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Loss of Moral Authority: The Lackluster U.S. Response to the Middle East Crisis July 13, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in bush administration, international, middle east, politics, violence.
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As events sprial out of control in the Middle East, it becomes clear that America has lost its moral high-ground to speak about overly-aggressive actions. In response to three kidnapped soldiers (one by Hamas, two by Hezbollah), Israel has used the “shock and awe” strategy of the Bush administration to devestate civilian infrastructure throughout Lebanon and Gaza. Hundreds of Lebanese and Palestinian civilians have been killed by Israeli air-strikes.

No nation is innocent in these events leading up to what could be another war. Hamas needs to control its militants, the Lebanese government has to control its southern border and Israel needs to respond to violence appropriately.

Under different circumstances, the United States may have been able to play the mediator or warned Israel about measured responses. But America has lost its moral high-ground. To avoid utter hypocrisy, the Bush adminstration is unable to urge Israel to alleviate its attacks to a more appropriate level. America started a war in Iraq that has cost tens of thousands of lives and it was a preemptive war. No American had been killed as a result of recent Iraqi government actions: there were no weapons of mass destruction and there was no collaboration with al-Qaeda. Our preemptive war has forced us to remain relatively unresponsive in a situation that could lead to all out war in the Middle East.

The European Union responded to events in Israel and Lebanon today:

The European Union is greatly concerned about the disproportionate use of force by Israel in Lebanon in response to attacks by Hezbollah on Israel. The presidency deplores the loss of civilian lives and the destruction of civilian infrastructure. The imposition of an air and sea blockade on Lebanon cannot be justified.

The European Union’s strongly worded response was in stark contrast to the Bush administration response. Bush focused the blame on Syria and Iran, saying Syria “needs to be held accountable” for Hezbollah’s actions. He went on:

If you really want the situation to settle down, the soldiers need to be returned. My attitude is this: there are a group of terrorists who want to stop the advance of peace. Those of us who are peace-loving must work together to help the agents of peace.

I agree that peace-loving people need to work together, but Bush’s one-sided verbal attacks on Lebanon is not going to help a situation being escalated through Israeli warfare. Israel needs to defend its people, but with an appropriate response. I just wish the United States had the moral authority to say so.

And while the politicians carry out their battle plans, we should be thinking about the innocent Israelis, Palestinians and Lebanese who are dying because their leaders believe might is right.

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Comments»

1. helenahanbasquet - July 13, 2006

I think the agents of violence have made their intentions quite clear. There is a religious faction that thinks that it needs to annililate everyone in the world who doesn’t believe the way they do. The are willing to kill innocents and themselves to do this. They are willing to publicly be-head prisoners of war to do this. There is no reasoning with these people. They are not willing to listen to anything you have to say. If you truely want peace the thing to do now is to pray!

2. Anonymous - July 13, 2006

The European Union is right on this one. Striking Lebanon will not help the situation, it will only agitate it. The Lebanon government has little to no control over Hezbollah, and these attacks can only unite the two government factions. This would not be a good situation for Israel or the Middle East.

3. Diquidawang - July 24, 2006

I think that in order to understand the Israeli position we should first look at the situation from their point of view (despite what we whether we agree or disagree with it).
1) Israel is not responding to kidnappings. That much should be obvious. Israeli leadership is responding to what they see as a developing international coalition of actors that do not believe in the existence of their state. Israel believes that the proportionality of her actions shouldn’t be measured against kidnappings, but with the potential danger it faces from regional actors. When measured against the rhetoric of states such as Iran and Syria, the hostile actions Israel has taken against Lebanon do not seem so extreme (from their point of view). I do not agree with such a position but it must be understood.
2) Is this the first time that we have seen actions by Israel that have seemed disproportionate? No. The last time that Israel invaded Lebanon this was the same case. I would argue that “shock and awe” was just a coining of a phrase that Israel has been using and crafting for some time. For her own security Israeli leaders feel that any threat must be dealt with using the upper limits of their power in order to make it apparent to potential hostile sources that any form of hostility towards Israel is a non-net positive action.


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