July 24, 2006


Truly Inconvenient Truths: What we’re loath to talk about when we talk about Israel and Lebanon (Kurt Andersen, 8/08/06, New York)

Al Gore’s movie about global warming has a brilliant title: It flatters us—those of us who believe the scientific consensus about climate change—that we are clear-eyed and honest and brave enough to admit this “inconvenient truth” that the Bush administration and its reckless, craven, venal corporate allies refuse to admit. Yet the truth about greenhouse gases, although plenty scary, is really not so inconvenient: The blame for inaction is easy to lay on others, a solution seems possible, and that solution doesn’t look that onerous.

Whereas concerning the Middle East, there is for most of us no obvious overriding analysis, let alone fix. Concerning Israel and the Palestinian territories, all the truths tend to be truly, deeply, tragically inconvenient.

And the big one is this: Israel is a good and miraculous nation that deserves the support of civilized people, but the great unfortunate fact about its creation—being carved by the U.N. out of Arab land in 1947—cannot be ignored or wished away. We have no choice but to support Israel, even though the Israeli Defense Forces are killing civilians, dozens a day, in Lebanon. All of those deaths, one wants to believe, are unintentional, unavoidable mistakes. Yet as Richard Cohen wrote in his Washington Post column last week, “Israel itself is a mistake . . . an honest mistake, a well-intentioned mistake, a mistake for which no one is culpable [but which] has produced a century of warfare and terrorism of the sort we are seeing now.” Sixty years on, there can be no revising or reversing that mistake—and when the choice is Israel versus unaccommodating Islamist fanatics, we must be for Israel. Is there any more inconvenient truth?

Sure, the truth is even more inconvenient.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 24, 2006 4:45 PM

Uh oh. Dirty pool going back to the source.

Posted by: erp at July 24, 2006 5:49 PM

"Israel... being carved by the U.N. out of Arab land in 1947" Tell that to the Romans who ran that part of the world for 1500 years. The fact that the Arabs eventually expelled or murdered all the other types of people who lived there isn't neccessarily a legal foundation for perpetual ownership.

Posted by: lebeaux at July 24, 2006 6:07 PM

I was extremely excited to run across this in the Daily Telegraph, because a find few joys in life more profound than observing Orrin Judd's dialectical agility in an intellectual crisis. So, Sage Judd, please do tell me how this White House line fits with your theory that what our Middle East policy is ultimately all about is doing in the anti-messianic Sunni.

Now excuse me while I pour myself a scotch in anticipation of the pleasures to come.

"White House aides have said they consider the Lebanon crisis to be a 'leadership moment' for Mr Bush and an opportunity to proceed with his post-September 11 plan to reshape the Middle East by building Sunni Arab opposition to Shi’a terrorism. Yesterday Mr Bush cited the role of Iran and Syria in providing help to Hezbollah."

Posted by: Rick Persltein at July 24, 2006 7:52 PM

Ultimately. Note that your cite portrays W as shifting the Israelis away from their counterproductive foray into Lebanon and to regime change in Syria and Iran. But in the meantiume we let the Israelis make their own mistakes because we owe them.

Posted by: oj at July 24, 2006 11:26 PM

In truth, the children of Abraham have found common cause against the children of Xerxes. Entertaining indeed.

Posted by: ghostcat at July 25, 2006 12:29 AM

The funny thing is that you think you're in on the con. But you're just another one of the marks.

Posted by: Rick Perlstein at July 25, 2006 9:22 AM

Mr. P, who do you think is running the con?

Posted by: erp at July 25, 2006 9:37 AM

Mr,. Perlstein;

To the contrary, I doubt the Administration understands the implications of its own policy yet. But if you support democratizing the Middle East the Shi'a are the allies and the Arab Sunnis the foe.

Posted by: oj at July 25, 2006 10:12 AM

A most excellent divergence of opinions.

Let it continue. Israel's actions have very little to do with a couple of snuffies having been grabbed up. The unfortunate soldiers are sort of the Nigerian yellowcake of Lebanon.

You see, it really matters not which branch of the mob, Sunnis or Shieits, is running La Cosa Nostra. It's all about oil and the Jews--and the Americans who have set this up and who are playing the neatest parlay since James Knox Polk.

Just watch what the Americans are doing and saying. The Israelis should be careful, we say. Just so: gun control is hitting your target. No cease-fire until a final solution is resolved, we say. No suggestion whatsoever that we buy into the "disporportionate force" line.

"Inconvenient truth" is a total oxymoron. The truth is that the World Government has placed Israel as a surrogate tripwire and as a hostage to hegemony in a region of stategic importance.

It really, really worked this time. The peace-creep party is in total disarray. The Democrats are diving for cover to get out of the line of fire. The left is either coming on board or going into the stealth mode. That Jack Nicholson line from A Few Good Men keeps coming to mind: "Truth? You can't handle the truth!"

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 25, 2006 4:37 PM