{ An Autopsy of Democracy }

Friday, July 21, 2006

Lebanon News - Western media has dropped the ball by failing to tell the real story in Lebanon

. . . . The numbers speak for themselves. As of Wednesday evening, Israeli attacks had killed at least 292 civilians in Lebanon, while Hizbullah rockets had killed 13 noncombatants in the Jewish state. Lebanon has approximately 3.5 million people. On a per-capita basis, that means that as of Wednesday, the rough equivalent of 9/11 has happened every day here for eight days.

I'm not sure about the "per-capita" approach, but it's interesting to consider in those terms.

And you can be certain that the numbers are far higher. As the author points out, "No one knows how many people are buried in these piles of shattered concrete and twisted steel, only that local residents would have had far less warning than Hizbullah members did about the beginning of so many ends - and that most of their escape routes were cut off by the destruction of roads and overpasses before the Dahiyeh itself became a target."

Sweet Christ, I fucking hate FOX News.

I've been watching a lot of TV news the past week, and overall the coverage of the Middle East situation has been, I think, quite good -- dare I say "Fair And Balanced." (Sirois's point notwithstanding.) CNN, MSNBC, BBC, etc. -- all pretty even-handed and reasonably thorough. True, they're completely ignoring the situation in Gaza, even though it's directly related and about 90 Palestinians have been killed in the past week or so. Sure, they're failing to sufficiently point out that firing some 50-pound rockets is slightly different from dropping 23 tons of bombs on each building. Sure, they're ignoring why Hezbollah came about and the important fact that if not for Hezbollah, Lebanon would probably still be under a 20-plus-year Israeli military occupation. Sure, they're probably over-emphasizing the role of Iran and Syria. Sure, they're obviously more concerned about the Americans evacuating Lebanon than about the 500,000-plus Lebanese refugees driven in terror from their homes who don't have the luxury of a military escort out of the country. And, yes, they forget to mention that perhaps if Israel hadn't bombed all the bridges, air ports and roads and blockaded the sea, people could get out. Etc. But they are focusing, appropriately, on the massive carnage, destruction and civilian casualties in Lebanon; while also seeing the events through the lens of Israel's point of view.

Then I turn to FOX . . .

I don't even know what to say, frankly. O'Reilly blasts the Pope for condemning both sides and lamenting the murder of civilians -- and then (responding to an email) claims that he never said it was o.k. to kill civilians and that anyone who even suggests such a thing is a "Kool-Aid drinker" (you know, that "Left Wing Kool Aid"). Anyone who criticizes Israel is (of course) an "anti-semite." Not a shred of history is provided. Iran and Syria are (of course) primarily to blame, and we should bomb them. And so on. (You get the idea.)

As usual, talking heads in the media lament, "What can the U.S. possibly do? And why is it always up to US??"

And, as usual, they ignore the fact that we could do a lot without any effort at all. For example, by simply NOT vetoing U.N. resolutions (in this case calling for a cease fire) like we ALWAYS do. John Bolton likes to bitch about the U.N. and pretend the body is "ineffective" and never does anything to solve the world's problems -- and what does he do? Delay, delay, delay. Refuses to cooperate and offers no help, and no solutions. "More talk, less action," Bolton is literally saying. We have to wait until "the time is right" for a cease fire.

A more extreme action the U.S. could take -- without even having to cooperative with the international community -- would be this: TELL ISRAEL TO KNOCK IT OFF. That's it. Would Israel listen? We'll never know, because it's never been tried. (And of course if they ignored us, we could simply say "no more arms and $5 Billion per year of American tax dollars for you." Or -- even MORE radical -- tell them "no more constantly, unequivocally and unconditionally siding with you in the Palestinian conflict.")

In short, we wouldn't have to do much. But what we are doing, and what we're not, are making matters far worse.


US vetoes UN resolution on Gaza

Israel bombs foreign ministry in Gaza

Israel intensifies Gaza action

Chemical weapons?
In Shifa hospital, Dr al-Saqqa said most of the dead bodies taken to the facility were torn apart and completely burnt.
"Even bodies of the injured have been almost completely burnt. They have been deformed in a very ugly way that we have never seen before," he told Aljazeera channel.
Al-Saqaa, who heads the hospital's emergency service, said relatives had been unable to identify the dead victims.
"When we try to X-ray dead bodies, we find no trace of the shrapnel that hit the person killed," he said, adding that the bodies seemed to have been chemically burnt.
"We are sure that Israel is using a new chemical or radioactive weapon in the new operation. More than 25% of the injured are children, aged under 16." 
Four teenagers playing football were among the dead on Monday.
At least 51 Palestinians have been killed since the operation started two weeks ago. An Israeli soldier also died as a result of "friendly fire", according to the Israeli military.

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