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Candide Recommends: Sunday, July 30, 2006
Massacre Redux
Collaterals
  • So they’ve done it again. Just like in 1996. Another massacre at Qana, another expression of regret, another day, another bombing. “I express deep regret, along with all of Israel and the IDF, for the civilian deaths in Qana,” said Olmert. “Nothing could be further from our intentions and our interests than harming civilians - everyone understands that. When we do harm civilians, the whole world recognizes that it is an exceptional case that does not characterize us.” Everyone understands that. The whole world recognizes that it is an exceptional case. Olmert speaks the language of the Bush junta, which discovered years ago that it doesn’t matter what massacres you inflict on the ground (at least 40,000 deaths in Iraq and counting, on Bush’s watch) as long as you describe and cleanse the situation in properly antiseptic terms. Use the language of regret when necessary, use the rhetoric of triumph and war-as-peace always. As long as your public is gullible, as long as your public is as easy to manipulate as those poor shmucks who blow themselves at their jihadist’s direction, you have nothing to worry about. Just step up the bombing. That’s exactly what regretful Olmert is doing. This war has reached such absurdist proportions that no one bats an eye when the Israeli prime minister, even as he “regrets” massacring 57 civilians, tells the American secretary of state that he needs a couple more weeks to “finish” the job. The reactions have been justifiably desperate, but to what end? Read Moussa Bachir. Read Doha’s affecting translation of what bombs destroy. See pictures you won’t see in the American press, posted at Lebanese Blogger Forum here and here.
  • Meanwhile, there is no sorrier expression of American incompetence, of American cynicism, of American moral bankruptcy, than Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state and negotiator. “[S]he canceled a visit to Beirut, Lebanon, today after the Qana strikes. Ms. Rice spoke to the Lebanese prime minister, Fouad Siniora, and told him that she felt that “this would not be the day for her to come to Beirut,” according to R. Nicholas Burns, the undersecretary of state for political affairs. “She felt she had work to do in Israel,” he told CNN’s Late Edition. Those lines in this morning’s Times, though the Washington Post has a clearer, if still-deferential, analysis of the Bush junta's slouch back to its first-term policy of "all-out force again, in defiance of allies, as part of its policy of trying to rid the Middle East of militants and radicals, or the 'drain the swamp' policy." It's the environs of the Potomac that need draining.
  • Michael Totten on Lebanon’s fragility and, possibly, Lebanon’s return to civil war: “I spent a total of seven months in Lebanon recently, and I never could quite figure out what prevented the country from flying apart into pieces. It barely held together like unstable chemicals in a nitro glycerin vat. The slightest ripple sent Lebanese scattering from the streets and into their homes. They were far more twitchy than I, in part (I think) because they understood better than I just how precarious their civilized anarchy was. Their country needed several more years of careful nurturing during peace time to fully recover from its status as a carved up failed state.” He shows the picture of “a Christian mob smash[ing] a car in Beirut for displaying a Hezbollah logo” and goes on to note: “My friend Carine says the atomosphere reeks of impending sectarian conflict like never before. Another Lebanese blogger quotes a radical Christian war criminal from the bad old days who says the civil war will resume a month after Israel cools its guns: ‘Christians, Sunnis and Druze will fight the 'fucker Shia', with arms from the US and France.’” See the full disheartening post…

Because contrary to popular belief, the Bush Administration doesn't believe in abstinence-only education. [Courtesy of Eve, LBF]

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