After Israel responded to repeated outrages on its territory, including mortar and rocket attacks on its towns, the bombing of its populace in shopping malls and the taking of hostages from its border posts, the by-now-familiar line severing the United States, Australia and (parts of) Canada from the European Union stood out clear for all to behold.
For us, the issue is clear. A nation has the right to defend itself from external acts of war.
For the Europeans, the issue was just as clear: why can't those damned Jews just lay down and die in peace and quit making a fuss about it?
The issue was not, strictly speaking, put forth that way. Instead, the idea was contained in the term "disproportionate use of force," which, interestingly, does not mean that the EU would have been all for Israel had it limited its response to conducting mortar and rocket attacks on Arab towns, bombing its shopping malls and taking some hostages from the border areas.
Blessedly, the United States seems to have thrown a wrench in the whole rotten script by refusing to "rein in" its "attack dog" Israel. This has caused the sort of outrage one sees on the Left when you refuse to bow to their pieties; it's a sort of hatred/surprise goulash, usually set forth in indignant tones.
No, this time the U.S. doesn't appear to be in any especial hurry to stop to IDF from tearing apart Hezbollah, which really surprises the deep thinkers at the Foreign Office and the Quai D'Orsay who don't seem to remember that Hezbollah has been in a one-sided war with the United States since the early days of the Reagan Administration.
In any case, the United States' qualified inaction is having a desired effect. With it becoming clearer with each passing day that the U.S. is not inclined to do much about the situation, the Europeans are having the unpleasant experience of having to put their money (and their citizens' lives) where their mouths are.
This is also producing the expected temper-tantrum in European "capitals," whose ministers are now loudly pronoucing, a la Governor Le Petomane, that they have to something, immediately, immediately to save their phoney-baloney jobs.
(And, yes, they are expecting a "harumph," so watch your ass.)
As a result, the EU, lead by the UK, is now pushing for "international troops" to take positions on the southern Lebanon border, separating the two sides. Just in case you're new to this, "international troops" means one of two things: 1) if they are likely to have to engage in real fighting, it means boys from Des Moines, Thunder Bay and Alice Springs; or 2) if they are likely to sit around and watch Hezbollah put up billboards with beheaded Jews on them, it means boys from Lyon, Frankfurt and Dublin.
In any case, since everyone knows that real fighting and a real ability to stop hostilities would be a bottom-level requirement, and, further, there being no stampede on the part of Canada, Australia or the United States to sacrifice more of their sons for European moral preening, the talk then turned to "NATO."
Again, just in case you're new at this, "NATO" means boys from Des Moines, Thunder Bay and Alice Springs, with a few blonds from Rotterdam and Copenhagen thrown in for window dressing.
For some strange reason the governments of Canada, Australia and the United States still weren't interested in stopping Israel from taking it to genocidal jihadis. Go figure.
So, now, shock of all shocks, the Europeans are talking about--wait for it--sending in their own troops! So, Isreal took them up on the offer. From YNET:
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Sunday that Israel would consider permitting the deployment of an experienced European military force in Lebanon.
The prime minister added that such a force would have to control passages between Syria and Lebanon, deploy along the Lebanese-Israel border and assist the Lebanese army, especially in case it implements UN Resolution 1559 and works to disarm Hizbullah.
This was marvelously played by PM Olmert in that: 1) there are no "experienced" European military forces, 2) the task given is well beyond any current European military force (save the UK's, which is quite busy, thank you), and, more importantly, 3) it forces Europeans to put up or shut up.
Any guesses what Europe's likely response will be?
Man, that was a good laugh.
Well, there is always the tried-and-true European moral dodge: state your outrage, the need for action, then call for UN "Peacekeepers."
They have a great record. From today's The Age
UNITED Nations peacekeepers have abandoned at least 20 babies fathered with poverty-stricken Timorese women.
A UN investigation has also uncovered a culture of cover-up, in which babies born to peacekeepers and sex crimes committed by UN staff in the past seven years have been kept secret because of a "fear of shame and embarrassment' in the deeply religious country.
The findings will shock the UN bureaucracy as it prepares to boost by thousands its peacekeeping force in East Timor.
A report on the investigation, obtained by The Age, recommends that a policy of zero tolerance of sexual misconduct be enforced on UN staff sent to help rebuild the country after two months of violence.
UN peacekeepers in East Timor have previously been accused of offences including child sex abuse, bestiality, and coercing women and children into prostitution. No one has ever been charged.
But the report reveals for the first time that babies born to UN peacekeepers have been abandoned without financial support.
It also makes clear that the births of these children, and other instances of sexual misconduct by UN personnel, are likely to have been significantly under-reported.
The report says that the Timorese mothers of the babies fathered by peacekeepers have been stigmatised and, in some cases, ostracised by their communities. It also found that efforts within the UN to organise help for the women have failed.
In the mountainous coffee growing district of Ermera, soldiers have left behind seven young children after earlier promising to marry their mothers, the report says. In the district of Bobonaro, four babies were allegedly fathered by two UN police and two civilian staff.
A dowry was apparently paid to one family. But in most cases, the mother's family has been left to support the children.
The report was written by Sofi Ospina, an anthropologist commissioned by the UN to investigate the gender-related impact on East Timor of having 18,000 uniformed and civilian UN personnel from 113 nations in the country after UN operations began in 1999.
It comes as Secretary-General Kofi Annan prepares a report for the UN Security Council on the composition of a new mission for East Timor when the current one expires next month.
Ian Martin, a special UN envoy, has recommended the Security Council send police units backed by a rapid response force. He also recommends a military presence at least until after elections scheduled for May, and UN advisers to help organise the vote.
There are now 2500 Australian soldiers and police in East Timor, mostly in the capital, Dili.
While thousands of Australian soldiers and police have served in East Timor since 1999, none have been accused of sexual misconduct. The behaviour of some peacekeepers has outraged many UN staff, several of whom have resigned in disgust.
In one of the worst instances detailed in Ms Ospina's report, a peacekeeper from an unnamed country is alleged to have abused two boys and two girls in the enclave of Oecussi.
In early 2001, two soldiers were sent home with injured penises after allegedly attempting sexual intercourse with goats.
One more thing: East Timor is one of the primary grievances listed by Al Qaeda and other jihadists as justification for their jihad against the West. Funny, isn't it, how brave East Timor was defended to the end by the Left so long as doing so meant a stick in the eye of the United States.
Now that doing so would cost something real and be a stick in the eye of jihadists, it has fallen down there on the Left's Grand List right around "South African Government's Response to HIV."