Archive for July, 2006

Coddling Condi

Monday, July 31st, 2006

Poor Condi Rice. Brilliant, well-educated, ambitious. Too bad she hooked her star to Bush’s black hole. But our corporate media still loves her. American corporate media, from CNN to the Washington Post, paints a kinder, gentler picture of her cancelled visit to Beirut over the weeekend. Here’s an example from today’s Washington Post: “The extensive loss of life in Qana, which a shaken Rice deemed “tragic,” prompted the cancellation of her planned trip to Beirut…”

But the Lebanon Daily Star tells it differently:

Rice had been scheduled to meet [Lebanese Prime Minister] Siniora Sunday, but was told by the prime minister that there was nothing to talk about until a cease-fire is put in place: “She called me this morning and I told her clearly ‘there is no other time than now to call for an immediate cease-fire.”

Qana, Louisiana

Sunday, July 30th, 2006

I stayed up all last night, watching the horrors of Qana unfold on CNN. As usual, CNN dutifully reported that Israel had told the Lebanese to leave their homes. Never mind that most of them had no transportation, or that Israel has systematically destroyed the roads and bombed civilian vehicles traveling away from the region. They were warned, so the hell with them.

In an only slightly less murderous fashion, the U.S. government excused its abject failures post-Hurricane Katrina. New Orleanians were told to evacuate. Never mind that the poor, like those in Qana, had no way to get out, and nowhere to go if they did. They were warned, so the hell with them.

New Orleans and Qana are victims of economic cleansing. Bush’s refusal to call for a ceasefire in Lebanon is only a variation on his refusal to call for an immediate response to Hurricane Katrina. If you wait long enough, problems resolve themselves by dying.

Time to change

Saturday, July 29th, 2006

After three weeks of aerial bombardment of epic proportions, Hezbollah is still standing, still firing rockets at Israel. Hundreds of Lebanese are dead, at least 700,000 are homeless. Dozens of Israelis are also dead, including many civilians. Rarely mentioned by corporate media is the fact that Hezbollah did not start shooting rockets at Israel until after Israel started dropping American-made bombs from American-made bombers on Lebanese civlians. Israeli atrocities commenced over two captured soldiers. Had Hezbollah captured four soldiers, Israel would likely have nuked Beirut.

After three years of unrelenting and escalating conflict in Iraq, a variety of Iraqi resistance groups are still standing. Thanks to strategic errors by Rumsfeld and Bremer, these forces are well-armed. From sporadic attacks on coalition soldiers, the resistance has become a civil war with a thousand fronts. That Iraqis are now killing one another is proof positive that they no longer consider the U.S. a viable enemy. Our soldiers are targets of opportunity, not a force to be reckoned with anymore.

I don’t know what to call the ideology that gave us Iraq and Lebanon. No word I care to use on this forum adequately describes the people who subscribe to that ideology. What can be said, though, is that the ideology is a colossal, bloody failure. Buried in the rubble of consequences there is some truth, if we brush away the soot and open our eyes.

Fake peace

Thursday, July 27th, 2006

Bush and Rice are fond of saying the only peace they will accept in Lebanon is a “lasting peace,” as opposed to a “fake peace.” Bush said it again today. I’m sure that’s a great comfort to the 700,000 homeless Lebanese and their dead compatriots, numbering in the hundreds. Bush, as usual, is lying.

Perpetuating the myth

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

To function as a whole person in the world, you have to know yourself, good and bad, foolish and wise. Knowing your shortcomings lets you apply the brakes when your inner devils try to lead you into reckless behavior. You might like a bottle of wine with your steak, but if you’re driving, you have Perrier instead. Self-knowledge is a necessary prerequisite to self-restraint. Impulsive, self-destructive behavior is a symptom of self-delusion. Governments, an extension and association of individuals, are equally susceptible to self-delusion. Impulsive, self-destructive governmental behavior leads to tragedies like the one unfolding in Lebanon, and the three-year nightmare of Iraq.

Non-governmental civic leaders would do us all a favor if they tempered their patriotism with some reality-speak. Alas, they are as self-deluded as the Bush Administration. (more…)

Lebanese Holocaust, Day 15

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

Israel’s blitzkrieg of Lebanon is now in its third week, and no end is in sight. Israeli Chief of Staff Dan Halutz says the war will go on “as long as necessary.” I wish he’d define “necessary.” How many innocent Lebanese civilians must be killed and displaced, how many Israeli civilians and soldiers, and how many U.N. observers must die, before Halutz is satisfied?

Blood sacrifices

Sunday, July 23rd, 2006

Looking at the pictures from Lebanon makes me physically ill. How can they not affect Olmert and Bush? Are they really murders? Of course they are. You have a right to defend yourself, but you cannot legally or morally shoot dead everyone in the room because one person slapped you. Why would Israel go to such extreme and pointless lengths?

Israel’s stated intent is to disarm Hezbollah and recover two captured soldiers. The concept of “collateral damage” is more or less accepted these days. But is their intelligence so bad, their aiming ability so dysfunctional, that they have to level entire city blocks and destroy Lebanon’s infrastructure? Not likely. Lebanon, barely recovered from civil war and a previous Israeli occupation, is in ruins. Israel’s intent to kill innocent civilians is undeniable. Israel revels in the holocaust they are wreaking. IDF officers speak of “pulverizing” “bundles of targets,” as if they were target shooting with Dick Cheney. Which they are. The other day I said Israel bragged about dropping 23 tons of bombs in one day. I was wrong. They actually said they’d dropped 23 tons of bombs on one building, trying to kill one person, the Hezbollah leader. Having expended most of their arsenal, Israel has placed a rush order — with the Unted States — for more bombs. As there is no apparent practical reason to destroy Lebanon and terrorize its population, there must be a less-apparent reason.

It’s time for a vacation

Sunday, July 23rd, 2006

Americans are gassing up their SUVs and going on vacation. As a break from all the war talk, here’s what some people are doing on their vacations this year.

War without end. Amen.

Friday, July 21st, 2006

The United States has not lost the “war on terror.” That war never existed, and never could. Terror is a method, a means of achieving some object. Terror is not an ideology, like communism or Christianity. Terror is an equal-opportunity weapon. Terror has been used to effect by a wide spectrum of groups, from the Catholic Church to the Khmer Rouge, and al-Qaeda to Israel. Terror is cheap. To the extent that its victims are indeed terrified, it is effective. Unlike matter, terror can be created, but it can never be destroyed. You may kill practitioners of terror, or “terrorists.” That may bring some respite in one part of the world, but unless the practitioners’ motives are understood and nulled, the terror will return, often with even greater ferocity.

Speak out, or shut up?

Thursday, July 20th, 2006

In today’s Media Notes column, Washington Post writer Howard Kurtz asks: “Does an opinion writer have to have an opinion on everything? More to the point, does such a writer have to weigh in on the Middle East?” Kurtz goes on to note that many liberal bloggers are not commenting on the Israeli attacks on Palestine and Lebanon. Several bloggers’ rationales for their silence are quoted. Kurtz also asks if a blogger’s “gut feelings” are worth sharing with the world. Why not, when the leader of the world’s only superpower shares his gut feelings with the world at the point of a gun? Are gut feelings all we non-major-media writers have to offer? Are facts and reasoned opinions limited only to people carrying Washington Post business cards?