Sunday, December 3, 2006

Random Thoughts

Bringing Freedom and Democracy to Iraq:

“I think we’re going to have to be very aggressive and specific with him [Maliki, Bush's puppet Prime Minister of Iraq],” Senator Trent Lott, Republican of Mississippi, said on Fox News, about the Bush-Maliki meeting. “And if he doesn’t show real leadership, doesn’t try to bring the situation under control; if, in fact, he becomes a part of the problem; we’re going to have to make some tough decisions.”

War Dead:

For a while after the Iraq war was declared won by the Commander in Chief, the death of a single Marine in Iraq was a top headline on the wire services. The violent end of someone’s life in a foreign country got the attention that it deserved, and we could be properly moved by the pain of individuals and the misery of loved ones. Later, I often had to hunt through long columns of words to find any account of U.S. deaths. That was particularly true during the weeks before the election. Even now, when it’s slightly easier to find out about U.S. war deaths, the bad news may not be in the headlines. Is this just a way of protecting those who brought about the Iraq war (another example of journalists cuddling up to a government which happens to forbid pictures of military coffins), or could it be (for all I know) a reaction to complaints received by news agencies from the public if there is “unpatriotic” news?

It is already far too easy to start wars without making it easier by lying. The best preventative for more wars is truth, and the more depressing the truth, the stronger the prevention. False patriotism which wants to pretend that our people don’t get killed – as in one of those western movie shootouts where the hero manages to shoot eight professional gunmen and walk out unscathed -- just encourages more wars and more U.S. deaths which serve none of the interests of the poor men and women whose lives are cut off.

An Israeli View (from “Haaretz” Nov. 24, 2006), “Courting Syria”, by Itamar Rabinovich, president of Tel Aviv University, former Israeli ambassador in Washington:

“A change in the United States' Middle East policy seems to be in the offing. The reasons for this expectation are the failure in Iraq and the defeat of President George W. Bush and the Republican party in the midterm elections, a failure that led to the immediate resignation/dismissal of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.”

(Conspicuously absent among the Prof. Rabinovich’s “reasons”: The recent defeat of Israel’s military by the Hizbollah defenders of Lebanon. After Israel was driven out of Lebanon in spite of the U.S. arranging to give Israel enough time and armaments to destroy the entire invaded country, Bush & Co. must at least have considered a reassessment of tactical aspects of its Middle East policy.)

More from Prof. Rabinovich:

“The bipartisan committee headed by James Baker and Lee Hamilton that is examining U.S. policy in Iraq is about to publish its conclusions, and leaks indicate at least one central conclusion: ‘speaking to Iran and Syria’ in order to change direction in Iraq. British Prime Minister Tony Blair, a close ally of Bush, even went as far as speaking not of ‘talks’ with Iran and Syria but of ‘partnership’ with the two. . .

“Israel has a profound interest in these issues. A dialogue between Washington and Damascus would arouse questions and fears in Jerusalem.”

(Oh, dear! The mere prospect of communication and peace is so alarming. And is Tony straining at his leash?)

“An American or Israeli military operation against Iran seems to many in the U.S. to be a bad or impractical idea.”

(Gee, why would anybody object to that idea?)

“The lesson for Israel is clear. Time is not a neutral factor, passivity does not lead anywhere, and one who does not take initiative, even on a different front, will find himself ultimately reacting to the initiatives of others.”

(What does that mean? I don’t know, but it doesn’t sound good.)

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