Blogs > Cliopatria > You Are With Us or You Are Against Us

Feb 26, 2005 7:03 pm

You Are With Us or You Are Against Us

As I write this it is 4:42 am Central Time. I ought to be in bed. God knows my girlfriend thinks so. Yet I cannot sleep right now.

More young people are dead tonight in a nightclub in Tel Aviv. Young people, out for nothing more than a few drinks, a chance to dance, perhaps a chance to fall in love or get laid. Twenty-one years old, or maybe twenty-four. Too young to die. Far too young too die in an explosion intended to kill. Apparently Hezbollah is responsible. At least that is what the news stories say right now. Hezbollah, of course, is the Syrian-and-Iranian-supported organization that calls for plausible denial even as it wallows in the game of credit-for-murderousness amongst its people. Hezbollah is a group that claims credit for the deaths of innocents even as it feigns concern for those who have died at its hand. Hezbollah is an organization that the European Union refuses to call “terrorist” because in the interregnum Hezbollah also purports to feed the hungry and help the needy. Anyone can feed the hungry and support the needy. It requires someone with a particularly skewed moral compass to call for the deaths of the young in the process of doing so. In sum, f*&% Hezbollah and its apologists.

And yet that is what terrorist organizations do these days, is it not? If we feed enough hungry and clothe enough needy, we can cover up the fact that we slaughter Jews at bus stops or in clubs. If we claim to be an organization of welfare, we can engage in warfare. For all right-thinking people this is bullsh*t. It is unacceptable. This is one of the areas where shallow moral relativism ought to give way to what is morally right. Unfortunately I know that this is unlikely to be so.

I will admit, I am not easily scared, but I am scared by Hezbollah. I have looked through gun turrets in Israeli military bases on the Israel-Lebanon border. I have literally looked into the eyes of people who would have killed me given half the chance. I have sat in bars and been in nightclubs that have been the target of terrorists and murderers. Indeed I have been in nightclubs and bars and restaurants in Tel Aviv – The Dolphinarium, or Mike’s Place -- where people have died in circumstances no different from when I was there. I was lucky. Or to be more accurate, others were very, very unlucky. They died. I did not. The difference is that simple. It is that inexplicable. I have been in places where just by virtue of my birth and citizenry, given even the remotest of opportunities, I would have been slaughtered. Today Hezbollah took that chance. Today Hezbollah took their measure of human life. Four Israelis lie dead, scores wounded, as a consequence. Some will attempt to justify it. Let God be their witness if they do so within earshot of me.

Warfare by non-state actors, of course, can be legitimate. Think, for example, of how the morally repugnant apartheid government in the 1980s rationalized all attacks against it as being terrorist. Nonsense - and no less so because the Reagan administration was too daft or too blind or too corrupt to realize what was right. The appalling racism that pervaded 1980s American foreign policy was, fortunately, too transparent for both college students and Congress to see. The ANC was not a terrorist organization. Too bad that our leaders were too feckless, to corrupted, or too otherwise retarded to have otherwise seen the difference. Too bad that today those who oppose our government at every turn are too stupid or too blinded to recognize evil in our world now.

This all brings us to what those young people at the Tel Aviv nightclub faced tonight. They lived in the only legitimate liberal -democratic state in the Middle East. They went out to dance in the only country that allows people to vote for their elected leaders. They went out hoping to get drunk or fall in love or, god forbid, both. Instead they died. This came about not because of the Palestinian Authority, although the fundamental weaknesses of that organization did not help, but rather from non-state actors that know that while they are not strong enough to contribute to peace, they can ruin it. One can hope that Israel will not allow this act to destroy the hopeful conditions that now exist on the ground. One can also wonder, as more Israeli children tonight died at the hands of those who purport to speak for Palestinians, why they should. I hope the Israelis do not retaliate. I cannot think of a single reason why they should not.

Those kids did not deserve to die today. Unfortunately, there are those who will rationalize those deaths with the gutless and repugnant word “but”. In the face of atrocity, “but” is the ugliest of words. It is too bad that it is one word that will likely characterize the response to the deaths of innocents when tomorrow’s ink dries. Let it be known, no matter who cares, what Rebunk feels. For us there is no"but". There is only sorrow and a sense of loss. Young people were murdered. How do you feel about it? More importantly, do you try to justify it?

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