CULTIVATING LIBERALISM
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Candide Recommends: Sunday, July 16, 2006
All-Out War, All-Out Incompetence
  • Navigating body bags in Lebanon

    Hezbollah’s rain of terror is now reaching Haifa, where at least eight Israelis were killed by overnight shelling, while Israel ’s rain of terror has spread to the heart of Beirut. Le Monde is reporting that the Israeli air force is calling on all residents of south Lebanon to evacuate. Yesterday’s report in the London Times of a massing of Israeli forces on the border, paired with today’s escalations, suggests an all-out invasion is a matter of hours.

  • The Washington Post’s Robin Wright has a fairly balanced assessment of Hezbollah’s Hasan Nasrallah.

  • Ziv Bar’el in Haaretz: “The message that Israel was trying to send to Lebanon 's government and citizens seems unclear. On one hand, the Lebanese hear that the Israeli government does not plan to allow Hezbollah to return to its positions in southern Lebanon . That is too tough a mission for the Lebanese government, so people wonder what Israel wants and why it is attacking targets that are not related to the positions in the south, like the Beirut-Damascus highway or the airport. On the other hand, Israel warned the Lebanese government that it holds it wholly responsible both for the attack and for the fate of the abducted soldiers. Here again, the Lebanese government has no idea what it is supposed to do - go to war against Hezbollah? "Of course, this government can't go to war against Hezbollah, and can't and wouldn't recruit Syria to rein in Hezbollah," said the Lebanese analyst.”

  • A Dream Destroyed: Megan Stack in the Los Angeles Times describes how far Beirut and Lebanon had come since the end of the war in 1991, and how quickly, how devastatingly the city and the country have been ruined by Israel's bombardments. Recall also that it was just a few weeks ago that Bernard Khoury, the architect, was profiled in the New York Times Magazine, along with Beirut's resurgent architecture.

In Other Follies

  • The New York Times devotes almost its entire Sunday editorial to stating the obvious, five years too late: The Bush presidency was never about a proper response to 9/11. It was about “expanding presidential power,” hurting democracy at home and undermining the war on terror abroad. The problem with this editorial is its assumption that “It is only now, nearly five years after Sept. 11, that the full picture of the Bush administration’s response to the terror attacks is becoming clear.” Bunk. Some of us saw this clear as day on Sept. 12, 2001, including by the way the likes of Susan Sontag, excoriated at the time for saying what everyone is now lining up to say: “Those in public office have let us know that they consider their task to be a manipulative one: confidence-building and grief management,” she wrote in the Sept. 24, 2001 issue of the New Yorker. “Politics, the politics of a democracy--which entails disagreement, which promotes candor--has been replaced by psychotherapy.  Let's by all means grieve together.  But let's not be stupid together.  A few shreds of historical awareness might help us to understand what has just happened, and what may continue to happen.  "Our country is strong", we are told again and again. I for one don't find this entirely consoling.  Who doubts that America is strong?  But that's not all America has to be.” How different are those words in their prediction of the consequence of five years of manipulations described by the Times editorial and the Frank Rich column in the same paper?

Blog Roundup

  • Lebanese blogger Lazarus writes a brief, Zolaesque letter to Ehud Olmert: "Ehud, you are worse than Hassan. The blood on your hands has colored Israel red. We suffer. We die. Today, you have thrown people into the fiery pit of dreamless sleep. Where is the honor in that? Tell me, where?"

  • The Truth Laid Bear has, as far as I know, the most consolidated, running-count type list of blogs and links following the situation in Lebanon and Gaza from the Lebanese, Israeli and Palestinian perspectives..

 

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