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"They have a right to defend themselves from terrorism," intoned our Chump in Chief, and that was
the end of any hope for American intervention
or mediation of Israel's savage attack on
the Hezbollah and innocent Lebanese. 'Like
an pricked enraged giant, striking out in
every direction,' said the BBC, as Olmert
showed he wasn't the moderate the world believed
when he carried out the Gaza withdrawal,
but a clumsy second rater who makes even
Sharon look wise.

Apparently, Hezbollah has better missiles
than they used to, but still, the vast majority
were dumb blind rockets, like throwing a
rock at a playground and hoping it would
kill a few scattered kids. To this came the
frenzied thuggish response- blasting the
Beirut airport, blasting apartment buildings,
tearing up the infrastructure, killing 10-20
civilians for every terrorist. To every country
but America, Israel is the one sowing terror
with their inaccurate artillery, and huge
air strikes. To this neocon President and
cabinet, there is obviously nothing Israel
can do that would be beyond the pale- out
of bounds- and Israel is encouraged by this
in their depredations.

Understandably, the Israelis were enraged
by the capture of their soldiers, also the
new tactic against US forces in Iraq.* But
even the normal disproportionate Israeli
reaction of 4 dead Palestinians to every
one dead Israeli was abandoned in their frenzied
response, attacking many targets in Beirut,
South Lebanon, even the West Bank. 400 dead
so far, and counting vs. 30 or so for he
Israeli's (some by their own doing- hitting
a mine in invading Lebanon). The Israeli
invasion and retaliatory strikes in Gaza
have claimed 110 lives. Now the calculus
is 12 to 1 or 16 to 1, or whatever the Israeli's
want to make it. "The question is, whether
the Lebanese can control the Hezbollah,"
intoned the housebroken correspondent, well
aware that any criticism of Israel was forbidden.
No, the question was, "is Israel, by
it's unlimited promiscuous attacks on numerous
innocents and civilians, committing war crimes".
We won't ask that question.

Meanwhile Bush, folksily frat-boy-ternizing
with Blair ("get Hezbollah to stop doing
this sh*t"), and giving unsolicited
neck rubs to a grimacing German premiere
Merkel (smiling, our protective LA Times said, before they erased the photo that
gave lie to their words), as the foreign
press openly snickered at his fantasies about
Iraqi democracy. Bush isn't just blithely
inarticulate, ignorant, careless, and cowardly
in avoiding any responsibility. He's downright
creepy. What the world sees is Lebanon being
pulverized by US jets and bombs; what the
Muslim world sees is America aiding and abetting
Israeli aggression. Most of these rockets
land with the impact of a mortar, while Israel's
artillery is reducing apartment buildings
or blocks.

By blowing the hell out of the Lebanese,
Israel claims to try to force them to reign
in Hezbollah. But Israel's ambassador admits
blithely that Hezbollah is much stronger
than the Lebanese government, making their
attacks blind stupid retribution against
an innocent bystander, as counterproductive
in the long run as America's reckless Iraq
invasion. Now talk is abuzz of invasion,
but security from mobile missiles is a chimera,
and Israel has done all this before, with
painful results. "Invading Lebanon again,
said an Israeli general, "would be like
America going back into Vietnam". And
reprising that 1982 horror may plunge Lebanon
again into another bitter long term civil
war. Few have suffered like Lebanon, repeatedly
invaded, partitioned, bombed, and bullied
by Israel and Syria; and subject to one of
the longest bitterest civil war in modern
history. Finally rebuilt and vibrant, Israel
is shattering it yet again- wantonly and

The Iranian backed Hezbollah are bad guys.
They were responsible for the 1983 Beirut
Marine barracks explosion and US embassy
bombing that killed over 300 Americans, but
Reagan National Security advisor Bud McFarlane
was reportedly eagerly watching as US battleship
shells slammed into Muslim neighborhoods.
We were not honest brokers, and Bush's willful
negligence is threatening to ban us from
that role. Now some think this dishonest
Administration will use Iranian support of
Hezbollah for an attack on Iran.

The useless Kindo-sleazy Rice won't "impose
a settlement", but ignores the manifest danger
of destabilizing the tenuous Lebanese government.
What the world sees is America not lifting
a finger to stop the carnage, but scuttling
frantically to evacuate US citizens, our
precious college girls, who are worth 1000
to 1 of those Arabs. They see that most of
the 21st century weapons decimating the ancient
cities of Lebanon are stamped Made in America.

But, altogether, this sorry conflict- it's
not a war- it's an Israeli general attack
vs. scattered opposition- illustrates the
answer to what people whine in confusion,
"Why do they hate us?". It's not
because of our freedoms. It's dee planes,
boss, dee planes.

* According to Newsweek, in a 2004 previous exchange, Nasrallah won
the release of 400 jailed Palestinians for
one kidnapped businessman, and the Israelis
are holding 10,000 Palestinian prisoners,
many for m inor offenses.

Michael Hammerschlag has no dog in this fight.
His articles have appeared across 14 time
zones, and his father escaped Nazi persecution
on the last boat out.

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Michael Hammerschlag's commentary and articles ( have appeared in NYT, IHT, Seattle Times, Providence Journal, Columbia Journalism Review, Hawaii Advertiser, Capital Times, MediaChannel, Modern Photgraphy; Moscow News, (more...)

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