March 04, 2005

Stay The Course

Mom's Favorite Columnist argues today that the road to Damascus runs through Beirut and that, contrary to the wisdom of the NY Times crowd, we have an obligation to help the people of the Middle East keep things rolling:

This is no time to listen to the voices of tremulousness, indecision, compromise and fear. If we had listened to them two years ago, we would still be doing oil-for-food, no-fly zones and worthless embargoes. It is our principles that brought us to this moment by way of Afghanistan and Iraq. They need to guide us now -- through Beirut to Damascus.

Read it all.

I haven't had anything original to say about the Cedar Revolution so far, but one thing continues to tickle me. The last time Lebanon got any major media play was in the 80's. In those days, it was all stories about TWA hijackings, marine massacres and the Israelis beating the crap out of everybody. I remember the nightly news being full of images of filth, beggary and overall misery. (It was, of course, All Reagan's Fault.)

Furthermore, the only real word-portrait of the country I had read was P.J. O'Rourke's take in Holidays in Hell, not the most flattering of images.

With these things in my memory, you can imagine how surprised I was when photos of the Cedar Revolution started coming out. Who knew Lebanon was so full of fabulous, well-dressed babes? It was like hearing there were riots in Los Angeles, assuming they were in Watts and suddenly discovering they were, in fact, taking place in Beverly Hills. Go figure.

An utterly superficial observation, I grant you, but amusing to me nonetheless.

Posted by Robert at March 4, 2005 11:33 AM

The memorable line in P.J.'s book -- for me, anyway -- was "in the Lebanese boy scouts, gun safety merit badges must go wanting." He was speaking of being harrassed by gunmen at various checkpoints.

P.J. makes -- perhaps in one of his other books, I don't remember which -- a point about how good-looking women are usually found at the cutting edge of societal causes. Lebanon no exception to this rule.

Part of me -- and I do not know if it is a cynical or a hopeful part -- is convinced that this is a very well run CIA operation. It is similar to the Orange revolution in the Ukraine, and just as the orange banners, etc., sprouted overnight, have you noticed how nice and new those Lebanese flags look? I'm thinking there is a goodly amount of money and organization behind this to help make all of this happen. Not that I doubt the people want freedom and democracy -- of course they do. The people in the streets are real Lebanese, just as the folks in the Ukraine were real Ukrainians. I'm just thinking the people providing the banners, P.A. systems, etc., may well be working for us.

If it is the CIA behind these revolutions -- and I suppose we'll know in about 30 years when it is declassified -- they are doing a fine, fine job. If it isn't, then they should certainly be studying these revolutions to see how they work.

Posted by: The Colossus at March 4, 2005 11:59 AM

Dang! You're right about Peej's observation. I can't quite remember what he was talking about either, but now it's going to bother me like a bad tune stuck in my head.....

Posted by: Robert the LB at March 4, 2005 12:05 PM
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