Friday, July 14, 2006

Who's Really Calling the Plays?

I want to say a few words on what may be a hot button issue... I'm talking here about the Israeli response to attacks by terrorists... or the U.S. response for that matter, but today the Israelis.

Most of the world got its collective knickers in a serious twist over Zidane, the French soccer player who succumbed to verbal taunts to get himself thrown out of the World Cup final. France lost the game, of course, after the best soccer player in the world took himself out of the game.

In the context of mid-east politics, I don't get that anyone in Hamas or Hezbollah seriously expects to "win" against Israel in the field. Their game is to foment mistrust and hatred of Israel and to gain sympathy, if not support, for their position. I think Israel is playing right into their hands.

I appreciate that Israel has a right to defend itself, but I seem to remember a time when Israel was able to do that with some finesse; when a move against Israel was an invitation for the Mossad to eat your lunch. Now a comparative handful of people can send a couple of rockets into Israeli territory and provoke a massive retaliation. They know they can do this, and they can do it over and over and over again.

An Israeli dies and Israel kills ten... apparently any ten will do. To what extent do you suppose this is going to improve Israel's position in the midEast?
Who is really in control?

Of course I can understand why Israel is reacting as it is... for the same reason Zitane head-butted Materzzi. Now Israel has been drawn into bombing columns of refugees while violating Lebanese sovereignty. Who thinks Israel has fewer enemies this week than two weeks ago? Who thinks they have more?

Maybe it's just me and I'm missing something important, but it seems to me that if you're a victim of a crime you call a cop. You don't call the army... especially when that's what the criminals are hoping for.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

On Things They Didn't Teach in Civics Class

Joared raises the question of the extent to which apparent voter apathy can be attributed to their lack of understanding of the political process. I think that's an excellent point.
I have always thought of myself as politically involved and aware, and I enjoy exploring the social sciences as much as anyone. Yet it was not until this spring that I became aware of the roots and extent of our two-party system of government and of Presidential Signing Statements.
I don't expect anything I say to drag a single viewer away from the World Cup, but a President who enjoys the confidence of less than 40% of the electorate writes his own law and the opposition party, led by Howard Dean, is running Bob Casey for Senate... Bob Casey who is more conservative than Rick Santorum.
I would encourage readers to check out John Dean's article on Presidential Signing Statements. This guy was inside the first neo-fascist administration, and he knows how things work.
I don't know why these things aren't explored by the time one graduates from high school... although I suspect it's never been a high educational priority for either party... but, even at its best, good government demands the participation of the electorate. If everyone who found Namibia on a map or who now knows what "Suri" means in Hebrew could just take a minute to find out what their legislative representatives did last week. If you've read this and know the score of yesterday's game between Germany and Argentina, you have the time.