Clearly, only a fool with a death wish would wander into this minefield again. Still . . .
If we are ever going to find better answers for the Middle East (and could we find worse ones?), we have to stop talking past each other. The current hostilities in Lebanon are the perfect example. Contrary to what some people insist on saying, none, or at least virtually none, of those Americans who are outraged by Israel’s actions have any affection for Hezbollah.
Hezbollah is a terrorist organization — actually it’s more complicated than that, but at least part of what it is may fairly be called a terrorist organization (and one that is believed to have killed 241 American servicemen in Beirut in 1983).
So while some of us may be so impolitic as to point out that Israel itself carries much of the blame for Hezbollah’s creation (if my saying that makes you mad you don’t know your history, look it up), few would have shed any tears over Israel bloodying up Hezbollah a little under the circumstances.
You see, it isn’t the war against Hezbollah Israel advertised we’re up in arms about. It’s the one that Israel is actually fighting against Lebanon.
Kevin Drum does a nice job of highlighting the issue with some important quotations:
WHO IS ISRAEL FIGHTING?….Tony Blair continues to support Israel’s right to respond to Hezbollah’s rocket attacks, but “Downing Street sources” say that Blair also agrees with Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells’ “scathing denunciation of Israel’s military tactics“:
Speaking to a BBC reporter before travelling on for talks in Israel, where he will also visit the missile-hit areas of Haifa and meet his Israeli opposite number, Howells said: ‘The destruction of the infrastructure, the death of so many children and so many people: these have not been surgical strikes. If they are chasing Hizbollah, then go for Hizbollah. You don’t go for the entire Lebanese nation.’
The French Defense Minister, Michele Alliot-Marie, said much the same thing today:
“One cannot ask the Lebanese national army to disarm the militias and at the same time bomb the main Lebanese barracks.” Alliot-Marie also raised doubts about the strategic sense of bombing factories that produce powdered milk for infants.
“And unfortunately, more and more, we are seeing a number of bombardments that are hitting civilians, even convoys of people who were simply seeking to reach Beirut to find shelter have been hit by bombs.”
This certainly isn’t what Israel has advertised.
And it isn’t something people of good conscience should rush to support.
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