Bloggers on the latest from the Middle East.

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July 31 2006 6:50 PM

Furor Over Qana

Bloggers speculate about the fallout from the Israeli airstrike on Qana that killed dozens of civilians. They also react to the Times critique of Joe Lieberman and have a laugh at Mel Gibson's expense.

Furor over Qana: An Israeli helicopter reportedly killed more than 50 civilians when it bombed a building in Qana, Lebanon, this weekend. In response, Israel enacted a 48-hour cease-fire but said it would continue to launch strikes to stop imminent attacks by Hezbollah.

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At The Left Coaster, Steve Soto worries that America's reputation will suffer for Israel's mistakes: "The Bush Administration's 'hands-off' foreign policy has crashed and burned now, and we are being dragged down the hell hole with Israel as a result of this attack and our enabling of it."

Augustus Norton at Speaking Truth to Power sympathizes with Lebanese who lack the means to flee targeted areas: "While it is true that Israel has dropped leaflets warning people to leave the south in conjunction with turning the region into a killing box, this is not exculpatory. Had Israel permitted the residents safe passage and an interval to leave their case would be stronger." At Informed Comment, Middle Eastern studies professor Juan Cole also takes Israel to task for what he considers indiscriminate ethnic cleansing: "In other words, the Israelis are engaged in collective punishment on a vast scale. They maintain that rocket launching sites are embedded in these villages. But since Hizbullah keeps firing large numbers of rockets, it does not actually appear to be the case that the Israelis are hitting the rocket launchers. They are demonstrably hitting civilian houses and apartment buildings in a methodical way."

At Captain's Quarters, conservative Ed Morrissey, while cautioning that "civilian deaths should be avoided," points out that Israel is not alone in targeting civilians. "[Hezbollah] routinely position[s] their fighters among civilian populations and dress them to blend into residential neighborhoods. Civilian deaths are not collateral damage in Hezbollah's strategy, but a key component of their battle plan. So let's hear a little less moral outrage over Qana, and let's start hearing a lot more moral outrage over Hezbollah's tactics." Conservative AJ Strata at The Strata-Sphere makes much of photos showing militants stationed in suburban Lebanon.

Righty Confederate Yankee is among the many bloggers suspicious of the hours that passed between the Israeli bombing and the building's collapse, positing that the massacre was staged.

Read more about the Qana bombing. Watch an IDF video showing rockets being launched from Qana.

Saying "no" to Joe: The New York Times has endorsed dark horse candidate Ned Lamont over Joe Lieberman in the race for Lieberman's Senate seat. The editorial criticizes the senator for his "warped version of bipartisanship" that consists of stubborn appeasement of the Bush administration. The Washington Post counters with an editorial endorsing Lieberman for his rare gift of compromise. 

Liberal Jeralyn Merritt at TalkLeft observes, "The papers agree on one thing: Lieberman's stance on Iraq has put him in this mess. While other Democrats also voted for the Iraq War, most have come around since by calling for withdrawal of our troops at the earliest opportunity, whether by a timetable or not."

Contributor Henry at academic group blog Crooked Timber traces the editorial brouhaha to the netroots. "I just can't imagine that the dueling editorials in the Times and the Post would have happened if the blogs hadn't consistently and relentlessly framed Lieberman's problem as a fawning and corrupt bipartisan deference to a president gone crazy." But writing at DailyKos, DemFromCT plays down the role of the liberal blogosphere: "The problem that Joe has had in painting Lamont supporters as far-left blogger-driven fringe people is that just about none of it is true. In an earlier post today, I referenced many of the quotes from local voters who have many issues with Joe from a long-standing and general lack of attention to CT issues, to his stance on nationalizing Terri Schiavo's case, school vouchers, and the Alito confirmation in addition to his stance on the Iraq War."

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