Sunday, October 05, 2003

Onward to Syria?!

I'm not in a position to judge the moral rightness or wrongness of Israel's attack of a camp in Syria, nor are any of the rest of you unless you have access to their intelligence. But, as I've said a few times before, it's really time to put aisde the moral questions of Israel's approach to their security and address the practical ones. I think too often both sides get stuck in the moral issue - defenders of Israel say that it has a right to defend itself by just about any means necessary, and opponents argue, among other things, that Israel's disregard for "collateral damage" should be condemned.

As one who thinks that Israel has legitimate security concerns and has a right to defend itself, though of course we can argue about what "by just about any means necessary" should mean, I've always thought that addressing the overall utility of Sharon's more belligerent approach to his "war on terra" was a better way to argue the issue. The moral questions quickly lead us down a path of "they started it! no they did!," or debates about hereditary ownership claims. But, in the end, from Israel's perspective anyway, in the midst of suicide bombings the primary question is - is it working? Both in the short and long run of course.

It's hard to conclude that the Sharon approach has been effective. While there are those who are loathe to "make peace" with terrorists, in the end that's what you have to do. Or, at least, you have to make peace with potential terrorists.

So, now we go to Syria. Israel may have dealt a well-deserved blow to a bunch of baddies - I really have no idea. But, is escalating a long-(sort of) dormant war a good idea? And, more importantly, are the PNAC lunatics behind this?

It wasn't too many months ago, in the feel-good statue toppling days, that the nutcases in the Bush administration were making very loud noises about Syria and Iran being next. Let's hope they're not crazy enough to start a conflict right now.