I despair of the worldview coming out of the Middle East these days. Of course, Lebanon is a mess. I really hope that the dogs of war can be leashed again there and soon. There’s definitely something to be said for the military (any military, IMHO) believing that that every problem is a nail that their hammer can fix. I wonder if Israel is at the limits of what military options can achieve. Of course, I’m not suggesting there was any other choice but to raise the stakes in Lebanon. Contrary to what the big fuss is about – rockets- I believe the stakes were raised for one reason alone: kidnapping. If the one-two punch of targeted kidnapping of Israeli soldiers in Gaza and the Lebanese border were tolerated, kidnapping would have become the new normative situation. This is what the state of Israel cannot, under any circumstances, tolerate. The price for such behavior must make this option be removed from the table by Hezbollah and Hamas. The limited rocket attacks could have continued to be tolerated in the interest of allowing the nascent Lebanese democracy to take hold. Pity the war-torn Lebanese normal people; they are hostages to the situation as are the Israelis. Shifting gears slightly, I can’t abide or understand any attempt to equalize Hezbollah, it’s leadership or tactics with that of Israel, a sovereign state with a proper chain of command and a healthy, vibrant public discourse on all aspects of its political actions -healthier even than, say, the U.S. To somehow insinuate that Israel is acting wantonly and immorally regarding her latest actions is to truly believe that Israel and the U.S., with their respective moral compasses, are as bloodthirsty and chauvinistic as the enemies who foisted the fight upon us.
IRAQ is a an unqualified mess. Civil society – in the capital at least- has been completely rendered asunder. Regardless of the outcome, it’s clear to me that the insurgency/terrorists/anarchists have won this battle: the have succeeded in turning Iraqi society against itself. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, the uranium has gone critical on this one, people. Whatever happens next in Baghdad would fall under the category of fixing what’s (very) broken and no longer preventing the fracture in the first place. Even the hawk Ralph Peters ponders whether Pandora can be put back into her box. Unfortunate. Let the blame game begin. While I support our President’s moral compass and feel he got the big picture right, Mr. Bush and his inner circle seems to lack the ability to adjust meaningfully to the situation on the ground. Of course, credit must be given to Iraqi (lack of) leadership as well for this, but the U.S. was in the unique position to recognize the vacuum and do something about it.
DEAN: I'm not neccesarily saying he's wrong, just that he's an idiot (for saying it). In a nutshell, Howard Dean is symptomatic of a Democratic party that can't get it's act together. Troubling. We need a healthy two-party system to survive and the inept Democratic party leadership isn't helping. It sometimes seems the rational wing of the DNC is waiting for Prince Obama to grow up. We can't wait that long, Rome is burning folks!
UPDATE: If you doubt the importance of transparency and healthy political discourse in society, here's an interesting contrast: An Arab "Peace" Demonstration (their left) vs. an Israeli peace demonstration.