WorldNetDaily: Our moral culpability for Qana

It's sometimes surprising how much sense Patrick Buchanan can make. WorldNetDaily: Our moral culpability for Qana

Mike Davis on the History of the Car Bomb

Davis takes it back to a 1920 attack by an Italian American anarchist, Mario Buda, and traces the evolution of the weapon through the Mafia, the pieds noirs of Algeria, Israel's Stern Gang and Palestinian reciprocity, the CIA in Vietnam during French colonial days, the Hezbollah in the 1980s, and on down to today. TomDispatch - Tomgram: Mike Davis on the History of the Car Bomb Very cheap and effective as a destructive weapon, disastrous politically because it alienates its employers' base, argues Davis: viz., Spain's ETA and Northern Ireland's IRA. But sometimes a political movement isn't interested in mobilizing its civilian supporters, just in sowing terror.

What's missing (maybe Davis will give it in his Part II, to be posted next week, he says) is analysis of the kinds of situations that encourage use of this weapon. As a first guess, I'd say they are those where there seems to be nothing to gain by more peaceful, democratic political means. Because when there is some hope of gaining power by democratic means, then the leaders are going to be very cautious about using a weapon that makes potential supporters fear for their lives. If I'm right, then the best (probably the only) way to eliminate (or even reduce) terror is to guarantee dissidents that democratic chance, whether we're talking about Sunnis in Iraq or Shiites in Lebanon or Maoists in Nepal. Not an easy thing to do, but I can think of no better alternative.


"Let me be serious now ": Zbig has some things to say

"Let me be serious now because this is a serious time that calls for serious reflection,"says Zbigniew Brzezinski in an address in Washington, .
I hate to say this but I will say it. I think what the Israelis are doing today for example in Lebanon is in effect, in effect--maybe not in intent--the killing of hostages. The killing of hostages. Because when you kill 300 people, 400 people, who have nothing to do with the provocations Hezbollah staged, but you do it in effect deliberately by being indifferent to the scale of collateral damage, you’re killing hostages in the hope of intimidating those that you want to intimidate. And more likely than not you will not intimidate them. You’ll simply outrage them and make them into permanent enemies with the number of such enemies increasing.

Can I say something?: KERBLOG

Drawings by Beiruti artist and musician Mazen Kerbaj in his KERBLOG.

And yes, finally some people ARE saying something that makes sense. Paul Krugman's essay in today's NYT, Shock and Awe, makes a lot of sense to me.

"For Americans who care deeply about Israel, one of the truly nightmarish things about the war in Lebanon has been watching Israel repeat the same mistakes the United States made in Iraq. It’s as if Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been possessed by the deranged spirit of Donald Rumsfeld," he writes.
There is a case for a full-scale Israeli ground offensive against Hezbollah. It may yet come to that, if Israel can’t find any other way to protect itself. There is also a case for restraint — limited counterstrikes combined with diplomacy, an effort to get other players to rein Hezbollah in, with the option of that full-scale offensive always in the background.

But the actual course Israel has chosen — a bombing campaign that clearly isn’t crippling Hezbollah, but is destroying Lebanon’s infrastructure and killing lots of civilians — achieves the worst of both worlds. Presumably there were people in the Israeli government who assured the political leadership that a rain of smart bombs would smash and/or intimidate Hezbollah into submission. Those people should be fired.

And the full page ad sponsored by Tikkun is exactly what is needed to end this conflict and build for an enduring peace -- even if we can't agree on every point (wisely, perhaps, they have omitted any mention about what to do about Jerusalem. "Stop the Slaughter in Lebanon, Israel and the Occupied Territories!" Yes! Right away!

The signers printed in today's NYT ad are all identified as "The Network of Spiritual Progressives," headed by Rabbi Michael Lerner, Sr. Joan Chittister and Prof. Cornell West. I don't know if I'm a "spiritual" progressive (seems to imply some religious affiliation), but I was eager to sign. Read the ad, and if you agree you'll sign too.

Meanwhile, as Mazen Kerbaj reminds us, it's awfully hard to maintain the optimism of music with bombs raining down upon you.


The Iraq War is a Huge Success

Too true. Not,of course, a success for humanity or for democracy, but undoubtedly a success for its sponsors. The Iraq War is a Huge Success Will the Israeli war on Lebanon be a similar success, though? For the U.S. and other companies supplying the ever-more-expensive killing devices, perhaps. But how will wiping out families and industries bring profits to other sectors, as in Iraq? Will the surviving Lebanese be expected to pay Haliburton and Bechtel to rebuild? With what? They don't have oil. That infrastructure was their capital, with an economy based on services (banking, tourism, etc.) and light manufacturing, all gone.