Just when I thought
he had shown a glimmer of statesmanship, Stephen Harper, Canada's prime
minister courtesy of just over one-third of the vote, reverted to character.
Following Israel's apparently deliberate targeting of four UN observers in
Lebanon, including one Canadian, Harper thought it appropriate to ask, not why
Israel killed them, but why the observers were there?
His inspired question
reminded me of nothing so much as a rape-case lawyer attacking the victim with
questions along the lines of why was she in such a place? at such a time?
wearing such a dress?
Bush's official idiot-savant, gave us a memorable quote last week concerning
Israeli barbarism in Lebanon: "We are witnessing the birth pangs of a new
Middle East." I wonder what would have been press reaction in America to
some high official saying, as the World Trade Center toppled in flames, "We
are witnessing the birth pangs of a new America"?
Of course, Condi
was keeping her eyes on the big picture, as she tends to do, the picture as
viewed from high above the earth where human beings become unseen bacilli in a
vast fabric of coastlines and geometric patterns, not close-up where you can
distinguish blood-spattered ruins and childrens' limbs snapped like broken bird
You might want to
ask Condi why America's murderous assault on Vietnam, where it dropped more
bombs than in World War Two, was such a miserable failure rather than the birth
of anything? Or why Baghdad, after experiencing American Shock and Awe, has
sewers that work only to catch run-off blood from the streets? Perhaps Condi
would say they just needed a little topping-up on the bombing to complete the
miracle of birth?
Her words came near
to the time an Israeli source explained to the world that Israeli pilots were
operating now on the principle that 10 Beirut apartment blocks would be bombed
for every Hezbollah missile launched. A few days after, an Israeli pilot struck
gold, killing 57 civilians, including 37 children.
From Israel, came
only Goebbels-speak: Hezbollah always hides in just such places. Left unasked
and unanswered in the soulless repetitions of this point is: then what kind of
a human being would still fire on them?
Israel insists that
Hezbollah's missiles are a horror not to be endured.
I'll remind readers
that Hezbollah's main "missile" is the Katyusha artillery rocket, not
a missile at all, because it is not guided. The Katyusha was designed to be
fired in large barrages from mobile, multi-tube launchers to blanket an area,
but Hezbollah does not posses these -- they would quickly be destroyed if they
did -- and uses Katyushas as single-launch rockets. Used this way, the Katyusha
is a glorified firework, totally inaccurate with a short range and a small
explosive charge. Ninety-nine percent of these "missiles" land in the
desert or on garage roofs or in parking lots. The few times they have killed
anyone were accidents.
managed to fire a few clusters now in response to Israel's horrific
bombardment, but apart from one dramatic incident, killing eight, they have
killed few Israelis. We have heard a great deal about a new longer-range
rocket, but this is just a bigger Katyusha with a bigger warhead. It also is
Israel drops 500-pound, high-explosive bombs which are deadly accurate, being
hooked into American satellite-guidance systems. It drops them from some of the
world's most sophisticated fighter-bombers. An order of American 5,000-pound,
"bunker-busting," laser-guided bombs was rushed recently to Israel to
help in the good work. Israel also uses American Hellfire missiles, mounted on
helicopters or fighter planes. These really are missiles, highly accurate, in
the slick words of their manufacturer's sales pitch, they feature "dual
warheads for defeating reactive armor, electro-optical countermeasures
hardening, semi-active laser seeker, and a programmable auto-pilot for trajectory
Israel uses some of
the world's best long-range artillery pieces, and it fills their breeches with
deadly depleted-uranium shells, which bring the added gift of long-lived
vaporized uranium after exploding. It uses American cluster bombs, the horrible
things that dismembered or crippled thousands of Iraqi children. And it now
appears to be using the white-phosphorus shells or bombs Americans used in
Fallujah to burn flesh in much the same way they used napalm in Vietnam.
Tony Blair, known to
Bush insiders as Fluffy the toy poodle, made a showy trip to Washington about
his concern over events in the Middle East, the concern apparently focusing on
a revolt by his own cabinet. As usual, he got nothing from Bush, except the
honor of standing at a podium next to America's first certified-moron
president. Blair also got to do a little choreographed turn with Bush at the
end of the press conference, allowing the pair to stride out with a ceremonial
flourish after somber moments of saying nothing.
British journalists apparently miffed the
American crowd because they didn't follow the mindless ritual of standing up
when the president is announced, it not being the practice to stand for Blair
in London. Even worse perhaps was one British journalist's description of the
event as a "press availability" rather than a press conference. It
was undoubtedly the most informative comment of the week.