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.

8 thoughts on “The Guns of July

  1. I guess I haven’t been clear in what I’ve said. To be specific, I do not like what the Israelis and Hezbollah are doing, but I don’t mean to lay all of the blame at the doorstep of the White House. I’m angry and upset at all of the parties, but I’m particularly upset at my govt because they work for me, they represent me, and I really hate what they are doing. If I had my way, Condi Rice would have gotten on the phone in the first instant and threatened to kill aid to Israel if they did not support a cease fire.

    I’m aware that Hezbollah are bad dudes taking part in illegal actions. Theoretically, I’m not against “surgical strikes” to go after those who are guilty. I am extremely against “shock and awe” type campaigns that kill the innocent.

    There’s nothing I can do about Lebanon and Israel. But it seems that there should be something that I can do about my own govt, and their involvement, or lack of involvement, in the crisis. Maybe I should get out and protest in the street somewhere. If I were still in DC I’d probably carry a sign. That’s a part of democracy (check your First Amendment).

    If I seemed to let Hezbollah off the hook, that wasn’t my intention. Everybody in this thing stinks. And that includes Bush, who has chosen not to be directly involved in peace negotiations in that region for years. The entire Middle East does seem to be imploding, and it doesn’t make me happy to see Bush’s plans failing. It all makes me sick. Maybe you’re right — it might be best to stop paying attention.

  2. Yeah, I don’t believe in “surgical strikes” either. Don’t believe they exist. Bombs don’t look at uniforms before exploding.

    I think too what you say, “If I had my way … ,” is the key. That’s a thing to ponder. If I were the President, I’d _____ . If it were up to me, what would I do differently?

    And so I think about that. And I actually typed in this box here right now “If I were the President in this situation I would” and then I just sat here and pondered and I couldn’t think of anything that I would do.

    Gotta think harder, I guess.

    And I don’t know if the Secretary of State has the power to cut off foreign aid. Seems to me that Congress passes such budgetary matters. Maybe the President could submit to Congress a proposed bill cutting off aid. (Or get a member of the House to do it. I think budget bills have to originate in the House. And members have to submit same.)

    But anyway, what President in their right (political) mind would do such a thing, publicly rebuke Israel so? Only crazies like McKinney and Moran criticize Israel. Nobody would ever discuss, much less pass, any cut in aid. We give ’em a lot of carrots, but I don’t see that we have a stick.

    And with what can we threaten Hezbollah? Seems like our troops are bogged down elsewhere.

  3. I suppose that by “surgical strike” I wasn’t talking about bombs; I was talking about a small, specialized force coming in an capturing or killing terrorists. It’s risky for US troops, and I suppose that it’s not done so much now, if a drone carrying a bomb can accomplish the same goal.

    I do mourn the innocent; the innocent Israelis, innocent Lebanese, innocent Iraqis. By Bush’s own admission at a press conference, “about 30,000” Iraqi civilians have died in this conflict. 30,000 lives. I’m not slamming the prez here, but I truly wonder if he feels that those 30,000 lives had as much meaning as 30,000 Americans, or 30,000 stem cells. I wonder why there is not more of an outcry in the press, in the government, at the water cooler. It weighs heavily on me. Our government attacked Iraq. If we had not, many of those 30,000 people would undoubtedly be alive today. People with dreams, with families. People that had just as much right to exist as you or I. Does anyone care?

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