Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Israels Moral Army

There was a report the other day about why the Israelis rejected the UN report into their ‘invasion’ of Gaza last year. They are alleged to have said that because Israel has the most ‘moral’ army in the world, what others stated were ‘war crimes’ committed by the Israeli Army could not and would not have happened. They have also stated before that they have the most ‘ethical’ army in the world.

Now one thing I have learned in life is that as soon as anyone starts making presumptuous or sanctimonious statements indicating a belief that they are ‘better’ or as in this case (presumably more) ‘moral’ that anyone else they are inviting Nemeses to cut them back down to size. There is one thing that Nemeses dislikes more than anything else and that is ‘hubris’. I have written about this before and risking accusations of repetition I restate the following:-

“So whole-hearted is the faith in technological idols that it is very hard to discover, in the popular thoughts of our time, any trace of the ancient and profoundly realistic doctrine of Hubris and Nemesis. To the (Ancient) Greeks, Hubris meant any kind of over-weening and excess. When men or societies went too far, either in dominating other men and societies, or in exploiting the resources of nature to their own advantage, this over-weening exhibition of pride had to be paid for. In a word, Hubris invited Nemesis.” (Aldous Huxley - Essay on ‘New Forms of Idolatry’ 1945).

This still rings true today, from its ancient classical, origins. [‘hubris’ … Presumption; insolence (originally towards the Gods); pride; excessive self confidence. ‘Nemesis’ …The Goddess of retribution and vengeance]. Nemesis was perceived to be the personification of the retribution which appears to overtake every wrong. She was conceived as a mysterious power, watching over the propriety of life, shaping the demeanour of men in times of prosperity, punishing crime, taking luck away from the unworthy, tracking every wrong to its doer, and keeping society in equipoise. Nemesis was/is said to be implacable in the pursuit of her cause.

If the Israelis (or the Americans or anyone else for that matter) think for a moment that force of arms on its own solves problems they are sadly mistaken. It never has and it never will. Any force has to be accompanied by magnanimity to the ‘defeated’. I am not sure that the Israelis understand the meaning of the word ‘magnanimity’. They have done nothing to help the unfortunate inhabitants of Gaza – in fact they are just keeping up the unequal pressure.

It has to be remembered that only a person can be moral or ethical. Morals and ethics have to do with the interrelationships between human beings. An army, on the other hand, cannot be moral or ethical. An army being an organisation of people who are trained to kill, does not have a life of its own. Ethical conduct can only take place between humans and other sentient beings. The Israeli army may have a code of ethics and instruct its soldiers about moral conduct but under the pressure of war, when it is a case of kill or be killed, anything can and does happen. In any case I am not sure that anyone can be killed in a morally ‘correct’ manner or killed ‘ethically.’

Nothing the Israeli’s have done addresses the original cause of the ‘Palestinian problem’ – injustice; the injustice of having their hereditary land expropriated (without consultation or compensation) to create the State of Israel in 1946. Building a wall dividing Palestine from Israel; having state of the art weaponry does nothing if the original injustice and the sense of injustice is not addressed in a meaningful manner – not just talking about talking. The Israelis will never feel secure while the Palestinians feel deprived, humiliated and treated as second class citizens.

The Israelis (and the Palestinians) must learn, or remember, that violence is the last resort of the morally bankrupt. So where does that place the Israeli army or Hamas?

Think about it.

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