If this be anti-Semitism...
Mon Jul 24, 2006 at 06:03:45 AM PDT
if that's truly what anger at Israel's behavior amounts to, then so be it--cause I'm well and truly PISSED OFF. It has nothing to do with hating Jews or favoring Arabs, and everything to do with simple humanity.
I read this article in Monday's Washington Post, and what our ally Israel is now doing in Lebanon makes me sick.
This is a diary with much cut-and-paste, but I believe my question to the "America stands with Israel, right or wrong" crowd is as important as it is simple:
Will somebody please explain this:
Where's my father? Where's my father?" asked Mahmoud Srour, an 8-year-old whose face was burned beyond recognition after an Israeli missile struck the family's car Sunday. His mother, Nouhad, lurched toward his hospital bed, her eyes welling with tears.
"Is he coming?" he asked her.
"Don't worry about your father," she said, her words broken by sobs.
Barely conscious, bewildered, he lay with his eyes almost swollen shut. His head lolled toward her. A whisper followed.
"Don't cry, mother," he told her.
Mahmoud's father, Mohammed, was dead. An Israeli missile had struck their green Mercedes as they fled the southern town of Mansuri, where the family had been vacationing. The boy's uncle, Darwish Mudaihli, was dead, too. The bodies were left in the burning car. Mahmoud's sister Mariam, 8 months old, lay next to him, staring at the ceiling with a Donald Duck pacifier in her mouth. Her eyes were open but lifeless, a stare that suggested having seen too much. Her hair was singed, her face slightly burned. Blisters swelled the tiny fingers on her left hand to twice their size. In other beds of Najm Hospital were their other brothers, 13-year-old Ali and 15-year-old Ahmed.
Israeli forces repeatedly struck cars on southern Lebanon's already perilous roads in attacks that victims said were indiscriminate. Seven people were killed, three of them when an Israeli helicopter fired a missile at a white minibus carrying 19 people fleeing the village of Tairi, which Israeli forces had ordered residents to evacuate. The missile tore through the roof of the vehicle as it sped around a bend in the road. [...] the victims of the minibus arrived from near the town of Kafra. Gurney after gurney entered. One boy's left hand was shredded by shrapnel.
A woman sat in a chair, dazed, as others tried to ask her questions. A stretcher smashed into a row of chairs.
"We didn't feel anything. We didn't see anything coming down," said Ali Shaita, a stocky 14-year-old, whose uncle, Mohammed, and grandmother, Nazira, were killed in the attack on the minibus. "It just hit us," said his 12-year-old brother, Abbas.
Ali sat in a bed at Najm Hospital, holding his IV. He was wounded in his chest and left leg. Blood, his and that of his relatives, drenched his red shorts. His brother was hurt in his right leg, head and right arm. His jeans were splotched with more blood. In another room, their mother, Muntaha, sobbed. Her head was wounded, as was her left arm. Her femur was broken in the attack.
"The bandages are too tight on my head," she pleaded to a nurse.
The Shaitas said the car was speeding out of the village at midmorning. The boys' uncle was carrying a white flag with his hand, as was another passenger.
The day's events began at 10:30 a.m. when the Mercedes of Mahmoud's family was struck as it barreled down a coastal road dotted by palm trees and banana plantations. As it burned, Zein al-Abdin Zabit passed in his white Nissan with his wife and four sons. His drive was already frantic: Along the road from Naqoura, he had picked up someone wounded in Qlaile, trying to take him to the hospital. A few more miles, then he reached Maaliye, where he picked up two men wounded as they rode a motorcycle.
Near the hospital, a missile struck behind his car, and it caught fire. He floored it for 200 yards more, feeding the flames as he tried to make it to the hospital. Near its entrance, he crashed into a curb, and his ribs were broken. He and the others clambered out, and the gasoline tank exploded. Hours later, the car was a charred carcass. Its tires still smoldered along a row of seared palm trees.
A boy pleaded with his mother to stay conscious as she lay near death from shrapnel wounds in northern Lebanon after their van was struck by an Israeli missile.
Whoops...lather, rinse, repeat...
Layal Najib, a 23-year-old photographer for the Lebanese magazine al-Jaras, was killed when Israeli forces struck near her taxi outside the town of Qana to the northwest. She was the first journalist killed in the 12-day conflict
Any more war "whoops" in one day, and Tyre might be mistaken for a pow-wow scene in a dime Western. It's almost as if the taxis and minibuses all had homing beacons as standard equipment.
Order 500,000 people to leave their homes, then blast away at those who attempt to comply while destroying roads and bridges right and left. If wounded survivors should find a ride to the hospital, hit them again quick before they get inside.
Deliberate strategy, or shall we file these deaths under "regrettable" incompetence? Regrettable--just not by us, you understand; we're too busy reshaping a region! Catch you on the next bombing run...
Please don't waste my time with assertions of Israel's "right to exist/defend itself", or endless catalogues of Hezbollah atrocities. Spare me all the lectures about history. Israel has choices in the here and now. So does America. And the Universe has a long memory: It doesn't hand out blank checks.
First, Israel has the same claim on existence and self-defense as any sovereign nation. (That's probably why it protested so stridently when we invaded and occupied Iraq.) And under its current leadership, as anyone with a pulse can plainly see, Israel will do precisely whatever the fuck it wants to--apparently with the unanimous blessing of the Fifth Avenue shoe-shoppers and Nintendo diplomats who control our nation, to its lasting disgrace.
As for Hezbollah, nasty as their aims and tactics may be, my tax dollars don't pay for the rocket bombs landing in Haifa. I hold those who call themselves allies to a much higher standard of human decency and proportionality, just as I do my own nation. It does not suffice for Americans to be merely no worse than Saddam Hussein, and I won't accept "nothing Hezbollah hasn't also done--just laser-guided and ten times as deadly!" either.
Why should I or any American support this kind of indiscriminate slaughter and wholesale destruction of infrastructure we've watched unfold this week? Why is this only bad if someone does it to us? At what point short of nuking Beirut are we allowed to speak of "disproportionality"?
In some arcane way which I neither perceive nor countenance, it may indeed be in the interest of Israel to "respond" to Hezbollah at any arbitrary level of severity. Argue that on Israel's behalf, if you will. But my considered response, as of today, is:
Fuck. This. Ally or no, I don't want my leaders to connive at murder and FedEx the killers more bombs when they run out. I definitely don't want to pay for it--call me back when you're ready to build instead of helping destroy. Until then, I don't want to be associated with it in any way except through condemnation in strong, unambiguous terms.
An alliance is supposed to be a two-way street. I don't understand what my country is getting out of this, besides the hatred of millions. Pursue this course, and you're on your own.