There was a very interesting discussion where I work, beginning with people taking comfort in the fact that Bush views things in a very simplified way. It eventually evolved into why this simplified view will not win the “war on terror” or settle the Isreal vs. Palestine dispute. I’ll post my contributions chronologically, trying to give some context between each one. I don’t think it would be right to post other’s comments without their permission.

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“I am reassured that Bush sees the world in a simpler picture that requires action instead of some complicated world where the intellectuals can debate ad naseum while terrorists continue killing people”

I see your point that his “simpleton” persona gives people a kind of clarity. However, I do wish that Bush and the leaders of our world would mature enough to not simplify things to the point of “Kill our people and we’ll kill your people.” The vast majority of people being killed in Afghanistan and Iraq had no affiliation, or desire to be affiliated with, what was inflicted upon the US.

When one person from this part of the world is killed it’s considered a huge deal. In the last 2 year tens of thousands of people have been killed in the Middle East at the hands of the “coalition” and it’s called “Collateral Damage.” Why are those people worth less than us? I don’t
call that clarity. I call it righteousness, calousness, vengefullness, misguided and downright wrong.

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Next I’m responsing to the argument that killing Palestinian leaders is going to stop terrorists.

That, I believe, is the fundamental flaw in the “war on terror” and the Israeli action against Hamas. Leaders in terrorism aren’t very important. I’m sure anyone can come to the conclusion that strapping bombs to themselves and blowing stuff up is going to cause some hardship
to your enemy. You don’t need coordination in the sense of “Ok, you go on tuesday, you go on wednesday, …” If both of them went on tuesday it would probably be just as effective. The only thing that these assassinations are doing is making more people angry, which in turn
creates more people willing to perform “terrorist” acts. Only time will tell if I’m right, but I’d sure bet on it.

In the specific case of Israelis/Palestinians, both sides are equally wrong. They’re both killing innocent people. However, the Israelis have definitely won the media war by having their enemy labelled as terrorists. It is much closer to a guerrilla war. The fact that a
people don’t have an organized army to fight with has nicely fallen into the Western label of “terrorists” which desensitizes the western public to their mass murder. They’re both killing innocent people with explosives. I can turn your “Jew-killing ring” around and say the Israelis run internment camps where they shoot “Palestinians in a barrel.”

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This is essentially the same part of the discussion, but I’m responding to a specific quote.

“The only real solution is continued, aggressive, and disproportionately strong displays of force against Hamas and all other Islamist organizations.”

Honestly this is (a repeat of) one of the most naive and misguided statements I’ve ever heard with respect to world politics. Show me examples of a population (not a military organization) that has been quelled long term by your “solution” above. I can’t see how any use of logic and common sense could lead to that conclusion. I would love to see you try to build some sort of logical justification for this conclusion based on representative facts from history. I’m not joking here, I really am interested to understand why people think this.

The problem is that it’s not only members of Hamas that hates the Jews because of their treatment, it’s the population (I’m sure the Jewish population feels similarly.) I’m not saying they all want to kill each other, but these are people who have been treated like $*%&. If you killed every single current member of Hamas do you honestly believe that would end the attacks? If you do, then you clearly don’t understand the situation. People would be flooding to replace them. These people have no hope, they only have an enemy. That’s the only thing that matters.

So, based on your method of dealing with the situation, should Israel kill all Palestinians?

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Now, somebody tried to respond to my request for historical evidence, and this was my response.

Ok, let’s take apart your “evidence” one at a time…

You claim that Spain, Russia and Japans populations were all quelled by “continued, aggressive, and disproportionately strong displays of force.” That is completely false in every one of those scenarios.
1. The population of Spain was overwhelmingly opposed to invading Iraq both before and after the invasion. Why does it come as a suprise that, come the next election, they picked someone who followed their views?
2. How was the Soviet Union quelled by the above description? I think the population was quelled by the fact that their government and economy collapsed.
3. Japans military was “quelled” in the sense that it was mostly destroyed. In a conventional war I think the losing country is more quelled by the fact that they can’t fight back anymore than for the force used against them.

Now I have two points.

Even if it were true that in a conventional war a population is more or less quelled as a result of being the loser that has no bearing on the current situtation where you’re fighting a population, not a military. At the end of WWII, I’m sure there were some Japanese people who wanted to rush right up and start defending their country, but the way that (mostly) works in a conventional war is through the military. Militaries don’t usually train and equip somebody in a day. However, in a less
conventional (guerilla) war, like Iraq or Vietnam, since there is little or no organized military, the only requirement is that a person finds a weapon. The US treating this like a conventional war is why they will lose this “war on terror.” (unless they fundamentally change something)

As evidenced by your points, and sadly by Bushs actions, some people can’t comprehend world politics not somehow involving violence or the threat of violence. I think, for the US, this is a remnant of the Cold War where you were locked in a tit-for-tat game with Russia. However, they need to get out of this mindset. The world isn’t going to stand for the US throwing it’s weight around with it’s military forever. (I know some people who disagree with me are thinking ‘oh yes we will – who’s going to stop us?’ And I’d say learn some history and GROW UP. Leave the bully on the playground with the 5 year-olds.)