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View Diary: "A Day to Make You Believe in God" (40 comments)

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  •  I'm confused. (2+ / 0-)
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    Eric S, wxlr

    the one element of your diary i find dubious is the notion that somehow any number of innocent dead palestinian children can be justified on the basis of some other number of innocent dead israeli children.

    I haven't the slightest idea where you got that from.

    Why are Jews Democrats? Because the last time we followed a bush claiming to speak for God, we got lost in a desert for forty years!

    by Elsinora on Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 07:42:10 PM PDT

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    •  this part: (0+ / 0-)

      There is no "context."

      unfortunately, there is a context. and the context is that israel has the choice of whether to respond to the death of israeli civilians by killing 10 times as many palestinian civilians, or not. israelis, being entirely as human as all the rest of us, can be counted on to do the human thing: lash out and kill lots of other humans who have connections, tenuous or not, with the persons who have attacked them.

      there are some humans who strive to get beyond this instinct for violence and revenge. not everybody thought the invasion of Afghanistan was necessary or even justified. we were, needless to say, in a depressing minority. as we always will be.

      I am further of the opinion that the President must be impeached and removed from office!

      by UntimelyRippd on Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 08:01:31 PM PDT

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      •  Speaking of context: (2+ / 0-)
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        Eric S, wxlr

        I am thoroughly disgusted, too, with the Kossacks and others who insisted that these yeshiva students are somehow unimportant because more Palestinians have died: "you have to pt it in context."  More people worldwide are murdered every day than died in the Oklahoma City Bombing and the Twin Towers combined, but I have yet to see anyone try to put those victims of terrorism "in context."  There is no "context."  Do you think the parents of the Israeli children or of the Palestinian children who have died in this conflict find any comfort in your "context?"  Would you find comfort in it?  God forbid anyone ever try to put the death of one of your loved ones "in context!

        Nowhere did I say that Palestinian deaths were unimportant.  What I did say is that the impulse of some people to declare the Israeli deaths unimportant was morally reprehensible.  And I stand by that remark 100%...every violent death is a tragedy.  Context doesn't mean a fig to a bereaved family.

        By the way, I am curious: what exactly do you propose that the Israelis do in response to the people bombing and shooting them, exactly?  This isn't a's an honest question.  It's one thing to say, "That solution is wrong," but unless you have a viable alternative, nobody will listen to you.

        Why are Jews Democrats? Because the last time we followed a bush claiming to speak for God, we got lost in a desert for forty years!

        by Elsinora on Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 08:10:15 PM PDT

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        •  not all problems have solutions. (0+ / 0-)

          i have no viable alternative. as i stated, such deaths are an inevitable cost incurred by the mere existence of the state of israel. israelis can choose to have these deaths go unanswered, or they can choose to create more unwarranted deaths, in the name of defense. even if it were clear that their periodic counterattacks reduced the overall number of israeli deaths, they would not clearly have the moral high ground in conducting those attacks at the expense of huge numbers of dead noncombatant palestinian refugees.

          i don't expect to be listened to, anymore than i expected to be listened to after 9/11, when i said that America should take the high road, suck it up, and announce that we are big enough to take this blow, and that we are not going to be drawn into an endless war of incomprehensible cost (human and economic) by the actions of a few Islamic fanatics. the idea that injustice might go unpunished is just not on the table for most people, a fact that would be more tolerable if those same people were not so generally resistant to having the justice of their own actions examined. 9/11 -- or something like it -- was the inevitable result of running a global empire. contrary to what the small thinkers will try to tell you, that statement doesn't constitute a defense of, or justification for, the 9/11 attacks. it does imply that the only way to stave off all such future attacks is to stand down from empire. we aren't going to do that. i mean, that's what i'd do, but for 97% of Americans that isn't an option. which leaves us the choice of either absorbing these occasional horrific casualties without response, or getting up and going out and exacting some "justice" in the name of "security".

          israel's situation is similar, except that israel's only comparable option to  "standing down from empire" would be to choose nonexistence. which is obviously a non-starter.

          and so, we are full circle. the deaths of innocent israeli children will continue. forever. and israel can choose whether to exact "justice" in the name of "security" at the cost of the deaths of innocent non-israeli children. which is what israel will choose.

          but it is not what I would choose, anymore than i would have chosen to invade afghanistan.

          i should add, as a postscript: it is only because the deaths of their own children are the result of deliberate human effort that israelis are compelled to do something, do anything in response, regardless of the cost of the response. 20,000 americans die on our highways every year, and we simply accept this as a cost of our way of life. yes, we have ambulances and hospitals and medflights; but that's what we do to get the number down to 20,000. we could spend an extra 500,000,000,000 a year improving our public transportation systems and reorganizing ourselves and our economy in order to dramatically reduce that death count, but we don't. instead, we accommodate ourselves emotionally to this reality of our existence, because there is nobody else to blame, nobody to hate and bomb as a way of telling ourselves that we are doing something. if there were somebody we could bomb, and if that bombing would reduce our traffic deaths from 20,000 per year to 18,000 per year, oh, yes, we would bomb, with indignant righteousness we would rain billions of dollars of death upon those who were causing us harm -- and anybody who happened to be in the vicinity as well.

          I am further of the opinion that the President must be impeached and removed from office!

          by UntimelyRippd on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 04:42:51 AM PDT

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        •  in some sense you are correct that context does (0+ / 0-)

          not mean a fig to a bereaved family. but perhaps it should, and certainly it can, and many bereaved families try to make it so. if that weren't the case, you wouldn't have the desperate concept, shared by so many families of slain soldiers, in so many wars, that the war must be just, and the war must be won, lest their beloved one have died in vain. contexts, of course, do not adapt themselves to satisfy human emotional needs -- certainly the justice of no war has ever been influenced by a grieving mother's yearning for worthiness in her son's sacrifice. and to the extent that the outcome has been affected, well perhaps somewhere some war has been won because of the determination of some thousands of families that their boys shall have died for a purpose. but if so, the full context is that many other thousands of families had to lose their own sons or fathers, for no purpose other than to give those earlier deaths "meaning".

          but our culture is obsessed with a narrative that rejects context. we are given movie after movie after movie in which the body count rises to the sky, but in the end we are supposed to feel good, because the 1 or 2 or 3 characters central to the story have survived. the corpse pile doesn't matter. it is irrelevant context. do you know what i remember about the silence of the lambs? i remember those two guards who were slaughtered by lecter. were their lives worth the life of the young woman who was saved in the end? why? the only emotions i felt at the end of that movie were depression and sorrow.

          and so, the million dead Iraqis don't matter. well, actually, what's interesting about the million dead Iraqis is that the number is so large that it overwhelms Americans' context-rejection system. they can't pretend that one million deaths don't matter. so instead, they pretend that one million deaths can't possibly have happened. it's only 50,000. or 100,000. and a mere hundred thousand Iraqis are irrelevant context to an American citizen judging the relative "success" of the Iraq war in terms of abstractions like "freedom" and "security" and "strength" and "resolve" and "the sacrifice of our soldiers must not have been in vain".

          given the choice of adapting themselves to context, versus perceiving a fictional context that is more comforting, most humans choose the latter. is that wisdom?

          i did try reading the thread to which you linked ... i'm afraid i lost my will to continue before locating a comment expressing an opinion quite as dismissive as the one you indicated -- "that these yeshiva students are somehow unimportant". on the other hand, i've never seen anyone on dkos denounce the notion that "these missing white women unimportant" implied by the frequent contemptuous dismissal of the tradmed's drooling coverage of such cases. certainly, natalie holloway's mother has no interest in the "context" that our barbaric foreign policies are resulting in a slaughter of incomprehensible proportion, which ought to dominate the national media. but the truth is that natalie holloway is unimportant -- or ought to be -- to the approximately 300 million Americans for whom her death holds no more significance than that of 10,000 other Americans who die every day.

          proportion and perspective do matter, regardless of how we might wish otherwise.

          I am further of the opinion that the President must be impeached and removed from office!

          by UntimelyRippd on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:33:40 AM PDT

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