Wednesday, August 16, 2006

SAT Allegory from Hell: Iran is to Hezbollah as _____ is to Israel

It’s become commonplace to depict the actions of Hezbollah as the enactment of orders given in Iran. I wonder, given Seymour Hersh's recent article in The New Yorker, if a similar relationship exists between the U.S. and Israel? The notion that Israel would act on the orders of the U.S. without thinking of its own concerns is silly, and probably offensive to Israelis, but shouldn't the same go for Hezbollah? It seems more likely to me that both Israel and Hezbollah chose this conflict (not in that order) with the blessing of their benefactors, but not under orders. But the similarities between the benefactors don't end there.

While Iran is being criticized for supplying Hezbollah with weapons, the U.S. provides almost all of Israel's arms without much of a peep in our press. Just as it is an Iranian rocket killing innocent civilians in Haifa, it's an American bomb that destroys a village full of civilians in southern Lebanon.

Ahmadinejad certainly has ulterior motives for encouraging conflict between Lebanon and Israel, but doesn't Bush as well? Note Condi's "birthpangs of a new Middle East". This alludes to concerns that go well beyond the parties fighting and dieing. Just as the conflict has distracted the world from Iran's nuclear ambitions, it has also distracted us from the mess in Iraq. The bloodshed in Iraq has outpaced the Israel-Lebanon conflict, but we are hearing less about it, despite the fact that those are our soldiers both dieing and inflicting civilian casualties in Iraq, because we, and our media, suffer from war fatigue.

Now, I'm not trying to make Hezbollah and Israel moral equivalents. Israel voluntarily pulled out of Lebanon and they were attacked anyway. They had a right to strike back (despite the fact that history shows striking back is not only infantile, but frequently counter-productive). But when comparing Bush and Ahmadinejad, why is the later vilified for condoning senseless slaughter and providing the weapons to make it happen in order to hide nuclear ambitions, while the former is given a pass? Bush is the leader of a nuclear power (the only nation to use nukes in war, so I don't see why Bush is inherently more trustworthy than Ahmadinejad, despite Ahmadinejad's obvious craziness. Seems par for the course these days). Bush has supervised the killing of far more civilians than Ahmadinejad. Now Bush is trying to distract not from killing he might do in the future, but from killing he's perpetrating right now.

I understand our media's reluctance to paint our own president and any other world leader with the same brush, especially when that other is a holocaust denier, among other things. But we should at least be intellectually honest enough to recognize that the rest of the world will see our relationship with Israel in the same way we are told to see the relationship between Iran and Hezbollah. Hezbollah is a terrible terrorist organization, to be sure, and their tactic of aiming at civilians to incite conflict must be dealt with somehow. But when the death-tolls are calculated and more innocent Lebanese have been killed than Isrealis, who will the world blame? If we are told to blame Ahmadinejad, don't you think the rest of the world will blame Bush?


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Benjamin Gorman said...

Folks, please don't click that link. I don't want ti disable to post function, so we'll have to discourage spammers by ignoring them.

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@bdul muHib said...

You can delete posts you don't want, or set up word verification, which spammers can't get past.

On the article itself, I'm a bit ambivalent, I must say. Israel is a terrorist nation; Hezballah are freedom fighters who have morphed into a political party. It's hard to figure out what might therefore go in the slot- the SAT question poses such disparate groups together. Since Iran is a sketchy country weakly supporting a more legitimate group, and Israel a sketchy country in it's own right, I geuss you need to find a more legitimate country weakly supporting Israel. France?