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#53813 - 01/10/09 08:54 AM Peters: The Demons of Gaza
JohnStephen Offline
Super User

Registered: 08/03/06
Posts: 2918
Loc: USA

I don't want this to become the Gaza forum, but Ralph Peters is an outstanding columnist with an interesting personal history that informs his pieces. This is from today's New York Post, and while it may repeat some points mentioned on other threads, I think he pulls it all together well.


January 10, 2009 --
Israel hasn't killed a single civilian in the Gaza Strip. Over a hundred civilians have died, and Israeli bombs or shells may have ended their lives. But Israeli didn't kill them.

Hamas did.

It's time to smash the lies. The lies of Hamas. The UN lies. And the save-the-terrorists lies of the global media.

There is no moral equivalence between Hamas terrorists and Israeli soldiers. There is no gray area. There is no point in negotiations.

Hamas is a Jew-killing machine. It exists to destroy Israel. What is there to negotiate?

When Hamas can't kill Jews, it's perfectly willing to drive Palestinian civilians into the line of fire - old men, women and children. Hamas herds the innocent into "shelters," then draws Israeli fire on them. And the headline-greedy media cheer them on.

Hamas isn't fighting for political goals. "Brokered agreements" are purely means to an end. And the envisioned end is the complete destruction of Israel in the name of a terrorist god. Safe in hidden bunkers or in Damascus, the Hamas leadership is willing to watch an unlimited number of civilians and even street-level terrorists die.

Lives, too, are nothing but means to an end. And dead kids are the coins that keep the propaganda meter ticking.

All Hamas had to do to prevent Israel's act of self-defense was to leave Israel unmolested by terror rockets. All Hamas needs to do now to stop this conflict and spare the Palestinian people it pretends to champion is to stop trying to kill Israelis and agree to let Israel exist in peace.

Hamas didn't, and Hamas won't.

Now Israel has to continue its attack, to wreak all the havoc it can on Hamas before a new American president starts meddling. If Israel stops now, Hamas can declare victory just for surviving - despite its crippling losses. While it's impossible to fully eliminate extremism, killing every terrorist leader hiding in a Gaza bunker is the only hope of achieving even a temporary, imperfect peace. The chance may not come again.

And don't worry about "creating a power vacuum." Let the Palestinians pick up their own pieces. Even anarchy in Gaza is better for Israel than Hamas.

Israelis, Americans and Westerners overall share a tragic intellectual blind spot: We're caught in yesterday's model of terrorism, that of Arafat's PLO, of the IRA, the Red Brigades or the Weather Underground. But, as brutal as those organizations could be, they never believed they were on a mission from God.

Yesteryear's terrorists wanted to change the world. They were willing to shed blood and, in extreme cases, to give their own blood to their causes. But they didn't seek death. They preferred to live to see their "better world."

Now our civilization faces terrorists who regard death as a promotion. They believe that any action can be excused because they're serving their god. And their core belief is that you and I, as stubborn unbelievers, deserve death.

Their grisly god knows no compromise. To give an inch is to betray their god's trust entirely. Yet we - and even some Israelis - believe it's possible to cut deals with them.

In search of peace, Israel handed Gaza to the Palestinians, a people who had never had a state of their own. As thanks, Israel received terror rockets. And the Palestinian people got a gang war.

Peace is the last thing Hamas terrorists and gangsters want. Peace means the game is up. Peace means they've disappointed their god. Peace means no more excuses. They couldn't bear peace for six months.

This is a war to the bitter end. And we're afraid to admit what it's about.

It's not about American sins or Israeli intransigence. It's about a sickness in the soul of a civilization - of Middle-Eastern Islam - that can only be cured from within. Until Arabs or Iranians decide to cure themselves, we'll have to fight.

Instead, we want to talk. We convince ourselves, against all evidence, that our enemies really want to talk, too, that they just need "incentives" (the diplomat's term for bribes). The apparent belief of our president-elect that it's possible to negotiate with faith-fueled fanatics is so naive it's terrifying.

Yet, it's understandable. Barack Obama's entire career has been built on words, not deeds, on his power to persuade, not his power to deliver. But all the caucuses, debates, neighborhood meetings and backroom deal-making sessions in his past haven't prepared him to "negotiate" with men whose single-minded goal is Israel's destruction - and ours.

If Obama repeats the same "peace-process" folly as his predecessors, from Jimmy have-you-hugged-your-terrorist-today? Carter through Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, he'll be devoured before he knows he's been bitten.

How many administrations have to repeat the identical error of believing that, deep down inside, terrorists, gunmen and warlords really want peace every bit as much as we do? Israel's enemies aren't just looking to cut a sharp deal. They want to destroy Israel.

Which part of what they shout in our faces is so hard to understand? Israel's foes have been preaching Jew-hatred for so long that even the "moderates" can't turn back now.

And why does the global left hate Israel so? Why would they pull out the stops to rescue Hamas?

Because Israel exposed the lie that a suffering people can't lift itself up through hard work, education and discipline. Israel didn't need the help of a hundred condescending NGOs and their misery junkies.

Because the Holocaust is a permanent embarrassment to Europeans. They need to believe that Israelis are kosher Nazis.

Because, from the safety of cafes and campuses, it's cool to call terrorists "freedom fighters." It makes you feel less guilty when you hit up daddy (or the state) for money. I mean, dude, it's not like you have to, like, live with them or anything, you know?

(The preceding sentence is not a direct quote from Caroline Kennedy.)

Because, above all, the most-destructive racists in the world today are mainstream leftists. Want the truth? The Left codes Israel as white and, therefore, inherently an oppressor. Israel is held to the highest standard of our civilization and our legal codes - and denied the right to self-defense.

But the Left tacitly believes that people with darker skins are inferior and can't be expected to behave at a civilized level. Leftists expect terrorist movements or African dictators to behave horribly. It's the post-modern, latte-sucking version of the "little brown brother" mentality.

The worst enemies of developing societies have been leftists who refuse to hold them to fundamental standards of governance and decency. But, then, the Left needs developing societies to fail to prove that the system's hopelessly stacked against them.

A battered, impoverished, butchered people built a thriving Western democracy in an Eastern wasteland. Israel can never be forgiven for its success.

In this six-decade-old conflict that Israel's intractable neighbors continue to force upon it, there not only are no good solutions, but, thanks to the zero-sum mentality of Islamist terrorists, there aren't even any bad solutions - short of nuclear genocide - that would bring an enduring peace to the Middle East.

And even the elimination of Israel wouldn't be enough. The terrorists would fight among themselves, while warring upon less-devout fellow Muslims.

All Israel can do is to fight for time and buy intervals of relative calm with the blood of its sons and daughters. By demanding premature cease-fires and insisting that we can find a diplomatic solution, we strengthen monsters and undercut our defenders.

And don't believe the propaganda about this conflict rallying Gaza's Palestinians behind Hamas. That's more little-brown-brother condescension, assuming all Arabs are so stupid they don't know who started this and who's dragging it out at their expense.

Gaza's people may not care much for Israelis, but they rue the day they cast their votes for Hamas. Hamas is killing them.

Ralph Peters is a retired U.S. Army officer and the author of "Looking For Trouble."
John (wag)

Nothing is more exhilarating than philistine vulgarity. ...Vladimir Nabokov

#53815 - 01/10/09 09:01 AM Re: Peters: The Demons of Gaza [Re: JohnStephen]
JohnStephen Offline
Super User

Registered: 08/03/06
Posts: 2918
Loc: USA
Protestors in the UK show Israelis how to be peaceful, I guess.

John (wag)

Nothing is more exhilarating than philistine vulgarity. ...Vladimir Nabokov

#53816 - 01/10/09 09:09 AM Re: Peters: The Demons of Gaza [Re: JohnStephen]
Dan Simmons Administrator Offline
CEO of the Hegemony

Registered: 09/02/05
Posts: 11203
Loc: Colorado
Dan Simmons comments:

Did anyone else notice that Peters didn't put a capital "G" on the word when he talked about the terrorists' "god"? Gee, do you think that was deliberate?

I like the occasional good old-fashioned, unadulterated polemic. Now let's post one for the poor, suffering Palestinians. This forum is and must be, above all else, even-handed and fair and balanced to the point of -- what was the phrase offered on the other thread? -- moral agnosticism. God help us if we ever draw a line in the metaphorical sand and take a stand. (Or should that be -- "god help us"?)


#53818 - 01/10/09 09:18 AM Re: Peters: The Demons of Gaza [Re: Dan Simmons]
Dan Simmons Administrator Offline
CEO of the Hegemony

Registered: 09/02/05
Posts: 11203
Loc: Colorado
Dan S re: the peaceful London protest:

Ah, to be young and in London!

I love the caption "Demonstrators in a Starbucks" . . . yes, one they've totally trashed and which they're looting.

I had an instructor of German in college who discussed the verb "to steal" by remembering his youth (there's that word!)in Munich during WWII. Walking home between bombing raids, he noticed that the there were dead bodies hanging from every remaining lamppost. The police had put hastily scrawled signs -- "Ich geplundert" (with umlaut) -- on the chest of each corpse.

Will we reach that point again? Not in London! Youth will be youth and demonstrators have a Cause which pardons their youthful hijinks.


#53819 - 01/10/09 09:46 AM Re: Peters: The Demons of Gaza [Re: Dan Simmons]
JohnStephen Offline
Super User

Registered: 08/03/06
Posts: 2918
Loc: USA
 Originally Posted By: Dan Simmons
Dan S re: the peaceful London protest:

I just hope they can reach their goal of outdoing the French Protester Car-Overturning Record before their allowances from Mommy and Daddy run out.

How much do you want to bet that most of these wee ones will be crying when they can't get their Starbucks tomorrow morning?
John (wag)

Nothing is more exhilarating than philistine vulgarity. ...Vladimir Nabokov

#53820 - 01/10/09 09:49 AM Re: Peters: The Demons of Gaza [Re: JohnStephen]
JohnStephen Offline
Super User

Registered: 08/03/06
Posts: 2918
Loc: USA
from Reuters:

Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched in cities across Europe and the Middle East on Saturday to protest against Israel's offensive in Gaza, with sporadic clashes with police as some rallies turned violent.

Police in riot gear confronted around 20,000 protesters waving banners and Palestinian flags outside the Israeli embassy in central London, while Oslo police used tear gas as they fought activists on the streets of the Norwegian capital.

About 30,000 took to the streets of Paris to call for an end to Israeli attacks in Gaza, with many demonstrators wearing Palestinian keffiyah headscarves and chanting "we are all Palestinians," "Israel murderer" or "peace." "We are here to demand the end to this unacceptable war. There are more than 800 victims including numerous children and civilians. We cannot accept that," said Communist Party leader Marie-George Buffet at the Paris march.
John (wag)

Nothing is more exhilarating than philistine vulgarity. ...Vladimir Nabokov

#53822 - 01/10/09 10:04 AM Re: Peters: The Demons of Gaza [Re: JohnStephen]
FollowerOfFools Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1190
Loc: Sweden

"The Gaza war has killed the last chance for settlement and negotiations with Israel, Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal told Al-Jazeera on Saturday.

In a fiery speech on the Arabic news channel Al-Jazeera, Mashaal condemned Israel's attack on the Gaza Strip, describing it as a "holocaust."

Mashaal's comments came as Hamas teams were in Cairo to negotiate over an Egyptian-proposed ceasefire to end Israeli strikes on the organization.

Mashaal also called for an end to Israeli attacks, the removal of its forces from the Gaza Strip, and a lifting of the Gaza blockage. "

Ok , Israel has killed any chance for a "settlement".

So then I assume it's all out war.

Why should Israel then end these attacks?
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.

#53826 - 01/10/09 11:17 AM Re: Peters: The Demons of Gaza [Re: FollowerOfFools]
Bellis_Coldwine Offline

Registered: 10/08/05
Posts: 1624
Loc: Copenhagen
I went to a pro-Israel rally in downtown Copenhagen today. I probably would not have felt the moral imperative to do so were it not for this forum, so I thank you all for that. It was a strange feeling to by surrounded by dozens of police who protected the peaceful demonstration (speeches and Israeli folk music) from a surrounding mob of screaming, egg-throwing pro-terrorists. 75 "youths" were arrested.

No compassionate, sane human being supports war and destruction, especially involving civilians and children. At least the Israelis are trying to minimize civilian casualities -- otherwise they'd just carpet bomb Gaza. Or, god forbid, use nuclear weapons. I am certain that Hamas would use nukes if they had them.

I consider myself to be left-of-center but I think my definition of "left" is different from what has become, unfortunately, status quo leftness: always supporting the underdog, even if the underdogs are misogynist, homophobic, fundamentalist koran-thumpers.
Experiencing a significant gravitas shortfall

#53828 - 01/10/09 12:38 PM Re: Peters: The Demons of Gaza [Re: JohnStephen]
ray_g Offline

Registered: 09/17/07
Posts: 1733
Loc: Bradenton, FL
I think Dan has a point.

I'm done with my own little pipsqueak polemics and screeds re: the topic of Radical Islam, Militant Islam, Islamo-Fascism, Islamic Jihadism, or whatever the hell else the movement calls itself -- or is referred to by others. It's too emotionally draining; it's a gross misapplication of my energies; and it's futile.

I'm just done.

Instead what I will do is share anecdotes. For me, it's oftentimes the best way to communicate things that I experience in this world. I'm not very politically savvy. I'm no economics expert. And my knowledge and understanding of history, while maybe one or two itsy-bitsy steps beyond average, sure as hell isn't anything to brag about (not in relation to many of the people on this forum, and most certainly not compared to my friend Matt, whom I grateful to have as a sounding board for all things historical).

So anecdotes it is, then.

And as it turns out, I've got one for today. A real shitty one.

It culminated with four words. Four words, uttered by a mere child, that chilled me right to the bone.

Read on, if you care.

After dragging myself out of bed at nearly 10:30 a.m. today (after an almost 11-hour sleep), I was pleased to note that my fever had broken completely, and that the accompanying body aches, chills, and other Flu symptoms that have savaged my body over the course of the last week had been drastically minimized. It's that post-sickness feeling anyone who gets the flu from time to time is familiar with -- you know you're not completely healed yet; but you also understand that the worst of it is has passed. You know you're on the road to recovery. All things considered, it's a comparatively good feeling.

So, for the first time in a week, I decided to actually go OUT and eat lunch. I figured I needed the fresh air after being cooped up for so long in my house. By the time I kick-started my Kymco, I decided to go the economical route and eat lunch at my place of employment ("economical," because I can get a decent meal there for three bucks).

The near-80-degree breeze was like a balm on my skin as I cycled the two miles to the academy. I parked my bike, walked into the building (making the obligatory greetings along the way), purchased my lunch ticket, got my food, sat down at a sun-speckled table outside, pulled my book from my bookbag, and settled in for my meal.

The warm food, coupled with the soft breeze and sunshine, was enough to make me start feeling human again. It's always a morale-boosting feeling to re-enter the Land of the Living.

Near the end of my meal, at a moment when I was immersed in my book, I heard someone say, "Hey, can I sit with you?"

I looked up. It was "Janelle," a 19-year-old girl I have gotten to be friends with over the course of the last nine months. She's an intense kid, very serious about her sports and her school. But she's got a vulnerable side, feels guilty for not being "studious" enough, and, I think, admires me because I "know so much" about what's happening in the world. Like some of the other students there, on occasion, she'll seek me out to discuss things -- school, history, books, current events, a paper she's writing. It gives me a good feeling -- a damn good feeling -- knowing that I've made enough of a positive impression on these kids that a handful of them seek out my company. And I truly care about them. "Janelle" is one of my favorites.

"Of course you can sit down," I replied to Janelle, closing the book and placing it to the side. "Like you have to ask."

Janelle shrugged. "Well, I didn't know if you were busy," she said. "You always got your book. I don't wanna bother you."

I laughed. "Duly noted. Now sit your butt down."

She did. But remained silent. She didn't look at me directly. I know she's been going through a rough time, but I hadn't talked to her in almost six days. Things for her might have gone from bad to real bad. Maybe the absolute apex of bad.

"So, what's happening?" I said cautiously, but with some spirit in my tone. "Any news?"

She shook her head. And then almost immediately tears started welling up in her eyes. Janelle doesn't wear her heart on her sleeve. She's way too prideful and strong for that kind of display of emotion. I could see her fighting the deluge.

I remained quiet. The sun still felt good on my skin, but I was getting hot. I think part of it was rueful anticipation of what Janelle might have to say. After a few moments, she regained her composure.

"My brother got into New York last Friday, and he's staying with my uncle there," she said finally. She paused, cleared her throat. "But my mother hasn't called me. She was supposed to call me three days ago, but I haven't heard nothing from her."

The hairs on my skin bristled. "Not even an e-mail?" I said.

She finally looked up at me. Her eyes were haunted. "Nothing," she said.

I couldn't bring myself to say anything. It wasn't my place, really. I just waited.

But she put me on the spot. "So what do you think?" she asked.

"Well, your mom's a journalist, right?" I said. "She's probably working her tail off to get stories. I mean, there's a lot of crap happening there now."

Janelle nodded. "Yeah, but she's Palestinian. She was right in Gaza last time I talked to her. She said the rocket fire was crazy. She had to go into a shelter."

"That's just SOP," I said.

"Huh?" she said. "What's that?"

"Standard operating procedure," I said. "It's just a precaution. It doesn't necessarily mean things are completely bad."

I started feeling lame. There was nothing I could say to mollify this kid's feelings. What the hell could you say?

Then she hit me with it.

"Five of my friends are dead," she said flatly.

I looked at her.

"Last week I was getting tons of e-mails from all of them, but now it's dropped off to almost nothing," she said. "In one of them, they told me five of them got blown away. These are my friends, man."

Tears were glossing over her eyes in earnest now.

"I don't know what to do!" she said with more feeling that I ever heard her emote. "I'm stuck here. I can't do nothing. I can't watch this shit on tv because then I can't sleep or eat or play tennis. I don't know . . . I don't know what to do."

I wanted to put my hand on her shoulder, but public displays of affection between employees and students are frowned upon by the administration. At the moment, this protocol really pissed me off. The poor girl needed some kind of comfort (she was reaching out), and I couldn't even give her a goddamn hug or shoulder rub. Just a bunch of hollow, half-assed words.

Her eyes were cast down again, and she was fidgeting with an errant grape.

"Listen, Janelle, . . . look at me," I said, maybe too sharply. She looked up. "Look, did you talk to anybody here about this?"

She shook her head. "No way. People who know I'm Palestinian keep asking me if I'm okay, but they don't care."

"What about authority figures?" I pressed. "Have you talked to your student services representative? There's agencies here that can help you, Janelle. You have to talk to somebody. You can't keep all this stuff bottled up."

"I'm strong, man," she said with renewed mettle. "You don't know how strong I am."

"Yeah, I know you're strong," I said, "but this is serious shit here. Does anybody here know about where your mom is? I mean, do they know she's in the middle of the warzone?"

She shook her head, almost defiantly.

"What about your uncle, in New York?" I said. "What did he say?"

"He doesn't know what to do, either," she said, angrily wiping tears from her face. "He wants to fly me to New York, but fuck that."


"Because it doesn't matter if I'm here or there," she said. "Either way, I can't do anything."

"Yeah, but you could be with your family," I said. "Wouldn't you rather be there with them while all this . . . crap . . . is going on?"

She shrugged. "I don't know," she said. More silence.

Then: "I swear to God I'm going to do something," she said, "when this shit blows over and I go back to Palestine. The Israelis can't get away with this shit."

"What kind of 'stuff' are you talking about?" I said.

"Whatever we have to do," she said. "Some of my friends are doing it right now. I guarantee it. You want to see some of my emails? I'll show you."

I shook my head. Janelle and I had talked about the Arab-Israeli conflict/question many times before, but never once had she alluded to participating in an act of terrorism. I have to say that this not only chilled me, but made me sick to my stomach. All of a sudden, I wasn't feeling good anymore.

"That's stupid talk, Janelle," I said, alarmed.

"That's easy for you to say," she said. "You have a life. You have a country."

"You have a life, too," I said. "You're frickin' young, you go to a great school, you have all these opportunities. What the hell are you talking about?"

"What about my country?" she said. "Where's the opportunity for them? You see the pictures of Gaza? All blown to hell? That's what I gotta go back to. I gotta face all those kids, blown to hell."

"So that's how you're going to help them?" I said, more calmly now. "By blowing yourself away? Do you know how selfish that is, Janelle?"

She actually nodded. "I know it is."

"You do?" I said. "Why? Why is it selfish?"

"Because, like you said, I got everything ahead of me," she said, but she missed the point. I could tell the girl was all messed up in her head, and at the same time I could tell she was terribly angry, frustrated, and, most of all, sad. Profoundly sad.

"No, honey," I said, "it's selfish because you're only thinking about yourself when you snuff out a bunch of lives with a bomb strapped to you. It's selfish because what kind of future are you leaving for the next generation of Palestinian children, and the ones after that?"

"We wouldn't have to do all this shit if Israel just left us the hell alone," she said, wiping more tears from her eyes and face. "Why don't they leave us alone?"

"How many times have you and I had this conversation, Janelle?" I said. "I keep telling you, there probably won't be -- can't be -- peace in your country, until the Palestinian people get rid of Hamas. Israel wants peace."

She looked at me disbelievingly. "How can you say that, man? You're looking at the same pictures I am, right? You see what they're doing! What, are we supposed to sit there and do nothing? No way, man."

I just looked at her and said nothing. Instead, I was trying to figure out what I should do, once the conversation ended.

But Janelle went on. "I swear to God I could kill a thousand Israelis -- women and children, too -- and not even a feel a thing," she said. "So help me God, I could do it."

"How could you do that?" I said, almost astonished.

"By getting on a crowded bus and doing it that way," she said, interpreting my question literally. "It's the only way to make them understand."

I gathered my druthers. "Let me ask you a question, Janelle. And I want you to be brutally honest."

She looked at me earnestly.

"Remember when I told you my friend Mike was planning on inviting me to Israel some time?" I said.

She nodded.

"Okay," I continued, "now imagine, a few months from now, you get on a bus in Israel with the intention of doing this terrible thing, and just before you push the button, you see me on the tourist bus." I paused for dramatic effect. Then: "Would you still push the button?"

She looked at me, and I swear to God her eyes narrowed in a way that gave me chills.

Then she said, "No, I wouldn't."

"Don't bullshit me," I said. "Would you do it?"

"No," she said again, firmly. "I'd get off that bus and find another one."

"Why?" I asked.

"Because, you're my friend, man," she said, "and you've got nothing to do with it. I wouldn't do that to you."

"But that's just the point, Janelle," I said slowly, calmly, trying to reason with her. "A lot of people on that imaginary bus don't have anything to do with it. They're tourists, just like me, who came to Israel to . . . I don't know . . . see where Jesus was crucified. The point is, they're innocent."

Janelle looked at me. The tears had dried in her eyes, and her expression took on a kind of bland, lethargic aspect. I could tell she was reaching -- or at the end of -- her emotional tether. At least for the time being.

"But they're in Israel," she said with a bland tone that matched her expression. "They should know better than to ride a crowded bus when they're in Israel. That's the biggest target of them all." She paused and her eyes dug deep into mine. "If you ever do go to Israel, Ray, just stay off the buses. Just walk to wherever you gotta go. Nothing's that far. That's all I'm saying. Stay off the buses."

So that was lunch. I reported the conversation to my boss. Not the part about the bombs, because I think that may be Janelle just acting out her frustration. But I did tell him about her mother not calling, and how upset and confused Janelle is about the whole goddamn sorry affair. I further told him to be discreet, because I don't want Janelle to think I violated her trust.

She's a good kid. God-fucking-dammit, she's a good kid. And yet I saw a part of her today that makes me fear for her future. And that makes me fear for the future of innocent people she may chance to encounter, when and if, upon returning home, she gets involved with fanatics who tap into that dark side she revealed to me.

Stay off the buses, she said.

Stay off the buses.

Ray G.

#53841 - 01/10/09 03:24 PM Re: Peters: The Demons of Gaza [Re: ray_g]
JohnStephen Offline
Super User

Registered: 08/03/06
Posts: 2918
Loc: USA
Powerful story.

These are people who are dying, not just "Palestinians". Just as in every conflict, both sides are made of people--WW2, Vietnam, whatever.
John (wag)

Nothing is more exhilarating than philistine vulgarity. ...Vladimir Nabokov

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