Saturday, July 22, 2006

Point-Counterpoint

"Why are conservatives able to see so very clearly that Hizballah is evil and that Israel has every right to eliminate it from the face of the earth?"
--Gagdad Bob

"Religious wisdom suggests that the more overwhelming the military might, the more dangerous its capacity for self- and public deception. If evil in this world is deeply human and very real, and religious people believe it is, it just doesn't make spiritual sense to suggest that the evil all lies "out there with our adversaries and enemies, and none of it is "in here" with us--embedded in our own attitudes, behaviors, and policies. Powerful nations dangerously claim to "rid the world of evil" but often do enormous harm in their self-appointed vocation."
--Jim Wallis

I share Bob's distaste for Hizballah. I, like Bob, would love to see it, al Qaeda, and other organizations like them vanish forever from the face of the Earth. But just how do we make that happen? By going to war with them and killing every one of their members? Terrorist organizations are not countries that one can defeat the way one defeats a nation and keep it in check. Israel can kill every terrorist and destroy every missile launcher it sees, and I believe that more will take their place as long as requisite cultural and social conditions prevail.

I confess that I don't know how to change those conditions. But I suspect that one element of the way is for those beset by terrorism to change themselves by acknowledging their own shortcomings and the capacity for evil that resides within their own hearts before they're corrupted by their own military power in their use of violence to stop violence being committed against them. One does not stop terrorists who hate and want to kill every one of your kind by hating and wanting to kill every one of them.

Bob calls my way of thinking pathologically "magical," "narcissistic," and "New Age." But I suspect that every great spiritual sage would disagree. And so does the sage deep within my heart.

6 comments:

dr.alistair said...

i think what most fail adress is that the spirit is within the individual and not the political or ideological entity that is the collective spirit of groups of people. i don`t think that anyone would disagree that the individual can deal with his attraction to terrorism by adressing his own issues. the problem we are all being increasingly forced to cope with is how to stop ideoligical movements. a religious war is upon us and to stop it is to have one ideology cry uncle...........bush has been called all manner of things for attempting to do this. isreal has picked up the cause at this time and it will be interesting to see how this chapter in the story unfolds.
gagdad bob actually reminds me more and more of a baptist friend of mine, preachy as hell and angry all the time.

Anonymous said...

"Bob calls my way of thinking pathologically "magical," "narcissistic," and "New Age"

It is pathologically "magical" because it assumes that one's own "goodness" can be transferred to others by wishing them good; it is narcissistic because it assumes responsibility for the actions of other independent individuals; and it is "New Age" because it has no foundation in reality.

Israel has done a lot in the last ten years to try to negotiate peace with its enemies; to suggest that they should just sit back and contemplate thier coporate "sins' while Hamas and Hezzbollah build up thier armies and thier arsenals is ludicrous. I say everytime they put up a missile silhoh blow it up, every time they fire a rocket fire ten back. Keep our enemies on thier heels and in a defensive mode so that they don't have time to do anything other than survive until they finally surrender...

Nagarjuna said...

"It is pathologically "magical" because it assumes that one's own "goodness" can be transferred to others by wishing them good; it is narcissistic because it assumes responsibility for the actions of other independent individuals; and it is "New Age" because it has no foundation in reality."

No, it assumes that acting with a good heart is more likely over time to influence others to also act with a good heart than will acting with angry, hateful, vengeful heart. No, it doesn't take full responsibility for the actions of other independent individuals, but it DOES recognize that other invividuals are not independent monads of consciousness and action but are parts of webs of relationships with biological, psychological, social, and cultural dimensions so that our thoughts, feelings, and actions toward them DO influence their thoughts, feelings, and actions toward us.

"to suggest that they should just sit back and contemplate thier coporate "sins' while Hamas and Hezzbollah build up thier armies and thier arsenals is ludicrous."

If you read my post more carefully, you'll discover that I suggest nothing of the kind. I suggested not that force not be used at all, but that it be used circumspectly and appropriately.

"I say everytime they put up a missile silhoh blow it up, every time they fire a rocket fire ten back. Keep our enemies on thier heels and in a defensive mode so that they don't have time to do anything other than survive until they finally surrender..."

I believe that if this is the crux of Israel's approach, it will never kill all the terrorists and destroy all of their weapons. There will always be more to take their place and more hateful violence directed against Israel.

Anonymous said...

First, when you say that your approach will work over time I need to say: Hello!?! There is no time when people are firing missiles at you.

Second, in response to your quote,"I believe that if this is the crux of Israel's approach, it will never kill all the terrorists and destroy all of their weapons. There will always be more to take their place and more hateful violence directed against Israel.." :
There may always be more to take thier place but there will be less than if Israel hadn't taken the forceful action they are taking. The idea that Israel should suffer attacks without retatiliation because they are making more people angry is "pathologically magical", becasues in fact,waging war is thinnning the numbers of terrorists ...

Nagarjuna said...

Once again, I'm not suggesting that Israel should not use military force to defend itself. I AM suggesting that it may need to do more than simply respond to attacks with massive, vengeful violence if it's going to have a chance of achieving peace with its neighbors.

Namaste,
Steve

dr.alistair said...

o.k. so in 2000 years the jews have been on the run from the rest of the arab world and now that that they are armed and ready to defend themselves and have a reasonable likelyhood of success the world of the left is up in arms as if isreal is a monster. for the arab world to come to the conclusion that it is better to live in peace there needs to be a generation of arabs who are not taught to hate based on ideology. this fanatical bloodlust is not going to end in any u.n. wetdream of laws and cease-fires.