Saturday, August 5, 2006 at 1:04 PM
But when it retaliated with a blitzkrieg through Southern Lebanon, I criticized Israel striking so indiscriminately and disproportionately. Indeed, that Israel did not deploy one of its famed commando teams to extract those soldiers – instead of bombing the region to smithereens – may prove an even bigger military blunder than President Bush thinking the U.S. military could bomb Iraq into a thriving democracy.
Now, as incensed as I become at Israel for blowing up buildings with women and children or humanitarian (UN) workers huddled up in them, I become even more irate at Hezbollah for cravenly using the people in those buildings as human shields. And, it constitutes an instructive indictment of all Arab countries that condemn Israel’s bombings but condone Hezbollah’s sacrifice of fellow Arabs in this cruel and inhumane manner.
Meanwhile, does anyone have any confidence that the diplomats engaged in political warfare at the UN will negotiate a resolution that’s worth the paper it’s written on? Already, they have twice postponed “decisive” meetings in this regard. And, even though every country except the U.S. and UK is calling for an immediate ceasefire, none of them seems willing to offer troops to enforce it.
But, unless a new resolution calls for a peacemaking force comprised of troops from countries like France, Russia, China, Egypt and Jordan (as opposed to monitors from Fiji and Togo), all of the talk at the UN is just a waste of time. After all, Hezbollah does not even need to look at Saddam Hussein’s violation of over 17 such resolutions between 1990 – 1999, with impunity (until the U.S. invaded in 2003), to know how much force a UN resolution carries. Because, it has fared pretty well – having violated UN Resolution 1559, which called for the “disbanding and disarmament” of Hezbollah, with rockets-red-glaring impunity (until Israel invaded a few weeks ago).
On the other hand, if President Bush assumes that Syria and Iran are the puppet masters fueling Hezbollah’s fire (and this is probably the only intelligent assumption he’s made about the Middle East), instead of cussing out UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for not telling them to “stop doing this shit and its over”, he should ask Israel to hold its fire so that he could dispatch – for all the world to see – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on the road to Damascus and Tehran to lay out the real conditions for a sustainable ceasefire.
(In addition, Rice could deliver an ultimatum for them to stop aiding and abetting terror groups in Iraq that are killing so many American troops and Iraqi civilians, or face grave consequences….)
Such a move would go a long way towards restoring America’s role as an honest broker. And, if Syria and Iran fail to comply, then Israel would have the political cover to use any means necessary to secure a ceasefire on its own terms (including attacks against Syria). And the U.S. would have the casus belli to launch attacks against Iran (especially targeting its nuclear weapons installations).
Alas, the way things are going now, I fear it will be a matter of years, not days as Rice said, before there’s a bona fide ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah….