The 9/11 attacks had raised the drumbeats for war in Iraq. This never made much sense to me, but God help you if you said that. An overwhelming majority of Americans believed Saddam Hussein was at least in part behind the attack, despite no evidence. I guess just vibes, or that he was the terrible leader of a Muslim country.
Questioning the invasion of Iraq got you a reaction along the lines of OH I GUESS YOU DON’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT THAT GUY WHO LEAPED TO HIS DEATH AT THE WORLD TRADE CENTER?????. Emotions, understandably, were high, but a lot of people didn’t seem to be thinking outside of a primal urge for revenge.
The problem is, that did not work out for us, and I do not think it will work out great for Israel if they follow our playbook, which is basically not having much of a playbook beyond making the rubble bounce. But at the same time, Israel really cannot just let Hamas exist. The Oct. 7 attack was monstrous and simply should never happen again. I am not a person who thinks Hamas will at some point just chill out and accept a two-state solution. They are bent on destroying Israel.
In parallel, bombing civilians is not a great plan, and a lot of people in the world, both regular ol’ citizens with opinions and people with power such as a U.S. senator, seem to agree.
Sen. Chris Murphy with a newsy statement on Israel —
“It's time for Israel's friends to recognize that the current operational approach is causing an unacceptable level of civilian harm and does not appear likely to achieve the goal of permanently ending the threat from Hamas.” pic.twitter.com/F3RV5c0hrJ
— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) November 2, 2023
One has to ask also, what is Israel’s end game here? They can’t keep continually bombing. What do they do to help build back the lives of all the surviving Palestinians? That has to be part of it. We did it for Germany, Italy, and Japan after World War II. Is there any plan at all? How do they plan on defending Israel against future insurgencies? Not having a good end game in Iraq was a disaster of mammoth proportions for America, and it is hard to see how that would be any different for Israel.
As for the conflict part of the conflict, I unfortunately see a lot of “too bad, it’s war, civilians die all the time.” This is probably the worst example of the “if it’s not hurting me I don’t care” version of political thought. I don’t know any of the kids dying terrible deaths, so who cares? It is bad enough when well-off people refuse to support policies that would help fellow Americans who are struggling economically based on this thinking.
Domestically speaking, I think President Biden has made a few gaffes. For example, he really should have met with Muslim leaders when he was in the Twin Cities region this week given the region is a center of American Muslim population. A golden opportunity was missed.
But on the other hand, this is very, very true:
What no one wants to acknowledge, since everyone has an ax to grind, is that Biden has been in a number of no-win situations, with everyone on every side ready & eager to get mad at him & blame him for stuff. Your mythical alternative president wouldn't/couldn't do any better.
— David Roberts (@drvolts) November 1, 2023
One of the things that deeply concerns me about the Israel-Hamas war is its effects on the 2024 election. Biden is suddenly really struggling with Muslim-Americans, key voting blocs in swing states like Minnesota and Michigan. The Rust Belt states were looking like a potential Biden strength, that now seems in peril.
There is, of course, a hair over one year to go before the election so there is still time to fix this. Biden has to perform a real balancing act that will not offend key members of his coalition, including Jewish and Muslim voters. I strongly believe Israel must exist and I think most Americans feel that way also, so that is a factor as well.
Anything that gives Trump an inside track to winning the presidency back is a serious problem. I wonder if at least some Biden proxies should point out that Israel being attacked under Netanyahu is like America being attacked under Trump. Would we, as a nation, really want something like that? Trump would be a nightmare for Muslim-Americans under that scenario. If he did this during peacetime, what would he do after a terror attack by a radical Islamist?
Back to Bibi, he does not give me much faith that he will be a decent, smart leader. Not with this kind of stuff, which seems like something Trump would do, except with say Stephen Miller.
💥Netanyahu is not firing Finance Minister Smotrich, who has simply hijacked Palestinian funds as if the money was his own & Tzvi Succot, the guy now rewarded with a Knesset subcommittee, is a racial supremacist who was rejected from the IDF draft due to his criminal extremism. https://t.co/iu8keh2Rbq
— Noga Tarnopolsky נגה טרנופולסקי نوغا ترنوبولسكي💙 (@NTarnopolsky) November 1, 2023
There is also this, Israel’s questionable activities in the West Bank that hold great potential to spread the war. Any opinion on Israel has to include the fact that they are led by a man who was trying to turn the country towards authoritarianism (remember the protests about their Supreme Court earlier this year?). He is also not very popular with Israeli citizens.
The fact is, nothing here is simple. It is easy for you, me, and your cousin, who did not experience a full-on terror attack on Oct. 7 or are not cowering in the dark wondering if they are the next target of an IDF bomb, to leap to easy conclusions. All we can hope for is that terrorism doesn’t spread (including to America), the war is contained, combatants stop killing civilians, and that both anti-semitism and Islamophobia do not grow. These are dangerous times, but not hopeless times. Here’s to hoping for the best, whatever that looks like.
The last word goes to the anti-war classic by The Rolling Stones.