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Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Law Of Life

Annan of the UN:
We will only accept an unconditional ceasefire followed by indirect negotiations for a prisoner swap,” Hezbollah deputy Nawar Sahali told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa by phone, echoing remarks Thursday by Hezbollah chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah.

In a speech before the UN Security Council on Thursday, Annan denounced both sides for the violence and proposed a settlement under which Hezbollah would release the two soldiers and a stabilization force will be deployed.

Sahali accused Annan “of defending Israel ... and taking its side.
That's really all we need to know about "proportionality". As SC&A writes regarding Hezbollah:
Clearly, any negotiations with a terror organization are a waste of time. They are not bound by the same rules and regulations that govern civilized society. Hezbollah bases in urban areas, arms depots in urban areas, missle launch sites that are residential ‘backyards’ and the transformation of blocks in South Beirut into Hezbollah headquarters facilities are issues that undermine every Hizbollah claim to legitimacy.

Despite their political influence, Hizbollah refuses to identify itself as a political entity, in the same way as other legitimate political organizations. Instead, Hizbollah continues to define itself, by actions and words, as a terrorist organization. By definition, terrorist organization are not bound by civilized convention and the established rule of law. By definition, terrorist organizations operate outside those conventions and outside the rule of law.
In SC&A's post regarding the attitudes of the appeasers, ACS appears. In the comments ACS writes:
Conservatives often treat wars as though winning and losing were a matter of exercizing sufficient will; as though, somehow, the collective force of Israeli public sentiment were capable of wishing Nasrallah dead and wishing Hezbollah disbanded. Twenty years of excercizing political will already didn’t do this, and Israel paid a steep price in blood. Why they believe that months of fighting — and straying out of bounds into the Sunni-dominated north — will accomplish any goal other than losing Israel the moral high ground is utterly beyond me.
Hah, hah. First of all, Israel is capable of decimating Hezbollah and nullifying Hezbollah by military force. Nasrallah is not really the problem; the terrorists he commands and the weaponry they have accumulated are the problem. Heretofore Israel has exercised great restraint out of fear of those "civilian" casualties. What is being exercised here is not political will but military will, and that is what is necessary to stop Hezbollah's incursions.

Hezbollah expected to get several hundred prisoners released in exchange for those two Israelis. If Hezbollah will not return those prisoners, Israel must kill more Hezbollah terrorists than Hezbollah expected to get released in order to demonstrate that this tactic will not work. That's the long and the short of it. Israel is trying to kill members of a band of terrorists that want to destroy all Jews, and who attacked them first. It's not Israel's fault that Hezbollah stores weapons in mosques, houses, and schools, and sets up rocket launchers in fruit orchards. If an organization interlaces its military arm with its civilian activities and then proceeds to attack an outside nation with them, then that organization is morally guilty of the deaths of civilians in the consequent military action. That's what the world should be saying to Hezbollah.

What the dingbat appeasionists apparently don't realize is that to win a war one must have the will to win that war, and that engaging in military action without the full intention of reaching your military goal by force of arms or force of diplomacy is how you lose the moral high ground. Israel is now paying with its own blood for negotiating with terrorists before - that was a moral mistake. Not this. For Israel to allow its soldiers to be bargaining chips would be immoral. This isn't.

Anyone who condemns Israel for what it is doing is accepting the idea that the lives of civilians within Israel's borders are worth less than the lives of civilians outside its borders. The immorality of that should be clear to anyone with a conscience.

I have been praying for peace, grace and God's mercy in order to end this conflict. But every time I emerge from prayer, I emerge with two painful answers. The first is "You will be judged as you judge." That constitutes not just a requirement to exercise mercy to others in order that it should be available to myself, but the clear statement that a person, organization or nation is responsible for the results of rules of law that such person, organization or nation sets up. The corollary is that any individual has the responsibility not to accede to, advocate for, or cooperate with, rules of law that will produce widespread destruction.

If a woman loads up a baby carriage with dynamite, puts her baby on top of it, and then goes for stroll in the mall with the detonator held in her pocketbook, is the baby not already dead? And isn't the woman guilty of the death of her child? And if police intercept the women before she enters a crowded venue, and in the process the child is killed, are the police guilty of the death of that child? Of course they are not. The civilized world must turn and say to Hezbollah "Remove your combatants and your weapons from the vicinity of the children, or bear the guilt for their deaths". And if we do not say that - if we do not insist on that - then we are the ones who have allowed this tactic to be a successful tactic, and we are the ones who now must assume responsibility for the next infant placed on top of a pile of bombs. We are responsible for the results of the rules of engagement we set up or accept as valid.

Why can we not see this obvious fact? Gagdad Bob has answered this clearly:
Of course, once you have chosen one option in life, all of the others are forever foreclosed. If you choose one career, it means all the other possibilities are ended, at least temporarily. If you marry one woman, you are really denying yourself the rest of womankind, and who would want to do that? It seems that many people would prefer to live in the realm of infinite (but unrealized) potential rather than finite, but real, existence.
Once one acknowledges that the rules of law must be universal, one must then acknowledge oneself subject to them. We do not wish to be bound by law, and so we get angry at those who live by universal laws, because they are an implicit reproach to us. Universal law acknowledges a universal reality, which is felt to be a great personal constraint. In other words, we refuse to live life because it would require acknowledging our limited scope. We refuse to make choices, because if we don't make them, we can believe we always have all choices. We refuse to live the life we are givein order to sustain the delusion that we will never die - but we die nonetheless. We are all temporary participants in this world with limited options and a limited life. That's reality.

The second answer I get is this "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

The "love" is used here, the word does not refer to an emotion. It does not refer to an infatuation. It refers to a commitment. When you love your child, it means that you are always aware of your child's needs and existence. There are times when you may be angry at your child. There are times when you may be weary of your child. But you never turn and walk away from your child, because your awareness of your child holds an equal place in your consciousness with your awareness of yourself. What we are being told here is to be always aware of our neighbor's needs and existence. And in loving God, we are asked to be aware that there is an objective, external existence which preceded us, will be after us, and is in no way dependent upon us. We are being asked to accept that we might never have been, but that God always was and always will be. In order to love God, we must admit our limited existence by acknowledging God's unlimited existence. We are being asked to put ourselves in our rightful places, which are not at the center of the cosmos. What Jesus said here is that every individual must conform his interior reality to objective reality. It is, in essence, a psychological demand. Failure to follow these commands means that an individual becomes morally insane, and in many cases, a dedicated refusal to follow these commands results in actual psychosis.

Once you understand the meaning of what Jesus said, you realize a number of things. The first is that many who claim to be atheists today are not, by Jesus' definition. If a person acknowledges that things and people having nothing to do with him- or herself are as real as him- or herself, that person is acknowledging God. And if this person also acknowledges that other people have an equal right to exist and that he or she has an obligation to treat their needs equally with his own, that person is following the second command. You also realize that many people who call themselves Christians are not following these commands, because they use the idea of personal salvation as a personal exemption from the universal demands of reality. That is an inversion and a perversion of what Jesus said we had to do. The idea of universality - of cause and effect - was inherent in the Law of Moses and Israel's original establishment. Leviticus "But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God." When Jesus says he has come to fulfill the Law of Moses, that is what he means. By acknowledging that there is one reality, we acknowledge a universal reality and a universal law. It is in following this universal law that we can have peace in our world.

If Hezbollah does not acknowledge universal law, Hezbollah is the enemy of God, law and human beings everywhere. If the international "diplomats" cannot ask that question fairly and directly of Hezbollah, then they are the enemies of God, law and human beings everywhere.

I will be praying for peace on Sunday, but I will not be praying in the delusion that God will do it for us. I will not be praying in the illusion that somehow we can escape this situation. The law of cause and effect will always hold true; they can only be abrogated by accepting what we have done wrong in the past and asking for God's help in remediating those errors. Then, and only then, another dimension of reality can emerge and seeming miracles occur. I will not be praying for anything but the realization by Hezbollah that it cannot have peace without acknowledging the Jews' right to exist, and I will be praying for the leaders of the "international community" to summon up the courage, by God's grace, to restate that the conditions for peace are the willingness to allow your neighbor the right to exist, that there is a universal law, and that the condition for international protection is the acceptance of that law. I know that God does not impose his will or his consciousness upon that of any human being unless by the consent of the human being, so I know that at best, my prayer can have only partial results.

One fact remains: If Israel were to disarm tomorrow, within six weeks over a million Israelis would be dead. If Hezbollah were to return the soldiers and turn its artillery over to the Lebanese government, many lives would be saved, and the sovereignty of Lebanon would be protected from Syria, rather than endangered.

Anyone who claims that Israel is endangeriing Lebanon's democracy by its actions is deeply self-delusive. If Lebanon is to become a true democracy, Hezbollah must stop being a private army that holds itself above and immune from Lebanese law. No one can sanely deny these definite effects of different course of action, and anyone who attempts to deny them is an immoral person. We must summon up the courage to say this persistently; if we want peace we must first have accountability. Praying for peace without acknowledging the prerequisites of peace is a false prayer that can have no effect, if you are entreating God. If you are entreating men, it can only have an evil effect. Demanding unilateral pacifism of one party in an armed conflict is no different morally than human sacrifice. Too many of the "pacifists" today follow a bloody, ancient tradition.

The blogs I have posted as links on my sidebar are those who I am sure all follow these commands as well as they can (and none of us, because we are human, can follow these commands absolutely). They are important to me. Of them, the most important to this post (in random order) are Shrinkwrapped, Dr. Sanity, SC&A, True Grit, The Anchoress, Mamacita, Assistant Village Idiot, and Dust My Broom. I will add One Cosmos (Gagdad Bob). All of these bloggers are engaged in the important process of sifting, separating and making distinctions that are necessary to the maintenance of civilized life. This crisis has placed the moral dilemma and the moral failings of the west in full, public view. I hope we can rouse ourselves to reengage with reality before it is too late.

What a great, great post.

It must be noted that Hizbollah is NOT a politica organization, as we know it.

They are the equivalent of the KKK, with schools (imagine the curricuulum), social services (available to members only) and medical care (dispensed to card carrying members).

The Israelis are addressing far more than 'political' issues.
Well, politics in the western sense is about achieving a better communal life. I cannot say that what Hezbollah is now doing is protecting life. To them, it appears to be about asserting power. They are seeking dominance only.

I cannot pray honestly and seek anyone's destruction. I will pray honestly, and ask for life for all, for mercy for the innocent, for God's protection and intervention on the behalf of the vulnerable, and for all receptive to God's grace to deal with situation honestly and mercifully. But Israeli babies deserve to live as much as Lebanese babies, and the God does not view the initiators of violence and the exponents of a onesided law to be morally equivalent to those who seek life for themselves and others, and attempt to live by the law of life.

By their own law, not God's, Hezbollah stands condemned. I will ask in Jesus' name, for God's grace in the Kingdom to operate so as to move men to create room for the law of life and peace, so that they shall not be. The law of life is open to all men, if they choose it.

I cannot pretend that we in the west are guiltless in this. We are probably more guilty than Israel. Israel is defending its population. Who are we defending? If we implicitly assent to Hezbollah's law, we are violating the law of life ourselves, and we also will be condemned by Hezbollah's law.
Keep praying for peace.
Oh, I am. I am.
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