It’s been a while since I’ve updated this category, not because of a lack of activity but because other topics have been making more noise.
Last time I wrote Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was running for the democratic nomination but has switched to run as an independent. Unlike other elections I have chosen not to follow independents only because it’s too hard to differentiate who is a viable candidate. RFK Jr. is running on a platform of vaccine denial and I don’t anticipate him garnering many votes.
On the Republican side former Vice President Pence dropped out late last month. He has run on his Christian credentials which necessitated a strong showing in Iowa. But the polls in Iowa showed him doing poorly and he saw the writing on the wall. Hard to know if his political career is over, and if not, what he’ll do next.
The news now is the departure of Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina. He attempted to run without criticizing Trump and may have been a victim of his own civility. The GOP debates were free for all’s rife with interruptions, talking over each other and general incivility. While most of us appreciate politeness and deference it meant he was pushed out and just couldn’t find his lane. This is nothing but good news for his fellow South Carolinian Nikki Haley. She now has the inside track for South Carolina’s primary, set for February 24th.
Of course former President Trump continues to dominate the GOP polls and as of right now is favored to win the nomination. Stay tuned for how his trials are going.
Hamas’ invasion of Israel last month has called us to look at several ethical issues around war. Let’s look at the involvement of noncombatants and then the taking of hostages.
It may seem odd to think of there even being “rules of war” but there is agreement on some things. When we think of war we divide people into combatants and noncombatants. Combatants are those who are armed, have some method of identification (e.g. a uniform) and participate in battle. But others may be in the vicinity of battle but are not involved in the battle. They may be medics, chaplains, journalists, or bystanders.
Hamas’ invasion of Israel on October 7th has led to a dizzying number of violations. Hamas didn’t target Israeli soldiers or bases. Of the initial 1200 Israelis killed the New York Times reports 70% were civilians. No war is completely clean and civilians always suffer from wars because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. But this was blatant. And inexcusable.
Now that we’re into the 2nd month of this war we’re also dealing with wounded Palestinians. Problem is they have also used hospital patients as “human shields” hoping that Israel will not attack. In other words they are counting the Israeli’s having a stronger moral compass than they do.
And now about hostages. Every war has prisoners of war (POW’s); problem is that true POW’s are all combatants who were captured in battle. There is also the expectation that they will be able to receive aid from humanitarian organizations like the Red Cross.
However we may feel about the treatment of the Palestinians in Gaza there is simply no justification for what Hamas has done. I pray they hear this.