Cold Condi can’t cut it

America’s increasingly difficult-to-explain entrainment with Israel’s nasty campaign in South Lebanon is disastrous for the Middle East and for peace everywhere. The attack on Qana this morning further implicates America (and, of course, loyal Britain) in the carnage. Whatever happens now, no matter how hard Condi works to produce a new resolution at the UN, America’s implacable refusal to call for a ceasefire means the World now inevitably connects the USA with the massacre of children and the demolition of Lebanon’s precarious civil society.

The implications for Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel/Palestine and the whole ‘War on Terror’ are obvious and terrifying. It’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that, in Lebanon, the US has turned a crisis into a catastrophe through culpable inaction and indifference to the fate of ordinary Lebanese. If this new war is a test for Condi’s State Department regime, it’s pretty clear she’s failed and failed badly. Her robotic manner, her rigidity in the face of changing circumstances, her obvious inability to identify with suffering people – even to properly voice her sympathy – will permanently damage her prospects for the top job to which we assume she aspires.

Condi is cold, impatient with appeals to her humanity. Contrast clumsy, autistic, warlike Bush/Rice with Clinton/Albright’s engaged, emotional regime – Kosovo being the best example. It took the deaths of 37 children in a concrete tomb in South Lebanon to produce the tiniest change in State Department policy on a ceasefire. What will it take to get the US to call the war off?