2006 August 07 Monday
New York Times Monty Python Players

The New York Times editorial board sounds like actors in a Monty Python skit. The editors have written a skit called "A Truce For Lebanon".

It is now 26 days since Hezbollah and Israel began their latest combat — a very long time for the world to allow such a deadly conflict to rage in the Middle East powder keg. Yet the fighting still continues. Diplomats still dither over cease-fire details. Innocent people still keep dying.

Enough. This is the week that the international community must impose a truce, to be followed, in short order, by a political settlement and the dispatch of a robust international force to patrol Lebanon’s oft-violated border with Israel.

26 days is a long time for this sort of thing. The UN can simply declare enough is enough. It is as simple as just saying so. Great. I did not know that. At least we can declare that if we've managed to become members of the New York Times editorial board. Great! So we all ought to become members of the New York Times editorial board. Right! Then when we propose obvious solutions for all the problems of the world people will listen to us.

Time to negotiate a comprehensive solution.

Efforts must therefore quickly turn toward negotiating a comprehensive and lasting political settlement. This needs to go beyond immediate issues like returning the kidnapped Israeli soldiers, releasing Lebanese prisoners and determining the size of the zone to be patrolled by the international force.

Great! Why didn't I think of that? Anything we do not resolve now will just cause new fighting later. So we should resolve everything now. Of course! Why didn't someone think of this sooner? Great.

It also needs to address such festering issues as Hezbollah’s refusal to heed U.N. requests to disarm, and Hezbollah’s claim, contrary to U.N. findings, that some of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights is not part of Syria, but really belongs to Lebanon. Anything not resolved now risks setting off new fighting in the future.

Of course! Line up troops for an international security force. It just takes the decision that we want this to happen and that decision will make it happen. Why hasn't someone already lined up those soldiers? Who forgot to tell NATO countries to line up their troops? NATO nations will resist. Easy solution: Just do not take "no" for an answer. We just have to be haughty enough and the problem will be solved.

Troops must also be lined up for the international security force. The idea is to draw them from NATO countries like France, Italy and Turkey, along with perhaps Australia. None of these countries want to send soldiers if either Israel or Hezbollah is going to keep shooting. Therefore the political settlement has to be packaged so that both sides can claim some sort of victory.

These guys are funny. But they are so good at playing straight men (never mind that they are not straight men) that few notice. They've got to be thinking their editorials are big insider jokes. Does the NY Times have editorialists named Alan and Jackie?

Alan: Well, last week we showed you how to be a gynaecologist, and this week on "How to do it", we're gonna learn how to play the flute, how to split the atom, how to construct box-girder bridges...

Jackie: Super!

Alan: ...and how to irrigate the Sahara and make vast new areas cultivatable, but first here's Jackie to tell you how to rid the world of all known diseases.

Jackie: Hello Alan!

Alan: Hello Jackie!

Jackie: Well first of all, become a doctor and discover a marvellous cure for something and then, when the medical world really starts to take notice of you, you can jolly well tell them what to do and make sure they get everything right, so that there'll never be diseases anymore.

Alan: Thanks Jackie, that was great!

GC: Fantastic!

Alan: Now, how to play the flute. Well, you blow in one end and move your fingers up and down the outside.

GC: Great Alan! Well, next week we'll be showing you how black and white people can live together in peace and harmony and Alan will be over in Moscow showing you how to reconcile the Russians and the Chinese. Till then, cheerio!

Alan: Bye!

Jackie: Bye bye!

GC: Bye!


Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 August 07 09:36 PM  Media Critique

Stephen said at August 7, 2006 11:16 PM:

Next week an interview with Arthur 'two sheds' Jackson.

Luke Lea said at August 9, 2006 6:56 PM:

There was a Tom Friedman column on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a few months back -- I am kicking myself I didn't save it -- which, on first reading, I thought was an Onion parody. The headline was along the lines of: "Why can't they just get together and work it all out."

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