07 February 2010

Getting Your Bearings

I do not make the mistake of equating the 2nd Lebanon War back in '06 with the lengthy conflagurations that have destroyed millions of lives and prevented anything like a normal, happy existence for a generation or more. It was not a state-against-state war, nor was it really a war so much as an anti-terrorist operation.

However, in light of the fine art of the bellicose-turn-of-phrase practiced so frequently of late by Israel fans Khassan Nasrallah, Bashir Assad, and Makhmoud Akhmadinejad, and the arming and upgrading of Hizbollah, Hamas, Syria, and Iran's nearly ready nuclear weapons programme, I'd like to explain the purpose of these little steel balls in the photo above.

The purpose of these steel balls is to rip open human flesh, unto death if possible. Which is frightening when you think of the car park in front of my building where they were found, after a rocket attack. The road infront of our apartment is a relatively quiet cul-de-sac, and a very busy playground for children for hours of every day. A little family-run convenience store guarantees a steady flow of small-change sweets-junkies. Children and Hizbollah missiles is not a good mix.

Israel imperfectly carries the war of terror to the enemy, to his firing points, to his command posts, armouries, depots and communications lines. Our self-professed enemies blindly fire into our cities. Firing unsophisticated rockets on approximate trajectories is ineffective as a killing machine, but how will this play out with the new and improved weapons now in the bully's arsenal? Think about it. Shudder, shudder, and then shudder some more.

One set of enemies attempts to rip apart our flesh, and another would divest us of our humanity, our legitimacy, and our spirit. By definition Israel can do no right. Were we to agree to destroy ourselves, the enemies of the battlefield would ridicule our suicidal weakness, while our diplomatic enemies would censure us for taking unilateral action.

Our neighbours and near-neighbours have armed themselves with advanced ballistics, into which equation we must soon add nuclear weapons and sophisticated air defense systems. We will truly miss those crude, Soviet-Stalanist Katyushas when the rhetoric ceases and a new generation of missiles land in my car park.

What to make of it all? Massive stockpiling of increasingly sophisticated weapons by virulently anti-Semitic regimes, whose intentions have been clear all along, and life goes on as if normal? I think not. Anciently, in a situation as we now face, the prophets would have been walking the Land and exhorting the people to return to Ha-Shem, to end to their wicked ways and humble themselves. Yet there is the mortgage, and the job to worry about, and people are not showing panic or fear, and the grocery stores are well-stocked, and the this, and the that. Being pulled in one direction by the trivial, the apparently necessary day to day concerns, and being pulled in another direction by an existential urgency, and the need for some deep thought.

It is not easy to get one's bearings in such an environment.