Bush: We have to destroy Lebanon in order to save it

Plus: What the Israel/Hezbollah war has to do with 9/11.


Scott Rosenberg
July 31, 2006 9:37PM (UTC)

Chalk up another Vietnam parallel: Just as, in that conflict, military officers explained that in order to save a village we had to destroy it, so, today, President Bush explains that the destruction of Lebanon -- one of the Middle East's very few functioning democracies -- is all in the service of spreading democracy.

Addressing the Coast Guard in Miami, Bush declared, "When democracy spreads in the Middle East, the people of that troubled region will have a better future, the terrorists will lose their safe havens and their recruits, and the United States of America will be more secure."

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Never mind that Hezbollah, the Shiite group that provoked Israel's attack and continues to fire missiles across the border, was actually a part of the coalition that ruled democratic Lebanon. I suppose that if, say, elections in Saudi Arabia replaced its authoritarian monarchy with an Islamist democracy, we would hear something similar from our government: Democracy, yes -- but it has to be a democracy that elects just the right people! In taking on the grand mission of bringing democracy to the Middle East, it seems, the U.S. is also committing itself to intervention (or support of others' intervention) any time that democracy produces governments we don't like.

Oh, Bush also took the opportunity to explain how the war between Israel and Hezbollah is actually all a part of the Manichean struggle that commenced on 9/11: "'For decades, the status quo in the Middle East permitted tyranny and terror to thrive,' the president said. 'And as we saw on Sept. 11, the status quo in the Middle East led to death and destruction in the United States, and it had to change.'"


Scott Rosenberg

Salon co-founder Scott Rosenberg is director of MediaBugs.org. He is the author of "Say Everything" and Dreaming in Code and blogs at Wordyard.com.

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