Thursday, July 27, 2006

Limited Debate

NPR had an interesting interview this morning with Robert Malley of the International Crisis Group and former official with the Clinton administration. He spoke with Renee Montagne about the Bush administration's strategy regarding the current Middle East crisis (especially in Lebanon). This piece is worth listening to because it at least questions the current policy of the Bush administration. The down side of the interview is that it in no way challenges/critiques the historical trajectory of US/Israeli policy in the region. Noam Chomsky has spoken of this tactic for allowing the most limited debate on US policy. Regarding the hard-won freedoms of dissent in countries such as the US he notes that those in power will, "try to constrain debate and discussion within narrow limits." He cites as examples the "hawk-dove" debates on Vietnam where the "nobilty" of US goals was never questioned. In the NPR piece this morning Malley correctly notes the irony of "birth pangs" for a "new Middle East" occuring among so much US sanctioned violence, but then he asserts, "and violence is the terrain that militants—whether its Hezbolla, Hamas, al-Queda, or others—like best." Really? What about those other militants--the neocons (Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz, etc.), the Likud leaders, the IDF generals, the US generals, etc. I think it's fair to say they seem to thrive on violence.
Malley also argues that there should be an immediate cease fire, followed by addressing the root causes which he sees as "related to the fact that there are unresolved issues between Israel and Lebanon" and "of course...to the broader picture in the Middle East because Hezbollah is not simply a Lebanese instrument it’s also an actor that fits into Syrian and Iranian objectives - and it’s also an expression of the unresolved Arab-Israeli conflict." Notice how he never says the O-word or the I-word (occupation [Iraq, West Bank, Gaza, Golan Heights, etc.] or invasion [Lebanon, Iraq, etc.] ). Instead these are just vague, "unresolved" issues and conflicts.

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