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Bush: “Sometimes a Show of Force by One Side Can Really Clarify Things” July 25, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in bush administration, international, middle east, politics, violence.
1 comment so far

As Lebanon continues to be bombarded with Israeli bombs and the television news continues to show innocent civilians dead on the streets, it is hard not to ask “what if”.

The Arab-Israeli conflict is decades, some say centuries, old, but this new wave of violence comes after a relatively peaceful five year period between Lebanon and Israel. Anti-American sentiment has grown to enormous proportions in the Arab world, and I believe some of this is a result of an overly-aggressive pro-Israeli stance on behalf of the administration.

Lebanese need to have faith in the power-brokers of the Middle East… most notably the United States. Although Hezbollah has been around for some time now, it is safe to say that its recruitment numbers have gone up partially because of continued anxiety towards the West.

From the One Percent Doctrine by Ron Suskind:

…it became clear at the start of 2001 that this administration was to alter the long-standing U.S. role of honest broker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to something less than that. The President, in fact, has said… Clinton had overreached at the end of his second term, bending too much toward Yasser Arafat… [Bush said] “We’re going to tilt back toward Israel… Sometimes a show of force by one side can really clarify things.”

Bush’s statement captures his ideology on foreign policy, one that has played out in Iraq and Lebanon: force before diplomacy. Although the above statement came before 9/11, it was clear even then that Bush was willing to watch the slaughter of hundreds of Lebanese or Palestinians in hopes that something good comes out of the bloodshed. We are watching that ideology play out right now in the Middle East.

America needs to be the “honest broker” the Lebanese government was hoping for. Not only does it have the potential to create good-will among the more moderate Arab nations, but it is the right thing to do. The European Union and the United Nations has called for an immediate cease-fire… where is the United States?

Bush and Condi argue we need a long-term solution before Israel ends its terror. We have not been able to find a long-term solution in decades… how long will it take and how many lives will be lost before we come up with something even remotely close to this ideal solution? In times of relative peace we have not found common ground, so how are we to find it when hostilities are at their peak?

Believe it or not… America’s foreign policy has failed again. The majority of the “blame” lies with Hezbollah and Israel, but I cannot help but wonder “what if”.


Middle East Fighting Should End Today… World Gay Pride is Cancelled July 22, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in anti-gay activists, international, lgbt Issues, middle east, religion distorted, violence.

Rabbi Pinchas Winston:

Why does this [Middle East] war break out this week, all of sudden with little warning? Because this is the exact week the Jewish people are trying to decide whether the gay pride parade should take place in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.

If recent anti-gay statements by rabbis are true, the fighting in the Middle East should come to an end by nightfall today. They say the intense fighting between Israel and Hezbollah was started not because of two kidnapped Israel soldiers or because of an over-reaction on Israels part… the military campaign was God saying “No Gay Pride in Israel”.

WorldNetDaily – a conservative web site that devotes more articles to promoting its writers’ books than reporting on actual news – had said rabbis were blaming the Middle East crisis on an upcoming World Pride Parade in Jerusalem. The rabbis believe the violence erupted because God was punishing Israel for allowing gay and lesbian people to live and celebrate within its borders.

But the World Pride Parade in Jerusalem has been cancelled because of the violence in Israel, so I am assuming these rabbis are expecting the violence to stop any minute. These rabbis have told us the violence is less about Hezbollah or Israeli soldiers, and more about same-sex couples wanting to hold hands while walking down the middle of a damn street. Well, the gays have done their part to stop the violence, let’s see peace happen.

In a WorldNetDaily article announcing the parade’s cancellation, it seems odd that none of the rabbis expect an end to the violence. These anti-gay rabbis seem to have wire-tapped God, knowing the cause for the fighting and all, so why haven’t we had any recent news about the end to violence?

Every time a disastrous event happens, right-wing nuts blame it on God punishing the world for being kind and tolerant to gay and lesbian people. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson both blamed the September 11th attacks on America’s supposed acceptance of gay people. “Christian” group Repent America blamed Hurricane Katrina on an upcoming gay pride parade in New Orleans. And now gay people have started an entire war in the Middle East… talk about a powerful lobbying group.

But if these events are God’s punishment for the existence of gay people, why is it that the almighty decides to target heterosexuals instead of just waiting to strike once the gay parades begin? I feel like God could kill two birds with one stone: Tell the people of the world that he wants gays and lesbians to be treated as subhuman by throwing a hurricane, tornado, or WMD at gay people while they are congregated in one place. Kill them and teach others like them a lesson at the same time.

If hearing these death scenarios as acts-of-God makes you uncomfortable, that’s good. It should make you uncomfortable. But realize that anti-gay religious leaders like Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and the rabbis in the WorldNetDaily article hope and pray for disasters such as these. Nothing would fuel their ministries more than the mass death of gay and lesbian people, and I have little doubt that they hope for this on a daily basis. These are not normal people of God… they are psychopaths fueled by some intense hatred that they mistake for something divine.

Other Blogs Are Talking:

Middle East Gay Journal – World Pride Parade Cancelled

Good As You – Violence Cancels WorldPride; in a Perfect World, That Sentence Would Be Reversed

Boi From Troy – No Parade, But Pride Continues in Jerusalem

Right Side of the Rainbow – Joe is Going Down; Israel is Going In

Battalion of Deborah – J’lem Gay Parade Called Off Due to War

Gay Pride Responsible for Middle East Crisis? July 19, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in international, lgbt Issues, middle east, religion distorted.

Gay people have been blamed for 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and now the crisis in the Middle East. Check out another ridiculous blame game by the anti-gay right…


Updated 7/19/06 5pm ET:

WorldNetDaily claims rabbis believe the conflict in the Middle East was started because of the upcoming World Pride Parade in Jeruslaem:

…many religious leaders believe the Israeli government’s decision to allow a world homosexual parade in Jerusalem is having real-life consequences.

“This [parade] is an attack against God himself,” [Rabbi Pinchas] Winston said. “God has told the Jewish people, ‘If you are not going to fight for my honor, you will be forced to fight for your own honor.'”

Winston points to the clashes that broke out after Hezbollah staged a raid last week in which two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped and eight more soldiers were killed…

Lazer Brody, an author and dean of the Breslov Rabbinical College in Ashdod, Israel, concurred with Winston.

“When God’s presence is in the camp, nothing can happen to the Jewish people,” Brody stated. “But If the Jewish people bring impurity into the camp of Israel, this chases away God’s presence…”

He said the public display of homosexuality in Jerusalem “soils the camp of Israel with impurity, and pushes away the divine presence and protection.”

When all else fails, blame the gays. This article is barely worth responding to, considering its absurdity, but it is nice to know we are influential in some parts of the world. After all the recent court rulings against marriage equality, it is comforting to know the LGBT movement is still powerful enough to start wars between Israel, Lebanon and god knows who else.

As a gay colleague of mine said in passing: “My day is out of control busy. First I have a press conference to attend, then I have to call reporters… and I have to take care of all of this while flaming it up in Israel to keep this crisis going.”

And you know when Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell read this WorldNetDaily article, they are going to be nodding their heads in agreement. The enemies of the LGBT movement are not Christians… they are fundamentalist nut-jobs who believe they have a direct phone-line to God. It takes extreme arrogance to be able to talk for God, much less claim (s)he is causing catastrophes like Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 because of a group completely detached from the events. Luckily, most Christians that read the article will have the same words on the tip of their tongue: nut jobs.

Update 7/22: World Pride in Jerusalem has been cancelled because of the Middle East conflict. Does that mean the rabbis believe the violence will end too?
Views from the Blogs:

PandagonWingNutDaily: Middle East Crisis Caused by the Homos

Good As YouPunching Bags Apparently Out of Stock, Rabbis Blame Gays for Crisis in Israel

Understanding Hezbollah and Avoiding World War III July 16, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in international, iraq, middle east, politics, terrorism, violence.

Courtesy New York Times

The Lebanese extremist group that may be credited with starting a Middle Eastern war is a powerful organization, but one without overwhelming support from most Lebanese. The mainstream media has made it clear that Hezbollah, not the Lebanese government, kidnapped two Israeli soldiers in what Israel now calls “an act of war”. But many Americans, perhaps with the help of bloggers, have confused the Lebanese people with supporters of Hezbollah. There are some Lebanese that support Hezbollah, but those numbers are marginal… at least before these recent events in the Middle East.

In the 2005 Lebanese election, Hezbollah won 23 seats out of 128 in parliament.** A little less than 18 percent of elected Lebanese officials are from Hezbollah’s political wing. This is not a majority party and does not have majority support. You could likely find 18 U.S. Senators that believe we should bomb North Korea, but that does not mean the U.S. government believes North Korea should be bombed. There are radicals in every government, but it is a disservice to the government and to democracy to characterize an entire country by its radicals. Does America really want to be known by its radicals, like Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.), who talks more about bestiality than health care?

That said, Israel cannot stand idly by while a militant group attacks its people. Hezbollah is dedicated to destroying Israel and establishing a non-democratic Islamic rule in Lebanon… it should not exist. The problem is, Israel has treated Hezbollah’s aggression as if it was the will of the Lebanese government and people. All 23 Hezbollah government members were elected from Southern Lebanon… not one from the North. To keep public opinion against Hezbollah while trying to root it out, Israel should be attacking Southern Lebanon, not northern urban areas like Beirut.

If people in Beirut, who have not supported Hezbollah, watch a relative die in an Israeli air-strike… will these people continue to oppose Hezbollah or will the radical group gain sympathy with the Lebanese people? I believe the latter, which is a scary scenario for Israel, the Middle East and the world.

Newt Gingrich, ever the optimist, told Tim Russert on Meet the Press this morning that we are heading towards World War III. Although Tim Russert’s other guest, Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), disagreed with Gingrich’s analogy, the events of the past week could easily lead to a war of gigantic proportions in the Middle East.

I won’t pretend to have the solution that avoids all out war. However, it seems relatively obvious that the United States and other potential negotiators should be throwing its support behind Israel and the Lebanese government, while working cooperatively to destroy the militant wing of Hezbollah. But this is not happening. Lebanon is a democracy that depends on public opinion. Just as would happen in other democracies, if innocent Lebanese continue to die, the general public will become more radicalized and the government will be quick to follow.

A crisis that could potentially involve Israel, Palestinians, Lebanon, Iran and Syria will also have a tremendous impact on the Iraq war. Some Iraqis have protested Israel’s offensive into Lebanon, which they believe is supported by the U.S. government (picture above). America is already losing the public relations war in Iraq, and its refusal to take a strong stand against excessive Israeli force will only make the situation worse.

I have tremendous sympathy for Israel and believe it needs to fight Hezbollah and its militants. Israel just has to remember that it is fighting Hezbollah, not the Lebanese government, and that the vast majority of Hezbollah supporters are in Southern Lebanon. Leave Beirut and other northern areas alone so the military can concentrate forces and air-power on the terrorist group that started this whole mess in the first place.

**CNN reports that there are only 14 Hezbollah members in the Lebanese parliament (11 percent). I have yet to determine for sure which of the two reported numbers are correct.

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.

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.