Israel spent five weeks pounding Hezbollah. It also means of knocking Lebanon out of the whole. Infrastructure, private business, personal property, lives and states-of-mind were well crushed. It takes decades to restore the physical damages and it costs hundreds of billions. The costs in terms of human anguish, lost lives, limbs and shattered families is uncountable.
It showed Hezbollah it couldn’t kidnap two Israeli soldiers without cost, right? Power follows power, into the valley of darkness. Israel has by far the most powerful military in the Middle East and they broke up a hell of a lot of furniture. We don’t put faces on ‘furniture,’ the so-called collateral damage that insurgents, who hide their weaponry and themselves in neighborhoods, inflict.
But they have faces, not all that unlike our own.
Israel has just become a member of the club and it’s a grand thing for America to no longer be a majority of one. Now, the greatest military power in the world and the greatest military power in the Middle East have both come to grief against hotheaded, angry, religious martyrs, brandishing the weapons of our cold-war policy.
The game has changed. The killing is the same, but the game has changed. National militaries are in trouble across the world. They were made for fighting other national armies and we don’t do that kind of thing all that often in the new world order.
The new world order is disorderly, chaotic and not understandable to the Donald Rumsfelds. They keep blundering into the same old can of worms in different decades. They are old men, with old solutions, these Nixon retreads, and as irrelevant as a chess-players at a video-game competition. Smart-bombs and stealth aircraft are no match for household cleaner dumb-bombs.
Hitler had an army. So did Napoleon and Genghis Khan, America, Britain and Japan, proving that even the French were once a power.
Armies met on the fields of battle. They were glorious extensions of the drama of nations and we will miss them for their pageantry and the glories of massed troops in the smoke and terror of resplendent chaos. But, as America and Israel are valiantly trying to grasp, those days are as distant as the dodo, as defenseless against what serves for warfare today as the dinosaur.
The world will not become more peaceful for it’s lack of May-Day parades. Not a chance. It will remain a smoldering, seething, volcanic state of misery and death until some sense of personal justice comes to its rescue. Brief periods of peace were the fruits of victorious armies. National power subsumed its enemies and brought them to heel, or at least dispersed their insolence. Who is there now to disperse the insolence of Muslim clerics who sell themselves as saviors?
Saviors? Dictators. Iran’s top cleric is known as and called ‘Supreme Leader.’ The Iranian elected president makes no move without clerical approval.
They kill to overturn what is. It dims their hopes not a moment to reflect upon an Iran in shambles since throwing out the Shah. Theocracy overthrows dictatorship and becomes what it has overthrown. There’s not been a revolution in the world, save one, that brought with it a sense of the value of the freedoms and justice it proclaimed.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert;
“There have been failings and shortcomings,” Olmert, with deep circles under his eyes and a haggard look on his face, told a special session of the Israeli parliament. “We need to examine ourselves in all aspects and all areas. We will not sweep anything under the table, we will not hide anything. We must ensure that next time things will be done better.”
Which is an old man’s expression of dismay in a new man’s game.
Dick Cheney’s idiotic supposition that voters who supported Lamont’s antiwar campaign in the Democratic primary were giving “the Al Qaeda types” exactly what they wanted and as a result, the Democratic Party now stands for “a wholesale retreat in the broader campaign against terror.”
Which is another old man’s blindness in a world he no longer understands.
Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice:
Innocent people in Lebanon, in Israel and across the Middle East have suffered long enough at the hands of extremists. It is time to overcome old patterns of violence and secure a just, lasting and comprehensive peace. This is our goal, and now we have laid out the steps to achieve it. Our policy is ambitious, yes, and difficult to achieve. But it is right. It is realistic. And ultimately, it is the only effective path to a more hopeful future.
Beautifully said. No old man there, but perhaps a woman too much dependent upon old men. Still, more analogous to the ending of a war of nations than a war of insurgencies.
As a political commentator, Jim Freemans op-ed pieces have appeared on the pages of The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, International Herald-Tribune, CNN, The Jon Stewart Daily Show, The New York Review and a number of magazines.
More Lebanon Articles