Saturday, July 19, 2008

Nuclear War and "Prisoner" Exchange

Here are several short comments on interesting news article I read this week. The real meat is in the articles themselves. So follow the links.

First, Benny Morris - the Israeli historian - is either completely nuts, or crazy like a fox. In this article from the New York Times, Morris predicts nuclear war between Israel and Iran! And claims that Israel probably has no choice but to strike first. Moreover he claims that his views represent the consensus among Israeli leaders. (He may be right !!! See this interview with Israeli Cabinet Minister Shaul Mofaz.)

Just to give a sample of Morris' chillingly detached academic logic:
It is in the interest of neither Iran nor the United States (nor, for that matter, the rest of the world) that Iran be savaged by a nuclear strike, or that both Israel and Iran suffer such a fate. We know what would ensue: a traumatic destabilization of the Middle East with resounding political and military consequences around the globe, serious injury to the West’s oil supply and radioactive pollution of the earth’s atmosphere and water.
"A traumatic destabilization ...."? What about the millions killed !!!???!!! Dr. Stangelove couldn't have said it better.

The only alternative to believing that Morris has completely "lost it", is to believe that he hopes that by predicting such stuff, he can help pressure Iran to stop its nuclear program, or else convince the U.S to take action so Israel will not have to. Threatening nuclear war, might, maybe, perhaps make some sense - though its a very dangerous game. Actually contemplating it is nuts.

Second, I had thought all week that Israel's "prisoner exchange" deal with Hizbollah was a bad idea, though I couldn't quite put my finger on why. But I also felt that my usually dovish POV should make me be in favour of the deal. Now, former Haaretz editor David Landau has helped me clarify my thinking. It really is a bad deal. And an immoral and deceitful one too. Read his analysis here.

Third, I really wanted to hate - completely and absolutely - released terrorist Samir Kuntar. That was one reason I why my gut was against the "prisoner exchange". This guy was the embodiment of evil. He had, so we are told, killed a father in front of their child, and then, Nazi style, killed the child by smashing her skull against a stone wall. But then I read this article, and, more ironically, this one. Even evil guys are complex it turns out. Kuntar was 16 when he committed his terrorist assault. Maybe he didn't do all that we have been told he did. His ideas have changed somewhat. So while I still think it was a mistake to release him in the "prisoner exchange", its not because he is the devil incarnate.

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