Hard Rain Journal 7-17-06: Middle East Update -- Voices of Reason From Within The Whirlwind
By Richard Power
Newt Gingrich wants you to embrace this moment as the threshold of WWW III. Well, here are some different perspectives. Unfortunately, the individuals articulating these perspectives will not be given any face time with Tim Russert, Bob Schieffer, Wolf Blister, Chris Matthews or George Stephanopoulos....
Beirut was healing itself wonderfully over this last decade. Beirut is worthy of so much more than rockets and bombs that rationalize lies, and lies that rationalize rockets and bombs. But as I wrote in GS3 Intelligence Special Supplement (2-4-06) -- Iran, Hamas, Islamic Fundamentalism, Terrorism, Geopolitical Hegemony, The Great Game & Danish Cartoons: "There is an ugly, gaping chasm opening up beneath our feet. If we are not careful, it will swallow us all. Looking back at the Holocaust, i.e., the Nazi genocide against European Jews in WWII, the philosopher George Santayana wrote: 'Those who fail to understand history are condemned to repeat it.' In very poignant and bitterly ironic ways, Santayana's axiom has a profoundly new significance for all of us..There is very little moral high ground in the Middle East. Any political leader or news media pundit who portrays the situation in terms of absolute good and evil is a liar, an ignoramus, or even worse, a religious fanatic (whether Muslim, Christian or Jew). I do not write much about the Middle East. It only leads to losing old friends and making new enemies."
For six years, the Bush-Cheney has engaged in a policy of malign neglect toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Furthermore, the Bush-Cheney plan for the Middle East as a whole is one of serial military adventures (see Project for A New American Century). Both are aberrant departures from established US foreign policy in the region. Do you understand this?
This posting is not an update on the hateful, narrow-minded rhetoric of the war-mongers from all sides, or on the latest acts of senseless violence from all sides. This is an update on the voices of reason, and what they have to share about this horrific convergence of the slow-witted and the insane.
Here is some cogent analysis from Larry Johnson, Robert Fisk and Matthew Rothschild:
Apparently not content to let the US do a self-immolation act in the Middle East by itself, Israel decided to set itself on fire by invading Lebanon….Olmert has somehow persuaded the Israeli military to ignore strategy, think tactically, and in the process become really stupid….What about Hamas and Hezbollah? They are not terrorists. They carry out terrorist attacks, but they are not terrorists. They are something far more dangerous. They are a fully functioning political, social, religious, and military organizations that use terrorism tactics, but they are far more formidible than terrorist groups like Al Qaeda….While most folks in the United States buy into the Hollywood storyline of poor little Israel fighting for it's survival against big, bad Muslims, the reality unfolding on our TV screens shows something else….Hamas and Hezbollah attacked military targets-kidnapping soldiers on military patrols may be an act of war and a provocation, but it is not terrorism. (And yes, Hezbollah and Hamas have carried out terrorist attacks in the past against Israeli civilians. I'm not ignoring those acts, I condemn them, but we need to understand what the dynamics are right now.) Israel is not attacking the individuals who hit their soldiers. Israel is engaged in mass punishment….The events unfolding in Iraq and Lebanon are going Tehran's way. The United States is being portrayed in the world media as someone who tolerates and excuses attacks on civilian populations….
Larry Johnson, Israel Takes a Stupid Pill, Booman Tribune, 7-15-06
The Lebanese are always left to their fate. Israel's Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, says he holds the Lebanese government responsible for the attacks on the border that breached the international frontier on Wednesday. But Mr. Olmert and everyone knows that the weak and fractious government of the Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora isn't capable of controlling a single militiaman, let alone the hezbollah. Yet wasn't this the same set of Lebanese political leaders congratulated by the United States last year for its democratic elections and its freedom from Syria? Indeed, a man who sees Bush as a friend - perhaps "saw" is a better word - is Saad Hariri, son of the ex-Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri who built much of the infrastructure that Israel is now destroying and whose murder last year - by Syrian agents? - supposedly outraged Mr Bush. Yesterday morning, Saad Hariri, the son, was flying into Beirut when America's Israeli allies arrived to bomb the airport. He had to turn round as his aircraft skulked off to Cyprus for refuge. But it was the undercurrent of terror-speak that was particularly frightening yesterday. Lebanon was an "axis of terror," Israel was "fighting terror on all fronts."…. And the reason why the Israelis had attacked Beirut's infinitely secure and carefully monitored airport, used by diplomats and European leaders, a facility as safe as any in Europe? Because, so said the Israelis, it was "a central hub for the transfer of weapons and supplies to the hezbollah terrorist organisation." If the Israelis really want to know where that hub is, they should be looking at Damascus airport. But they do know that, don't they?
Robert Fisk, From My Home, I Saw What the "War on Terror" Meant, Independent/UK, 7-15-06
Bush and Olmert are playing a dangerous game. It’s the U.S. and Israel against all comers, especially in the Arab and Muslim world But as mighty as the U.S. is, and as mighty as Israel is, both will lose this game in the long run….Now the risk of an even larger regional war cannot be discounted. Israel has already been attacking near the Syrian border, Hezbollah is supported by Syria and Iran, and Iran warns that if Israel attacks Syria, Tehran will retaliate against Israel. Then Bush would have a pretext for bombing Syria and Iran. That may be a dream come true for neocons like Elliott Abrams, who is in the Middle East right now representing the U.S. government….And it may be just what Rumsfeld and Cheney want, too…The amazing thing about U.S. and Israeli policy is how shortsighted it is. What is the endgame here? Israel has attacked Lebanon before, even occupying the southern part of the country for eighteen years, but that did not solve anything. And Israel tried occupying Gaza for four decades, with nothing to show for that, either. At some point, Israel is going to have to rethink its strategy…The status quo is unsustainable. And upping the ante of belligerence is a fool’s gamble.
Matthew Rothschild, Bush and Olmert's Dangerous Game, Progressive, 7-15-06
Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and http://www.wordsofpower.net. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to www.wordsofpower.net
Matthew Rothschild, Israel, Lebanon, Bush, Newt Gingrich, Hezbollah, Geopolitics, Middle East, Robert Fisk, Larry Johnson, Iran, Syria