Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Bush Administration Is Rushing More Bombs to Israel

Here is Glenn Greenwald on today's report that the Bush administration is accelerating the schedule for delivery of a large supply of "precision-guided" bombs to Israel to use in its air war against Lebanon.

The debate over whether the Israeli war should be "our war" is becoming increasingly academic. Once one country starts supplying another country with bombs in the middle of a war, both are participants -- much the way it is said, as imperfect as the comparison is, that Iran is "behind" the actions of Hezbollah. Whatever else might be true, the bombs that will be blowing up all sorts of things and people (beginning) in Lebanon over the next weeks, likely months and perhaps longer will have come directly from the U.S. And everyone, including the Muslims whose "hearts and minds" were ostensibly the object of our invasion of Iraq, will know that. That doesn't exactly seem like a sound strategy for diffusing Muslim animosity towards the U.S. -- which happens to be the Bush administration's stated goal.

There is palpable and quite unseemly excitement gripping neoconservatives over what the world sees as a horrible and tragic war, but which they glowingly call a "great opportunity." They have an extraordinary goal that they intend to fulfill -- to somehow induce the U.S. to vastly expand its Middle East war to include yet more countries which have not attacked us, and more amazingly, to do so notwithstanding the fact that our current little experiment in Iraq is, arguably, in the worst shape it has been in some time, perhaps since we invaded.

The boldness of their objective, its sheer audacity, is requiring neoconservatives to throw all caution to the wind, to really put all of their rhetorical cards on the table and be open about what they really think and want, unburdened by all of the lofty pretenses about the virtues of spreading democracy and winning hearts and minds. The real underlying premises and impulses of neoconservatism are being laid bare for all to see. And what they really want is more war and destruction -- lots and lots and lots of it -- to rain down mercilessly on their enemies and anyone nearby.

The terms they are using to describe their grand war visions are "annihilation" and "cleaning out." They have had enough with restraint and limited strikes and a war that has been depressingly and weakly confined just to Iraq and Afghanistan. They want full-scale, unrestrained Middle Eastern war -- they always have -- and they see this as their big chance to have it.

And the more one reads and listens to neoconservatives in their full-throated war calls, the more disturbing and repellent these ideas become. So many of them seem to be driven not even any longer by a pretense of a strategic goal, but by a naked, bloodthirsty craving for destruction and killing itself, almost as the end in itself. They urge massive military attacks on Lebanon, Syria, Iran -- and before that, Iraq -- knowing that it will kill huge numbers of innocent people, but never knowing, or seemingly caring, what comes after that. And the disregard for the lives of innocent people in those countries is so cavalier and even scornful that it is truly unfathomable, at times just plain disgusting. From a safe distance, they continuously call for -- and casually dismiss the importance of -- the deaths of enormous numbers of people without batting an eye. And for what?

What is Lebanon going to look like -- let alone Syria and Iran -- once we decimate large parts of their infrastructure, kill, maim and render homeless thousands upon thousands of their citizens, and bring down their governments? Who cares. Let's just stop whining and appeasing and get on with the action. They're bored with Iraq because the killing and destruction part are done with, so they want to move on. It's the war and bombing that interests and excites them. At least for the neoconservatives I've been reading and hearing -- and they have been among the most influential -- the "arguments" aren't much more substantive or complex than that. ...
It is hard to avoid the conclusion that we are now seeking full-on unrestrained war, to be fought more aggressively and less "delicately" than the prior and current wars. The neoconservatives are expressly saying so.

When we last heard from Shelby Steele, for instance, he was arguing in a column widely trumpeted by neoconservatives that America's problem is that it suffers from too much "white guilt," which prevents us from fighting wars such as the one in Iraq with the unrestrained "ferocity" we ought to be using, i.e., that we fail to use "the full measure of our military power." In his Townhall column yesterday, Thomas Sowell takes that a step further and, in the context of Israel's bombing of Lebanon, identifies the real problem as being that we don't "annihilate" our enemies. ...
One can find this sentiment everywhere among neoconservatives, who have now really released their war-loving id. The true enemy are those who stand in the way of all-out war, and all-out war is the only way to achieve peace. Peace is War and War is Peace. ...
In the neoconservative mind, wars happen because we don't annihilate enough people, because we are insufficiently "ferocious," because we place limits on the "the full measure of our military power." Those who oppose such unrestrained destruction are, to use Bill Kristol's description from his new column yesterday, "weak horses" (quoting Osama bin Laden). In the Jerusalem Post yesterday, Daniel Pipes complained [nonworking link] that each time it excitingly looks like Israel will finally wipe out the evil-doers, we instead get "an orgy of Israeli remorse and reconsideration, followed by a quiet return to appeasement and retreat." Victor Davis Hanson celebrates how great it is that "Israel is at last being given an opportunity to unload on jihadists."

Most striking is the casualness, even the self-satisfied joy, with which they regard the suffering, maiming, and slaughter of other people -- not "The Terrorists," but people whom even they acknowledge are innocent of wrongdoing. Here is National Review's Cliff May almost bored with having to acknowledge the irrelevant fact that hundreds, more likely thousands, of Lebanese are likely to be killed by the campaign which he urges from a safe distance:

Yes, innocent Lebanese are suffering in this conflict. That suffering at least should produce some good results. Lebanon's liberation from the suffocating embrace of Hezbollah and its foreign sponsors would qualify.

Beyond all of that, our neoconservative policy in the Middle East has become as incoherent as it is bloodthirsty. The President argued in December of last year that "by helping Iraqis to build a democracy, we will gain an ally in the war on terror." But the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iraq, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, has "forcefully denounced" Israel for the bombing campaign which we are defending and supplying -- a fact which led a confused and enraged Laura Ingraham last night on Bill O'Reilly's show to protest the unfairness that the person she called "our guy in Iraq" was supporting the other side.

What is the Iraqi Government's position going to be if we wage war on its Iranian ally? I doubt it will be what we would want from an "ally in the war on terror." So what are we hoping to achieve in Iraq? The whole project makes no sense because there really never was anything that came after the invasion and destruction part.

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