vendredi, août 18, 2006

Bully Boys in Backfire

In the aftermath of the Cold War we had got used to the fact that the United States of Duh!merica was a big, strong country. The efficiency of the first Iraq campaign convinced any doubters that the world's sole superpower meant business. Until Iraq MkI, the US of Duh! was even prepared to observe UN Resolutions and stop where it was meant to stop. The general presumption was - do not piss the Yanks off because they can retaliate and they have the means to do it. Anywhere, any time with any means.

In the shadow of this post freeze giant lay its younger brother. The State of Israel - never the most fortunate in the choice of belligerent neighbours - also enjoyed a reputation of infallible military efficiency. The US of Duh funded weaponry of the Israelis would surely outdo any stick and stone throwing State or collection of militants under whatever banner. The assumption seemed to be a sure bet.

Then came Osama, and with Osama the unfortunate events of the 9/11. The bully was smitten and went out to seek and destroy as its reputation would require. It went out as a maverick. Bush (Mark II) adopted the stance of a Mediterranean island semi-dictator "You are either with us or against us". The invasions began. Afghanistan first, Iraq next. To fish out Osama the first (failed) to find the notorious WMDs the second (failed). The bully's famed efficiency and pinhead military precision were blown away in two blows. Scandals and flagrant violations of Human Rights continued to do the job. The superpower nightclub bouncer (for it is no policeman that which acts on its own fancies) had become a bully bearing arms.

And little brother followed. In an already cagey situation in the Middle East thanks to the clumsy traipsing of Bush and Condolcezza, the State of Israel (already shaking thanks to the myriad failures of the Mossad throughout the nineties) chose to retaliate to an abduction of two of its soldiers by declaring war on a neighbouring state. Outright war was the answer because everyone in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv would believe that this was another occasion to demostrate the might of the Chosen Ones against the sticks and stones of the resistance. Israel managed to better its bigger bully brother. It did not simply ignore the UN and any possible international solution. No. It bombed the observers just to make sure. A mistake they said. A mistake that occured after the observers in that particular bombed post had spent ten hours phoning the military to warn them that bombs were sounding a bit too close to be kosher. Boom. Oops. Sorry.

And then there is Lebanon. Not the most unEuropean of the Middle Eastern countries. Evidently not in control of its Southern zones where Hezbollah reigns supreme. Israel did not help the Lebanese cause much by practically losing a guerilla war to the Hezbollah. Try to guess. You live in Southern Lebanon. Does your sympathy lie with Olmert's guys who have been on a happy bombing session of homes, infrastructure, UN observer posts and power stations (causing a 15000 tonne oilspill in the Med)? Or does it lie with the Hezbollah who shoot missiles in the other direction and who were the first to promise money and lodging for the reconstruction and well being of the Lebanese. Duh!

What have the two bullies achieved? The trust of the rest of the world? Democracy in Iraq? An end to Al Qaeda hostilities? The eradication of Hezbollah? The cowboys were very good at shooting.... themselves in the foot that is.

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