Thursday, January 15, 2009

Israeli Attack on UN Building As Sec-Gen Visits Israel "Mistake"

As Stalin used to say, "nothing is coincidental." But there have been many "mistakes" in the Gaza conflict: the Israeli attack on ambulances, the Israeli sniper shooting of children trying to get into hospitals, the use of white phosphorous in civilian areas, the erroneous Israeli claims that Hamas was not abiding by the summer ceasefire...One could go on endlessly, so why should one be so cynical as to assume that an Israeli attack on the UN headquarters in Gaza precisely when that pesky Gen-Sec is interfering with Israel's slightly delayed (I did not say "quagmire" because they are, frankly, free to leave) invasion was intended as a clear message that Israel is above international law?


Renegade Eye said...

I've been reading some of the posts here. Most blogs are filled with cliches on the Gaza issue.

William deB. Mills said...

You have a sharp eye, Renegade, and perhaps I should plead guilty. Cliches are rampant in discussions of Gaza ("they only understand the language of force" or "we are just trying to protect ourselves from terrorism"); I would hope to be shooting down more than I send aloft. You are cordially invited to identify some I have tossed carelessly around.

Finding loose thinking and tightening it up is precisely the point of blog discussions. I welcome your input. Indeed, the highly detailed essays on Gaza in your own excellent website already constitute valuable input.

The distinction between useful argument and cliches is important, so let me belabor this. One term that might be called a cliche I have repeatedly used is "Islamic political fault line." Back in November 2007, if I recall correctly, I laid out a case for this as something far more than just a cliche, something to take seriously but made the point that this is a process, not a "thing" and thus needs to be analyzed.

Your general point, if I may infer it, seems to be that cliches are dangerous, that they interfere with the pursuit of truth. I could not agree more.