"But you cannot read any account of Israeli politics without being struck by the extraordinary domination of the generals. We are familiar with military dictatorships. But Israel is unique in being a military democracy. An electoral system much fairer than our own repeatedly places the country in the hands of warriors, and sometimes (I am thinking of Yitzhak Shamir and Sharon) war criminals. Even when civilians are elected, they are pushed around by the generals. To sustain their position, the warrior chiefs seek to ensure that Israel is constantly on the verge of war. As Moshe Dayan observed, military retaliation is a "life drug". Avi Shlaim summarises Dayan's argument thus: "First, [retaliation] obliged the Arab governments to take drastic measures to protect their borders. Second, and this was the essence, it enabled the Israeli government to maintain a high degree of tension in the country and in the army."* nyt via holden:
The warriors in Israel have almost always been empowered by armed action. (Even while planning the biggest political disaster in Israeli history - Suez - Ben-Gurion was able to depose his peace-seeking foreign minister, Moshe Sharett.) Their interests are best served by escalation, however inappropriate. After the latest attack on Lebanon began, the generals demanded to intensify it. At the cabinet meeting of July 27, when it had already become clear that the assault was turning into a strategic and political disaster, they insisted that they be allowed to mount a full-scale ground offensive."
"More Iraqi civilians were killed in July than in apparently any other month of the war, according to Iraqi Health Ministry and morgue statistics, despite a security plan begun by the new government in June.can everyone please stop saying that 'up to 100,000 people have been killed in iraq' - that information is now TWO YEARS OLD
When the July tally for total civilian deaths is added to Iraqi government numbers for earlier months obtained by the United Nations, at least 17,776 Iraqi civilians died violently in the first seven months of this year, or an average of 2,539 per month.
United Nations officials and military analysts say the morgue and ministry numbers almost certainly reflect severe undercounts, caused by the haphazard nature of information in a war zone."
"However, it is clear that President Assad now sees himself back at the centre of Arab power after his army's humiliating retreat from Lebanon last year. There was no more need for defeatism among Arabs, he said - a sentiment widely held in the real Arab world but quite absent from President Bush's fantasy Middle East.
That it should be Syria, of all nations, which can state this to so much applause probably says more about Washington than it does about Damascus. And it is, of course, the return of the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights - see UN Resolution 242 - that lies behind this whole disastrous war."