Thursday, March 30, 2006

Nation surrounded by foes... how quaint

This is in response to a comment I hear very often from Israelis and non-Israelis alike, stating that “Israel needs the draft” because if it were not for the military draft, Israel would be crushed by it's enemies. This is usually followed up by the statement that “Israel is a nation surrounded by foes.” Ladies and gentlemen! Especially non-Israelis! Boris Karpa, citizen of the state of Israel (ID Card 307333377) now debunks this for what it is:

Total, insane, unmitigated bullshit.

A military draft may be justifiable when a nation is facing total, industrial-scale warfare (think Israel in 1948, France in 1914-1918, and so forth). Such warfare, determined (so some theoreticists believe) by numbers, rather by individual skill, requires one use as much manpower as possible. In this case, since the defense of the Motherland depends on draftees, surely the military draft is morally justified, especially if the potential enemy will likely commit numerous atrocities on the civilian populace.

The problem is that this theory (leaving aside it's numerous faults, inconsistencies, and so forth) no longer applies in any way to what is happening in Israel. Israel is no longer a country 'surrounded by foes', and the threat of being attacked by multiple enemies from different sides is... well, last time that happened, it was in 1973. Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq were involved as the main attackers. Egypt and Jordan have peace treaties and economic cooperation with Israel, Iraq ain't attacking anyone anytime soon, and Syria has recently even failed to respond to an Israeli attack on it's positions.

All the enemies of Israel can do now is fund terrorists. Said terrorists are getting less and less effective all the time – and are hardly the kind of force that you would need draftees to cope with. Nor are they a good explanation for the host of clerks, schoolteachers, and other needless 'duties' a lot of current Israeli soldiers pull against their will. Wouldn't Israel be better off if these people were left free to go to university, start a business, or even work at a real job?

But forgive me. We are a nation surrounded by foes. That way, we don't need to repeal the 58-year old state of emergency. That way we don't need to reduce the authority of Shabak to tap phones and administratively detain people. That way we don't need to cut the defense budget, close government-owned defense-sector plants, and – God forbid! - send herds of elderly generals out to pasture. Nor do we need to repeal the military draft – or actually care about any of the nation's internal problems.

Bein a nation surrounded by foes sure does help things.


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