Monday, August 14, 2006

Back on the Attack

Fine, so I go to Thailand for two months to chill, only to have ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" harsh my mellow.

The top topic hasn't changed much since I left: it's still terrorism.

Here's the trenchant insight offered Sunday by ABC's Martha Radditz: "It's time to face the question: what causes terrorism?" [Really? So soon?]

Former Cabinet officer and Harvard professor Robert Reich proffered this incisive follow-up: what causes the "anger and hate" against America? [But doesn't asking that question mean the haters win?]

We're just short of the five-year anniversary of the 9/11 attack, and still, the most important issue we face as Americans is almost always addressed in question form. Occasionally, a few brave souls dare whisper what's considered the obvious answer amongst the "smarter set", most recently in Sunday's NYT: it's Iraq, stupid.

Um, but didn't 9/11 happen before we invaded and occupied Iraq?

Our President explained shortly after 9/11 that we were under attack because the terrorists "hated freedom". The target of their attack was our "way of life". This is why nineteen Arabs spent all that time plotting the hijacking of four airliners in an attack that resulted in their own violent death. Sure, make sense to me; nothing tops freedom and lifestyle for fanning the flames of devoted, suicidal hatred.

Anyway, on a completely unrelated note, here's something I came across in Friday's NYT: "Israel has asked the Bush administration to speed delivery of short-range antipersonnel rockets armed with cluster munitions" for use in Lebanon. According to Señor Official, the "request for M-26 artillery rockets, which are fired in barrages and carry hundreds of grenade-like bomblets that scatter and explode over a broad area, is likely to be approved shortly." Although "the Reagan administration determined in 1982 that the cluster munitions had been used by Israel against civilian areas", the ensuing ban against selling Israel such munitions was soon lifted, and all that stands in the way of the current shipment is: the State Department? Maybe Condi got a little itchy after Israel attacked another Lebanese army base on Thursday (incinerating in the process a convoy of refugees that had fled there to escape the onslaught): this is the same Lebanese army she wants to buddy up with UN forces to "monitor" the buffer zone she's pitching to the Security Council.

The Lebanese prime minister has said that the Israeli invasion has set the country back fifty years. The death toll on the Lebanese "side" is already over a thousand. Meanwhile, Israel wants us to expedite its order for more cluster bombs. Apparently, antipersonnel rocketry is one of the few industries where the world still looks to the United States for leadership.

I bet the people in Lebanon are starting to become real freedom-haters, too.