What I Read About Lebanon

(With apologies to Eliot Weinberger)

In the New York Times, I read that Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice thought that the bloodshed in Lebanon represented the “birth pangs of a new Middle East.” And I wondered: Did the Lebanese ask her to be the midwife?

In the Guardian, I read that, on July 27, Prime Minister Fouad Saniora pleaded with Rice, “Are we children of a lesser god? If you prick us do we not bleed?” And I wondered: Why did it take him 14 days to stand up and say something?

In the Khaleej Times, I read that several Egyptian newspapers were comparing Nasser in 1956 with Nasrallah in 2006. And I wondered: Did pan-Arabism work such miracles for us that you’re wishing for pan-Islamism?

In Ynet, I read that the Yesha Rabbinical Council stated, “according to Jewish law, during a time of battle and war, there is no such term as ‘innocents’ of the enemy.” And I wondered: Why is no one asking ‘moderate’ Jews to step forward and denounce these rabbis?

In the Washington Post, I read Charles Krauthammer say that, “in perhaps the most blatant terror campaign from the air since the London Blitz, Hezbollah is raining rockets on Israeli cities and villages.” And I wondered: Has he not heard of the terror campaign of 9/11, of Qana, or, for that matter, of ‘shock and awe,’ which he so passionately championed?

In the Los Angeles Times, I read Alan Dershowitz propose a ‘continuum of civilianity‘ for the Lebanese, whose women and children cannot ‘always be counted as civilians.’ And I wondered: Doesn’t he sound just like Bin Laden arguing that there were no innocents in New York on September 11?

In Ha’aretz, I read an interview with Colonel A., in which he was asked about the deaths of Lebanese civilians and he responded: “Our soldiers who are killed in Bint Jbail are also civilians.” And I wondered: Why didn’t the reporter stop him and say, no, Israeli soldiers are not civilians. They are soldiers.

In the Huffington Post, I read Bill Maher claim, “There was no entity of Arabs called “Palestine” before Israel made the desert bloom.” And I wondered: Would he get away with denying any other ethnic group’s right to exist?

In an Agence France-Presse release, I read that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejjad said, “The real cure for the conflict is elimination of the Zionist regime, but there should be first an immediate ceasefire.” And I wondered: How do you want to get a ceasefire from an entity whose existence you deny? And I also wondered: Why don’t you battle it out with Bill Maher and leave the rest of us out of it?

In the Boston Herald, I read Patrick Buchanan state plainly, “America shares full moral and political responsibility for the massacre at Qana.” And I wondered: Why am I hearing this from Pat Buchanan, of all people?

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