Michael Hammerschlag: Why They Hate Us
Why They Hate Us
by Michael Hammerschlag
"They have a right to defend themselves from terrorism," intoned our Chump in Chief, and that was the end of any hope for American intervention or mediation of Israel's savage attack on the Hezbollah and innocent Lebanese. ‘Like an pricked enraged giant, striking out in every direction,’ said the BBC, as Olmert showed he wasn't the moderate the world believed when he carried out the Gaza withdrawal, but a clumsy second rater who makes even Sharon look wise.
Apparently, Hezbollah has better missiles than they used to, but still, the vast majority were dumb blind rockets, like throwing a rock at a playground and hoping it would kill a few scattered kids. To this came the frenzied thuggish response- blasting the Beirut airport, blasting apartment buildings, tearing up the infrastructure, killing 10-20 civilians for every terrorist. To every country but America, Israel is the one sowing terror with their inaccurate artillery, and huge air strikes. To this neocon President and cabinet, there is obviously nothing Israel can do that would be beyond the pale- out of bounds- and Israel is encouraged by this in their depredations.
Understandably, the Israelis were enraged by the capture of their soldiers, also the new tactic against US forces in Iraq, but there are reports they were actually in Lebanon*. But even the normal disproportionate Israeli reaction of 4 dead Palestinians to every one dead Israeli was abandoned in their frenzied response, attacking many targets in Beirut, South Lebanon, even the West Bank. 400 dead so far, and counting vs. 30 or so for he Israeli's (some by their own doing- hitting a mine in invading Lebanon). The Israeli invasion and retaliatory strikes in Gaza have claimed 110 lives. Now the calculus is 12 to 1 or 16 to 1, or whatever the Israeli's want to make it. "The question is, whether the Lebanese can control the Hezbollah," intoned the housebroken correspondent, well aware that any criticism of Israel was forbidden. No, the question was, "is Israel, by it's unlimited promiscuous attacks on numerous innocents and civilians, committing war crimes?". We won't ask that question.
Meanwhile Bush, folksily frat-boy-ternizing with Blair (“get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit"), and giving unsolicited neck rubs to a grimacing German premiere Merkel (smiling, our protective LA Times said, before they erased the photo that gave lie to their words), as the foreign press openly snickered at his fantasies about Iraqi democracy. Bush isn't just blithely inarticulate, ignorant, careless, and cowardly in avoiding any responsibility. He's downright creepy. What the world sees is Lebanon being pulverized by US jets and bombs; what the Muslim world sees is America aiding and abetting Israeli aggression. Most of these rockets land with the impact of a mortar, while Israel's artillery is reducing apartment buildings or blocks.
By blowing the hell out of the Lebanese, Israel claims to try to force them to reign in Hezbollah. But Israel's ambassador admits blithely that Hezbollah is much stronger than the Lebanese government, making their attacks blind stupid retribution against an innocent bystander, as counterproductive in the long run as America's reckless Iraq invasion. Now talk is abuzz of invasion, but security from mobile missiles is a chimera, and Israel has done all this before, with painful results. "Invading Lebanon again," said an Israeli general, "would be like America going back into Vietnam". And reprising that 1982 horror may plunge Lebanon again into another bitter long term civil war. Few have suffered like Lebanon, repeatedly invaded, partitioned, bombed, and bullied by Israel and Syria; and subject to one of the longest bitterest civil war in modern history. Finally rebuilt and vibrant, Israel is shattering it yet again- wantonly and carelessly.
The Iranian backed Hezbollah are bad guys. They were responsible for the 1983 Beirut Marine barracks explosion and US embassy bombing that killed over 300 Americans, but Reagan National Security advisor Bud McFarlane was reportedly eagerly watching as US battleship shells slammed into Muslim neighborhoods. We were not honest brokers, and Bush's willful negligence is threatening to ban us from that role. Now some think this dishonest Administration will use Iranian support of Hezbollah for an attack on Iran.
The useless Kindo-sleazy Rice won’t “impose a settlement”, but ignores the manifest danger of destabilizing the tenuous Lebanese government. What the world sees is America not lifting a finger to stop the carnage, but scuttling frantically to evacuate US citizens, our precious college girls, who are worth 1000 to 1 of those Arabs. They see that most of the 21st century weapons decimating the ancient cities of Lebanon are stamped Made in America.
But, altogether, this sorry conflict- it's not a war- it's an Israeli general attack vs. scattered opposition- illustrates the answer to what people whine in confusion, "Why do they hate us?". It's not because of our freedoms. It's dee planes, boss, dee planes.
* According to Newsweek, in a 2004 previous exchange, Nasrallah won the release of 400 jailed Palestinians for one kidnapped businessman, and the Israelis are holding 10,000 Palestinian prisoners, many for m inor offenses. According to reports by AP in Forbes and others, the Idraelis were captured "across the border in Southern Lebanon", making even the alleged justification questionable.