It is maddening, if not surprising, to keep hearing George Bush, Condoleeza Rice, John Bolton, Tony Snow and their ilk laying the entire blame for what is happening in Lebanon and northern Israel on Hezbollah, Syria and Iran as the bombs continue to fall and massive destruction is done to Lebanon’s people and its infrastructure, as Israel continues its military occupation in Gaza, and as Hezbollah missiles strike northern Israel.
Yes, there were a small number of hostages taken and Israel soldiers killed that were the reason given by Israel for their military actions, but there is absolutely no question but that the attempted dismantling of Palestine’s elected government and the collective punishment by Israel of all of Lebanon and all of Gaza in response can only be considered disproportionate, dangerous and, in many instances, war crimes.
The Bush/Cheney agenda is one of obstructing efforts for a cease fire and, instead, lumping together Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and Syria with Al Qaeda as all a bunch of renegade terrorists that should be shunned by the rest of the world and destroyed by any means possible and necessary. The government of Israel fully embraces this approach, at least, and has no problem being the troops on the ground to carry out their portion of the plan.
The fact that this approach is a grave danger to Israel’s future and to the peace of the world is apparently of little consequence to the madmen in charge. One does not have to be a supporter of Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran or Syria, which I am not, to appreciate that they cannot be lumped together as one and the same with Al Qaeda. Further, it is a fact that the vast majority of the Arab world is entirely justified in its anger at decades of Israeli oppression and occupation and U.S. support of it.
The situation is made worse by the overwhelmingly bipartisan support within Congress for the U.S. policy of unwavering political support and massive financial support–to the tune of $4 billion or more a year– for Israel no matter what they do. Even among Congressional progressives, only a small number are willing to stand up for a balanced and fair approach to the underlying Israel/Palestine conflict that is root cause of much of the turmoil, and the rise of non-state terrorism, within the Middle East.
Racism, of course, is very much at play. Would Israel have the green light that it does from the U.S. to devastate Lebanon if Lebanon was not an Arab country? Would Israel’s continuing illegal land grabs, its building of an illegal wall, its decades of repression and state terrorism have been possible if Palestinians had been Europeans?
In the view of the Bushites, and as Donald Rumsfeld reminded us last week, the U.S. needs to wage unremitting war against the great terrorist conspiracy out to turn the area from Spain to the Philippines into a fundamentalist Islamic stronghold. Rumsfeld’s consciously paranoid projections are just that and no more, an attempt to substitute “terrorism” for “communism” as the evil empire we must do battle with as the Pentagon budget and fat military contracts to companies like Halliburton spiral upwards.
But underneath all of this scheming and destruction, this injustice and war, this one-sided support to Israel no matter what, is the oil agenda that has been driving U.S. policy toward the Middle East since after World War II.
Oil, as well as natural gas, are the prizes of “the great game” in the Middle East for the oil/energy and other corporate interests that have so much power over the U.S. government. Those running the show are determined to have ready access to oil and natural gas via political and economic and, if necessary, military control of the governments in the region so that neither Europe, Russia nor China supplant the U.S. as the dominating power in the region. With control of the Middle East, so the thinking goes, comes world domination since countries are so badly in need of energy resources to develop economically.
But there is a threat more significant than the terrorism of the stateless that even members of the circles of the powerful are appreciating. That is the threat of massive economic and ecological destruction because of the climate crisis caused primarily by the burning of oil, coal and natural gas. We are beginning to see these impacts in the heat waves and wildfires of this summer, stronger and more destructive Category 4 and 5 hurricanes like Katrina, droughts and floods. Unless action is taken immediately to slow, stop and reverse global heating, we will be unable to prevent sea level rise of many feet, by double digits if the accelerated melting of the massive Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets is not arrested, leading to hundreds of millions of environmental refugees.
The stakes are high. The need is great for people willing to speak up clearly and strongly for an immediate ceasefire and for an end to Israel’s occupation of south Lebanon, Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the dismantling of the obscene wall, serious negotiations leading to a viable Palestinian state and, as a result, the real possibility of peace for Israelis, Palestinians and Lebanese and an urgently-needed clean energy revolution to benefit the entire world.
Ted Glick works with the Climate Crisis Coalition (www.climatecrisiscoalition.org) and the Independent Progressive Politics Network (www.ippn.org). He can be reached at [email protected]