As the world held its collective breath about the fragile cease-fire in Lebanon, President Bush proclaimed that Israel had won. The Israeli government made similar pronouncements, though this morning's Washington Post says that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert acknowledged "failings and shortcomings."
However, Hezbollah also thinks it won. On Informed Comment, Juan Cole reports that the group's "leader Hasan Nasrallah said his organization had won a historic and unprecedented victory against Israel." Cole says of Hezbollah's claim:
This is the sort of victory where a nerd goes up against a heavy weight champion in the ring and comes out of it alive, even if stomped on pretty badly. But it is closer to the truth than Olmert and Bush's pronouncements that Hizbullah's state within a state was just gone, now.I don't know who won, if anyone did. But one thing is clear: Lebanon lost. Many innocent civilians are dead. Homes and businesses are destroyed. In some places the infrastructure is in tatters. The government is exposed as weak -- unable to deal with either Hezbollah or the Israelis. One hopes the country can rebuild and survive.
In an article that originally appeared in The New York Times, Daoud Kuttab, a Palestinian Christian and journalist, expresses his concern about the influence of the Christian Zionists -- extreme Christian fundamentalists who want to see the war in Lebanon continue. He writes:
A small minority of evangelical Christians have entered the Middle East political arena with some of the most un-Christian statements I have ever heard. The latest gems come from people like Pat Robertson, the founder and chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network, and Rev. John Hagee of Christians United for Israel. Hagee, a popular televangelist who leads the 18,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, ratcheted up his rhetoric this year with the publication of his book, "Jerusalem Countdown," in which he argues that a confrontation with Iran is a necessary precondition for Armageddon (which will mean the death of most Jews, in his eyes) and the Second Coming of Christ.Kuttab rejects this insanity in Christian terms:
For the time being, I, as a Christian Palestinian, prefer to follow the words of Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount. "Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the sons of God."Seymour Hersh, in another excellent report in The New Yorker, says that the Bush administration was very involved in the Israeli campaign in Lebanon. He writes:
President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney were convinced, current and former intelligence and diplomatic officials told me, that a successful Israeli Air Force bombing campaign against Hezbollah's heavily fortified underground-missile and command-and-control complexes in Lebanon could ease Israel's security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential American preemptive attack to destroy Iran's nuclear installations, some of which are also buried deep underground.Ah, yes: The Bush administration, which failed to capture Osama bin Laden, left Afghanistan adrift, and completely botched an unnecessary war in Iraq, is now apparently interested in starting another war in Iran.
Meanwhile you can't even carry your hand lotion or bottled water on an airplane and a whole lot of Lebanese now see the US and Israel as their enemies.
This is making us safer how?