Thu
Jul 13 2006
03:19 pm

WWIII may be breaking out in the Middle East, and MSNBC is talking about a new Rocky movie.

CNN and Fox have full coverage of the hostilities. Israel has reportedly declared a state of war.

Pray for peace.

UPDATE: Fox now has Neil Cavuto talking about celebrity breakups. Over on MSNBC, Tucker Carlson is talking about Michael Jackson. CNN and Wolf Blitzer are still on the case. He has the Israeli and Syrian ambassadors up next.

Pray for peace.

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Andy Axel's picture

Israel V. Lebanon

I saw the thing about the Haifa incident at lunch today. Yikes.

Latest CNN summary:

• 2nd Israeli strike on Beirut airport sets depot ablaze
• IDF: Rockets hit Haifa; Hezbollah denies attack
• Israeli ambassador: Haifa attack "major escalation"
• Hezbollah launches scores of rockets into Israel
• Israel, Lebanon officials say violence amounts to "acts of war"
• Al-Arabiya: Israeli leaflets warn to stay away from Hezbollah centers

____________________________

"The iPod was not developed by Baptists in Waco." -- G.K.

Andy Axel's picture

Even more chilling:

(link...)

(via (link...))

That the stakes are extraordinarily high was made clear not only by Olmert's decision to send the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) into Lebanon for the first time since Israel's withdrawal in 2000, but also by a White House statement issued Wednesday afternoon that promised to hold Syria and Iran "responsible for [the Hezbollah] attack and the ensuing violence."

"This is potentially very dangerous," Bassel Saloukh, a political scientist at the Lebanese American University in Beirut, told IPS in a telephone interview. "If the Americans take this to legitimate a strike against Iran or Syria, then I think it will escalate with devastating consequences."

[snip]

Washington, which was clearly caught off guard by Hezbollah's move, responded twice in the course of the day. In a statement released in Paris, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice charged that Hezbollah's action "undermines regional stability" and called on all parties to "act with restraint to resolve this incident peacefully and to protect innocent life and civilian infrastructures."

"Syria," she said, in an apparent reference to Damascus' historic backing for Hezbollah, "has a special responsibility to use its influence to support a positive outcome."

In a more ominous statement several hours later, however, a White House spokesman issued the statement warning that Syria and Iran, which has also been a major sponsor of Hezbollah, will be held "responsible" for the attack and its consequences.

You should read Lobe's article in its entirety. And with regard to the administration's willingness to manufacture excuses for military action out of thin air, note the expert quoted later in the piece "who stressed that Syria's and Iran's role, if any, in encouraging Hezbollah to attack was 'entirely speculative.'"

Lebanon attacks Israel, so we attack Iran based on uncorroborated evidence of a link to Hezbollah. Sound familiar?

Uh huh. Syria & Iran -- state sponsors of terrorism, blah blah blah, nudge and a wink at Hezbollah, blah blah blah, specious links to Al Qaeda, blah blah blah, gotta keep up the War on Terrorism, blah blah blah, we're spending an additional $11 million an hour prosecuting an assault to topple Damascus and the subsequent nation-building effort.

____________________________

"The iPod was not developed by Baptists in Waco." -- G.K.

Sven's picture

What would Churchill do?

What the hell? I understand he's just the barker in this circus, but shouldn't he be hitting the phones or something? Gah!

Tess's picture

Pray is Right

i don't want to seem like a nut case, but i have been thinking for quite some time, that it is "on."  In the sense that everything is changing, and a global war is likely. 

Think about what is important to you, and hang on to that. 

 

Sven's picture

Drop the babies and

 Drop the babies and barrels of herring and get on those phones, George:

I heard the rumor from a well-placed source that Secretary of State Rice attempted to increase pressure on Israel to stand down and to demonstrate "restraint". The rumor is that she was told flatly by the Prime Minister's office to "back off"...

[I]t may take this kind of out of control danger that FINALLY wakes up some tough-minded strategists in the White House, Defense Department, and State Department to compel Israel to back off and all other parties to wind down their militant elements.

Note to George W. Bush, please call your father, James Baker and Brent Scowcroft for some advice.

Be a real president and leader. Or at least stay away from the cameras so it doesn't look like you're blowing off yet another crisis. Just once. Is that too much to ask?

 

 

 

Factchecker's picture

OK, we've tried it the radical neocon zealot way...

OK, we've tried an unqualified, petulant, thin-skinned pReZinent, who knows very little of history or diplomacy and not only doesn't care but is proud of it.  A divider who has no patience and wants to go it alone and handle every crisis like a cowboy chasing a bull in a china shop.

He's been wrong about virtually everything.  Anything he and shotgun Sidekick Cheney touch turns into disaster.  Even if one charitably says these things are not their fault and this stuff just "happens" on their watch, where are they at even trying to improve any of these situations?  Les or anyone else, show us a Bush success or victory.  Just one. 

What is better in this world under his, ahem, leadership?  Cheap gas?  A good stock market?  Fiscal responsibility?  A strong national defense??  And these are some the right's alleged strong suits.  Economic, social, or environmental justice, don't bother even going there.

Does this really surprise anyone?  And just when and how do we escape this nightmare?? 

<rant key off>

_________________________________

Never has the left been so right.

Les Jones's picture

"Les or anyone else, show us

"Les or anyone else, show us a Bush success or victory.  Just one."

  • Defeated Saddam's army.
  • Captured Saddam Hussein. No more invasions by him, or threats of SCUDs, WMD, or sponsoring Palestinian suicide bombers, or anything else. One of the two major bad actors in the region taken out.
  • Killed Saddam's sons when they refused to surrender and fought to the death. No legacy of Saddams to terrorize the Iraqi people.
  • Captured the majority of the deck of cards. Again, you've got to get these guys out of the picture so there's no fear of them coming back.
  • Killed Zarqawi.
  • Killed enormous number of Al Qaeda.
  • Trained hundreds of thousands of Iraqi security forces.
  • Now the building part. Created an Iraqi constitution.
  • Two elections so far in Iraq, despite terrorist threats to disrupt elections and kill people at polling places.
  • Libya gave up their nuclear weapons program, which is now in a warehouse in Oak Ridge.
  • Syria pulled their troops out of Lebanon.
  • Bush gets at least some credit for incremental democracy in the Middle East, such as elections in Saudi Arabia for the first time and women voting for the first time in Kuwait.
  • Also partial credit for Israel giving Gaza to the Palestinians and the Palestinians getting to vote for their government. They voted in Hamas as their leadership, which is why the violence happened this week, but it's a start.
  • Established a "road map for peace" in the Middle East that was probably as much BS as any other Middle Eastern peace plan, but that at least measured progress by what Hamas, the PLO, and what's their names did, rather than what empty promises they made.
  • Exposed the corruption in the UN Oil-For-Palaces program that allowed Saddam to launder money that was supposed to go for food and medicine for Iraqis into personal wealth for him, his government, and corrupt UN officials.
  • This is the big one. Bush showed that the United States would put boots on the ground to fight against terrorism and for freedom and constitutional democracy, and would weather all the storms and stick to it.

Hey, Les, why don't we just call each other assholes and get it over with. - Somebody on the old Southknoxbubba.net (if that was you, claim your quote and win net.fame!)

metuljx's picture

* Defeated Saddam's

* Defeated Saddam's army.

Swatted flies with a Buick.

*Captured Saddam Hussein. No more invasions by him, or threats of SCUDs, WMD, or sponsoring Palestinian suicide bombers, or anything else. One of the two major bad actors in the region taken out.

AKA a tinpot dictator supported by the US up to the point where he became inconvenient.

*Killed Saddam's sons when they refused to surrender and fought to the death. No legacy of Saddams to terrorize the Iraqi people.

Exactly what is the insurgency?

*Captured the majority of the deck of cards. Again, you've got to get these guys out of the picture so there's no fear of them coming back.

Yes. A marketing ploy gone well. Now, exactly what is the insurgency?

*Killed Zarqawi.

OK. What exactly is the insurgency?

* Killed enormous number of Al Qaeda.

Stomp a cockroach and WHOA two more replace it.

*Trained hundreds of thousands of Iraqi security forces.

OK. So what about the insurgency?

*Now the building part. Created an Iraqi constitution.

Chicken and egg? Does rule of law come before law? What about the insurgency?

*Libya gave up their nuclear weapons program, which is now in a warehouse in Oak Ridge.

So what was the Bush administration's role in this? The US's disinterest in the aftermath of the Lockerbie bombing is astounding.

* Syria pulled their troops out of Lebanon.

Well, not for long. Worst. Middle. East. Policy. Ever. Condi Rice was told by the Israelis to mind her own fucking business yesterday. She'll make a great Bushian president.

*Bush gets at least some credit for incremental democracy in the Middle East, such as elections in Saudi Arabia for the first time and women voting for the first time in Kuwait.

Yes, C students are very used to getting partial credit.

* Also partial credit for Israel giving Gaza to the Palestinians and the Palestinians getting to vote for their government. They voted in Hamas as their leadership, which is why the violence happened this week, but it's a start.

QED.

*Established a "road map for peace" in the Middle East that was probably as much BS as any other Middle Eastern peace plan, but that at least measured progress by what Hamas, the PLO, and what's their names did, rather than what empty promises they made.

See the "condi mind your business" comment above. The roadmap was left at the truckstop when Rove need some help from a lot lizard.

*Exposed the corruption in the UN Oil-For-Palaces program that allowed Saddam to launder money that was supposed to go for food and medicine for Iraqis into personal wealth for him, his government, and corrupt UN officials.

Tempest in teapot. Halliburton. Halliburton. Halliburton. I looked in the mirror while I typed that.

*This is the big one. Bush showed that the United States would put boots on the ground to fight against terrorism and for freedom and constitutional democracy, and would weather all the storms and stick to it.

And it isn't working. So what about the insurgency?

Andy Axel's picture

I've Been Summoned!

Halliburton. Halliburton. Halliburton.

Dick Stavro Blofeld

Siamese fighting fish, fascinating creatures. Brave but of the whole stupid. Yes they're stupid. Except for the occasional one such as we have here who lets the other two fight. While he waits. Waits until the survivor is so exhausted that he cannot defend himself, and then like CHENEY... he strikes!

____________________________

"The iPod was not developed by Baptists in Waco." -- G.K.

Les Jones's picture

metulj:

"AKA a tinpot dictator supported by the US up to the point where he became inconvenient."

This is the argument I really don't get. "Our country supported some dictatorships at one time, so therefore it's wrong for our country to now remove those dictatorships." What the hell?

If it's wrong to support dictatorships, doesn't that mean that removing them is right? Seems to me we're moving in the right direction.

Like Condi Rice said: "For 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region, here in the Middle East, and we achieved neither. Now, we are taking a different course. We are supporting the democratic aspirations of all people."

As for the insurgents refrain - how long has it been since the Emancipation Proclamation? How long has it been since the Civil Rights Act? And yet the KKK is still around, neonazis are still around. Does that mean ending slavery or providing civil rights to blacks wasn't worth doing? Of course not. Saying it's difficult is hardly the same thing as saying it shouldn't be done.


Hey, Les, why don't we just call each other assholes and get it over with. - Somebody on the old Southknoxbubba.net (if that was you, claim your quote and win net.fame!)

metuljx's picture

What a joke

"This is the argument I really don't get. "Our country supported some dictatorships at one time, so therefore it's wrong for our country to now remove those dictatorships." What the hell?"

But is poses the question: Why did we do it in the first place and when you see that the same exact players on the offensive against Saddam Hussein, what were their motivations in the first place?

Equating the insurgency, which if you were paying attention has many faces not just Islamist, with historical events in the US is stupid beyond words.

So what about the insurgency? If Iraq is speeding toward democracy and lollipops for all the children, how do explain the insurgency?

Les Jones's picture

What's to explain?

There are lots of people who don't want democracy to succeed in Iraq:

- People who were formerly in power in Saddam's Baathist administration.
- Segments of the Sunni minority (Saddam and his allies were Sunni)
- Foreign Al Qaeda
- Iran and Syria, who are reportedly carrying out attacks and supplying fighters and materiel.

Some people on the left want to believe that the insurgency is a popular uprising that represents large swaths of Iraqis. It isn't. Hint: how many ethnic Kurds do you suppose are in the insurgency? How many Shiites?


Hey, Les, why don't we just call each other assholes and get it over with. - Somebody on the old Southknoxbubba.net (if that was you, claim your quote and win net.fame!)

metuljx's picture

That is not the point

What the 'Left' thinks of the insurgency is irrelevant and anyone who asserts that it is a 'popular uprising' such is not credible. The point is that the IDIOTS running this shooting match seriously did not believe that this insurgency could happen. True. True. True.

Query: Al Qaeda is a Waahabist movement. Iran is a Shia society. The Baathists were secularists. Saddam Hussein is as Muslim as I am. So is Al Qaeda, a sworn enemy of Baathists and Sunnis, fighting alongside Sunni insurgents? Is the Baathist regime in Syria helping Al Qaeda? Iran is supplying exactly whom with help? The Shia majority that it is in power in Iraq? Isn't that who we support?

That ringing between your ears is called 'cognitive dissonance.'

And the Kurds? Heh, just wait until they declare independence. Which they will. Turkey will invade most rikitik. A colleague of mine (who is a Kurd) has been active in collecting "funds for building an independent Kurdistan." They have big fat meetings at the National Kurdish Library, which is on Sterling Ave behind my old apartment in Brooklyn. Buckle the fuck up.

You don't even begin to grasp the complexity of the problem, not unlike your heroes: Rumsfeld, Feith and Wolfowitz.

Les Jones's picture

metulj:

The Baathists were secularists. Saddam Hussein is as Muslim as I am.

Saddam doesn't have to be a devout Muslim to have a tribal identity, or, more importantly, for his tribe to identify with him. There's more to being a Sunni (or Shiite, etc.) than being a Muslim.

So is Al Qaeda, a sworn enemy of Baathists and Sunnis, fighting alongside Sunni insurgents? Is the Baathist regime in Syria helping Al Qaeda? Iran is supplying exactly whom with help? The Shia majority that it is in power in Iraq? Isn't that who we support?

Who says they're fighting together or for the same reasons? To pick a nearby example the groups fighting against Israel are divided into different factions - Hamas, Hezbollah, the PLO/Fatah, and Islamic Jihad. Not only do they disagree on how to approach Isreal, they have power struggles between themselves and have at times fought and killed each other.


Hey, Les, why don't we just call each other assholes and get it over with. - Somebody on the old Southknoxbubba.net (if that was you, claim your quote and win net.fame!)

Factchecker's picture

Metuljx answered your myopic

Metuljx answered your myopic list better than I would have, Les, but it's really amazing you can't see any of the collateral effects of the Bush "doctrine."  Just because we have a $400 billion/year defense budget, doesn't mean we're heroes for kicking one nation's ass in the axis of evil, which had a combined defense budget of $7 billion/year.  If we couldn't at least achieve military successes in individual battles, with our hugely lopsided advantage in firepower, we would be in a sorry state indeed.

As for Afghanistan, where I think we all supported removal of the Taliban, Bush managed to screw that up too, by moving forces to the neocon wet dream war with Saddam before Bin Laden was caught or the peace there was stabilized.  Now even Afghanistan is slipping back to al Qaeda, warlord control, etc.

Besides the Newsweek piece above, here are some excerpts of other recent views where the bigger picture is seen as it really is:

"...George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld are not worldly men. They're neither well-traveled nor curious about the world. They came into office believing that America had emerged from the Cold War as the only real power and, as such, they didn't have to care about what other countries said. They didn't understand that powerful countries—at least powerful democracies—have always acted through alliances, even if only by manipulating them. A powerful country doesn't always need allies to get a job done—but it does need them to get a job done with legitimacy, to get it done and keep it done. ..."

" ... Thinking back through the 1960s, 70s, 80s, and 90s -- with key crises in each decade -- I don't think there's any example where an American administrtion has so thoroughly marginalized itself or shown such impotence and irrelevance." 

" ... Trust in the West and above all in America has given way to deep-seated suspicion and angry resentment among ordinary Russians.

Asked on the eve of this weekend’s summit how they viewed America, 58% of Russians polled described it as a unfriendly country. ..."  

"... The U.S. is fighting a two front war with Afghanistan and Iraqi insurgents. Israel is fighting a two front war with Lebanon and the Palestinians.

Wouldn't you think this would be exactly the time when the nation's wisemen, those neoconservative idealists who saw the great American empire imposing democracy on the Middle East at the point of a bayonet, who secretely envisioned Iraq as our military base in the region, to be heard from? Of course, I mean Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Steven Cambone, and so many triumphalist others so present on the talk shows in early 2003. Haven't seen much of them recently.  ..."

It's a far cry from when the French newspaper carried the headline "We're all Americans now!"  right after 9/11/01.  In fact, a friend just returned from France where she was arrested basically for being an American. 

"Junior, your doin' a heckofa job!"

_________________________________

Never has the left been so right.

Factchecker's picture

One more on W's one bright spot

One more on W's one bright spot of military achievement, Afghanistan.  Or maybe not, according to someone who's covered the country for 20 yrs:

"...If there is one factor most responsible for the Taliban resurgence it is the war in Iraq, which distracted the attention of London and Washington at a critical time. While US marines were toppling statues of Saddam Hussein and then finding themselves fighting a bloody insurgency, the Taliban regrouped and retrained in Pakistan.

From just a few hundred guerrillas last year, Mullad Dadullah, the Taliban commander, now claims that he has 12,000 men under arms in the southern provinces of Kandahar, Helmand and Uruzgan. ..."

Via Harry Shearer.

Sven's picture

Cripes, Les, talk about not

Cripes, Les, talk about not seeing the forest fire for the trees (what's more, most of them trees look like the pathetic X-mas tree on A Charlie Brown Christmas). 

We need a president who has more than two modes: John Wayne or Judy Garland.

Good foreign policy should be metronomic in pace—measured, steady, dependable. That's especially true when you're the world's only superpower, and you want to keep things that way.  The key is to inspire respect, trust and faith in your judgement. That’s called leadership. But for six years now, George W. Bush's foreign policy has resembled a pendulum swinging out of control, lurching wildly from hubris to "help us."

Despite the "stay the course" rhetoric, there's been little that is steady or dependable about it, and not surprisingly it has inspired little respect or trust around the world. In Bush's first term, the pendulum swung too far toward in-your-face unilateralism. Now, in his second term it has swung dramatically back toward the most squeamish sort of multilateralism—the kind of thinking that says, "Without partners, I don't dare make a move."

 

Les Jones's picture

Dammit!

Who told Andy the incantation? Now we're going to have to go to training and memorize all new incantations.  


Hey, Les, why don't we just call each other assholes and get it over with. - Somebody on the old Southknoxbubba.net (if that was you, claim your quote and win net.fame!)

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