Local Gov’t Stories, Events
Ref. : Civic Events
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Books, Films, Arts & Education
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
05.23 Environmentalists Are Ignoring the Elephant In the Room: U.S. Military Is the World’s Largest Polluter [Since Trump had the EPA's records on global warming and pollution destroyed—and thus reporting world-wide has nearly stopped, let's pick on the US Military]
05.23 White House proposes slashing funds to clean up toxic sites despite EPA's pleas [far worse than just being stupid]
05.20 Global Study Shows Americans Dying from Preventable Causes at Shocking Rates [“What a country!” —Yakov Smirnoff]
05.20 China claims breakthrough in mining 'flammable ice' [might greater release of methane to our atmosphere become a larger problem?]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
05.23 Trump's budget: major slashes to social programs – but $1.6bn for the wall [disgusting that this was proposed at all]
05.21 The small Texas city fighting to remain a ‘safe haven’ for immigrants [morally right & courageous]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
05.20 The Malta Files: How the smallest EU country became a haven for global tax avoidance [why can't we play nice together?]
05.23 Could an Islamic reformation prevent violent radicalisation in Egypt? [denied vital lives enmasse, angry youth rebel in the only way that has any effect]
05.23 Facebook flooded with 'sextortion' and revenge porn, files reveal [wake-up people, don't let kids 'play' here]
05.22 Big game hunter is crushed to death when an elephant he was hunting in Zimbabwe is shot and falls on top of him [a fitting death to an elephant killer]
05.21 UK needs more immigrants to 'avoid Brexit catastrophe' [who benefits from bad "conservative" policy?]
05.21 THE LIGHTS ARE GOING OUT IN THE MIDDLE EAST [we suggest enticing a solar panel and battery manufacturers to locate in your countries to diversify economies and create jobs. use solar to empower yourselves...]
05.21 Budget analysis shows some Australian women hit with effective marginal tax rates of 100% ["conservatives" are cruel to the poor and desperate everywhere, to protect themselves from higher taxes]
05.21 Venezuela: 50th day of protests brings central Caracas to a standstill [who does interventions for countries? could the UN help more?]
05.21 Brexit and the coming food crisis: ‘If you can’t feed a country, you haven’t got a country’ [fear-based nationalism will become a costly problem]
Not World War III
Instead of seeing this ultimately as a dispute between the Israeli government and the Palestinians, the neocons insist on twisting the latest violence into a global war. This is nonsense.When a war breaks out somewhere, two sound principles for civilized people are: (1) demand an immediate ceasefire and, failing that, (2) keep the war contained--do not broaden it, do not join in.
We can gauge the civility of the Bush administration's neoconservative boosters by the fact that they reject both principles. They oppose an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East, even though it would spare the lives of hundreds of Lebanese and Israeli men, women, and children, because Israel would be thwarted in its ambition to remove an opponent of its occupation policy. And they are doing their best to expand the conflict by pronouncing it World War III or IV and urging U.S. participation--specifically, by bombing Iran or Syria. Instead of seeing this ultimately as a dispute between the Israeli government and the Palestinians, the neocons insist on twisting the latest violence into a global war of "Islamo-fascists" against the "free world." This is nonsense.
When governments make war, innocents get killed. The heads of governments may say they don't intend this, but they take measures they know will have that effect. At best they are guilty of criminal negligence.
By any reasonable definition, the so-called provocation by Hezbollah--the seizing of two Israeli soldiers--was part of a continuing military conflict, not an act of terrorism.The current conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, of course, is not between two governments. But it's close. In its rocketing of Israeli civilians, Hezbollah is behaving like a government. The strikes on civilians are not only criminal, they are stupid, although we should bear in mind that ten times more Lebanese civilians have been killed than Israeli civilians. Hezbollah could have held the high ground by abstaining from such immoral conduct. Imagine how President Bush and Israel would look if Hezbollah declared a cessation to all offensive actions. Nevertheless, we should judge the Israeli government's and Hezbollah's respective crimes in light of the context: Israeli's 40-year occupation of Lebanon's Shebaa Farms, Syria's Golan Heights, the Palestinians' Gaza Strip and West Bank. By any reasonable definition, the so-called provocation by Hezbollah--the seizing of two Israeli soldiers--was part of a continuing military conflict, not an act of terrorism.
Thus stopping the threat to innocents is imperative. That cause should not wait until issues are sorted out. But Bush is not content merely with opposing a ceasefire. He is shipping precision bombs to Israel. The Lebanese will know where those bombs were made. This guarantees anti-American violence in the future. Thanks for looking out for us, Mr. President.
If a ceasefire can't be achieved, the least the rest of the world can do is keep the conflict contained. The more governments that join in, the greater the threat to innocents is likely to be. This principle exposes the iniquity of the bomb-Iran World War III crowd, such as Newt Gingrich and the Weekly Standard folks. The root of the conflict is the Israeli occupation of Arab land. Hezbollah didn't exist before Israel invaded and occupied Lebanon beginning in 1982. And Israel invaded Lebanon to root out Palestinian refugees, who had moved there via Jordan after they were forced to leave their homes, first, when Israel was being established, culminating in formal nationhood in 1948, and again during its 1967 preventive war against its Arab neighbors.
This is not "our" fight, unless we foolishly insist on making it so. There is one way to turn the current conflict into World War III: self-fulfilling prophecy.
Sheldon Richman is senior fellow at The Future of Freedom Foundation (www.fff.org) and editor of The Freeman magazine.
Copyright © 2006 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.
Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.
This story was published on July 27, 2006.