Postscript to Pulp Fiction
I've decided to write a postscript to the speculative Pulp Fiction focusing on two points. The first is that things don't unroll according to some vast plan preordained before hostilities except in the broadest sense -- the constraints imposed by geography, resources and time. The second is that even when a set of politicians are muddled and indecisive, as the Israeli cabinet often is, they often find themselves behaving according to some logic in spite of themselves.
Two months ago no one would have guessed that Ehud Olmert would be leading Israel into its first major war of the 21st century. Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz wryly considered the joke that history had played on him. The Jerusalem Post wrote:
When Ariel Sharon was defense minister, Amir Peretz was a leading activist organizing Peace Now demonstrations in which Sharon was called a "murderer" for allowing Lebanese civilians to get killed in the Lebanon War.
On Saturday night, Peretz came full circle when a small group of extreme left-wingers called him a "murderer" at a demonstration in Tel Aviv.
If it's any consolation, the joke isn't confined to him. Nasrallah wanted one thing and got another. Olmert wanted out of Gaza and finds himself back in it. The men fighting on both sides in the Lebanese hills had no idea six weeks ago that they would be at each other's throats. If I had to choose a single image to symbolize the war in Lebanon it wouldn't be the smashed buildings in south Beirut. It would be the empty pools in hotels that had been fully booked for the summer season. How things turn out in the end will be the outcome of men's struggles to control their fate against the tides of the world. Albert Camus, who always had a fine sense for the absurd had the most elegant answer to the question of our place in events: "In the end, man is not entirely guilty — he did not start history. Nor is he wholly innocent — he continues it."