March 27, 2002

More Pointless Murder

I don't normally blog "current events" stuff -- it's easy enough to get your newsfix from almost any other site -- but the continuing ballet of death between the Palestinians and the Israelis jus entered a new phase. Can anyone doubt that this latest attack will lead to vicious reprisals by the Israelis, in which more innocents will die?

I have no informed opinion of this situation -- I am neither Jewish nor Palestinian, and I can understand the anger and fear on both sides. I do think that Yasir Arafat is a clown, and that the Palestinians have no one but themselves to blame for placing their trust into such inept hands. This is not to forgive Israel their trespasses; their years-long humiliation of the Palestinians was bound to come back on them.

Ariel Sharon plays by what the journalist Thomas Friedman calls "Hama Rules" -- a vicious, ends-justify-the-means outlook that has little room or sympathy for the uncommitted. Hafez Assad of Syria killed tens of thousands of his own people, and almost leveled the town of Hama, just to wipe out some dissidents: this act of carnage has informed the attitudes of many in that region. I fear what will happen because, lest we forget, Israel is a nuclear power -- they are militarily powerful, but they are also small and isolated, and if they feel themselves threatened in a mortal way almost anything can happen.