Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Israel Versus Lebanon: Another Disastrous Setback in the Middle East

Just because I haven't posted on the Israel-Lebanon situation lately, doesn't mean I haven't been immersed in following it. Truthfully, I find it so heartbreaking that it's made life quite surreal. As with many long-term Middle East followers, this is the worst kind of repetition, and while everybody is talking about the many children killed in this, I've been thinking about the youngsters who go on living. There has got to be a bunch of Lebanese kids around 8 years old who've been frightened out of their wits these past few weeks. In another 10 years they will be 18 and ready to fight, full of hatred for the country they blame. This is the worst kind of disaster, because it's not going to accomplish anything positive. Remember, Hezbollah was formed as a reaction to an Israeli invasion back in the 1980s, so what will come from this? The blustery right wing talk show hosts who think this is the solution to the Middle East are just immature, inexperienced macho fools. Sure, they get to sound tough as they swear this is the only plan that will work. Of course, they don't have to participate in it personally and they never explain why it hasn't worked before. The only way this course of action works is if you eliminate one side or the other. I don't think anyone is calling for that. If the two sides are still around this just turns the clock forward so the terrible rage is felt by a new generation.
Here's the closest thing I have to a solution to the Middle East: The key word is diffuse. If it is quiet, let it be quiet. When it erupts, do your best to squelch it as soon as possible. I never even liked it when it was quiet and people began talking about peace. That's when the real violence usually started. Think of this as a tavern fight. You don't rush to bring the combatants together to talk it over. Just keep them apart and threaten and restrain them if either side makes a move. The last thing you want is the fight to go on so the rowdies at the next booth over join in. Then you just wait, and hope the damn thing dies down. If it's a leader like Saddam, you contain him and wait for him to die, just as we did with Fidel Castro. If it's an entire people, you wait for one generation to get too old to fight, and you hope the next is raised in a prosperous environment and is not as hardcore with the hatred. Eventually, the violence fades like in Northern Ireland. These last few weeks probably added another 30 years to the time when peace comes to the Middle East. Lebanon was just entering a better phase, and now it's broken again. How does that help? President Bush and the Neo-Cons seem more driven by a thirst for violence than any rational thought. They talk about wiping out Hezbollah, but if every member of Hezbollah dropped dead tonight, these last few bloody weeks will create another organization and the cycle will go on. There has to be a point other than just the primitive thrill of inflicting damage on someone you hate. Israel could very well find that all the goals it was striving for by this are now further from reach. The number of people they lose will be greater than if they had done nothing. Their security could get worse, not better. I am tremendously frustrated with these Neo-Con plans. Their stated goal of peace through violence sounds like the fantasies of a lunatic. This has been a disaster, and I just hope the war doesn't continue to spread. The longer this fire rages the greater the chances it will go completely out of control, burning us all.


At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Sandra said...

Sadly, I completely agree with you on all points. A few weeks ago my starkest realization was the sense that this new violence sends us deeper into "The Long War".


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