Wednesday, December 31, 2008

War has a place in a nations survival

The casual reader of this blog,particularly if they are not familiar with my backgound, might assume that I take war lightly.Usually we say war is where old men send young boys out to fight and die.
In fact, I abhor war except where it is needed for national survival.I came face to face with combat and the injuries and deaths associated with it.For one year at the height of the Vietnam War,I served as a combat surgeon at two very active hospitals,the 45th Surgical Hospital and the 24th Evac. I operated on probably 1-2 thousand young American troops,civilians injured and POW's.I observed not only their wounds but the mental damage that would scar them perhaps forever.
From the day I left Vietnam, I have kept a few shell casings and RPG fragments on my desk which I removed from patients,as a reminder of the damages that bombs can do to humans. Every day as I walkd to the surgical wards in the hospital,I tried to avoid the neurosurgical unit.It was there that the head and spinal cord trauma was treated,and tears would always come to my eyes as I traversed that area.
However, the Talmud tells us when your life is threatened strike before your assailant does.

This brings me to yesterdays comments on confusion in the ranks of the leadership.We now read of a battle between Barak and Olmert,Livni,Shin Bet etc.This mornings JP has an op-ed by David Horovitz its editor,as does Haaretz on the farcical nature of this battle at this juncture.It is clear once again that the Israeli system of governance,with different parties making up a cabinet does not work,especially in an emergency situation that precedes an election.