The Unfolding Horror Show
- Will Americans Join Iraqis, Lebanese and Palestinians as Neocon Victims?
The Unfolding Horror Show
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
What explains the indifference of the Bush administration to the
slaughter of civilians in Iraq, Lebanon, and Gaza?
As of the morning of July 19, Israeli bombardments of Lebanese
civilian residential districts and public infrastructure have murdered
300 Lebanese, wounded 1,000, and displaced 500,000. The Lebanese
prime minister said that Israel's attack has caused "unimaginable
losses" and that his government will seek compensation from Israel.
In Gaza Israel has murdered scores of Palestinian civilians in the
past few days.
In Iraq the civilian daily death toll has risen above 100.
These dead are not Hezbollah militia. They are not Hamas militia.
They are not al Qaeda or Sunni insurgents. They are civilians.
Frustrated by Hezbollah, Israel is lashing out at hapless civilians,
knowing that the US will protect Israel from UN Security Council
Frustrated by Sunni insurgents, the US has instigated sectarian strife.
Bush has stonewalled the UN, our European allies, and the Lebanese
prime minister, all of whom are calling and pleading for Bush to
pressure the Israelis to stop their cowardly slaughter from the air of
The Guardian (July 19) reports that Bush gave Israel the green light
to attack Lebanon and has given Olmert another week to pound Lebanon.
US Secretary of State Condi Rice has announced that she will go to the
Middle East to resolve "the crisis" when it is appropriate.
Apparently, the appropriate time is not when people are dying and a
country, which had only just recovered from the last Israeli invasion,
is again being bombed into rubble.
How many more war crimes must Israel commit before Bush and Condi Rice
put aside their indifference?
On July 19 the Israelis turned their air attack on the Christian area
of Beirut. The Lebanese Christians can thank the American evangelical
Rev. John. Hagee, who has thrown his 18,000 member Texas church behind
Bush cannot claim public support for his indifference.
As of noon July 19, 800,000 people had participated in CNN's Quick
Vote, with the result that 55% oppose Israel's attack on Lebanon. This
result is despite the fact that US television reporting explains the
news from the Israeli perspective.
Similarly, in Israel a survey published by Israeli daily newspaper
Yedioth Ahronoth showed 53 per cent of Israelis polled said Israel
should hold negotiations to secure the release of the Israeli soldier
captured in Gaza, while 43 per cent backed a military operation.
A poll taken by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that 28 per cent
of Israelis believe Israel should immediately stop bombing Lebanon,
compared to 7 per cent who believe that the bombing should continue
until the captured soldiers are freed, and 14 per cent who believe
bombing should continue until Lebanon agrees to disarm Hezbollah--a
task that Israel's invasion has made more impossible than ever.
If these polls are reliable, one can conclude that the US and Israeli
populations are more moral, and more concerned with human life, than
are the leaders of the two countries.
Neither can Bush claim that he is supporting Israel because he is
Israel's friend. If Bush were Israel's friend, he would not have given
a green light to Israel's aggression, which will create more hatred of
As a number of Israeli writers have pointed out, Israel has shown
tooth and claw to its Arab neighbors for decades to no avail.
Writing in Haaretz (July 19) Yitzhak Laor notes that Israel's problems
are not the result of insufficient bombing and destruction of Arab
populations. Yet, once again Israeli militants are "enlarging the
circle of hostilities, including harming civilians. What Israel's
`strategists' have to offer is the destruction of yet another country."
Laor says the Americans can do this in Iraq with less consequence for
themselves, because "the Americans do not intend to live in this
region." Israelis cannot afford to show only tooth and claw to its
neighbors, because "we do live here."
It sometimes seems Bush goes beyond indifference to contentment with
the slaughter of Muslim civilians. Bush has even come across as
gleeful as if he is on a dove hunt in a baited Texas field where joy
resides in the killing of countless birds.
Many Muslims believe that Bush and Israel see them as animals to be
slain. On July 17, neocon John Bolton, Bush's unconfirmed ambassador
to the UN, gave credence to this Muslim belief when he announced that
Israelis killed by terrorists were more important than the Lebanese
civilians killed by Israel. Bolton said that there is no "moral
equivalence" between Lebanese civilians killed by Israel and Israeli
civilians killed by Muslim terrorists: "It's simply not the same thing
to say that it's the same act to deliberately target innocent
civilians, to desire their deaths, to fire rockets and use explosive
devices or kidnapping versus the sad and highly unfortunate
consequences of self-defense."
In Bolton's sick mind, Lebanese civilians are not experiencing
terrorism when Israel deliberately targets them and drops high
explosives on their apartment buildings, streets, bridges, power
plants, and bombs the Beirut International Airport. This, says
Bolton, is Israel acting in self-defense.
If Israel grabs Palestinian or Lebanese land and murders civilians,
that is "self-defense," but if someone responds to Israeli aggression
with a rocket, that is "Muslim terrorism."
The world is sick of this double-standard. Unfortunately, not enough
Americans and Israelis are.
Consequently, conflict will continue and escalate. Laor writes that
"the director of the American Jewish Committee's Israel/Middle East
Office, Eran Lerman, is already recommending going to war against Syria."
And so are the American neoconservatives who control the Bush
administration, Washington think tanks, and media positions once held
by true American conservatives.
Isolated in their evil, the neoconservatives are frantically and
shrilly demanding that Bush join Israel in military attacks on Syria
and Iran in order to "build democracy" and to clear the Middle East of
any opposition to Israel's unbridled self-interest. The crazed David
Horowitz writes that "Israel is doing the work of the rest of the
Neoconservatives believe that the US and Israel can extirpate Islam
with fire and sword and that the present opportunity to escalate the
current conflict into generalized war in the Middle East must not be
Neocon warmongers have stolen the conservative name, the Republican
Party, and a portion of the evangelical movement.
Are Americans too inattentive and too brainwashed to prevent their
moronic president and his neocon government from initiating a
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the
Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good
Intentions.He can be reached at: paulcraigroberts @ yahoo.com
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