[ | | | 12 interested person(s) ]

This Middle East stuff is getting out of hand and downright frightening. I question Israel's rational and the strategy they are using as they bring Lebanon to its knees, regardless of the human suffering. The death toll is rapidly approaching 400 in Lebanon and approximately 900,000 people have been displaced.

While Rice might think this is just the "birth pangs of a New Middle East," I think this is getting close to some WW3 level shit. Iraq is a mess, Iran hates just about everyone outside of Syria and a rogue terrorist group who continues to fire missiles into a neighboring country, it is just being reported that Pakistan has launched a huge nuclear arms drive, South Korea remains a problem and Israel thinks that bombing a country back 20 years and targeting civilians and infrastructure, and blocking UN rescue efforts is a way to fight terrorism. The violence is isolating so rapidly that I don't see any end in site. This is all grouped with reports that Israel is preparing for a ground invasion of a country that didn't even attack it (sound familiar?).

Compounding this is that the US is no longer in any type of situation to negotiate with Hezbollah and the people that can the US has locked out (not to mention we are lead by a warmonger ourselves). In the past the US provided a channel for trying to bring about a ceasefire and end to the violence, yet we are now strapped with a war we cannot win (Iraq), a country which we provide billions of dollars of military aid each year (Israel), and a situation which we refusing to take an active role in. But we call the killing of 400 and the displacement of almost a million just "birth pangs."

Hopefully...soon...the violence will be too much for those involved to stomach. I just don't see that happening. Lebanon is on the verge of an immense humanitarian crisis and Hezbollah refuses to rein in its attacks. I can not remember a more scary situation then the one that is going on right now in the middle east. Perhaps the most troubling to me as an American was that the Bush Administration refused to engage in diplomacy sooner and refused to impose a cease-fire, something that was within his power to do or at least beg for.

Mp3: Swayzak - "Ease My Mind" (buy)

Link: There Are Worse Things Than the Status Quo by Fred Kaplan (Slate)

12 interested person(s)

Anonymous said... @ 7/25/2006 02:42:00 AM

Didn't they tell us that the reason militant muslims hated us and were willing to attack us was because "They were jealous of our freedoms".The death count in Israel is almost three dozen. About a third of the 350+ dead in Lebanon are children. As a father I can say that If any foreign army invaded the U.S., killed my children and forced me and 1 Million of my neighbors out of our homes with no means to seek justice, who know's what we'd be willing to do. Even Israel said that the people of Lebanon were not to blame. You would'nt guess it by the way they trivialize their deaths.

red one said... @ 7/25/2006 10:55:00 AM

Israel's attack on Lebanon is horrific and Bush and Blair's general cheerleading is sick. It's like War on Iraq: the remix. And of course Gaza got the warm-up assault from Israel a couple of weeks ago and is presumably still struggling on without electricity (air con, water pumps etc). But the war machine moved on to Lebanon and Gaza is forgotten... If this is the birth pangs, I have feeling the baby isn't going to be very nice.

thanks for the Roots track below. I need music. I can't stand the telly or the newspapers any more.

Vlad said... @ 7/25/2006 01:46:00 PM

so, how exactly should israel react to the situation then? israel didnt start this conflict... it was hezbollah's capturing of israeli troops that started everything. is israel just supposed to sit back and do nothing? is it supposed to just ask nicely for the return of its soldiers and hope that hezbollah is kind enough to let them go? it's really easy to sit here in the US and bag on israel, but i gurantee you that if Mexico was firing rockets into LA or Canada was firing rockets into Seattle, we'd react as well.

K. said... @ 7/25/2006 01:58:00 PM

i hear you there vlad. but do you think that the punishment is fitting the crime?

I understand the dilemma. Its very hard as you say to judge the conflict sitting here in the US.

vlad said... @ 7/25/2006 02:13:00 PM

i dont necessarily think that the punishment fits the crime, but at the same time, what kind of punishment would fit the crime? let's say israel did a tit-for-tat strategy and just captured two of hezobllah's people. would that stop hezbollah? the way i see it is that sadly enough, there really is no alternative other than to hit them and hit them hard. what *should* have been done, is that the lebanese government should have prevented hezbollah from attacking israel in the first place. in fact, according to the UN resolution, lebanon had agreed that it would disarm any militias in its country. but, despite everything, lebanon does support hezbollah and hezbollah's actions. so, as long as lebanon gives terrorist organizations free reign to attack israel, if lebanon wont do anytihng about hezbollah, israel will...

Zedd said... @ 7/25/2006 03:22:00 PM

Listen Vlad -- it's ridiculous to suggest that this started when Hezbollah staged an attack and captured two Israeli soldiers. The situation is much more complex than that. Why does Hezbollah even exist as an organization in the first place? Because of Israel's -illegal- policies of occupation and annexation. But more specifically, if you look at the context of this particular situation, Hezbollah is upset because Israel holds over 9000 Arab Civilians prisoner. "According to the Ramallah-based Mandela Institute for Human Rights, there are 9,600 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails and detention centers, among them 130 Palestinian women. Defense for Children International puts the number of Palestinian children in Israeli custody at 388."

Immediately after they kidnapped these two Israeli soldiers, they contacted the government of Israel to conduct a prisoner exchange, specifically for the women and CHILDREN that are sitting in Israeli prisons right now. Prisoner exchanges have been apart of this conflict for a long time, and they've usually worked as such. Not to say this is any kind of solution to the problems here, or even a reasonable practice, but the fact of the matter is Israel has -at least- as much responsiblity as Hezbollah and other groups in stopping it as they hold a huge number of Arab civilians prisoner.

But, let's say that these prisoners were ALL there legitimately. Even the children. Regardless, Israel is not only punishing Hezbollah in their bombing campaign, but the entire nation of Lebanon, especially the civilians. 900,000 displaced and a few hundred killed, a significant number of them children. Bridges, power plants, water treatment facilities, and airports all have been bombed. Hospitals are losing power, people in intensive care are at risk of dying. Are these people responsible? Is this a reasonable response for the kidnapping of -two- Israelis? No, it isn't. It's not legal -- it violates the UN Charter, it violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights -- and it violates common sense morality.

But even beyond these issues, one other question remains. Will this action even lead to Hezbollah's defeat, or better yet, will this lead to more security for Israel? Right now, it looks like Hezbollah is staging plenty of rocket attacks, even with the heavy bombardment from Israel. They have not wavered since this conflict started. Furthermore, this action doesn't exactly win Israel more friends in the Arab world. It only solidifies the image of Israel as a terrorizer of its neighbors and as an oppressor of the Palestinians.

The United States should be pressuring Israel into a ceasefire right NOW. We need to get the United Nations involved and we need to support and assist the Lebanese in dealing with Hezbollah. The government of Lebanon does not want them, at least not in their current form, as they pretty much have control over a good portion of Southern Lebanon. Hezbollah needs to disarm, yes. But, how can we possibly expect this to happen if Israel continues its policies of occupation and annexation? In my opinion, I don't believe we can... this has to be a two-sided solution, otherwise this cycle will continue to intensify and repeat itself.

vlad said... @ 7/25/2006 05:19:00 PM

zedd,

you said "how can we possibly expect this to happen if Israel continues its policies of occupation and annexation?". what exactly are these policies? i dont see israel going around trying to occupy and annex places. if anything, over the last several years, israel has given the gaza strip over to palestine. israel would never have attacked lebanon if those soldiers weren't captured. sure you can say that all hezbollah wanted was a prisoner exchange, but how is a country supposed to respond to that? if israel made it a policy to just hand out foreign prisoners each time that a terrorist organization kidnapped their soldiers, that would just invite more people to capture israeli soldiers.

the only thing they can do is fight back. and unfortunately, it's very difficult to fight an enemy that is out there disperesed among the civilian population. if hezbollah just had a few bunkers out in the middle of nowhere, the solution would be easy, but given that hezbollah's people are spread out in many different cities, it makes the fighting a lot more difficult.

again, i ask, what do you reccommend that israel do? if you dont think they should be using bombs against hezbollah targets because of civillian casualties, how *can* israel stop hezbollah? it's not like the lebanese govt would assist them with this. when the israeli soldiers were captured, the lebanese govt didnt say it wanted to join israel in fighting hezbollah. in fact, the lebanese govt has done nothing about hezbollah for ages and instead hezbollah has had free reign to do as they please.

you say that "this has to be a two-sided solution" and i totally agree with that, and yet it seems that each time a two-sided solution is reached, israel tries to keep its end of the deal and the other side doesnt. w/ palestine, israel agreed to "trade land for peace". they left gaza, and uprooted the israeli settlements there. that was their part. and yet palestine never upheld it's part fo the deal, and they continue to shoot rockets into israel all the time. w/ lebanon, the last time that there was fighting between lebanon and israel was during the lebanese civil war. since then, israel has withdrawn all of its troops and has not provoked lebanon. yet, despite UN charters that say that Lebanon must disband all of its militias, hezbollah continues to operate in lebanon and captures israeli soldiers.

so, exactly how is a "two-sided solution" to be reached, if each time that israel does its part, it just gets attacked again?

Anonymous said... @ 7/25/2006 07:15:00 PM

The point that troubles me most is what Zedd stated:

"Israel is not only punishing Hezbollah in their bombing campaign, but the entire nation of Lebanon, especially the civilians...Bridges, power plants, water treatment facilities, and airports all have been bombed."

They are not targeting Hezbollah but the entire country but specifically core things that are needed for CIVILIAN survival. Not sure if you two would agree but it seems to me that if the best course of action is that the UN or some type of force was able to ally with the Lebanesse government to weeding out Hezbollah from the inside. Of course this would have to first follow a ceasefire which I think can happen given that the powers that be provide SERIOUS incentives to Syria to start a dialogue with Hezbollah to stop the shelling.

It's not reasonable for one side to make demands regardless of how ridiculous you think the other side is just doesn't work. You need to negotiate and outline key benefits to a ceasefire and incentives for cooperating.

I don't think that Israel will be successful in weeding out Hezbollah by leveling the entire country. It is only going to make non-Hezbollah Lebanesse more angry at Israel which in turn will increase Hezbollah's numbers. The only course of action that I can see is a ceasefire negotiated by somebody that Hezbollah trusts.

The cycle of violence needs to stop somewhere I am just not clear quite yet who is going to take the stand and not retialiate with force.

rickdog said... @ 7/26/2006 01:52:00 PM

this whole cycle of violence was mitigated by the corrupt u.s. administration - a step towards the solution is to rid the evil powers here in the u.s.

i find it interesting that any force that is against our interests are labeled "terrorists". as an analogy consider this: if the u.s. was not a superpower but weak like iran and iran was a superpower, and iran illegally invaded canada, tortured it's people, and had it in their playbook to drop nuclear bombs on u.s. assets, would the u.s. be labeled terrorists because they resisted and fought back by whatever means that were available to it?

what the hell do you expect the islamic nations to do? they've been savaged and tortured for no reason, of course they'll do what they feel needs to be done. the west has lost it's empathy, we no longer even try to follow the golden rule.

jds said... @ 7/26/2006 08:06:00 PM

Sorry guys, but I'm focusing not on the issue, but K's use of the red balloon stencil. 99 luftballons anyone? Bombings, war, etc? Nice tie-in.

K. said... @ 7/26/2006 09:09:00 PM

jds check out Banksy the guy has some crazy crazy graffiti. top notch stuff.

Package said... @ 8/15/2006 06:16:00 PM

Rickdog, you must be kidding. How can you compare our administration with Iran? Do you think Iranians have the luxury to speak out? Why not? Did we do that too? I suppose so. Keeping feeding the aligator, maybe it will eat you last.

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