Sunday, August 06, 2006

Two Articles In Sunday New York Times Emphasize Endless War On Terror

Written from San Carlos, California --

A book review in that section and an article in the New York Times magazine this Sunday emphasize that increasingly the War on Terror seems endless, with no present prospect of a settlement. It is becoming as much a part of our times as the world wars of the last century.

First, there is a brilliant review of the book, "The Looming Tower," by Lawrence Wright, by New York Times war correspondent Dexter Filkins.

Filkins begins dramatically, "When Mohammed Atta and his four Saudi confederates commandeered a Boeing 747 and steered it into the north tower of the World Trade Center, they began a story that still consumes us nearly five years on, and one that seems on bad days, to promise war without end."

The book is probably the most outstanding yet to appear about the origins of al-Qaeda and the early struggle to contain it. It is not as polemical as many books appearing these days on the war, now bidding to spread throughout the Middle East and possibly around the world.

The New York Times certainly gives the book huge attention. It commands the front page of today's Book Review, with the headline, "The Plot Against America," which the author traces back to the late 1940s.

Second, the New York Times magazine, always an impressive product, contains an excellent article on the Israeli-Hezbollah war by Bernard Henri-Levy, whose book, "Who Killed Daniel Pearl?" remains one of the most provocative of the post 9-11 period.

Bernard-Levy recognizes the conflict as probably inevitable, given the long armament of south Lebanon by Hezbollah. an aggressive, Iranian-sponsored organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

Indeed, Bernard-Levy says that Iranian indirect participation in the war promises to give it a dimension not seen in prior Arab-Israeli conflicts.

"I sensed that something new, something unprecedented in the history of Israeli wars, was being enacted," the author writes. "It was as if Israelis were no longer in the framework of Israel and the Arabs alone. It was as if the international context, the game of hide-and-seek between visible and invisible players, the role of Iran and its Hezbollah ally, gave the whole crisis a flavor, a look, a perspective that were entirely new."

Bernard-Levy, as others, recognizes that the situation facing Israel is so dire that traditional doves, as well as hawks, in Israel are supporting the war effort.

Both of these articles, indeed the New York Times news report today, in Section 1 and Week in Review, make it clearer than ever that we are in for a very protracted conflict not only in the Holy Land, Lebanon and Iraq, but much wider in the entire Middle East and beyond, and there is no easy way out.

These are historic times, and neither the New York Times, the L.A. Times or any other newspaper is glossing over that fact. It is no longer possible to do so.

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