What is War? Seriously? And If Not Now, When?

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The big debate in Israel today is a rather silly one. It’s seriously a serious topic but the silly part is thinking that any of us have a say in whether or not there will be a war. I’m not even convinced the Israeli government has a say in it, never mind the Israeli people. When I walked into the office this morning, I interrupted a discussion between the office manager and someone from the sales department. The office manager was asking him if we were going to war?

Never heard what he answered but the question keeps going through my mind. Are we GOING to war? That somehow implies we aren’t already IN a war. And if we aren’t in one now, will it come tomorrow, next week, next month?

All these questions come down to one basic thing. What exactly is war? Can it ever be good? What is the moment that a country can firmly say this is war versus…well, I guess another attack. We’ve been under attack for the last 140 days or so. Heck, we’ve been under attack for the last 70 years. Do we live in a constant state of war?

Seriously, have we known a single day of peace ever? Will we ever?

Yes, I know – these are all questions that no one can answer – sort of like Billy Joel’s song. Is war good for anything? Well, war might push back the situation enough that we’ll have quiet for a while. Without question, the current status is impossible. This morning, while Israel was still reeling for a horrible night of little sleep for over 1 million Israelis while around 150 rockets and mortars came crashing in, Hamas made an announcement. They said “The current round of fighting is over, calm depends on Israel.”

Really? The calm depends on Israel? That’s like a kid walking into a room, punching his brother in the stomach and then turning to his mother and saying he doesn’t want to fight and so long as his brother behaves, all will be well. Seriously?

So they made this announcement, and then about an hour ago, shot off a GRAD missile into Beersheva, a city with more than 200,000 people. Will war stop the rockets? No, not permanently, but maybe for a few years. As it did the last three times we went to war to stop the rockets. It isn’t much, but it might be the best we can hope for.

War – What is it good for? Billy Joel answered that it is good for nothing, and he’s right. But, he’s also wrong. After all, he didn’t have to live under daily rocket fire. So, as Israel decides what comes next, pictures of tanks being sent south are filling Facebook. As with all things, there is no clear meaning here. It could mean that Israel is preparing for war. Or, it could be that Israel is sending a message that we are ready but not quite at the point of no return.

As for Israel, we are…resigned. Accepting. Prepared. Praying for our soldiers and for our residents. We are angry. And OMG, we are tired. Tired after not sleeping; tired of hearing about the rocket fire. Today, at this moment, we would prefer a war that will bring us quiet. Because, we know, at least with Hamas, war will never bring peace. So, we’ll take the quiet and hope that our government has the nerve to fight the best war for Israel – from the air, and not on the ground. Fast and as precise as possible, but hitting where we have to hit.

Are we at war yet? I can’t help wondering that is a question that has no good answer. If we have to ask, we probably are.

What is War Good For

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