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Subject: You saw your name here, I assume?

You saw your name here, I assume?]

Subject:        You saw your name here, I assume?
Date:   Tue, 1 Aug 2006 08:09:08 -0400
From:   Grayson

* * <>

   Thursday, 27 July 2006

     What Moral Equivalence?

*By PHK*

*I've been skeptical for some time that the kidnapping of two IDF
soldiers by Hezbollah which precipitated the Israeli onslaught on
Lebanon simply arose out of the blue. Why? Because relations in the
Middle East normally don't work that way. Until Wednesday, however, I
had not read anything to make me question Israel's claim and the
conventional wisdom that Hezbollah was the provocateur. Then I found
**excerpts from reports of meetings in Lebanon *
<>*in February
2006 by three retired American diplomats that indicated things may not
be as they appear – at least as they are portrayed by the Bush
administration in the U.S. media.*

*Here is how Eugene Bird, one of those three former U.S. diplomats and
President of the Center for the National Interest, * *characterized
discussions * <>*Ambassadors Edward Peck,
Robert Keeley, and he had in Lebanon last February: "While in Lebanon we
met with the president, the prime minister and Nasrallah (Hesbollah's
leader in Lebanon). All three emphasized the following three points:
Israel had not fully withdrawn from Lebanese territory -- this is
separate from the Shebaa Farms issue. There are three areas of just a
few thousand square feet, but they are military positions. *

*"Second, they emphasized that Israel has not given a map to thousands
of landmines it left in Lebanon as it was supposed to do. These mines
regularly kill people. _Third, they emphasized the abduction of three
Lebanese who were taken from Lebanese territory by Israel. I asked
Nasrallah what he would do about these people. He said that there was
only one way to free them, and that was to capture Israeli soldiers.
What Hezbollah is doing may seem to be foolish, especially in the short
term, but we need to understand the facts involved. _*

*So was Hezbollah upping the ante and spoiling for a fight as the
Israeli and US government claim – or was it simply playing the next
round of an eye-for-an-eye, tooth-for-a-tooth game of quid pro quo that
permeates Middle Eastern politics, religion and culture? *

*There's another report worth considering too. According to both* *AP *
**AFP* <>*,
the two IDF soldiers taken prisoner by Hezbollah were captured on the
Lebanese side of the border in the area of Aitaa al-Chaab, where an
Israeli unit had penetrated in mid-morning. Joshua Frank **describes
this * <>*in detail on
*** <>

*The same report of this incident ran on the two wire services – one
American, the other French on July 12 - just before the Israeli military
ran amok. But why have these reports by two different news agencies been
ignored by the U.S. media and a sanitized,
make-the-IDF-appear-the-victim version, been the story that has been
turned into fact? Were AFP and AP reporters wrong? If so, I missed the
denial – or the correction. *

*It seems to me that if the AFP and AP reports were correct, instead of
egging the Israelis on – * *or rushing them replenishment weapons *
<>*when the going
got rougher than expected as this administration is doing - a
responsible U.S. foreign policy team would have told the Israeli
government to return the IDF to its barracks and send in its
representatives to negotiate a prisoner swap. Once this occurred, then
maybe a more comprehensive settlement could have been put on the table. *

*But that's anathema to the neocons who run W's foreign policy. It
wouldn't fit in with their pie in the sky vision of reshaping of the
Middle East. *

*At a minimum it would mean that the Israelis would have to talk with
the Lebanese leadership as well as Hezbollah representatives in the
Lebanese government: it doesn't mean bombing the hell out of Beirut and
points south **thereby murdering over 600 Lebanese civilians (versus 51
Israelis killed by Hezbollah bombs), creating over 500,000 refugees and
* <>*exacerbating the
situation further.*

*It also would have meant releasing the members of the Palestinian
government the Israeli government holds hostage and negotiating with the
Palestinians to gain the return of the third IDF soldier held captive.
(It's unclear to me whether that soldier is being held by Hamas,
Hezbollah or exactly what group and **AP reports*
the Egyptians are involved in helping to gain the IDF soldier's release
so maybe those negotiations are in the works.) *

*What green light?*

*Meanwhile, Condi "deep-sixed" the multilateral conference in Rome
Wednesday by refusing to support the call for an immediate cease fire
and four * *UN peace monitors were killed in repeated bombings by the
IDF* <>*: this
despite 21 pleas from the monitors themselves and UN representatives
over six hours for the IDF to cease and desist targeting the observation
post. And the Israeli government **had the nerve to interpret the
watered-down statement in Rome as a "green light *
<>*." At least
this time* *the EU made it very clear that the Israelis had it wrong*

*These are just more examples of how the Bush administration thinks it
can run rough-shod over the rest of the world in support of a one-sided
policy that favors the actions of what has become a renegade nation -
and then Americans wonder "why they hate us." *

*It's pretty clear from what I've ** read and *
<>*heard that
the IDF attacks on the UN monitoring post were designed to kill -
despite an Israeli government apology and * *claims to the contrary*
So now an excuse being floated is that Hezbollah had fortified the land
around the monitoring station so the IDF was justified in its actions.
Sorry, I don't think any justification exists for deliberately targeting
peace keepers. Neither do the Australians: they've just pulled their 12
out. *

*Bolton: front and center again*

*Then on Capitol Hill today, W's controversial and abrasive UN
representative John Bolton * *went up before the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee *
<>*to try once again
to get his nomination through while the Republicans still control all
houses of Congress. Seems to me this speaks volumes as to how the
administration expects the November elections to turn out. Maybe their
internal polls paint Republican re-election chances more bleakly than
the ones commissioned and published by the news organizations. *

*But how does Bolton's testimony relate to the disaster in Lebanon and
Gaza? Well, Bolton told the committee today that "* *there was no moral
equivalence *
the civilian casualties from the Israeli raids in Lebanon and those
killed in Israel from "malicious terrorist acts"." *

*Well why not? Does this also mean that there is no moral equivalence
between Israeli civilians killed by Hezbollah and the four UN
peacekeeping monitors killed by the IDF? Did anyone ask Bolton – or the
Republican Senators who support him – this question? *

*Posted by Patricia Kushlis on Thursday, 27 July 2006 a*
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