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Middle East Conflict - Continuing the Debate from a Progressive Perspective

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See this page for links to articles on OpEdNEws that articulate both sides on the issues in the middle east. It is the goal of OpEdNews to air opinions from both sides to stretch the envelope of discussion and communication. Hate statements are not accepted. Discussions of issues and new ideas for solutions are encouraged. .
In these debates on OpEd News, I hear a lot of folks talk about "True Progressives". "True Progressives", as far as I am concerned, would not side with anyone in this conflict. To me, progressivism means peace and non-violence. To me, progressivism means not ignoring violence and crimes just because the group with whom you sympathize most performs it.

The standard is, would Martin Luther King or Gandhi say either side is performing correctly/honorably/progressively/ in a civilized manner. The answer is obvious. As I have said previously, once the majority of people are concentrating on ensuring the groups with which they sympathize most are operating within progressive behavioral guidelines, then we will be on the road to a solution.

Gandhi, in particular, if he were either Israeli or a member of Hezbollah or a similar group, would be so horrified by the crimes of his 'side' that he likely would have engaged in a hunger strike in protest. If people are to comment on this article to continue the debate, with each persons comments I would like to see a statement stating whether they think the group they sympathize with is, in their opinion, operating within the bounds of decency according to progressivism. If not, I think each of our duties is clear.

I have heard a lot of criticism of Israel because of what is termed as Israel's excessive response to Hizbollah's actions. Put another way, people's expectations are that Israel should have acted with a more proportional response. I believe the idea of "Proportional Response" in war is even more insane than war itself. Those of you advocating such are not far from the logical equivalence of arguments that certain bureaucrat's made when they were saying that a limited nuclear war was possible and that the use of tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefields of Europe would not lead to strategic attacks between the US and former USSR on each other. After all, everyone plays nice in war and only responds exactly and proportionally in kind, right?

Progressivism reduced to "polite" war is progressivism reduced to the lowest common denominator indeed. I view myself as open to logical arguments, but these sorts of arguments are completely non-persuasive to me. "These folks are better because they have killed or maimed fewer". Is this really what appeals to supposed progressives? Violence and war are madness. The only logical argument is to be completely against them. Neither Israel, nor Hezbollah, nor the Palestinians are supportable from a progressive standpoint. All are guilty of not doing all they can to find peaceful solutions to their problems. If anyone persists in the silly endeavor of being virulently pro or anti any of these three, perhaps it will be helpful to remember that when the day finally comes that Israel, Lebanon and the new Palestinian state are all at peace with one another, they will all become each others most prolific trading partners in short order. If that does not illustrate the ironic madness of the actions of all right now, I am not sure what does.

In keeping with my declaration of what I believe each person should do, since I sympathize most with Israel, here is what I think Israel should do:

1. Israel should grant the Palestinians a state in the entirety of the West Bank and Gaza with the exception of west Jerusalem.

2. Israel should offer to make the 30 miles of most southern Lebanon and northern Israel military free zones to be patrolled by UN Peacekeeping forces.

3. In lieu of Resolutions like 1441, the Israelis should offer a fair compensation for lands and property seized in the 1948 war. (The UN should probably cough up a partial share of this.)

For its part, the United States, once Israel grants the Palestinians the aforementioned state, should send 80% of the US Military Engineering cadre to Palestine to build roads, bridges, power plants, affordable housing and office buildings and other infrastructure. Navy Seabees, Air Force Red Horse and of course the Army Corps of Engineers should all be used for this.
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A political blogger for the International Business Times, Steve Leser is a hot national political pundit. He has appeared on MSNBC's Coundown with Keith Olbermann, Comedy Central's Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Russia Today's (RT) Crosstalk with (more...)
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