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Candide's Latest: Wednesday, August 9, 2006
When Ahab Is the Minister of War

Surgical malpractice, live

Bickering in Israel, dickering at the UN, killing in Lebanon: Nothing doing at the UN, while in Israel the cabinet is meeting to decide whether yet again to expand the invasion, even though Monday’s dfeath toll in Lebanon, at 77, was the heaviest yet. From Haaretz: “ The security cabinet convened Wednesday for approval of a broader ground offensive in Lebanon, with some ministers arguing that the military must deal more blows to Hezbollah before a Mideast cease-fire is imposed. However, a decision to send troops deeper into Lebanon was fraught with considerable risk. Israel would set itself up for new criticism that it is sabotaging diplomatic efforts. Also, a wider ground offensive might do little to stop Hezbollah rocket fire on Israel , while sharply increasing the number of casualties among Israeli troops.”

“IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz said Tuesday that such an operation is necessary “in order to end this war differently.” People who participated in discussions of the plan with him said they had never heard him speak as forcefully in favor of anything as he did in favor of the proposed ground operation.” In order to end this war differently. Seven words, one meaning: hubris. At least in Moby Dick it was just a whale. In Lebanon , it’s 4.5 million people.

Lebanon Prime Minister Fouad Siniora in today’s Washington Post: “A military solution to Israel's savage war on Lebanon and the Lebanese people is both morally unacceptable and totally unrealistic. We in Lebanon call upon the international community and citizens everywhere to support my country's sovereignty and end this folly now. We also insist that Israel be made to respect international humanitarian law, including the provisions of the Geneva Conventions, which it has repeatedly and willfully violated. As the world watches, Israel has besieged and ravaged our country, created a humanitarian and environmental disaster, and shattered our infrastructure and economy, putting an intolerable strain on our social and economic systems. Fuel, food and medical equipment are in short supply; homes, factories and warehouses have been destroyed; roads severed, bridges smashed and airports disabled.[…] Lebanon's well-known achievements in 15 years of postwar development have been wiped out in a matter of days by Israel's deadly military might. For all this carnage and death, and on behalf of all Lebanese, we demand an international inquiry into Israel's criminal actions in Lebanon and insist that Israel pay compensation for its wanton destruction.” See the full letter…

In Other Worlds and Blogs

Bush Administration’s march to Mussolini’s loony tunes continue: Have the right badge, and torture is your privilege. “The Bush administration has drafted amendments to a war crimes law that would eliminate the risk of prosecution for political appointees, CIA officers and former military personnel for humiliating or degrading war prisoners, according to U.S. officials and a copy of the amendments,” the Washington Post reports. “Officials say the amendments would alter a U.S. law passed in the mid-1990s that criminalized violations of the Geneva Conventions, a set of international treaties governing military conduct in wartime. The conventions generally bar the cruel, humiliating and degrading treatment of wartime prisoners without spelling out what all those terms mean.

Iraq’s Shiites reveal their unsecret cards: Partition the country, grab all the oil. From the LATimes…

Joe Lieberman loses, but it’s not quite the victory Dem,ocrats are making it out to be: To win back the Senate every seat will count in November. If Ned Lamont can’t carry over his victory through then, and Lieberman does win as an independent, he might as well rank with Republicans. In a 50-50 split, the Republicans will preserve their advantage and every chairmanship. The Lamont win on Tuesday will turn out to be yet another short0sighted Democratic victory, spite over national interest. A referendum on the Iraq war? Not nearly. The primary vote was essentially split, meaning that in a general election the anti-war sentiment would still be in a minority. The Iraq war has been relegated to a nusisance in the American conscience: “Don’t bother us with it. Let them kill each other. Keep American losses to a minimum. 50 US deaths is OK, 100 isn’t.” That about sums it up. The administration is heeding the call, cynical as it is: the massacres happen outside the American zone of influence, and Americans are kept as safe as possible. Proof: 24 more killed in Iraq, according to the latest.

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