Almost every major city in the USA has its cadre of lebanese-americans. Virtually without exception, they are enterprising, hard-working, law-abiding and community-minded. These folks are a very important part of our commerce and politics. If you need an example, Peoria, Illinois will do nicely. They are part of a close and warm connection between the Lebanese people and the American People. It's not by accident that "The American University" is in Beirut. Damage to this important country and to relatives of our citizens is not to be taken lightly.
On the other hand, we are, in effect, the sponsor of the Jewish State. But for Harry Truman and Clark Clifford, there would be no Israel.
We're in an obvious spot. We can't tell Israel to moderate their response after we've occupied two countries, now can we? OTOH, if we don't bring about some relief for innocent civilians in Lebanon, some of our own citizens are going to be left feeling unsupported. So far Condi and that preening, unconfirmed, colonialist with the bad mustache, Bolton, have pretty much said "Well, Stuff happens." How long before, for example, Ray LaHood, says, "Boys and Girls, that's not good enough. Let's get a lid on this."?
It'd be a hard argument to ignore. We can tell Turkey what foreign policy to have and mock France for differing with us but we can't make any suggestions to Israel on matters effecting our most important goal, peace in the middle east? This is what I love about Condi/Shrub. When it suits us, we tell everybody else on the planet how to act--the world's only superpower
, goes the tiresome truism--but when we're in the hot seat we just respect the hell out of everybody else's sovereignty and offer no direction. It's pretty weak and it's pretty phony.
On another topic, has anybody else noticed that Hezbollah does not seem to be running out of weaponry? Of course you have. It's an open secret that Israel has one of the finest field intelligence services in the history of the world but they obviously didn't plan for this much hardware in response to their Lebanon/Gaza strikes. By now, their intelligence weenies are in the "Whoopsie!" mode and under enormous pressure to track the sources of this weaponry. Keep in mind this stuff does not just move because all concerned desire "death to the unbelievers!" It moves because people make a freaking profit
on it. As a general rule, that kind of money leaves tracks. Israeli intelligence officers will find the money trail. Whoever made a profit on these deals (Arab, Jew or Christian) is probably going to wish they had gone into another line of work. This is nothing you will read about in the newspaper. Bad things will start happening to these folks (and probably their families) and it won't matter whether they change their names and move to Argentina or Siberia. Payback, in this case, will probably literally be Hell.
I know this is not nearly as important as flag burning, gay marriage, the Jon McCoy for Sheriff Barbecue, Patronage in local government, School Zone Speeding enforcement, The 93rd Legislative District election or Phil Hare's Grade Point Average in High School but it seemed to merit a day's worth of discussion before Beirut, "The Paris of the Middle East" burns to the ground.
Oh, yeah, before some of you flip completely out, note that this discussion is completely about United States Foreign Policy and Israeli intelligence--Not about how poorly Lebanon has handled its end of this whole mess, before, after and during, which I concede in a heartbeat. Nor is it about Israel's right to defend itself.