The stated purpose, of course, is to rid Gaza of its Hamas political leadership and to put an end to years of rocket attacks. Israel has expressly said that it has no designs on occupying Gaza (Strip, not City). But, however, there seems to be something strangely familiar, even Bush-like, about the assault. When our nation invaded Iraq, we, at least at some point, stated that our goal was to crush terrorism and promote democracy and freedom. But we went into Iraq with guns blazing, stirring up a hornets nest that still hasn't died down.
Israel, according to the spokesman I listened to on NPR this morning, aims to instruct the Palestinians that they should abandon terrorism and direct their efforts towards things like economic development - things that promote peace. But the approach, to me, is both disproportional and wholly misguided. Why not invest in better infrastructure, free economic development, and improving impoverished conditions rather than bombing folks into the stone age? Just doesn't seem right.
On the home front, we're nearly two weeks away from Inauguration Day, which we're all waiting for. And waiting for our new President will be the worst financial meltdown we've seen since the Depression. We all know that. And, we all know that the way to solve all this is to prop up our vital industries and financial services companies with huge, huge infusions of cash and credit.
Or do we? If you've been following the editorials, you'll note some folks, like Paul Krugman of the NYT, noting that one of the worst fiscal moves our country made was President Franklin Roosevelt's attempts to balance the federal budget after only a few years of deficit spending during the Great Depression. The theory goes that if he and Congress hadn't pulled back, the Depression wouldn't have last as long as it did. Therefore, the thought goes, we should not make the same mistake twice and fail to dump many trillions of dollars into our economy.
But let me play devil's advocate here for a moment, bearing in mind that I'm no economist. However, what about letting things be? At least part of the modern conservative theory of capitalist economics holds that from time to time modern economies must re-allocate resources from less productive industries to more productive industries. Our economy has recently been tied up in financial services and heavy investment in real estate. That served us fairly well after we recovered from the collapse of heavy manufacturing. If we prop up our economy now, do we in some way prevent it from transitioning to the next big thing? Should we hold up on the economic stimulus, maybe let this thing play out, regardless of the pain?