Is the U.S. the Evilest Nation in the World?
BegsToDiffer has introduced me to one "John Pilger," a writer and film maker who has an article that paints as negative a view of the United States and Israel as I have ever read. It is so unrelentingly anti-American and anti-Israeli that I suspect that he may be channeling Ayatollah Khomeini.
Mr. Pilger writes:
The attendant propaganda - the abuse of language and eternal hypocrisy - has reached its nadir in recent weeks. An Israeli soldier belonging to an invasion force was captured and held, legitimately, as a prisoner of war. Reported as a "kidnapping", this set off yet more slaughter of Palestinian civilians. The seizure of two Palestinian civilians two days before the capture of the soldier was of no interest. Neither was the incarceration of thousands of Palestinian hostages in Israeli prisons, and the torture of many of them, as documented by Amnesty. The kidnapped soldier story cancelled any serious inquiry into Israel's plans to reinvade Gaza, from which it had staged a phoney withdrawal. The fact and meaning of Hamas's self-imposed 16-month ceasefire were lost in inanities about "recognising Israel", along with Israel's state of terror in Gaza - the dropping of a 500lb bomb on a residential block, the firing of as many as 9,000 heavy artillery shells into one of the most densely populated places on earth and the nightly terrorising with sonic booms.I am interested here in his claims that Israel, the U.S., and much of the international press has engaged in an "abuse of language." I think he means to refer to the "capture" of an Israeli soldier who was part of an "invasion force" which the forces of evil, Israel and the U. S., called a "kidnapping."
For Pilger to be allowed to get away with calling the capture/kidnapping of the Israeli soldier (I thought it was two soldiers but that doesn't matter) a "capturing" he has to be able to prove that the Israeli army was poised to attack Lebanon and the Israeli government had formed the intention to attack. If Pilger is right then calling the capture/kidnapping some sort of preemptive "capturing" would have some legitimacy. The problem is that Pilger provides absolutely no evidence either that the Israeli army was poised to attack or that Israel had formed an intention to invade prior to the capture/kidnapping of the soldier(s) and, let us not forget, the killing of some solders. I guess that doesn't matter because Israel is a Jewish state and is also a puppet of Imperial America.
In fact, one would expect Israel's military to be poised to defend Israel at all times from an attack by Hezbollah. Any other practice would be irresponsible on the part of the leadership of Israel. This brings us to the distinction between an army being "poised to attack" and "poised to defend." One sign of the former but not the latter would be a massing of troops on a border. Well, that could be proved true or false with time- and date-stamped satellite photos taken by someone we trust. Obviously Pilger would not trust photos taken by the U. S. I wouldn't trust photos taken by Iran. And around and around we go on the Merry-go-Round of International distrust.
So, a massing of troops would be one sign of an impending invasion. Moreover, troops are formed differently when poised to defend than when poised to attack. That too admits of photo proof. Pilger offers none. His views are, I believe, taken by him to be self-verifying. Saying things makes them true.
One thing is clear. If Israel was poised to attack, they did a very poor job of it. They had too few troops in place to move very far into Lebanon. Part of that could be due to inadequate forces being available and part to an underestimation of the capability of Hezbollah to engage in conventional warfare. That they have anti-tank weapons and other weapons useful against a conventional army seems clear. My view, since I do not take a paranoid view of Israel, is that they were unprepared for a war and that they did underestimate Hezbollah's capabilities. Taking that view allows us to account for the fact without engaging in Mr. Pilger's special brand of prejudice.
Israel has been slow to reinforce its invasion force (whatever it was before it is an "invasion" force now) and has been calling up reserves. This is a clear sign to me that Israel was not planning to invade Lebanon. Furthermore, it is very unclear to me why Israel would have wanted to. Hezbollah was not giving them much grief. Israel doesn't like seeing its people killed. And, Israel, as always, can expect nothing but grief from the international community when it fights against Arabs and it will risk that only when provoked.
I suggest that everyone read Pilger. The man reminds me of Chomsky in that he takes an extremely anti-American view of everything we do and he is so convinced of the correctness of his position he does not feel the need to defend what he says. Rather, he, like Chomsky has done on many occasions in the past, engages in language games to further his argument. Pilger's language game in the article cited is to call the kidnapping a "capturing." That makes it all okay. Bullshit. Pilger is a propagandist, pure and simple. It is how he earns his living. However, reading him is good for the mind. It will serve to reboot your brain.