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Ear to the Ground

Italy Bails Out France

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Posted on Aug 22, 2006

Italy’s prime minister has tentatively offered to take the leadership role in Lebanon’s peacekeeping mission with a deployment of 3,000 troops.  France, which was to lead the mission, has offered only 200 troops after expressing concern over the force’s mandate.

Tensions are still high in Lebanon, with fears over the tenuous cease-fire mounting.  The U.N. has been urging more nations to join the force?and quickly.


BBC News:

Mr Prodi said UN Secretary General Kofi Annan would make a decision on the force by the weekend.

Italy’s “positive role” was welcomed by the Lebanese cabinet, Information Minister Gazi Afridi said.

Israel has already said it would be happy if Italy led the force.

But Italy’s offer to lead the force appears to be conditional on an agreement being reached on a new UN resolution, the AFP news agency reported.

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By Geronimo, August 22, 2006 at 4:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Considering that the IDF uses UN observation posts in Lebanon for target practice, what nation is going to offer up its soldiers for slaughter?  That’s because folks in other countries get more information about what’s really going on in the Middle East than we do here in America. Suppose, for example, that a couple of Italian or French or Nigerian or Polish soldiers are killed by a made-in-the-USA precision rocket fired at a United Nations base in Lebanon by a made-in-the-USA Israeli airforce plane? How long before the leader of whichever nation happens to suffer this tragic loss calls her troops home.  How long before by popular demand said leader gets booted from office?

Seems that today it’s only us Americans and the British who look the other way so as to allow our leaders to lie to us about why it is that our sons and daughters are being sent off to fight and die in the Middle East; and, worse yet, we don’t do anything about it, even when confronted with evidence which proves that these same leaders lied to us about their reasons for going to war.

Which means that there’s a dichotomy between the way us Americans (plus the Brits) and the rest of the world react to the announcement that “we regret to inform you that your loved one was killed in action while serving her country.”

How to explain this? Is it because we Americans and British love our children less that the rest of the world loves theirs? Of course not! It could have something to do, though, with the fact that both America and Great Britain have a history of being empires; G.B. in the past; America, present and past. 

Maybe there’s something about empire that enables leaders to invoke such myths as “The land of the free and the home of the brave” to a nation that not only committed genocide but was built upon the backs of African slaves. Believe that and how much of a stretch is it to believe that the reason we’re in this Iraq war is to bring freedom and democracy to the Middle East. 

The same goes for Great Britain, which can fall back upon its past justifications for empire, such as the white man’s burden, educating the savages,etc. etc.  And there must be just enough residual memory among the public of those bygone “glory” days that G.B’s leaders are able to get away with fooling the people.

Not so in the rest of the world.  No memory of empire equals no falling for the empire line of BS. 

And the answer is - Down with empire, that’s what!

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By C Quil, August 22, 2006 at 10:07 am Link to this comment
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Since the U.N. resolution is so vague, and the Bush administration continues to supply Israel with massive weapons and gives them carte blanche to act as they like, it’s not too surprising that other countries are a little jumpy about putting their troops in there.

After an initial enthusiastic response, most countries are now wary, which can only mean that their officials know something that the rest of us don’t, like the possibility of an attack on Iran and a total middle east meltdown.

The Italian UN ambassador said that the Italian forces would be like “the ham in the sandwich” between Hezbollah and Israel. Considering who he’s dealing with, that was a remarkably bad choice of words.

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By Todd, August 22, 2006 at 7:20 am Link to this comment
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France is an international joke.  They deliberately forced the UN resolution to include vague rules of engagement, then sent only 200 ENGINEERS (not even troops) because they claimed the rules of engagement were too vague.

What a bunch of assholes.

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