However, Max seems to have taken issue with my comparison of Israel-Palestine and US-Iraq. While there's obvious differences, there's also obvious similarities. The most depressing similarity to me is the acceptance of an "eye for an eye" attitude in both Israeli and US military actions. It was quite explicitly put that way in the article I cited:
"'We are going to liquidate Palestinian policemen at a checkpoint in revenge for our six soldiers that they killed'," one ex-commando, quoted his commander as saying. He added that "the feeling was that this would be 'an eye for an eye."Not only does this make me uncomfortable in a moral sense, but it's entirely ineffective as a military policy. Seriously. No military occupation has ever succeeded simply by ratcheting up the body count. Not Israel, not the US, nobody.
This is why arguments over whether or not Israel has a "right" to retaliate against Palestinians are so pointless. From the point of view of simple (or simplistic, depending on your view) moral calculus, you could say that these Palestinians in the article cited above very well deserved what they got. The larger point, however, remains true as well - you don't win wars, or win peace, by retaliation, no matter how justified. It simply has never happened.
One thing I will say is that all of the most optimistic signs from Israel have come since Sharon accepted the inevitability of leaving some of the settlements, and I've been personally surprised at how far Sharon had been pushing to leave Gaza. I'd prefer to see the west bank abandoned as well, but baby steps, right? This is part of my larger point - eventually, you are going to have to accept "their" demands in order to stop the killing, even if it means "giving in". You can't kill your way out of situations like this.
Like I said above, Max was right to bring certain points to my attention, and I apologize if anyone took my rather short post to mean something I didn't intend it to.