Wednesday, August 30, 2006

About that silence

A little procrastination too easily becomes weeks of non-posting. Sorry about that.

I've been wrapped up in getting the local Democratic headquarters off the ground. Also, the global news is bleak enough that focusing on the short-term things I can affect feels like the sanity-preserving path.

So look for more frequent but probably shorter posts, and more about the Jim Webb v. George Allen campaign than about Israel v. Lebanon. But, before I leave the latter topic for a while: those bastards!


Saturday, August 12, 2006

Ceasefire. . . but not for another 32 hours at best

Apparently Hezbollah and the government of Lebanon have agreed to the terms of the ceasefire proposal, and a senior Israeli official implies that his/her government will also during a cabinet meeting tomorrow -- but won't stop attacks until midnight Sunday (EDT; 7 am Monday in Israel). Hezbollah won't commit not to return fire until Israel moves back across the border, and that won't happen until the peacekeeping forces arrive, in a week or so. Lovely. No point in searching out a dove image to decorate this post, then.

Tom Scudder has a very helpful analysis of UN resolution 1701 at Aqoul, especially for those of us unskilled at plowing through diplomatese. Jonathan Edelstein's gift for seeing the hopeful aspects of bleak situations is put to good use, but until the IDF stops bombing and shelling, his take asks too much for me in the way of looking past the massive human carnage and material destruction Israel has wrought. Zvi Bar'el's account in Ha'aretz of the Lebanese prime minister's skill in achieving the resolution is interesting [via Jonathan], but again, may be better appreciated if/when the explosions stop.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Qana denial cont'd

This is the banner mentioned in the previous post. It was displayed as part of Sunday's demonstration in Beirut; its scale and professional quality led the sleuths at Powerline to conclude that it, and the Qana massacre, were planned and staged. There could conceivably be something to that if the words on the banner referred specifically to Qana. Which I very much doubt.

Readers of Arabic: Your translation help is welcomed.

Update: 4:50 pm 1 Aug - At least some of the victim-blaming from the highest levels is being exposed for what it is:
It now appears that the military had no information on rockets launched from the site of the building, or the presence of Hezbollah men at the time.

The Israel Defense Forces had said after the deadly air-strike that many rockets had been launched from Qana. However, it changed its version on Monday.

The site was included in an IAF plan to strike at several buildings in proximity to a previous launching site. Similar strikes were carried out in the past. However, there were no rocket launches from Qana on the day of the strike.
Not enough to keep Shimon Peres in New York this morning from placing all the blame for Qana on Hezbollah. Certainly not enough to hush Rush Limbaugh or denialist right-wing bloggers, but enough to keep them on the margins where they belong.

The Ha'aretz update also reports, thankfully, a somewhat reduced death count from the house in Qana compared with the first reports: There were 60 people in the building when it was struck, but so far 28 bodies have been recovered, 19 of them children. More are still missing, and recovery work is ongoing.

However, there appear to be many smaller Qanas:
Elsewhere in southern Lebanon, 49 bodies were removed Monday from the ruins of buildings in ten villages. Medical sources in Lebanon say dozens more are buried in the rubble.

Update 2: 12:30 pm 2 Aug - Many thanks to the commenters here and on other blogs where I asked for translation help. The banner reads: The massacre of children in Qana 2: Condi's gift! Smart bombs... stupid. Rice had been scheduled to visit Beirut that day, demonstrations were already being organized, and the banner's visuals had no doubt been prepared ahead for the event. The banner's message was applied after the morning news from Qana, which also caused Prime Minister Siniora to cancel Rice's visit.

Update 3: 5:30 pm 12 Aug - Apparently, victim-blaming goes right on at some high levels, facts be damned. At a time when the IDF had already retracted its claim that rockets were fired from anywhere near the house they bombed in Qana, Michael Ignatieff, the "human rights advocate" who's running for the Liberal Party leadership in Canada, defended his failure to call for a ceasefire until long after his rivals had. A Toronto Star reporter asked if the Qana massacre played a role in his decision to join in supporting a ceasefire:
"It wasn't Qana," replied Ignatieff, formerly head of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University. "Qana was, frankly, inevitable, in a situation in which you have rocket-launchers within 100 yards of a civilian population. This is the nature of the war that's going on. This is the kind of dirty war you're in when you have to do this and I'm not losing sleep about that."
What an inspiring advocate for human rights across the board, eh?