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Friday, February 21, 2003

A last chance?

In today's NYT, Ken Pollack, in lieu of the Bush administration, seems to take
up Tom Friedman on his recent challenge to "tell the truth," i.e., make an
argument for war on purely realist, power-political terms. In my judgment, he
throws everything he has at it (something problematic in itself) but falls

(See "A Last Chance to Stop Iraq" at http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/21/opinion/21POLL.html )

An itemized list:

1) The argument from ignorance. KP argues that we ought to fight because we
don't know (and perhaps can't know) much about Iraq's progress towards a
nuclear weapon. This formula -- when in doubt, go to war -- should highlight
the dubious prospects of nonproliferation by brute force. There are limits to
how many wars even the US can fight in a given space of time, and there are
costs and risks involved in fighting them. Or should American nonproliferation
efforts stop with Iraq? The most reasonable answer seems to be that we should
not exclude the possiblity of war, but should reserve it for the most urgent
and threatening cases. Yet Iraq doesn't seem to meet that test, either.

by Editor @ 09:09 PM CST [Link]

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Iraq - View from here & personal notes

The Middle East (Israel included) is preparing for yet another war. It seems that every 10 years or so there is a war, whether we need one or not. Sometimes there are two.

For a personal Iraqi view of these preparations - see http://www.dear_raed.blogspot.com/ .

It is a moot point whether or not Israel or Israelis support this war, since nobody asked us. Nobody asked us when the USA, Britain, France and Germany helped to create the Saddamonster in the 80s. Nobody asked us the USA, Britain and France attacked Iraq, and then, in a collosal and inexplicable "oversight" forgot to finish the work. It didn't take a geopolitical genius to figure out that leaving Saddam to fight another day would mean trouble. It also left the Kurds, Shi'a and and various other enemies of the regime to their fates, which included being gassed, dissolved in acid and other humane treatments.

Now the USA is finally prepared to do something, and so, as noted, we are all preparing for war. Everyone is pretty much convinced this is going to happen, in the two weeks most likely, or by the end of March for certain. The nightly TV news program is explaining the best way to behave in case buildings collapse, and discussing the question of whether or not to hoard medicines.

Israeli preparations include:
- Discovering that all the smallpox vaccine prepared in Israel is tainted and should not be used.
- Distributing leaflets that explain how to prepare for the war (buy lots of canned goods and
bottled water, and prepare a sealed room, prepare gas masks...)
- Announcing in advance that the Israel Broadcasting System agrees to lie again, as they
did in the last war, and not tell people about major screw-ups. For some reason, this policy
is very popular.

by Ami Isseroff @ 07:49 PM CST [Link]

Monday, February 10, 2003

Hamas and the Cease Fire

This week at MidEastWeb, Mohamed Mosaad comments on the Egyptian-sponsored meeting of Palestinian groups at http://www.mideastweb.org/meeting.htm
It is not clear what, if anything will be agreed at this meeting. Apparently, the Hamas is proposing a "truce" with Israel for some period of time if Israel will fulfill certain conditions, such as withdrawing from the territories, and is now also proposing to refrain from suicide attacks in the 1948 borders of Israel provided that Israel does not harm Palestinian civilians.


by Ami Isseroff @ 05:50 PM CST [Link]

Monday, February 3, 2003

In Memoriam - Seven Heros of the Human Race

What began so well ended so tragically for the seven wonderful astronauts of the Columbia space shuttle and their families. In their deaths, they became heros for all humanity.

We in Israel were most touched by the loss of Ilan Ramon, who represented for us everything that is good about Israel - everything of which we want to be proud. Ilan was undoubtedly chosen not only for his achievements as a pilot and technical qualifications, but because he represented the quintessential Zionist ideal of the good Israeli, everything good and beautiful that we want to build here.

If someone asks me "What should Zionism be trying to accomplish?" it is easy to say "to produce men and women like Ilan Ramon." The same is true of all the astronauts. This is is what we want our children, our societies and our future to be like, and this is what we want to do - push the envelope, master nature, create a better world for everyone. It is true whether we live on American continents, in the Middle East, in India, China, Africa, Europe, Oceania, or Australia, and whether we speak English, Hebrew, Arabic, German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Swahili or Farsi.

They were our best, and they gave their lives in the perpetual battle of man against nature. In their deaths, they became heros of all humanity. [more]

by Ami Isseroff @ 08:49 PM CST [Link]


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