The threats, direct and indirect, of the use of violence by Israel, Iran, and others, including the U.S. in the Middle East are ominous.  One hopes, however, that none will go so far as to launch a deadly attack again such as ours on Iraq or Israel’s on Lebanon — yes, there were incentives in the threats, real or implied, from both targeted nations.  But an object lesson is to be learned in both instances.  Both the U.S. (and its coalition) have lost much for no gain in Iraq and Israel has isolated itself to such an extent that only Bolton’s veto saved it from an embarrassing U.N. condemnation for its latest misbegotten mass killing in Gaza.

One hopes that some lessons have been learned.  There are now rumors of peace-making efforts by the Arab League and perhaps also a new song to be sung by a refashioned Bush administration — Bush has nothing to lose now that his approval rating is down to 31%

One is wary of being optimistic.  But if any lesson has been learned, it should be that modern hi-tech military equipment is no match for determined resistance on the ground.  The Taliban seem to be making a come back in Afghanistan.  The civil war escalates in Iraq despite our U.S. and British troops trying to quell fighting from any and all quarters there.

The age old lesson here is that conditions of human conflict are forever changing.  Clubs were replaced by swords, swords neutralized by arrows, arrows outgunned by muskets, muskets displaced by repeating weapons and all of the above by bombs and rockets from on high.  Unless we now want to move on to nuclear confrontation which will do us all in and leave the planet to the insects, a halt better be called and serious peace negotiations be undertaken by all.  As Hobbes observed, even the weakest can get rid of the strongest — by poison if no other means avails itself.  And the poisonous weapons of terror are all all too obvious and readily transported most anywhere in shipping crates, some billions of which crisscross the globe on an annual basis.

No one is safe unless all are.  Hopefully we will get on with it!

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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