Monday, January 5, 2009

More thoughts on the Gaza War

I am someone who sympathizes with Israel. In their position I probably would have reacted to continuous Hamas rocket fire and provocations the same way. No one other than the most genocidal maniac can be happy about the Gaza situation. Troops have moved into the strip, which is densely populated. No matter how careful Israeli soldiers are, civilians are dying. Young Israelis are dying.

What bothers me most is the "rah rahing" I see from supporters of both sides. No matter what you think of Hamas, you cannot be happy with the increasing civilian casualties and the humanitarian disaster. Israel has proved its point. Unfortunately, I fear Hamas will not stop. So in a year or two we will again see the recurring spectacle of Palestinian rockets followed by Israeli bombs and more war, death and destruction.

The Byzantines had I think the best view of war. To them, war was tragic, but some times necessary. They were surrounded by enemies on all sides and rarely knew peace. But while they hailed the victors and honored their heroes, they did not see anything particularly heroic about war itself. Soldiers who killed the enemy in battle were expected to do penance.

War was avoided by a combination of nuanced diplomacy, bribes and brute force. The Byzantines would make a cost benefit analysis but always had the power of a strong army to back up negotiations. Every now and then, a barbarian who asked for too much would suffer the consequences of Byzantine power, to make an example for the others. In this way, the Byzantines were able to 1000 years to fend off enemies from all sides.

So let's cut out the rah rah -- war is not a football game,. Many people have died, and I fear many more will in the coming days.


Rodak said...

The Byzantines, huh? The Israelis should stop and ask themselves, "Who's in power in Constantinople today?"

Anthony said...

The Byzantines surived for over 1000 years surrounded by enemies.

And in any event, it is not so much their strategy (much as I think we can all learn from that) but their attitudes we should learn from.

Rodak said...

Exactly. The Israelis--that is the Palestinian Jews--need to learn how to survive out of power, without a Jewish state, and surrounded by their enemies. Then, and only then, will the rounds of continual violence stop.

Anthony said...


Israel is not going anywhere. While I believe the final settlement will involve removing the West Bank settlements, it will end with a free and independent Israel.

Anonymous said...

Re: Rob; January 7, 2009 4:19 a.m.

Actually... Rob's dead on (pun intended) with his analysis in terms of expressing the logic of those who say that all this fighting would stop if Israel were simply... (*SNORT*)... to dismantle itself as a Jewish state.

Nope. While some might consider Rob's position extreme, he's exactly right within the sense of such a worldview.

Of course... the flip side is that with such logic, Israel might as well engage in actual genocide - refuse citizenship to any non-Jews and wipe out all Arab/Palestinian/Persian threat to itself.

They COULD do it. (*SHRUG*) It would be bloody and might well result in the annihilation of the Jewish state and perhaps a full scale WW-3 depending upon how the great powers reacted to such Israeli action. Still... they COULD do it.

Anyway... back to reality...

Ultimately... Hamas... the Palestinians... the Arabs... the Persians... Muslims... the world... (*SIGH*)

Ultimately they're either going to have to accept Israel's existence as a Jewish state or else Israel will simply keep killing those warring against her and the civilians in whose midst the terrorists operate from. (*SHRUG*)


Rodak said...

It's not something that I enjoy being right about.
Anthony says that Byzantium lasted a thousand years, surrounded by its enemies. Would Anthony now please calculate just how many years ago Byzantium's enemies overwhelmed it?

Anthony said...

556 years ago, give or take a year (a few more if you consider the holdouts at Mistra and Trezebond).

But the length of time from the founding to the fall is still longer than England's history from the Conquest until today.

Rodak said...

But the length of time from the founding to the fall is still longer than England's history from the Conquest until today.

Give it time. The post- is always longer than the ante- and the mid- eventually.

Anthony said...

True Rodak.

In any event, what I really mean by looking back at the Byzantines is that we should adopt their view toward war. That it is something that regrettablly is necessary sometimes and not a football game to go "rah rahing" about.

Anonymous said...

Re: Rob; January 8, 2009 5:44 am


This is what I've been trying to get through to you since I've "known" you, Rob; it's no fun to be "Usaly" right!


Re: Anthony; January 8, 2009 12:25 pm