23 July 2006

World War III?

While bombs continued to fall on both sides of the Israel/Lebanon border, and the number of internally displaced Lebanese rose to as many as 700,000 (about 20% of the population), and my friend in Beirut went up into the hills into what I hope is safety, I went shopping. Come on, ABC Carpet is having a sale and I have a new apartment; I need stuff.

I don't pretend to understand Middle East politics well, and I know there are legitimate reasons to go after Hezbollah. I don't accept, though, that it has to involve killing so many civilians. But it's clear where the U.S. government stands on the matter. Bomb away; Condi can stall for a week or two.

There's more. Ethiopia has sent troops to Somalia, as the possibility of all-out war between the Somali government and Islamic militias in that country increases. If you don't think that has anything to do with us, I have one word for you: Afghanistan.

The dead pile up in Iraq; the PR campaign out of the White House continues to ease us into an invasion of Iran.

I watch CNN; I read domestic and foreign newspapers online. I follow links to blogs written in the Middle East. I could not be better informed, as far as the information out there allows. But what can I do?

We haven't been asked to do anything. Sacrifice? What's that? George Bush himself said we had an "addiction to oil" in this year's State of the Union, but his solutions were all in the future. We will develop alternative energies, we will invest in those that already exist, we will we will, all vague some-day statements.

Could the man ask us to turn down our thermostats (or up, now that it's summer)? No. Jimmy Carter tried that, and look where it got him.

Besides, if even one American has to officially sacrifice her Saturday afternoon of shopping, the terrorists will have won. Doesn't it feel like that's what our Administration is telling us?

But what happens if things get worse, as they are threatening to? It doesn't make sense that Russia or China would side with Iran in the event of an American invasion -- they rely on us for too much. So, the theory goes, without them lining up against us, it won't really be World War Three. Oh, okay, I feel much better now.


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