can't seem to please anyone

Muslim Wake Up! has decided that my supportive position on Israel's strike on Syria is equivalent to a Jew praising the Holocaust, or a black paean to slavery. Rather than excerpt and be accused of taking things out of context, it's better that I just link to the accusation and let their words speak for themselves. Especially the disingenous mention of my moral denunciation of "a long string of Palestinian names" which sounds like I'm just picking on some poor innocent upstanding Palestinian citizens. Read it for yourself - adding to the surreality, Billmon (whom I idolize) even makes an appearance in the comments, and wonders aloud if I'm not really a neocon/Israeli in drag.

But the basic problem here is absolutely symmetrical with that faced by opponents of Israel's policies. The reason I tend to ruffle feathers[1] is because I take a basic set of principles[2] and apply them consistently. This just doesn't square well with people who'se intense opposition to group A on the basis of principles 1-2 means that they overlook the violations of principles 3-4 by their own group B. Normally, I like symmetry, but being called an anti-semite on one hand and a brown sahib on the other is giving me rhetorical whiplash.

Unfortunately, the Israeli strike on Syria didn't kill any actual terrorists - it was largely symbolic. What I want to see is a shift in Syria's strategic thinking, because right now Syria seems to think it's more of a power than it really is - and they are playing with real fire. The way that the US was playing with fire when it funded Saddam and trained Osama, to be exact.

I also disagree with Demosthenes' assertion that the strike somehow accelerates Iran's drive for nuclear weapons:

That race for the bomb will be the #1 priority for Iran now, and I wouldn't be overly surprised if cash gets funnelled in from other parts of the Middle East to make it happen, because Israel's threat to "hit its enemies at any time in any place" will be taken very, very seriously.

I think it's fairly obvious that Iran would be moving at top speed towards that goal irrespective of the Syrian strike. Few Arab countries would subsidize a Shi'a and Persian bomb, anyway (don't underestimate sectarian prejudice - I got called an apostate in MWU's comment before the editor intervened). If anyone is going to send money to Iran, it's Germany and Russia, since there's a lot of fat contracts involved. And Israel's tendency to strike pre-emptively was already demonstrated against Osirak in Iraq, so it's not a big surprise. Israel's neighbors take Israel very seriously already.

In that context, I don't think that Iran's drive to acquire nuclear weapons is that alarming, either. I've been forwarded links where firebrands in Iran issue fatwas about nuking Israel as being a holy duty - but the fat theocrats in Tehran who actually set policy know full well what Mutually Assured Destruction is, and Israel's "nuclear ambiguity" is not that ambigous. India hasn't exactly been nuked by Pakistan yet, either.

At least the Democratic Presidential candidates agree with me:

Former Vermont governor Howard Dean, asked to comment Tuesday by CNN's Judy Woodruff on the show "Inside Politics," said, "If Israel has to defend itself by striking terrorists elsewhere, it's going to have to do that. Terrorism has no place in bringing peace in the Middle East. You know, the attack, [a] deliberate attack of men, women and children, is not permitted under the Geneva conventions, and nations have the right to defend themselves just as we defended ourselves by going into Afghanistan to get rid of Al Qaeda."

And what about the Iranian nuke issue? (See this excellent analysis and links roundup by Meteor Blades at Daily Kos. He gets called an anti-semite in the comments.) If Israel attacks Iran to take out their reactor, they will succeed, and won't suffer any military retaliation either (no muslim army will rise up and begin WWIII. Trust me).

But what will happen is that the fledgling roots of Iranian democracy will die. Immediately. And the Shi'a in Iraq will align with Iran, meaning that our crucial task of fixing what we've broken in iraq will be dealt a mortal blow. These reasons alone are enough rationale for us to strongly urge Israel to follow our lead in N. Korea and do nothing.

(let's make it a trifecta. I agree with Bush's policies in N. Korea. That rhetorical whiplash is a real bear, eh?)

[1]I seem to have alienated Al-Muhajabah as well, over the Imad Hamdi issue. For the record, I think that the allegations against Hamdi, as reported in the NY Post, should be considered separately from whether Yourish, LGF, Freepers etc. assume they are true. But those allegations are nicely rebutted by Hamdi's own statement, and the FBI seems to agree as well. All told, I am glad that the NY Post article I mentioned (and which triggered AM's anger) is included in this collection, as it makes the case for Hamdi's award stronger IMHO, not less.

[2] Opposing arguments should be directly addressed rather than ignored. There is no peace without justice. People are rational actors. Murdering innocents is wrong.

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