Here's my opinion:
If you want to bring something out of the shadows and the back alleys, you legalize it because as long as it is frowned upon and penalized, the victims remain victims and can't (won't?) seek help. Why? Because they were victimized doing something illegal.
Body of missing Japanese student found at Gabriola Mansion in Vancouver
One of the officers says f* this guy in the frantic final minute before they shot Joseph Mann on Del Paso Boulevard. Moments later, the driver says, I’m going to hit him.
OK. Go for it. Go for it, his partner responds.
During that sequence, the officers gunned their vehicle toward Mann, backed up, turned and then drove toward him again, based on dash-cam video released by police. They stopped the car, ran toward Mann on foot and shot him 14 times. According to the audio, Mann also told officers he did not have a gun, contrary to a 911 report. Police say no gun was found, although they found a knife.
One of the comments captures it best:
"You gotta admit when Trump takes the bait, he goes all in, face first!"
That pot's been brewing for quite some time now.
From what's in this story, it appears that sometime around 2009, Netanyahu decided he was going to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities, backed by then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak. He was stopped by the complete refusal of then-army chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi and then-Mossad chief Meir Dagan, with the firm backing of then-President Peres.
The reason this story really makes my blood run cold, however, is that ever since the previous election, Netanyahu has been on a systematic campaign to replace the senior military leadership with people more friendly to him – starting with the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as defense minister, a man of bluntly Fascist politics and famous for having zero tolerance for dissent within his ranks. The recent crisis over the shooting of a captured Palestinian suspect by an army sergeant has become a fulcrum of this: when senior military leaders spoke out saying that Sgt. Azaria's behavior was entirely unacceptable, and that this was not consistent with moral or legal standards, immediately after Netanyahu and Lieberman had spoken out in Azaria's favor, the stage began to be set for a major reshuffling.
This is a very significant change in Israeli politics. To date, the Israeli military has served as a strong check on political militarism, generally being the ones to advocate against military solutions. (Something which may seem fairly surprising and backwards to people from countries like the US, but consider that this is a military that has a great deal of experience of what war is actually like, especially inside their own country, and amazingly little desire to experience more of it) This has roots all the way in the Independence War, when during the Altalena Affair an attempt to turn an Israeli paramilitary group into a sort of "army within an army," quasi-independent of the state (much like Hezbollah is in Lebanon today), was quashed in a violent confrontation with the nascent IDF. The military has long held a very strong (positive) reputation in Israeli politics because of its reputation as being built out of people who have had to deal with all the worst problems, and made wise decisions.
The story below is of Netanyahu almost setting off a massive regional war when the piss rose to his head.* It was only having strong opponents in the military who could act as a restraint on him – a chief of staff, a chief of the Mossad, and a President – that prevented catastrophe. If a similar situation were to arise with a weakened military, or a military whose leadership were replaced by Netanyahu yes-men, the results could be mass slaughter on all sides.
And yet, this is precisely the direction in which we seem to be headed. A Netanyahu government, especially one with people like Lieberman in it, is a threat to the safety of Israel and of the entire Middle East.
The death of Itzhak Rabin in 1995 foreshadowed the end of an era: a time when the founders of the country, people who could hold on to the rudder no matter how high the waves rose, would no longer be present. Ariel Sharon's stroke in 2006 cemented that: he was the last of his generation to really hold power, and the last person in the Prime Minister's seat who could take meaningful and serious risks which might lead to peace and to the long-term stability of the country. Since then, we have had a procession of pygmies, men and women whom nobody trusts to get anything done, often sinking into a stew of corruption and incompetence when they are most needed. Peres was a skilled negotiator, but the Presidency is almost entirely ceremonial, and he never won the sort of broad trust required to make hard decisions – but even at that, as the story below shows, he could be a powerful force for sanity.
Today, as we lay him to rest, and with him the very last of his political generation, we are left in a situation where a crook and a bully, a self-important coward who is brave whenever there is no risk to him, can stay in power for eight years because nobody can organize effectively enough to stop him.
My entire family lives under the shadow of what this idiot might do next. This is terrifying.
h/t for the link.
* In Hebrew there's a phrase for when anger overtakes your reason, which is that "the blood rose to his head." There's also a phrase for when one's own bullshit and egomania overtakes your reason, and that one seems systematically more appropriate where Netanyahu is concerned.
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- Simon Fraser University
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