Thursday, July 20, 2006
Destruction of Lebanon
It is a naked demonstration of power. Power of vastly superior military force. Let the pundits argue about "over reaction" and Hezbollah's "miscalculation". It is indisputable that Israel is determined to destroy Lebanon's economy and infrastructure. If hapless civilians get caught in the attacks and die, it is the cost they must pay to be Lebanese or a resident of Lebanon. President Bush made it clear where he stood on the issue; according to him the Israelis are defending themselves. The peace mission by Secretary Rice is not likely to take place until the Israelis have achieved their objective, world opinion be damned. But in the long run are they really going to be safe? For every innocent life they take they create a recruit for extremist Islamic groups. They can be defiant but at the cost of being despised not only in the Middle East but also in much of the civilized world. Misery and suffering being inflicted upon thousands of people are bound to have a long lasting effect that will bode Israel no good. Washington Post: "The United States faces growing tensions with allies over its support of Israel's military campaign to cripple Hezbollah, amid calls for a cease-fire to help with the mounting humanitarian crisis."
- European allies are particularly alarmed about the disproportionately high civilian death toll in Lebanon. They are also concerned that the U.S. position will increase tensions between the Islamic world and the West by fueling militants, playing into the rhetoric of Osama bin Laden and adding to the problems of the U.S.-led coalition force in Iraq.
- The fragile Lebanese government has pleaded for a cease-fire, and France has urged the U.N. Security Council to adopt a resolution calling for an end to hostilities, proposing political and security measures. France also has called for "humanitarian corridors" to guarantee safety for civilians fleeing areas under fire.
- More than 500,000 people -- about one in eight in a country smaller than Connecticut -- have been displaced, according to the Lebanese government.