The signs are mounting that the atrocity at Qana was not what it originally seemed. Two must-read blogs—Were the Qana Bodies Staged? and Milking it?— suggest the whole thing might have been staged. We have yet to discover the truth of what did actually happen, but the questions are mounting.
The Daily Telegraph—whose once principled support of Israel is now a distant memory as the paper signs up to the psychological pogrom against Israel being perpetrated by Britain’s media—entertains no such doubts. A disgusting headline this morning proclaimed:
The children went to sleep believing they were safe. And then Israel targeted them as terrorists.
Did no-one at The Telegraph ask himself how the families in the building in question could have believed the children were safe, when the Israelis had leafleted the area telling everyone to get out because they were about to bomb it? And even if the victims were indeed killed by an Israeli strike, what is the evidence that Israel deliberately targeted innocent children as terrorists? Absolutely none. Israel has said it had no idea there were civilians in this building.
The malice of the media’s coverage of this war is beyond anything I have ever seen or could ever have imagined, even by the standards of the obsessional irrationality, prejudice and libels normally directed against Israel. People say they are hearing outright lies being asserted on ITN news, with claims, for example, that Israel started the hostilities – thus ignoring the rocket attacks on Israel and the murder and kidnap of its soldiers on its own soil which actually prompted Israel’s response.
Dan Hannan, however, also in The Telegraph, at least got this key point right:
The Iranian Hydra has many heads. The mullahs sponsor militias and political movements across the Muslim world, in the old Silk Road Khanates and as far afield as Bosnia. You can lop off the head called Hizbollah. You can even cauterise the wound, by demilitarising southern Lebanon. But, as long as the monster’s heart continues to beat in Teheran, the head will grow back.
Others with rather more personal knowledge of Hezbollah than the lazy bigots of the British media understand all too well what is actually going on. A Lebanese Shia, Dr. Mounir Herzallah, recounts how Hezbollah uses civilians as human shields and how the Israelis will be damned if they do and damned if they don’t:
I lived until 2002 in a small southern village near Mardshajund that is inhabited by a majority of Shias like me. After Israel left Lebanon, it did not take long for Hezbollah to take have its say in other towns. Received as successful resistance fighters and armed to the teeth, they stored rockets in bunkers in our town as well. The social work of the Party of God consisted in building a school and a residence over these bunkers! A local sheikh explained to me laughing that the Jews would lose in any event because the rockets would either be fired at them or if they attacked the rockets depots, they would be condemned by world opinion on account of the dead civilians. These people do not care about the Lebanese population, they use them as shields, and, once dead, as propaganda. As long as they continue existing there, there will be no tranquility and peace.
The ever-prescient Spengler mordantly observes how, while Iran perceives correctly how Israel’s response to Hezbollah’s attacks could end the stability of Middle East terror and imperil Iran’s objectives, both America and Israel are so lacking in confidence that they cannot grasp the strength of their own hand and so are likely to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory:
… Despite the vehemence of Israel’s initial response to the July 12 incidents, Jerusalem remains squeamish about casualties both among Israeli soldiers and Lebanese civilians. If the enemy employs civilian sites as artillery platforms, and civilians decline to leave after due warning, they are subject to attack. The three-score deaths at Qana are sad, but so were the 180,000 deaths during Lebanon’s civil war of 1976-80 and the million deaths during the Iran-Iraq War, including perhaps 100,000 12-to-14-year-old children sent by the Khomeinists into the Iraqi minefields. The political-religious current to which Hezbollah adheres holds the region’s record for civilian deaths, despite British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s crocodile tears.
Israel’s strongest move on the chessboard would be a massive armored incursion into Lebanon to crush Hezbollah combined with limited strikes against Syria. These would be costly in terms of human life, but that is the bill due the devil for fleeing Lebanon six years ago. The Israeli population longs for normalcy, and is loath to sacrifice its young men, a fact with which Hezbollah taunts them. It is far from clear whether Israel will convert a subtle but fundamental change in the regional balance into a strategic breakthrough.
Washington’s best move would be an ultimatum to Tehran with a deadline for dismantling its nuclear-weapons program, followed by aerial attacks in the event of non-compliance. Rather than engage the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, Washington should take the opportunity to destabilize it. Rather than attempt to hold together its Frankenstein monster in Iraq, it should partition the country. Sunnis and Shi’ites already are fleeing mixed neighborhoods and agglomerating into sectarian strongholds, and a broader population exchange is the best formula to suppress bloodshed.
In other words, in pursuit of its own best interests, Washington should do precisely what the Iranian regime fears that it may do. Tehran’s paranoia, of course, runs far ahead of Washington’s limited imagination. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is skating in tighter and tighter little circles attempting to limit the war. The US demand for a 48-hour halt in Israeli bombing runs in Lebanon to which Israel acquiesced expresses the delusional hope that Sunni Arab states can be enlisted to oppose Iran and Hezbollah.
Israel, in summary, remains in denial about the failure of its withdrawal policy since 2000, and Washington remains in denial about the absurdity of its plan to stabilize the Middle East through democracy. That gives Iran considerable wiggle room to press ahead from an inherently weakened position.
Meanwhile, hardly anyone appears to be bothered by Robert Spencer’s observation on “Jihad Watch” that Ahmadinejad is obsessed by August 22, the day after Mohammed is said to have ascended to heaven from Temple Mount when a ‘great light lit up the night sky’ over Jerusalem. The date that Ahmadinejad has said he will respond to the EU’s ultimatum over his nuclear programme is… August 22. Will his reponse be to light up the sky over Jerusalem?
No doubt to prevent such a horror would be condemned as a disproportionate response.