There are people in the McCain-Lieberman Faction that think the opposition to Israel's war and the opposition to Joe Lieberman are tightly linked and have to do with antipathy for Israel as a nation. There is no question that there are some people who oppose the war and Joe for this reason. But it is a small percentage. The real opposition comes from our perception that the United States and Israel are currently being led by politicians that hold a neo-conservative view on foreign policy. Bull Moose asks:

The left's irrational hatred toward Joe is indicative of their view that the President is a greater threat to America than Jihadist fascism. Indeed, the Moose wonders whether the left truly believes that there is any danger from the radical Islamic reactionary force that is opposed to all liberal values.

Bingo. There is nothing fascist about the Islamist organizations Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizbollah, or al-qaeda. I have no idea why people keep misapplying the term fascism. There is a far greater threat to America than the possibility of another 9/11. 9/11 was tragic, traumatizing, and expensive. But the aftermath has been far more dangerous. We have seen the Executive Branch repeating most of the excesses of the Nixon administration. We have seen them take us into a quagmire in Iraq. What has done more damage to our nation's economy, security, and standing in the world: 9/11 or our reaction to 9/11?

It's not that the left doesn't see any danger from radical Islamists. We see a very real danger that is getting more pronounced every day Bush remains in office pursuing his disastrous policies towards the Muslim world. It's for this reason that the left doesn't see the primary danger as terrorism, but as Bush's reaction to terrorism. If you make the problem worse then you are the primary problem.

When we look at what Israel has done, it is obvious that they have blundered. The only alternative to the conclusion that they have blundered is that they intended all along to suck the United States into a wider regional conflict. (In my opinion, this was a joint U.S.-Israeli decision made in June at Beaver Creek, Colorado).

Let's look at some facts. Eighty percent of Christians polled supported Hizbullah along with 80 percent of Druze and 89 percent of Sunnis. Wrap your head around that. Now, how about this? Lebanese president gives full backing to Hezbollah. Got it? Everyone in Lebanon supports Hezbollah. The whole fucking population. This is in spite of the fact that Hezbollah is the party of the Shi'a, that they operate an extra-legal militia, and that their recklessness caused the harsh Israeli reprisals that are ruining the infrastructure of the country. The Christians, the Druze, and the Sunnis still think Hezbollah rocks out. Okay?

So how likely is it that Condi Rice will be able to pass Ray Close's test?

3. Condoleeza Rice, in the meantime, would have to accomplish the following objectives in her weekend visit to Lebanon and Israel:

(a) She would have to persuade the leaders of Hizballah (presumably through some hostile intermediary like Nabih Berri) that Hizballah should enter in good faith into a ceasefire and stop firing missiles into Israel --- even though they would know perfectly well that the purpose of such a ceasefire would be to give their adversaries time complete the preparations for Hizballah's defeat and destruction.

(b) Condi would then have to obtain a clear and reliable commitment from the Government of Lebanon that as soon as a ceasefire was in place, the Lebanese army would move into southern Lebanon to finish the job of disarming and dismantling the Hizballah militia, and then be ready to take over full responsibility for the security and stability of that whole region (with help from a heterogenous international force.)

(c) Condi would then have to persuade a bitterly divided and fractious Israeli cabinet and general public that Israel should publicly admit its failure to defeat Hizballah alone, withdraw its forces from their hard-won gains in Lebanon, and entrust Israel's future security to a tenuous coalition of international forces drawn from countries that have publicly condemned Israel for its previous actions.

(d) Finally, Condi (or perhaps John Bolton?) would then have to obtain reliable commitments from a number of countries to contribute units to a "robust" international force that would have to be prepared and authorized to enter into lethal combat with residual elements of Hizballah, in cooperation with the Lebanese army, knowing that there would still be a strong possibility of continued fighting against a well-armed and very competent underground insurgency for an indefinite period in the future.

I hope the Bull Moose can see the hopelessness of the situation. Now, I might wish that things were different, but wishing don't make it so. Israel started a scrap that it cannot win and cannot finish. The United States has sided with Israel in this huge bombing campaign cum invasion, and now finds itself completely isolated. We have an impossible mission before the United Nations and even before NATO. There are only two solutions even possible now. Israel ceases fire, admits defeat, and negotiates for the return of their soldiers and the end of rocket attacks, or America comes into Lebanon and takes over the operation.

America will be startled to learn that 80% of the Christians in Lebanon are siding with a Muslim terrorist organization against us. They may have expected coffee and a hot cross bun rather than RPG's and IED's from their religious brethren. But such is the idiocy of the Bush administration and leadership of Israel.

None of this has anything to do with any antipathy to Israel as a state or their right to defend themselves against attacks of their civilians. They absolutely have that right. But they aren't protecting themselves effectively. This is leading to really criminal ruminations by people like John Podheretz who laments:

Could World War II have been won by Britain and the United States if the two countries did not have it in them to firebomb Dresden and nuke Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Didn't the willingness of their leaders to inflict mass casualties on civilians indicate a cold-eyed singleness of purpose that helped break the will and the back of their enemies? Didn't that singleness of purpose extend down to the populations in those countries in those days, who would have and did support almost any action at any time that would lead to the deaths of Germans and Japanese?

What if the tactical mistake we made in Iraq was that we didn't kill enough Sunnis in the early going to intimidate them and make them so afraid of us they would go along with anything? Wasn't the survival of Sunni men between the ages of 15 and 35 the reason there was an insurgency and the basic cause of the sectarian violence now?

If you can't imagine George W. Bush issuing such an order, is there any American leader you could imagine doing so?

And if America can't do it, can Israel? Could Israel - even hardy, strong, universally conscripted Israel - possibly stomach the bloodshed that would accompany the total destruction of Hezbollah?

Obviously these are the types of things that neo-conservatives should have thought about before going off half-cocked and starting a scrap they don't have the lack of compassion to finish.

But let's keep going here, because a lot of people are making this out to be a big deal for Israel...that they have no choice but to get medieval on Lebanon's ass.

Bull Moose:

This war is as just as Israel's fight for existence in '48 or '67 or '73. It is not about occupation. It is a fight against evil. It is as clear cut as WWII.

It truly boggles the mind that the world carps and complains that Israel is "disproportionate" in its war to defend itself. Israel was a nation at peace that was attacked by a terrorist organization that was given refuge in Lebanon and is part of the government. Israel has every right to eliminate that threat. Israel has the power to level Lebanon - and that would have been the fate of that suffering country during any other time in human history. Instead, Israel is risking the lives of her troops to avoid as many civilian casualties as possible.

Israel should be celebrated and applauded by the world for her actions. Instead, the world denounces the Jewish state.

The problem is that liberal civilization lacks the moral clarity that existed in the '40s. Now, all is relative. And the world is weary of this fight. But, once again, Jews have no choice.

We're back to that 1940's brand of moral clarity that allowed us to bomb the hell out of civilians to supposedly break the back of the enemy. Never mind that it didn't work, how's this for moral clarity?

"Are we beasts? Are we taking this too far?" -Winston Churchill, remark after viewing films of the effects of Allied bombing on German cities, June 1943. (Macmillan Dictionary of Political Quotations)

That's from the big-stone boy himself, Bull Moose. Doing Nagasaki was just icing on the cake on the road from man to beast and back to man again. We thought we might create some international organizations and laws and sign some treaties so people would never again put people in ovens, or use them for medical research, or torture them, or drop bombs on civilians on purpose, or use a nuclear weapon again. Bush and Cheney don't have any respect for those attempts to humanize man. But I was talking about Israel...

Having rockets rain down on you once or twice every couple months is indeed an intolerable injustice and something which the government has a responsibility to stop...if they can. That's an important distinction. Because getting your lunch money stolen by some bully everday on your way to school is also an intolerable injustice. But if you can't kick the bully's ass, what are you going to do? Give him the money. That's right folks!! Or find another way to school...which is what Israel should have done. Find another way to deal with the problem than starting a war they can't finish, ask for international troops that will not materialize, and suck the United States into a wider regional war.

Ah shit, Bull Moose, I forgot...that was the plan all along. That's what neo-conservatives do. They invent phony casus belli to lead the nation into ill-advised and expensive wars that make the problems worse. We're just left to watch what they do in our little reality-based community.

But we don't have to like it. We don't have to agree with it. We can insist that Israel is making a mistake without hating Israel. We can warn them, as the French warned us, not to go into Lebanon. But wait?!!? They didn't ask permission, did they? No, they just started all this shit up all on their own without a green light from anywhere along the Potomac (or Beaver Creek, Colorado).

It's not so bad, you know, having a little rocket fire now and then. It helps keep people in a 1940's moral clarity state of mind. It's a nuisance. It's unacceptable, but it is not an existential threat. This was not 1948, 1967, or 1973. It wasn't even Intifada Part Deux. But now they've gone and started a dang war. In Lebanon of all places. That's pretty close to Damascus. I hope our troops like visiting the Old City when they get there. But we're skipping ahead.

We were supposed to be talking about Lieberman. And terrorism. And the war in Iraq. I'm not afraid of terrorists. I'm afraid I'll never get my country back from authoritarian warmongers that don't know what the fuck they're doing and are squandering everything America has to offer to itself and to others.

I oppose Joe Lieberman for the same reason I oppose George W. Bush and I oppose Israel's war on Lebanon. They're fucking things up and killing innocent people while they make matters worse. And they actually believe in what they're doing. The neo-conservatives have lots of WMD and a frightenly low aversion to using them. That's the biggest problem we face as a nation. Israel isn't going to be overrun. Calm the fuck down.

Israel can have peace someday. But not this way. No sir. There is not going to be any peace anywhere for a very long time once America realizes that the war in Lebanon suddenly became our war. But that was the plan.

Originally posted to www.boomantribune.com on Sat Jul 29, 2006 at 01:31 PM PDT.

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