If one is going to go after sacred cows, one should really go after sacred cows. Most of the people in our society who get credit for "going after sacred cows" are just going after unfashionable ones. At least ones that are unfashionable in the circles they want to appeal to. We live in a world of iconodules posing as iconoclasts.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Israel's Strategic Failure

My cold-blooded and deranged response to Walter Russell Meade's post on the subject.

The real strategic failure is that Israel continues to start measures and then backpedal in a way that produces all the negative consequences of action without any of the achievable goals being produced:
Going into Lebanon and then later Gaza in force to root out the problems at their source, and then stopping and withdrawing in the face of the usual international reaction. Their international reputation would have hardly been worse if they had finished the job. Anyone who supported the initial policy in each case has to be disapointed by the ultimate lack of fortitude to follow through with it (which was predictable to me as both these campaigns started, though I hoped I was wrong), and anyone who opposed Israel in these cases is quietly thanking their good fortune.

Yet as I said, the each unfolded predictably, every time, exactly as I have foreseen, because at bottom even - especially - the Israelis want to not only do the right thing, but what is actually worse be *seen* and *perceived* as doing the right thing. So when they go to cut the knot, they saw half way through and when the International Community's Greek Chorus shouts them down, they stop and back off, letting it regrow and metastasize, letting it feel it has the momentum, feel a sense of victory, and that the Winds of Change are on their side.

This inevitably leaves them with the worst of both worlds. Surely WRM knows Napoleon's saying that if you set out to take Vienna, TAKE VIENNA.

Probably the best strategic move Israel could do now is rename itself "North Korea" (while not adopting that nation's political ideology). Then they could do whatever they want, sink any ship, threaten and kill anyone they needed to, and the ever-so caring International Community wouldn't care one whit - except to urge "Caution" and "don't over-react" and "nobody should escalate the situation."

Anyhow, it's really all over now; as my mother said the other day about this, it's like a dying person connected to a respirator. Everyone knows what is to come, but no one knows when.

Or, in one of my favorite quotes, tragic in this context, "The non-inevitability of events we nevertheless know are bound to come."

It is non-inevitable: Something could change, in us, the broad us, the so-called civilized world. But do you think it will? In time? Since it hasn't yet, despite many wuss-slaps to the face by reality, when and under what circumstances do you think it will? Again: In time. In this case, in time for the Israelis, who one would think have sacrificed enough and been sacrificed enough to other's self-regard.

T.S. Eliot: "Half of the harm that is done in this world Is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm. But the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves."

These days it most, more than half, of the forces for evil in this world would be readily checked if it wasn't for these two sorts of people. But we let them hold the reins.


Tuesday, June 01, 2010

After Virtue Revisited Ia

I'll have more to write on the updated version of "After Virtue," but until then there is this Spengler post independently supporting the idea that the enlightenment project of justifying morality has failed, at least with respect to Kant and his philosophical heirs. (D. Layman doesn't refer to other branches of this heritage in that particular post; MacIntyre does, and as I said I'll get back to him later).