“The Glittering Edge of the Boot”

Gutsy essay in Ha’aretz about Israel’s brutal youth. Batya Gur confronts a group of female soldiers harassing an elderly Palestinian:

This was not one of the greater and more visible
evils that take place around us daily, nor was
it a disaster, only an insidious and consuming
evil, one that is hard to pinpoint and define
in words. I do not see the horrors that take
place at the checkpoints every day. I know very
well that such an act by a woman like me,
someone who avoids any political activity or
any consistent struggle for human rights, is
actually a sentimental act. Such a trivial act
of protest is a bit like sweeping the path to
my own private garden, but what the words and
eyes of this soldier with a blond ponytail and
a pierced tongue reflected was not easy to
sweep away; it was the glittering, sharp tip of
a force of nature: the destructive power that
has been penned up in the all-powerful
authority of 18- and 19-year-old men and women.
This power which we, the Jewish citizens of the
state of Israel, have put in the hands of our
children, the second and third generation of a
very long occupation.

Read the whole thing.


From a reader:

“The Clintonoids at FAIR”? Cute phrasing, which always seems to be the priority with you, but in this case at the expense of the truth. If you wanted to reveal your ignorance of FAIR’s stance you could scarcely have chosen a better phrase. Just a few examples:


Unlike you, I actually read Extra! and get FAIR’s alerts–and have for years–so I know their position on Clinton. You should take the time to familiarize yourself as well if you plan to comment on them. And if you do, I only hope you’re not one of those people for whom criticism of the impeachment and “pro-Clinton” were synonomous. Clinton *did* deserve to be impeached, but not for anything he did with cigars. I despised Clinton, and yet I also realized that the impeachment was a joke, a travesty, and a threat to democracy.

As for FAIR’s love for General Clark and his war, you could also have disabused yourself of your ignorance on that point if you’d taken the time to look around a bit and find out what they were actually saying DURING THAT WAR (which is, of course, not the point when they’re discussing his position on Gulf War Part II):


You can check the full list for yourself here (particularly those under “Action Alerts and Media Advisories”):


Thank goodness for FAIR, eh?

Sure. Hey, I said they had a decent review of his statements on Iraq. Of course, Clark only commented on that war; he didn’t lead it. I just thought it funny that in a piece on whether or not Clark is antiwar, they focused on things he had said, instead of things he had done.

A whole entry with no cute phrasing!

“Pre-emptive Inaction?”

I enjoy reading Brendan O’Neill, because he manages to be thoughtful and provocative even when he’s wrong. His new article on Spiked-online.com is a good example. It’s called “Pre-emptive Inaction?,” and in it, O’Neill slams the pragmatic case against war:

[The] notion that war should be avoided because it increases the threat to the West has been a recurring argument of the anti-war movement for the past two years. From the Afghan war of October 2001 to the second Gulf War in March 2003, anti-war activists and commentators have argued that wars abroad will result in ‘Target Britain’, where increasingly irate terrorists will take their angst out on us. This is no way to oppose war. It is a cowardly position that calls for a safety-first approach to international affairs, where inaction is elevated over action ‘just in case’ – and it is deeply prejudiced, buying into the argument that the real problem is the terrorists ‘over there’ who might be stirred up if we take irresponsible, risky action. It is an anti-war argument concerned more with saving ourselves than anybody else. …

These arguments demonstrate the streak of moral cowardice running through the anti-war movement – an amorphous group that today includes, not only the protesters of old, but many in the media, opposition politicians and even, apparently, some military and intelligence officials. Their arguments are not about challenging Britain and America’s actions abroad on the grounds that they undermine state sovereignty, exacerbate local tensions, and make life a misery for people in the third world. Rather, they oppose such action because it is unpredictable, because it might unleash unknown quantities and risks, because it could provoke dark forces to take action against us in the comfortable West.

Actually, the practical, self-interest argument against intervention didn’t start two years ago. A few noted Americans talked about it in the 18th century, and they weren’t being original even then. Many of us deplore the fact that Anglo-American actions abroad “undermine state sovereignty, exacerbate local tensions, and make life a misery for people in the third world.” We also recognize that terrorism is one result of such actions. We’re against empire for what it does to foreigners as well as what it does to us. What’s wrong with that? O’Neill:

Whatever happened to opposing war by offering solidarity to people in the third world, rather than worrying about me, myself and I? When being anti-war is all about saving ourselves, everyone loses out.

O’Neill seems to be saying that self-interest itself is morally suspect, or at least that it must be tied to an active interest in saving the world. But why? Whatever happened to leaving others alone so long as they reciprocate?

Is Wesley Clark Antiwar?

Is Jerry Falwell Muslim?

FAIR has a decent review of Clark’s actual statements on the Iraq war, concluding that “to label a candidate with such views ‘anti-war’ is to render the term meaningless.” Of course, the Clintonoids at FAIR cast no aspersion on Gen. Clark’s vicious, and sometimes downright insane, prosecution of the war on Serbia. Thank goodness for Antiwar.com, eh?

For the viciousness, check out … well, pretty much every article about Serbia that’s ever appeared on Antiwar.com. You can start with the work of Nebojsa Malic.

For the insanity, see Stella Jatras, “The Guy Who Almost Started World War III.”