Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Bush lost his proxy war on Lebanon

Olmert is not in trouble back home because he defeated Hezbollah; Olmert is in trouble because he didn't. And, by proxy, neither did Bush. Secondly, Hezbollah did not start the conflict; The "Israeli Soldiers" were not kidnapped; they were captured inside Lebanon. Even so, Bush urged Olmert to attack Syria, perhaps hoping that Iran could be drawn into a conflict that even the conservative George Will had described as "cascading escalation". He drew a fearful analogy to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914. To his credit, Will was not as transparently gleeful about that prospect as were other conservative commentators. Did Bush hope that it would erupt into WWIII? If so, it is time for Bush to go.

Some 58 percent of the Israeli population most surely does not believe that Hezbollah is defeated. [See:Olmert fights for political survival] An excerpt:

He has faced a backlash over his decision to accept the U.N. resolution and for failing to deliver a fatal blow to Hezbollah. Army officers have said they were held back and right-wing rivals have been calling for new elections. The next national ballot is not due until 2010. —Washington Post
Hezbollah had only to fight to a draw to win. Even a majority of Israelis are not buying into the Bush spin machine:

Israel's verdict: We lost the war

By Donald Macintyre in Metulla, Israel

Published: 15 August 2006

Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, was obliged to admit "shortcomings" in the 34-day-old conflict in Lebanon yesterday as he launched what may prove a protracted fight for his own political survival.

Mr Olmert's admission in a stormy Knesset session came in the face of devastating poll figures showing a majority of the Israeli public believes none or only a very small part of the goals of the war had been achieved.

Adding insult to injury, the leader of Hezbollah, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, crowed on television that his guerrillas had achieved a "strategic historic victory" over Israel.

The Prime Minister, who was repeatedly heckled by opposition MPs during his address, insisted the international commitments in Friday night's UN resolution would "change fundamentally" the balance of forces on the country's northern border

...

Critics from right and left were fortified by a Globes Smith poll showing, remarkably given the degree to which the army is embedded in Israeli society, that 52 per cent of electors believed the Israel Defence Forces had been unsuccessful in its Lebanon offensive as opposed to 44 per cent who believed it did well.

...

But as the artillery batteries fell silent and firing stopped, there was a final single explosion at about 8.05pm, sending a plume of grey smoke upwards before the uneasy calm began.....
Post conflict spin can only lead to one conclusion: the relationship between Republican administrations since 1980 and the so-called "terrorists" is a symbiotic one. The GOP provides "terrorists" with a cause celebre while terrorism provides the Republican party with a Nazi tactic: scare the population to keep them obedient and compliant.

But neither the Israeli right wing —or the American GOP —have learned anything from the ordeal. I almost sensed a feeling of disappointment in Bush's voice yesterday even as he tried to convince himself and the world that Hezbollah had suffered a terrible defeat. Bush's sole accomplishment, however, lay in the fact that the Israeli attack took Bush's murderous Iraq quagmire off the front pages for a few weeks.

The GOP is not political party. It's a crime syndicate that has lately become a kooky cult of deliberate liars. And —as if to counter that image of Bush —it was made known that Bush is reading The Stranger by the Existentialist author, Albert Camus. But, if Bush knew anything of Camus or Sartre, he would surely know both men would have applied the term mauvaise foi (bad faith) to the likes of Bush, Cheney, and the entire GOP cabal, consisting as it does, of war criminals and torturers!

Fascism is not defined by the number of its victims, but by the way it kills them.

—Jean-Paul Sartre, Existentialist

Bush is no existentialist. Existentialism is all about living an authentic life. Bush is a poser, a fraud.
A man who does not know the truth is just an idiot but a man who knows the truth and calls it a lie is a crook!

—Bertolt Brecht

A man who knew mauvaise foi when he saw it.

Some updates:

Another 'Mission Accomplished' Moment?

By Dan Froomkin

Special to washingtonpost.com
Tuesday, August 15, 2006; 1:20 PM

President Bush's startling assertion yesterday -- that at the end of 33 days of warfare between Israel and the Hezbollah militia, Hezbollah had been defeated -- once again raises questions about his ability to acknowledge reality when things don't turn out the way he intended.

Here, from the transcript of his appearance at the State Department, are his exact words: "Hezbollah started the crisis, and Hezbollah suffered a defeat in this crisis. And the reason why is, is that first, there is a new -- there's going to be a new power in the south of Lebanon, and that's going to be a Lebanese force with a robust international force to help them seize control of the country, that part of the country." ...

Assad assails US `illusion'

Syrian President Bashar Assad said Tuesday plans by the United States for a "new Middle East" have collapsed after Hezbollah's successes in fighting against Israel.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Syrian President Bashar Assad said Tuesday plans by the United States for a "new Middle East" have collapsed after Hezbollah's successes in fighting against Israel.

He said the region had indeed changed but "because of the achievements of the resistance." The Middle East that the United States "aspires to has become an illusion," he told a journalists' association conference in Damascus.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said early in the war between Hezbollah and Israel that any settlement should be durable and lead to a "new Middle East" where extremists have no influence.

But after 34 days of fighting, a cease- fire brought a fragile truce, with Hezbollah surviving and Israeli forces unable to score a decisive victory. Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah has already declared "strategic, historic victory" against Israel. ...

From The Nation:

Topple the War Profiteers

In 1917, at the height of World War I, Wisconsin Sen. Robert M. La Follette caused quite a stir when he suggested that one of the best ways to support the US troops fighting in Europe was to expose and challenge American corporations that engage in all forms of war profiteering. Even as attention is focused abroad on battles still raging, La Follette said, it is important to remain ever mindful "that there are enemies of democracy in the homeland."

"These," the Senator continued, "are the powers of special privilege that take advantage of the opportunity which war affords to more firmly entrench themselves in their control of government and industry. These interests are amassing enormous fortunes out of the world's misery."

More than 85 years later, America finds itself embedded in a very different conflict, yet La Follette's words still ring true. No matter what Americans think about the Bush Administration's preemptive invasion of Iraq, there should be broad agreement on the need to ensure that corporations do not turn the war and its aftermath into a bonanza for their bottom lines and a boondoggle for US taxpayers. In other words: Now that the statues of Saddam Hussein have been toppled, it is time to topple the war profiteers. But where to begin? ...





The Existentialist Cowboy
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