-warning systems, and bomb shelters, and the North has emptied out, creating hundreds of thousands of Israeli Internally Displaced Persons) is making me ill. ...

The fact that it is Israeli weapons that have killed so many innocent people -- even though we have no choice -- makes me ill. The fact that there are some Israelis -- including, apparently, some army spokespeople-- who don't understand that just because you warn people to leave an area, doesn't mean they all can, makes me ill.
Life-of-Rubin demolishes Jimmy Carter.

PsychoToddler is doing his part:
In an earlier post, I mentioned that Israel is fighting a war on 3 fronts. Gaza, Lebanon, and the World Media. You can argue about how it's doing on the first two. But I don't think there's any question that it is doing poorly on the third. So maybe there's something I can do about that.

Now, I realize that the readership here is not large, and also I suspect that most of the people (let's not count the trolls) who come here feel similarly about Israel. ... And I realize that the reason you're all checking back here is that you're hoping I'll post more Caveman pictures.

So what can I do? I can fight the Media War in real life. I can talk to those who do get their news from the mainstream media. Who get "balanced" pictures and "sound bites" and are quickly becoming indoctrinated in Star Trek-like moral equivalence. Who haven't been shown the whole picture. Who haven't figured out that we are indeed in the middle of World War 3 and we'd better start acting like it or we will lose.
Yeshiva World has a video interview of an Israel-supporting Muslim in Baltimore. Great interview, especially for a random meeting on the street. Just 3 minutes, but it says a lot - hope there are more like him out there.

Cross-Currents' R' Emanuel Feldman doesn't want laminated Psalms:

Then came another blow to my serenity. Since the war began, morning davening in synagogues around the country has concluded with communal recitation of three special Psalms: 83, 130, and 142, in which King David asks G-d to rescue him from his enemies.

David lived 3,000 years ago, and even then he and the Jewish people had no lack of enemies. In Psalm 83 alone, he lists 11 enemy nations! Our Sages’ comment that Esau will eternally hate Jacob was as true in his day as in ours; nothing, it seems, has really changed.

Since the beginning of this war, then, specially printed sheets with these Psalms have been distributed daily in my shul, and they have been a source of strength and comfort as we ask G-d to render our enemies “like stubble before the wind” (83:14).

These Psalms have kept us going through the ups and downs of the war: G-d will surely not forget us, just as he did not forget King David, and as he preserved our people 3,000 years ago, and 1,000 years ago, and 500 years ago, and 100 years ago, and 50 years ago.

Until yesterday, when those same Psalms were handed out, but in a different form: laminated.
“Laminated?” I said to the gabbai, in a feeble attempt at humor. “Does it mean the war is going to last so long that paper alone will not do?

“I don’t want laminated,” I protested. “I want plain disposable, temporary, old-fashioned paper.” He ignored me.

Finally SIL pointed me to this great Dennis Prager piece:

Ask any of these poor souls, or the hundreds of millions of others slaughtered, tortured, raped and enslaved in the last 100 years, if "world opinion" did anything for them.

On the other hand, we learn that "world opinion" is quite exercised over Israel's unintentional killing of a few hundred Lebanese civilians behind whom hides Hezbollah — a terror group that intentionally sends missiles at Israeli cities and whose announced goals are the annihilation of Israel and the Islamicization of Lebanon. And, of course, "world opinion" was just livid at American abuses of some Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad. In fact, "world opinion" is constantly upset with America and Israel, two of the most decent countries on earth, yet silent about the world's cruelest countries.

Why is this?

Here are four reasons:

First, television news.

It is difficult to overstate the damage done to the world by television news. Even when not driven by political bias — an exceedingly rare occurrence globally — television news presents a thoroughly distorted picture of the world. Because it is almost entirely dependent upon pictures, TV news is only capable of showing human suffering in, or caused by, free countries. So even if the BBC or CNN were interested in showing the suffering of millions of Sudanese blacks or North Koreans — and they are not interested in so doing — they cannot do it because reporters cannot visit Sudan or North Korea and video freely. Likewise, China's decimation and annexation of Tibet, one of the world's oldest ongoing civilizations, never made it to television.
Check them all out.