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Date Posted: 07:46:36 07/24/06 Mon
Author: Chuck in ND
Subject: The latest Middle East crisis--dh's latest

As you can see, dh's position is somewhat different from the neo-cons--Rush, Sean, Laura Ingrahm and the like.

(P.S. Below is the version dh submitted. For some inexplicable reason--either for space or because they didn't like the content--the paper deleted about 150 words from an already lean column.)


Israel Gets a Pass from the US

What has caused an Israeli general to say he wanted to “turn back the clock in Lebanon 20 years”? The latest spark is the capture of an Israeli soldier by Hamas in Gaza and two more by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. Note well: soldiers, not citizens. One doesn’t kidnap soldiers, one takes them as prisoners of war.

But Israel’s response has been extraordinary. It has crippled Gaza’s water, food and power supplies. As if the recent beach massacre of Palestinians were not enough, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert plans to make Gazans’ lives miserable enough to, supposedly, force them to oust or rein in Hamas. The Geneva Conventions forbid tormenting a civilian populace to further military ends, but no matter. Israel has given itself carte blanche, with America’s full blessing.

Meanwhile Israel is also busy bombing power plants, roads, bridges, and assorted other targets in Lebanon. Now, Israel is fully justified in defending itself, so Hezbollah targets are fair game. But what possible reason can there be for leveling Lebanon’s infrastructure other than as a punishment for the whole country? It’s no secret that Hezbollah is more powerful than Lebanon’s military and that conflict between the two would likely lead to yet another civil war. Thus it’s highly unlikely that the Lebanese could simply rise up and give Hezbollah the heave-ho even if they wanted to.

In the meantime Israel’s bombing and missile raids in Lebanon which preceded Hezbollah’s return fire have killed few terrorists but have managed to slaughter hundreds of civilians. Hezbollah has in turn managed to murder some Israeli civilians but the Israeli/Arab ratio of civilian deaths is around the usual 10 to 1.

Needless to say Lebanese pleas for a ceasefire have fallen on deaf ears. The Bush administration’s stunning position seems to be one against a truce of any kind until Hezbollah is extinct or impotent. President Bush may well be the first American president to encourage further bloodshed between Israel and its neighbors rather than strive for peace.

On the other hand, perhaps Israel is merely following America’s example. Didn’t our Secretary of State Madeleine Albright remark that the deaths of a half million Iraqi civilians from U.S.-inspired sanctions was “worth it”? And let’s not forget our military’s successful efforts during the first Gulf War to destroy Iraq’s infrastructure , which, if you take the Geneva Conventions (and which the U.S. signed) seriously, were war crimes.

The afflicted Lebanese and Gazans should expect no quarter from mainstream American politicians and talking heads of either liberalism or conservatism. And of course the same group of Americans Bush so easily manipulated for his war with Iraq is yet again in the forefront, bellowing for Arab blood as always.

The irony of America’s relationship with Israel, which is that of both sugar daddy and willing accomplice, is striking. Israel was in large part founded on terrorist acts. Indeed, Israeli prime ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir as members of the Irgun and the Stern Gang were the real thing—bona fide terrorists. Palestinians who are casting about for a successful terrorist role model need only look to Israel.

Clearly the Holocaust plays a huge role in Americans’ loathing to criticize Israel. Take that country to task for any reason and be prepared for accusations of wanting to fire up Dachau’s ovens again. A few politicians and authors who have dared to deal with Israel even-handedly have had their careers ended or diminished; the rest either keep a discreet silence or enthusiastically show their support no matter what. Nonetheless, it’s not in America’s interest to blindly back whatever Israel does.

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