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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Pie in the sky, by and by.

Madness. A complete disconnect from reality.

Those are the words that come to mind in reading former American ambassador to the Vatican Ray Flynn's commentary on the war in Lebanon, published in the most recent issue of the National Catholic Register.

I don't say that lightly. As someone who hopes the Democrats come back to their Truman/Kennedy/Humphrey/Scoop Jackson senses (and who has a yard sign for a local Dem on his lawn), I have always liked Ray Flynn. He is a connection to a Democratic past that is a whole lot more palatable to me than their Koss-ack/Deanie Baby/Fun with Blackface present.

But this offering from Flynn is nothing short of blinkered. And worse.

A few words beforehand. First, what many non-Catholics fail to recognize in the Church's positioning on the war can be summed up in one word: Maronites. As in the Maronite Catholic Church, whose home is in Lebanon. Consequently, the Vatican can hardly be sanguine about a shooting war taking place in the neighborhood of her largest and healthiest Church in the Levant, and rightfully so. Analysis of the criticism by Rome needs to keep this indispensible fact in mind.

And no, I don't regard Israel's military actions as above reproach, including an early targetting package that seemed calculated to do as much damage to the Lebanese government as to Hezbollah. Israel is a civilized Western nation that has to be held to a civilized standard.

But, but, but.

Look carefully at Flynn's piece. Look for the following words: Hezbollah, Islamic, and terrorist.

Total running tally: one--for terrorist. And it's a quote, not Ray Flynn's own word.

Instead, we are treated to a caning of Israel--and Israel alone. Along with "political extremists" and "special interest groups."

For which the only sensible reading in the context of the essay is "Jews," of course. Which adds a faintly sinister cast to the piece as well, I'm sorry to say.

Not a shred of the essay shows the slightest awareness of the existence of the puppetmasters in Syria or Iran. Instead, Israel is the bully.

This failure to understand the basic facts on the ground would be amazing if it weren't so utterly sickening.

Would Flynn be so detached if the Republic of Ireland had struck back after the Ulster Volunteer Force had raided into County Monaghan, killing and kidnapping Irish troops? Would he be telling the Republican Irish that they needed to forebear while the UVF lobbed Katushyas into Ireland in a belt from Mayo to Wicklow?

Sure, no analogy is perfect, but in that case I doubt we'd be hearing words about the Irish lobby's pernicious influence on American politics and tarring of the U.S.' reputation as an honest broker.

A tragic misstep from an otherwise sensible man--but one that needs to be repudiated nonetheless.

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