Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Definition of Madness

I'd like to call your attention to this excellent analysis of the crisis in Lebanon and US policy as it relates to Israel in general. Ray Close is a former CIA analyst in the Near East division, and member of the organization, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. Here's a part of what he has to say:
One of the definitions of madness is the repetition countless times of the same action, always expecting a different result. For more than half a century, the Israelis have been applying the tactic of massively disproportionate retaliation to every provocative act of resistance attempted by the Palestinians, expecting every time that this would bring peace and security to all the people of the Holy Land. Every single time they have done this this, it has backfired. Every single time. The national philosophy (it is really deeper and more significant that just a military tactic) that underlies this devotion to massive over-reaction, and particularly its corollary, collective punishment, is obviously and demonstrably foolish and futile. It does not intimidate or deter the Palestinians, and it never will. It hardens their determination to resist and to defy. I don’t care whether you consider the Palestinians to be terrorists or common criminals or freedom fighters or national resistance heroes. If you are an intelligent and sensitive human being, you learn from your past mistakes and you make a rational decision to try something different. The Israeli leadership for all these many generations has been incapable of performing that really rather simple mental and moral exercise.
Though I lack Mr. Close's expertise (to put it mildly), I couldn't agree more with his analysis. He tells it like it is, with a candor and clarity rare in discussions about the US and its relationship to Israel. Go read the rest.

Here's my two cents: that the US is standing by while Israel bombs Lebanon's airport, infrastructure and civilian population is unconscionable. This needs to be condemned in no uncertain terms, rather than justified using the same old, "Israel has the right to defend itself" rhetoric. Defend itself? Two kidnapped soldiers is a threat to national existence?

An armed Hizbollah is a bad actor and a threat to Lebanon's fragile nationhood. But Israel's disproportionate response is simply criminal.

Of course, the so-called "Bush Doctrine" was a page right out of the Israeli playbook, so I'm not execting condemnation from those quarters any time soon.

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