Thursday, July 27, 2006
Lebanon, July 2006 - Guernica, April 1937
Editorial in The Guardian : "It seems astonishing that the world is still watching rather than acting two weeks after the Lebanon war began. After the international embarrassments of the 1990s, in which Europe watched as Sarajevo's civilian population was assaulted from its surrounding hills and the UN failed to intervene to halt genocide in Rwanda, audiences in Britain and elsewhere in Europe, seeing nightly on television the carnage and despoilation of the Lebanon, rightly expect their governments to respond. And yet nothing happens.
The US alliance with Israel has been a fact of international life for decades, but seldom has Washington acted so blatantly in support of the country and with such disregard for the rest of the international community. By blocking diplomatic action, the US has alienated the Arab world even further. And Britain, shamefully, has been a party to this. Washington and London argue that there is no point in calling for an immediate ceasefire because it would only be a temporary solution and what is needed is a sustainable ceasefire. This is an unusual approach to conflict. It is normal to press for a ceasefire and then try to work out peace terms. To demand a workable peace plan for the Israel-Lebanon first is the stuff of dreams. Israel and Lebanon have now been in conflict since 1982: there is no easy solution on offer.
And Our Soldiers In Iraq
As President Bush plans to deploy more troops in Baghdad, U.S. soldiers who have been patrolling the capital for months describe a deadly and infuriating mission in which the enemy is elusive and success hard to find. Each day, convoys of Humvees and Bradley Fighting Vehicles leave Forward Operating Base Falcon in southern Baghdad with the goal of stopping violence between warring Iraqi religious sects, training the Iraqi army and police to take over the duty, and reporting back on the availability of basic services for Iraqi civilians.
But some soldiers in the 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division -- interviewed over four days on base and on patrols -- say they have grown increasingly disillusioned about their ability to quell the violence and their reason for fighting. The battalion of more than 750 people arrived in Baghdad from Kuwait in March, and since then, six soldiers have been killed and 21 wounded.
"It sucks. Honestly, it just feels like we're driving around waiting to get blown up. That's the most honest answer I could give you," said Spec. Tim Ivey, 28, of San Antonio, a muscular former backup fullback for Baylor University. "You lose a couple friends and it gets hard."