On Wars So Human and So Inhumane

Gaza evacuations on October 14th. Photo: AFP

By Vicente Morin Aguado

HAVANA TIMES – The story of Georgy K. Zhukov has come to my mind. He was a Soviet field marshal, considered the military leader who commanded the greatest number of troops in history. Immersed in the fight to take Berlin, it pained him to find himself forced to face a small group of holdout Nazi fanatics, by fighting house-to-house, building-to-building, even inside the homes, with the Nazis, frequently blackmailing them with the use of civilians as shields to resist the sieges.

Under the logic of these confrontations, the attacking band – the one enforcing the siege – must risk a quantity of troops several time greater, in order to conquer the few who are inside. There are generally more casualties among those on the offensive, leading the siege  than among those under siege, who desperately defend themselves from their places of hiding.

The decision to use artillery fire to completely demolish the buildings was painful.

Historians have harshly criticized Zhukov, as they have criticized and continue criticizing other military leaders, for example MacArthur in Japan. Well thought out statistics indicate that the deaths from the intense bombardments of Tokyo and other great Japanese cities represented many more civilian victims than those that resulted from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The only possible consolation for such cruelties is that today Germany and Japan are two democratic states, which fully respect human rights, have eliminated all the legal forms of discrimination, and are at the head of the world, as much for their economies as for their ranking in the UN Human Development Index.

And of course, their people and their leaders, now healed from the horrors, think in terms of human and social progress. The possibility of another Third Reich or Empire of the Rising Sun have remained well behind, in the past.

Once wars have been unleashed, it’s impossible to control the elevated cascade of damages produced, especially due to the fanatical obstinacy of the involved parties. Such is the case we’re seeing today in the tiny but densely populated Gaza strip, where a terrorist band, Hamas, decided on the insanity of invading their powerful neighbor, with which the majority of the Palestinians who populate Gaza maintain a territorial, political and cultural conflict which is nearly a century old.

Both bands have their reasons, but the reasons evaporate when the bombs explode and people die by the thousands, be they civilians or soldiers.

One bangs their head wondering why the terrorist band decided on a suicidal war by invading a powerful state that it knows well it will never be able to defeat militarily. They can’t count on international support either for their sullied cause, fogged over by the joy with which they celebrate the beheadings of women, old people, youth and even children. It’s not the deaths, it’s the shameless festivity, the horrific spectacle of showing off their executions.

Israel, a democratic country with a stable government, division of powers and full freedoms for its residents, must confront the challenge of definitively disarming the interior of Gaza, as in their time the Soviet invaders, the US troops and their allies did when they occupied Germany, Japan, fascist Italy and other satellite states of that axis of evil.

I beg the God of Israel, the Christian God, the God of anywhere in the world, according to the way each people and culture imagines it, that the Israeli leaders find the wisdom to perform their inescapable task with the least possible number of victims that we call “collateral damage.” But that there will be some, there will.

In the end, when calm returns, Israel should retreat from these borders and extend the current recognition to the National Palestinian Authority to the level of a free and sovereign state.

It should be a neutral state, guaranteed by an international treaty that protects it from aggressions and at the same time forces an interior disarmament.

Israel exists, it has earned the right to exist. That’s a fact that’s been consummated by the efforts of its laborious people who transformed the desert into a garden and created an island of democracy in the barren plains of the medieval monarchies around it, which refuse to accept modern civility.

Democracy has the right to prevail, to extend itself wherever possible and there’s a widespread awareness of its value as civilization’s supreme political creation.

In the end, that is and will be the only consolation.

Read more from Cuba here in Havana Times

10 thoughts on “On Wars So Human and So Inhumane

  • To be clear Nick I was not copying or pasting any Israeli propaganda I was taking issue with your idea that the terrorist hamas organisation would diminish in the foreseeable future Like hezbollah,Islamic jihad etc they are funded trained and armed by the abhorrent regime in Iran

  • Whereas I used to think that Nick and I differed much in our opinions because I am a declared “pink” ie: centralist Conservative and he was obviously of the “Left” similar in view to the Third Viscount Stansted, later Anthony Wedgewood Benn and eventually Tony Benn, I thought his views rational within the restrictions of such adherence.

    However his latest retort to my factual statement upon Arab Israeli citizens, is a denial of reality! Instead of blindly accepting Amnesty International as if it’s opinions can change fact, Nick ought to calm down and accept reality – even if he does not like it!

    I deplore the construction of houses on the West Bank by Israel – note I hold the Israeli Government responsible and think that the US could have – indeed ought to have exerted greater financial pressure by reducing financial support by $1,000,000 per house per annum every year, for every house so built. I favour the Two State solution which was declined by Yasser Arafat in 2,000 at Camp David. However, it remains the only sensible action and one which perhaps even Nick when calm, would support.

  • Stuart seems to have copy and pasted some very basic level Israeli propaganda.

    I wrote that Hamas is an extremist organisation which will ultimately diminish.
    That’s not nonsense. It’s a prediction. And I hope to see my prediction come to pass.

    I also mentioned the fact that Israel sits on stolen land. And that Israel steals more and more land on a systematic basis. This ongoing land theft is 100% in contravention of International Law.
    These are simple facts.
    Does Stuart or anyone else seriously wish to refute these facts?

    No resolution will ever be found until people start to acknowledge the facts that lie at the root of the problem.

  • According to Nick Hamas will ultimately diminish which is nonsense. Hamas and Hezbollah will be active as long as they are supported by the Palestinians and funded and guided by Iran. Their whole purpose is to wipe Israel and its people off the map. They are no different from ISIS and need to be eradicated.

  • Hamas is an extremist organisation which ultimately will diminish.
    I reckon Israel is there for the long term.
    But there needs to be an acknowledgement that it sits on stolen land.
    The situation will never be resolved by apologists for extreme right wing Zionism and the ongoing theft of land and property. Nor will it be resolved by apologists for a system which so blatantly favours one race and religion over another.

  • The three points that the reader named Nick says do not deserve clarification, I suggest Mr. Nick consider:
    1-Can the fact that the State of Israel exists be erased?
    2-For the Palestinians, what is more profitable, building kilometers of underground tunnels or dedicating men and resources to hospitals and schools?
    3-What would happen if Hamas won the war?

  • Mr MacD
    You suggest that Israel does not have an apartheid system.
    Perhaps you need to lobby Amnesty International to change their stance on the matter?
    There are millions of Israelis and Palestinians who agree with Amnesty’s view.
    Israel is sitting on stolen land.
    Extreme right wing Zionists are stealing more each day.
    In doing so they flout International Law. Seemingly with complete impunity.
    Its difficult to reason with Zionists or Hamas when both think their barbarism is blessed by a supernatural and divine creator.

  • Nick omits mentioning that some 30% of Israeli citizens with full democratic rights, are Arab. That is a reality. Has Nick visited and had conversation with such citizens? I have. Does Nick know that Arabs sit in the Knesset? That is a reality that some choose to omit. Is that “apartheid”?

  • ” Israel should retreat from these borders and extend the current recognition to the National Palestinian Authority to the level of a free and sovereign state.”

    Israel tried that in 2005 when it withdrew from Gaza and let Gazans manage their own affairs. Foreign aid poured in from western countries. What happened next?

    Gazans voted for Hamas to represent them. Instead of spending money on infrastructure like water and electricity, Hamas spent money on rockets and munitions for a war they can never win. They built tunnels to smuggle weapons and hid them in mosques, schools and hospitals.

    The butchery by Hamas in October 2023 will not soon be forgotten by Israelis. Gazans are now paying the price for their foolishness.

  • The article presents Israel in a fantastical and benign way.
    It fails to mention certain facts:

    Israel exists by UN decree but also it exists on land which was taken by force.
    This process of moving onto land which is taken forcibly from its owners is steadily continuing in traditional fashion.
    It is highly organised, entirely deliberate and systematic. It is backed up by a heavily armed military. This continued theft of land and property is entirely illegal under International Law.
    One of the reasons that it took so long for the military to respond to the atrocities committed by Hamas last week was that so many Israeli troops were engaged at the time in the theft of land in the West Bank.
    Israel is first and foremost a theocracy. The days that hinted at a secular society are long gone.
    Secondly, Israel has a strict apartheid system.
    Thirdly, it is becoming increasingly less democratic.

    This is the reality against which the current escalation of death and suffering is occurring.
    It is a reality that the author of this article does not refer to.

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