Friday, July 21, 2006

W. tells Israel to 'go biblical' on Lebanon:

This can't be good, the WaPo reports W. is having a moment of "clarity" on Isreal's siege of Lebanon. Michael Abramowitz writes:

"In the administration's view, the new conflict is not just a crisis to be managed. It is also an opportunity to seriously degrade a big threat in the region, just as Bush believes he is doing in Iraq."

And we all know how well that's going: The Sunday Mail reports: "Baghdad morgue officials have said they took in 1595 bodies in June, 1375 in May and 1155 in April. Of those, about 80 per cent were victims of violent deaths, they said." The UN says about 6000 "Iraqi civilians were killed in the last two months alone as casualties continued an 'upward trend.' "

I'll say! The WaPo reports that the big "crack-down," operation which was launched last month in Baghdad to put an end to the violence hasn't been going too well:

"The number of attacks in Baghdad averaged 23.7 a day, according to statistics released Thursday by the military. By comparison, the daily average for the previous three months was 23.8. However, from July 14 through July 18, the five days after the operation had reached the one-month mark, the average number of attacks jumped to 34.4."

Not to worry, though, it can be managed. Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, said during a news briefing that, "'There was in fact a slight reduction in the level of violence' during the first month. So there was in fact a slight down-tick that was occurring and progress was being made as we moved forward with this operation.'"

Yes progress. . . and I'm sure our good firend and ally in the war on terror is full-square behind our support for letting Israel turn Lebanon into a large crater, right? NO? The NYT reports:

"Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq on Wednesday forcefully denounced the Israeli attacks on Lebanon. 'The Israeli attacks and airstrikes are completely destroying Lebanon's infrastructure,' Mr. Maliki said at an afternoon news conference inside the fortified Green Zone, which houses the American Embassy and the seat of the Iraqi government. 'I condemn these aggressions and call on the Arab League foreign ministers’ meeting in Cairo to take quick action to stop these aggressions. We call on the world to take quick stands to stop the Israeli aggression.'”

But getting back to Lebanon:

Abramowitz writes in his article that W. is feeling even better about his theory that he can just sit back and let Israel do whatever it wants as the pressure from the UN and Europe mounts for a cease-fire:

"'He thinks he is playing in a longer-term game than the tacticians,' said the former official, who spoke anonymously so he could discuss his views candidly. 'The tacticians would say: 'Get an immediate cease-fire. Deal first with the humanitarian factors.' The president would say: 'You have an opportunity to really grind down Hezbollah. Let's take it, even if there are other serious consequences that will have to be managed.' " Again, just like in Iraq.

Or in Somalia, how's that going? Oh, the religious fanatics have taken over the country and the Ethiopians have crossed the border? Weren't we giving the warlords who opposed the religious nuts money to stop this from happening? It can be managed! The AP reports:

"Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys, speaking on Radio Shabelle, said Ethiopia's decision to send troops to protect the transitional government in Baidoa, 150 miles northwest of Mogadishu, must be met with war. 'I am calling on the Somali people to wage a holy war against Ethiopians in Baidoa,' said Aweys, accused by the United States of having ties to al-Qaida. 'They came to protect a government which they set up to advance their interests.'"

Don't worry be happy; the Inquirer reports that State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says, "We are watching the situation very closely" and "we would urge the Ethiopian government to exercise restraint."

Where have I heard that before? Oh right, Condi Rice said last week, "It is extremely important that Israel exercise restraint in its acts of self defense." And how's that going? Another article in today's WaPo reports frothe southern city of Tyre, where the Israelis are getting ready to really show some "restraint."

"The warning came in the morning Thursday, a recorded message dialed to phone numbers in southern Lebanon. In flawless Arabic, it instructed: Leave now, beyond the Litani River that bisects the rock-studded wadis of the south. Don't flee on motorcycles or in vans or trucks. Otherwise, you will be a target. The message signed off simply: the state of Israel."

Ivan Watson reported from Tyre for NPR this afternoon. He witnessed the mass burial of 80 bodies that had been kept in two refrigerator trucks until they could be identified. There were about 20 more bodies still waiting to be buried and more were arriving all the time. He says there are lots of civilians who would obviously like to get out of the line of fire of Israel's bombs but the Israelis keep blowing up people in their cars as they try to escape.

This loss of life is very tragic, but what are you going to do? These do-gooders at the UN like Kofi Annan who condemned Israel's "excessive use of force" yesterday, are not seeing the big picture. Hezbollah has to be destroyed, so therefore innocent civilians in Lebanon have to die. Hezbollah's gets its weapons and funding from Iran and Syria but this war will go on in Lebanon until Hezbollah stops firing rockets... or was it to turn over the soldiers they captured or . . .what was it again, I forget.

The main thing is W. "will not bow to international pressure to pressure Israel. I have never seen a man more committed to Israel;" so says Fred S. Zeidman, a Texas venture capitalist who has been close to the president for years, according to the WaPo.


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