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Why Gay Bars Are Important to the Fight in Lebanon

Tucker Carlson Pulls for the Man Hole
In an interesting couple of reports from Beirut, conservative talking head Tucker Carlson illustrates the importance of liberalism and cultural diversity in the Middle East and the danger we all face if Israel's offensive goes too far.


Near the end of a round up of military action in Lebanon is this brief, but potent paragraph that sums up the real danger we face in Israel's continued assault. From the New York Times:

The last few weeks have essentially transformed Lebanese politics, marginalizing the democratic forces promoted by the United States and France — known as the March 14 group — and instead empowering President Émil Lahoud, a staunch ally of Syria, and above all the Shiite Muslim speaker of Parliament, Nabih Berri, who is the only official link to the Hezbollah leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah.

So, in the process of clearing out Hezbollah fighters who have cruelly lobbed missiles into civilian Israeli neighborhoods and launched aggressive, but small, incursions across the borders, Israel is developing an unstable neighbor state and strengthened ties to a state sponsor of terrorism. That seems...bad.

Tucker Carlson had a fascinating comment on a recent Hardball report related to this very fact. After pointing out that Northern Lebanon, which Israel is driving into now, has been a Christian haven in what has been a relatively liberal Arab nation, Carlson illustrates the danger of an offensive going too far.

The second thing and the broader and longer term fear here is this could wind up a failed state again. That the turmoil going on now could collapse this government, which let's not forget has been held up by the Bush administration as a model democratic government. I mean, this is a success story from the Bush administration's point of view. And it could all come tumbling down and this could become yet another mosquito swamp for al Qaeda and like-minded groups. That could be an effect of this war. That could be a terrifying possibility.

We keep hearing about Lebanon's fragile government, but here is a very specific reason why Israel needs to be careful not to destabilize what may have been an ineffective deterrent to Hezbollah (a non-governmental, paramilitary gang of terrorists), but an otherwise safe neighbor. And the danger isn't just in toppling the government, but also galvanizing the Lebanese population to support a decidedly unfriendly ideology.

"You know, it's a reminder that in the Middle East, which increasing is monochromatic, it's Muslim, this is an outpost of genuine diversity," said Carlson.

In a later episode, Carlson illustrated in real terms the diversity found in Lebanon and the danger of losing it.

"...liberalism in the broadest sense, tolerance for pluralism, for genuine general diversity of ideas, that's the thing the Middle East needs." Said Carlson and then as an interesting example, noted that Beirut has a gay bar downtown.

"If you destroy that liberalism, that whole region becomes a lot more dangerous to us, America."

Increasingly violent offensives tend to turn public opinion. Despite Israel's insistence that civilian deaths are not the fault of their bombs but of Hezbollah fighters who instigate a response, the people on the ground see their families killed and look to the who and the how before they consider the why. When they see that their loved ones were killed by Israeli troops in American made or financed weaponry, they'll turn to whoever is fighting these "aggressors" and we end up with yet another breeding ground for terrorism.


I always feel a twinge of hope for the world when a conservative seems to go against the grain of his politburo and advocate for sense and decency. (So suck it, Rush Limbaugh!) It should be a no-brainer to people that we need to be sympathetic to the people of Lebanon (and indeed the Middle East in general) who are overrun or ruled outright by these Islamist militias.

Americans, especially those sympathetic to Bush's aims in the region, need to be reminded often that these are real people and participating citizens of the world with histories, cultures, families. I mean, Klinger was Lebanese, man!

But sadly we also must be a bit cold-blooded about these groups, who are not "champions of the oppressed" but the oppressors, themselves, religious fascists--real ones, not metaphorical ones we like to jaw hysterically about here in the States. That's the kind of "equivalence" thinking that plays right into the hands of Hizbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, etc. That is how they play this game. Look at most of the trouble spots in the world and see what the common denominator is. It is no longer a simple Marxian dialectic of haves and have nots.

There's no question we have a part in how and why these groups have the power they do, but we, nor "the West," are not THE cause. I can't stand our administration for allowing its cheerleaders to paint the enemy as Islam itself, yet pretending it is something wholly other is also misguided and dangerous.

Klinger was Lebanese? Really? I thought he was from Toledo.

A proud Lebanese-American in a dress.

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