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Measured, indeed…

So our dear PM Harper considers the Israeli response to the kidnapping of two soldiers (130 civilian dead and counting…) to be a “measured response”. My first response to this little bit of idiocy is to ask what exactly Harper knows about a measured response. As many bloggers have already pointed out, Harper’s career has been studded with “measured responses” from calling for the effective cessetion of Alberta (“we lost an election – wah!”) to screwing with the Ottawa press gallery (“they’re not using the adjectives I issued them – take that!”) to declaring the fate of Rona Ambrose as Environment Minister a confidence motion (“they don’t like my utter lack of an environment policy – wah!”).

So now that seven Canadians, including four children, are dead, how “measured” does he think the response is? Perhaps it is measured in exactly the same way that Harper likes – pushed to the brink and teetering.

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13 thoughts on “Measured, indeed…

  1. This is the issue that wins Harper his majority. There is no middle road here. There is no moderate response. Israel withdrew from Lebanon 6 years ago, Hezbollah sets up shop to launch attacks from inside Lebanon, Israel pulled out of Gaza and used Israeli soldiers on Israeli settlers only to have Hamas set up another shop and launch attacks from Gaza…I’m not sure what your missing?? No matter what Israel gives, it will never be enough, not until they are driven into the sea will Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and Syria be happy..and I’m not sure why this is so hard for people to see. Not until Israel is destroyed will there be peace in the Middle East. So, it may be hard for alot of people to do, but the finality of this crisis will be based on picking sides, as ugly as that is, it is the only way. I choose a western democratic state that believes in human rights, the right to choose a religion, the right to be homosexual, the right to be educated….its that simple.

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  2. billg,
    I understand where you’re coming from, but I think you are over-simplifying the issue. The only solution you are offering is a pyrrhic peace after all of the neighbouring countries have been brought to heel. There is so much money in the region, in powers outside Israel, that there is no way a simple military victory can be converted into “peace”. If it were the case, there would already be peace.

    The only real way to peace is to establish secure borders and stable governments in the region. If the Lebanese government was stable it would not have had to play footsies with Hezbollah and would have been able to do something about it long before this incident. Unfortunately, Hezbollah have seats in the government and a largish chunk of the military would likely have turned against the government had they tried anything. (And of course there is also the issue of Syrian financing…)

    Likewise with the Palestinians. Erratic governance and shifting borders have made it just about impossible for the Palestinian people to make anything of their lives. Hell, they have had three generations living in refugee camps, so in my mind there is little wonder that they voted for Hamas this year.

    Israel holds all of the power cards here but still does not have all of the power. They can choose to make decisions to protect their people, and that is their duty, but physical protection only lasts for a short time. They also are tasked with protecting the future of Israel, and this takes something more than having the biggest army in the region.

    It might seem counter-intuitive, but I think that long-term peace can only come from empowering the countries now considered “enemies” such that they can make their own economic decisions and control the extremists within their own borders.

    The tricky thing is figuring out where to start. Whatever the starting point is, I don’t think it’s simply “picking a side” and rolling the dice. We’ve done this time and again in the region and gotten nowhere. If you think that this is the tactic that is going to win Harper a majority government, then I have to think that you think pretty lowly of the intelligence of the average Canadian voter.

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  3. The post is right!
    Haroer is right, but so are Brison and Dryden who issued similar statements before Harper.
    Its all about the values we cherish as canadians.
    Choosing right over wrong. Not some airy fairy “balanced” policy that seeks to appease both sides and pleases no one.
    This is about identifying the good guys and the bad guys – its that simple.
    If you are a women, or a gay man or some other minority, ask yourself this. In what MidEast country would you feel most comfortable? The answer for any student of the MidEast is clea – ISRAEL.

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  4. I dont think your last comment was fair, and has nothing to do with the issue, at last glance I believe there was 30-some Lib’s willing to vote against any gay-mariage law…and when the vote does happen there will probably only be 30-some Con MP’s voting against it as well, although, the Cons do have the Libs beat in whacko MP’s…my last count was 12 to 7. Anyways, my point was, there will never be moderates in Hamas..ever, and I believe it is as simple as picking a side, wars end because there is an ending, this has never been allowed to get to an end…if Israel pulls back now, gives back all Palestine prisoners, rebuilds Lebanon, gives more land away, meets every demand of Hamas and Hezbollah, in 2 years there will be more rocket attacks on Israel, more suicide bombers in the markets, more death and destruction in Israel….because simply put..they are Jews. Sorry..but its really that simple.

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  5. Kev,

    Are you saying that taking Israel’s side automatically qualifies someone as a right-wing nutbar? If so, I kind of take that personally….

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  6. billg,
    You’re right, I’m being snide. However, if you troll around the blogosphere like I did last night, you will see concern for homosexuals in Saudi Arabia popping up in the strangest of places. It is simply being used to turn the liberals’ (note small “l”) argument against them, of course, but it’s just so obvious. I meant it as a quip, but I don’t want to get side-tracked from the real issues, so please disregard it.

    You are right – no moderates in Hamas. However, if the Palestinian people had any real hope for a future it is entirely likely that Hamas would become a less relevant political force. There are generations of people living in temporary dwellings who own no land, and the few that do have jobs have to travel to Israel and suffer through hours-long lineups every day. In the meantime, out of self-preservation, Israel has held onto some of the best land and most of the water resources and has proceeded to divide the territory with walls. Note that I don’t want to place blame on either side, this is simply the way things are right now.

    So what do we do? If we go with a straight-forward military solution, the only way to actually solve the issue would be to subjugate the Palestinian population even more than they are now, which will produce further disenchantment and resistance. This will either serve to strengthen Hamas or make a newer version that might even be worse. As past experience has proven, it will not solve the problem such that it will go away.

    Another way to go would be to support the Palestinian state – give it enough land and resources to be moderately self-sufficient and sponsor work and development programs to get the population working. Yes, some of the resources would fall into the wrong hands, that is inevitable, however over time the people will develop the ability to support themselves and the idle bitter hands that are the orchard in which Hamas grows, will wither and die.

    Dan,
    I did not at any point call supporters of Israel right-wing nutbars. Are you feeling twitchy?

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  7. You should ask yourself why it is that after 40 years Palestinians contnue to live in temporary housing withour running water etc…

    Israel had as many, if not more refugees and has provided housing.

    The Palestinian refugees are kept in squalid conditions by their Arab brothers as pawns. Those Palestinians that live in Israel enjoy some of the highest standards of living of any Arabs in the Middle East. Higher education, lower infant mortality rate, higher life expectancy, more women educated, more women in the workforce and yes, even Gay Associations/Organizations exclusively for Arab PAlestinians!

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  8. Kev,

    I was responding to your automatic classification of the two initial posters as ‘right-wing’, which you yourself have admitted was snide. I also think you’re being a bit idealistic with your solution – Hamas and Hezbollah don’t want a Palestinian State, they want Israel off the map period – so I don’t really feel like condemning 6 million Jews to death to achieve peace – that solution didn’t work before, and I don’t think it’s going to work now.

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  9. Peter In Toronto said,

    If you are a women, or a gay man or some other minority, ask yourself this. In what MidEast country would you feel most comfortable? The answer for any student of the MidEast is clea – ISRAEL.

    That’s complete nonsense. Has Peter even been anywhere in the middle east or just bases his claims watching the news. I have lived all over the middle east and easily the UAE, Oman and Bahrain are some of the best places to live. Very liberal (women in bikinis on the beach), drinks and bars at hotels, gambling and horse races in Dubai and so on. The head of UAE HR dep is women and all locals love their leaders there, who genuinely care for the people, even if they are not elected.

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  10. Dan:
    I have been accused of being idealistic before. By you, actually :).

    Dan, anon:
    I am aware that peace is not in the best interest of Hamas or Hezbollah and that they would do everything in their power to fight it. However, the only alternatives are clearing the Mid East of Arabs, subjecting them to Israeli rule, or figuring out some way to deal with them as neighbours. If you want to find a solution, it has to be with that in mind.

    I think.

    Anon:
    That the greater Mid East has not opened their arms to the Palestinians is absolutely a problem. I assume that it is linked to their belief that Israel should not exist and accepting refugees would aknowledge the its reality. Or something. Whatever, it certainly doesn’t help and they absolutely have to accept some of the burden to build a real Palestine. How to engage them in a peaceful construction of Palestine is an open question. There is likely a Nobel prize in there for someone.

    Anon, I realize this is a cop-out. I honestly don’t know how to smooth things over between Israel and her neighbours. But history demonstrates that bombing civilian populations and further destabilizing already unstable governments is not going to help matters.

    Mezba:
    I have worked in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the past and would not go so far as saying “all locals love their leaders”, but things are definitely better.

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  11. Mezba:
    Thanks for this, I was just reading a related article in the NYT on the same topic. This is the first hopeful thing I’ve read all day.

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