Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Smart vs dumb

I find it hard to feel any sympathy for the vast majority of the so-called peace activists (I continue to state that most pro-Palestinians are actually anti-Israelis, just like all too many self-declared Israel-supporters mainly are anti-Palestinian) who were aboard the vessels yesterday, and I am sure that revelations such as this and this are true (though the IDF Spokesperson has handled the PR very badly, but that doesn't surprise anybody anymore). Still, I am thinking all the time about what my wife always says about smart and intelligent kids: an intelligent person can get out of a situation that a smart person would not have gotten into in the first place. If that is true, there are probably a few basically intelligent people in Israel's current government, but among those who pull the strings nobody seems to be truly smart. Or he deliberately gets us into situations like the mess that we have been witnessing for the last 48 hours.


Lila said...

Yes, it is horrible. And the very worst: I KNEW IT. I simply knew that this whole action was a mistake, was not sophisticated enough, was too ... megoosham.

In such situations, we should ask: what would Horatio Hornblower have done?, and then do it.

Quietly sabotaging the dreamboot flotilla, not damaging anything, just making it impossible to move? We might even have offered them free help in Ashdod port.

Anyway, it's driving me crazy how this country hands its achievements and legitimacy and loyal friends (few enough anyway) on a platter to its enemies.

In addition to the adage your wife quoted, we also say: it's not enough to be in the right, you have to be smart, too...

Anonymous said...
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Bert said...

You're absolutely right, Lila. By the way, help in Ashdod was offered, wasn't it? What made this country and its army great was inventiveness, hard work, learning from mistakes, and some other positive traits. Try to find those among the people who are supposed to lead us (lead us to something good, or at least something better, that is)! I'm not a very nostalgic person, both as a historian and on a personal level I am not one of those who always claim that times used to be so much better. Also, I think that today's (wannabe) leaders need other qualities than the old ones used to have. But comparing old and new leaders one on one (Begin-Bibi, Ben Gurion-Barak (the politician), Golda-Livnat (I'm kidding) makes you wonder: where have we gone and where the heck are we going? I think you should ask that last question to Hamas, Ahmadinejad, Hezbollah, and our own plagues (the settlers, some of the ultra-orthodox, Lieberman and his cronies, some of the Arab-Israeli leaders).

Anonymous said...

I guess that like the majority of the commenters (here and elsewhere) Bert and wife have little to no knowledge about marine matters.

The fact is that Israel offered various alternatives that were rejected by the flotilla organizers because their aim wasn't to bring humanitarian supplies (to wit, they carried very little supplies) but rather to come to a head with Israel.

They were looking for trouble so nobody should be surprised that they found trouble.

As a former naval officer I can tell you that there is no way of "quietly sabotaging the dreamboot flotilla without damaging anything" (in fact, the proposition is an oxymoron). Certainly not while underway.

Once the flotilla was underway and once they decided to come to a confrontation (which was their goal from the beginning) with Israel's authorities boarding them was the only option.

Warning shots across the bows would have been ignored at which point firing for effect would have have been next on the agenda. Now that would have been far worse from any POV.

commoncents said...
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Bert said...

I would appreciate it if you leave a name or a link when you leave a comment, especially if you get personal (see the NB that I added in the comment box).

What my wife has to do with this I don't know. Read carefully and you see that I only refer to something that she 'always says', she did not express her opinion here about what happened the other day.

If you have so much knowledge about marine matters you might as well be a sport and identify yourself. By the way, the marine side of the story was not exactly the problem in this case, and the soldiers absolutely did their best under the circumstances. They should not have been brought into this situation.

Please notice: I am not saying that I have some miraculous idea about how this should have been solved, but like Lila said, there is a difference between being right and being smart. It is clear that the blockade is not working, at least not in our favor (to use an understatement), so Israel should have thought (i.e. started to think years ago) about alternative ways of containing and fighting Hamas. But that is our main problem, this country does not have a long-term policy, everything is done on an ad hoc basis.

Look at what has been going on in/regarding Iran this week, Ahmadinejad is laughing all the way to the bomb. This government is focusing on lost causes (Gaza, the settlements, East-Jerusalem, to name a few) and waging marginal wars, not taking any positive initiative but only reacting to our worst enemies' provocations and strategies, thereby ruining the country PLUS the little goodwill that we have left in the world, and making it virtually impossible to get together a serious coalition against Iran.

Bert said...

I wanted to say something more about goodwill.

Israel has managed in recent months to annoy and alienate what are true friends of this country - as far as you can talk about friendship in politics and diplomacy. Examples: Australia, the Netherlands (I can't remember such an Israel-friendly Foreign Minister as the outgoing one, Maxime Verhagen; while being highly critical of the settlements, he has shown much understanding and support for Israel in some of the most difficult situations during the last four years), the new British government. And, unlike many Israelis, I consider the Obama administration a true friend. Its engagement is much better proof of friendship than the indifference of the previous US government. But you cannot expect Obama to support the settlements and the Israeli provocations in East-Jerusalem, or to support wholeheartedly a Jerusalem government that focuses exactly on those two issues. And as long as Israel continues to consider settlements more important than stopping Iran from getting the bomb (or fighting poverty, improving Israel's infrastructures, education, etc.), you can also not expect the Americans to become more supportive of Israel than they are, or to be more assertive towards Iran than they are. In the current situation the Americans would be unable to sell such a policy to the Arab/Muslim world. In a comprehensive solution/peace-oriented approach, an end to the occupation/a Palestinian state could be coupled with work towards peace agreements with most of the Arab countries, and real action (economic, and if necessary military) against Iran becoming nuclear.

And now I return to my work again. I have already spent way too much time and energy on this mess.

ayla@israel said...

i am concerned about few things. first one is-how come that israel with all its experience was involved in such provocation, next one-what are consequences for us? what should we expect, expecially now when its clear that we cant expect any support from usa.