There is a tendency in these "politically correct" times to treat every problem as having two EQUAL sides. It's always "six of one - half-a-dozen of the other."
Perhaps it was born of the trend of "no-fault" divorce. As though EVERYTHING is always conveniently 50% one person's fault and 50% the other person's responsibility. Now I'm not so foolish as to think that every divorce is always 100% one person in the wrong and the other side blameless. But neither is it always conveniently, exactly 50%-50%.
Imagine if they'd had the "No-Fault Divorce" principle in place at Nuremburg.
"On the one hand those Nazis did carry out genocide on 6 million Jews - but - on the other hand..."
On the other hand WHAT?
There is not always equal moral equivalence to every dispute.
I write this because of what I keep reading from European and leftie-leaning media and bloggers in the US.
Sure Israel has a right to exist they say - but on the other hand Israel is blithely "slaughtering innocent women and children" in Lebanon. It's that kind of weighted, slanted language in the media and from the knee-jerk anti-Israel lobby that is placing a misleading faux moral equivalence on this issue.
Unlike some, I don't attribute anti-Semitism to every written attack and jibe against Israel. (I myself had many a doubt about some of the actions of the Israeli administration when it was led by Sharon.) There are some deeply held views by those who oppose Israel. Particularly from those on my own (left) side of the political aisle. Those views are not necessarily born of hatred of Jews. Naïveté, ignorance, gullibility, stupidity, blindness, deafness, rigidity, illogicality - yes - some or all of the above. But not necessarily anti-Semitism. So let's remove that charge from the table. And I'm sure those other human failings are capable of remedy. Applying doses of logic, thought, fairness and historical analysis would help alleviate most of those symptoms...
Let's be crystal clear.
Israel has neither advocated not shown the slightest indication of wishing to annihilate Lebanon or Syria. It has accepted that those are sovereign nations. It has also accepted the principle of a Palestinian state. There have been - and will continue to be - arguments about the exact boundaries of that state. But the principle is agreed.
On the other hand, Hezbollah and Hamas are both unequivocally and openly dedicated to the annihilation and utter destruction of the sovereign, legally-recognized nation of Israel.
Israel is defending its right to exist - just as surely as you or I would defend ourselves, our parents, our children - if WE were faced with an enemy who openly declared that he wanted us and our family DEAD.
In those circumstances - Israel has a moral duty and obligation to defend itself by eliminating - root and branch - those who have openly declared a desire to wipe it off the face of the earth. Unless and until those people unequivocally, publicly renounce their declared intentions and prove it by disarming under UN supervision.
Israel is fulfilling the moral obligation it has to pursue and destroy those who are firing missiles at its civilian population. The leaders of Hezbollah are not stupid. They ARE mendacious and cunning though. And they actually have utter contempt for those they purport to stand for. Why else would they position their missile launchers in residential homes and areas? Like a schoolyard bully hiding behind his mother's skirts. Talk about cowardice and contemptible behavior.
There will consequently - and most regrettably - be some loss of civilian life that occurs as a sad by-product of Israel eliminating the life-threatening missiles that are pointed at its nation. But that blood will be on the hands of those who abrogate all accepted rules of war (and moral precepts of humanity) - by embedding their militia and war materiel within the civilian population they claim to be serving. The cynical hands of Hezbollah will be drenched in Lebanese blood as well as Israeli blood. I guess that's just one of those things when your "spiritual" (sic - very sick) leader issues a call for what would be the genocide of Israel.
So let's get away from this foolish notion that there is moral equivalence. There WILL be civilian deaths in Lebanon. But writing and speaking about Israel "killing women and children" as though that is its declared policy and primary intent - is intentionally and disingenuously inflaming the passions of an under-informed populace.
The Allies intentionally bombed civilian populations in Dresden in World War II. And America intentionally bombed the civilian populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. Those were calculated acts - and you can argue whether it was right or wrong to do those things in order to hasten the end of the war.
But when the Allies bombed Berlin and other German cities during the earlier stages of the war - aiming primarily at military targets - they also hit residential areas and killed "innocent women and children." That was a regrettable but inevitable cost of war. Did the British and American press at that time wring their hands about how terrible it was that the Allies were intentionally targeting innocent women and children? Of course not. So it should be with the Middle East conflict today.
It's time for decent people everywhere to go beyond the reflexive PC posture of equating Israel's destruction of the weapons of its declared assassins with the actions of those who are hell-bent on its total destruction.
Somewhere the bigger picture got lost.
Just look at the map of the region. Count up the number of Arab states. The vast majority of them immensely hostile to Israel. View the immense tracts of land (much of it oil-yielding) that belong to Arab nations. Estimate the vast riches of the oil-producing nations - who for some strange reason choose NOT to share that bounty in humanitarian support of their Palestinian brothers. Arms yes - alms - never....
Look at the tiny sliver of land that was legally codified by the nations of the world in 1948 as Israel's historic homeland. Recall the attempts in 1967 and 1973 by multiple Arab nations to destroy the existence of the legal nation in that tiny wedge of the region. And the cynical choice of the supra-wealthy oil-saturated Arab nations to NOT invest money in helping build a civilian infrastructure for Palestinians. So much cheaper and more productive to foster hatred than homes...
For many years - especially up to and immediately following the 1967 and 1973 wars - Israel was seen as the underdog - surrounded and overwhelmingly outnumbered by hostile bullies. By dint of its courage and refusal to be cowed or defeated by such dreadful odds - it survived and triumphed over adversity. It also had to learn to be magnanimous and generous in victory. It had to learn that they had a special moral obligation to work towards the establishment of a Palestinian nation - however unsettling that concept was for its own sense of security. It finally stepped up to that plate. Sometimes reluctantly. But eventually even Sharon recognized the obligation and the common sense of it.
But no good deed goes unpunished. And in recent years Israel has been penalized in public opinion among Europeans and march-in-sync American lefties for its success in thwarting attempts to destroy it. If it had been decimated by either of those wars - perhaps some of those knee-jerk decriers would have been a-sobbing for the survivors because of their refugee status? Perhaps... But to penalize an underdog for being successful in defeating bullies turns logic on its head.
This is NOT no-fault divorce. This is a basic war for survival. A battle to prevent the destruction of a sovereign nation. There IS fault here. It lies with Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria and Iran. And several other seething Arab nations who are willing them on but who are too cowardly to declare open war.
Beneath the veneer these organizations and nations care not one whit for the plight of the Palestinians. Ultimately what they care about is destroying Israel.
Those in the West who are too blinkered to see this are unwittingly carrying water for advocates of genocide. It's time to take off those blinkers and stand up for Israel's right and moral obligation to eliminate the weapons of Hezbollah and Hamas.
Only then can the true interests of the Palestinian people be addressed - by those who care about them being able to live in decent conditions rather than by those who cynically use that issue as camouflage for their true mission of destroying Israel.