Friday, July 28, 2006

Am I the Only One ? - Re: Lebanon - Tragedy

Lebanon is a small country with a population of approximately 3.9 million in an area of 10,452 square kilometers. Current estimates are that 800,000 of its population has been displaced from their homes.

In the United States Connecticut, Oklahoma and Oregon all have populations fairly close to the population of Lebanon (about 200-300,000 less). Connecticut's geographic area totals 12,997 kilometers (much smaller than Oklahoma and Oregon).

I can not imagine 20% of Connecticut's population being forced to flee their homes. New Orleans had a population of about 485,000. The displacement of population would be comparable to the dislocation of all of New Orleans and some of its suburban population. Similarly it would be comparable to Washington, D.C. and several hundred thousand of its suburbs having all their population displaced.

Lebanon is a relatively poor country with an extremely weak central government.

It seems incredibly stupid and sad that the US Government continues to support the Israeli Government 100% in indicating that the time is still not right for a ceasefire in Lebanon.

I heard a seemingly knowledgeable commentator on Lebanon on the radio yesterday. He indicated that the Israelis had assured the Bush Administration before the war began that they would sweep in and win the war easily within a week. He indicated that now the Israelis were facing the facts that the Hezbellah fighters are experienced and good whereas many of the Israeli soldiers are relatively inexperienced. For Israel increasingly it is a major problem that the war is not over.

Assuming that peace should come to Lebanon there will be a number of major problems as a result of what has transpired. At the beginning of the war the Hezbellah were the "bad guys" in much of the Arab world. The massive war effort's harming and killing of civilians has turned public opinion in Lebanon and in neighboring Middle East countries strongly against Israel.

Rebuilding Lebanon will not likely be done by the United States. Iran will likely fund much of the rebuilding. This will then build Iranian influence in Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East outside of Israel. The result will be the opposite of what is in the best interests of the United States and Israel.

The United States could work with Middle Eastern countries besides Israel talking extensively with Saudi Arabia and most probably Egypt and Jordan to help find an Arab lead peace initiative without any preconditions before the talking begins. Building informal, if not formal, ties with Syria and Iran with whom the U.S. has no current formal diplomatic relations would be helpful.

The United States really has been quite successful at creating enemies and taking bad situations and making them much worse in recent years! It is sad and immoral that so many people need to die and have their lives turned upside down because of the limited vision actions and inaction of Mr. Bush and those who advise him.


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