What explains the indifference of the Bush administration
to the slaughter of civilians in Iraq, Lebanon, and Gaza?
As of the morning of July 19, Israeli bombardments of Lebanese civilian residential
districts and public infrastructure have murdered 300 Lebanese, wounded 1,000,
and displaced 500,000. The Lebanese prime minister said that Israel's attack
has caused "unimaginable losses" and that his government will seek
compensation from Israel.
In Gaza, Israel has murdered scores of Palestinian civilians in the past few
In Iraq, the civilian daily death toll has risen above 100.
These dead are not Hezbollah militia. They are not Hamas militia. They are
not al-Qaeda or Sunni insurgents. They are civilians.
Frustrated by Hezbollah, Israel is lashing out at hapless civilians, knowing
that the U.S. will protect Israel from UN Security Council condemnation.
Frustrated by Sunni insurgents, the U.S. has instigated sectarian strife.
Bush has stonewalled the UN, our European allies, and the Lebanese prime minister,
all of whom are calling and pleading for Bush to pressure the Israelis to stop
their cowardly slaughter from the air of Lebanese civilians.
The Guardian reports
that Bush gave Israel the green light to attack Lebanon and has given Olmert
another week to pound Lebanon.
U.S. Secretary of State Condi Rice has announced that she will go to the Middle
East to resolve "the crisis" when
it is appropriate. Apparently, the appropriate time is not when people are
dying and a country, which had only just recovered from the last Israeli invasion,
is again being bombed into rubble.
How many more war crimes must Israel commit before Bush and Condi Rice put
aside their indifference?
On July 19, the Israelis turned their air attack on the Christian area of Beirut.
The Lebanese Christians can thank the American evangelical Rev. John Hagee,
who has thrown his
18,000 member Texas church behind Israeli aggression.
Bush cannot claim public support for his indifference.
As of noon July 19, 800,000 people had participated in CNN's Quick Vote, with
the result that 55 percent oppose Israel's attack on Lebanon. This result is
despite the fact that U.S. television reporting explains the news from the Israeli
Similarly, in Israel a survey published by Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth
Ahronoth showed 53 percent of Israelis polled said Israel should hold negotiations
to secure the release of the Israeli soldier captured in Gaza, while 43 percent
backed a military operation.
A poll taken by the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reports that 28 percent
of Israelis believe Israel should immediately stop bombing Lebanon, compared
to 7 percent who believe that the bombing should continue until the captured
soldiers are freed, and 14 percent who believe bombing should continue until
Lebanon agrees to disarm Hezbollah – a task that Israel's invasion has made
more impossible than ever.
If these polls are reliable, one can conclude that the U.S. and Israeli populations
are more moral, and more concerned with human life, than are the leaders of
the two countries.
Neither can Bush claim that he is supporting Israel because he is Israel's
friend. If Bush were Israel's friend, he would not have given a green light
to Israel's aggression, which will create more hatred of Israel.
As a number of Israeli writers have pointed out, Israel has shown tooth and
claw to its Arab neighbors for decades to no avail.
Writing in Ha'aretz, Yitzhak
Laor notes that Israel's problems are not the result of insufficient bombing
and destruction of Arab populations. Yet, once again Israeli militants are "enlarging
the circle of hostilities, including harming civilians. What Israel's 'strategists'
have to offer is the destruction of yet another country."
Laor says the Americans can do this in Iraq with less consequence for themselves,
because "the Americans do not intend to live in this region." Israelis
cannot afford to show only tooth and claw to their neighbors, because "we
do live here."
It sometimes seems Bush goes beyond indifference to contentment with the slaughter
of Muslim civilians. Bush has even come across as gleeful as if he is on a dove
hunt in a baited Texas field where joy resides in the killing of countless birds.
Many Muslims believe that Bush and Israel see them as animals to be slain.
On July 17, neocon John Bolton, Bush's unconfirmed ambassador to the UN, gave
credence to this Muslim belief when he announced that Israelis killed by terrorists
were more important than the Lebanese civilians killed by Israel. Bolton
said that there is no "moral equivalence" between Lebanese civilians
killed by Israel and Israeli civilians killed by Muslim terrorists: "It's
simply not the same thing to say that it's the same act to deliberately target
innocent civilians, to desire their deaths, to fire rockets and use explosive
devices or kidnapping versus the sad and highly unfortunate consequences of
In Bolton's sick mind, Lebanese civilians are not experiencing terrorism when
Israel deliberately targets them and drops high explosives on their apartment
buildings, streets, bridges, and power plants, and bombs the Beirut International
Airport. This, says Bolton, is Israel acting in self-defense.
If Israel grabs Palestinian or Lebanese land and murders civilians, that is
"self-defense," but if someone responds to Israeli aggression with
a rocket, that is "Muslim terrorism."
The world is sick of this double-standard. Unfortunately, not enough Americans
and Israelis are.
Consequently, conflict will continue and escalate. Laor writes that "the
director of the American Jewish Committee's Israel/Middle East Office, Eran
Lerman, is already recommending going to war against Syria."
And so are the American neoconservatives who control the Bush administration,
Washington think tanks, and media positions once held by true American conservatives.
Isolated in their evil, the neoconservatives are frantically and shrilly demanding
that Bush join Israel in military attacks on Syria and Iran in order to "build
democracy" and to clear the Middle East of any opposition to Israel's unbridled
self-interest. The crazed David Horowitz writes that "Israel is doing the
work of the rest of the civilized world."
Neoconservatives believe that the U.S. and Israel can extirpate Islam with
fire and sword and that the present opportunity to escalate the current conflict
into generalized war in the Middle East must not be missed.
Neocon warmongers have stolen the conservative name, the Republican Party,
and a portion of the evangelical movement.
Are Americans too inattentive and too brainwashed to prevent their moronic
president and his neocon government from initiating a dangerous war?