The Calm Before Or After The Storm?
I have recently read my second Mike Whitney article, titled "Honor First"; the liberation of Lebanon, on Information Clearing House (thanks to Delirious for pointing it out).* I would have described his writing as "highly readable and recommended but equally alarming" if it weren't that events in recent weeks have proved to be even more paranoid and disturbing than an alarmist's wildest dreams. And what seems to be even more troubling is that there seems to be a consensus, on both sides of the border, that the current calm is not that after the storm, but the calm before one. It may be a case of "hoping for the best and expecting the worst" in an area that has proved to be beyond anyone's worst expectations, and that stomps the hopes of even the staunchest optimist. I am highlighting below an excerpt of Whitney's more recent article that I found particularly compelling, though I highly recommend reading the entirety of both articles:
You know what they say about anticipation of the punch being worse than its pain, but it disturbs me to no end to think that there is nothing we can do, at the edge of the precipice, than look down and let go... I would like to know people's thoughts on this: What do you think will happen? Is there anything to do about it? And if so, what?
The coverage of the Lebanon fiasco in the Israeli media is alternately narcissistic and hysterical. The details of the massive destruction to Lebanon’s civil infrastructure and environment are brushed aside as inconsequential; the 1,300 civilian deaths, irrelevant. The only thing that matters is Israeli suffering; everything else is trivial. While Lebanon is busy digging out another 300 or so corpses from the rubble of their destroyed homes, Israel is preoccupied with its loss of “deterrents” or its battered sense of “invincibility”.
It is an interesting study in the prevailing megalomania of Israeli society, a culture as pathologically self-absorbed as its American ally. It’s no wonder security is so hard to come by when people are so lacking in empathy.
In Lebanon, the extent of the damage is just beginning to be grasped. Whole cities in the south have been laid to waste and most of the vital infrastructure has been ruined. Barucha Peller summed it up this way in a Counterpunch article “This Pain has no Ceasefire”:
“The walls of homes that once protected families and cradled their lives are now in pieces, shreds, fine dust. Sift through the rubble. Kick the rubble. Stand still, silent, alone with the absoluteness of destruction and accompanied by the millions of shattered pieces of everything that was here before. Leave the rubble. Try to forget. Walk away from the terrible sight. But your mind is in pieces, lives in pieces, people who never again will stand in the doorway with greetings. You can walk away. There is a ceasefire. But missiles fall, they fall, not from the skies, but behind Lebanese eyes, they fall forever in memory, they are still crashing into what once was.”
“The absoluteness of destruction”; the faces that will never reappear “in the doorway”; this nagging, life-long suffering goes unrecorded in the Israeli media where the national obsession has turned to finger-pointing and empty recriminations. The lives and the civilization that’s been decimated are a mere footnote to Israel’s violated sense of security and the humiliation of losing to an Arab adversary. Looking at the papers, it’s easy to believe that the entire population is completely unaware of the misery they’ve caused. Instead, one gets the uneasy feeling that the anger is just beginning to mount and could wash across Lebanon in a second wave of hostilities.
(Read the entire article here.)
*The first article I read by him, also on Information Clearing House, was titled Lebanon's Descent into Hell, and was equally highly recommended and alarming.