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Monday, May 12, 2008

Lebanon or Chicago?

Barack Obama made this statement recently.

focuses on electoral reform, an end to the current corrupt patronage system, and the development of the economy that provides for a fair distribution of services, opportunities and employment.

It sounds as though he was pointing to the problems within the government of his hometown. Had he been talking about Chicago I would say that he was making a very intuitive and bold statement. Unfortunately, Barack Obama only contributed to the corruption and waste in Chicago, Cook County, and Springfield when he was an insider here. While Barack Obama makes a relative intuitive observation about what is wrong in Chicago, he wasn't actually talking about Chicago...

Hezbollah's power grab in Beirut has once more plunged that city into violence and chaos. This effort to undermine Lebanon's elected government needs to stop, and all those who have influence with Hezbollah must press them to stand down immediately. It's time to engage in diplomatic efforts to help build a new Lebanese consensus

Now treating the problems in Lebanon as though they were somehow like the systemic corruption in Chicago is stunning. Barack Obama seems to think that Hezbollah's biggest problem is that they hire their friends for cushy jobs. Where was Obama when the UN was forcing Israel into a surrender two years ago? Nowhere does he mention the surrender of two years ago due to worldwide public pressure for Israel to wrap it up. It was that perceived victory that has lead us to this moment. The problems in Lebanon go way beyond some sort of a corrupt organization jacking the system.

Hezbollah is trying to form a state within a state and challenging the authority of the actually dually elected state. At the same time, it is threatening its neighbors with rockets. This has nothing to do with electoral reform, diplomacy, and economic development. None of that will happen as long as a terrorist organization is controlling large blocs of land. Hezbollah needs to be destroyed. It won't happen with words and diplomacy, but military might. The sort of military might that Israel was trying to unleash in 2006 (if not in an uneven and uncharacteristically not so well planned manner). It was the sort of military might that might have ended Hezbollah once and for all, if the UN hadn't forced Israel to give up its military operation before they had defeated them once and for all. Those aren't things that I hear from Barack Obama, but I am sure that Lebanon will be all the better once the patronage and corruption is cleaned up.

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