Dion: It's the civilians who always pay
Maybe 20 years ago, I was sitting at the bar with a rabbi. It's not a joke. There was no priest or minister on scene.
He was the rabbi of a synagogue maybe four blocks from my house, and he used to pick up to-go food at a local restaurant, and the restaurant had a bar, and if I was there, he'd sit next to me and have a glass of red wine, and we'd talk.
The rabbi was a very educated and intelligent man, and I liked to talk about history with him.
We spoke about Israel once.
"The thing about Israel was that, for thousands of years, the Jewish news was always bad," I said.
"The Romans. Jews being burned in France, driven out of Spain. Pogroms in Russia. The Holocaust. Oppression everywhere, and the Jews dying or running away.
"And I remember the war in 1967, and, all of a sudden, the Jews are up on their hind legs, fighting with guns in their hands, and they're knocking the hell out of the Arabs.
"No American could resist that story," I said. "We love an underdog."
The rabbi looked thoughtful but not happy.
"So, Americans didn't respect Jews until we started to be violent?" he said.
"Yeah," I told him.
The restaurant's hostess brought him his food, and he left. I had another beer.
Gaza. Hamas. Israel. Guns. No, not guns. Missiles and guns. Dead civilians of both persuasions because all wars involve the killing of civilians and always have. We pretend that's not true, but it is, and it always will be. How many civilians has Russia killed in Ukraine? How many civilians did America kill in Iraq?
War is not an anomaly, and it's not a mistake. It's part of who we are as humans, and there's always a war going on in the world. Everyone fights all the time. Maybe it isn't even the "tragedy" the news stories call it. Maybe it's like sneezing or stealing or making love or eating. Maybe it's just what humans do, all the time.
Of course, ever since the invention of nuclear weapons, the entire planet lives in a perpetual state of emergency, and every war is seen as a possible prelude to the moment when someone pushes the button and makes the sun fall.
Itchy feeling, but we manage to ignore it most of the time.
America will support Israel. Americans have a dislike of countries that sucker punch other countries. Some American voices will support Palestine. If you're in college, supporting Palestine is a great way to make your parents nervous. For some people, the urge to make their parents nervous lasts into adulthood. In addition, there are numerous crazy Christians who think Jesus won't return unless the Jews are in Israel, waiting for him. That's probably not true. The Jews have spent the last 2,000 years proclaiming their lack of interest in Jesus but can't seem to get their point across to some people in Houston. My guess is Jesus wouldn't be welcome even in overwhelmingly Christian nations, not if he started talking.
Is it going to be a bad war? Yeah. They're all bad, and a lot of civilians are going to be killed by both sides, and that's not going to be an accident.
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