Is Israel The Tommy DeVito Of Democracy?

I have been vacationing in Miami this week (take the worst parts of LA – shallow, artificially enhanced people and New York – useless street performers, hordes of tourists, homelessness), but add an awesome beach and Latin women and voila – worth going to) and will be giving you a recap tomorrow sometime when I return (12th row seat to Heat-Cavs tonight will probably be the highlight).  But while I’ve been gone apparently someone let Democracy’s pit bull, Israel, off the leash.

I have just finished reading The Dark Side, by Jane Meyer, which basically details how America under Bush & Cheney has become an international superthug.  Sure, America has been a small time gangster that much of the world could tolerate, but under B & C America has basically turned into Tony Montana.  The book is highly recommended to this blog’s 14 readers – it is terrifying and shameful.

But it seems like America has become Democracy’s mob boss.  You can’t touch us because we are made guys.  We can slap this shit out of another country and they can’t touch us because for so long we have been the good guy in our own fairy tale narrative.  Read this book and tell me that.  But at the same time we are sort of the Jimmy Conway (DeNiro in Goodfellas) or Tony Soprano of criminal democracies.  We have faults, but at the same time it is still easy to root for us, perhaps because of our charisma or sheer entertainment value.  But reading the Miami Herald’s brief coverage of the “War” breaking out between Israel and Hamas I am reminded that Israel may be the Tommy Devito of Democracy.

Tommy DeVito, of course, is Joe Pesci’s character from Goodfellas.  The hot headed, aggressive mobster who is still protected because of his association with bigger mobsters. 

Reading the paper this morning among the things I noted was that Israel had killed approximately 350 people, including at least 60 civilians, while a “particularly sophisticated Hamas attack killed” … 3.  The headline quoted Israel’s government as saying, We are in “an all-out war.”  That appears to be true.  The same way the Harlem Globetrotters and Washington Generals were in a “basketball game.” 

Meanwhile, our response by President Bush could not be more Jimmy Conway.  In the New York Times he was quoted as saying he requests a cease fire by both parties, but said Israel was justified and “let’s take this one day at a time.”  In other words, “you insulted him a little bit.”

I do not pretend to understand many of the nuances of this conflict, but I have tried to read a decent amount on the subject.  I was pretty good at math though and when I see casualties of 350-4 I don’t see that as a war, regardless of the justifications.

Now of course, the United States is in no political or moral position to question anything anyone does in defense of their country.  After all torturing and sodomizing terror suspects is sort of a “lose your turn” in the board game of moral authority.

I will probably never understand the Israel issue.  I know that at least half of my Jewish friends think that my religion is nonsense because the Bible is hocus pocus, but then believe a slice of land based on Biblical history cannot be tampered with.  And with a new President coming to power it could be an opportunity to send a message to all democracies that we have a new direction and that democracies worldwide have to set a better example.  But one problem – a major question for Obama was his support for Israel, you know, because he’s a black guy with a Muslim name.  So the minute that uppity schvatza starts telling Israel not to go shoot every waiter who makes a joke, that uppity schvatza will be a one term president, losing Florida to Tim Pawlenty or Sarah Palin in 2012.