Relatively Speaking

Relatively Speaking
by Michael Goodell

From the front page of today’s Wall Street Journal:

U.S. officials believe members of Hezbollah, the militant group backed by Iran, are smuggling advanced, guided-missile systems into Lebanon from Syria piece by piece to evade a secretive Israeli air campaign designed to stop them.

The moves illustrate how both Hezbollah and Israel are using Syria’s civil war as cover for what increasingly is seen as a complex and high-stakes race to prepare for another potential conflict–their own–in ways that could alter the region’s military balance.

These two paragraphs show why the pursuit of a comprehensive Middle East peace agreement is a fool’s errand. (Given that it is a fool’s errand, it is hard to imagine anyone better suited to run it than the current Secretary of State. We make this claim because it is generally regarded as unseemly for the Vice President to engage in shuttle diplomacy).

The Wall Street Journal reporters had to engage in linguistic contortionism in order to equate the actions of Hezbollah and Israel. Actually, the stunt begins with their labeling Hezbollah a “militant group.” Even John Kerry’s State Department recognizes Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. In this case it is a terrorist organization smuggling advanced, guided missile systems into Lebanon. Why are they doing this? Not because they fear a surprise attack from the Isle of Rhodes. Rather, it is to wage war against Israel. It is in order to slaughter as many Jewish men, women and children as possible.

Against this effort the reporters have described a “secretive Israeli air campaign designed to stop them.” In the following paragraph the reporters claim that both parties are using the civil was a cover for preparations for a new war in the region. Apparently in the eyes of The Wall Street Journal, there is no need to distinguish between building up weapons of mass destruction and trying to prevent that build up. Preparing for an invasion is the same, in the equivocating eyes of The Wall Street Journal, as preparing to defend against that invasion.

Unlike The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal is not in the habit of printing lies on the front page (though to be fair, not every article on the front page of The Times is completely dishonest), but in this case, they are guilty. At the very least they are reflecting the attitude long ascendent in the State Department, that Israel is the main stumbling block to peace in the region. If only Israel would accept all the Palestinians’, or Arabs’, or European intellectuals’ demands, then there would be peace.

Another way of putting this is until Israelis get comfortable with the idea of their own slaughter, there cannot be peace in the Middle East. That may seem extreme, but no more so than suggesting smuggling missiles into the region is morally equivalent to trying to keep them out.

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