Thursday, July 20, 2006

Lebanese tug-of-war

I've been spending quite a bit of the last week following the increasingly awful battle in the Middle East between Israel, Palestine, and Lebanon. I have quite a few conflicting emotions about it, mostly because I've learned a bit about the players both in school and on my own and the emotional side is definitely fighting with the logical side.

Logically, I understand that Israel absolutely has to go after its soldiers with everything it has. All three soldiers are being held by military sects that are only loosely connected to the countries they inhabit. Hamas and Hezbollah are not part of either the Palestinian Authority or Lebanon's government. Nor should they be. Well, I take that back. Hamas is essentially the current Palestinian government, but it shouldn't be. It was an extreme reaction to a bad situation, and I wonder how the Palestinians feel about it now.

Back to my original point--Israel has to go after its soldiers like it is because it needs to make a point that they will not negotiate. If they did, these groups would pick off their entire army, one soldier at a time. It would be the end of Israel, and they know it.

On the other hand, one of our former fellows here is Lebanese and he's in Beirut right now. One of the docs is still getting emails from him and he's doing OK, but I can't imagine what a terrifying place his city and country are right now. I really don't want to hear that we stopped getting emails. I don't. And that's where the emotional side steps in.

I understand that Israel's point is to punish these countries for allowing the militant groups into their borders and not giving them any consequences. I understand that some of these countries encourage these groups to go after Israel. But it's still scary when someone you know is over there, trapped in the middle of a warzone and you don't know if they're going to get out.

Quote of the Day: "We're not here to do the decent thing! We're here to follow fucking orders!" Captain Miller (Tom Hanks), Saving Private Ryan.

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