On Counterpunch, under date of January 19, 2009, the ever acute Israeli thinker, Uri Avnery, has an article about the Israeli misadventure in Gaza, entitled “The Boss Has Gone Mad”.
He points out that “In this war” the military doctrine has become “only if we kill them disproportionately, killing a thousand of ‘them’ for ten of ‘ours’, will they understand that it’s not worth it to mess with us … it will be seared into their consciousness … [such that] they will think twice before launching another Quassam rocket at us, even in response to what we do, whatever that may be”.
This was the philosophy of the Imperial German Army when it invaded the Low Countries and France in 1914. It was the philosophy, as well, of the Wehrmacht in its many invasions. It was, to put it gently, monstrously counter-productive and helped greatly to seal Germany’s fate twice in a quarter of a century. In essense it goes: there aren't enough of us and there are wayyy too many of them so we have to make them so terrified of us that they won't even think of trying to interfere with us.
It is shocking to grasp that a strategy so utterly lethal and morally outrageous has once again been deployed in this world, and – numbingly – by the very victims of the Third Reich’s own unimaginable beastliness.
And with America’s full support (or at least that of the American government, such as it now is).
Nor is it comforting to realize that this Israeli approach seems very similar to the Israel-friendly neocons’ vision of how things in Iraq would go: that the ‘enemy’ would be so shocked and awed, so bloodied by American military strength, that no enemy would dare arise to interfere with, or even object to, whatever plans the American government chose further to implement.
Nor do Avnery’s further comments offer solace. “It is impossible to understand the viciousness of this war without taking into account the historical background: the feeling of victimhood after all that has been done to the Jews throughout the ages, and the conviction that after the Holocaust, we have the right to do anything, absolutely anything, to defend ourselves, without any inhibitions due to law or morality.”
It may seem strange, that the nations of the civilized world are (though mostly under US pressure) willing to accept as ‘moral’ and ‘legal’ an operational philosophy which is the utter and profound antithesis of everything Western civilization has managed, through many toils and much blood and tears, to achieve in the way of reasonable relationships among states and peoples. Three and a half centuries of the Westphalian conduct of affairs, embracing all of the accumulated and blood-bought wisdom that preceded that Treaty, and Western civilization now valorizes an operational philosophy that throws it all out the window. This cannot be good. Nor will it end well.
Worse, We can see, I think, even more ominous similarities between the Israeli outlook as limned above and certain weird, almost anti-constitutional and anti-democratic excrescences that have in recent decades arisen here in the US. ‘Victimization’ becomes the trump that overrides all logic, all law, all morality. Against the ‘pain’ of victimization nothing can be allowed to stand, nor can any tradition or thinking or analysis be allowed to delay for even a moment the fulfillment of its demands.
I have mentioned before that America’s assorted ‘Identities’, each of which required an ‘enemy’ who ostensibly inflicted the outrage of ‘victimization’, had borrowed the Israeli playbook, itself borrowed by them from Goebbels, the arch-manipulator of public opinion and illusion.
The adamantine insistence, the maintenance of the illusion of its inevitability, that the genuine horror of the Third Reich’s effort to destroy European Jewry, had had a most perverse effect: it drove the survivors to create in the postwar era a State founded in blood and theft, while simultaneously insisting that they had every right to do so and that – anyway – neither law nor morality mattered; their ‘grief’ elevated their actions above any law or morality. No civilization can survive when such a philosophy is permitted to shape events and lives.
The damage such ‘victim’ legislation and jurisprudence has done in the past several decades to American law and politics cannot be underestimated. And indeed, as I mentioned a couple of Posts ago, Attorney-General nominee Eric Holder seems ready to plump for taking some of the most insidious elements of that type of law – the sempiternal preventive detention and civil commitment of ‘sex offenders’ – and apply the paradigm to US foreign relations, thinking that the US can do to foreign nationals what it can to its own designated unfortunates and ‘monsters’.
To imagine it is morally deranged. To try to implement it is strategic and diplomatic lunacy.
In one of the hottest ironies of History in this era, the US is locked in a lethal, perhaps fatal, dance with the deranged ‘State’ that for its own domestic purposes it has enabled and supported for decades. As each government’s moral and strategic insanities now interacts with the other’s, both descend in an increasingly sharp spiral of decline, morally and societally and spiritually even more than militarily.
Already, gravely weakened militarily and economically, the US has lost its unique postwar position of global leadership and hegemony, a scant 18 years after the collapse of its old (but so useful) nemesis, the USSR.
Worse, both the US and Israel seem locked into the ultimate death-spiral: in the face of the failure of one’s plans, the new plan is to continue applying the old plans with intensified vigor. As if the Germans’ executing two hundred hostages bought them more security than if they had executed fifty.
Certainly over here, the sense of God and any concept of Higher Law have suffered grievous erosion from the combined effects of revolutionary and consumerist materialism; the impatience and ignorance of grossly under-educated, un-Formed youth; and the purposeful, sustained and government-abetted effort of the cultural-revolutionaries to undermine any ‘authority’ that might block or doubt the agendas that they demand be filled.
The Israeli ‘realm’ suffers from an even more profound wound: the pervasive and deep doubt that God has any reliable efficacy in the affairs of this world at all. While the Third Reich’s efforts failed to eradicate all of Europe’s Jews, the extent of its murders did result in unleashing upon the war-battered planet a religious ‘people’ now armed to the teeth and convinced that only its own capacity and willingness for serious violence, liberally and unhesitatingly applied, can preserve it.
With equal cynicism and disregard for actuality, let alone Truth, the Israelis seek “the picture of victory” in Gaza, whether or not they have actually achieved it. Symbol over substance, ‘dream’ or ‘perception’ over reality. If people just ‘perceive’ us, ‘see’ us as victors, then that’s ‘Good’ – say the Israelis. As do so many fact-deficient’ Advocates over here in their brassy trumpeting of ‘reforms’, ‘triumphs’, and ‘victories’.
How well can this end? For anybody.