War in the Mid-East. Why should I care?

Barring a Nuclear Bomb Explosion, why, exactly should I care if the peoples Isreal or Palenstien continue to kill each other, in that area? I’m asking for answer’s to this question, not a judgement of my attitude.

I’m not Jewish, nor am I Arabic, so why should I care if they hate the snot out of each other? I don’t have a time share in the mid-east, nor do I intend to ever travel there. So, how does it affect me if those 2 races of people continue to war against each other?

I ask this because it seems that the situation there always is the most important news on television. My everyday response is: “So what?”:confused:

I’ll tell you what; When the Minnesota National Guard invades Iowa I’ll be interested. When Ohio goes to war against Michigan, I’ll want to know what’s going on.

But how exactly does the situation in the Gaza strip affect me in Milwaukee, Wisconsin? Why should I care? Convince me!

Because if Milwaukee becomes a place where people are killing each other en masse, then you might like to think that people like me will care about what happens to you.

If you can’t put yourself in the position of those people, Israeli and Palestinian, and empathise with their grief and outrage, then you’re a numb human being: an emotional retard.

Being an American is no excuse for ignorance and a lack of empathy.

I sincerely hope that these people can get their shit together and live in peace.

I’m not qualified to say whther you are a provincial, closed-minded, self-centered person completely uninterested in the outside world, but the crap going on out there (not just in the Middle East) is of the utmost importance. Here, at random are a few reasons why I think so (using the Middle East as an example).

  1. Economics. Enough said.

  2. Empathy. Don’t you feel at all sorry for or interested in the plight of fellow human beings? Or must they be American and of a neighbouring state before your attention is roused?

  3. War is BIG news, for a variety of reasons including economics and of course diplomatic relations with a large section of the world (Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, etc.)

  4. There are plenty of Jews in the US, many of whom identify strongly with the Israelis. Jews have fared pretty well in the media sector (see Holliwood as a classic example of Jewish influence) and no doubt many such stories receive attention for not entirely objective reasons.

  5. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, and there are plenty of moslems in the US. See above.

  6. Some of the parties concerned happen to be allies of the US, and in fact the US has been heavily involved in brokering a peace process for years. You’d think US citizens would want to know what their country is involved with.

  7. Knowledge is power.

  8. You wouldn’t want to plan a vacation without knowing what’s happening at the destination.

  9. Like History, international current events teaches about the mistakes and pitfalls that await in your path.

You may think what you see on the news is just a bunch of idiots killing each other, and therefore you may become bored or desensitized. In that case I suggest you tune in to the BBC News channel: “making sense of it all” is actually more than their slogan, it’s what they do.

“If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less; the same as if a continent were; the same as if a manor of thy friend’s or thine own were. Every man’s death diminishes me, for I am involved in all mankind. Therefore send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.”

With apologies, I’m quoting Mr Donne from memory and doubtless have got it a bit wrong.

I don’t want to put words in his/her mouth, but I think pkbites is expressing frustration of the inability (of the US) to stop the violence in the Middle East.

I’m fairly well-informed on the current strife (at least I watch the world news) and I feel that there is nothing, absolutely nothing the US can do to stop the war there.

Abe,Dave Stewart, and CK Dexter Haven have said that we should care as Americans.

But you know what? It’s kinda hard building up empathy for victims of a war that both sides are fighting with vigor and passion. Why should we as Americans try and help those who don’t want to be helped at all?

Now I know there are many non-combatants on both sides who are being killed, but you gotta ask yourself:

Why don’t they (non-combatants) move out of Jerusalem (however temporarily)?

If the Ohio State / Michigan rivalry gets hot this year and war breaks out, I’d be the first one to pull my Ohio relatives out of there and move them to Kentucky with me.

I mean who in their right mind goes to a disco or a pizza place in a militarized zone, or even in public for that matter, knowing full-well a holy war is raging??!!!

Is it stupidity, pride, what?

I try to empathize, but if I didn’t know any better I’d think the Jews and Palestinians are looking for (and creating) reasons NOT to come to peace.

I can’t make you care about it. You are expressing sentiments I’ve heard from many Americans who are insulated by our relative security and prosperity, and don’t want the messy outside world to intrude.

I can only tell you why some people care, and a little bit about why I care.

The piece of land in question is the point of origin for three of the world’s major religions: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity - all the People of the Book. It has been fought for from the beginning of civilization by Jews, Christians, Romans, Arabs. No spot of land figures more strongly in the psyche of the Western world. I believe that the people who fight for the land believe if they own it that they own The Truth. This is what the Crusades were about. We know that the land in itself is not special in any way - it’s arid and rocky. But it has an enormous psychological importance to the followers of those religions, whose old writings tell many tales of the fights for the land. Something about that land represents a deep holy or psychological truth to certain people.

The Israeli/Palestinian conflict also calls up enormous questions of ethics and justice for humanity. Whose land is it really? The Israelis claim that it is their homeland granted to them by God, and that they own it by divine right and by the right of settling it and successfully defending it. The Palestinians claim that they were pushed out of their homes by colonial powers and an unjust Israeli regime, and that Jerusalem is holy to them as well. Who is oppressed? The Palestinians living in camps or under military rule with ZERO civil rights, or the Israelis who live in relative properity with the constant thread of terrorism hanging over their heads? When is violence justified in defense of territory and personal freedom? Whether you care or don’t care on a personal level, the conflict is one hell of a history lesson.

Beyond questions of ethics and simple human suffering, the conflict has become important to the rest of the world, politically, economically, and militarily. Israel’s neighbors have absorbed enormous refugee populations. These neighborhing countries, who control an enormous economic resource, have taken up the Palestinian cause and made it a factor in the way they do business with the rest of the world. They control a natural resource that has a profound effect on the economic and military might of other countries, including the good old United States of America. Aside from all questions of history and justice and religion, we have a huge interest in containing and resolving the Arab Israeli conflict because an all-out war in the region would profoundly affect our own fortunes and lifestyles, even in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

One of the greatest side-effects of the conflict is international terrorism. Hijacked jets, bombings of American Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the World Trade Center bombings, Israeli athletes massacred at the Munich Olympics, the U.S.S. Cole…how can you say that the conflict doesn’t affect the rest of the world?

Look on a map. See the proximity of Israel to Europe. We care about Europe, right? Just not those brown-skinned religious zealouts in the Middle East. :rolleyes: Think about nuclear warfare. Think about NATO, fallout, refugees, the Middle East in complete chaos, terrorism, American servicemen and women killed, closed oil shipping routes, economic chaos.

Some closer to the situation may disagree, but I think the U.S. made fantastic strides in mediating the Northern Ireland conflict that so many people believed was hopeless. The current U.S. administration has decided that they will not go to the same lenghts in the Middle East, and that they don’t want to make Arab-Israeli relations a priority. I think that the conflict will make itself a policy priority whether they want it to be or not - Think about the large and vociferous Jewish and Muslim populations within the United States, who have strong feelings about the conflict, and whose votes and political contributions will sway national leaders to make the conflict a priority. You and I, your neighbors and mine.

The situation is untenable, SOME peace accord or agreement has to be worked out. Wars are not forever. 55 years ago, Germany was at war with the rest of Europe. Now it is an anchor member of the European Union. A decade ago Black South Africans could not vote in their own country. Now they are leading it. I don’t know that U.S. mediation can do anything at the present time - maybe the answer is to withdraw and wait for things to get bad enough that both sides will come back to the negotiating table and hope that the crisis doesn’t go global in that time. If I had the answer I’d be doing something about it.

The Israelis want U.S. military and economic aid and support in the negotiations. The Palestinians want U.S. clout on their side - it’s the only thing that could possibly make the Israelis listen. We are involved, like it or not.

Strangely, this has been suggested before.

You claim to be knowledgeable about world affairs? Where the heck are people supposed to go? Why would you assume that people have the money or the ability to go somewhere else? I’m sure all the residents of Palestinian refugee camps would like to go somewhere else too, hey, get away for a while, maybe take a cruise or something. They too tried to “leave Jerusalem temporarily” to get out of the way of the conflict. One of the very foundations of the conflict is that the world’s Jews are tired of being “moved” and that the Palestinians don’t want to be “moved” either.

These people, pardon my language, are fucking HOME. Neither side wants to move EVER.

Yeah, brilliant analogy that illustrates that you have ZERO CLUE about what it is like to be fighting for your home and your life.

Because they live there. Because you can’t hide in your house forever. Because they need to buy food and go to work and school and carry on as much of a life as they can in the place where they live. Should residents of Oklahoma City stay in their houses forever too?

Sadly, there are some political forces within both factions who benefit from a state of war.

Thanks for the history lesson, Magdalene.

Anyway, why again shouldn’t they leave?

Yeah, brilliant analogy that illustrates that you have ZERO CLUE about what it is like to be fighting for your home and your life.

Oh, wait that probably should have been quoted because you said it of my analogy in your last post.

Even idiots know how to come in out of the rain, right Magdalene? You see, it’s simple cost benefit analysis: Is this plot of land and my religion worth my life? they ask themselves. If yes, then stay. If no, then go. Just don’t complain when your arm gets blown off in a raid if you decide to stay… and don’t expect me to feel (too much) empathy.

As far as where to go, well… OK, I don’t know either… but I’d sure as hell get away from Holy War Hell Ground Zero: Jerusalem. I’d just start walking.

Look, I feel bad for them, too. But I’m being realistic. What can I do? Nothing. And what exactly are you gonna do, either? I didn’t pick anything up in that concise piece of yours. Are you gonna gallop over there on your high horse and tell’em to play nice personally? Sheeit. They don’t want to hear it from America. In short, it is none our business (yet).

And another thing. If you think I’d be willing to go and uphold some sort of decision that Dubya comes up with over there, you’re dead wrong. Those Middle-Easterns are way more interested in killing each other than I (or you for that matter) are in saving them from each other. That war would make Vietnam look like a picnic in the jungle.

The people who are fighting over the future of Israel/Palestine have decided that yes, that plot of land is worth their lives. They and their children (Palestinian and Israeli) are fighting for land, lives, and religious traditions. They are fighting for family, home, community, freedom, the right to participate as citizens, Allah, Yahweh, water rights, money, and existence.

Where do you think all the Palestinians in refugee camps came from? They tried to LEAVE “temporarily.” They had no resources or place to go, so now they create an enormous problem for the surrounding countries and serve as a training ground to launch more violence back into Palestine. Is THAT your solution? Why are you assuming that there is another place to go? That they have the resources to go elsewhere? That other countries would accept them as immigrants? Do you get that not everyone in the world can hop into their car and drive to Kentucky?

Untrue. Both sides want American help - economic, military, and diplomatic assistance - to further their own agenda. The Palestinians want America’s help in gaining control of the region the same way the Israelis want America’s help in maintaining control of the region. The surrounding countries make their decisions about oil and business and military actions based on the conflict. America needs oil. Therefore America needs to keep the countries that have the oil happy, or at least willing to trade, on some level. People angry about how the U.S. is acting in the region launch suicide bombings against our embassy and the World Trade Center. How is it not our business?

I said in my prior post, if I had the solution I’d be over there implementing it. I don’t. And no one is asking for your “empathy” or for you to do anything except recognize that the U.S. IS involved in the Middle East whether it wants to be or not. We have had both successes and disastrous results in mediating foreign conflicts.
pkbites, I’d like to know what you thought of my post. Acco40’s empathy is better discussed [url=]here.

I meant, of course here.

Well, but the pizza place was in West Jerusalem, which is pretty clearly Israeli, by any standards, and the coffee shop that just got blown up is just outside Haifa, which is also part of Israel, and on the other side of the country from the West Bank, and the disco bombing was in Tel Aviv, also on the other side of the country. What do you want the Israelis to do? Stay inside 24/7?

Is land not worth fighting for?

What kind of stupid-ass question is that?

Land and freedom are the only things ever worth fighting for.

Land. And freedom.

Which are actually just two words for the same thing.

People in Milwaukee will be caring about the Middle East if the cost of oil goes through the ceiling and they have to queue for hours at petrol pumps because oil producing countries there decide to raise oil prices to raise money to give to Palestinians to buy arms.

I’m not suggesting you should care because you’re American - not being American myself - I’m saying that just because you live in a country with an isolationist history you can’t afford to be ignorant of the world.

Israel and Palestine will continue to fight and kill until there is no one left to fight. The Palestinians seem to hold a higher regard for dying and killing others than any other people I have heard of (something to the effect that it is a first-class ticket to heaven by personal sacrifice and murdering one’s enemies in the process). I have a hard time sympathizing with a people who seem to lean this way. Is the “God” they worship only appeased by blood?

And as for the Israelis… they are stubborn and as unwilling to compromise as the Palestinians. Bottom line is this: I believe that all of the posturing by the leaders on both sides for ‘peace’ and America’s best intentions will yield nothing. As long as the people on both sides foster such blind hatred towards one another (and go against everything their respective religions actually teach… to live in peace & understanding), history will repeat itself over and over and over…

It is an exercise in futility, and we need to pull out. Either the two factions will see the ‘light’ and get past their differences or they will fight until there are no more to kill.

Perhaps people once said that about Scotland and England.

Dave Stewart: You can’t do that to me! Though I was going to suggest England & France through the Hundred Years war, the Greeks and the Turks through most of the middle part of the last millenium, the US and the Russians until recently, the Germans and anyone for the first half of last century… The list just goes on.

Can I ask why is it that egocentricity and apathy seem to be all the rage at the moment. There is nothing whatsoever to be proud of living by the statements “it doesn’t affect me, so I don’t care” or “I can’t do anything about it”. If you don’t care, and you’re not going to at least try, what’s the point of being alive?

Amen to that, Vorfod. Alive? Maybe Ishtar had her way after all, and it is only becoming apparent now:

“I will break down the entrance of hell and smash the bolts. I will let the gates stand wide open and bring up the dead to eat food with the living; and the hosts of the dead will outnumber the living.” – The Epic of Gilgamesh

That’s pretty much how it seems to me. They’ve been fighting about this since all they had were sticks and rocks, and they’re not any closer to a solution. IMO, these sides do not want peace, only victory.

pkbites, I’m with you. I don’t care.

Well magdalene I think gave a set of reasons for caring about the Middle East conflict which anyone with a whit of operative grey matter and a desire, always a problem this, to use.

But let me address this idiotic, “they” have been going at it, warring, for “thousands of years” or since sticks and rocks.

First let me note that since I wrote this, allessan in the other thread has posted a cogent, sensible accurate and even, horrors of horrors, empathetic post on this topic. Read it. http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?postid=1508915#post1508915

(actually a link to mine but close enough)
But in case one doesn’t wish to:
Only those of you with not a whit of historical sense can possibly hold this opinion. “They” I presume is not the human race, which at least would be factually correct, but Arabs (aka Muslims I am sure) and Jews. This would be rather difficult. The Muslim conquest was in the 7th century, so we can’t have much in the way of conflict beyond a thousand years. This was followed by relatively (stress on relatively) peaceable, positive relations between native xtians, jews and Muslims. Certainly not perfect and by modern standards no paradise in minority (actually majority until the 13th century or so) rights, but a damn sight better than most places. It would be hard to say the area saw any more conflict than say Western Europe and probably a bit less over the long run, so in terms of warring it would be difficult to assert the area is in the long term more warlike than any other given area.

The current Arab–Isreali/Muslim-Jewish conflict dates at best to the beginning of the late 19th century Zionist settlement movement, although I could add problems also were laid down by colonial powers using divide and conquer methods in re Arab Jewish pops in their colonies starting somewhat earlier in the century.

In no way is this some primordial conflict, any more than any motherfucking conflict is. And of course forgets equally old histories of cooperation. I really despise these arguments, or more generally lazy off the cuff comments, for they baseless, utterly lacking in sense and mere empty excuses for not thinking.

I personally hate the whole bloody conflict, find discussions here in real life tiresome, even though I have serious sympathies for the Palestinians as a people, for I hear tiresome tirades. However, I can bloody well understand the importance of the conflict to some drooling comfortable idiot in Wisconsin , for concrete economic reasons primarily, followed by issues of world relations and other American interests being tied in indirectly, and so on. Perhaps not sufficiently obvious for the coach potato, they remain important.

Taking sides isn’t necessary to have an opinion here, but caring that some kind of solution is found is eminently sensible for anyone who bothers to fire up the grey matter. Mind you these things are processes not magic wand waving (that would be a note to acco0, doing something about it will take time.

Now if one wants to make anti-intervention arguments, choose a rationally respectable and defensible one worthy of a board dedicated to fighting ignorance, not propagating it. Defend the idea that the political positions of one or both sides has reached a point where they have to hurt a bit before they move their stakes or rethink their position. A perfectly reasonable and grounded approach. I don?t know if it is correct, but here?s an argument the non-interventionist can use without dredging up old false canards.

<< Abe,Dave Stewart, and CK Dexter Haven have said that we should care as Americans. >>
Sorry to disagree on this minor point. My quote was from John Donne, who was not American, and my point was that we should care as human beings.

Collounsbury - I agree that the current conflict dates to the 19th Century, however the land has been a battleground between someone and someone else (insert Romans, Templars, Ottomans, Jews as you please) since Old Testament times.