"Do you think about the things you do think about?" ~Clarence Darrow
I thought I knew what I thought about the swap. I wrote about it. I read Treppenwitz's article and the Seraphic Secret article and found myself nodding.
But I also found myself shaking my head.
You see, I had an interesting chat on the subject of the swap with a co-worker yesterday. She is a sabra and a newlywed. Both she, her husband and probably most of their friends and relatives did service and her husband does milu'im (reserve duty). Anyway, when I brought up the swap, with my holding a "we are opening ourselves up to more kidnappings" position, her opinion was that the swap was the right thing to do. My manicurist and her daughter (also Israelis, also did the army, also have family members who serve) had a similar opinion. I did not check, but I suspect that if I were to call up my friend Rachel and ask her for her husband's opinion on the matter--he has opinions on everything and in particular this, as he fought in the Second Lebanon War--it would probably be a lot more similar to that of my coworker and my manicurist than to my own.
As they put it--soldiers put their lives on the line because they know that we are behind them. Israel does not desert her soldiers and if she did...how could she expect anyone to serve? Yes, the trade sucks, but we have done them before and we will do them again. We have a moral obligation to bring the boys home. It should also be pointed out that those doing the service already feel like they are getting shit on between the draft dodging, reserve duty dodging, low enlistment rates from wealthier communities and blanket exemptions granted to the Haredi community. Suffice it to say that to add a policy of desertion to the mix will not do much to improve morale.
In general I have found that the opinions, including my own, become a lot more hard core the further the person is removed from the reality. One has the luxury of being "idealistic" when it is all theoretical anyway. For me, to the extent that I have no children in the army, have never had children in the army, did not serve myself, have no spouse who served or who doing reserve duty...and in short, can propose policies "risk free", I have that luxury. So do a lot of you. Not all of you--but a lot of you.
I think it is time we take on some of the risk. It is easy enough to do. As my father likes to say: put up or shut up.
Take a stand. I invite each of you who condemns the trade to take a stand now. Let us suppose that tomorrow, your mother or your father or your spouse or one of your children are kidnapped. No one knows for sure if they are alive or dead. Tell the world now what your preference is. Can we negotiate? Can we trade? Or do we let your loved one rot? If your loved one is dead, okay, so you are giving up on a corpse and some closure. You will suffer but they will not. But if they are alive...you are abandoning them to a life in hellish captivity.
Please state your beliefs for the world to know, so that when this happens to you, when it is no longer theoretical, when it is no longer something happening far away or at least to somebody else in another community, when it is your little boy or your little girl or your spouse, we can hold you to it. When you cry to the world "but that is my baby..." the world can tell you "sorry, but we don't negotiate with terrorists and you agreed with that rule!"
It is not that easy, is it? I am not saying that I think that the swap was necessarily a great idea. To be honest, I am just as conflicted as I was before. But I do think that one must recognize how complex the issue is.
Hezbollah is heinous. We are not as mean and nasty and vile and unspeakably evil as Hezbollah...but do we want to be? Is that really our goal?