Tuesday, August 01, 2006

"Lebanon's 50,000 Canadians" etc.

Oh, semantics! Will you please explain, Mr. Star, the difference between " Lebanon's 50,000 Canadians" and the (unbelievable when you put it thus, yes, but still) 50,000 Canadians resident in Lebanon? Are we to believe that we are an ethnic group now? Are these 50,000 but a fraction of some kind of worldwide Canadian Diaspora? ... I guess Canadians should be proud that, failing news, the Star's fictions are at least cosmopolitan.

But I digress.

The editorial in question calls upon Israel to hurry-up and broker what it considers to be the "inevitable ceasefire"(--oh, were we boring you? So very sorry) with Hezbollah. It cites for its reasoning heavy civilian casualties, one, and says, two, that "despite the heavy fighting, Israel is nowhere close to destroying Hezbollah." It goes on to say: "Just two days ago, Hezbollah launched a record 160 rockets at Israel. Confounding Israeli expectations, Hezbollah shows little sign of backing down." A damning inference based on the facts! But why are we talking about "just two days ago" when we could be talking about just one day ago? Seems a little more relevant, wouldn't you say? And here: apparently just one day ago "Hezbollah ... continued firing rockets into Israel ... but it launched far fewer than in previous days." The National Post goes so far as to say that "Hezbollah guerrillas fired only two missiles into Israel yesterday and military sources claimed its rocket-launching capacity had been largely destroyed." Which seems a little preposterously exaggerated to me, but still: given a consensus since yesterday (as opposed to the 24 hours before that in which, surprise surprise, time passed and things changed) that there has been an at least sizeable decrease in the number of rockets being fired into Israel, there is the distinct suggestion (though, indeed, I wouldn't state it too much more strongly than that) that Hezbollah is backing down. Making Israel's "expectations," if not well-founded, certainly not confounded.

I must admit that I'm torn as to whether or not there should be a ceasefire at this point. Israel reached the frozen limit of its justifications for air assault when Haim Ramon asserted (what Chris Selley calls) his "categorical innacuracy" that: "all those now in south Lebanon are terrorists who are related in some way to Hezbollah." This, as KMG has (quite correctly) pointed out to me, is little more than setting the groundwork to excuse a genocide ... But! Just as we reach the peak of our (justified but, I think, largely misconceived) hectoring censure of Israel and its terror bombings, it (Israel) undertakes to begin what it should have done some time ago: a ground war. (I'm torn here too (but only, as you can see, parenthetically). Ground war, I guess, is the only morally responsible means towards the ends Israel seeks, i.e. not being routinely bombed by nutjobs. But I hear echoing through the ether the shrill cries of the future: Military Occupation! of an (ostensibly) democratic country, no less ...And I don't know that the civilian death toll will be perceived as considerably less even if it is considerably less, given Hezbollah's modus operandi, combined of the West's beyond-the-pale queasiness at the prospect of any kind of civilian casualty. Ironically enough, our Holocaust-hypersensitive society has made the difference between 3 deaths and 30 merely academic. One, after all, is too many. It seems to me that if Israel ditches now, then nothing--as opposed to a significant little--has been accomplished. Except the killing of a lot of innocent children.

I don't know. But I reassure myself (though it's hardly reassuring in an objective sense) that I know more than the Star does. It says:
Clearly, any final peace accord must include pledges by Lebanon and Syria to disarm Hezbollah and by Hezbollah to immediately stop attacking Israel. Without such vows, peace in the Mideast will be impossible.

Still, any delay by Israel and Hezbollah in agreeing to a ceasefire will only result in more civilian deaths in Lebanon and Israel. It would not bring about Hezbollah's demise nor benefit Israel's long-term security.
Peace in the Mideast--a final(!) peace accord--is impossible! That's obvious and I'm absolutely blown-away by the stupidity of the suggestion. We're 60-odd years into this nonsense, for God's sake, not 20-odd days! The curtailment, however, of fitful but ongoing and pointless bloodbaths is, I think, not impossible. Whether the decisive stroke can (or should or will) be made now depends entirely on Israel--knowing full-well that it can't do so in good conscience, much less with any lasting effectiveness, from the air.