Western outrage over Israel’s war against Hamas is likely based not so much on anti-Semitism, as many on the right claim, but rather because Israel is so much more powerful, thus ensuring that despite Israeli efforts to kill as few civilians as possible many more Gazans are losing their lives compared with Israeli citizens. This makes it seem more like a slaughter than a fair fight, even if the slaughter is fully intended not by Israel but rather by Hamas in order to win the propaganda war, with much help from the biased Western media who are essentially encouraging Hamas to continue their strategy of maximizing civilian casualties. And indeed, captured Hamas documents suggest that this is the strategy they are going for.
However, the power of Israel’s military in comparison with Hamas, which is better armed than any civilian population within western nation-states besides that of the United States, is not simply relevant to the current hostilities in the Middle East. It highlights a deeper question.
These hostilities demonstrate the current point at which we are at after a more than century-long march of military technology which has left western armed forces increasingly powerful, and disconnected, in relation to their own populations. One need only look at the success of the Iron Dome missile shield, or the effectiveness of guided missiles, Markava tanks, attack helicopters and personal weapons such as the Corner Shot to see how powerful they have become.
Perhaps the energy which has been funnelled into outrage towards Israel over its attempts at defending itself should instead be used to question; what are the implications for society when the armed forces now possess such awesome power in relation to those whom they serve?
It is a question I’m deeply interested in and will be the subject of many blog posts to come. This post is very brief, really I just wanted to pose the question first before continuing to answer it in coming posts.