News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Sane Words for the Meshugana Running Israel

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Sane Words for the Meshugana Running Israel

If there's one posting/news report you need to read about the Israeli invasion of Lebanon it is the one written by Ray Close. Close is a former CIA analyst in the Near East division, as well as a Member, Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

Based on years of experience in the Mideast, Ray writes:

One of the definitions of madness is the repetition countless times of the same action, always expecting a different result. For more than half a century, the Israelis have been applying the tactic of massively disproportionate retaliation to every provocative act of resistance attempted by the Palestinians, expecting every time that this would bring peace and security to all the people of the Holy Land. Every single time they have done this, it has backfired. Every single time. The national philosophy (it is really deeper and more significant that just a military tactic) that underlies this devotion to massive over-reaction, and particularly its corollary, collective punishment, is obviously and demonstrably foolish and futile. It does not intimidate or deter the Palestinians, and it never will. It hardens their determination to resist and to defy. I don’t care whether you consider the Palestinians to be terrorists or common criminals or freedom fighters or national resistance heroes. If you are an intelligent and sensitive human being, you learn from your past mistakes and you make a rational decision to try something different. The Israeli leadership for all these many generations has been incapable of performing that really rather simple mental and moral exercise.
Ray Close also reminds of a simple fact, something that many in Congress and the President's office forget:
The interests of my country, the United States, do not coincide with those of Israel in many important respects today. Let me mention just two of those ways. It is very important to the United States that the independence and national sovereignty of a democratic Lebanon be preserved. That means absolutely nothing to the Government of Israel, despite what they may say to the contrary. Israeli actions going back many years, demonstrated most graphically in the 1980’s, clearly prove that point. Current Israeli actions in Lebanon are belligerently challenging the continued viability of the fragile coalition government that is struggling to achieve credibility and legitimacy at a critical period in Lebanon’s history. Israeli actions are, even more importantly, threatening to revive the deep sectarian divisions and inter-communal tensions that led to fifteen years of tragic civil war from 1975-1980. American national interests will suffer much more than Israel’s if chaos results. Secondly, we Americans have other critical interests to worry about. If we take a position supporting Israel’s demand that Hizballah must be totally defeated and disarmed (a futile objective in any case), and especially if Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the revered spiritual leader of Hizballah, is physically harmed, the Shiite populations of Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East will be inflamed --- greatly undermining American prospects of working cooperatively and constructively with the Shiite religious parties in Iraq that control the overwhelmingly majority of political power in that country.
Finally, Close concludes with some perceptive remarks about priorities:
Open confrontation of Hizballah by the United States, allied with Israel, will have a powerful impact on the Iranian people, as well. Argue, if you will, that Iran is a known supporter of Hizballah and Hamas, and thus of international terrorism. That is a reality that none can deny. But let’s prioritize our national interests here. It is the people of Iraq and Iran on whom we depend not just for “regime change” in the short term, but for peace and stability (and resistance to terrorism) throughout the region in the decades ahead. It is the people of those countries whose trust and respect we must win. It is the trust and respect of those people that we have lost --- to a significant extent because we are identified in their minds with the narrow interests of Israel. Why is that so difficult for Americans to understand?
But do not take these excerpts, selected by my sensibilities--go and read the entire posting. Reflect on its meaning. It might mean a very real and transformative awareness of the insanity currently underway in southern Lebanon.

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