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Shock and awe, Israeli style [Adnan Hajj, Reuters]

Il Faut Bombarder Notre Jardin
Candide Recommends: Friday, July 14, 2006

  • BEIRUT BLASTS, I: It may be Bastille Day, but it’s bombing time all over again for Lebanon, where it’s as if the rewind button’s been pressed back twenty years. David Ignatius in today’s Washington Post (Ignatius covered parts of the Lebanon war for the Wall Street Journal in the early 1980s): “Watching the events of the past few days, you can't help but feel that this is the rerun of an old movie -- one in which the guerrillas and kidnappers end up as the winners.” Not to be outdone by the movie analogy, here’s Thomas Friedman in today’s Times: “When you watch the violence unfolding in the Middle East today it is easy to feel that you’ve been to this movie before and that you know how it ends — badly.” Ignatius: “ Israel's fledgling prime minister, Ehud Olmert, wants to emulate the toughness of his predecessor, Ariel Sharon. But that shouldn't include a replay of Sharon's 1982 Lebanon invasion, a strategic mistake that spawned Hezbollah in the first place.” Friedman, as off-target as those Israeli bombs raining on Lebanon: “But we actually have not seen this movie before. Something new is unfolding, and we’d better understand it. What we are seeing in Iraq, the Palestinian territories and Lebanon is an effort by Islamist parties to use elections to pursue their long-term aim of Islamizing the Arab-Muslim world. This is not a conflict about Palestinian or Lebanese prisoners in Israel. This is a power struggle within Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq over who will call the shots in their newly elected “democratic’’ governments and whether they will be real democracies.” Obviously, it’s not about Israelis and Hezbollah being their old savage selves. Never in Friedmanese a cigar just a cigar.
  • BUSH DEFICITS: It’s not every day that the Washington Moony Times is worth citing, but it’s not every day that it sounds like me, either: In its lead editorial (“Dismal Budget Numbers”), the right-wingers’ muezzin isn’t buying the Bush administration’s happy story: “[G]iven that the economy will soon enter the sixth year of an expansion that began in November 2001, unified budget deficits in the range of $300 billion are much too high for this stage in the business cycle. In addition, it must be noted that the unified deficit includes an annual Social Security surplus of about $175 billion. Remove the Social Security surplus and the remaining on-budget deficit will average nearly $500 billion per year in fiscal 2006 and 2007. As recently as fiscal 2000, there was a unified budget surplus of nearly $250 billion and an on-budget surplus of nearly $100 billion. So, there has been a "fiscal swing" (in the wrong direction) of more than half a trillion dollars per year since 2000.” The Moony times, nostalgic for the Clinton years? Aren’t we all. And for the rest of the economic story, there’s always Paul Krugram’s “Left Behind Economics” from today’s Times.

Blog Roundup: Lebanon

  • From Jamal 's Propaganda Site: "So Olmert woke me up at 3 am, made my mom freak out, made my sister weep uncontrollably, made me take a cold shower with no water pressure this morning, and he expects me to support his effort to eradicate Hezbollah." Jamal also has a copy of the latest leaflet from the Israeli air force, which kindly lays out the daily schedule and location of each bombardment.
  • Moussa Bashir took a walk around his house and shot these pictures of fresh-roasted destruction before more air raids chased him inside to a dying laptop battery.
  • Ramz at Lebanese Blogger Forum (a great collective of up-to-the-hour reactions to the bombing): "Iran's terrorist-in-chief proudly proclaimed today that if Israel bombed Syria, it would be tantamount to declaring war on the arab/muslim world... I guess suddenly, Lebanon is not part of that world. I don't know whether to be enraged, to laugh my ass off, or to feel relief."
  • Video of the day: Beirut, a history of the last thirty years in three and a half minutes, to Fayruz's incomparable voice.
  • This just in from my cousin Isabelle in Beirut: "I am still in karm el zeitoun, in the "christian" part of Beirut. Nothing is happening here, besides of course the sound of the bombings. Electricity comes and goes, but is mostly there. Food isn't a problem yet. Most of the shops are closed, everyone is really anxious, especially after the speech of this bloody bastard of the Hezbollah about having an open war with Israel. So we're anxious, and sad; we all have in mind memories we would rather forget. C'est tout pour le moment. Il y a une soixantaine de morts civils, et pres de 150 blessés, tous dans le Sud ou la banlieue Sud de Beyrouth. Une vingtaine de ponts détruits, plus une centrale électrique aussi, mais tous ça tu le sais peut être déjà. Au risque que ça te paraisse con ou frivole, j'ai une folle envie de lire, et c'est ce que je ferai cette nuit si pour la 3ème fois je n'arrive pas à dormir à cause du bruit (je suis arrivée à l'aéroport moins de 4h avant les 1ers bombardements et sa fermeture)."


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