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The last post on war: Thoughts, wishes, duty… a poem

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The art of war or the tools of Collateral Damage

Any weapon that has triggers, buttons, LCD screens, joysticks, levers, switches, pedals or any other form of ‘human delegates to machine to kill human’ mode of operation is a weapon to be used mostly against civilians.

For the 1000 comments I received that rime with ‘terrorists hiding between civilians’, and regardless of the interpretation of the intentions of the people pulling the triggers, all modern weaponry are fundamentally designed to kill civilians, not soldiers! It’s with much hypocrisy that countries, defense contractors and armies say that they are out there to minimize civilian casualty, for they have never been able to! Battles are never confined to a field in the desert, they are always fought over and/or to control civilian areas!

With the smallest automatic weapon, one man can shoot 40 bullets in few minutes, 40 bullets can potentially kill 40 men. If each solider can potentially kill 40 men, then an army equipped with the smallest weapons can potentially kill 40 times its size! Those weapons have an ‘intrinsic’ potential allowing them to always extend their reach beyond the opponents ‘protected’ army and to extort a much higher cost from the more ‘vulnerable’ civilians!

The Math of modern warfare and weapons is freaky, and regardless of the declared intentions, these little geeky marvels with fancy names (and smart adjectives), auto-manage, every time, to claim back their role as mass civilian exterminators! And this always happens despite the sour, the sorry and the apologetic… All of them!

At the end, Soldiers are the only collateral damage in wars! The rest is the real intended damage…

Dissuasive arms and preemptive wars

The race for those increasingly more lethal weapons is always made while convincing the masses with the hypocritical alibi of strategic balance, dissuasion and strategic peace! In reality it is only a mater of postponing a conflict until you get a much bigger stick!

From the womb of dissuasion, mad-strategists (scarier than mad-scientists) who think straight out of their butts have been preaching the ‘benefits’ and ‘moral correctness’ of preemptive strikes. BS on the side, this is only fostered by their arrogant belief that having a much, much, much longer stick (that happens to work by pushing buttons nowadays) can neutralize a potentially, potential, potentialicious threat. As for verifying whether the potential for the threat would concretize! Why bother?! ‘If you have the strategic dissuasive advantage, don’t sleep on it! Use it!’, it’s cheaper than verifying anything… and it’s boring to wait anyway! Not to forget that, at some point, they also need a ‘when and where’ to test the XXX Billion dollars in offense (defense for them) technology invested every year and to generate new demand! (…And what country boasts about its huge defense industry despite its little size?)

One of the dimensions of the latest war over Lebanon was, also, a pre-emptive strike to neutralize the elusive potential of Iran waging war against Israel and using the ridiculously long stick of the Israeli air force against Hizbollah bases. Needless to say, that once again, the collateral damage on the armed Hizbollah soldiers was low, while the real and painful damage was only imposed on civilians and their infrastructure.

My ‘last war related post’ wish list

When I wrote my first anti-war posting, I didn’t suspect the aggression would last that long nor I thought that I would transform my photo stream into an open anti-war blog.

As the circle of violence expanded, my anger and my pessimism grew with it. The latest events since the 2nd Intifada and the Iraq invasion were not good indicators that such adventures in our region and especially under the current worldwide power imbalance could be mastered at all.

Having the Neo-Cons in charge in the US, a mayor in charge in Tel-Aviv, another mayor in Tehran, weak and visibly resigned (to an un-dead peace) Arab governments and a weak “false” majority in charge in Lebanon were not at all reassuring factors.

I was fearing for the worst, I’m still somehow holding my breath and hoping that things would fall into place until all Israeli soldiers are out of Lebanon and the Lebanese army (and UN forces) take control of the south… But before I can breath a sigh of relief, I will also be crossing my fingers all the long it takes to:
– Israel stopping its regular aggressions into Lebanese territorial airspace and waters
– Lebanese prisoners in Israel (and newly abducted) being swapped against the abducted Israeli soldiers
– Israel refraining from any new -rash- actions such as the ones preached in the last defeat speech of its mayor, for under these conditions Hizbollah will not disarm!
– Lebanese democracy growing stronger as the dynamic forces of the country claim again the power from the current corrupted corruptors and their associates the lords of darkness and civil war
– Hizbollah and Palestinian camps disarm peacefully and a Lebanese national defense force is allowed to rise to the height of the threats and to constitute a stabilizing factor

And my extended wish list

But things being connected the way they are in our regional village, I figured, I will need to keep crossing my fingers even longer! For, as dreamy as the previous wishes are, their concretization will not -unfortunately- be enough to end our plight! We also would need in a not so distant future for:
– Zionism discovering that it made a historical mistake in assessment for the past 100 years and apologizing to its Arab and Jewish victims alike (could be a silent apology even, a thought would suffice maybe!)
– Zionism and Israel denouncing territorial expansion and accepting Israel into the pre-1967 borders (while curbing their drive for negotiatory acrobatics as it has been the case since Madrid accords)
– A Palestinian state under equitable terms is hatched (illegal settlements unsettled etc.)
– A just solution is offered for the Palestinian refugees, duly compensating them for their 60 years predicament and allowing them to -at least- optionally exercise the right of return to their motherland
– The US pulls out gracefully from a ‘civil-war free’ Iraq
– The Middle-East becomes WMD free (…and maybe the rest of the world could follow the next day)
– The clash of civilizations is remembered as a reference to a ‘McDonalds shops fight Falafel joints over market share’ type of situation or to the Olympic Games.

And other wishes too… such as the NeoCons in Washington renouncing to their pipe dreams and scheming and starting to comprehend that the real world is more intricate than what their ‘war games’ and ‘probabilities’ can show them. And while those games can be, nevertheless, a good form of entertainment to the expensive ‘Think tanks’ and ‘strategic consultants’, those people shouldn’t be encouraged to Think anymore that they can apply them to the rest of us each now and then.

I guess whoever is still reading up to here gets the point of why I’m pessimistic, for maybe the 1st bunch of wishes are realizable with lots of good luck but the 2nd are only wishful wishes in the current state of affairs… And meanwhile, the strategic luminaries are still thinking ‘Maybe the stick needs to grow longer’ before the next strike!

Yet there is stuff to feel good about

Flickr has given me the opportunity to meet lots of nice talented photographers, but this time and with this latest wave of war blogging, it gave me the opportunity to dramatically widen my circle. It was heart warming to read all the people from around the world that supported and defended Lebanon (and Palestine) and understood to a great degree the essence of the conflict. I am particularly thankful to the Israelis that did it (and all Israelis who left comments).

Maybe awareness and rising public opinion to the real issues are the magic cure! Maybe this last unique worldwide phenomenon in the history of Arab-Israeli conflict was what contributed into accelerating this happy ending (regardless of its fragility). Despite the sad and hefty toll, seeing the displaced go back to their villages so fast was in itself the most comforting scene!

The more the world public opinion gains insight into the roots and realities of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the more power is taken away from the scheming schemers and given to the real courageous peace builders on both sides of the divide… And that is not a wish this time but the duty for all!


This anti-war poem was sent to me by a good friend. The text, written by an Israeli poet (Chanoch Levin), is very beautiful and eloquent. I already posted one of his poems earlier. Using his strong words again, was the best way for me to end this series.

Chess Game

Where is my child, my child where has he gone?
A black pawn is striking a white pawn.
Will not return my dad, my dad will not come home.
A white pawn is striking a black pawn.
Mourning in the rooms, and the garden is serene,
The king is playing with his queen.

My child will never wake, he shall sleep forevermore.
A black pawn is striking a white pawn.
My dad is in the dark, and will never see the sun.
A white pawn is striking a black pawn.
Mourning in the rooms, and the garden is serene,
The king is playing with his queen.

My child who’s in my lap, now he’s in a cloud.
A black pawn is striking a white pawn.
My dad’s warm heart, now his heart is cold.
A white pawn is striking a black pawn.
Mourning in the rooms, and the garden is serene,
The king is playing with his queen.

Where is my child, my child where has he gone?
Fell down both black and white pawns.
Will not return my dad, my dad will not come home.
And there are no white or black pawns.
Mourning in the rooms, and the garden is serene;
On empty board remain just king and queen.

Chanoch Levin, 1968


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