13 July 2006

Not at all about Art

Its been about 6 hours since the airport was bombed--all three runways are out of service. Part of me is laughing at all the rich Lebanese with foreign passports who always talk about how lucky they are. If anything happens, they say, at least we can get out of here. Not now! Of course, I’m in the same boat they are but I still think its funny (schadenfreude, moi?) to know that we are all underdogs now.

Anyway, someone asked me in early 2003 if I really thought that Iraq posed a threat to the US. Well, back then the whole “Oops, gee, looks like there aren’t any WMDs” had not come out. Not knowing better, I thought maybe Iraq did pose a threat. That doesn’t add up to a pre-emptive war, but I thought there was a trouble brewing that turned out to be a carefully crafted illusion.

Now some words about Israel and the current skirmish they are having with Hezbollah/Lebanon. Lebanon is weak and poor, and Hezbollah exists because Lebanon’s government is too weak and poor to do anything about their existence. Israel has therefore decided not to differentiate between the impotent government that can not control Hezbollah and Hezbollah itself. Hezbollah probably does pose a threat to Lebanon’s government, but the more pressing question is: does Hezbollah pose a credible threat to Israel? Frankly, Israel is not a nice neighbor and their actions really strike me as arrogant, heavy-handed, and unjust. Israel is a rich, powerful, aggressive nation. Hezbollah isn't a nation at all, and barely has the capacity to launch puny little attacks over the southern boarder. They like to show that they can manage that. But that really is where it ends. They can’t take out Israel’s airports. They can’t do anything even remotely on that scale. Not in a million years.

Israel has decided that their best tactic is to come down on Lebanon like a ton of lead. I have to say that bombing the airport was an effective strategy on their part to shut down the Lebanese capital and government, but that in NO way does anything to Hezbollah. Israel’s actions, if anything have weakened the capacity of Lebanon to deal with Hezbollah. By damaging the airport, the infrastructure that supports Arab tourism in and around Beirut, they are damaging the only people who really have a mandate to rein Hezbollah in. Which then begs the question of why Israel is doing what it is doing.

The politics of a rich, powerful nation bullying a weak, poor nation are really on my mind. Should the scale of power, money, strength, etc. matter? Israel is doing this not because it is right, but because they can. Lebanon is a sitting duck, a fantastic whipping boy. Israel likes to spin this as a hard-line approach to terrorism, a zero tolerance policy. But I fail to see how damaging the government and infrastructure of Lebanon makes Israel safer from Hezbollah. Why not restrict the conflict to the forces in the south that started this?

Back to the US, I really wish we (all of us) would stop defending the mess we have gotten ourselves into in Iraq and admit that we would have been much better off securing our ports and boarders. I wish there could be a collective acknowledgement that Iraq has been a profound waste of time, money and lives. I wish that we would accept and agree that the war was ill-conceived. And most of all, I wish that we would have the decency and character to commit never again to engage in a war simply because we are big enough and strong enough to do it.


Mary Ann said...

On a more cheerful note, I ran 6k today in 38 minutes, which is my new fastest time.

katperkins said...

Congratulations! I guess that means you guys don't feel like you're in any danger. Thanks for the recap, it's probably the only time I've been able to follow any of the political turmoil over there.

Dad said...

Great run, congratulations!

Vatti said...

CNN did say that joggers were out as normal in Beirut this morning. Maybe you were one of the ones they saw. Glad you are safe. Keep in touch as you can. We love you.