Philosophizing, Hyping, Prevaricating about and Defending the (supposedly) Inevitable War

Safety Neal's review of Fog of War[1] reminds me that there's a need to talk some serious shit about Bernard-Henry Levi's thoroughly dishonest essay in last weekend's New York Times Magazine. But I'm really busy, so here's the nut:

The problem, she explains, is not just the people killed: Israel is used to that. It’s not even the fact that here the enemy is aiming not at military objectives but deliberately at civilian targets — that, too, is no surprise. No, the problem, the real one, is that these incoming rockets make us see what will happen on the day — not necessarily far off — when the rockets are ones with new capabilities: first, they will become more accurate and be able to threaten, for example, the petrochemical facilities you see there, on the harbor, down below; second, they may come equipped with chemical weapons that can create a desolation compared with which Chernobyl and Sept. 11 together will seem like a mild prelude. For that, in fact, is the situation. As seen from Haifa, this is what is at stake in the operation in southern Lebanon. Israel did not go to war because its borders had been violated. It did not send its planes over southern Lebanon for the pleasure of punishing a country that permitted Hezbollah to construct its state-within-a-state. It reacted with such vigor because the Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s call for Israel to be wiped off the map and his drive for a nuclear weapon came simultaneously with the provocations of Hamas and Hezbollah. The conjunction, for the first time, of a clearly annihilating will with the weapons to go with it created a new situation. We should listen to the Israelis when they tell us they had no other choice anymore. |Levi|

For those of you keeping track at home, Levi's rationale rests on exactly the same principle that was used to justify America's misadventure in Iraq. Israel will discover, as the United States is beginning to, that the fundamental problem with the so-called Doctrine of Prevention, is that rushing headlong into war is an astoundingly bad strategy when your goal is to avoid the horrors of war.

1 Don't skip the DVD only features. The additional footage is like a whole new movie of interviews.

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