Saturday, August 20, 2005

Rhetorical highs and leading in the modern age

Quite a grand title, eh? But relevant to the subject that's on my mind most at the moment, which is Israel's Gaza pullout and where it will lead to- and to the more general question of our time, which is, 'do our leaders know what they're doing?', which you can apply to everything from the Europroject to the war in Iraq, to abortion to speed cameras and surveillance.

But turning to Gaza for a moment- here is a really great analysis of the strategy of Ariel Sharon, as well as some vital statements from his recent speeches trying to reassure his people that he knows what he's doing. To me there's a fascinating parallel between Sharon's inarticulacy, lamented by writer Herb Keinon, and Bush's, which many people regret who support the President. I personally was reassured by this from Sharon:

'"Now the Palestinians bear the burden of proof," he told the nation Monday night. "They must fight terror organizations, dismantle its infrastructure and show sincere intentions of peace in order to sit with us at the negotiating table. The world awaits the Palestinian response-a hand offered in peace or continued terrorist fire. To a hand offered in peace, we will respond with an olive branch. But if they choose fire, we will respond with fire, more severe than ever."'

I highlight the last part; I love it bacause it shows that the warrior Sharon has not hung up his holster just yet, but loaded it with a greater readiness to make use of it than previously. That, to me, is what the Gaza pullout is about. The idea that some endorse that it's about creating a judenrein is to me a bit absurd- 8000 Jews in a population of 1.3 million is practically judenrein already. You stand a greater chance of long term Jewish presence in the area by giving it over to a process of gradual civilianisation, to the point where reciprocal arrangements for free movement might allow for a significant Jewish presence on a sustainable long-term basis. A long way off, I realise- but the only choice for Palestinians if they're not to be singed by Sharon's avenging military flame as the consequence for creating a terrorist haven and launch pad (which, incidentally, it already seems to be). Provided Sharon will flay the abusers of his gesture, and flay them hard, I see no problem.

I reccommend you read it all though, and read carefully- there's a tremendous amount of subtlety in Sharon's thinking that is perceived and teased out by Keinon (I'll let him make the presumptions of Sharon's thinking process).

So, given that Sharon is right, as I believe, and believing that Bush is right, though with an unenviable scale of problems to deal with- first and foremost being Isalmofascism- what are we to make of their inarticulacy? Is it that in today's society words have been debased such that real thinkers use them less and find them less useful? Is it that society is too childish to chew on deep reasoning expressed in words, and unable to sustain the concentration to listen for sufficiently long? Is it that the press actually has all the wrong things in mind when it addresses the news, being far more trustworthy with the presentation of simple gossip than with ideas and announcements? I think all of those- which is why we can analyse a politician today in terms of the number of words they like to use- the more, the worse being a general rule. That's why Cindy Sheehan and John Kerry, are, to say the least, a bit suspect- and we should be listening for the still small voice instead. What a pity the Conservatives in Britain ditched their Quiet Man.

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