July 22, 2006
"Lebanon carpenters are running out of wood for coffins. Bodies are stacked 3 or 4 feet high at the hospital morgue. The stench is spreading in the rubble. The morbid reality of Israel’s bombing campaign is reaching almost every corner of the city… On Thursday, the wild dogs gnawed at the charred remains of a family bombed as they were trying to escape the village." Hassan Fattah, New York Times
"The complicity of the American public in these heinous crimes will damn America for all time in history." Paul Craig Roberts; "The Shame of being an American"
For more than a week Israel has been raining down terror on the Lebanon’s unprotected cities and towns. So far, more than 1,200 sites have been completely destroyed laying to waste most of the country’s civilian infrastructure and triggering a humanitarian crisis. The death toll, currently at 350, continues to mount while the number of displaced civilians is estimated at more than 500,000.
We know now that Israel’s plan of attack was "finalized more than a year ago" and that Hezbollah’s capturing of the 2 Israeli soldiers was merely a pretext to execute their strategy. Gerald Steinberg, professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University clarified this point saying, "Of all Israel’s wars since 1948, this was the one for which Israel was most prepared. In a sense, the preparation began in 2000, immediately after the Israeli withdrawal."
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, "More than a year ago, a senior Israeli army officer began giving Power-point presentations, on an off-the-record basis, to US and other diplomats, journalists and think-tanks, setting out the plan for the current operation in revealing detail."
Although this simply confirms what most serious analysts suspected from the beginning, it is still interesting on many levels. For one thing, we can be sure that top ranking officials in the Bush administration (including George Bush) not only knew of the plan, but tacitly endorsed the invasion of a friendly country who posed no threat to national security. We can also assume that the battle-plans were carefully orchestrated with Washington so that Bush could co-opt the leaders at the G-8 meetings while Israel pummeled its vulnerable neighbor. Again, this shows the appalling degree of cynicism in the Bush foreign policy strategy.
The SF Chronicle article also demonstrates the extent to which the media is integrated into the machinery of state power. The fact that select "journalists" were provided with information about future aggression against non-threatening states shows that the administration places great value on the preparation of propaganda for major events like the destruction of Lebanon. The media’s carefully crafted message; chock-full of the usual "buzz-words" and "talking points" (nb. "Israel is fighting a war on 2 fronts"; "Israel has the right to defend itself"; "Syria and Iran are the cause of the violence") follows the predictable pattern of emphasizing Israeli "victim-hood" while lashing out against future enemies without any evidence of wrongdoing. Nearly every one of the 4,000 or so articles covering the violence, use the very same talking points in describing events on the ground. It is a shocking reminder of the woeful state of modern corporate media which advances an elite agenda through the intentional dissemination of misinformation. In the present crisis, much of the public support for Israeli aggression can be directly attributed to the manipulation of language and facts appearing in the media. (We should note that, so far, there is no proof that either Iran or Syria is directly involved in the hostilities and that, more importantly, it is American ordinance in the control of Israeli pilots that is pelting-down on the blameless civilians in Lebanon. Neither Iran nor Syria are in any way responsible for the carnage in Lebanon.)
According to the Chronicle, Israeli officials expect a 3 week campaign. Targeted bombing is to be followed by commando raids and a ground offensive, but the situation is "fluid" and plans will undoubtedly be modified to meet the changes in conditions on the ground. Already, we can see that 500,000 mostly poor Shiites have been uprooted in the south and "ethnically cleansed" from the area. Israel’s 20 mile buffer-zone to the Litani River is tantamount to occupation and will preclude many of these refugees to returning to their homes.
Israel’s invasion can be expected to reenergize the ethnic and religious rivalries which resulted in Lebanon’s civil war which killed an estimated 70,000 Lebanese nationals. Apparently, no price is too high to pay to ensure that Israel can establish a client regime in Beirut that will function at the behest of Tel Aviv.
Once again, all of the details were clearly worked out with members of the Bush administration prior to the invasion. Obviously, they were given Washington’s blessing. Since the hostilities broke out, the Bush administration has publicly given the "green light" to Israeli aggression and successfully blocked all diplomatic efforts to achieve a "cease-fire". The international community is now as much a hostage of Bush’s preemptive doctrine as the frightened Lebanese civilians cowering in their underground shelters in Beirut.
The New York Times reported on Saturday that Bush was "rushing a delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel" to guarantee that the killing can continue nonstop and that whatever is left of Lebanon’s frayed infrastructure will be swiftly pounded into dust.
Make no mistake, the vast destruction of the once-bustling metropolis and the ocean of suffering caused by the unprovoked Israeli air-assault, is a joint-operation facilitated by the Washington warlords as much as anyone in Tel Aviv.
In an op-ed piece today in the New York Times, neoconservative chieftain, Richard Perle provided a lurid summary of the present strategy:
"Israel must now deal a blow of such magnitude to those who would destroy it as to leave no doubt that its earlier policy of acquiescence is over. This means precise military action against Hezbollah and its infrastructure in Lebanon and Syria, for as long as it takes and without regard to mindless diplomatic blather about proportionality."
Perle’s statement is, in fact, an apt description the Bush-Olmert battle-plan for Lebanon. It tells us that, despite the failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, the two leaders still believe they can achieve a political solution through the (exclusive) use of overwhelming force. There is no moral or ethical component to the present policy, nor is there any wiggle-room for negotiation or diplomacy. (Condoleezza Rice’s trip is purely for public relations purposes) It is simply violence as a political-panacea removed from any rational alternative. 3 years in Iraq and 39 years of unrelenting bloodshed in Palestine, have taught them nothing. Lebanon is shaping up to be another dismal chapter in the chronicle of colonial atrocities.