Thursday, July 20, 2006


Stop the Presses: US out of sync with "allies"

I often wonder if leading newspapers in other countries do as much wailing and gnashing of teeth about their countries being out of sync with the U.S. as ours do worrying about the U.S., for example, being at Odds With Allies on Mideast Conflict.

“The United States faces growing tensions with allies over its support of Israel's military campaign to cripple Hezbollah, amid calls for a cease-fire to help with the mounting humanitarian crisis.”

Now, to date, U.S. support for Israel has been pretty much limited to the President supporting their right to self-defense so this may have just been a wishful inference by the article’s authors. Unfortunately, they do not identify the so-called allies for whom, apparently, anything short of outright condemnation of Israel for being Israel counts as support. And while there are those with reasonable concerns about the situation over there, I can’t believe anyone is really that upset that the Israeli military campaign is trying to “cripple” Hezbollah – upset about the possible effect of the campaign on Lebanon itself, yes – but I don’t think anyone is wringing their hands over the possibility of a crippled Hezbollah.

But as hyperbolic as their first paragraph was, Post writers Robin Wright and Colum Lynch don’t let up in paragraph number two:

“European allies are particularly alarmed about the disproportionately high civilian death toll in Lebanon. They are also concerned that the U.S. position will increase tensions between the Islamic world and the West by fueling militants, playing into the rhetoric of Osama bin Laden and adding to the problems of the U.S.-led coalition force in Iraq.”

Particularly galling is their opinion-stated-as-fact use of the term “disproportionately high”. Would our European “allies” really be less alarmed if a couple Hezbollah rockets were more proportionately successful? “Disproportionate” is such a subjective term in this context that I don’t believe it reflects anything other than the authors own applied use of mathematics. While any civilian casualty is regretted, I trust the Israeli military that any Lebanese civilian casualties are as a result of unfortunate (and, by some reports, Hezbollah-forced) proximity to Hezbollah military targets…if for no other reason than that if the Israelis really wanted to target civilians, the civilian death toll would be an order of magnitude greater. Meanwhile, is there any serious argument that Hezbollah is strictly targeting military targets in Israel? So when I read that “they are also concerned that the U.S. position will increase tensions between the Islamic world and the West”, I’m mentally inserting Robin Wright and Colum Lynch as chief among the “concerned”.

U.S. actions in Lebanon have yet to go beyond evacuation of U.S. citizens and I can’t believe a few muted words of encouragement are going to rile up a populace that isn’t already riled up. But if our support has them that concerned, imagine their stark terror upon hearing that Leading Saudi Sheik Pronounces Fatwa Against Hezbollah (h/t – NRO)

Meanwhile there are the predictable calls from the UN, Lebanon and France for a ceasefire:

“What there needs to be now is a cessation of hostilities," U.N. Deputy Secretary General Mark Malloch Brown told reporters yesterday. "The Middle East is littered with the results of people believing there are military solutions to political problems in the region."

“The fragile Lebanese government has pleaded for a cease-fire, and France has urged the U.N. Security Council to adopt a resolution calling for an end to hostilities, proposing political and security measures.”

Lest we forget, the United Nations has a two thousand man force in southern Lebanon, led by a French general, specifically to “help the Lebanese Government restore its effective authority in the area.” Been around since 1978: while there, Palestinian attacks continued on Israel (1982) and Hezbollah has conducted terrorist actions against Israel and Lebanon has no control over its southern portion…so with this record of success as a backdrop, it is only natural that we turn to the UN for more help. (UN; heal thyself )

Thankfully, amidst all this nonsense, a voice of reason is heard:

“U.N. Ambassador John R. Bolton challenged France's proposal. "I am not sure that conventional thinking about a cease-fire makes any sense when you are dealing with a terrorist group that fires rockets at civilian populations and kidnaps innocent Israelis," he said.”

Even Senator Voinovich gets it. (H/T Soccer Dad )

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