When Lies Become Facts

I have been following the battle in Gaza. Being a guy kind of guy, I think that is what most of us manly types are inclined to do. If we are not following women around we are following the guns and bombs. Third in the hierarchy of manly interests is trucks and cars. Or maybe bikes, boxers and chickens.

Gaza Truth
But I digress.
I had one of those head shaking, forehead slapping moments last week as the brave warriors of Gaza were running around after the cease fire, shouting in glee as to their victory and firing their guns in the air in celebration.
Never mind that they were running around amidst the rubble of previously useful structures blasted back to useless rock, or wending their way among the funeral processions of military men and the women and children killed in the “victory battle”.
I tell you, these guys are Filipinos on steroids, their esteem issues producing a re-interpretation of facts that is simply bizarre.
In the Philippines, this little conversion of lies to facts is a matter of building face, and Senators Sotto and Enrile are sterling examples of how it is displayed. Sotto by re-defining the facts of stealing other people’s work as complete innocence, Enrile re-writing history in his book.
In Gaza, it is the same thing.
I’d guess the Gaza warriors actually believe what they claim. “Victory!”
The alternative is to believe they lost and grab hold of the brain rattling realization that provoking Israel was a really stupid thing to do.
Gaza Lie
And Sotto may believe people are making a big deal out of nothing when they file an ethics case against him. And Enrile may be writing politically, to an agenda, rather than historically. Politics, is, after all, the business of turning lies into laws.
Then the pundits arrive on the scene in Gaza. Love that press, the “Fourth Estate”. It excels at rationalizing any event six ways from Sunday and proclaims that Israel really screwed up by attacking harshly, because now the Arab states are united against Israel. Indeed, they agree with the victory dance, that Hamas won. Even Abbas in the West Bank is categorized as among the “walking dead” because he chose to restrain West Bank Palestinians from revolt.
What a loser, arguing for calm and decency.
I look at this and here’s what I see.
  • Hamas militants fired rockets at civilians.
  • Israel bombed their poor country into the stone ages, making it even poorer.
  • The Hamas militants, like the Catholic Church in the Philippines, are re-writing truth in which they deny any responsibility for the outcome of their decisions.
  • Next time Israel will show less restraint after having been shown up by the Palestinian need to gloat, that need itself a gross psychological malady.
I run around exclaiming to my wife that “decisions are facts, decisions are facts!” If you get to where you are going late, as most Filipinos do, it is a choice. The choice says, factually, “it is not important to me to arrive on time”, or personalizing it, “you are not important enough for me to arrive on time”. Decisions cannot be denied for what they are.

When you fire a rocket into a town full of civilians, it is a decision, and all outcomes arising from that decision belong to you.
You are not entitled to write the script for the other party that limits what they can do. That says “you can only fire one rocket back at me, otherwise it is excessive and brutal force”.
Gaza Absurdity
No no no no.
Until you are dead, pal, any force is legitimate, because you are murdering scum.
Same principle applies to Sotto and Enrile.
The response does not have to be equal, a paragraph for a paragraph, a book for a book. No, indeed. The weight of the response does not have to match the offense. It should punish, the way courts assign actual damages plus a punitive fine.
When you behave badly, you have no right to call for mercy. You simply have the obligation to correct the error of your ways. Or be soundly punished for enduring transgressions.
When lies are twisted to become facts, mercy does not enter the equation.

34 Responses to “When Lies Become Facts”
  1. andrew lim says:

    Well said, and no wonder things dont work out that well in this country – law enforcement, administration of justice, corruption, etc. Owning up is a rare thing in these parts.

  2. "Owning up is a rare thing in these parts." Indeed. I am wondering why "owning up" is not taught in school. I wonder what educators, who are educated, see when THEY look around. Do they just see current events, or do they see the interpersonal dynamics that create the problems that are rampant in current events.As for the Church?Yeah. No mercy according to my rules . . .

  3. Anonymous says:

    I don't follow those Gaza events but your post makes it clear that rebels are the victimizers themselves. A good title for this article: Wagging the dog. Nice segue to Sotto and Enrile, by the way.DocB

  4. Wagging the dog = rationalizing bad behavior, yes indeed. Well, the behavior of Sotto is very much akin to the behavior of the Hamas lunatics, just not as violent in dimension. It is an easy seque to make.Aquino does a lot of dog waving when he criticizes the media, but withholds FOI so that the only thing they have to work with is people's opinions and guesses.

  5. Edgar Lores says:

    1. More than half a century ago, when I was in college, I was unabashedly pro-Israel. Having read Uris’ “Exodus”, I was proud of the role the Philippines played — in the form of Carlos Romulo and his historic vote in the UN –- in the creation of the modern state of Israel. And I continue to avidly follow the exploits of (Daniel) Silva’s heroic Gabriel Allon, master spy extraordinaire and the James Bond of Mossad intelligence.2. I watched with admiration as puny Israel reaped victory after victory against its Arab neighbours, in particular, in the Six-Day War against Egypt in 1967. The nation’s unswerving fight for justice to right historic wrongs – as exemplified in the capture of Eichmann and the systematic retribution against the Black September assassins who committed the Munich massacre of 11 Israeli athletes in the 1972 Summer Olympics – seemed to me the very handing out of divine justice.3. Since then I have watched with increasing concern as Israel has foisted historic wrongs on Gaza and the West Bank to correct the historic horror of the Holocaust and prevent its reoccurrence.4. Self defence is legal and ethical.5. How can the Middle East conflict be resolved? Far be it from me to offer a solution to a conflict whose roots go back to ancient times and whose resolution will be coincident with the Second Coming. In the meantime:5.1 Hamas, and the Arab countries that support it, must cease its strategy of eliminating Israel from the face of the earth and its tactics of provocation.5.2 Israel should grant statehood to Palestinians in the West Bank and in Gaza.5.3 The energy that is invested in this conflict must be redirected to making the grass grow greener on both sides of the borders.5.4 Arab and Jew should reflect more on their similarities rather than concentrate on their differences. It is said that Arabs represent the Heart and Jews the Mind. They must begin to realize that they are twins.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Or downplaying, glossing over, papering over the greater issue or crisis or controversy in order to highlight the small victory, however pyrrhic, or to advance propanda, utilizing drama, theatrics, Argo-like schemes.DocB

  7. Yes, twins indeed. In the context of this article, where a decision is a fact, it is a fact that Israel provokes much anger when it treats Palestinians as dogs and pushes walls and new settlements into West Bank lands beyond the 1967 borders. That is akin to China setting up settlements on Palawan.The political dynamics within Israel are more bitter and hostile than anything we see even in the acrimonious U.S. The rigid right controls nationalistic thinking, and it is clearly Old Testament thinking, anger and punishment rationalized as for God. On the other side, Hamas, is the rigid right of a competing religion, warlike and brutal with no sense of a distinction between civilian and military.If Israel wants peace, they need only take a few difficult decisions. Like remove offensive settlements. In refraining from taking these decisions, I suggest they WANT the turmoil they create. Either that, or they are stupid. Which I find unlikely.I also think that a defensive war can never be won, especially when the enemy is crazy and can spin destruction of their lands into "victory". Next time, just conquer Hamas in Gaza. Then work to build a real Palestinian state on the West Bank.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Did that Gaza battle factor in the hike of gas price this week?DocB

  9. I don't know. Instability in the Middle East usually does. Did you know that the U.S. will be energy self-sufficient in a few years? It is a triple push: (1) high mileage cars like Ford's 3 cylinder engine and hybrids [disclosure, I own Ford stock], (2) shale development which technology now allows oil to be extracted from at reasonable cost, and (3) non-combustion sources such as solar and wind; maybe nuclear.

  10. Coco says:

    1. If you try to crash a beetle and the beetle survives isn’t it entitled to a little victory dance?2. Facts:Preceding: Cease fire in 2008• Israel kills Hamas military leader• Your list3. If I hit you with a rubber bullet, you can not retaliate with an atom bomb? Is 3 versus 200 fatalities proportionate?4. Will America’s love for Israel remain when it becomes self-sufficient in energy? Israel is as a huge vacuum cleaner for Arab anger and a reliable partner if something might happen in the energy important Middle East.I love / hate Israel too. I love there scientist, education, secular part of society, resolve, metamorphose from easy victims in Germany to fearsome fighters… I hate how they relentlessly bully the Palestinians, how they translated the Old Testament: “An eye for an eye” into “One eye for 100 eyes”, their unreasonable fundamentalists…Didn’t get the comparisons with the Philippines. The colonial forces inside the Philippines behaving like Israeli?

  11. 1. Yes. 2. A worthy addition, until someone puts in a new precedent point about Hamas' enduring declaration and acts of war.3. The bullet is not the point. Firing it at innocents is. Yes, any level of defensive action is legitimate. At least Israel held off on the nukes.4. "Love" overstates the U.S. view. Loyal is perhaps a better word. The loyalty is forged on a deep history of interlinking events and deep roots in America by Jewish professionals. Fields of commerce with strong Jewish leadership are: (1) Finance, (2) Law, and (3) Entertainment. American Jews are moderate. They don't always buy into the acts of their more radical Israeli brothers. Yes, America will stand by Israel, but will not be led by Israel into rash acts. Obama has been more critical of Jewish decisions, and Netanyahoo has been downright uncivil to Obama.I agree with your love/hate view. Me too.The comparison isn't between Israel and the Philippines as nations. I sought to draw a comparison how the rationalization of bad decisions (plagarizing or shooting rockets at civilians) creates outcomes that can be punishing, and as long as the person making the decision will not own up to that, the punishment should continue.If Sotto continues to be an idiot about ethics, he deserves to be roasted royally or thrown out of the senate. If Hamas insists on engaging in acts of war or terror, they deserve to be pulverized or conquered.The main message is the skill with which responsibility is avoided in the Philippines.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Then why is the U.S. government not keen on complying with the Kyoto Protocol?DocB

  13. I'm not sure of the particulars of that. The refusal to sign on came under G.W. Bush, I believe. Republicans are very sympathetic to big business. They were probably being lobbied hard. The U.S. also has trouble signing its own rights away to others.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I think I know what you mean. Same as saying the Republicans are Climate Change Deniers.DocB

  15. Or greedy jerks. I tempered my language on that.

  16. Coco, I thought the following quote was quite telling and echoes what I was trying to get across:"The real problem for Israel is that very important American constituencies, including many young people and segments of the Jewish community, the media, military and next generation of Democratic party leadership, have been disturbed by general trends in Netanyahu's Israel."Here's the Reuters article it came from: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/23/us-usa-israel-relationship-idUSBRE8AM0YG20121123

  17. J says:

    Gabriel Allon for the win! Love those Da Silva novels.I remember one of my professors, who was once a UNSC-appointed expert on MidEast, telling our class that we don't deserve an IR degree if we don't know the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in and out (I'm not very well-versed in it, but I got my degree. Just graduated this year LOL). It's a very, very complicated stuff, but all I can say is both Hamas and Netanyahu are to blame.

  18. When you have two similar, hard-headed, ego-enhanced cultures in conflict, where both see compromise as shameful, don't expect much to get done.Congratulations on your degree. Now get out there and relate!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Which one gets Iranian support? Hamas or Hizbollah? Isn't that Iran buys arms from Russia?DocB

  20. Both do. Iran uses these malcontents as its mercenary forces to stir up trouble. I read that Hezbollah has something like 250,000 rockets at their disposal to rain down on Israel if Israel attacks Iran. Israle lives at the point of a gun, every day. You wonder why they are a bit jumpy? The idiot Hamas rationalizers probably think Israel would not use nukes if their forces became overwhelmed by a three-front attack. You saw Hamas people dragging the body of the "spy" through the mobs, tied to the back of a jeep?I'd nuke 'em if they were doors away from my wife and kid.And if I were Israel, I would project forward this awful scenario and stop building settlements in Palestine territory.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Nuke them? Israel wouldn't risk a nuclear fall out in their neighbor's frontyard. I read somewhere they're saving those nukes farther north- Iran. But Russia and China won't like that, never mind the U.S.DocB

  22. Anonymous says:

    And so we take sides in a controversy where both sides claim to have history on their side. Who started what is a futile exercise at this point. Who provoked, who reacted, who attacked, who defended in this new round of violence seems immaterial at this point.Israel can say we blew away their guy with a missile because his people were launching rocket attacks against our people and the Palestinians can reply we launched rocket attacks because …..blah,blah,blah until the desrt turns into a tropical paradise. What I'm looking for is someone who can point to the exit and if there is none at present then who can punch a hole that will serve as exit. I'm sure both Israelis and Palestinians are weary and would welcome an end to this endless war of attrition. I don't know if America or Russia or Europe or Arab countries or Iran or if all of them together have the answer but they are certainly not helping by supplying both sides with the means to kill each other. So maybe we can start with, "no more weapons for either of you. When your shit runs out then you're out of shit. Kill each other with your bare hands if you really hate each other that much but we ain't helping you do it to each other anymore." – MB

  23. Anonymous says:

    I glanced at a news report about the disinterment of Arafat. What ever for? To see if he was poisoned?DocB

  24. When you are about to be slaughtered, what the U.S. and Russia think is irrelevant. They may have small tactical nukes, who knows. I was just drawing the worst case scenario. I was shocked to think what it must be like to live in a country with 250,000 rockets aimed at you and irrational people at the trigger. People who drag spies through the street . . . no trial, no mercy . . .

  25. It is insane the armaments there. Israel is a very small country. Gaza just a few mile stretch. Both sides are lunatics, stubborn, angry. The two asylums are facing each other and the shrinks fled long ago. Then try selling your proposal to Iran . . .

  26. Anonymous says:

    Just thinking aloud: If World War II hadn't happened would the state of Israel exist?DocB

  27. Anonymous says:

    Selling it to Iran would be as easy as selling it to the US- MB

  28. Anonymous says:

    DocB,The Zionist movement began around the late 1800s, the Balfour Declaration in 1917 and was followed by the British Palestine Mandate. If the Holocaust did not happen, it's possible that the Jews who were not Zionists would not feel that establishming a state of Israel was urgent. After all German Jews saw themselves as Germans, Austrian Jews saw themselves as Austrian and so forth. Although there were the cycles of pogroms in Russia and other European countries over the centuries. Jews have a right to a homeland as much as Palestinians do. The state of Israel would have happened whether there was a WWII or not.By the way did you know that the Philippines, under Pres. Manuel L. Quezon, granted asylum to Jews being persecuted in Germany at a time when the US under Franklin Roosevelt refused them entry? Nearly a thousand Jews were given refuge in the Philippines, Pres. Quezon even offered some land he owned near what is now the Ateneo as temporary shelter until they could set themselves up. A documentary, working title Escape to Manila, recounting the story will be televised in the near future. It will be shown all over the world. There is a book by the same title written by one of the refugees. Quezon has a monument in Israel for his humanitarian act. And of course the Philippines cast the deciding vote in the acceptance of Israel in the United Nations. Our ties with Israel run deep. Deeper even than that of ours with America because there was never any master-servant relation involved. It was just between two peoples, one helping the other in its direst need, with no selfish national interest considerations involved.

  29. Selling "no more arms in the middle east" to the U.S. would be easy. Selling "no more arms in Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, West Bank," to Iran would be impossible. Selling "no more arms in America" to America would be impossible. The point is that you can't remove arms if one of the players has an agenda.It's like arguing with someone who has an agenda is different than arguing with someone who is open to new knowledge. Iran has an agenda.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Learned a lot from your explanation. Thanks.DocB

  31. Anonymous says:

    Joe,Find me an American president or a leader in Congress who will champion no more arms to Israel, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Turkey.America did not sell arms to Egypt then the Israel Egypt peace happened and American arms started to flow to Egypt. America sold arms to Iraq when it was at war with Iran. America renditioned suspected terrorists to Syria until this thing happened. America became friends with Khadafy until the uprising. And so forth. Are you telling me there is no agenda behind all those turn arounds, that they happened spontaneously, that America does not have a strategic policy just tactics? – MB

  32. Yes, the American Mid-East policy is a convoluted mess, tied up with misguided adventures (Iraq II), misguided loyalties (Egypt), acting unilaterally, and selling arms to people whose loyalty and maturity is a riot away. I'd like to see a comprehensive statement of American policy in the Middle East, brought up-to-date, that puts arms sales and drones in proper context. I agree with you on this one. The agenda is half stability, half protecting Israel, and half terrorism response, and half protecting oil sources. If it doesn't add up right it's because the strategy doesn't add up right.

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