Thursday, July 13, 2006

Yeah, What They Said ...

I admit I've been stalling on posting about this topic, all the while I've been glued to each escalation. I'm horrified at what is happening, it is spiraling out of control and no one seems willing to make any concession at all. Some of the latest news:

Israel blasts Lebanon airport, air bases
Israel intensified its attacks against Lebanon on Thursday, blasting Beirut's airport and two Lebanese army air bases near the Syrian border, and imposing a naval blockade. More than 50 people have died in violence following the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah militants.

Warplanes punched holes in the runways of Beirut's international airport and two military air bases, attacks that could draw the Lebanese army into the conflict.

Israel's army chief Brig. Gen. Dan Halutz warned that "nothing is safe" in Lebanon and said Beirut itself - particularly Hezbollah offices and residences - would be a target. Maj. Gen. Udi Adam said Israel had hit hundreds of targets and hadn't ruled out sending in ground troops. ...(more)
Hizbollah rockets rain on northern Israel
Hizbollah guerrillas from Lebanon fired barrages of rockets into nearly 20 towns across northern Israel on Thursday, killing one civilian and wounding 42 others in their heaviest bombardment in a decade. ...(more)
You can keep up with the latest here, or watch the networks, who to their credit have been giving this situation a lot of attention, notwithstanding a noticeable pro-israeli bias. I don't mean to take any side by saying that, just that the Palestinian/Hezbollah side of what is going on is under-represented in US media. As to where I stand I'm still muddled. Rather than put both feet in my mouth let me point you to opinions that I have read elsewhere that I for the most part agree with...

Froomkin: Bush the Bystander
The Middle East is exploding and what is President Bush doing about it? Not much.

Here's the transcript of this morning's joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in which Bush sounded more like a bystander on the world stage than the leader of its only superpower. ...(more)
Aravosis: The "other" Middle East: It's near all-out-war between Israel and Hezbollah - where is George Bush?
Where is George Bush? Where is America? Why are the Republicans in Congress and George Bush spending all their time worrying about flags and fags, while North Korea gets closer and closer to nuking us, and the Middle East goes up in flames?

There are serious problems in the world. And the current crop of Republicans running the country are either blind, or simply don't care. ...(more)
And I really liked this last one. Here it is in its entirety...

Josh Marshall: Where's the US?
I think I see the escalation of hostilities in and around Israel a bit differently than some readers. One TPM Reader asked yesterday in heated tones why I hadn't written anything about the "atrocities" Israel was committing in Gaza and southern Lebanon. I take a different view of this. I don't see why Israel should or really can, in the context of withdrawing from occupied territories, sit still while de facto governments to the north and the south kidnap her soldiers. And I say that as someone who thinks Israel should get out of the occupied territories in Gaza and the West Bank and support the establishment of a true Palestinian state not at some vague point in the future but now.

Israel actually faces what the Bush administration has pretended America faces, hostile neighbors using terrorist and irredentist factions as proxies in their conflict with Israel.

But retaliation has consequences. How far does this creeping war creep? Into Lebanon? We're already at that point. Into Syria? We're close. Iran? Maybe not too far in the future. Is it in Israel's or America's interest to acquire more occupied territories? Other than retaliatory bombing or occupation of buffer zones, what the the strategic objectives?

This is spinning out of control very quickly. And we need to think right now about where this leads in a week and a month. For America's interests and Israel's the US can't afford to hold back and watch where this goes. ...(more)
BTW, Josh just went bigTIME with his first article in the mag. Congratulations, Josh. You can support one of the true champions of blogland by checking it out. Besides his powerhouse blog and TPM Muckraker, he's been a columnist over at The Hill for a while now.

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