Israel has deployed the world's most sophisticated military hardware against the largely defenseless civilian population of Lebanon. There have been over 230 civilians killed, and $1 billion in destroyed property. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) made its point on the first day of the attack, everything since has been overkill.
For forty years, the international community has been saying that there is no military solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Going after Hezbollah with artillery and F-16s is like performing surgery with a machete. So what if the IDF bombs Lebanon back to the Bronze Age. Then what? By making the rubble bounce in Lebanon and Gaza, the only thing Israel has accomplished is to guarantee its own insecurity for a long time to come.
Making matters worse, CNN and the rest of the television news shows have churned out logos -- "Crisis in the Middle the East," "Middle East in Turmoil" -- with martial music and nifty graphics, so viewers can identify a "brand" of war coverage they find the most entertaining. The media have flattened the horror in Lebanon, and have given "proportion" to a disproportionate conflict. CNN's Anderson Cooper dashes around Haifa waiting for the sky to light up with a Fajr-3 rocket as if he's still covering Hurricane Katrina, a force of nature. Cooper and the rest of the corporate media are incapable of providing the background and analysis necessary to understand the historical and political causes of the hideous violence in the Middle East. History and politics are not entertaining.
On the political yak shows, the same neo-conservatives, Richard Perle, William Kristol, Max Boot, Newt Gingrich, and a dozen ubiquitous others, who in 2002 knew that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, and that "democracy" would spread throughout the Middle East once the US attacked Iraq, now tell us that the IDF is doing something good by blasting away the infrastructure of Lebanon in its Ahab-like pursuit of Hezbollah. We are engaged in "World War Three" they tell us, which is a clever device to align "American interests" with anything Israel does. They seem to be oblivious to the fact that Israel's recent actions in Lebanon make a mockery out of every one of the Bush Administration's stated goals in Iraq and the Middle East. With this kind of political discourse, we will be lucky if a year from now we do not find ourselves in the middle of a regional war.
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