Less Hockey More War

by Steve, August 15th, 2006

hockeyIt’s been a long offseason, in which war has flared up in a most grotesque way in Lebanon. Israel has the obvious edge in civilian kills, but there is no clear military advantage coming into the first intermission:

non-combatants killed:
Israel: approximately 1,000 Lebanese civilians.
Hezbollah: 43 Israeli civilians.
combantants killed:
Israel: unknown number of Hezbollah fighters.
Hezbollah: 114 IDF troops.
source: BBC

A sickening first period, and that’s just the dead. Are the Lebanese dead are better off, considering the literal and figurative rubble the nearly million displaced living Lebanese are coming home to? How many more children and old people will die horrid deaths in Lebanon due to destroyed infrastructure and leftover ordnance? No matter who “wins”, it is Lebanese civil society that is the biggest loser. In many ways, this has been a war on democracy and pluralism, to the extent that that’s what Lebanon represents in the region.
Beirut in ruins (BBC)(See more pictures here) Politically, the war criminal Hassan Nasrallah has won a huge victory in the Muslim world. Hezbollah has stood up to the previously invincible Israeli millitary machine like no Arab army before. The IDF was unable to take and hold small villages a short distance from their own border, much less destroy Hezbollah. The war criminal Ehud Olmert, with the blood of 1000 unarmed men, women and children on his hands, is facing a gathering political storm in his own country. Armed with the most modern millitary technology available, in overwhelming quantities, Olmert was unable to stomp out a small militia, armed with WWII era anti-personnel rockets, anti-tank weapons and small arms. Instead, he has emboldened Hezbollah as a mass popular movement and left its military wing intact.

As thousands of dirt poor, rural Lebanese make there way to pick through the shattered remains of their lives, the truce looks highly questionable. I fear the potential for a gruesome second period, with peasants killed by bombs from 30,000 feet as they dig up and re-bury their dead, and Hezbollah launching more Katyushas on Israel. The US is already saying the French-led UN force will not disarm Hezbollah. The Lebanese army is politically and militarily incapable of doing so. Will Israel be willing to walk away with Hezbollah intact? What will Israel have accomplished, other than inflaming its enemies and destroying Lebanon’s infrastructure?

Meanwhile, did anybody notice that 3,400 civilians died in Iraq in July? I am really, truly ready for More Hockey and Less War. Bring it on! Drop the puck!

Arundhati Roy on bombing for feminism

by Steve, August 15th, 2006

It’s being made out that the whole point of the war was to topple the Taliban regime and liberate Afghan women from their burqas, we are being asked to believe that the U.S. marines are actually on a feminist mission. (If so, will their next stop be America’s military ally Saudi Arabia?) Think of it this way: in India there are some pretty reprehensible social practices against “untouchables”, against Christians and Muslims, against women. Pakistan and Bangladesh have even worse ways of dealing with minority communities and women. Should they be bombed? Should Delhi, Islamabad and Dhaka be destroyed? Is it possible to bomb bigotry out of India? Can we bomb our way to a feminist paradise? Is that how women won the vote in the U.S? Or how slavery was abolished? Can we win redress for the genocide of the millions of Native Americans upon whose corpses the United States was founded by bombing Santa Fe?

—Arundhati Roy, Come September (speech), Santa Fe, New Mexico, September 2002