[NOTE: It is a delicate matter to complain about the Israeli justice system. Was there any justice in the Hamas attacks? (Not a rhetorical question: I say NO.) Any “due process”? Right to an attorney, etc.? Of course not.
And that’s not the only reason for being measured here. As the New York Times reported in September: Since 2002, roughly 780 detainees have been held at the American military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Now, 30 remain. Of those, 11 have been charged with war crimes in the military commissions system — 10 are awaiting trial and one has been convicted. In addition, three detainees are held in indefinite law-of-war detention and are neither facing tribunal charges nor being recommended for release. And 16 are held in law-of-war detention but have been recommended for transfer with security arrangements to another country.Continue reading Justice and “Justice?” in Prisoner/Hostage Swap: More Gaza Bible Study→
[NOTE: I agree with just about all that Nick Kristof says here. But his roster of myths is incomplete. He overlooks a fourth “myth” that gets in the way of his humane insight and hope like the piles of rubble that mark this war on every front. More on that below.]
With the bilateral slaughter in the Middle East unleashing poisons that are worsening hatred worldwide, let me outline what I see as three myths inflaming the debate:
The first myth is that in the conflict in the Middle East there is right on one side and wrong on the other (even if people disagree about which is which).
Life isn’t that neat. The tragedy of the Middle East is that this is a clash of right versus right. That does not excuse Hamas’s massacre and savagery or Israel’s leveling of entire neighborhoods in Gaza, but underlying the conflict are certain legitimate aspirations that deserve to be fulfilled. Continue reading More Melancholy Wisdom on Israeli-Hamas War Myths→
Kudos this week to the Christian Century (CC) magazine, for its statement on the Hamas/Israeli war. They were not quick to run to the pundit barricades; when Hamas attacked, despite their shock, they grabbed their knees and kept them from jerking. They thought and struggled about it; their struggle likely continues.
And their considered editorial answer was –for me at least — clarifying. In sum, they said: the situation is complex as hell. (That’s my paraphrase.) More precisely:
“Every conflict involves competing stories, but often one story clearly embodies far more truth than the other. Not in this case. Each of the two stories sketched out here [Palestinian & Israeli] is factually sound, historically informed, and morally compelling. Both stories are true.
And they are heartbreaking and tragic. Both are stories of people who love the land and deserve to live there in peace. Peace has long been stymied by political missteps, cycles of violence, and interventions by those who can only see one story’s truth. For US Christians, bearing witness to this conflict begins with recognizing that it contains more than one true story.”
Fate played a cruel, unwanted hand in Diane Feinstein’s political rise:
On Nov. 27, 1978, at the end of her tether, Ms. Feinstein [then a member of the San Francisco city Board of Supervisors] told City Hall reporters that she intended to quit political life. Two hours later, shots exploded down the hall from her office. She ran toward the gunfire and, moments later, knelt beside a dying mayor. Mr. Moscone and Harvey Milk, the city’s first openly gay supervisor, who was shot in another office, had been killed by Dan White, a disgruntled former supervisor, who was quickly captured and eventually imprisoned.
Yes, that’s an outdated 1960s expression, but it fits here: this material is about the Vietnam War. And for me (plus, I figure, most of the remaining survivors of that era of national agony), having our minds blown was a thing.