FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Bull’s-Eye!

by MIKE WHITNEY

 

“People do not forget. They do not forget the death of their fellows, they do not forget torture and mutilation, they do not forget injustice, they do not forget oppression, they do not forget the terrorism of mighty powers. They not only don’t forget; they also strike back.”

Harold Pinter, Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech 2005

On the 17th day of a massive military offensive, Israeli Prime Minister Olmert is no closer to achieving his objectives than he was on Day 1. Olmert originally promised that he would “disarm Hezbollah” and create a buffer-zone from Israel’s northern border to the Litani River. He has accomplished neither. His violent reaction to the capturing of 2 Israeli soldiers was applauded by the Bush administration, the Israeli public, and the America media. At the time, we questioned Olmert’s ability to “disarm” Hezbollah (“Its Put up or Shut Time in Lebanon”) or his foolish belief that the invasion would be a cakewalk. Now Israeli forces are bogged down in southern Lebanon fighting a tough-minded, well-disciplined guerilla organization with no end in sight. This has forced the panicky Olmert to call up 3 more divisions and appeal to Bush for more “precision-guided missiles”

Additionally, Olmert has begun to back-away from his promise to disarm Hezbollah and now only talks only about “weakening” them. The Israeli PM has decided to step down from his earlier rhetoric and “move the goalposts” to suit the realities on the ground. Olmert will not disarm Hezbollah and he knows it.

Israeli intelligence seriously misjudged Hezbollah’s military capabilities and the dedication of its fighters to execute complex and daring operations. Yesterday’s attack on an Israeli patrol killed 9 IDF soldiers spreading a palpable sense of unease among the Israeli public. They remember the Vietnam-like quagmire which Sharon drew them into which lasted 18 years, ending only 6 years ago in 2000. The deaths of the soldiers have triggered a fierce debate among politicians, pundits and retired officers about the questionable objectives of the operation and the competence of the leadership. Olmert has shown himself to be a vain and stupid man whose ignorance of military matters has clouded his sense of judgment. He is surrounded by the “untested” Defense Minister Amir Peretz, who excels at killing unarmed women and children in the occupied territories, but cannot seem to adjust to the exigencies of real combat. The final member of the “trinity of bunglers”, is Chief of Staff, Dan Halutz, an incompetent braggart whose penchant for destruction has flattened the better part of Lebanon’s critical infrastructure, but hasn’t produced any tangible rewards. For the most part, Olmert’s War has been little more than a massive display of gratuitous violence which has failed to achieve any recognizable strategic goal. (BBC has provided a fairy comprehensive account of Israel’s calculated destruction of Lebanese infrastructure.) It includes 3 major airports, 3 major ports, 5,000 civilian homes, 62 bridges, 22 fuel stations, 72 overpasses, 3 Dams, 4 TV and communication facilities, 3 main power-stations, 150 private businesses including a tissue paper factory and a bottle factory)

Israel is now planning to step up its bombing campaign in the vain hope that it will root-out and destroy the resistance. This explains why the United Nations outpost was “deliberately” leveled by an Israeli missile just yesterday. Clearly, Israel wants to conceal its orgy of carnage from the watchful eyes of international community. We should expect that more banned weaponry; cluster-bombs, napalm, lasers, bunker busters and chemical weapons will be used in the next major assault on Hezbollah strongholds. Like all desperate men, Olmert believes that he can extract himself from his present dilemma by increasing the level of violence. The upcoming week or two should be extremely perilous for Hezbollah.
The Bush administration has blindly supported Olmert without assessing whether his military objectives are attainable and without considering the damage that the conflict is doing to America’s long-term interests. There’s no chance that the United States will ever be seen as an “honest broker” in the region again. Bush has cast his lot with Israel and is betting that the neoconservative strategy to reconfigure the Middle East will move ahead according to plan. From the very onset, Washington has enthusiastically embraced the war by giving Olmert the “go-ahead” to destroy Lebanon’s infrastructure and by providing Israel with additional ordinance to prosecute the air-war.

The Bush team has repeatedly headed-off efforts at the United Nations for a “cease-fire” and created the sense that Israel’s rampage bears the stamp of international legitimacy. The US State Dept no longer functions as diplomatic agency working out the details for political solutions, but as a franchise of the Defense Dept.; skillfully blocking negotiations, subverting treaties, and obstructing any dialogue which may lead to peace. Condoleezza Rice’s performance in Rome only underscores this point.
Neither public opinion, nor the United Nations, nor the Arab League, nor Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, nor even Hezbollah can stop the ongoing conflict if Bush and Olmert want a war; and they clearly want a war. Secretary of State Rice summarized their views when she said to the world press on Wednesday:

“Its time for a New Middle East’. Its time to say to those who do not want a different kind of Middle East that we will prevail. They will not.”

Perhaps; but the members of growing resistance in Iraq and Lebanon may have a thing-or-two to say about Ms. Rice’s plan.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: fergiewhitney@msn.com

 

 

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
Stratos Ramoglou
Why the Greek Economic Crisis Won’t be Ending Anytime Soon
David Price
The 2016 Tour of California: Notes on a Big Pharma Bike Race
Dmitry Mickiewicz
Barbarous Deforestation in Western Ukraine
Rev. William Alberts
The United Methodist Church Up to Its Old Trick: Kicking the Can of Real Inclusion Down the Road
Patrick Bond
Imperialism’s Junior Partners
Mark Hand
The Trouble with Fracking Fiction
Priti Gulati Cox
Broken Green: Two Years of Modi
Marc Levy
Sitrep: Hometown Unwelcomes Vietnam Vets
Lorenzo Raymond
Why Nonviolent Civil Resistance Doesn’t Work (Unless You Have Lots of Bombs)
Ed Kemmick
New Book Full of Amazing Montana Women
Michael Dickinson
Bye Bye Legal High in Backwards Britain
Missy Comley Beattie
Wanted: Daddy or Mommy in Chief
Ed Meek
The Republic of Fear
Charles R. Larson
Russian Women, Then and Now
David Yearsley
Elgar’s Hegemony: the Pomp of Empire
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail