Saturday, July 29, 2006

How violent should war be?

Given the situation in the Middle East, it should be no surprise to people that the current hot topic in the blogosphere is about the Israeli-Lebanon conflict.

Over the past 3 days, a heated discussion took place(and is still taking place) at Samizdata. I'm too lazy to check if it was Johnathan Pearce or Perry who started it, but in the midst of arguing the points, some of us in the commentariat lost our cool and flung accusations at one another. I would like to think I kept my composure, but there were words written that, upon hindsight, seemed too harsh. Check out the various comment threads. Plenty of good points on both sides, both for, and against expanding the conflict, especially considering the necessity, or lack thereof, of playing by the rules of civilised warfare.

If there is even such a thing as civilised warfare in the first place!

Sadly, in the current age of the war of ideas, my own fear is that to destroy or discredit an idea, civilization might have to expell it and its followers completely... or kill them all. As long as a significant enough number of people believe in that -ism(fanatism, communism, anarchism etc) fervently enough to inflict physical violence upon others, the threat of terrorism will never be over.

The idea of German military superiority died with their defeat in WW2, hastened by the destruction of their infrastructure by Allied bombing. The idea of Japanese imperialism died on the altar of nuclear fire. Many civilians lives were lost, but were those civilians truly innocent? They supported their troops, spiritually, logistically. They did not pull any triggers but they certainly made it possible for their boys to do so.

In the war of -isms, there are no real innocents any more, only friends and enemies. To the commie, I would be a lackey of a capitalist regime, and thus worthy of death. To the islamist fanatic, I would be an infidel, and thus worthy of death. To the anarchist, I am trampling on his liberty and his rights, and thus worthy of death. I am a civilian, I'm not holding a gun to threaten their lives, and yet I am an enemy.

And strangely enough, I agree with them. Which is not to say Israel should go bonkers and start targeting civilians. Rather, they should stop placing so much careful emphasis on collateral damage and just get the job done by wiping out Hezbollah.

3 Comments:

Blogger arsenal_x said...

i still don't understand why they worry more about iran refining uranium than the war that's going on in wherever it is now? it's very puzzling...

oh, i'm stealing one of your entries =D the one, uhm, about "i something..."

oh btw, this is Hana ^^ though i dunno if you know me, mr yeo, and i believe that i dunno you (as a teacher) but i've met you in the concert =D

4:03 AM  
Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

It's a strategic conumdrum. As somebody at the Belmont Club noted, the decision about Iran and its nukes is out of Israel's paygrade. IOW, they're in no real position to make any kind of decision, and do not, despite their previous airstrike against Iraq years ago, have the combat capability to destroy Iranian research facilities even if their locations are known.

Iran is also too big to invade by the small Israeli army. Any conventional invasion by Israel would place their assault group vulnerable to any form of attack on their flanks.

And yeah, I remember you. Ms Ng was encouraging you to join the SYC, and you should if you enjoy singing. I miss my own days of singing in the choir. Spent 2 years in Cat High choir, yr 1 in NJC under the late choir pioneer Benjamin Khoo, yr 2 under Ms Tham, and 4 years under Nelson Kwei in NUS. Good times.

After learning what happened last year, I am truly sorry I didn't choose choir as my CCA of choice when I joined up back in June. I kinda wanted a break, and went to Strategy Club, since gaming and chess are also my hobbies.

It was only later when I leaked my background that I was transferred to help out with the choir. If I had been around, would things have turned out better? Or did Ms Ng and I join up too late in the year to really do anything?

In any case, we'll continue working hard, and hopefully bring the SAJC choir to new heights. Thanks for your support and kind words, and I hope to see you at various choral performances in the future(not just SAJC), as both audience and performer! We choristers have to support one another!

5:24 AM  
Blogger arsenal_x said...

not from israel's perspective, i was wondering about the rest of the countries and UN who are fussing about iran and not really doing anything regarding the war, or are they? o.O i bet they're discussing this in GP class, the invasion. without GP discussions i'm so blur about politics =p

v.v dunno if i suppose to say this, but i agree on that 'join up too late to do anything', at least too late for us who've had stepped down anyway. i'm glad my juniors have better teachers though =) someone who are not there simply for administrative work and almost never an advice or encouragement even when we were preparing for crucial performances and don't know who'd been doing what in and outside the committee and who's been the devoted ones who connected to the members of the choir (not just the exco) and, err, i could go on and on and you'll fall asleep, mr yeo >.< but i'm happy for my juniors anyway =) hope that they treasure you, teachers-in-charge =)

oh btw up there i was NOT talking about Ms ST, coz she did give us a number of advices now and then and even played the piano for us on some ocassion =)

waiting for isaac's contacts regarding the upcoming SYC concert ^^ will the choir and teachers be going?

7:34 PM  

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