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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Is the Israeli incursion into Lebanon the Administration's October Surprise?
Posted by Jill | 8:57 AM
I know Andrew Card said you don't introduce new products in August, but when you have a president as unpopular as Bush is, and an occupation that's as big a mess as Iraq is, and an economy that Boston University professor Lawrence Kotlikoff says is headed down the path to bankruptcy, this most political of Administrations has to do something, and what they know how to do is to play the terrorism card.

A pre-emptive strike against Iran, similar to that against Iraq (how's that workin' for ya, anyway?), has been repeatedly run up the flagpole, but no one has saluted. So the challenge is to find a way to continue the PNAC agenda of establishing an empire in the Middle East without getting our hands dirty; a way to inflame the region so much that we strengthen Iran enough so that they become a REAL threat, and then we can invade.

Enter Israel.

While only those on the farthest fringes of the A.N.S.W.E.R. left would dispute Israel's right to defend itself, what's happening now appears to my relatively uneducated eyes to be not just disproportionate, but also counterproductive. I can certainly understand Israel overreacting to the kidnapping of its soldiers; you cannot live surrounded by people who want to kill all of you and take over the land in which you live without becoming paranoid. But the U.S. is already so cynically using it to continue to fan the flames of fear in its own citizens, that combined with the fact that this so-called pro-life Administration is sending a rush delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel so the latter can kill more civilians in Lebanon, one can only conclude that the U.S. is exploiting Israel's innate paranoia to further its own Middle East agenda and to try to ensure a continuation of absolute Republican power in the midterm elections in November.

Exhibit A:

Vice President Dick Cheney on Friday pointed to the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah as fresh evidence of the ongoing battle against terrorism that underscores the need to keep President Bush's Republican allies in control of Congress.

"This conflict is a long way from over," Cheney said at a fundraising appearance for a GOP congressional candidate. "It's going to be a battle that will last for a very long time. It is absolutely essential that we stay the course."

"Gus is going to remember that the first order of business is to protect the American people and to support the men and women who defend us in time of war," Cheney told the audience at a $500-a-ticket fundraising reception. "There's still hard work ahead in the war on terror."

Cheney said that as Republicans make their case to voters in the midterm elections, "it's vital that we keep issues of national security at the top of the agenda." He faulted Democrats in Congress who have pushed for a timetable for withdrawing Americans from Iraq, saying that would send the wrong message to terrorists.

"If anyone thinks the conflict is over or soon to be over, all they have to do is look at what's happening in the Middle East today," he said.

Now isn't that all nice and tidy?

It's nothing new for the Bush Administration to tie together Al Qaeda, Hamas, Saddam Hussein, and Hezbollah into one big lump of Very Scary Brown People Who Want To Kill Us All. One of the arguments made in favor of the Iraq war was "Saddam Hussein's support for terrorism," as evidenced by the $25,000 and $10,000 checks he gave to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers associated with Hamas. But the fact of the matter is that Hamas and Hezbollah are NOT involved in terrorism against the U.S. Their beef is with Israel. I deplore their methods, but that doesn't change the fact that neither organization has been involved in terrorism against the U.S.

But when you're dealing with the kind of frightened population the Bush Administration was in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, it's quite simple to create the logic in people's minds that if Saddam Hussein supported Hamas terrorists, and Al Qaeda are terrorists, then Saddam Hussein must have been involved with Al Qaeda too.

And that is why I believe that the Israeli attacks on Lebanon are at the very least the opening salvo of the 2006 election year October Surprise. It's a way for a U.S. proxy to fight two groups that can be lumped together as "terrorists" without having to expend any more of George W. Bush's nearly depleted political capital.

Are you with me so far?

OK, let's now, thanks to this diarist at Kos and The Angry Liberal, look at the videotape that Osama Bin Laden released just prior to the 2004 election -- the one that helped his friend George W. Bush be elected:

I say to you, Allah knows that it had never occurred to us to strike the towers. But after it became unbearable and we witnessed the oppression and tyranny of the American/Israeli coalition against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, it came to my mind.

The events that affected my soul in a direct way started in 1982 when America permitted the Israelis to invade Lebanon and the American Sixth Fleet helped them in that. This bombardment began and many were killed and injured and others were terrorised and displaced.

I couldn't forget those moving scenes, blood and severed limbs, women and children sprawled everywhere. Houses destroyed along with their occupants and high rises demolished over their residents, rockets raining down on our home without mercy.

The situation was like a crocodile meeting a helpless child, powerless except for his screams. Does the crocodile understand a conversation that doesn't include a weapon? And the whole world saw and heard but it didn't respond.


And as I looked at those demolished towers in Lebanon, it entered my mind that we should punish the oppressor in kind and that we should destroy towers in America in order that they taste some of what we tasted and so that they be deterred from killing our women and children.

And that day, it was confirmed to me that oppression and the intentional killing of innocent women and children is a deliberate American policy. Destruction is freedom and democracy, while resistance is terrorism and intolerance.

Now take a look at what's going on in Lebanon right now. Then think about the rape and murder of Abeer Qasim Hamza Al-Janabi by American soldiers driven mad by their untenable mission. Think about the 150 people killed in Iraq every day by the U.S. military and by Sunni/Shia sectarian strife. Now think about the 330 mostly civilian Lebanese casualties of the current Israel/Hezbollah conflict.

Now go back and read again what Osama Bin Laden, the perpetrator of the 9/11/01 attacks that saved Bush's then-already-failing presidency, the man whom George W. Bush once vowed to get "dead or alive", said to help Bush's election effort in 2004.

Today is July 22. This September marks the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. It is an election year. Osama Bin Laden is still out there. Last time he attacked the U.S. he was angry about the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. Today Israel has once again invaded Lebanon.

Do the math. How safe do YOU feel under the Bush Administration's leadership?
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