American Proscenium

Post-Lebanon II: Constructing Narratives

A friend who has just returned from Lebanon told me that one of the jokes he heard before leaving Beirut was that the Bush administration decided to hire Hezbollah as one of the faith-based organizations that would help in the rebuilding of post-Katrina Louisiana.  After all, the Lebanese Shiite group has been assiduously reconstructing the destroyed areas of Lebanon in the aftermath of the Israeli bombing, while there are no signs that many parts of Louisiana that were devastated by Katrina are going to be rebuilt anytime soon.  So, perhaps, it’s time to inject some Middle Eastern know-how into the process of rebuilding Louisiana.

In a way, the joke is on Israel and her American patron who, on the eve of Lebanon II, had created expectations for a rerun of the 1967 Six-Day War.  According to the scenario drawn by the Israeli and U.S. governments and their neoconservative propagandists, the IDF would decimate Hezbollah in a few days and win a Big Victory for the “War on Terror.”  From the neocon perspective, the plot line of the Middle East Movie was obvious: Iran and Syria encourage their proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah, to deliver a blow to America’s proxy in the Middle East, Israel, as a way of shifting the balance of power in the Middle East in favor of Tehran and Damascus.  Then, Israel delivers a counterblow to Hezbollah and reshifts the balance of power in favor of Washington—a...

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