The Gazan carnage; kill the disease, not the patient | Opinion | Salt Lake City Weekly

The Gazan carnage; kill the disease, not the patient 

Taking a Gander

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Years ago, I was sitting in a doctor’s office and noticed a framed cartoon on his desk. Pictured was a pock-faced patient sitting opposite the doctor, obviously in a serious consultation.

The doctor, grim-faced, was loading a revolver, and the caption read, “I’m sure you’ll agree; we don’t want to risk an epidemic.” Naturally, I had to chuckle. But today, the world is charged with a responsibility—to attack a disease and not kill the patient.

The horrific mess in the Middle East seems to have effectively muzzled the voices of most Americans. That’s scary. All the flag-waving, AR15-carrying constitutionalists should be shaking in their combat-boots.

What’s happening in the Holy Land is so much more than a response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attack; it’s also become a full-frontal assault on the so reverently-worshiped “inalienable rights.”

Hundreds of thousands of protesters pack the streets of London and other major world cities; U.S. campuses are hotbeds of righteous dismay; Jewish campus groups—yes, Jewish!—angered over Israel’s extravagant killing of Palestinians, are muzzled and suspended by university administrations anxious to avoid any mention of antisemitism; large professional firms are creating no-hire blacklists of dissenters who dare question the official narrative; advertisers threaten those publications showing sympathy for Gazans; good men, like our own Gov. Spencer Cox and President Joe Biden, and many others, accept and support Netanyahu's response—all, while an entire world watches, in horror, the images of Israel’s relentless carnage in Gaza.

Amid the protests, Jews around the world are screaming, “antisemitism,” but this is not about prejudice against Jews. The demonstrations have nothing to do with their tragic historical persecution, mass extermination and displacements. No, these demonstrations are about humanity, and that seems to be something Netanyahu and his radical Zionist thugs can’t relate to.

Regardless of an entire world’s initial sympathy for Hamas’ murders of innocent Israelis, no human being can remain silent over what’s happening now. The climate has changed, and there will be no imminent drought in the Holy Land; its soil will remain wet for years with the blood of its people, and most of it will be Palestinian.

Here we go again. Our country sits on the precarious brink of another regional war—perhaps even another world conflict. The Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel was horrific, but Israel’s response reveals the same entitlement, smugness and an absence of conscience and decency that has been enraging the Arab world since the creation of the State of Israel 75 years ago.

Israel is angry, as it well should be. Its citizens mourn the crushing pain of personal loss—husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, children and infants that lost their chance to live.

But Netanyahu’s Zionist-driven response has turned Gaza into a genocidal bloodbath—losing sight of Hamas’s offense, and converting justified-reprisal into a grievous, retaliative massacre, one that may not end until the Arab population has been totally destroyed.

Netanyahu has vowed to continue murdering Gaza’s innocent civilians until the 200+ hostages have been returned. In short, that means that, in the event the hostages aren’t released, Gaza will be flattened—a wasteland of destruction and death. The world understands that Israel has a right to defend itself, but its merciless annihilation of Gazan civilians has confirmed that its treatment of Palestinians goes far beyond the definition of defense.

It’s all a reminder of what happened to the U.S. 22 years ago: Americans were awakened from a comfortable “sleep” into the realization that their own soil was not off-limits to international enemies. As 19 embedded, mostly-Saudi-based terrorists succeeded in a diabolical assault on our country, there was an outpouring of sympathy from countries across the globe.

That tragedy, though certainly small in comparison to many other terrors in our planet’s history, had been a rare opportunity for world unity. Everyone expressed heartfelt outrage and condolence and, at least for a short time, virtually all the world was on America’s side.

But it didn’t take long for the actions of President “W” Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and our nation’s super-hawk Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld to totally eff-it-up.

Looking for someone to blame for 9/11, our country first concocted a false narrative on Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction,” and then proceeded in the destruction of not just one country, but two nations that had absolutely no involvement in the attack. After weeks of “Shock and Awe” carpet-bombing, the fall of Baghdad and the capture of Saddam Hussein, “W” declared that the mission was accomplished. Sadly, that war went on and on, and allies became accomplices to the American disgrace—duped by the false information promoted by our country’s leadership.

Estimates of civilian deaths in the Iraq war have ranged from 200,000 to over 300,000, and the total body-bags of the Iraq War—augmented by the invasion of Afghanistan—totaled as many as a million. That’s a lot of bags.

There was no question that there had been a “disease.” Al Qaeda encompassed a vow to destroy America, and it needed to be stopped. But the hundreds of thousands of innocent people, killed as “collateral damage,” didn’t have to die.

If there ever was an opportunity for Americans to be vocal about an ongoing tragedy, now is the time. It’s not a time for our president, legislators, governors and other leaders to be considering the power of America’s Jewish lobby in the 2024 elections, nor is there anything “antisemitic” about a genuine empathy for our Palestinian brothers.

This is about freedom, human life, and the values we hold dear as Americans. We need to be, above all, human beings, committed both to curing the disease and saving the patient.

The author is a retired businessman, novelist, columnist and former Vietnam-era Army assistant public information officer. He resides in Riverton with his wife, Carol and their adorable and ferocious “Poppy.”

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