Art Parodies Life Parodies Art Parodies Life

Gershom Gorenberg From the start, the war in Iraq seemed like a gruesome satire of that bitter satire, Wag the Dog: a war invented out of fabrications. When my wife saw a front-page pic this morning of Iraqis holding up a shoe in support of the journalist who hurled his footwear at George W. Bush, … Read moreArt Parodies Life Parodies Art Parodies Life

Vote Till You Drop

The price of being a citizen of two countries, it seems, is that elections never stop. So even before the American election winds up in one final festival of long lines, hanging chads, and voter intimidation, Israel is about to begin a new national campaign. Unlike the U.S. vote, the Israeli one will provide over 27 choices, none even close to satisfying. It’s like standing in front of the convenience-store rack of junk food when all you want is a decent meal.

Before we get started with that local madness, let me offer a last word on the American fever. If you are still arguing with a relative who thinks that the McCain-Moosehunter ticket will be better for Israeli security, my new article at the American Prospect provides some talking points:

My friends are frightened of the shame of a mother or uncle staining the family, or the tribe, with the wrong vote — a vote purportedly cast out of concern for Israel. From where I sit, this would be a shame, because the reasons Obama is better for Israel’s security are the same reasons he is better for American security.

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Friends III: “Soldiers of Conscience”

Gary Weimberg, the guy with whom I had endless conversations about what everything in the world means when we were both very young, grew up to be a producer of documentaries. He and his partner Catherine Ryan have produced a film called Soldiers of Conscience, about American soldiers who went to Iraq to fight for a cause they thought was right – and reached the difficult conclusion that no cause justified killing. The film is showing tonight in America on PBS. If you are in the land where PBS broadcasts, you can click here to find out when the show will air where you live. There will be a chat on the PBS site tomorrow.

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War Ethics In A War Zone (2)

Haim Watzman

In response to your last post, Gershom, we don’t disagree about most of the big issues. Of course soldiers, like national leaders and citizens, must make moral judgments, and must make them frequently. My point my previous post was that people in all these categories inevitably make these decisions with imperfect—often woefully imperfect—information. I admire Walzer’s effort to establish practical guidelines for how to conduct war and conflict justly and I largely agree with him.

But I think he is at times overly sanguine about people’s ability to make educated judgments in real time in situations of conflict. Indeed, he acknowledges the difficulty. At the beginning of Chapter 19 of Just and Unjust Wars (p. 304 in my paperback of the 4th edition), he writes:

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Obama. What’s Complicated Here?

Gershom Gorenberg

Dan Kurtzer, the former U.S. Ambassador to Israel and an Orthodox Jew, is in Jerusalem for the 60th anniversary celebrations. This morning my wife heard him being interviewed on Israeli Radio, in Hebrew, about the U.S. election. Kurtzer explained that he’s backing Barack Obama.

This was not exactly a revelation. Kurtzer has explained his reasons for backing Obama at length . Here’s some key snippets:

…we have had eight years of disaster with respect to our foreign policy, and I have to share with you as an analyst, we have had eight years that have [compromised] the security of the state of Israel.
An administration that has ignored the search for peace in the Middle East to a point where you have chaos in the Palestinian Authority, and you have a sham process called the Annapolis process, in which our Secretary of State, whom I admire personally, travels to region and announces when she gets there that she is bringing no new ideas.
You have an administration that hasn’t engaged in the peace process, and so inherited a bad situation in 2001 and is leaving it in a worse situation in 2008. And you have an administration that has gotten us engaged in a war in Iraq that has not only cost American lives… but it’s now being called the $3 trillion war…And I would share with you that the cost to the security of Israel is incalculable.

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