Hamas, Hezbollah, Israel, and the Death of Language
The incursions into Israel by Hamas and Hezbollah to snatch Israeli soldiers and the resultant over-reaction by Israel in both cases reminds me of the movie, Groundhog Day. We have seen this sort of very dangerous dance before though, as in the movie, it isn't exactly like the previous mutual acts of violence of the past.
First let me explain my use of two terms here. The first is "incursion," which I used in connection with the special forces like operations inside of Israel by both Hamas and Hezbollah. This word was used by Nixon of an American invasion of Cambodia. Nixon's use of the term was a substantial misuse since by their nature, incursions should be relatively brief. Israel has responded in both cases with incursions of its own combined with bombing raids in an effort, allegedly, to get its soldiers back.
The second is my use of "over-reaction" in connection with Israel. Their actions have been over-reactions in the sense that they were not "an eye for an eye." That would have involved equivalent snatching operations to pluck, say, one or two Hamas and Hezbollah leaders to be used in a trade for the solders. In numbers of people killed, obviously Israel's actions have greatly exceeded the "accomplishments" of Hamas and Hezbollah and so, in purely numerical terms, what Israel has done was an over-reaction. This doesn't mean that it was an unreasonable or indefensible reaction.
The most significant change between past "dust ups" between Israel and its apparently implacable foes, Hamas and Hezbollah, is that both are parts of the governments in the countries they launched their incursions from. Hezbollah has minority representation in the government of Lebanon but Hamas has a very strong position in Palestine. Americans will recognize this situation. It parallels the hosting of Al Queda by the Taliban government of Afghanistan. The governments of Lebanon and Palestine are complicit with the actions of these groups and I, for one, don't blame Israel for attacking these countries as they have done for it is not so different from the thoroughly laudable invasion in my opinion of Afghanistan by the US to take away Al Queda's "safe house," so to speak.
Events in the North look very much like being a war or the beginnings of one and as often is said, "the first casualty of war is the truth." One can just as well say that the first casualty of war is language, for, as David Lewis has argued in his book, Convention to my satisfaction that without a convention of truthfulness, there can be no language. If you can trust only half or less of what your spouse says, then nothing he or she says can be relied on and his or her claims and promises will have no significance (one kind of meaning) and might as well not have any conventional meaning.
So, my words for you are two-fold. Do not believe anything that Lebanon, Hezbollah and its good friend, Iran, Palestine, Hamas, and Israel says. And remember that, like the movie, Groundhog Day, tomorrow is likely to be much like today. Given the on-going wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which includes the actions by insurgents in both countries to recruit and train Muslims from various countries in the area to make mischief there and in their own countries, and the issue of the possible development of nukes in Iran, I am inclined to believe that this "dust up" may have some very unfortunate consequences for everyone in the area, as well as for the United States, the only country in the world willing to put its neck on the chopping block for Israel. The U. S. could have a more balanced position but that is hard to do when the special forces units of Lebanon and Palestine are attacking inside Israel. If the U. S. is to take a balanced position it would be one that puts pressure equally on Israel, Lebanon (and Syria), and Palestine to stop making war on each other. Permanently. How likely is that?