Friday, July 14, 2006

Hatfields and McCoys

I’ve been hesitant to comment on the latest fighting in the Middle East, knowing that when I do I will probably be attacked for being anti-Israel or some other such nonsense. But I am thoroughly disgusted right now with the Israeli response to the aggression from Hamas and Hezbollah.
Israel is the strongest and most developed country in the region, both economically and militarily, and thus they should be setting the example for others to follow. By this I mean that they should use more restraint in dealing with these militant groups yapping at their heels and not meet every provocation with an equal and more devestating provocation.
And yet Ehmud Olmert, the new Israeli PM, has let loose the dogs of war at the latest provocation by the militants on their border. Many people will say this is entirely justified, but I believe it will only further enflame tensions in the region and force Israel into an ever increasingly defensive posture. It is unfortunate, because Ariel Sharon would probably have had more leeway to use restraint, but it appears that Olmert feels it necessary to take the “eye for an eye” approach to a whole other level. I just have one question, though. When has “getting tough” like this ever worked to resolve all their problems in the past? I have no sympathy for the Hamas and Hezbollah militants, but wreaking havoc on the entire Lebanese population will only serve to radicalize that population as it has done to the Palestinians and will ultimately drive more and more people into the arms of the militants. Al Quaeda, I’m sure, is overjoyed at the prospect.

I essentially agree with this commenter from TPM:

The larger points in the current Israel/Palestine/Lebanon crisis are two: Olmert's apparent lack of "maturity" as PM for lack of a better word, and seeming inability to measure his govt's response, has escalated the situation close to a point of no return. Given the harsh rhetoric and extreme measures being taken it appears the the situation is being run by the war-makers in the cabinet and there seems to be no countervailing voice of reason, moderation or diplomacy. The other is that the crisis has exposed in stark relief the US' utter inability to influence the situation. Bush has nothing to offer, having bought wholesale into the rhetoric of "terror"-he can't ask for moderation, he can't use any bargaining chips, he can't bully Olmert in any of the ways his predecessors have done.

Bush’s response during this ordeal has been truly pathetic.
The most he will do is to meekly ask Israel to “try to limit civilian casualties” as they continue to step up their attacks.
“Hey guys, Try not to kill too many innocent civilians over there, OK? Thanks.”

Maybe someone else will step up to the plate and try and talk sense to these people. It’s obviously not going to come from this administration. We have done nothing to promote peace and stability in the Middle East and have, by contrast, only stirred the pot of resentment with our unprovoked invasion of Iraq.

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