Saturday, July 15, 2006

The World on Fire

For the last four days I've gone to bed with the knowledge that when I wake up, the whole world may be at war again. I wonder if this is not how it felt to be living in Eurpoe in 1914 or 1938 or America in the early months of 1861. I know I haven't felt this feeling since 1989.

Maybe if it were somewhere else in the world, these issues would be less emotional, and rationality may win out over narrative and ideology. But this is the Holy Land. Jerusalem. The Wall. The Lionheart. The Mosque. The Diaspora. The Sepulchre. Solomon. The Tomb of the Patriarchs. Beirut. The Crusades. Saladin. The Holocaust. Damascus. The Intifada. The Seven Day's War. Munich. Jihad.

Even though the current troubles are all the product of the modern era, you can feel a million ghosts watching us from the wreckage of history, and we are again awash in the ocean of blood that stains those sacred hardscrabble hills. This is the old grudge.

Here is your round-up.

Publius Pundit revisits the Cedar Revolution and the hope that existed watching the Lebanese drive Syria away last year. This hope is that what is going on right now will be more beneficial to Israel and Lebanon in the long run. That would, undoubtedly be the best case scenario, but could also be the longest shot bet.
Political Editor Sarkis Naoum, writing in the influential Lebanese daily An-Nahar, wrote, "The ’state of Lebanon’ held responsible by Israel for yesterday’s Hezbollah operation does not exist and may never exist in the foreseeable future… How can such a state exist when the war-and-peace decision is not in its hands and its influence on the Lebanese who have it, that’s if indeed they have it, is little or in fact nonexistent?" They want peace. Hezbollah, on the other hand, wants nothing to do with the concept, making the decision for war itself, and dragging everyone else down along with it.
The Israeli military has said that it may conduct operations for months, the main purpose being to completely eliminate Hezbollah’s operations apparatus, sending the group scrambling for cohesiveness.
At this point, when the group no longer has direction and leadership, the Lebanese Army can move in and re-take the south from its hands. It is important that the Lebanese Army do this. An Israeli occupation would lend legitimacy to Hezbollah as a resistance to the foreign occupying power, so Israel must be careful not to alienate Lebanese opinion so far away from it that the public must of necessity support Hezbollah in order to make Israel leave.
Destroying Hezbollah is in its short-term strategic interest, so working with the Lebanese Army to help establish the country’s sovereignty is a must. In the long-term, however, neither Israel nor Lebanon will be safe from the destructive influence of Syria and Iran until those countries have in place democratic regimes that are accountable to their people. It’s as simple as that. Hopefully this strategic blow will be the first step toward that end, an end that is desired by the Lebanese people themselves, a completion of the Cedar Revolution.

DADvocate defends Israeli actions, echoing a sentiment that is very common among Americans watching events unfold.

A La Gauche wonders if Israel is targeting civilians intentionally, and then goes on to engage in the blame game. This echos sentiment common among Americans in the left-left, in my experience.

Milipundit at Jack's Blog takes this very appropriate time to equate the United Nations with terrorists, thereby reinforcing American right wing narrative that the UN is a creeping enemy that we would rather not have on our side at times like this.

I wonder if Milipundit would make the same connection with The Vatican, whose position seems ideologically similar to that of the United Nations in this case.

1 comment:

dadvocate said...

Very scary stuff.

Reminded me of how I felt during the Cuban Missile Crisis. (Man, am I old!) Wrote about it over at my blog. So far my kids don't seem to affected. I hope it stays that way.