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.


  1. Ez, are you not reading our blog anymore. I haven't seen you around my neighborhood in a while...

  2. Yeah just no comments lately. No time...

  3. Hey, Ezzie, this is a great recap. I'm working on something as well. It's hard to focus on the blog when I am at work though. But I am trying my best to ignore the spreadsheets.

  4. I got my two cents done. It's not the most articulate, but best I could do.

  5. thought this might be of interest, because it is kinda hard to see the stuff going on elsewhere besdes isreal:

    Nebraska Alliance - Times Herald
    Lincoln , Nebraska July 19, 2006
    Why the World Should Stand Back and Let Israel Do What It Has To Do
    **by Dave Wilson, Capt. retired, US Navy
    When I was in the Navy, I once witnessed a bar fight in downtown Olongapo ( Philippines ) that still haunts my dreams. The fight was between a big oafish Marine and a rather soft-spoken, medium sized Latino sailor from my ship.
    All evening the Marine had been trying to pick a fight with one of us and had finally set his sights on this diminutive shipmate of mine... figuring him for a safe target. When my friend refused to be goaded into a fight the Marine sucker punched him from behind on the side of the head so hard that blood instantly started to pour from this poor man's mutilated ear.
    Everyone present was horrified and was prepared to absolutely murder this Marine, but my shipmate quickly turned on him and began to single-handedly back him towards a corner with a series of stinging jabs and upper cuts that gave more than a hint to a youth spent boxing in a small gym in the Bronx.
    Each punch opened a cut on the Marine's startled face and by the time he had been backed completely into the corner he was blubbering for someone to stop the fight. He invoked his split lips and chipped teeth as reasons to stop the fight. He begged us to stop the fight because he could barely see through the river of blood that was pouring out of his split and swollen brows.
    Nobody moved. Not one person.
    The only sound in the bar was the sickening staccato sound of this sailor's lightning fast fists making contact with new areas of the Marine's head. The only sound I have heard since that was remotely similar was from the first Rocky film when Sylvester Stallone was punching sides of beef in the meat locker.
    Finally the Marine's pleading turned to screams.... a high, almost womanly shriek. And still the punches continued relentlessly. Several people in the bar took a few tentative steps as though they wanted to try to break it up at that point, but hands reached out from the crowd and held them tight. I'm not ashamed to say that mine were two of the hands that held someone back.
    You see, in between each blow the sailor had begun chanting a soft cadence: "Say [punch] you [punch] give [punch] up [punch]... say [punch] you [punch]were [punch] wrong [punch]". He had been repeating it to the Marine almost from the start but we only became aware of it when the typical barroom cheers had died down and we began to be sickened by the sight and sound of the carnage.
    This Marine stood there shrieking in the corner of the bar trying futilely to block the carefully timed punches that were cutting his head to tatters... right down to the skull in places. But he refused to say that he gave up... or that he was wrong.
    Even in the delirium of his beating he believed in his heart that someone would stop the fight before he had to admit defeat. I'm sure this strategy had served him well in the past and had allowed him to continue on his career as a barroom bully.
    Finally, in a wail of agony the Marine shrieked "I give up", and we gently backed the sailor away from him.
    I'm sure you can guess why I have shared this story today.
    I'm not particularly proud to have been witness to such a bloody spectacle, and the sound of that Marine's woman-like shrieks will haunt me to my grave. But I learned something that evening that Israel had better learn for itself if it is to finally be rid of at least one of its tormentors:
    This is one time an Arab aggressor must be allowed to be beaten so badly that every civilized nation will stand in horror, wanting desperately to step in and stop the carnage... but knowing that the fight will only truly be over when one side gives up and finally admits defeat.
    Just as every person who had ever rescued that bully from admitting defeat helped create the cowardly brute I saw that evening in the bar, every well-intentioned power that has ever stepped in and negotiated a ceasefire for an Arab aggressor has helped create the monsters we see around us today.
    President Lahoud of Lebanon , a big Hezbollah supporter and a close ally of Syria , has been shrieking non-stop to the UN Security Council for the past two days to get them to force Israel into a cease fire.
    Clearly he has been reading his autographed copy of 'Military Success for Dummies Arab Despots' by the late Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt . Ever since Nasser accidentally discovered the trick in '56, every subsequent Arab leader has stuck to his tried and true formula for military success:
    ** Instigate a war. **
    Once the war is well underway and you are in the process of having your ass handed to you... get a few world powers to force your western opponent into a cease fire.
    Whatever you do, don't surrender or submit to any terms dictated by your enemy. That would ruin everything! All you have to do is wait it out and eventually the world will become sickened at what is being done to your soldiers and civilian population... and will force a truce.
    Once a truce has been called you can resume your intransigence (which probably caused the conflict in the first place), and even declare victory as your opponent leaves the field of battle.
    This tactic has never failed. Not once. In fact it worked so will for the Egyptians in 1973, that to this day they celebrate the Yom Kippur War - a crushing defeat at the hands of Israel - as a military victory! No kidding... it's a national holiday over there!
    President Lahoud has already begun to shriek like a school girl to the UN Security Council to "Stop the violence and arrange a cease-fire, and then after that we'll be ready to discuss all matters."
    Uh huh. Forgive me if I find that a tad hard to swallow. He allowed Hezbollah to take over his country. He allowed the regular Lebanese army to provide radar targeting data for the Hezbollah missile that struck the Israeli destroyer. He has turned a blind eye while Iranian and Syrian weapons, advisers and money have poured into his country. And now that his country is in ruins he wants to call it a draw.
    As much as it may sicken the world to stand by and watch it happen, strong hands need to hold back the weak- hearted and let the fight continue until one side finally admits unambiguous defeat.

  6. I'm beginning to think more and more like Dennis Prager regarding the harmful effects of TV news.

  7. CE - Not bad. I'm going to either comment or post later.

    Josh - Treppenwitz actually posted that a couple of weeks ago; it's great.

    PT - Yep.

  8. Thanks Ezzie, I thought it was a nice simple analogy that even Mel Gibson could understand (well... maybe not)

  9. Thanks, Ez. Look forward to it. I'm just natually fearful of military action. So many unintended consequences. Almost everyone shares this fear, though.

  10. Yes, but I'm more fearful of military inaction.