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Commentary Last Updated: Aug 10th, 2006 - 01:33:14

The root of all suffering is the Bush administration
By Linda S. Heard
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Aug 10, 2006, 01:25

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The Israeli government is behaving like an abused child who grows up to be a mass-murdering psychopath. There is one difference though. Whereas the courts would put the psychopath behind bars, Israel's starry stripy uncle pats it on the back and hands it satellite guided missiles with which to kill more women, children, UN peacekeepers and fruit pickers.

This is madness!

Yet what does the international community do? The answer is nothing at all, except procrastinate for weeks before coming up with a draft UN resolution heavily biased in Israel's favour.

This was deemed "unacceptable" by the Lebanese government because it allowed Israeli troops to remain on Lebanese soil.

Worse, provisions concerning foreign troops mandated to assist the Lebanese army in disarming Hezbollah are nothing short of a recipe for civil war.

The root of all this suffering is the Bush administration, which has crudely and disingenuously labelled Israel's conflict with Hezbollah as one element of its "war on terror." It has single handedly transformed a local conflict into a regional war as a milestone on its birthing a new Middle East.

Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Israeli foreign ministry, has sunk his teeth firmly into this label and refers to Hezbollah as a terrorist jihadist group.

In reality, Hezbollah is a grassroots organisation supported by 87 percent of all Lebanese, according to two recent Lebanese polls.

As CNN's Jim Clancy pointed out from Beirut, the Lebanese people are shocked at the destruction of their cities and angry not only at the Israelis but also at the US and Britain for allowing this misery to continue.

This war could have ended weeks ago if the tin-pot emperor of "the free world" had lifted his little finger. Instead, like the man who used a mallet to kill a fly on his friend's head, Bush gave free rein to Israel to quash Hezbollah, no matter how many Lebanese civilians are destroyed in the process.

Bush may have got away with sending Afghanistan back to the Stone Age and turning Iraq into a living hell, but this time he has seriously miscalculated.

The destruction of Lebanon has elicited worldwide outrage and exposed American pro-Israel bias as never before.

There has been a backlash against Israel with calls to boycott Israeli products. There have been swastikas daubed on Jewish-owned shops in Rome, while Turkish legislators have pulled out from a Turkish-Israeli friendship association.

Ireland has asked an Israeli movie-maker to refrain from attending a showing of his film. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has compared the Israeli campaign to Hitler's. An American Muslim angry over Lebanon walked into an American Jewish centre and began indiscriminately shooting people.

Perhaps more worryingly for Israel, its almost mythical deterrent power has been eradicated. Israel's enemies have witnessed its vulnerability. They are no doubt saying to themselves, "If a small militia can inflict this amount of damage on the regional superpower, then we no longer have to be afraid."

Laughing stock

Israeli military and intelligence has also become a laughing stock after launching what Israel calls "a daring raid" on a deserted hospital, its elite commandos returning with a middle-aged vegetable seller whose only claim to fame was sharing a name with Hassan Nasrallah.

What on earth has Israel gained apart from global disgust?

Hezbollah, conversely, has garnered support not only domestically among Shiites, Sunnis and Christians but also worldwide.

Last weekend, up to 100,000 protestors walked through the streets of central London many carrying images of the Hezbollah leader. Demonstrators on the streets of Arab capitals are hailing Nasrallah as the new Jamal Abdul Nasser.

The Lebanese prime minister who swept to power on the back of the pro-American Cedar Revolution has snubbed US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and thanked Hezbollah for defending his country.

The vicious attack on Lebanon has infuriated the Arab League, including those members who initially pointed fingers at Hezbollah.

Secretary-General of the Arab League Amr Moussa flew into Beirut as Israeli bombs were falling on its suburbs and complained about US double standards that "are killing the people of this region and agitating them."

Moussa has hit the nail on the head. If the US administration behaved like an honest broker, Israel might even be driven to take up the offer of peace fielded by the Saudis in 2004.

When will Israelis realise that the only way they can achieve security is to work hard to achieve a Palestinian state and make peace with their neighbours?

The Bush brigade is no friend to Tel Aviv. Its suited members sit in their air-conditioned offices, directing Israel in its proxy war from afar.

It would be a different story if Americans were dying instead of Israelis. There would be a few holidays in The Hamptons cancelled then.

There may be something more sinister involved.

There have been leaks to the effect Israel planned this war on Hezbollah, an ally of Iran and Syria, and was waiting for a pretext.

Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh and others believe the US has plans to attack Iran.

Last year, the US president hinted Israel might bomb Iran to take out its nuclear facilities.

Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair recently warned Syria and Iran of the risk of confrontation.

I'll leave it to you to join the dots.

Linda S. Heard is a British specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She welcomes feedback and can be contacted by email at

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