Friday, April 16, 2004

I like this Juan Cole Fellow

For the second time this week, I would like to refer y'all to Juan Cole's blog, Informed Comment. For a history professor, he sure has a good handle on current events. His most recent posts address the current derailing of the al-Sadr deal (in part due to the assassination of one of the Iranian diplomats), the duality of the Bush foreign policy, and the US abandoning all hope of being an honest broker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It is also worth reading Cole's comparison of Fallujah to Palestine that was published by (even though Salon makes you sit through a commercial to access the whole article. But I suppose I prefer that to Wall Street Journal's subscriber-only access). He argues that in a very strange way, Israel's conduct in Palestine has brought Shiite and Sunni forces in Iraq together like no one else has been able to accomplish. He contends that the recent uprisings in Fallujah and those of Sadr's forces were both in response to Israel's assassination of Sheik Ahmed Yassin, and that Arab television is portraying the seige on Fallujah in much the same light as Israel's seige on the West Bank and Gaza.

Although I am not sure how far I would extend the comparison, I certainly think that neither Israel nor America can claim the moral highground in its recent military operations. The missile strike on the mosque in Fallujah last week has not gone over well in the Middle East (and I suspect that today's mosque-shelling [Melbourne Herald Sun] won't win over anyone either). And then of course there's America's Psych-Ops, like blaring insults over loudspeakers such as "you shoot like a goat-herder" [AP].

It is a big mistake to approach the security of Fallujah as Israel deals with Palestine, and we are both feeling the repurcutions of treating an occupied group as though they were less-than-human. Most importantly, however, I hope that comparison does not extend to mean that we should anticipate a long, drawn out battle that may determine the very survival of our nation.

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