In an editorial published this week, the Boston Phoenix argues that “Hezbollah and Hamas, Iran and Syria â not Israel â are to blame for the unexpected war in the Middle East.” They start off:
Like people of goodwill everywhere, we shudder at the images of death and destruction ravaging civilians in Lebanon, Israel, and Gaza.
But while our heart is engaged, our mind is clear: the carnage is due to the aggression â the terror â of Hamas and Hezbollah, groups that at best are dedicated to the destruction of Israel and at worst want to kill as many Jews in the Middle East as they can.
For some bizarre reason, in thoughtful company, in advanced intellectual circles, it is considered impolite and impolitic to recognize this reality.
The Phoenix editors are no neocons. Here is their take on how the Iraq war relates to what’s going on in Israel and Lebanon:
The fundamental imprudence, the overreaching hubris, of President Bushâs war on Iraq has never been so clear. The stateless forces of international terror as represented by Hezbollah and the irresponsible factions of Hamas have been emboldened by the regional instability Bushâs Iraqi adventure has visited on the Middle East. Thus, the irony that Bushâs war on terror begets even more terror now becomes painfully and tragically apparent.
Still, it is the craven stupidity of Hezbollahâs and Hamasâs miscalculation that is responsible for the blood that flows in Lebanon, Israel, and Gaza….
Our counsel to Israel is this: years ago you let your invasion of Lebanon turn into your own version of Vietnam. This time, donât allow your understandable defense of your homeland and your people turn into your version of Iraq.
I recognize and respect that Charley and others here don’t see things that way. But [My bad. Apologies. -David] I find it hard to disagree with much of what’s said in that editorial. (Including their analogy, which is a lot like one I’ve been using in conversation lately but haven’t posted on yet: imagine that Canada had such a weak government that it couldn’t control a well-organized, well-armed band of terrorists that sent suicide bombers and rockets into the US and kidnapped the occasional border patrol agent. What would we do? Go to the UN? Please.)
It’s all very well to criticize the “‘they started it’ mentality.” But it matters, doesn’t it, who the aggressor is in a war situation? Doesn’t it matter who “started” World War II? Doesn’t it matter that 9/11 happened before we invaded Afghanistan? I’d argue that it does, and that it matters here as well.