Media, Lebanon & U.S. – Israeli Brutal Operations

Below is a Q&A from the Z Sustianer System.

Z Sustianer: While I certainly wouldn't characterize the coverage of the Israeli atrocities
as "balanced", it has been far better than I would have expected, at least in so
far as the suffering of the Lebanese is concerned; would you agree? Any idea why
that might be?

Noam Chomsky: My expectations were pretty low, but the coverage has been
worse than I expected, at least. There are scattered and good reports about the
suffering of the Lebanese. But overwhelmingly, it's presented from the Israeli
point of view. And there is only oblique indication of the fact that it is a
US-Israeli attack, not an Israeli-attack. One might do a count of the phrases
"Iranian-supplied" and "US-supplied." The ratio should be about one to 50,
maybe, but I suspect it's more like 50 to 1. And the US influence is vastly
greater than any Iranian influence, but rarely discussed, because it's taken for
granted that it is right and just, even "an honest broker." Same in Iraq. The
journals of the occupying armies report Washington's concerns about Iranian
intervention. One doesn't know whether to laugh or cry.


It's also worth remembering that there are three US-Israeli
operations underway: (1)
the West Bank programs of annexation
and cantonization, designed to drive the last nail
into the
coffin of Palestinian national rights, cynically called "withdrawal" in the
nation's press, and barely reported, including the regular
atrocities: (2) Gaza, where the
US-Israel continue to carry out
regular crimes in the largest prison in the world: 150
Palestinians killed in July, 19 killed in the first week of
August (including 4 children),
along with constant terror and
destruction, scarcely reported; (3) Lebanon, reported, but
noted, overwhelmingly from the Israeli point of view (with the US presented not
as a
direct participant, as it is, but as seeking a peaceful

There is also outright suppression. The current
sharp escalation of violence began
after the Hamas capture of
Corporal Gilad Shalit on June 25, and the capture of two
Israeli soldiers on the Israel-Lebanon border on July 12. Each
case elicited enormous
outrage in the US, and strong support
for very harsh Israeli retaliation. On June 24,
Israeli forces
kidnapped two Gaza civilians, the Muammar brothers, a far worse crime.

That was scarcely reported and quickly dismissed to oblivion. The
timing demonstrates
with unusual clarity that the posture of
outrage over the capture of Israeli soldiers is
cynical fraud,
facts underscored by the (null) reaction to the regular Israeli practice
over many years of kidnapping Lebanese. It also follows at
once that there is no moral
legitimacy to either of the two
major escalations against the populations of Gaza and
And of course if we look at the ratio of killings, it's overwhelmingly
Israel, always.

It's interesting to see the
reactions of the most depraved apologists for US-Israeli
when someone dares to mention the enormously important and dramatically
June 24 events. After the required tantrums, they
shriek that Israel charged the Muammar
brothers with being
Hamas militants. And since Israel made the charge, it's true by
definition. Suppose it's true. Then the apologists for
US-Israel crimes should be lauding
the capture of Cpl. Shalit,
who was, uncontroversially, a soldier in an army attacking

None of this can be discussed in the
major media and journals, and it's only a f
raction. When we
look at what is swept under the rug, or grossly distorted, the extreme
imbalance of coverage becomes much more severe.

I'm omitting here pure fabrication, e.g, Ethan Bronner's account of Sharon's
legacy in
the NYT, Aug. 6. He does refer to an event that is
very crucial in the present context:
the (US-backed) Israeli
invasion of Lebanon in 1982, destroying much of the country and
killing some 15-20,000 people. Bronner repeats the standard
fable, long known to be a
complete fabrication: "[Sharon] led
the first invasion of Lebanon in 1982 to uproot the
ministate that had taken hold there to carry out raids on Israel, a goal the
invasion achieved." The goal of removing the PLO from Lebanon
was indeed achieved, but had
nothing to do with carrying out
raids on Israel. The border had been almost entirely
after the cease-fire a year earlier, apart from many Israeli attacks, killing
people, probably in an effort to elicit a response that
could justify the planned
invasion. When that failed, Israel
invaded anyway. The real reason for the invasion, as
acknowledged, was to put an end to increasingly embarrassing PLO offers to
the Israel-Palestine conflict through negotiations not
violence, in accord with the
international consensus on a
two-state settlement that the US-Israel rejected. Those
fabrications, which are common, are highly significant, for the
present as well.


Z Sustianer: Hezbollah resistance in southern Lebanon has been much stiffer than
was expected, according to mainstream media – is the planned Israeli
intensification a response to these successes, or was it their intention all
along? Are Hezbollah successes productive, in the sense of dampening the
prospects for Israeli aggression, or not, in your estimation? Supposedly, public
opinion in Israel itself is hardening in favor of the attack.

Noam Chomsky: It's true, and not controversial, that the resistance was far stiffer
than expected, and
is causing deep concern in Israeli (and
presumably US) military-political circles. As for
we don't know. On effects, Hezbollah resistance, again uncontroversially, is
arousing enormous support in the Arab world, including Lebanon,
where by late July, 87%
supported Hezbollah resistance,
including 80% of Christians and Druze. In the longer
term, who
knows? It's very likely that whatever the outcome, there will be another
stimulus for radical Islamism and terrorism. That's been the
general effect of US and
Israeli actions over many years —
including, again uncontroversially, the invasion of
Iraq. In
Israel, public opinion has strongly supported the attack and wants it
intensified, but there has been opposition, dismissed or
ridiculed mostly in the US, but
quite serious. By now even the
pro-war Peace Now organization, and leading pro-war
intellectuals (regarded here as "doves"), are raising questions
about whether the invasion
is too costly for Israel —
reminiscent of US "doves" in the case of Vietnam, after the

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