[blue]EXCELLENT article from The New Republic Online[/blue]
TRB FROM WASHINGTON
by Peter Beinart
Post date 09.20.01 | Issue date 10.01.01
Coming home last Friday night, I stumbled upon a candlelight vigil. Hundreds of my Dupont Circle neighbors were walking gravely down Q Street, holding signs and dispensing leaflets. As I stopped to watch, a man pulled up on his bicycle, surveyed the scene, and began to scream. "Why don't you just commit suicide?" he yelled at the marchers. A policeman rushed over and tried to quiet him down: "None of that," he said, "this is a vigil. No politics." "My brother died in New York," the man answered, "and these fuckers..." And then he sped off.
But the policeman was wrong. What the bicyclist had noticed was that the placards all said things like, "No Eye for an Eye," and "No More War." A leaflet demanded "No further U.S. violence." ("Further," a nice touch.) The cop's "no politics" plea was wishful thinking. In fact, this country's days-long hiatus from politics is already over. And the political debate that will frame the coming weeks is clear: Has America oppressed the Muslim world? Or, stated differently, does America have the moral authority to go to war?
[i]The Nation[/i] answered almost immediately. "[T]his is not really the war of democracy versus terror that the world will be asked to believe in the coming days," wrote Robert Fisk in the magazine's October 1 issue. "It is also about US missiles smashing into Palestinian homes and US helicopters firing missiles into a Lebanese ambulance in 1996 and American shells crashing into a village called Qana and about a Lebanese militia--paid and uniformed by America's Israeli ally--hacking and raping and murdering their way through refugee camps." In other words, it's about America's support for Israel.
The left has proved remarkably creative over the years at blaming virtually any Middle Eastern malfeasance--from Iraq's invasion of Kuwait to repression in the Arab world--on the Jewish State. And Fisk continues that tradition, suggesting that the "hacking and raping and murdering" at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps helped provoke last week's attacks--even though Sabra and Shatila took place in 1982, when Osama bin Laden had not yet turned against the U.S. and was actually fighting side by side with the CIA in Afghanistan. (Fisk further illustrates his idiosyncratic theory of history when he writes, "Our broken promises, perhaps even our destruction of the Ottoman Empire[!], led inevitably to this tragedy.")
But if blaming terrorism on America's alliance with Israel was always tricky, today it is downright bizarre. After all, over the last year and a half, Washington has pushed Israel into offering the Palestinians a state in almost all of the West Bank and Gaza, with its capital in Jerusalem, and helped convince Israel to withdraw from Lebanon. It is a good barometer of Fisk's intellectual honesty that he says Muslims are right to hate America because of Israel's occupation of southern Lebanon, but neglects to mention that, thanks in part to America, Israel no longer occupies southern Lebanon.