Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Neighborhood Bully

As much as it pains me to admit, there are occasions in which the 43rd president of the United States is, well, right. And I will give Dumbya and his administration props on the U.S. response to the United Nations Security Council's lame-brained condemnation of Israel in the wake of the Gaza attacks.

The U.S. was the lone "no" vote to the resolution, which condemned Israel's "disproportionate" military response to Palestinian attacks originating from the Gaza Strip. Ten countries voted to approve the resolution, with four nations -- Great Britain, Denmark, Peru and Slovakia -- abstaining.

AP reports:

"The draft was reworked repeatedly to address concerns that it was too biased against Israel. Language was added calling for the release of an abducted soldier and urging the Palestinians to stop firing rockets at Israel.

"Nonetheless, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said it was still unacceptable because it had been overtaken by events in the region -- including the capture of two Israeli soldiers by
Hezbollah militants on Wednesday -- and was 'unbalanced.'

'''It placed demands on one side in the Middle East conflict but not the other,' Bolton said. 'This draft resolution would have exacerbated tensions in the region.'"

The resolution smacks of bona fide U.N. logic:

1. Israel pulls out of the Gaza Strip in 2005, a show of good faith setting the stage for the Palestinians to practice self-governance.
2. Palestinians vote in a government of committed terrorists, the Hamas organization.
3. Palestinian terrorists kidnap an Israeli soldier and send crude, makeshift rockets into Israel.
4. Israel responds -- as it has to so many times over the decades -- with a shit-pounding ferocity in hopes the ostensibly peace-loving people of the Gaza Strip will leave them alone.
5. The Zionist-hating gang at the U.N. crafts a broadside of thinly veiled anti-Semitism, tsk-tsking those wicked Jews.

Speaking in Germany today, President Bush made a simple statement that is hardly brilliant (I don't think I could ever accuse this president of brilliance), but, for some inexplicable reason, something with which most of the world doesn't agree.

This is the statement: "Israel has the right to defend herself."

Judging by the reactions of American mainstream media and much of the globe, however, that right is hardly a given.

Dig the media spin:

A July 1 New York Times story by Ian Fisher offered this less-than-unbiased view on the situation:

"Nearly a week after the attack in which the Israeli soldier was taken, the Israeli military operation has not yet created a full-blown crisis for the 1.3 million people who live in the already poor and violent Gaza Strip.

"But aid groups worry that one could come more quickly now than it might have under other circumstances. Gaza has already been squeezed financially ... since Hamas, classified by the United States and the European Union as a terrorist group (emphasis added), took power in January elections and the West cut off financial aid."

Umm... is there a legitimate disagreement about whether Hamas is a terrorist organization? Does Ian Fisher know anything about the history of Hamas?

Good God almighty, I know I'm sounding dangerously close to a neocon, but there is a friggin' gulf of difference between our nation's war of choice in Iraq and Israel's necessary reaction to daily provocation from neighbors committed to its ultimate destruction.

And yet ... and yet the media bias continues. By way of example, The Washington Post's Anthony Shadid, Scott Wilson and William Branigin today report on Hezbollah recently firing missiles into Israel's resort city of Haifa, that country's third-largest city:

"Although no casualties were reported in the attack on Haifa, Israel's ambassador to the United States, Daniel Ayalon, said the southernmost strike to date represented a 'major escalation' of the fighting."

Nice. The writers make the inference, of course, that it's somehow befuddling that the ambassador could call the strikes a "major escalation" since there were no casualties. Incompetent terrorism should get a free pass?

In perhaps the first and last time this blog turns to Charles Krauthammer for wisdom, I offer this astute essay of his from Time:

"What is so remarkable about the current wave of violence in Gaza is that the event at the origin of the 'cycle' is not at all historical, but very contemporary. The event is not buried in the mists of history. It occurred less than one year ago. Before the eyes of the whole world, Israel left Gaza. Every Jew, every soldier, every military installation, every remnant of Israeli occupation was uprooted and taken away.

"How do the Palestinians respond? ... On the very day of Israel's final pullout, the Palestinians began firing rockets out of Gaza into Israeli towns on the other side of the border. And remember: those are attacks not on settlers but on civilians in Israel proper, the pre-1967 Israel that the international community recognizes as legitimately part of sovereign Israel, a member state of the U.N. A thousand rockets have fallen since.

"For what possible reason? Before the withdrawal, attacks across the border could have been rationalized with the usual Palestinian mantra of occupation, settlements and so on. But what can one say after the withdrawal?

"The logic for those continued attacks is to be found in the so-called phase plan adopted in 1974 by the Palestine National Council in Cairo. Realizing that they would never be able to destroy Israel in one fell swoop, the Palestinians adopted a graduated plan to wipe out Israel. First, accept any territory given to them in any part of historic Palestine. Then, use that sanctuary to wage war until Israel is destroyed."


" ... Consider the history of the past 12 months. Gaza is free of occupation, yet Gaza wages war. Why? Because this war is not about occupation, but about Israel's very existence. The so-called cycle will continue until the arrow is abandoned and the Palestinians accept a compromise--or until the arrow finds its mark and Israel dies."

Yep. That's pretty much what's at stake.


At 8:48 PM, Anonymous Cassandra D said...

I think this should be one area of foreign policy that is free from the red/blue divide in this country. The Palestinians elected as their leaders terrorists who are committed to the destruction of Isreal. If Mexico did that (elected people sworn to the destruction of the US and all Americans) and then went across our border, kidnapping one of our soldiers and killing our civilians, we would bomb the heck out of them and would be totally justified in doing it. Same goes for Israel. I used to have sympathy for the Palestinians until I saw how they botched the return of their territory (remember the greenhouses?) and then elected Hamas. They clearly cannot be satisfied by living side by side with Israel. They want it all and they want the Jews dead.

Why do Europeans seem to hate Israel? Why do they feel the Israelis should sit there and take what the terrorists are doing to them?

I do not trust anything from the continent that did its best to destroy the Jewish people a mere blink of history's eye ago.

I can't stand GW Bush. I think he is ruining our country. I think the war in Iraq was a terrible mistake. I think we should have done a much better job in Afghanistan. I want nothing to do with most people on the political right, but I'll be damned if I'll say that Israel is doing anything other than what it ought to do right now. More power to them.

At 9:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even as the administration exploited this Official Story (or "Official Conspiracy Theory") as the pretext to launch new wars long in the making, independent researchers began to accumulate a vast body of evidence suggesting a different narrative for 9/11: that of the Inside Job.
The 9/11 events and the anomalies in the official story raised Unanswered Questions about:
- the unprecedented failure of the US air defense system on the morning of the attacks;
- the AWOL military chain of command during the actual attacks, including the inexplicable behavior of the presidential entourage;
- the seeming impossibility of official claims with regard to Flight 77;
- the evidence that Flight 93 was shot down;
- contradictions and dubious evidence in the official claims about the alleged hijackers and masterminds, and doubts about their real identities;
- signs that the alleged hijackers enjoyed high-level protection against discovery by honest investigators;
- evidence that the alleged hijackers were financed by states allied with US intelligence;
- suspicious and massive international financial trades suggesting foreknowledge of the attacks;
- widespread signs of official foreknowledge and, in fact, advance preparation for the 9/11 attack scenario;
- the long-running links between Islamist fundamentalist terror cells and US covert operations, dating back to CIA support for the anti-Soviet mujahedeen and Osama Bin Ladin himself;
- the demolition-like collapse of the Twin Towers and of a third skyscraper, WTC 7;
- and questions concerning who could have logically expected to derive benefit in the aftermath of a massive attack on the United States.
The suspicions received further confirmation a few weeks after September 11th, with the arrival of anthrax letters targeted only at opposition politicians and media figures, and timed to coincide with the introduction of the USA PATRIOT Act.
Google: 9/11 inside job

At 9:47 PM, Anonymous Greta McInerney-Spinoza said...

I bet Cassandra already know the answer to her question, why do the Europeans hate Israel. Europe hates Jews, and has done so for a very long time. The Holocaust was only one part of a long chain of persecution reaching back to the Emperor Constantine.

It is interesting to note that Germany's response to the present crisis is the most moderate of the European world. Saudi Arabia has laid the blame squarely on Hezbollah. Jordan and Egypt have also resisted the temptation to flame Israel over this. Dubya made sense. The world is again topsy turvy.

And the "civilized" Europeans, who are on the cusp of their own serious problems with a growing Muslim population, can't resist the opportunity to jump all over Israel for a little matter of self-defense.

Most countries would consider it an act of war to have nations cross borders to kidnap civilians or military personnel. Moreover, getting lost in the coverage, Gaza has spent a long time firing missiles into Israel. Maybe they're mad because they didn't really want the land after all. None of it makes sense.

Bottom line, Israel can't and shouldn't have to tolerate attacks!

At 11:27 PM, Anonymous Red Dirt said...

Kudos Chase! This is one area where we will always agree -- Israel has always been under assault by ... drum roll please ... an Islamofascist axis that simply is bent on this tiny nation's utter destruction. The pan-Arabic fascists were given the manual on how to persecute Jews by the Nazis themselves. And the murderous Islamists we now confront need to look no further than the hate-filled screeds of their prophet for justification.

The way the UN has reacted is nothing special and nothing new. It is, however, yet more evidence that this silly organization has simply devolved into a mental masturbation club for Third World thugocracies. A few years back, one would have been labelled a wild-eyed black-helicopter theorist for saying such. But now, Chase is on the verge of saying it. I'll say it for him: The U.N. utterly sucks and is utterly worthless, if not utterly harmful.

And the media bias here is very reminiscent of many media organizations' sqeuamishness in calling a terrorist a terrorist. Remember those bon mots we were treated to by Reuters, CNN and the like as they contorted themselves into amusing oxymoronic flights of fancing as they tried to describe terrorists anything but?

The postmodern relativistic blinders of the mainstream media keep these outlets from giving us a realistic picture of "what's going on," in the words of Marvin Gaye. What's worse is they're doing it on purpose.

I'll craft one final rhetorical zinger, and then go away for awhile to an undisclosed location: We can either confront the forces of pan-Arabic fascists and Islamists or let them win. To confront them will be a long and hard and bloody process. They're dedicated and want nothing less than the destruction of Israel, the downfall of the United States and the dissolution of Western civiliation. That's not an overstatement, and it's not a veiled justification for Iraq. It's just an overarching observation that happens to be true. I mean, they keep saying that's precisely what they want.

Just think back to the cartoon jihad, as one lone random example (there are plenty of others, right?). This "ancient and peaceful civilization" was willing to have an organized and mayhem-filled freak-fest over cartoons. They're not to be reasoned with as poll after poll in the Middle East confirms; they are to be confronted.

Okay anonymous ones, your turn: Weigh in with the obligatory and accusations that I'm a fascist again. I guess I deserve it for rhetorically defending a tiny little nation surrounded by hostile baddies.

At 11:40 PM, Anonymous Red Dirt said...

Okay, I lied. One more point: Anthony Shadid is a talented writer, Pulitzer Prize winner and OKC homeboy. But it's quite clear from his reporting that he has a leftist, pro-Palestinian bias time after time. Yet he gets glowing portrayals in the OK Gazette, etc. When will a publication like the Gazette step up and actually question some of his biased reporting?

At 11:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A headline tonight from MSNBC:

"U.S. stands alone in defending Israel"

Hey, that sounds vaguely familiar, something along the lines of a predictive polemic written last year:

"America Alone: Our Country's Future as a Lone Warrior"
by Mark Steyn

Book synopsis: "Columnist Mark Steyn takes on the great poison of the twenty-first century: the anti-Americanism that fuels both Old Europe and radical Islam. America, Steyn argues, will have to stand alone. The world will be divided between America and the rest; and for our sake America had better win."

Isn't that precisely what's happening here, folks?

At 9:44 AM, Blogger BlueDreamer said...

Sadly, I'm reminded of the 2000 Camp David Summit where Barak offered Arafat 90% of what he was asking, and Arafat leader of the PA refused. No counter offer, nothing. I was dumbfounded as to why he would refuse such a seemingly good "compromise." Now I know Hamas would have never let Arafat negotiate peace with Israel. It was only a deceptive tactic by a desperate old man who wanted to keep a little power for himself. Ultimately, Arafat had nothing to bring to the table. What a waste.

Now, a few years later, Hamas is the ruling party and their intent is to destroy Israel. What is Israel to do but protect herself? Nothing? It shouldn't be a shock to anyone in the region or the world that not only is Israel going to protect herself, but is also going to exact a high price for attacks against her. Next time, Hamas gunman will think twice before kidnapping another Israeli soldier.

At 10:50 AM, Blogger LiteraryTech said...

First, I want to confess that the entire Israeli-Palestinian conflict makes me tired. That said, I'll take Israel over any Islamic group any day, no matter how apparently benign (and these H people aren't even that), because Islam is fundamentally theocratic and all arguments to the contrary are an insult to the Koran and therefore doomed to fail within the Islamic world.

Chase, as I was reading through your post, I wondered if some of the press reaction might also be a consequence of the general failure and collapse of credibility for this Administration. Not to say there isn't an anti-semitic vein and also a rooting-for-the-underdog vein, but I wonder if the Un-Elected President being right is part of the problem. If he hadn't spent six years proving he was still just a college frat boy, would we find it so hard to believe he had something right?

I basically agree with BlueDreamer (big surprise), but I'm not sure the Israeli actions will cause Hamas gunmen to think. Thinking seems to be way past their mandate.

And hey, RedDirt, relax buddy. I didn't know any anonymous people had called you fascist and the person who suggested you once argued like a proto-fascist thinks you aren't exhibiting any authoritarian tendencies here. I think the proposition that the UN should be scrapped is a bit extreme, but other than that you seem to be talking sense to me. You'll get no argument that they have serious issues that undermine their effectiveness. On the other hand, if they were as effective as all that, wouldn't that basically make them the global government? I'm not ready for global government, and I don't think the rest of the world is either. Too many people wanting to mix their non-evidentiary beliefs in the government to go global.

Both you and Greta McInerney-Spinoza seem to be headed in a direction I think needs a lot more attention. Our Western ideal of religious tolerance is running into a fundamental problem with Islam. Islam is not subject to the same internal contradictions that allow the Christians to indulge in peaceful and tolerant interpretations of their defining religious texts. It will be interesting to watch Europe struggle with this over the next several decades as their widespread indifference toward religion, born of centuries of the worst of Christianity, comes toe-to-toe with the rage of a more textually coherent Islam.

At 9:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just in case - here's the lyrics to the Bob Dylan song referenced in the title (thanks for the reminder, Chase):

Well, the neighborhood bully, he's just one man,
His enemies say he's on their land.
They got him outnumbered about a million to one,
He got no place to escape to, no place to run.
He's the neighborhood bully.

The neighborhood bully just lives to survive,
He's criticized and condemned for being alive.
He's not supposed to fight back, he's supposed to have thick skin,
He's supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in.
He's the neighborhood bully.

The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land,
He's wandered the earth an exiled man.
Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn,
He's always on trial for just being born.
He's the neighborhood bully.

Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized,
Old women condemned him, said he should apologize.
Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad.
The bombs were meant for him.
He was supposed to feel bad.
He's the neighborhood bully.

Well, the chances are against it and the odds are slim
That he'll live by the rules that the world makes for him,
'Cause there's a noose at his neck and a gun at his back
And a license to kill him is given out to every maniac.
He's the neighborhood bully.

He got no allies to really speak of.
What he gets he must pay for, he don't get it out of love.
He buys obsolete weapons and he won't be denied
But no one sends flesh and blood to fight by his side.
He's the neighborhood bully.

Well, he's surrounded by pacifists who all want peace,
They pray for it nightly that the bloodshed must cease.
Now, they wouldn't hurt a fly.
To hurt one they would weep.
They lay and they wait for this bully to fall asleep.
He's the neighborhood bully.

Every empire that's enslaved him is gone,
Egypt and Rome, even the great Babylon.
He's made a garden of paradise in the desert sand,
In bed with nobody, under no one's command.
He's the neighborhood bully.

Now his holiest books have been trampled upon,
No contract he signed was worth what it was written on.
He took the crumbs of the world and he turned it into wealth,
Took sickness and disease and he turned it into health.
He's the neighborhood bully.

What's anybody indebted to him for?
Nothin', they say.
He just likes to cause war.
Pride and prejudice and superstition indeed,
They wait for this bully like a dog waits to feed.
He's the neighborhood bully.

What has he done to wear so many scars?
Does he change the course of rivers?
Does he pollute the moon and stars?
Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill,
Running out the clock, time standing still,
Neighborhood bully.


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