Thursday, August 03, 2006

Sad Day for Vic Atiyeh

photo from Oregon State Archives

Former Oregon Governor Victor Atiyeh recently wrote an impassioned opinion piece about the current Hezbollah-Israeli conflict. It begins:


Stop this wholesale death and injury to the citizens of Lebanon.

Stop pretending that every bomb and every rocket and every cannon shell kill only a Hezbollah.

President Bush and Congress, STOP applauding and cheering on the carnage and destruction of a struggling nation.

This is not my America that treasures every human life and honors our international friends.

And, Hezbollah, STOP being the cause for the unleashing of Israel's horrendous and awesome military power, which is so superior and well supplied by America. You have rockets that seem to be aimless. They have hundreds of tanks and probably thousands of sophisticated helicopters and jet airplanes.

You cannot beat them but you give them the reason they were looking for to crush an economically and militarily weakened neighbor.

As the Oregonian notes Atiyeh is of Arab descent and has family living in Lebanon. That explains part of where he is coming from in his opinion piece.

But, it doesn’t explain why he waits until the 5th paragraph (admittedly the paragraphs are short) to even mention Hezbollah’s shelling of Israeli communities that started the conflict. It’s sort of like waiting until the fifth paragraph to note the Pearl Harbor attack in a piece wanting to stop the US from retaliating against the Japanese in WWII.

It also doesn’t explain why Atiyeh describes Israel’s military power as being “well supplied by America” and including “hundreds of tanks and probably thousands of sophisticated helicopters and jet airplanes” but succinctly describes Hezbollah’s military power as being “rockets that seem to be aimless”--as though aimless rockets are somehow not lethal. Nothing about thousands of rockets. Nothing about Hezbollah being well supplied by Iran. Nothing about the “aimless” rockets hitting women and children with no warning coming before the attacks.

It also doesn’t explain why Atiyeh is concerned about “wholesale death and injury to the citizens of Lebanon” but says not a word about Israeli casualties or the destruction caused by Hezbollah’s “aimless” rockets.

In fact Atiyeh’s cry to Hezbollah to stop seems to be based on the fact that Hezbollah “can’t win” rather than that Jews and Lebanese are dying. One wonders what Atiyeh’s view would be if he thought Hezbollah could win and destroy Israel. The right of Israeli civilians to live in peace doesn’t register as important to Atiyeh.

Atiyeh asserts that Israel was "looking for [a reason] to crush an economically and militarily weakened neighbor". To what end? To annex Lebanon to Israel? Even Atiyeh isn't that naive. So, that Iran or Syria can make Lebanon a totally compliant client-state? Why would Israel want major enemies to be closer and more powerful? Israel's wanting to crush Lebanon is "sniffing the glue" talk.

It's to be expected that Atiyeh would care about his relatives. But this anti-Israel rant which cares not a rip about Israeli casualties or a Lebanon free of Hezbollah is a more cultured version of Mel Gibson's recent conduct. Mel Gibson at least has drink to blame and has apologized. What a sad day for Vic Atiyeh.

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