Flickr Photo by plasmastik
I wasn't one of the Americans who watched a parade of military and civilian officers on Memorial Day one week ago just hours after Israeli commandoes attacked the Freedom Flotilla. I did not go to a march and celebrate the past histories of American wars and the soldiers who had fought in them, but let's suppose for one moment that I had.
A good amount of Americans probably had this experience as they celebrated the men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces and paid tribute to those who have fought for America. They probably celebrated the right they believe America has to use military force to protect itself (and maybe even the right to use force without having to be questioned by international bodies or coalitions like the United Nations, etc). And, so, let's suppose that I was part of a celebration of American warriors who had served in past wars one week ago, and that I had been presented with this story of Israeli warriors commandeering a ship, which was supposed to be a part of a peaceful humanitarian convoy delivering aid to Gaza.
Like American warriors of past wars, I might presumably think that this act may have been poor judgment but ultimately Israeli warriors did what they had to do. And like past American quagmires like Vietnam or past atrocious invasions like Grenada or past secret military operations like Operation Ajax in Iran, which involved a democratically elected government being overthrown in 1953, I might have found this to be a part of doing what must be done so Israel can maintain its place in the world.
I probably would not have had much frame of reference for the activists that were on board. Knowing that they came from the Free Gaza Movement would only have confused me because I would not have known what Gaza needed to be freed from. I would probably have thought, "If Israel is protecting Gaza from terrorism, wouldn't Gaza be safe?" So, this news of a blockade would be new to me because usually I had heard about Israel defending itself from Hamas or Hezbollah or other Islamists. (And that to me had always been justifiable.)
On a larger level, I might have applied my rationale for supporting the troops to the Israeli soldiers. I suppose it would depend on the struggles and threats that I believed Israel had faced and may continue to face. Since several countries that want to blow it off the face of the Earth surround it, supposedly, I would probably have thought Israel has a right to defend and protect its self like America does. I would have thought it even more important that they have the right because they are regularly being shot at with rockets that Hamas fires off because it does not want to recognize Israel's right to exist (supposedly). Plus, Israel is an American ally.
I would probably not have understood exactly why a group of people so often operates in a manner supportive of rocket attacks. The atrocities against Israel would have taken place in a vacuum in much the same way that atrocities against America tend to take place in a vacuum. (And, how great is it that our media help us consume information on atrocities in a nutshell that excludes certain contexts that would blur lines between good and evil, right and wrong and reinforce this vacuum?)
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