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New American Body Count

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Message Larry Sakin
Republicans must be breathing a huge sigh of relief. The new Middle East conflict between Israel and Lebanese Hezbollah has practically wiped the Iraqi civil war off the media radar screen, and tales of failed American foreign policy in Iraq with it. And right before the 2006 Midterm Elections, too. Maybe God is a Republican after all.

In an effort to qualm any fears of a quick ceasefire, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has announced she's meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Hezbollah leaders have not been included in the talks) in Jerusalem next week to make plans for a 'long term peace'. Rice is in no hurry. The conflict brewed for a month before the battle began without as much as a peep from Foggy Bottom or the White House. President Bush expressed tepid support of Israel, saying that Israel needs to defend herself yet "practice restraint". Oh yes, and we all know how good the Likud government is at restraint. Expect the negotiations between the US and the Middle East to last long enough to motivate the Republican base to vote in the midterms.

But it's not just the Iraq War that's been shuttled to the back pages. On Tuesday, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee that President Bush effectively blocked in inter-agency investigation of the NSA phone records probe. This little shocker didn't even make the top news stories in the New York Times.

Beyond the magical disappearance of Republican woes from the front pages, neoconservatives are ecstatic at the prospect of another full scale battle which will engage American troops. Neocons are already saying that both Iran and Syria have thrown their weight behind Lebanese Hezbollah, calling for American military action. They want to create a semi-ring of fire that stretches all the way from the banks of the Mediterranean to the Caspian Sea. While they won't say it in public, they understand Iraq is beginning to look a lot like Vietnam and they want desperately to move troops into another struggle to prove American might and justify even larger military budget outlays. Has anyone in the corporate media been covering that story? I don't think so.

In the meantime, hundreds of Iraqi civilians and some American troops have perished this week without even a casual notice from the press. All the intrepid network and cable news rock stars booked first class accommodations for their stays in Tel Aviv to present us the horrid plight of little Israel facing off against big bad Lebanon and Muslims who are chomping at the bit to kill Jews and Christians alike. The Lebanese civilian body count is treated with disdain, coming after stories about our kindly State Department waving fees for American civilians needing Marines to help them get the hell out of Lebanon.

It won't be long before there will be some kind of "attack" on an American warship to drag our soldiers into the Israeli-Hezbollah crisis. Troops in Iraq will be re-deployed to the area, leaving a skeleton crew to deal with 'stabilization' efforts. The news readers will begin a new American military body count to symbolize our commitment to so-called liberty. And the Republicans will again have their day in the voting booths.
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Larry Sakin is a former non-profit medical organization executive and music producer. His writing can be found on, Blogcritics, OpEd News, The People's Voice, Craig's List and The Progressive magazine. He also advocates for literacy and (more...)
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