This evening the suspect in the killing of 18 people in Lewiston, Maine and the wounding of 13 others was found dead, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot. Robert Card had suffered from mental illness, having been hospitalized for two weeks last summer.
Reportedly he had been hearing voices.
Well, while Card likely had some form of schizophrenia, what he has in common with the rest of us is substantial, for we all hear voices inside our head: our own.
Card's voices may have told him that other people were out to harm him, so he needed to kill as many of those "others" as possible.
And the Hamas terrorists who crossed the border from Gaza into Israel on October 7, killing about 1,400 people, had voices telling them that it was their duty to kill innocent men, women, and children, along with Israeli soldiers, because of the injustices Israel had wrought on Palestinians.
And leaders in Israel had voices telling them after the Hamas attack that it was their duty to kill innocent men, women, and children in Gaza, along with Hamas militants, because of the injustices Hamas had wrought on Israelis.
There's plenty of insanity evident here.
A couple of weeks ago I shared on my Church of the Churchless blog three views about the war between Hamas and Israel that I considered reasonable at the time, and still do.
(1) Hamas engaged in unforgivable terrorism when its fighters attacked Israeli citizens, killing women and children, decapitating infants, slaughtering young people at a music festival, and taking an estimated 150 people hostage. Now Israel is justified in fighting back against Hamas.
(2) Israel has fanned the flames of Islamic resentment in the Middle East by treating Palestinians in the occupied territories badly and showing little to no recent interest in pursuing a two-state solution to the longstanding conflict. The current right-wing administration of Benjamin Netanyahu has made a bad situation in the West Bank even worse through its oppressive policies.
(3) Most of the two million people living in Gaza aren't Hamas fighters. Israel should do everything possible to protect them during its war against Hamas. This entails complying with generally accepted rules of war to the greatest extent possible.
Protecting the people of Gaza from horrendous Israel bombing attacks, as well as a ground invasion that may come soon, needs to become an Israeli priority. As President Biden said in a speech soon after the war began, a thirst for revenge can't be seen as more important than human decency. The United States learned that lesson after our 9/11.
The news out of Gaza has stopped, because today Israel destroyed the internet and cellular communication there. It is clear, though, that things are very bad and getting worse. Today on MSNBC I heard a report from a Norwegian doctor who worked in Gaza hospitals that there are tens of thousands wounded from Israeli shelling, 70% of them women, children, and the elderly, plus thousands dead.
How can Hamas attacks on innocent Israeli women, children, and the elderly be used as an excuse by Israel to attack innocent Palestinian women, children, and elderly? That's crazy, yet at the moment that's the insanity that seems to be holding sway among Israeli leaders.
Fortunately, voices of reason are urging Israel to reconsider the wisdom of a massive ground invasion of Gaza, and of continuing to deny the people of Gaza food, water, electricity, and fuel. Here's a post on X from Chris Hayes today, an eminently reasonable MSNBC commentator.
Thankfully, the Biden administration is urging Israel to scale back its plan to essentially demolish Gaza in order to destroy the Hamas terrorists. So says a Washington Post story, "U.S. urges Israel against Gaza ground invasion, pushes surgical campaign."
The Biden administration is urging Israel to rethink its plans for a major ground offensive in the Gaza Strip and instead to opt for a more “surgical” operation using aircraft and special operations forces carrying out precise, targeted raids on high-value Hamas targets and infrastructure, according to five U.S. officials familiar with the discussions.
Administration officials have become highly concerned about the potential repercussions of a full ground assault, the officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive diplomatic matters, and they increasingly doubt that it would achieve Israel’s stated goal of eliminating Hamas. They also are concerned that it could derail negotiations to release nearly 200 hostages, particularly as diplomats think they have made “significant” advances in recent days to free a number of them, potentially including some Americans, one of the officials said.
The Biden administration also is worried that a ground invasion could result in numerous casualties among Palestinian civilians as well as Israeli soldiers, potentially triggering a dramatic escalation of hostilities in the region, the officials said. U.S. officials think a targeted operation would be more conducive to hostage negotiations, less likely to interrupt humanitarian aid deliveries, less deadly for people on both sides and less likely to provoke a wider war in the region, the officials said.
And the United States also is in favor of humanitarian pauses in the Gaza fighting, according to another Washington Post story, "U.S., in policy shift, urges humanitarian pauses in Gaza." Good news. It's never too late to ditch the insanity of all-out war and find a more balanced approach to protecting both Israel and the people of Gaza, while eliminating Hamas to the greatest extent possible.
After weeks of declining to back growing international calls for “humanitarian pauses” in Israeli airstrikes to allow a steady flow of aid to enter Gaza, permit American and foreign citizens to exit into Egypt and facilitate the release of hostages, the Biden administration is now fully in favor of them and is pressing Israel to agree.
The abrupt policy shift comes as the humanitarian situation inside the enclave has become more dire and much of the world has declined to follow the U.S. lead in withholding public criticism of how Israel is conducting its war against Hamas.
...The administration’s public promotion this week of humanitarian pauses came after what one U.S. official said was “a lot of the groundwork in private communications.”
But it still left the United States behind the curve of international opinion, as the U.N. General Assembly Friday overwhelmingly approved an Arab-sponsored resolution calling for a complete ceasefire. Only 14 of the 193 U.N. member nations voted against the measure, including the United States, Israel and several Pacific island and eastern European states. Most close U.S. allies were in favor or abstained from the vote.
The resolution called on “all parties” to comply with international law in the conflict and specifically demanded rescission by Israel, “the occupying power,” of evacuation orders in Gaza. It did not mention Hamas by name or refer directly to its Oct. 7 attack on Israel.