Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Yes, I'm Still Here
I'm trying to refrain from writing here unless I truly have something worthwhile to say. In the meantime, hang in there -- I'll be back soon.
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Another Beheaded American
The Command Post
The news makes me shudder, as did the previous murders. (Full disclosure: I have not watched the videos in question. I have read accounts, and seen still photos, and this is more than enough for me.)
No doubt some will say that, faced with this sort of barbarity, Americans have no business being in Iraq at all. Others will point to Eugene Armstrong's job as a contractor, as though this somehow demeans him. (Yes, he was in Iraq to make money. We pay policemen and firefighters too. When soldiers get paid their miniscule salaries during wartime, we do not consider them war profiteers; the civilian contractors in Iraq are not war profiteers either.)
As far as I'm concerned, though, the murderers have reminded us who our enemy is, and simultaneously demonstrated why we must show them no mercy. For they certainly don't show us any.
With acts such as this, they have effectively divorced themselves from the human race. I feel no more sympathy towards them than I did towards Uday and Qusay Hussein. Zarqawi and his followers are animals, pure and simple, and have earned the right to be hunted down as we hunt down mad dogs.
If Zarqawi is captured alive, I confess that I can't imagine a punishment that would fit his crimes.
Monday, September 20, 2004
Winning Against Terrorism
I have to say that most of the article's descriptions make sense to me. When my family and I visited Israel for two weeks in August, one of the things that struck me the most was the normalcy of the place. Gone was the grim sense of impending doom, just below the surface, that Israelis have had to live with since the country was founded. Instead, I found a bustling, consumer-driven country, with billboards, major highways, and shopping malls everywhere.
No doubt my feelings were based on a superficial look at the current status (and no doubt I attached undeserved importance to the changes that had taken place since I'd visited last). But I could not escape the feeling that, whatever Israelis currently are, they are no longer afraid.
In short: the terrorists are losing. Terrorism that does not evoke terror serves no purpose.
This, to me, is the equivalent of what mathematicians might call an "existence theorem" -- something that demonstrates a principle by its very existence. The fact that terrorists are losing against Israel proves, to the pessimists and the naysayers, that it is possible to win against terrorism.
The war will not be won in a day, or a year, or possibly not in a decade. There will undoubtedly be setbacks. But it is possible to win -- not just in theory, but in fact. It is possible to beat back the terrorists, to hurt them so badly that they cannot mount more terrorist attacks. We know this, because Israel is doing it.
And for me, that is extremely good news.
Friday, September 17, 2004
Who is this jerk anyway?
In no particular order, I am a computer programmer, an a cappella singer, a UMass Amherst graduate, a holder of two legitimate passports, a Massachusetts resident, a tall guy (so my fiancee says), and a member of the International Brotherhood of Guys With Beards and Glasses.
I'm an Israeli citizen, having emigrated there and lived there for fourteen years. I finished high school there, put in three years with the Israel Defense Forces, worked in the computer industry there, and started my undergraduate degree there -- but I retained my American passport, as the State Department entitles me to do. I have since moved back to the United States; see above.
I remain an unapologetic defender of Israel. No, Israel isn't perfect, and never was; but she's never yielded the moral high ground to her critics, nor has she needed to do so. For all her issues and ongoing problems, I'm proud of my Israeli citizenship, and proud to have worn the IDF uniform.
Back in America, I'm what some people have started calling a September 11th Conservative. Oh, my political views leaned toward the conservative long before then -- in Israel I voted Likud, for example -- but I'd always identified more with the Democrats than with the Republicans. (As a sign of how my views have changed, this joke is funnier to me now than it used to be.) I voted for Al Gore in 2000 while holding my nose; he seemed to me to be as much of a poll-driven political weathervane as Clinton had been, but at least he had some top-level experience. Bush, it seemed to me, was a lightweight, unsuited for the rigors of high office.
Then Sept. 11 happened. Having learned far more about terrorism in Israel than I wanted to know, I held my breath. Would our President rise to the challenge? Or would he wimp out, take the easy path, assume a docile position, and leave us vulnerable to ever harder and more deadly attacks? To my great surprise, George W. Bush turned out to have a backbone after all. (Or perhaps he grew one on the spot -- it's been known to happen, particularly to presidents.) He has since earned my admiration as a president with the guts to do what he thought necessary, in the face of withering criticism unseen by U.S. Presidents since the days of Lincoln.
I don't agree with Bush on all counts, by any stretch of the imagination. But I'll be voting for him in November 2004.
When not worrying about such worrisome topics, I have a great time singing barbershop harmony -- bass by preference, but in a pinch, any part will do. I've been a member of the Barbershop Harmony Society since 1995, and of the Sounds of Concord barbershop chorus since 2000. I had the privilege of singing bass in an award-winning barbershop quartet called Prelude (the quartet has disbanded, but our website might still work); I also had a lot of fun singing lead in The Mental Notes, my UMass college quartet.
My immediate family includes my mother and stepfather, living north of Boston; my big brother, living south of Boston; and my beautiful fiancee and her three girls, living with me in our new house in Brookline; hence the blog name.
That should about do it for now. If I think of other relevant details worth adding, I'll append them later.
Kickin' it off...
I'm not sure that I'm ready for my own blog (in terms of time commitment OR quality and quantity of things to say). But let's kick it off and see what happens.