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A Global Learning Moment
If you don't think the world is interconnected: our dependence on petroleum products is making Iran wealthy. Iran has the dough to back Hezbollah (our sworn enemy) in giving $12,000 to each Lebanese whose home was destroyed by the Israeli bombs we also paid for. And Hezbollah are paying off the Lebanese in hard US dollars — most trusted currency in the world. Can you say "irony"?
We're defeated by our own prosperity — and incompetent policy-making. Everyone would have been better off (including Israel), if we'd have skipped the bombing part and gone to Lebanon and handed out cash ourselves.
Seymour Hersh (whose investigative reporting is usually correct) writes that Israel and Washington were in cahoots to knock out Hezbollah, before the soldier kidnapping gave Israel an excuse to invade. Defanging Hezbollah helps open the way to an invasion of Iran. Lordy, Lordy.
According to Richard Armitage, who served as Deputy Secretary of State in Bush’s first term—and who, in 2002, said that Hezbollah “may be the A team of terrorists”—Israel’s campaign in Lebanon, which has faced unexpected difficulties and widespread criticism, may, in the end, serve as a warning to the White House about Iran. “If the most dominant military force in the region—the Israel Defense Forces—can’t pacify a country like Lebanon, with a population of four million, you should think carefully about taking that template to Iran, with strategic depth and a population of seventy million,” Armitage said. “The only thing that the bombing has achieved so far is to unite the population against the Israelis.”
We used to respect Israel for their savvy. They could always get the job done. Suddenly it looks like Donald Rumsfeld is doing their thinking for them. Management by wishful thinking. Act now. Analyze the intelligence only after you've had your ass handed to you. Declare victory anyway. Whatever.
The Hezbollah are evil but smart. From the Council on Foreign Relations:
Hezbollah is a Lebanese umbrella organization of radical Islamic Shiite groups and organizations. It opposes the West, seeks to create a Muslim fundamentalist state modeled on Iran, and is a bitter foe of Israel. Hezbollah, whose name means “party of God,” is a terrorist group believed responsible for nearly 200 attacks since 1982 that have killed more than 800 people,* according to the Terrorism Knowledge Base. Experts say Hezbollah is also a significant force in Lebanon’s politics and a major provider of social services, operating schools, hospitals, and agricultural services, for thousands of Lebanese Shiites. It also operates the al-Manar satellite television channel and broadcast station.
As long as our answer to everything is about bombing, the bigger and bolder Hezbollah will become. We are trying to kill crabgrass with a shotgun. We need to start planting some flowers.
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*800? How many people have we killed for "freedom" in Iraq? More irony?