By ROBERT FISK
"Indeed, how come the people of southern Lebanon have not been consulted about the army which is supposed to live in their lands? Because, of course, it is not coming for them. It will come because the Israelis and the Americans want it there to help reshape the Middle East. This no doubt makes sense in Washington, where self-delusion rules diplomacy almost as much as it does in Israel. But America's dreams usually become the Middle East's nightmares.
And this time, we will watch a NATO-led army's disintegration at close quarters. South-west Afghanistan and Iraq are now so dangerous that no reporters can witness the carnage being perpetrated as a result of our hopeless projects. But, in Lebanon, it's going to be live-time coverage of a disaster that can only be avoided by the one diplomatic step Messrs Bush and Blair refuse to take: by talking to Damascus.
So when this latest foreign army arrives, count the days, or hours, to the first attack upon it. Then we'll hear all over again that we are fighting evil, that "they"--Hizbollah or Palestinian guerrillas, or anyone else planning to destroy "our" army--hate our values; and then, of course, we'll be told that this is all part of the "War on Terror"--the nonsense which Israel has been peddling. And then perhaps we'll remember what George Bush senior said after Hizbollah's allies suicide-bombed the Marines in 1982, that American policy would not be swayed by a bunch of "insidious terrorist cowards".
And we all know what happened then. Or have we forgotten?"