Remember the school yard bully? The kid that would take your lunch money? Smack you around because he didn't think you'd do anything about it? The kid that would call you names and laugh at you? The kid that backed down when the right person came along and socked him a good one in the eye?
Who were their victims? Pretty much anyone was fair game. I can remember being on the receiving end of it when I was younger. There were two very simple reasons for it. I was the new kid to the town (my parents had left the home town for a few years and I had started school somewhere else, then we moved back to my hometown and I was enrolled in it's school system), and I was scared. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't afraid of them. I was generally bigger than most of the people I was in school with, and in most cases stronger. I can remember tears of frustration at times from when I was a kid because I wouldn't hit back in my pre-high school days. I was afraid of me. Something down deep inside of me said not to let loose because I knew I wouldn't be able to control myself if I did. I knew it was going to take some severe restraint to hold me back if I ever did lay into someone, and I was right. The very last time one of the school bullies pushed (sometime around eight grade) I blacked out in the middle of throwing punches. My next memory was of being held back by some of my friends. It was the last time anyone messed with me. The next year, in high school, I discovered both weight lifting and Zen meditations, giving me two outlets for controlling a very, very hot and ugly temper.
New kids are often the target of school bullies, too. Or kids that have moved away and been gone for several years, then move back to a community. They have to come in and prove themselves to the instigators and agitators or suffer constant ridicule and harassment. That's no way to live. Just because the new kid is "different" from the locals doesn't give them any less right to be where they are, and be who and what they are.
When looking at the Middle East, this school yard scenario comes back to mind. Israel can be seen as the "new kid" in the neighborhood, having been forced from their ancestral homeland for so many centuries and having returned to it in the last century. Since their return to their ancient homeland, they've endured ongoing war and embattlement from their neighbors, many of whom have sworn to see Israel wiped off the face of the earth. Just weeks ago, Israel once again slapped the face of one of the bullies in the neighborhood, and the bully is still trying to figure out how to handle it.
From The Sunday Times
December 2, 2007
Israelis hit Syrian ‘nuclear bomb plant’
Uzi Mahnaimi in Tel Aviv and Michael Sheridan in Seoul
ISRAEL’S top-secret air raid on Syria in September destroyed a bomb factory assembling warheads fuelled by North Korean plutonium, a leading Israeli nuclear expert has told The Sunday Times.
Professor Uzi Even of Tel Aviv University was one of the founders of the Israeli nuclear reactor at Dimona, the source of the Jewish state’s undeclared nuclear arsenal.
“I suspect that it was a plant for processing plutonium, namely, a factory for assembling the bomb,” he said. “I think the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] transferred to Syria weapons-grade plutonium in raw form, that is nuggets of easily transported metal in protective cans. I think the shaping and casting of the plutonium was supposed to be in Syria.”
All governments concerned - even the regime in Damascus - have tried to maintain complete secrecy about the raid.
They apparently fear that forcing a confrontation on the issue could spark a war between Israel and Syria, end the Middle East peace talks and wreck America’s extremely complex negotiations to disarm North Korea of its nuclear weapons.
The political stakes could hardly be higher. Plutonium is the element which fuelled the American atomic bomb that destroyed the Japanese city of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.
Critics in the United States say proof that North Korea supplied such nuclear weapons material to Syria, a state technically at war with Israel, would shatter congressional confidence in the Bush administration’s diplomatic policy.
From beneath the veil of military censorship, western commentators have formed a consensus that the target was a nuclear reactor under construction.
There are, of course, those who say that there is no sufficient evidence to support that the target was a nuclear facility. Whatever the case may be, Syria has been slapped hard and is scrambling to cover up the contents of the bombed site. Israel had information that showed that there was a threat to their sovereignty and security, and they struck.
I personally don't blame Israel for striking. Dealing with the torment of a bully is never fun, but sometimes, it has to be done.
Once and Always, an American Fighting Man