I'm watching air strikes obliterate the foundations of life in Lebanon, while Israelis flee by the thousands to escape Hezbollah rockets. All the while Shiites are yelling "death to Israel" and more pundits are saying Hezbollah fighters are terrorists who don't care about human life and can't be reasoned with.
The UN is struggling for conditions to enforce a cease-fire that would involve international troops standing between the two sides to hold them apart. George Mitchell says weapons today are far too effective to allow these ancient antagonisms to flare up into war. I don't hear anybody refer to the root origins of this war as emanating from the insults these ancient tribes have been hurling at each other for thousands of years. Everybody exists. When one group mounts a campaign to humiliate their neighboring group, that neighbor will rise up and humiliate in return, and when the rocks start to fly, the bullets will follow, and then the rockets, until we have what we see today. It starts with the insults and humiliation. The demand to disarm Hezbollah is itself an insult, while Israel remains armed to the teeth, humiliating Palestinians on a daily basis. Both sides started this war.
In an op-ed in WaPo today:
The message is clear: Hezbollah, like al Qaeda, is the only party really taking action to defend the Islamic people from humiliation and subjugation.
That's what this is all about. It's only secondarily about land or religion. If anyone wants to dampen the fires of war in the hearts and minds of the hostile participants, they need to point to the insults, the indignities, and the chants to destroy one another as the root cause of the war. Both sides will complain if you don't support them and condemn their foe, but the only way to address and end this and other wars is to rise above the mutual humiliations and objectify each incident of humiliation that led up to this war.