Idiocy in action
After 9/11, Millions of New Yorkers Joined Al Qaeda
That is the bizarre rationale behind those who seek to justify the leveling of southern Lebanon by Israel. If Israel, the "logic" goes, can demonstrate that merely living close to a Hezbollah office can get your children killed by an Israeli bomb, support for Hezbollah will dry up.
In supporting the attacks, Samuel Freedman doesn't bother to focus on the enormous human cost to the Lebanese civilians who, in many instances reported on NPR and elsewhere, appear to have been deliberately targeted by Israeli missile attacks (there's a word to describe deliberate attacks on civilians designed to terrorize them: the word is terrorism). To Freedman, such unfortunate deaths are collateral damage in pursuit of a higher gain. To me, these deaths are clearly immoral and can only serve as a catalyst for further radicalization, endangering Israel's future as a nation.
Some other highlights of Freedman's article include the assumption that Israel really isn't at war with Hezbollah, but Iran. Using that logic, Hezbollah and Israel aren't fighting at all. It's a proxy war between the US and Iran. All of this dovetails very nicely with an insane PNAC fantasy: "we" can eliminate evil (a la Perle/Frum's The End of Evil) if only we are brave enough to use our Kristol balls and tackle the "root causes" of terrorism.* And sure enough, on CNN this weekend, an earnest discussion was held under the caption: "Iran: The Root of Evil?"
Nevermind that the situation is far more complicated than a mere proxy war. You get nowhwere, and fast, unless you immediately, and directly, address the proximate issues. In this case, they are (1) The outrageous kidnapping of Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah; (2) The outrageous and counterproductive destruction of Southern Lebanon by Israel; and (3) the unconsionable and wholesale slaughter, on both sides, of utterly innocent civiilians.
The fighting should stop. Now. A United States foreign policy that does not make that central and absolutely clear is not only immoral. It is insane. It is close to an open declaration of war against Iran and Syria. And if Bush persists, it will be a war that will last a generation and will accomplish nothing good for the US.
As for Israel, it is a dangerous illusion to think that turning Syria and Iran into Hobbesian dystopias similar to Afghanistan and Iraq will somehow make Israel safer. Any genuine friend of Israel should demand an immediate, total cease-fire.
Maybe the people so ready to assail Israel now should have been watching more closely a few months ago when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran convened a conference devoted to the exterminatory premise of a "world without Zionism." Maybe they should have been listening more closely when Ahmadinejad declared his desire to "wipe Israel off the map."
Oh, we listened closely, all right and you needn't tell us how obscene it was. But what else could you expect? Unfortunately, you, Samuel Freedman, didn't listen closely when a few years before that, an American president in one of the most important speeches in the modern world, declared Iran, Iraq, and North Korea an Axis of Evil. If Hezbollah equals Iran, then Israel equals the US. Given Bush's incredibly stoopid (spelled appropriately) words and action, it can only appear to Iran's leader as if eliminating Israel will remove a real, imminent, threat to Iran's very existence.
Israel has every right to protect itself. Therefore, it should immediately stand down, withdraw all troops from Lebanese territority, and put plenty of political distance between itself and those nuts, including the US president, urging them to tickle the Iranian dragon. To call the present course of action increasingly dangerous is to indulge in gross understaement.
*And let's not forget that the infamous PNAC paper outlining the conquest of Iraq, "A Clean Break," was written for Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel, in order to solicit proposals to make Israel, not the US, safer.
posted by Steve @ 2:20:00 AM