Tuesday, August 01, 2006

An Apocalyptic Vision

As mentioned in an earlier post, about a week ago Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice described the carnage now taking place in Lebanon as "the birth pangs of a new middle-east". Since hearing that bizarre statement for the first time I've struggled with the question of which is sicker, the woman who says such a thing or the society that accepts the statement as truth.

What a fascinating way to think of what's happening there. I'm a relatively new father myself. I was present for the birth of my son and bore witness to actual birth pangs with my own eyes. I don't remember seeing anything that looked like this:

To me this looks like the exact opposite of "birth", Ms. Rice, you sick bitch. Where you may see the flowering of your dreams for the middle-east, I see dead people. Dead children, dead women and dead men. I can only imagine what kind of apocalyptic mindset it takes to liken what we're seeing unfold in Lebanon to the "birth" of anything desirable. It must be fairly easy for people, long estranged from their humanity, to see children blown to pieces and, like mad scientists, deem it a worthy sacrifice for their own cause, so long as the ones paying this sacrifice are someone else, somewhere else. How magnanimous of you to volunteer the people of Lebanon and their children to make this sacrifice for your glorious cause. You have truly learned how to stop worrying and love the bomb.

Of course, we're told by Ms. Rice, Mr. Bush and others how "concerned" they are about the bloodshed while they fight tooth and nail to prevent a ceasefire. As the reasoning goes, this will all end for the better because the result will be this "new middle-east" where Lebanon's democracy is safer and stronger, fertilized in the blood of the dead. But is that really the aim here? Not if you believe Israel's Justice Minister who told us very plainly early into this military campaign that Israel intends to "turn back Lebanon's clock 20 years". He doesn't sound like he's planning for a better middle-east or to protect Lebanon's democracy. Who should we believe?

A valuable clue just so happens to have come from the US President himself just this past Thursday, as per my previous post. In a press availability following his meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki (an interesting fellow I've discussed earlier), Mr. Bush had this to say about the situation:

"One of the things I've said from the beginning is that it's important for the Lebanese democracy to survive and to become strong. So what you're watching is American policy aiming to strengthen Lebanese democracy so that we can have peace."

That's a pretty significant statement there. The President of the United States just told us that an offensive military action by the Israeli armed forces is a manifestation of American policy. Of course, deep down we all knew that but it's something else to hear the President admit it. It sheds an entirely different light on things.

Fortunately, our leaders have an answer for that too. "Israel has a right to defend herself," they tell us. So this is all an American policy for the self-defense of Israel (???). Hezbollah, they say, is responsible for all of this because on July 12th they launched the cross-border raid that ended in the death of 9 Israeli soldiers and the abduction of 2 others. However, if this is a defensive action it is certainly an incredibly prescient one because, as we have recently learned, Israel had been planning this action for the last year and the Hezbollah raid simply provided the pretext for setting it into motion (in self-defense, of course). So, to surmise, we are to believe that Israel is defending itself, as per American policy, by implementing an action they'd decided upon a full year before the attack from which they're defending themselves.

Or we can be reasonable and see that argument for the nonsense it is. We can believe that this is indeed American policy, yes. But it is in no way even comparable to "self-defense". The response we're seeing is disproportionate, collective punishment that we now know was also premeditated. Even the Hezbollah raid against which they are ostensibly defending themselves was perhaps intentionally provoked. Unreported in the major US media is the fact that Israel had been abducting Lebanese civilians and militants, attempting targeted assassinations and firing rockets of their own into Lebanon for months.

The real reasoning behind this premeditated action is this apocalyptic vision of a "new middle-east" that Condi alluded to in her disturbing statement. Over a year ago Vice President Dick Cheney foreshadowed the end-game:

"Well, one of the concerns people have is that Israel might do it without being asked, that if, in fact, the Israelis became convinced the Iranians had significant nuclear capability, given the fact that Iran has a stated policy that their objective is the destruction of Israel, the Israelis might well decide to act first, and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards.

That sounds so much like a tacit recommendation cloaked in plausible deniability that I just can't stand it. But one could argue that he didn't mean it that way at all. After all, that's what plausible deniability is all about.

But Thursday, President Bush gave us the confirmation and removed all doubt. In the same press statement cited here earlier, where he described this as "American policy", he also said:

"And now's the time to address the root cause of the problem, and the root cause of the problem is terrorist groups trying to stop the advance of democracies. Hezbollah attacked Israel. I believe Hezbollah -- I know Hezbollah is connected to Iran. And now's the time for the world to confront this danger."

That's where this is going. That's what this is all for. All the rest is pretext. Israel is initiating a plan drawn up by us to facilitate a military strike, possibly a nuclear one, on Iran. This is the latest great event that we will be asked to believe will revolutionize the middle-east for the better. It is an apocalyptic vision bathed in blood. What's worse, it will fail and it will backfire on all of us. God help us all.