Friday :: Aug 18, 2006

Trying To Buy the Hearts & Minds of Lebanon


by Mary

The Bush administration is scrambling to find funds that would be used to rebuild Lebanon. By helping rebuild Lebanon, they think they can change the perception that they didn't care much while the country was being bombed.

A major rebuilding investment would put the United States in the position of subsidizing both the Israeli munitions that caused the damage and the reconstruction work that will repair it. Such a proposal could meet with resistance from Congress, but administration officials said that the need for action was urgent.

...U.S. officials and private experts agree that the administration faces an uphill effort trying to outdo Hezbollah, which has a broad local base, well-developed social service programs and the confidence of many Lebanese.

"Hezbollah is deeply integrated into Lebanese society," said Jon Alterman, a former State Department official who is head of Middle East studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

"We're coming in when there's a sense that we stood by the destruction of Lebanon by an ally, with U.S. weapons, and didn't complain. So we may be too late."

Even so, Alterman said he supported the idea of trying to rebuild U.S. influence in Lebanon at a time when the political situation there is in flux.

Yup. Help smash the place, and then offer to pay to fix it up. That should work.

Mary :: 7:31 AM :: Comments (17) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!