Daily Archives: July 24, 2006

The Guns of July

Israel continues to fight on two fronts. With as hot & troubled as things are in the Middle East, some wise folks are wondering if maybe this is what the summer of 1914 felt like, before everybody got involved. Not me so much, oddly. After some major jitteriness last week, I’ve calmed down quite a bit. I don’t pay too much attention to it.

CPC is terribly upset by it, though. I think maybe he’s reacting the way that I reacted to Israel’s first invasion of Lebanon, back in 1982, back when I paid a lot more attention to such things. I remember when Israel actually had to admonish its troops, tell them quite emphatically that burying Palestinians alive with backhoes was strictly frowned upon. I remember that the U.S. sent troops to Beirut, then we turned tail & bolted after the barracks bombing (likely perpetrated by Hezbollah). But then U.S. warships fired artillery shells willy-nilly into Beirut.

So the U.S. lobbing 16-inch shells into Beirut in 1983, that upset me. The U.S. bombing Baghdad in 1991, that upset me. But the rest of the world didn’t agree with me. They didn’t seem to care. This was United Nations sanctioned bombing. We had a big old parade when it was all over. And so I figured I must just be weird.

So now Israel is bombing Beirut. And the President shrugs his shoulders and says that Hezbollah needs to knock that shit off. And we can just veto anything anybody comes up with in the Security Council. And so then how much outrage do I have left? Not much, apparently.

But, I do have to say, that when CPC directly blames the U.S., our President and our Secretary of State, I actually can’t agree with him. Sure, we have a lot more influence over Israel than we do over Syria, say. Or Iran. Or Hezbollah. But Israel is not our puppet state; they are quite independent actors. CPC seems to think that we can just tell Israel to stop, and they’ll stop. But I think that even apart from the fact that the President doesn’t want to tell Israel to stop, Israel wouldn’t stop even if he did tell them.

Now, it’s also true that we do give Israel tons o’ money, which may you think earn us a little influence, a little say as to how that money is spent. Or may not earn us that. Depends on how you look at the relationship, I guess. And I’d just as soon prefer that the U.S. not tell other people how to go about their business. Something about not removing the mote in one’s neighbor’s eye until we attend the beam in our own. I think maybe it’s a little gauche to be criticizing Israel’s invasion of Lebanon while we’re still occupying Iraq.

So, of course, I’ll go on pretending that I know what’s best, that I can tell you what’s right and wrong, that I can tell Israel what they should or shouldn’t do. Nobody’s going to listen to me anyway. And I got big old railroad ties in my eyes.