Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Israel Trades Hezbollah Prisoners for Corpses

(NPR has a good piece about this story that can be heard here.)

For those of you that are not aware, Israel exchanged five Hezbollah prisoners for 2 slain soldiers that had been kidnapped two years ago on the border with Lebanon. One of the five released today was Samir Kantar, and here is his story via the AP. War is horrible, but this man is, at the very least and by the most objective and lenient of standards, a war criminal that should never be allowed to enjoy a single moment of freedom. To anyone with a beating heart he is a merciless and malformed killer. He is the sort of creature that, were he in the American judicial system, would make me question my opposition to capital punishment.

The part of me that understands government, understands that this was a terrible deal. Some folks are celebrating in the streets of Lebanon even as I type. For those that are, you are a bunch of what McCain called his wife, and I hate you for it. War is Hell, and most, if not all militaries contain a few outliers that are toxic beasts, and these sort, if any of us are human, should never be celebrated.

All of that being said, this was, in my conflicted opinion, the right thing to do, and perhaps as close as Olmert has come during his tenor as PM that has made any sense at all. For those that do not understand this decision and see it as illogical, you are correct. There was nothing logical about this policy. This was a purely emotional decision, and when it comes to family, emotions sometimes should prevail over rationale thought processes. Make no mistake, Israel is a family. It is one big dysfunctional and very loud family, and its citizens (at least the 86 % that are Jewish) treat each other like family, warts and all (and there are a shitload of warts).

Remember, military service is compulsory in Israel, and these two young men could have been anyone's son, and there was still some hope, albeit a slither, that these two kids could have been alive. There was a long shot chance, and the chance had to be taken. After all, the state of Israel was founded as a long shot.

This was a moral, ethical, and above all human decision. Gentiles and diaspora Jews without any connection to Israel may not understand this deal, and maybe even cannot understand it. But I have spent a good deal of time in Israel and with Israelis, and it makes sense to me.

My condolences to the families of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser.


puddy said...

so fucking fucked up.

Randal Graves said...

That about covers it. The only winners in war are the defense contractors and oilmen.