No survey would be complete without checking in with Howard Dean. I know it’s already old news (two days old already), but you’ve just got to love it when Howard Dean, the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee comes out with these words of wisdom regarding the Middle East:
“If you think what’s going on in the Middle East today would be going on if the Democrats were in control, it wouldn’t, because we would have worked day after day after day to make sure we didn’t get where we are today. We would have had the moral authority that Bill Clinton had when he brought together the Northern Irish and the IRA, when he brought together the Israelis and the Palestinians.”
I assume that when Dean talks of “bringing together the Israelis and Palestinians” in a Clinton-designed Utopia, he’s factoring in the unending Qassam rockets the Palestinians fire on Israel. Or maybe he’s talking about the more than 70 suicide bombings in just the five years from 2000 to 2005 (a definite Clinton legacy). Or maybe he’s talking about Israeli’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, which had nothing whatsoever to do with Clinton, and which sparked a new cycle of violence culminating in Cpl. Gilad Shalit’s kidnapping from Israeli soil. In any event, all his talk is not only stupid on its face, it’s irrelevant, since I haven’t heard anything about Clinton’s peace making with Hezbollah, which is the real face of this war. Many have said it, but I’ll say it again — Howard Dean is God’s gift to Republicans. And now to the blogs….
The Daily Kos front page yesterday finally got around to tackling what’s going on in Southern Lebanon. The man who fancies himself a king-maker had this to say:
Kevin Drum explains his reasons for steering clear of this morass of a mess of a disaster of a quagmire of a sinkhole of a clusterfuck that is completely FUBAR.
Me? I grew up in a war zone. And there was one clear lesson I learned — there will never be peace unless both sides get tired of the fighting and start seeking an alternative.
It’s clear that in the Middle East, no one is sick of the fighting. They have centuries of grudges to resolve, and will continue fighting until they can get over them. And considering that they obviously have no interest in “getting over them”, we’re stuck with a war that will not end in any forseable future. It doesn’t matter what we bloggers say. It doesn’t matter what the President of the United States says. Or the United Nations. Or the usual bloviating gasbag pundits.
When two sides are this dead-set on killing each other, very little can get in the way.
And I, for one, sure as heck have no desire to get sucked into that no-win situation. I just hope that war-fatigue sets in at some point.
Wow, that’s deep. If I understand correctly (and I may be missing something in his positively Zen-like simplicity), Kos is saying they — that is, both sides of the battle lines — like to fight over there. That’s just staggeringly ill informed. As Dennis Prager pointed out today, the Israelis want to do anything but fight:
As a lifelong liberal critic of Israeli policies, the New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman wrote just two weeks ago: “The Palestinians could have a state on the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem tomorrow, if they and the Arab League clearly recognized Israel, normalized relations and renounced violence. Anyone who says otherwise doesn’t know Israel today.”
Give Israel peace, and Israel will give you land.
It is the Arabs surrounding Israel, and their Iranian (Persian) masters who like to fight, and who embrace Israel’s destruction as their guiding principle. For Kos to equate the two sides as equally culpable in spoiling for a fight betrays an ignorance so vast and deep its tremendously scary when one thinks of the Democratic politicians courting him.
The Huffington Post, showing that it understands the significance of what’s going on, has expanded its coverage. It doesn’t take sides, offering blogging perspectives from all over, another bit of moral equivalence that irks me. Nonetheless, it gets points for taking the whole thing seriously and at least grappling with the deeper issues.
At Crooks & Liars, Amato takes Tony Snow to task for taking Helen Thomas to task (you go, Tony!); points to a story about James Woolsey calling for an attack on Syria; and cites Juan Cole approvingly when the latter criticizes Bush. In other words, at Crooks & Liars, it’s politics as usual. Amato gives no indication that he understands, or even cares about, what’s going on in the Middle East. In this, he’s taking precisely the same passive view as Kos, although not stating so explicitly. Again, from someone who has leveraged himself to a point of power where he is one of the primary liberal volices in a new political medium, this ignorance is downright scary.
It doesn’t get any better at Wonkette, whose mystique continues to elude me. Her blog plays out as a mere political gossip rag. I give her big points, though, for pausing to trash both Hillary and John Kerry along with her bad-mouthing of everyone else. If you’re going to be perpetually and shallowly mean, at least do it in an equal opportunity way. Because Wonkette has been assiduous in avoiding any mention of the Israeli/Hezbollah war, I’m going to remove her from future surveys and congratulate her for knowing her limitations (which seem to be many).
Eschaton, whose cryptic posts are too much work for me to link through and decipher, is also utterly silent about events in the Middle East. He, too, gets crossed from my list.
AMERICAblog against shows itself to be the blog with the most depth — although, I think, it reaches incorrect conclusions — when it comes to the current war against Hezbollah. It links to news stories about big events in the region, and even attempts some analysis of the situation. This analysis, however, misfires from the get go, by asserting that what we’re seeing is just more of the “cycle of violence” (or, as the analysis says, “tit for tat”). There is no cycle of violence. There is an organization that aims to obliterate Israel (that would be Hezbollah) and a country that wants desperately to be left alone, and will react to defend herself (that would be Israel). Only someone detached from reality could see those situations as equivalent.
Still, AJ, writing for AMERICAblog, figures out, as Howard Dean did not, that there fight with Hezbollah is different from the “same old, same old” fight with the peace-loving Palestinians. Thus, says AJ:
The current conflict is between Hezbollah and Israel, and in this fight Israel has more legitimacy than some give it credit for. This position is further supported by the remarkable and unprecedented recent reactions from other Arab states, which have criticized Hezbollah rather than the usual approach of blaming everything on Israel. A decent analogy is (the old) Afghanistan, a sovereign nation wherein a terrorist group operated with impunity. Virtually everyone agreed that the U.S. had the right to invade Afghanistan to get at al-Qa’ida because the Afghan government wouldn’t (and really couldn’t) control them itself.
So far, so good — and then the analysis collapses into the usual “disproportionate force” garbage. Apparently American liberal rules of fair play dictate that you should only fight a way if you’re pretty sure you’ll lose (that is, it’s unfair for a good army to fight a bad army). And if you actually have an advantage, you shouldn’t use it, so that you won’t run the risk of winning against the bad Army. Certainly, AJ’s underlying point in this regard is consistent with what I’ve heard on the radio lately from people sahing America and Israel are bullies because they’re fighting wars that they can actually win and, worse, they have the temerity when fighting these wars actually to try to win. The chutzpah! I really don’t think this ludicrous definition of “sportsmanship” is the type of thing Wellington was thinking when he talked about the playing fields of Eton, and their role in Britain’s ultimate victory over Napoleon at Waterloo.
Anyway, I’m probably beating a dead horse by now. It just disturbs me deeply that the blogs that have garnered the most support on the liberal side of the blogosphere, and that have positioned themselves most closely to Democratic politicans, are so abysmally ignorant about and disinterested in what I think is one of the most pressing and far-reaching issues of our day.
I’d be interested in your comments. Am I overreacting? Is there a real problem here? If I’ve correctly identified a problem, will it at least have the beneficial consequence of harming Democrats in November, when the American public starts thinking about whether liberals or conservatives will best be able to protect American interests in a changing world?