Digby excerpts an excellent, heartbreaking piece by Robin Wright about her recollections of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon during the Golden Age of Reagan:
Digby concludes:...Washington condemned the P.L.O. repeatedly, but, as the siege dragged on, relations between the United States and Israel grew increasingly testy over the plight of civilians. In early July, Reagan pressed Israel to lift the blockade of West Beirut and to restore water and electricity. In late July, he put a hold on cluster bombs sent to Israel. On July 31st, Robert Dillon, the American Ambassador to Lebanon, angrily cabled Washington, “Simply put, tonight’s saturation shelling was as intense as anything we have seen. There was no ‘pinpoint accuracy’ against targets in ‘open spaces.’ It was not a response to Palestinian fire. This was a blitz against West Beirut. Our 21:00 ceasefire announced in advance over local radio stations was transformed instead into a massive Israeli escalation.”On August 1st, on the eve of a meeting with Israel’s foreign minister, Yitzhak Shamir, Reagan told reporters, “The bloodshed must stop,” adding that he would make sure that the Israelis “understand exactly how we feel about this.” Pressed on whether he was losing patience, Reagan replied, “I lost patience a long time ago.”At the meeting the next day, the President told Shamir, “When P.L.O. sniper fire is followed by fourteen hours of Israeli bombardment, that is stretching the definition of defensive action too far.” Both men were noticeably grim-faced in the official photographs.Reagan had begun to feel repercussions at home and abroad. The American media savaged his Administration as weak and without direction...
That was 32 years ago. In case you're wondering why some people my age react rather numbly to the Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed, it's probably because it's been happening with some regularity as long as we can remember. And we're old. The horror is undiminished over time but it takes on the quality of a recurring nightmare.To which I can only add this from Eugene O'Neill:
“There is no present or future -- only the past, happening over and over again -- now.”