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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 6/11/13

Kerry Delays Orwellian Trip to Middle East

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Secretary of State John Kerry has delayed his fifth "peace process" trip to Israel/Palestine.

The Secretary will remain in Washington to attend strategy sessions on Syria.

The delay in starting his fifth trip should give Kerry time to add the writings of George Orwell and Rashid Khalidi to his Tel Aviv flight reading assignment.

The Washington strategy sessions on Syria which delayed Kerry's trip, were hastily arranged after a major military encounter at Al-Qusayr, Syria.

Hezbollah, which the New York Times recently described as "the powerful Lebanese Shiite Muslim organization," (eschewing, surprisingly, the usual pejorative media phrase: "which Israel and the US consider a terrorist group") joined President Bashar al-Assad's regular Syrian army forces in a major military victory in the Syrian civil war.

Here is how the Times reported on that battle in the city of Al-Qusayr, as the map above reveals, is a crucial border crossing point between Lebanon and Syria, which is a matter of considerable interest to Israel.

"Last week, Hezbollah fighters helped the Syrian government seize the strategic crossroads town of Qusayr, near the Lebanese border, from rebels who had held it for more than a year. ... Hezbollah's core followers in Lebanon have been unwavering in their support for the group's recent escalation of its role in Syria, even as dozens of Hezbollah fighters have been killed or injured fighting in Syria against fellow Arab Muslims -- a new kind of battle for a group that was founded to fight Israel."

Al-Qusayr complicates John Kerry's task as a peace envoy when next he travels to Tel Aviv. The "peace process" of which this next trip is just the latest episode, has been built on decades of deceit.

Increasingly, that deceit has been exposed for all to see, and except in Israel, lament.

Syria's and Hezbollah's victory at Al-Qusayr leaves the US uncertain on what to do next in Syria in a civil war in which Israel and Palestinian loyalties are in opposition. Which side are we on, Mr. Secretary?  

As the latest in a long line of US peace envoys stepping into the Middle East quagmire, Kerry will be required to carry out his unpleasant assignment of "defending the indefensible," when he claims he is negotiating between Israel and Palestine in "good faith."

"Defending the indefensible" is the phrase George Orwell used 67 years ago, in his important 1946 essay, "Politics and the English Language." That phrase stands today as harsh judgment of decades of deceit by US diplomats who claimed an "honest broker" role in peace negotiations.

Orwell's essay was published between the publication dates of Orwell's two major books, Animal Farm and 1984

In his essay, Orwell wrote:

"In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. 

"Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population rectification of frontiers

"People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them."

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James Wall served as a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois, from 1999 through 2017. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced (more...)

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