Thursday, August 03, 2006
There is a distinction between Israel's aggressive response to Hezbollah's July attack and the subsequent, unequivocal support it's received from the United States. It's also important to understand how the crisis in the Middle East has put American partisan politics under a microscope, not just pitting Democrat against Republican, but Republican against Republican and Democrat against Democrat.
To begin with, we must separate the policies and goals of the war-mongering Bush administration from any intelligent, objective discussion about Israel's right to defend herself, and how far she could or should go in this defense. The two are mutually exclusive, yet the issue has been clouded by many who see the two as one and the same. We've seen how the Busheviks, who after 9/11 marched into Afghanistan to weed out al Qaeda and the Taliban, could be just in their military actions. Yet we've also seen how the Busheviks, with blind, reckless ambition and supreme arrogance, could unjustly thrust the U.S. into Iraq, resulting in the worst military debacle in our nation's history. And then lie, cover-up and commit criminal acts to protect their self-interests. In short, there's no rhyme or reason to how Bush engages our military, or whether or not these actions are justified on the basis of national security. But let's not let this irresponsible, reckless foreign policy wield undue influence over how we view the situation with Israel, or with each other.
Yes, as an American, it is possible to support Israel's actions without being a Republican, a conservative, a neo-con and/or a hypocrite. The fact is, Israel was attacked in July by both Hezbollah and Hamas in an unprovoked act of war, killing and kidnapping its soldiers in what is likely a mission planned, supported and funded by Iran. We won't further the debate here on what is or should be Israel's "proper/appropriate" response to this aggression. That's for Israel to decide. When and if the U.S. is attacked again, then we here can choose the "proper" response. (As an historical aside, Americans on both sides of the aisle were solidly behind Bush's retaliatory invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11. Remember how every car was adorned with an American flag? Remember the chants of "USA, USA, USA" at every sports event? Let us not forget how quickly and fiercely we wanted revenge against those who attacked us).
There are many who think the Busheviks are nothing but war-mongering ideologues hellbent on world domination who'd throw their full support to any nation engaged in a bloody "good vs. evil" battle. That the U.S. is strongly supporting Israel does not mean the U.S. is right, even if we believe Israel is. That the U.S. strongly supports Israel does not mean that those of us who also support Israel must therefore be closeted Bushevik neo-cons. Whether you agree with Israel or not, there's no denying its actions are rooted in its national defense. That the U.S stands on the sidelines shouting "Kill 'em, kill 'em" neither legitimizes Israel's actions or makes Bushevik foreign policy any more just. The real crime here is how the Bushies are co-opting the Israel/Lebanon crisis to further their own insane Middle East vision. On the same issue therefore, Israel can be right while the U.S. is wrong.
Lastly, there's an amazing political divide in this country that's occurred over the Middle East conflict. The Israeli/Hezbollah war has become the dividing line between many Democrats and progressives, as well as between hard-line and moderate Republicans. On the Democratic side, many are having a hard time accepting a pro-Israel position from a typically liberal Democrat. Sadly, many Democrats have come to expect from each other the very same myopia they vilify Republicans for. What ever happened to taking a stand on the merits of an issue, rather than basing that stand purely on partisan ground? Must we all march in lock-step on every single issue because we're Democrats or Republicans? The U.S. has become so politically divided along party lines that most Americans have put party before country; party before issue. Party before what's right and wrong.