Candide's Latest: Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Pierre Tristam/Candide's Notebooks
Are the Lebanese angry at Hezbollah? Depends on whose reports you read. The Christian Science Monitor has a round-up of the hate-fest, most of it directed at Israel and the United States, some of it, albeit too little, landing on Hezbollah. “A major reason — in addition to its hard-won reputation as the only Arab force that fought Israel to a standstill — is that it is already dominating the efforts to rebuild with a torrent of money from oil-rich Iran,” the NYTimes reports. “Nehme Y. Tohme, a member of Parliament from the anti-Syrian reform bloc and the country’s minister for the displaced, said he had been told by Hezbollah officials that when the shooting stopped, Iran would provide Hezbollah with an “unlimited budget” for reconstruction.” Juan Cole has more on the Battle of the Speeches. Meanwhile, Hezbollah balks at withdrawal “from the battle-scarred hills along the border with Israel on Tuesday, threatening to delay deployment of the Lebanese army and endangering a fragile cease-fire.”
And this startler of a headline in the UK Times: “German troops may face Jews—as part of mission for peace.” “As troops from France, Italy, Spain, Turkey and other donor nations prepared to deploy in southern Lebanon, Germany’s late decision to participate ranked as its most delicate foreign policy move since it was held to account for the Holocaust in 1945. Since then, it has been unthinkable that Germans would put themselves in a combat situation in which their soldiers could shoot at Jews.”
The pity, the waste, the stupidity of war: David Grossman, the Israeli novelist, buries his son.
Irshad Manji says it ain’s Bush’s or Blair’s business to mediate Muslims’ many internecine wars: “Whether in Britain or America, those who claim to speak for Muslims have a responsibility to the majority, which wants to reconcile Islam with pluralism. Whatever their imperial urges, it is not for Tony Blair or George W. Bush to restore Islam’s better angels. That duty — and glory — goes to Muslims.” But Muslim Myopia is mostly to blame.
Robert Fisk: “In the sparse Baathist drawing rooms of Damascus, reality often seems a long way away. But it was a sign of the times that President Bashar al-Assad was able to bring the great and the good of Damascus to their feet by the simple token of telling the truth - which no other Arab leader has chosen to do these past five weeks: that the Lebanese Hizbollah guerrilla army has, in effect, won this round of their war with Israel.” But why rely on one of the war’s instigators and revelers to tell the “truth”?
In Other Worlds
The Times has an appropriately titled lead editorial: “Meanwhile in Baghdad,” where the death toll (in Iraq as a whole actually) rose past 3,400 last month: “Since June, more than 3,000 Iraqis have been killed each month, and the rate continues to rise. While Lebanon is now trying to pick up the pieces, Iraq is falling apart at an accelerating pace.” Any rosy assessment of Iraq has no relation to reality.
Clinton on AIDS: Abstinence-only education stinks: Former U.S. president Bill Clinton waded into political controversy yesterday, telling a Toronto audience that politicians and policy makers know how to combat HIV-AIDS, they just need to overcome their squeamishness and self-righteousness and act,” the Toronto Globe & Mail reports. “In an hour-long address, Mr. Clinton called on public-health officials to act on evidence that male circumcision can dramatically reduce the risk of transmission of HIV-AIDS, blasted the U.S. administration for its support of abstinence-only education programs that are doomed to failure, backed needle-exchange programs, called for routine testing in hard-hit regions, lashed out at pharmaceutical companies over the high cost of AIDS drugs for children and demanded that politicians who pilfer AIDS dollars for personal gain be jailed.
Pipeline failures predicted 14 years ago: “Fourteen years ago Congress urged the Transportation Department to start regulating low-pressure pipelines such as those blamed for shutting down Alaska's North Slope oil production. But it didn't happen. And only now, after questions about pipe maintenance and two damaging oil spills in Alaska, are officials pushing hard to establish federal rules and standards for such lines.” And in the Indian Ocean, another massive oil spill, this one involving a tanker and 4,500 tons of the crude stuff.