Cutting through the bullshit.

Wednesday, 22 November 2006

Grossman, etc.

Grossman’s speech continues to elicit comment. I neglected to mention Uri Avnery’s critique. Jonathan Cook takes on both Grossman and Avnery and is as incisive as usual. While crediting Avnery’s decades of mainly principled leadership of the Israeli peace movement, such as it is, he hits the nail on the head when he points out,

The bottom line in any peace for Avnery is the continued existence and success of Israel as a Jewish state. That rigidly limits his ideas about what sort of peace a "radical" Israeli peace activist ought to be pursuing.

Like Grossman, Avnery supports a two-state solution because, in both their views, the future of the Jewish state cannot be guaranteed without a Palestinian state alongside it. This is why Avnery finds himself agreeing with 90 per cent of Grossman's speech. If the Jews are to prosper as a demographic (and democratic) majority in their state, then the non-Jews must have a state too, one in which they can exercise their own, separate sovereign rights and, consequently, abandon any claims on the Jewish state.

Meron Benvenisti wrote in Ha’aretz the other day,

In the present reality, when the very concept of "peace" has become subversive, bringing it up again might be considered a stirring event and a cardinal text. But the passive stance taken by the spokesman for the peace camp should be noted: all that a fighter for peace has to do is preach to the hollow leadership.

Where is the call to join the struggle against the injustice of the security fence, the choke-hold of the roadblocks, the siege on Gaza, the killing of women and children, the destruction of the institutions of the Palestinian Authority, the deporting of Palestinian families "without documents"?

The Times also editorialized a few days ago on the opportunity Rumsfeld’s resignation present to build ‘The army we need’.

Part of the problem, it turns out, is that Rumsfeld ‘didn’t like the Clintonian notion of using the United States military to secure and rebuild broken states.’ Like Somalia? And Haiti? And Kosovo?

And ‘circumstances in Afghanistan and Iraq called for just the things Mr. Rumsfeld didn’t like’, and that is the problem, obviously.

According to George Friedman, in his Stratfor Geopolitical Intelligence Report for 11.21.2006,

New York Democrat Charles Rangel, the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has called for the reinstatement of the draft…Rangel's essential point is that the way the United States has manned the military since World War II is inherently unjust. It puts the lower classes at risk in fighting wars, leaving the upper classes free to pursue their lives and careers… When those who benefit most from a society feel no obligation to defend it, there is a deep and significant malaise in that society.

There is no inherent reason why enlistment -- or conscription -- should be targeted toward those in late adolescence. And there is no reason why the rich themselves, rather than the children of the rich, should not go to war…Rangel is correct in saying that the upper classes in American society are not pulling their weight…If Americans are serious about dealing with the crisis of lack of service among the wealthiest, then they should look to the wealthiest first, rather than their children.

Unlike his namesake, Thomas L., George Friedman has an interesting way of thinking. At least he knows there’s a class war going on. If only he could get past the idea that ‘nations’ have geopolitical interests independent of the interests of their ruling classes…well, then he wouldn’t be writing these analyses, and Stratfor wouldn’t attract the clientele they seek, would they?

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