Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Yeah, I'm worried

And really, really pissed off. I try to stick to subjects I know something about here -- unlike the vast majority of pundits and politicians. Well, I happen to know something about the Middle East. Without boring you with the details, I have a long history of involvement with activism around Middle East issues and in fact I once made my living in the field.

The people in control in this country are nuts, delusional, horribly dangerous. There are exactly two nations on earth opposing an immediate cease fire in Lebanon: the U.S. and Israel. The U.S. leadership apparently sincerely believes that it can get its way in the Middle East by means of force and violence, and that the violence going on right now is beneficial to its ends. Whether the Israelis also believe this, or are simply trapped in the logic of the situation they created,* is not clear. I won't try to analyze their thinking. I'm also not going to offer a superfluous analysis of the whole thing. I recommend Billmon and Juan Cole as obvious starting places.

What I will say is that it is very obvious that the elite classes in the U.S. -- and that includes most Democratic politicians, news analysts, and even investors -- have not grasped the danger of a wider war, and the terrible consequences. There are many ways in which the violence could expand -- not that it isn't bad enough as it is -- some of which have nothing directly to do with Israel or Hezbollah, all of which would reveal the grotesque and deranged position of the United States.

For example, Turkey might see this as an opportunity to deal with the PKK in Iraqi Kurdistan -- whereupon sovereign Iraq would be technically be at war with a NATO country, although in reality Kurdistan is already independent. The chattering classes also seem unaware that Nuri al-Maliki, the Prime Minister of Iraq, who depends for every breath he takes on the 4th Infantry Division based at Fort Hood, Texas, is head of the Dawa Party, which was instrumental in creating Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad. He spent much of his exile as Dawa bureau chief in Damascus, now a new, honorary member of the Axis of Evil, where he was no doubt intimately involved in the development of Hezbollah. And he's addressing Congress this morning as a symbol of our triumphant liberation of Iraq. This is insane.

*Yes, yes, Hezbollah kidnapped two soldiers. Israel then destroyed the Beirut airport, all of Lebanon's major highways and bridges, and blew up a couple of hundred children, among other actions taken in self-defense. They have had a plan to do this for years. They just needed a pretext. That is on the public record. And no, Hezbollah did not start launching rockets until after Israel started bombing, although you frequently hear the opposite in American news accounts.

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