This comic line from a favorite movie--One, Two, Three with James Cagney--often comes to mind these days. Of course, I have reference to the situation in the Middle East. I am saddened, and alarmed by recent developments.
I hesitate to comment at all, for fear of being misunderstood. I am certainly no apologist for the ascendent radical Islam, or even Islam in general, and probably worry about it as much as anyone. And clearly, Israel has a right to defend itself against Hezbollah; no question about it. I don't believe they have a right to level Beirut and Lebanon in the process, however. As is always the case in the Jew vs. Muslim saga, the local Christians get caught in the crossfire. I wonder if the American evangelicals rooting so strongly for the Israeli offensive believe that the substantial Lebanese Christian community is somehow immune from these attacks? I really wonder if they even know they are there.
I am also not so naive as to believe that a resolution of the Israel question would suddenly solve our problems in the Middle East, or make radical Islam go away. It would not. But I do know that our polices of the last 60 years, by all administrations, have fed the growing, and now raging, discontent within Islam. We inherited an already flawed and discredited policy from the British after WWII. And we have stuck with it. We are joined to Israel at the hip (I would add for better or for worse, but there is no better). A friend of mine overheard former Secretary of State James Baker quip (off the record), "America has no foreign policy. Ariel Sharon has a foreign policy." All too true, I am afraid. The only out for us may lie in the growing alarm among Sunni Muslims (Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, etc.) of their Shiite co-religionists (Iran, Iraq, Hezbollah, etc.). We'll see.
In the meantime, I have been following the on-going commentary. Douglas Ian, over at the Scrivener has some good things to say in 2 recent posts on the subject. Rod Dreher at Crunchy Con has linked two articles I consider to be "must reads:" one by George Will and the other by Spengler. I also recommend Jim's comments over at neepeople under "Catch Up," and the article regarding Robert Fisk here. Finally, Sand Monkey (an excellent, pro-Western Egyptian blogger) vents his frustation over the now-famous picture that is making the rounds; the one of the Israeli schoolgirls writing messages to Hezbollah on missiles. I did a little research, and the scene is somewhat contrived; but still, that is no excuse. It just shows how deep the sickness is on both sides. Check it out here, if you wish. He notes that "they [the Israelis]view us as if we were a headache. We view them as if they are a cancer. And this is why there will never really be any peace in the middle-east."