The setting was an editorial board meeting with the war mongering Likudniks who operate the New York Post -- a rag owned by Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul most responsible for the Iraq war. In attendance was none other than Murdoch himself -- playing the role of chief interrogator.
The part assigned to the American Secretary of State was to answer leading questions for a choreographed pre-election media farce. Condoleezza Rice knew she was in friendly territory and correctly assumed that no serious analyst would bother to pick up a copy of the Post -- a neo-conservative daily propaganda bulletin. Fortunately for Condi, the interview went unnoticed -- except by the horde of know-nothings that actually pay to read the thoughts of Chairman MU -- as in MUrdoch.
What was extraordinary about the interview was Rice’s confession of her role in orchestrating the murderous 34-day Israeli assault on Lebanon. For the sake of keeping the historical record straight, the exact words of the American Secretary of Stated deserve close scrutiny. Responding to a question about Lebanon, she stated that “very early on we did have a discussion with the Israelis about not going to war against Lebanon, going to war against Hizbullah.”
Very early on? How early on? Consider the verifiable timelines of the recent conflict. Hizbullah captured the two Israeli soldiers on July 12th. The very next morning, Israel started indiscriminately bombing Lebanon to rubble. The airport was attacked along with bridges, roads, fuel depots and power plants -- not to mention southern towns, villages and civilian convoys escaping to the relative safety of the mountains and Beirut. All were considered fair game.
Very early on? How can a phrase like “very early on” possibly be squeezed in a twenty-four hour time period? How long does it take to develop a coherent but diabolical policy to target Hizbullah and spare the pro-western government in Beirut? How many brainstorming sessions are necessary to design a strategy to subvert a United Nations resolution that could have put an early end to the carnage?
The very first day of Israeli air strikes cost the lives of sixty Lebanese civilians. Their blood was presumably shed to gain the release of two Israeli soldiers. By the time Condi finally relented and agreed to a UN resolution, over a thousand more Lebanese lives were wasted.
While pulverizing Lebanon, the Israelis never forgot to attend to their daily chores in Gaza. To date, they have already murdered 250 Palestinians, conducted a devastating campaign to systematically destroy vital infrastructure, arrested members of the Palestinian cabinet and enforced a crippling siege to starve the inhabitants of the largest open air penitentiary in the world. While holding thousands of Palestinians in open-ended confinement, the Israelis justify their monstrous behavior as a legitimate response to the capture of a single Israeli soldier.
The simple idea of negotiating prisoner exchanges in both Gaza and Lebanon never even occurred to the spinster from Birmingham -- who very early on started having birth pangs about a “New Middle East.”
Very early on? Indeed. “We felt that Israel had to try to do whatever it could to suppress the capability of Hezbollah to launch against Israel.” Now, Rice must have known that not a single Hezbollah rocket had been fired against Israel since the forced withdrawal of IDF occupation troops from Lebanon in 2000. For six long years, Hezbollah missiles only targeted Israeli military aircraft intruding into Lebanese air space -- a serious violation of Lebanese sovereignty. One has to assume that she was well informed about Israel’s daily violations of the Blue Line agreement. If only because the Lebanese government had repeatedly bought the matter to the attention of both the United Nations and the United States.
Very early on? For once, it’s worth taking Condi at her word. Very early on, Rice and the Bush administration decided to give Israel an open permit to launch a “shock and awe” campaign against Lebanon to force Hezbollah to disarm. Why? Because a Security Council resolution said so and both Washington and Israel couldn’t resist an opportunity to launch a preemptive proxy war against Iran. All of a sudden, United Nations edicts matter so much that Washington has decided to enlist Israel as an enforcer of the will of the international community.
It doesn’t seem to matter that Israel holds the undisputed record for violating international law and has shown more contempt for the United Nations than any country on the planet. Barely a month after acting as an enforcer of UN resolutions, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations dismissed the Security Council as just another forum. Dan Gillerman refused to even attend a council meeting to address a conciliatory Arab initiative to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because -- in his words -- “such forums were not always helpful.” Unless, of course, Tel Aviv needs an excuse to bomb Lebanon back to the stone ages.
America’s record isn’t much better. If the letter and spirit of international law were to be applied -- Rice, Rumsfeld and Bush would all be sharing bunks in The Hague. In fact, many of the international laws they have intentionally and consistently violated are part and parcel of ratified treaties. As such, the provisions of these treaties are enforceable as American law and offenders can readily be held to account before federal courts. The only reason justice has been delayed and denied is that Congress is too partisan and spineless to even bring up the matter.
But back to Rice’s confessions in the Post interview. Consider her policy to make a distinction between a war on Hezbollah and a war on Lebanon. Sounds familiar? It should. Because it’s an echo of what Ehud Olmert kept saying. The Israeli Prime Minister kept assuring the world that “Beirut was not the target. What is a target and will remain one -- is a single neighborhood, Hezbollah’s. We are not fighting the government of Lebanon.”
Apparently, the Lebanese government thought otherwise. Maybe it had something to do with the devastating destruction of basic infrastructure including power plants, every major bridge and every major highway -- north and south. Or maybe it was because Israel’s air force also attacked Lebanese army bases. Or perhaps Beirut took exception to the death of 1,200 Lebanese citizens -- including hundreds of innocent women and children.
Maybe there are good reasons why Prime Minister Fouad Siniora told Rice to take a hike. She hasn’t been seen in Beirut since and Lebanon is not a scheduled stop on her current Middle East tour. If she thinks Tony Blair got a poor reception, she is well advised not to push her luck.
The indiscriminate Israeli assaults on the civilian population were no accidents. They are, in fact, a long-standing Israeli military tradition. Like Haim Ramon, other Israeli decision-makers subscribe to the view that “Everyone in southern Lebanon is a terrorist and is connected to Hezbollah.” Here again, Rice was very sympathetic to Israel’s strategic decision to inflict “collateral damage” at will.
In yet another confession, the “birth pang” spinster from Alabama parroted Israel’s rationale for slaughtering innocents. “It’s difficult when a country or when a terrorist group uses human shields, which they did, embeds itself in the population, uses the infrastructure to its own advantage. It’s hard to make the separation.” So hard, in fact, that Israel dropped over a million cluster bombs in the space of one month. So hard, that refugee convoys were attacked after abandoning their villages under explicit orders from the IDF. So difficult, even though Hezbollah was launching its missiles from tunnel systems that had been secretly built far away from the prying eyes of the civilian population.
The “human shield” defense is like the Twinkie defense. It’s the standard Israeli excuse for shooting up civilians to turn them against the resistance. Look up Tel Aviv’s record. The IDF has deliberately slaughtered civilians since the day the state of Israel was established. Inflicting “collateral damage” and using collective punishment has always been an integral part of Israeli military doctrine. Tel Aviv calls it “deterrence.” But the law books use a different term -- war crimes.
There was yet another admission in the Post interview regarding the time limit imposed by Washington on Israel to “get the job done.” Rice wasn’t specific. But it’s fair enough to conclude it was about a month. What went unsaid was that Condi made the commitment to delay a United Nations resolution as long as possible to allow Olmert the space to complete his assigned duties. Some Israelis are even starting to grumble that it was the United States that pressured Tel Aviv to extend the slaughter -- long after it became apparent that the goals set by the American/Israeli plot were beyond achievement.
Very early on? How many other Israeli/American plots did Condi sign off on - very early on? Need we mention the secret “Condi-Weisglass” accords to freeze the Israeli/Palestinian peace process and make the Apartheid wall Israel’s final borders. How “early on” was that decision?
If Condi wasn’t a chronic liar, she would tell you it was a done deal back in 2004. That’s precisely why the Bush administration blocks any new initiatives to restart negotiations. Because as far as Condi is concerned, a final solution to the Palestinian “problem” has already been negotiated between Israel and Washington. Condi and the Israelis reached common ground on virtually every issue -- including the war on Iraq -- very early on.
Any way you cut it, Rice is a degenerate accessory to mass murder and is as accountable for the carnage in Lebanon and Gaza as Ehud Olmert. It’s one of the reasons she won’t be showing her face in Beirut any time soon.
The most despised woman in the Middle East returned to the scene of the crime this week. Condi showed up in Cairo with a pitch to sell the latest neo-con plot -- a “moderate” Arab coalition aligned with Israel against the ‘radicals’ in Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. She got no takers from the ranks of the assembled audience of seven autocratic absolute monarchs and one Egyptian dictator -- all fine examples of democratic progress in the Middle East.
Apparently, birth pangs aren’t Condi’s only delusions. Which begs the question. Do they still do drug testing Foggy Bottom? Because The State Department should start with Rice.
by Ahmed Amr