In Lebanon, Bush is really part of the problem

The Daily Star - Opinion Articles - In Lebanon, Bush is really part of the problem:

We are presently witnessing in Lebanon the third humanitarian disaster in which US President George W. Bush has had a direct or indirect hand. In Iraq over 50,000 are dead and dying thanks to Bush's decision to invade and occupy the country in 2003, without a sufficient number of troops necessary to secure the country. In New Orleans, the administration's incompetent preparation and slow response exacerbated the humanitarian crisis. And now hundreds of innocent people are dying in a war in Lebanon that could be stopped by the international community if it were not handcuffed by the Bush administration. We may recall that Israel failed to undermine a much weaker Hizbullah even after 18 years of warfare and occupation of Southern Lebanon. Why expect success now?

The United States has so far achieved only two things since the Lebanese conflict began on July 12 - indeed in the month since the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier prompted Israel to unleash its ruthless war machine.

One, it has acted to ensure that no effort by the international community would succeed in stopping the mayhem in Lebanon. Three times the US has subverted the processes of peace, at the United Nations, at the Group of Eight summit and at the Rome conference.

Two, even during the conflict, instead of working toward peace, we are arming one side with rockets and powerful bombs which, in the words of Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, are 'cutting Lebanon to pieces.' We are even smuggling these weapons through Britain, somewhat like Iran smuggling weapons to Hizbullah via Syria. Unlike Syria, however, Britain is protesting.

The administration claims that the Rome conference helped build a consensus for an international force to prevent future crisis. For those of us familiar with the history of the conflict, we know that it was only because of Israeli and American opposition that there is no real international force already in the area capable of policing the borders and keeping all parties peaceful. What US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice means by consensus is that finally Washington has agreed with the rest of the world on one issue involving Israel.

This strategy of American foreign policy to arm, encourage and support extended and open-ended Israeli military action, I am convinced, will fail miserably in realizing its goals. By the time the Israelis finish in Lebanon it will be a pile of debris with perhaps 1,000 innocent civilians dead and over 1 million homeless and displaced. All other major US goals in the region - democracy promotion, support for moderates, winning hearts and minds, undermining support for radicalism - will also be buried under the debris.


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