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Candide's Latest: Monday, August 14, 2006
A Cease-Fire On Paper Only

Not even a place to plant it .

Lebanon shoots itself in the foot: One thing the United States, Israel, France, Russia and the rest of the United Nations Security Council forgot to account for in its quest for a cease-fire in Lebanon, its own volatility aside: The Lebanese inability to agree to anything without making the Hatfields & McCoys look like cuddly characters on Barney. A truce was to take effect this morning at 1 a.m. EST, 8 a.m. Lebanon time. Fat chance. The Lebanese cabinet met Sunday was to meet to discuss the implementation of the UN resolution, which calls for disarming Hezbollah and deploying 15,000 Lebanese troops in South Lebanon. But “ A Lebanese government source wrote on the Arab internet site Ilaf that ‘when it comes to crunch time, Hezbollah is refusing to give up its arms,’” according to Haaretz. “The same source said that the Lebanese government had opted to cancel the meeting so that the disputes will not cause a rift between the Shi'ite ministers and the rest.” But there’s always been a rift. The cabinet is inherently divided. Talks broke up, the BBC reported, without agreement and no date to meet again. That means fighting will go on in the south because without troops to separate them, Hezbollah and Israel are the Hatfields & McCoys unplugged and back in West Virginia. Sunday was fierce enough. The two sides looked to press their advantages ahead of the cease-fire. Hezbollah lobbed more than two hundred and fifty rockets into Israel. So much for Israel’s occupation up to the Litani River meaning anything at all, rocket-suppression-wise: the entire operation was useless, having achieved not even the one meager objective of keeping Hezbollah from firing rockets into Israel, let alone denting Hezbollah’s capacities as a fighting force—or a spoiler of Lebanese political progress. No wonder Haaretz is reporting that "The Israel Defense Forces are recommending that once the cease-fire takes effect, Israel should begin withdrawing its forces from Lebanon relatively quickly." Meanwhile Israel raided Lebanon repeatedly, killing at least 25. Four Israeli soldiers were also killed.

Insanity: The great David Grossman loses his son in Lebanon: “ Staff Sgt. Uri Grossman, 20, the son of renowned novelist and peace activist David Grossman was killed Saturday in Lebanon, just days after his father made a public call for the government to halt its military operation and enter negotiations,” the AP was reporting late Sunday. “Uri Grossman, who served in an armored unit, was killed when his tank was hit by an anti-tank missile in southern Lebanon , the military said Sunday. The unit was taking part in Israel 's final push deep into Lebanon aimed at maximizing Israeli gains against Hezbollah before a UN-ordered cease-fire came into force early Monday.”

How to report the war fairly? The New York Times asks the question in its Monday editions, beginning with this tendentious paragraph: “ Wars in the modern media age often come complete with their own journalistic difficulties. Although doctored and stage-managed photographs out of Lebanon garnered their share of headlines last week, they are just a part of a larger, underlying issue: the role of images in fairly portraying the conflict incited nearly five weeks ago by Hezbollah’s raid into Israel and its kidnapping of two soldiers.” You can see the flaw here clear as Jackie Mason’s anti-Arab bigotry: incited nearly five weeks ago by Hezbollah’s raid into Israel, a factually correct line in and of itself, but only if it is shorn of its twenty-year context, of Israel’s endless brazen incursions and kidnappings of its own, of Israel’s daily violations of Lebanese air space, of Israel’s long and various occupations of South Lebanon, when it collected Lebanese citizens at will, or Israel’s current plans to populate a quickly built Hezbollah detention facility. The piece goes on to quote a Council on Foreign Relations voice discrediting the notion of moral equivalence, given the 10-to-1 kill ratio against the Lebanese: “The loss of hundreds of civilian lives does not quite equal the loss of dozens of civilians’ lives and loss of soldiers’ lives.” Then comes Little Green Footballs’ Charles Johnson: “Proportionality is a meaningless term in a conflict of this type.” There’s mention of that Reuters photographer doctoring pictures to make the destruction look worse than it was, then this utterly meaningless, and of course false, comment, paraphrased by the reporter: “Hezbollah, in his and others’ view, is a nihilistic group that has no qualms about sacrificing civilians.” How can anyone looking at the civilian, economic and environmental devastation of Lebanon by Israel still claim that Hezbollah is the “nihilistic” group that has “no qualms about sacrificing civilians”? Well, yes: the predominant view in the United States is precisely the kind peddled about by Charles Johnson, a tactically brilliant sort of view that preempts criticism of Israel ’s savagery while deflecting it all on the likes of Hezbollah. At least the New York Times tried to live up to the fair and balanced standards of Fox News.

In Other Worlds and Blogs

  • From Moussa Bashir's UrShalim: "I heard this war joke today: A group of Israeli soldiers were witnessed beating the hell out of the Wazani River, torturing it to confess that it is the Litani River. In its desperate attempt to take a non-doctored photo of at least one IDF soldier raising the Israeli flag over the Litani River, the IDF’s expanded [inflated] ground offensive continued yesterday. The results: 24 Israeli soldiers dead, 60 injured, more than 10 in a critical condition (according to CNN). 39 Mirkava tanks and bulldozers in addition to a helicopter were destroyed too. Today six Israeli soldiers died. 2 Mirkavas were among the casualties. Did Olmert expect Khizballah militants to flee without their bandanas to the nearest barber shop immediately after he starts his indiscriminate shelling of Lebanon? Afghanistan is not a good model either way you take it. As I was typing this about 20 loud explosions shook the city. They were raids that flattened some apartment buildings still standing in the suburbs, in Radouf, Rouwiss. Two make-believe civilians were killed and 7 injured. Hezbollah retaliated with about 200 rockets on Israel so far, on this the 32nd day. UN Res. 1701 will have to wait for now." There's more...
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