Sunday, July 23, 2006

Reflections On Lebanon Crisis

Nice to see comments I have made here reflected in this weekends news stories on the Canada wide protests against Harper, Israel and the Lebanon debacle. The Conservatives Born Again Politics of the Rapture have created their first serious political crisis for the Harpocrites one that will lose them votes as I have said.

The Death Of A Tory Majority
In being too cavalier about civilian casualties and too slow to evacuate Canadians from Lebanon, the Prime Minister and the federal government created his administration's first significant crisis. Even worse, much of the criticism comes from Quebec where the Arab population is large and where Harper hopes to fashion his majority.It's not yet clear that the Prime Minister and an inner circle obsessed with micromanagement have the capacity to meet international or domestic challenges. Harper learns a lesson in geopolitics

Harper Micro-Management Disaster
What was initially an astute move ended up looking like a hollow political gesture. Why didn’t the prime minister send the Airbus to Cyprus empty and return home by other means? He could have easily sent for a Challenger jet for himself and had the rest of his entourage return to Canada on commercial flights.We could call it ‘The Harper plan’

If Harper has any chance of turning this situation around, he must abandon his controlling style. It is one thing to be a decisive, action-oriented leader. It is another to micro-manage the activities of cabinet ministers and those public servants who have more experience in the field than their political masters.Harper's decision to manage the crisis largely from his office reinforces a dangerous trend. He, and he alone, inflicted severe damage on the government this week.Inexperienced PM spoke too soon

Lebanon Protest At Alberta Legislature
"The amount of people who showed up today, it's inspiring," she said. "It shows that Canadians do care and that our prime minister is not reflective of the country."Anti-war protestors march on Israeli, US consulates

We Are Hezbolah
Hussein Hammoud, his wife Maryan and their four children watched from the back of the crowd at the Toronto protest, peeking over hundreds of placards and Lebanese flags to see the speakers.The Lebanese-Canadian couple have scores of family members in southern Lebanon, some of whom have had houses destroyed since the bombings started."We are all with the leader of Hezbollah," said Hammoud. "God bless him and we are praying for him to defend us, and defend our children."Protests leave no doubt about public feeling

Right Wing Rapture Over Israels War

Closet classical liberal Buchanan also alleged that "Israel and her paid and pro-bono agents here appear determined to expand the Iraq war into Syria and Iran, and have America fight and finish all of Israel's enemies." He also said that already "Bush is ranting about Syria being behind the Hezbollah capture of the Israeli soldiers . . . Who is whispering in his ear?"

Besides me, there are the right Reverend John Hagee, the right Reverend Jerry Falwell and the Christians United for Israel (CUFI). But they don't have to whisper anymore. The day of election cometh, and cometh right soon. Even Dubya knows that you dance with them that brought you. John Hagee and Jerry Falwell are among those brought Dubya to the big dance. So they can speak as loudly as they please in preaching to the president and members of Congress that a war with Iran is necessary in order to get Armageddon rolling so Jesus can come again. According to writer Sarah Posner, "Hagee has spent the past six months mobilizing popular support for a war with Iran." Hagee argues that America and Israeli should launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran before it can develop any nuclear capability.

By mere convenient coincidence, CUFI is throwing a national hoe-down in Washington. The convention has been scheduled for some time and is believed the first time conservative Christians have come together to lobby Congress to fully support Israel and its middle east policies. Some thirty five-hundred conservative Christians attended the opening night, Wednesday, July, 19 where they danced and sung the Star Spangled Banner and Hatikva in Hebrew as they waved American and Israeli flags.
Pat Buchanan asks "Where are the Christians?"

Most Americans who hold these beliefs today describe themselves as evangelical or born again. Depending on how they define themselves, their numbers range in polls from 50 million to 102 million. Not all adhere to strict fundamentalist interpretations of the Bible.

But many do believe the Second Coming of Christ will occur in the Middle East after a titanic battle with the Antichrist, and that what is written in Revelation will come to pass – exactly as written.

Polls from organizations such as CNN and Time found that while 36 percent of all Americans believe the Bible is God's word and should be taken literally, even more – 59 percent – say they believe that events predicted in the Book of Revelation will come to pass, and nearly one in five believes that he or she will live long enough to see the end of the world.

Those studies also found that more than a third of Americans who support Israel do so because the Bible teaches that Jews must possess their own country in the Holy Land before Jesus can return. Different readings of the Bible's final chapter

World On Fire-Who Sells The Matches

On Capitol Hill, the Israel lobby commands large majorities in the House and Senate. Polls show strong public support for Israel, a connection that has grown deeper after the Sept. 11 attacks. This is the popular equation: Israelis equal good guys, Arabs equal terrorists.

Working the Hill these days, says Josh Block, spokesperson for the premier Israeli lobbying group known as AIPAC, the American Israel Political Action Committee, "is like pushing at an open door."

Not everyone believes this is a good thing.

In March, two distinguished political scientists, Stephen Walt from Harvard and John Mearsheimer from the University of Chicago, published a 42-page, heavily footnoted essay arguing that the Bush administration's support for Israel and its related effort to spread democracy throughout the Middle East have "inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardized U.S. security."

The professors claim the intimate partnership with Israel is dangerous and unprecedented. "Other special-interest groups have managed to skew foreign policy, but no lobby has managed to divert it as far from what the national interest would suggest," they argue. They go on to say that the war in Iraq "was due in large part to the lobby's influence," and that it's "using all of the strategies in its playbook" to pressure the administration into being aggressive and belligerent with Iran.

The bottom line: "Israel's enemies get weakened or overthrown, Israel gets a free hand with the Palestinians and the United States does most of the fighting, dying, rebuilding and paying."
A sweet deal for Israel

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