From the Editor

John Turner

I have more sympathy for the predicament of modern Israeli statesmen than my friend Ernest Cassara does. It's not easy -- for me, at least -- to discern the best course for Israel in the current situation. My guess is that Israel's violent response will not turn out well. Whatever effect it has in weakening Hamas and Hezbollah will likely be made up by heightening the hatred of Israel throughout the Islamic world, which is exactly what those two organizations are seeking to do. But, then, Olmert probably figures he has no other option.

People who think they can solve problems by killing their opponents often cite the Second World War as their model. Hitler had to be stopped, and he was. But the cost was fifty million lives snuffed out. Is it inconceivable that some better, less bloodthirsty, method might have been found?  I have not yet reached the stage of being an outright pacifist but, I confess, I come closer the more I pay attention to history. Killing begets hatred and hatred is the most contagious mental disease afflicting mankind. To ramp it up is not going to make anyone happier or more secure.

The Harvard Square Commentary is a journal of opinion which doesn't seek to direct the views of its contributors other than by refusing to accept outright, irrational, rants. I know that there are strongly opposing perceptions among our readers, particularly with respect to the politics of the Middle East. My hope is we can keep our opposition strong without letting it slip over into something rancid. I also confess I'm not sure where the tipping point is.

I was fascinated over the weekend by an article in the Washington Post about Mikey Weinstein, a former Air Force officer, who is on a campaign to banish evangelical proselytizing from the armed forces. Mr. Weinstein says the time for politeness is over. He's going after his enemies full scale. I can appreciate his anger. The ongoing attempt to "Christianize" the armed forces in a way that has nothing to do with genuine Christianity is, indeed, vile. But I'm not sure about his stance on politeness. I think we should hold on to at least its forms as long as we can. They permit conversation to continue and my belief is that conversation is always better than hard silent hatred.

That's basically the editorial stance of this little publication.



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