So I got an e-mail from a friend a few days ago. The friend links the Pulp on his site and seems one of his visitors had a big problem with a recent post about the situation in Lebanon. The friend, who is Jewish, sent along the e-mail he received, which read:
"Sir, I am deeply disappointed that you would print blogs with such anti-israel bias."
I wrote back:
"What troubles me is that when anybody criticizes Israel's actions, it's "anti-Israel bias." You can't have an honest discussion without somebody throwing names at you."
Then my friend, who is normally a highly reasonable fellow, fired back this response:
"They should just go in and nuke them all!!"
And he was dead serious.
This is what we're really dealing with here and we all know it. We're just afraid to say it. It's hardcore hatred -- on all sides. I don't blame or judge my friend for his reaction -- it has been instilled in him his entire life. A lot of Arabs, of course, feel the same way about Jews, hence the talk about driving them into the sea. After years of killing and bombing each other, I'd venture to say that a majority on both sides have lost all chance for reason or peace. And if I were in their shoes, on either side, I'd probably be the same way. That is to say, absolutely batshit insane.
So any observer who jumps on one side of this fight would have to be crazy. Yet most people seem bent on taking a side. Since I posted the discussion I had with Steve Kane and Frank Turek on Kane's radio show, people have pointed out to me the Crusades and the Inquisition. There are only two words to utter when those awful times in history are dredged up: no shit.
One friend said he was disappointed I hadn't brought up the slaughter of Native Americans by Christians. A well-known former politician wrote me to say he enjoyed the show and added that next time I might want to point out this line from Leviticus:
"I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it."
Hell, why nobody has brought up the Holocaust, the atomic bombs dropped on Japan, the Vietnam debacle and El Salvador is beyond me. That would really show those pathetic Christians what war-loving, evil yo-yos they really are.
It's a loser's game. Yes, Christians have wrought unimaginable pain and suffering and plague and death on the world over the course of centuries. So have Muslims. And so have Jews, though to a lesser degree simply because they have been fewer in number and unable to wreak the havoc of the other groups. A lot of times, they've been on the wrong end of the slaughter. But lately they've been seeing their chance.
Yep. We're all a bunch of murderous bastards. The problem is that too many people are living in the past, where nothing gets solved and old battles are fought over and over again. Let's drink to it and forget about the tit-for-tat.
What we need is a novel approach, which is to say we actually need to use logic and rational thought. Unfortunately, if the G-8 summit in Russia taught us anything, it's that George W. Bush doesn't know logic, has little attention span, and less sense (as if that's news). The recordings of his obnoxious behavior there prove once and for all that he's not an engaged leader, but a spoiled little boy. Here he is with a chance of meeting with all these world leaders during a terrible time in world history (largely brought on by Bush himself) and all he's talking about is getting home. What an absolute ass. Here are some key excerpts:
-- A reporter asked him: "Does it concern you that the Beirut airport has been bombed? And do you see a risk of triggering a wider war?"
"I thought you were going to ask me about the pig," Bush replied, his little smirk intact, in reference to a smoked hog he'd eaten.
-- During his unguarded exchange with Tony Blair, Bush, while chomping on a roll like Diamond Jim Brady, says: "See, the irony is that what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it's over."
Our president: the new Alanis Morrissette. That's not ironic. It's his own half-baked, asinine countervailing viewpoint. There is no evidence that Syria or Iran ordered Hezbollah's incursion into Israel or the kidnapping of the two soldiers. None. This is just the Bush Administration's line -- like WMD and Niger uranium tubes and the mobile chemical weapons labs and every other lie it's told. Once again, America, my country, is trying to stir up shit, literally, bring instability to the Middle East, while it should be trying to save Lebanon and Israel.
That isn't "tough talk," as USA Today termed it. The cable news stations had a good laugh about the president's "informal" manner. I don't give a damn about the manner and I don't give a damn if he curses. It's the substance we should care about. And, in this case, it's sheer idiocy, dangerous idiocy, and unforgivable from the leader of the free world.
-- The tapes show that Bush spent most of his free time in Russia talking about going home. In a chat with the Chinese president, Hu Jintao, he says:
"Gotta go home - got something to do."
Got something to do? What? Cut brush at the ranch? Veto stem-cell research? Ignore the American newspapers? What in the hell could possibly be more important than trying to bring the world back on America's side after Iraq and all the other screw-ups by this president? Work for us, goddammit.
Then he says:
"Where you going, home? This is your neighborhood - it won't take you long to get home."
Hu Jintao apparently responds that it'll take him eight hours.
"You get home in eight hours? Me too! Russia is a big country, and you're a big country."
Yes, that's funny ha-ha. We don't have a president. We have an eight-year-old abroad.
It was a very bad show (and I'm not even detailing the exchange with Putin wherein Bush bragged about the "democracy" he's spreading in Iraq only to have the Russian leader rightfully mock him).
There are a lot of people with death and destruction in their hearts and minds. America has to be bigger than that, we have to listen to the better angels of our nature. A country that has shown it wants decency and democracy, Lebanon, a c0untry that has gone through more suffering and violence than we'd like to imagine, Lebanon, a country that has added to the richness and beauty of America, Lebanon, is getting blown to bits. But don't worry. While we're sending the bombs for Israel to hit it with, we're also sending humanitarian aid to those whom the same bombs maim and make homeless.
It's a fool's game -- and the leader of the United States is the biggest fool of them all.