Thursday, July 13, 2006

Zidane Is a Verb (like "Profane")

To Zidane is to implement the Powell Doctrine of using disproportionate, overwhelming force when confronting the enemy.

Colin Powell posited that a military that delivers only a proportional response allows the adversary to dictate how a war should be fought and what losses the enemy should suffer. A disproportionate response is the way to win a war and the way to deter future aggression.

Zinedine Zidane, of course, is the French soccer player who was the author of the now infamous head-butting of defender Marco Materazzi who allegedly called him the "son of a terrorist whore".

Zidaning is happening before our eyes on the world political stage. After months of taking relatively little action in response to terror, murder, bombardment and other provocations, Israel finally managed to prove itself to be the victim of military attacks and aggression on two fronts.

Weeks ago, the military wing of the Hamas dug a tunnel under an Israeli checkpoint (inventive !) on the border with Gaza, killed two Israelis soldiers and captured another, Gilad Shalit. This was an act of war, not terrorism; Shalit is a P.O.W., not a hostage.

Similarly, Hezbollah guerrillas kidnapped the two Israelis during a cross-border raid Wednesday, then returned to Lebanon. This, too was an act of war, even if asymmetrical. The two captives are P.O.W.'s, not hostages.

In both cases, Israel has resorted to a Zidanian degree of retaliation, out of proportionality to the original attack. I don't quarrel with either action. Israel has a right to defend itself, and to retaliate when attacked. However, an alternative was possible: at least in the earlier Gaza case, Israel could have traded P.O.W.'s!

I have always maintained the Israelis and Palestinians deserved each other and their combined destiny of behaving like two scorpions confined in the same bottle. Both have been led by statesmenship - if that's the word - with deeply flawed vision.

My concern has always been with American statesmanship. Wherever and whenever my country could have contributed its even-handed good offices in the Palestinian sphere, it has failed to do so. Indeed, quite the contrary: the United States has managed to become totally identified with Israeli encroachment and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian lands in the West Bank to the point that a two state solution is not (now) possible.

So, Israel has the right to defend itself against actions it has largely brought upon itself by its own actions. My government (of America) has properly pointed this out.

But I do not see where it's justified to go to such lengths as has Frederick Jones, spokesman for the White House National Security Council:
The United States condemns in the strongest terms this unprovoked act of terrorism, which was timed to exacerbate already-high tensions in the region and sow further violence.
This was not unprovoked and not terrorism.
We also hold Syria and Iran, which directly support Hizbollah, responsible for this attack and the ensuing violence.
Israel is completely innocent?
We condemn in the strongest terms Hizbollah's unprovoked attack on Israel and the kidnapping of the two Israeli soldiers.
There is no kidnapping in war; only taking of prisoners.
We call for immediate and unconditional release of the two soldiers.
How about calling for a negotiated trading of P.O.W.'s?

Israel will Zidane Gaza and Lebanon, if it must. But we don't have to go along on the ride. It's past time for us (U.S.) to get off this bus.


  1. Once again, an excellent analysis of a very difficult situation. Interesting and well written, too....

    the Wizard.......

  2. ......In fact I've just cross-posted a link to your essay on my blog.....

    the Wizard.....

  3. I agree with Wizard completely, excellent analysis of the situation. I keep trying to see some hope in that region but I can't find any. I just hope Bush does not try and ride to the rescue.

  4. Hamas and Hezbollah were Olmert's preordained agenda just as Saddam was Bush's preordained objective. Both were ready to jump at the first pretext available, not matter how flimsy.

  5. Simply a marvelous piece, Vigil!

    I might be out to lunch but, a distortion which the America's one sided backing has created just might be the single most important factor that keeps the possibility of a peace as remote as Dick Chaney lerning to shoot strait.

    By no means am I implying that the merry band of Hezbollah are peace loving hippies with flowers in their hair. All I am saying is that, if you tinker too much and destabilize the regional military power structure, chances are that the party who seem to have over powering fire power might not be in any hurry to negotiate. Fact that one has been armed to teeth barely courages one to any other solutions to problems than the military option.

    I find it also incredible that some commentators talk about unprovoked attacks. Nothing in that region is unprovoked and if the decision makers would spend even half their scheming time trying to sensibly untangle those knots that their shortsighted past policies have created, we would be on our way to permanent solution and the regular folk, on the both sides, could finally live in peace and with dignity.

    I suppose, especially right now, the reality do not mesh with this wish and more the same is coming down the pipe. Just wishing that there would be "Scotty to beam me up"!

  6. Pekka says:

    I find it also incredible that some commentators talk about unprovoked attacks. Nothing in that region is unprovoked and if the decision makers would spend even half their scheming time trying to sensibly untangle those knots that their shortsighted past policies have created, we would be on our way to permanent solution and the regular folk, on the both sides, could finally live in peace and with dignity.

    American media technology affords my fellow citizens with an immodest amount of information which overwhelms their extremely modest supply of curiosity.

    No where is this more applicable than with Israel and Palestine.

  7. Israeli Amb. Gillerman (July 14):

    While Hizbullah executes this vicious terrorism, it is only the finger on the bloodstained, long-reaching arms of Syria and Iran. Hizbullah, together with Hamas, Syria and Iran, comprise the world’s new and ominous Axis of Terror.

    Where's the terror, in this case? This was an act of war. It was military on military. Whether provoked or not provoked. It was no act of terror, which is against civilians.

  8. Exactly, Recidivist!

    This drivel over Israel's right to defend itself. Of course it not only has a right to defend itself, and it also has a right to exist. Nobody questions that - no one I talk to anyway.

    But ask yourself this. Can it come to a point where a nation's right to exist can be questioned based upon the mess it's making in its own region? Or, do some nations have the right to make any kind of mess, a mess of unlimitable dimensions and extent?

    Sovereignty has limits. (Your sovereignty ends where it pokes my sovereignty in the nose.)

    What is this crap? Destruction of the democratic hopeS of Lebanese over the taking of two Israeli troops as P.O.W.'s?

    Who are the terrorists here? WTF?

  9. Seven Canadians Killed In Israeli Airstrike

    BEIRUT, Lebanon — Seven Canadians, including several members of the same Montreal family, were killed in an Israeli air strike in southern Lebanon on Sunday as the Canadian government stepped up plans to evacuate the estimated 40,000 Canadians stranded in the war-torn region.

    Does this Zidane Doctrine mean that Canada should now declare war on Israel?

  10. I didn't watch the CBC news today, so, I missed this sad news about Canadians dying in Lebanon. There we go and right on schedule, too!

    Reaction from this new right-wing, Dubya wannabe, Primeminister Harper, is certainly not going to be a declaration of war against Israel. Harris is the best thing that has happened to that Texas chain-shaw-man in a long time. I am really starting to feel sick.

  11. The frigging name is HARPER both times. Sorry, but I am really upset!

  12. Israel certainly has the right to defend itself, both in the short term and in the long term, with emphasis on the latter. I have no doubt that the kidnapping of their soldiers provided them with the opportunity to take care of business with their rowdy neighbors. I suspect they have been victims for far too long, given the fact that most of the countries in that part of the world either do not recognize them or wants them obliterated, or both. Is this an overreaction? Probably but a well deserved one methinks.

  13. I have never seen Pekka so angry!