By Tim Redmond
It's not news that Newt Gingrich announced last week that World War III has begun. Some people in the progressive blogosphere are taking this seriously, saying it signals a new GOP offensive and the possibility that the Bush Administration is going to launch more military action in the Middle East. That's not what Condi is telling the world, but I gather from what's buzzing on the wires that I'm not the only one who thinks that the mess in Lebanon could quickly grow into a mess in Iran, and beyond.
The guy who runs my corner store on Cortland Street -- not a foreign policy expert, but a native of the region -- told me last night that he thinks Hezbollah and the Iranians love practicing with Iranian firepower in Lebanon, because it's a convenient way to see if the stuff works. Besides, it gets Israel militarily engaged, which gets the Islamic radicals stirred up, which destablizes everything, which is what the luncatics on both sides want. And after all, who cares if Lebanese civilians die?
Tim Kingston, a freelance journalist who used to work for us, calls or emails me every day with the latest death toll; he grew up in Lebanon, and he's written a piece for next week's Guardian that explains why this latest assault on "the middle east's whipping boy" is so painful -- and has to be stopped. Watch for it.